I was on a FAM trip in South Africa with my university in November 2016 when the election projected Donald Trump to be our 45th President of the United States. I remember having feelings of dread and despair in the pit of my stomach. South Africans would approach us after learning we were Americans, teetering around the question everyone wanted to know: “So, Donald Trump is your president. How do you feel about that?”
I did all I could to savor the remainder of my trip because I was not prepared for my return home. I was devastated and panicked. Trump was threatening a lot of backwards ideas that I was concerned about, and was in utter disbelief that there were people in this country who supported him. We had just concluded our second and final term with Barack Obama, our first African-American president. How did we go from Obama to Trump? With political dissections aside, I don’t believe the country was ready for a woman president. I’m aware there were other factors to consider, but many members of Congress couldn’t appreciate having a black President, so why would they approve of a woman?
Where were you when you received the news that Joe Biden was elected as our newly minted 46th President of the United States? I was at home on the couch. My sister excitedly mentioned that the Pennsylvania results came in. I immediately searched the results myself, and reread the headlines we had been eager to read for months or truthfully, for four years. FINALLY.
This election was historic for a lot of reasons. Trump is the first President to not receive a second term in more than 25 years. Excuse me as I introduce his Madame Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black, South Asian and woman Vice President of the United States (!). This election was also incredibly important in defending the constitutional rights of those Americans who are not white men. The livelihoods of millions were on the line. There were so many controversies that people created profitable platforms and entire careers out of their hatred of this man.
Don’t give up on me yet. Let me tell you which issues caused me major duress during these arduous four years. I have my receipts.
Trump v. Mexico
One of President Donald Trump’s “claims to fame” as President was his plan to construct a border wall between Mexico and the United States that Mexico was expected to pay for. His reasoning was because, and I quote, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
What a dangerous, racist, slanderous statement to make about an entire population of people. What if the rest of the globe believed all Americans were obese, loud, arrogant racists, or off-spring of Donald Trump? Fortunately, most competent people can isolate the worst from the worst without generalizing. Of all people, the President should be the last person to make such remarks.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
Reread the words he spoke.
If he, Donald Trump, stood in the middle of Broadway and shot your mother, father, significant other, sibling or friend, the rest of his followers would bypass that as a major issue. This speaks volumes for how docile and diluted the followers are. How cult-like can you be to idolize a leader who quite literally declared he could commit outright murder of another human and not phase any consequences? Why would you want to give someone that kind of power? Never mind the fact that he just proclaimed that he is above the law, Trump supporters love asserting that they aren’t sheep being strung along on a bang-wagon and yet…
This has become a trend among his administration, as we soon realized.
Trump’s Treatment of Women
A common trend with Trump’s relationship with women is that he loves to comment on their physical appearance, as though he is the most handsome, flawless person to exist. The commentary on women’s weight, their boobs and libido are uncalled for. No one needs to hear his sexualized and offensive opinions about their body. No one asked. No one. Plus, I wouldn’t rely on his gold standards anyway. Here are just a few examples of Trump displaying his true self. Search for more yourself on Google if you dare to challenge me.
In 2004, Trump commented on the women on The Apprentice, Trump’s old reality show that judged a group of contestant’s business skills with the opportunity to win a position within the Trump organization. He said, “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me — consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.” Don’t we love a President who has made predatory remarks about potential non-consensual behavior? It almost suggests that the 26 women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct could be telling the truth (Shocker!).
Trump is in full support of that locker room talk. In 2005, he gloated, “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” I was once told that you should envision the words you speak being written down on paper. If those words were to be regurgitated back to your loved ones, how would you feel? Men, let me tell you; No woman wants to date an arrogant, hyper-masculine, predatory scumbag who speaks like this. A man who speaks like this may eventually have children, and comment on the appearance of his daughters (I’m foreshadowing).
Back in 2006, Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, were invited on the daytime talk show, The View. He was asked about how he’d feel if Ivanka was asked to pose for PlayBoy. He said and I quote, “If Ivanka wasn’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” If you can justify a remark like that about his own daughter, contact your local authorities because you are a pedophile who supports incest.
I could devote an entire section of this post to his tweets but instead, I digress. In 2013, Trump tweeted, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military — only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” I don’t know, a civilized society in which men and women maintained a courteous and professional relationship all while keeping their private parts underneath their clothes, all while recognizing consent, and accepting “No” as a formal rejection of any sexual advances?
Between 2015-2016, Trump had made a number of misogynistic and foul remarks about the Democratic Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. These comments wouldn’t be appropriate is any professional setting, and was dumbfounded to find how unbothered many media outlets and voters were about it. He commented, and I quote, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”. He also said, “She got schlonged”, in reference to her loss as the Democratic Presidential candidate to then-Senator Barack Obama. Of course, he also called her a “nasty woman”.
In regards to the #MeToo movement, Trump responded, “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. … You’ve got to be strong. You’ve got to be aggressive. You’ve got to push back hard. You’ve got to deny anything that’s said about you. Never admit.” He is consistent. He never admitted to sexually assaulting any of those 26 women who accused him therefore, all 26 women are lying (Once again, sarcasm).
Don’t worry, though. Trump has also stated that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” Wow, I believe him (This is sarcasm).
Trump v. “Sh*thole” countries
You have to really consider why developing nations are suffering the way they are. The reasons can include tyrannical administrations asserting authoritative ideals, tempted by power and money. The reasons can include war, which leads to a broken economy and displacement of its citizens. These citizens are relabeled as refugees, as though that will increase the likelihood a government will accept them within their borders. The reasons can include prejudice that restricts the livelihood of a country’s population.
In this statement as the leader of the Free World, as the leader of the birthplace of the esteemed American ideology of “the American Dream”, he has admitted to having a preference of white passing immigrants entering the country. Your country of origin doesn’t dictate who you are as a person, believe it or not. Your values, personality and character are developed on your own, through personal experience. Under Trump’s philosophy, the entire world would believe all Americans are over-confident, uneducated, obese hill-billies. This is just another example of Trump normalizing racism. I suppose rejecting diversity and inclusion is the American greatness he hopes to return to.
Let me tell you, my father immigrated from a “sh*thole” African country, and has selflessly devoted himself to the betterment of this country. He contributed to its diversity, and has worked to become one of the more experienced bakers at his places of employment. He contributed to the economy and supported his neighbors. I’d easily trade Trump for any other person from another “sh*thole” country.
Trump Dismisses ICE’s treatment of Detained Families at the Border
Within Trump’s first week in office, he imposed an Executive Order to overturn all previous policies maintained for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Priorities shifted to target any unauthorized immigrants, regardless of their situation, rather than focusing on those with serious criminal offenses, or who posed a legitimate national security threat. It’s been a messy charade since.
ICE has weakened their reporting so it is becoming increasingly difficult to log all inmates, the duration and reason for their stay, their health conditions, deaths and their cause. Newer policies have also striped detainees of their basic dignities, such as removing bathrooms from holding rooms and the requirement for detention facilities to have an outdoor recreational space. The nation seemed to explode after news first broke about unaccompanied migrant children being caged, sleeping on shared mattresses on the floor. ICE couldn’t maintain the increase of children detainees, so the living conditions were more makeshift. With Trump’s tougher immigration policies, his administration knew the space was uncomfortable and tight yet, the conditions were ignored.
There have been reports of unauthorized, unnecessary hysterectomies conducted on female detainees, physical and sexual abuse, and more. COVID-19 has spread rapidly between detention centers without any progress toward flattening a curve, but our President never cared much for the virus anyway. Trump did recently push to have undocumented immigrants removed from consideration from the U.S. Census Bureau. I’m thrilled his priorities are in check.
There will always be exceptions to the rule. Not every undocumented immigrant is a sound, conscientious person. There are undocumented immigrants with criminal records because they were placed in tough positions financially. The biases of Trump and his administration assert that all these undocumented immigrants made intentional efforts to undermine the United States immigration system without assessing their realities and trauma. Immigration reform will never have a black and white resolve. Undocumented immigrants are human beings first. Most are desperate to start a better life. As a salad bowl of religions, cultures, ethnicities, races and more, why is the United States so threatening and combative? What infuriates me the most is that many of these undocumented immigrants legally sought our asylum at the border, but continued to be imprisoned and mistreated as though they are dangerous convicts. Some who even served their criminal sentencing for crimes they committed remain at the detention centers for no reason.
It’s disappointing. Another stain on our history. We never do learn.
In January 2017, Trump signed an Executive Order banning immigrants from predominately Muslim nations for 90 days, suspending entry for Syrian refugees indefinitely, and suspending entry for all others for 120 days.
This hit particularly close to home because I was raised Muslim, and my siblings and father remain followers of the faith. This affected my family so much that my dad was considering attending the protests at the airport. The negative connotations surrounding the Arab and Muslim community have been ongoing. I’ve noticed the tension post-9/11. It was a horrific day that will live in infamy, and the grief felt by the families of those American lives lost during that terrorist attack is immeasurable. Unfortunately, for years to follow, many Arabs, Muslims and people of color who resemble a prejudicial stereotype of a Muslim, were subject to hate crimes. That hate continues.
It was a nightmare coming true. Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric was unfolding into a legitimate policy affecting the lives of thousands. It barred families from reuniting, and young professionals from pursuing better opportunities. It exposed the continued threat of xenophobia and Islamophobia in the United States. As North Korean defector, Yeonmi Park, once stated in a TED Talk, “It only took three generations to make North Korea into George Orwell’s 1984”. This is how it starts.
White Privilege and the Riots
I hate political pageantry, which is what distanced me from politics before the era of Trump. Fortunately, I can thank Trump for making such glaring complacent and prejudicial remarks that have created such a clear stance between right and wrong. He refused to condemn white nationalist, or neo-Nazis, for their rioting against the black lives matter movement. He has even sided with stricter control by law enforcement, ridiculing the purpose behind those peaceful protests. Side note: I find it humorous how some Trump supporters, white nationalists, Republicans, whatever you want to identify as, can confidently admit to being a supporter of the Nazis when their very own grandparents, or great grand-parents or great-great grandparents were sent off to fight them in World War II, but no– you’re meant to serve as an icon of American patriotism. Right.
Remember the anti-mask protests in Michigan? They paraded around with semi-automatic rifles, which is extreme, without penalty. The events that occurred in Charlottesville demanded greater consequence and attention by the President of the United States, but it was dismissed. He put blame on “both sides”. If the rioters were black, the narrative would have been depicted differently. Trump refused to denounce white supremacists during one of his presidential debates this year, and extremism experts even warned that Trump’s acknowledgement of the “Proud Boys” was evocative.
As someone who proclaims “nobody is tougher on racism”, I’m not buying it.
Trump v. “Fake News Media”
I question the integrity of a person who cannot accept criticism. Politics is not for the faint of heart. You are subject to scrutiny from all angles; internal, external, local, national and international forums all have an opinion about how you choose to operate. Not all policies will be nationally praised. You cannot please everyone, but you need to be able to professionally handle the comments. Trump cannot take the heat– in the slightest. Instead, he raged a relentless war with the media, but not just liberal media. All media portrayed “fake news”, regardless of whether the headlines were true or not. He has tweeted that certain media outlets, but eventually all news media outlets, are an “enemy to the American people”. He is a P.R. nightmare.
Journalism is a constitutional right; freedom of the press. Since Republicans are so strong-headed about the Constitution, maybe review its articles. The press has an important role in sharing news with the American public. This helps to keep citizens informed about decisions being made by some of the most powerful people in the world. Trump threatens our democracy by devaluing the work of journalists in the field. Of course, you should find credible sources you rely on. We can’t expect every news outlet to embody the highest of moral standards, or unbiased content, but to devalue journalism as a whole is unsettling. Sounds dictatorial to me… It also suggests that we need to redefine the definition of a snowflake.
Trump consults aides to discuss buying Greenland
What the f*ck?
Trump’s Financial Issues
The fact that there is such a debacle over how he handles his assets and pays taxes should concern anyone who voted for Trump because he is a “businessman”.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been an absolute disgrace. This was the final straw for me, and the cherry to top off an awful, strenuous presidential term. It’s tyrannical how he has manipulated these uneducated, privileged buffoons to undermine science and idolize him as one would a dictator. It’s pitiful because he has offered nothing to the American people, and his supporters believe wholeheartedly that he stands to serve them. There are patients, fellow Trump supporters and Republicans, who are being admitted to the hospital, isolated in the ICU and hooked up to a ventilator, berating the nurses and doctors, dismissing the existence of the virus…. While being treated at the hospital with a virus.
These supporters are delusional, drunken with the words of a hellish dictator. He is a stain on the Presidency. He has attempted to make a mockery of the American democracy, and transformed us to be the laughing stock of the world. That is your impact, Trump. Your receipts are the 200,00+ thousands of deaths you left behind because you dismissed the virus from the beginning, attempting to destabilize the credibility of a renowned medical professional who has mediated several presidents previously, Dr. Fauci, and refused to attend a COVID-19 task force meeting for five months.
I do believe Trump will be notoriously remembered for his frivolous, trivial, bigoted pursuits, and lack of a vocabulary. He does not respect even the most distinguished of his colleagues, or the American legislative or justice system. He lacks empathy and critical thinking skills. His narcissism is blinding, and his inability to negotiate internal mutual relations is discerning. I dare you to take another golf trip during this pandemic, maskless.
I could go on, or dive more into each of these topics. I could devote separate posts for every accusatory, explosive remark or tweet he has ever made, but I’m exhausted.
Van Jones, a political commentator, said it best. Personally, I had difficulty articulating just how I felt about Joe Biden being our new President-elect. We can all finally breathe after a tense, shaky four years because if you are a DREAMER, an immigrant, a member of the LGTBQ+ community, a follower of a faith other than Christianity, Asian, Latino or Black, these past four years have been awful. We’ve had our identities and beliefs threatened by a President who would rather diminish our existence. We’ve had our international ties threatened and science debunked.
Jones cried, and it was a joyous release of stress and anxiety and burden finally exalted. I share the same sentiments, and it explains why this post was so time-consuming and difficult for me to write. These past four years, I have been overwhelmed with grief over all the ways Trump has set us back. He has made prejudicial remarks without consequence. He has normalized a space for others to react similarly. It’s incredibly dangerous to have our leader denounce the existence and value of Americans in this way.
I no longer care about Donald Trump. I worry a bit about his actions leading up to the Inauguration, but I’m relieved to know it is temporary. I do fear the future of America with the legacy he is leaving behind, with his deranged minions rejecting ploys of inclusion and progression. I fear that newly elected President-elect Joe Biden may struggle to bring the U.S. back from this depressive episode.
I appreciate all the American voters who took action, and fought for a brighter tomorrow. The work is far from over. If anything, I hope this term has encouraged you to be more politically informed for the sake of our future. We must hold each other accountable, and advocate for our politicians to serve us, the American public. This is our country, our government, and we dictate how we want it to operate.