As individuals and organizations busily prepare their “best” and “worst” lists of 2017, I have compiled categories of the ten most bigly yugest really-great best-ever Trumpian lows of the year. I arrange my list in no particular order of rank, and because there are so many low lows, unfortunately I can’t include them all.
While Trump promised during the campaign that when elected as the 45th President of the United States he would hire the best, brightest, and most qualified people to serve in his administration and on the bench, he has actually taped the least qualified and least demographically diverse staff advisors and cabinet secretaries in modern history, most who have certified conflicts of interest in the positions they hold.
In addition, he has forced out experienced and competent career administrators in several departments, including the diplomatic core personnel at the State Department, without refilling these positions, most notably in international hotspots such as South Korea.
By hiring his son-in-law and daughter, he has engaged in a cynical form of nepotism, which itself poses extreme conflicts of interest.
Donald Trump talks in hyperbolic exaggeration and blatant lies while never missing an occasion to promote and give credit to himself for alleged and false successes virtually each time he moves his lips. He has conducted a campaign of attack, innuendo, name-calling, character assassination, and misrepresentation toward anyone from all stations of life who fail to bow down and kiss his ring or who challenge him on any level no matter who they are, including Gold Star families, black athletes, the cast of a Broadway musical, and former political allies.
This is even more troubling since he is considered the “leader of the free world.”
3. Legislative Domestic Supports
Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump posed in the guise of a “populist” of the people, by the people, and for the people. Through his actions and support for policy initiatives, he has unmasked himself as a defender of industry and the ultra-rich with an overriding concern for his own economic self-interests.
If his support for Republican attempts to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act eventually succeed, an estimated 30 million lower-income workers will lose healthcare benefits. The current Republican tax “reform” bill will grant enormous tax deductions to corporations and the top 1% of the population, while ultimately raising taxes for many if not most middle- and working-class earners.
The Republicans with Trump’s support have served up once again their so-called “trickle-down,” or more formally referred to as “supply-side,” economics in the latest incarnation of their tax reform plan. “Trickle-Down” has also been referred to as the “Horse-and-Sparrow Theory”: If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. Shit happens!
4. Executive Orders
In his brief time in office, Trump has declared war on the environment by proposing a substantial budgetary reduction of an estimated 24% and a staff cut of 20% to the Environmental Protection Agency, consideration of lower automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, relaxation of prohibitions against dumping toxins like coal ash into streams and rivers, reinstatement of the environmentally damaging Dakota Access and Keystone oil pipelines, and increased coal mining, natural gas, crude and scale oil drilling.
He advised federal agencies to “identify all regulations, all rules, all policies…that serve as obstacles and impediments to American energy independence.” In addition, by loosening banking regulations, Trump has set the stage for yet another great recession or worse.
Trumps assault on transgender people is stunning. In a memo sent from his “Department of Anything-But-Justice” to US attorneys, department heads, and federal agencies, Trump’s Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, reversed an Obama-era policy that protected trans employees from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Session made clear that his department would no longer interpret gender protections in Title VII to include gender identity and expression.
Since Trump’s inauguration, the White House website has removed reference to LGBT issues and policies from the previous administration, and reversed an Obama-era executive order permitting trans students to use school facilities most closely aligning with their gender identities.
Recently, in a three-tweet tirade, he wants to eliminate trans service members from the military.
“After consideration with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Thankfully, the courts have stayed Trump’s military ban from taking effect.
In other executive orders or tweet storms, Trump has expressed his intention of expelling Dreamers and Haitian refugees of the 2010 earthquake from the U.S.
Trump has no love or need for knowledge or preparation, he has no apparent understanding of history or of science, and even less use for either. This President, rather, operates purely on emotion and instinct. He shoots from the mouth, and thrives on chaos, disarray, and perpetual infighting among his staff and advisors, whom he discounts when they attempt to give him counsel.
Born apparently without the character software responsible for empathy, which is installed standard in most human operating systems, conditions causing human suffering don’t move him.
He is unstable in character, ignorant in mind, unfocused in action, which he alters from one minute to the next and after talking with each person he meets. He employed the bait-and-switch tactic though his campaign slogans of “America First” and “Make America Great Again,” transforming these in operation to “Me First” and “Make Donald Trump Even Richer and More Powerful, Again.”
6. International Relations
Throughout the presidential campaign, during the transition, and now well into his first year, Donald Trump, who has virtually no international relations experience other than business, has made policy proposals and placed into office key officials, some who themselves have limited credentials for the positions they hold.
On Russia, for example, Trump encouraged Russia to cyberattack Hillary Clinton’s email server, and when the CIA offered conclusive evidence of Russia’s hacking into the Democratic National Committee, Trump issued continual denials and challenges to the efficiency and accuracy of U.S. intelligence.
The term useful fools (Russian полезные дураки, tr. polezniye duraki) refers in Russian to a person perceived as a beneficial mouthpiece for policies they do not fully understand, and who are contemptuously exploited by leaders for a goal or cause.
Donald Trump has and will continue to serve as Vladimir Putin and other demagogues’ useful fool in the scope of international relations (and domestic issues), since he knows either nothing, does not fully understand foreign policy issues, and quite possibly does not want to know. In his refusal to take daily intelligence briefings or delve deeply into these issues, he demonstrates his lack of interest in learning.
On his initiatives toward Israel, Trump has willingly served as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s useful fool by supporting Israel’s annexation of portions of the occupied West Bank, and officially recognizing Jerusalem as its capital.
Trump’s U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, makes Netanyahu appear as a Kumbaya Peacenik in comparison. Friedman, a far-right-wing lawyer, does not support a “Two State Solution,” but does support a Jerusalem capital, the “settlement” program, and Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank.
Also on the international front, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, the latter action now opens wide the door for China to control trade throughout Asia.
7. Performing as Divider-In-Chief
Before his declared run, Donald Trump arguably the most prominent of the so-called “birthers,” continually accused President Obama of illegitimacy as Commander in Chief by claiming he was born outside the United States.
Throughout the remainder of his jaunt to the White House up to today, he stepped over the bodies of Muslims, Jews, all women, black people, Latinx people of all nations, activists in Black Lives Matter since they do not matter to him, people with disabilities, bodies that do not fulfill his rigid standards of feminine beauty, prisoners of war, the military in general and military generals whom he knows more about how to defeat ISIS, Gold Star parents, women who have the audacity to fight to control their own bodies and their own lives, transgender people of all ages, couples in same-sex relationships, invading “alien” immigrants, dreamers, Haitian and Syrian refugees, and certainly anyone and everyone who disagrees with or criticizes him.
We are increasingly seeing what has come to be known as “The Trump Effect” in which through Donald’s derisive and abusive words and actions, many young people mirror his behavior and react similarly against their peers.
8. Toxic Masculinity
This Republican president has exhibited and appealed to compulsory markers of hypermasculinity, for example, to rugged individualism (“I alone can fit it!”), appeals to extreme xenophobic nationalism to defend our country from the invading hoards, objectification of the female body both in language and in alleged deed, and to base notions of tribalism of us versus all “others.”
Toxic misogynistic utterances and allegations of sexual harassment by numerous women have reached historic proportions. Trump’s predatory actions on women he finds attractive has been documented, and his testosterone-fueled bravado has brought our country and countries throughout Asia to the brink of nuclear war with North Korea.
While Donald Trump has no difficulty calling out those he sees as his political opponents, even within the Republican party, while he jumps quickly to label bombings and trucks or cars plowing over people in Europe as “radical Islamic terrorists,” even well before the evidence was collected, he talked in vague terms about the murderous actions by neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, and he refused to call out the perpetrators by name. Trump ejaculated a moral equivalency argument between the white supremacists and demonstrators protesting xenophobic nationalism.
9. Assaulting the Constitution and the Separation of Powers
By failing to divest his vast business holdings worldwide, Donald Trump not only faces valid charges of conflicts of interest, but more importantly, possibly violates the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
He continually assaults the First Amendment’s “free speech” clause by going after the media: “[Journalists are] among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” He persistently calls them “liars” whenever they write stories unflattering to him and his administration.
At press conferences, Trump tells reporters to “sit down” when they ask questions he doesn’t like, and he speaks of a “running war” with the media. He has even accused “freedom of the press” as the cause of terrorist bombings in the U.S. He repeatedly has threatened to sue the “crooked and lying” media (Lügenpresse, “lying press” popularized by the German Nazis to silence opposition).
He incessantly blasts “Islamic jihadist terrorists” as the number one threat to our nation, thus exposing U.S. Muslims to increased calls for travel bans from majority-Muslim countries, and a call for a “national registry” and surveillance to track their movements. In his near-obsessive calls for “law and order,” he has called for a return to draconian (and possibly unconstitutional) measures of torture and surveillance.
Assisted by the larger Republican Party and the Supreme Court, which has virtually gutted the 1965 Voting Rights law, Trump has supported measures like gerrymandering and other means resulting in voter suppression campaigns effectively reducing the number of polling stations in primarily minoritized racial communities, and limiting days and times for pre-election-day voting.
10. Presentation to the World
Donald Trump, through words and actions, presents the U.S. to residents and leaders throughout the world as erratic and ineffective, as retreating from its stated position of defender of human rights and as a guardian against attack to our allies. Unfortunately, this President has alienated our closest international allies while cozying up with brutal dictators in Russia, the Philippians, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, among others.
Going from Obama to Trump has brought about a national and international collective whiplash. From the forward motion of the Obama administration regarding the advancement of civil and human rights to the backward and downward direction of the Trump presidency. Trump’s statements, policies, and actions, coupled with his cabinet and other staff appointees has resulted in furthering the already deep skid marks across the landscape, and a collective fracture of divisions and anxiety on the international body politic.
From what Trump proposes and his manner of presentation, he has continued his radical descent from his golden escalator to the lowest bowels of rhetoric and hurtful policy positions. Donald J. Trump imperials the entire world and brings us closer to horrors previously only imagined in science fiction (which is the only science he believes).
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