The Trump era

NORMAN SIEGEL | 1/16/2020, 12:19 p.m.
Donald J. Trump took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017 and became the 45th president of the United ...
Donald Trump speaks after he accepted the nomination for president of the United States at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, July 21, 2016. CNN photo

Donald J. Trump took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017 and became the 45th president of the United States. Many Americans were dismayed by the results of the 2016 presidential election; in fact, although almost 3 million more votes were cast for Hillary Clinton, Trump received the necessary electoral college votes to win the election. New Yorkers who were familiar with Trump were skeptical about what his future policies and practices would be as he ran on the theme “Make America Great Again.” We wondered, did this mean he was going to take us back to the 1950s when African Americans were required to sit in the back of the bus, lunch counters and movie theaters were segregated by race; women were expected to be at home in the kitchen, bringing up the children in a nuclear family while the man of the house went off to work and was counted on to bring home the bacon; LGBTQ+ members were in the closet intimidated by rampant homophobia and reluctant to “come out”; and, when most power in politics, business, education, media was concentrated in the hands of white men?

It is now a few days short of the third anniversary of the Trump presidency, a time that has been a tumultuous, stressful and for many a painful and exhausting era. A review of the last three years reveals:

Shortly after the Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration, the Trump administration removed all references to civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, climate change and Spanish language content from the White House website. These symbolic acts were a bellwether for what was to come. In fact, the list of Trump policies and practices that are antithetical to American principles, values and constitutional provisions is extensive and unconscionable.        

A trip down memory lane causes us to remember the following:

Travel Bans I, II and III (a.k.a the “Muslim Ban”); the demand for a wall along our Southern Border followed by a National Emergency Declaration when Congress refused to allocate funds for the wall and the administration’s questionable transfer of federal funds for the wall; the attempts to defund or place new conditions on distributing grants to Sanctuary cities; emolument clause challenges; DACA challenges; the proposed transgender military ban; attempts to add a new question to the 2020 census that asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”; asylum restriction/bans and revoking the right to a bond hearing pending an asylum hearing; free speech/twitter bans; free press/revoking Jim Acosta’s (CNN) White House credentials; challenges to the Affordable Care Act; attempts to roll back on religious and moral grounds, a federal requirement that employers include birth control in their health insurance plans; attempts to create a “blanket” denial of access to abortion for unaccompanied minors; attempts to rescind Haitians’ protected status; and finally, last week’s military actions and threats against Iran which stem from Trump and his administration’s disdain for the 1973 War Powers Resolution as well as Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 which states Congress shall have the power “to Declare War.”