When Donald John Trump was inaugurated, Americans hoped for the best.
However, Donald Trump’s business and public record of being a charlatan, an adulterer, an embellisher, a serial user of bankruptcy protection against creditors, and an impetuous and petty reactionary was well known. Five biographies had been written about him exposing his unscrupulous business exploits and his callousness toward his first and second wives. Moreover, every biographer presented Trump’s management style as uproarious, disjointed, and personalized. Simply, he made decisions based on how complimentary another party was towards him. And paramount was his potential of self-glorification rather than sound business practices.
Nevertheless, the almost 63 million Americans who cast their vote for him perceived him as the lesser of the two evils.
These voters were undeterred by the many public instances of the Donald’s boastful campaign promises which were constitutionally untenable.
Some positive steps have come to fruition during the first 17 months of the Trump administration. While most issues have been muddied by recklessness and inconsistency, which are reflective of the president’s distorted thinking process.
Instead key decisions are made by “Trump-think”. Specifically, the operation of government is scatter shot. It is a seat of ones pants fashion dependent upon whether players or circumstances in a specific issue please the president’s sensitivities.
To be more succinct, it is not about you Mr. and Ms. Citizen, it is all about him!
Whether one is examining such issues as America’s sordid history of legal and illegal immigration, our relationship with other world powers, proposed questionable trade tariffs or a foreign policy crisis like a nuclear DPRK (North Korea); Donald Trump’s actions are never predicated by contemplative reflection of the best data available. On the contrary, he acts spontaneously in a mercurial and viscerally prompted manner.
Still unresolved is the immigration question.
Since the loosening of quota restrictions by the passing of the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965, the United States has reeled from an opaque immigration policy where authorities enforce some statutes and disregard others.
Presidents have long vexed over the proper policy toward immigration. After the continental railroad was built substantially on the backs of Chinese line workers, the United States government tried all manners of inducement to send the Chinese back to their home country. Finally, the Chinese Exclusion Act was enacted in 1882 to prevent the Chinese from realizing the dream of American citizenship.
Similarly, President Eisenhower implemented “Operation Wetback” to deport the Mexican agricultural workers who saved that industry’s production capability when most American males were away during World War II. Then nine years later, when these workers wanted to be naturalized we deported 1.3 million of them.
President Reagan tried to offer amnesty with the passing of immigration reform in 1986. However, the normalization of status required a cash reimbursement to government which rendered the effect of the statute moot.
Donald Trump’s predecessor Barak Obama safeguarded illegal immigrants who spend their childhood in the US with the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” by executive order.
As early as 2015, Trump stated that he would remove citizenship status from “anchor babies”. These are children born in the US to illegal immigrants. Repeatedly on the campaign stump, Trump asserted that as president he would stop this practice. Of course, this idea is extralegal as it violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. After his inauguration in January of 2017, he tried to implement the revoking of citizenship status by executive order. His daughter Ivanka along with the White House Counsel Don Mc Gahn steered him off the idea stressing the possible adverse effect to his public perception.
Also, an affront to religious pluralism, executive order 13769 tried to exclude Muslims from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although the order was implicit in anti-religious messaging, the order was overtly written as a protection against possible terrorism rather than religious bias. 50 court cases regarding the order’s constitutionality were filed within days. A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued.
Further, a US Supreme Court decision in June of 2017 allowed only a partial implementation of the president’s intention. Trump countered with a more stringent set of vetting process standards for applicants of visas. Since then there has been a precipitous 40 percent drop in applications.
Additionally, DACA is being dismantled on Trump’s order after he gave congress 6 months to pass the program into law. Sadly, they accomplished nothing to save it. At least President Trump’s insistence in the enforcement of existing federal immigration law is a step in the right direction.
The same cannot be said about his relations with foreign leaders. He has alternately praised Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for her leadership skills and then called her ruined by her foolish acceptance of 800 thousand refugees. Also, after Merkel suggested that the US was no longer the leader of the free world under Trump, in rebuttal the president said Germany was “Bad, very bad” and that the US might stop trading in automobiles with them. He has lauded United Kingdom Prime Minister Teresa May and simultaneously implied that she was weak in her Middle Eastern policy. Prime Minister May has said she has been sometimes “puzzled” by Trump reactions. French President Emmanuel Macron first met President Trump at the Brussels NATO Summit in May of 2017. After Trump learned Macron was only 39 years old, Trump engaged Macron in what the international press dubbed the “hand shaking power struggle”. To prove his masculinity, Trump malingered, tightening his handshake with Macron for a long period at which Macron and other leaders present were confused at the display.
Equally confounding is Trump’s recent stated intentions to slap a 25 % tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum on trading partners Canada, the European Union, and Mexico. The president will have to explain his thinking to our trading partners at the upcoming G-7 conference in Canada. This move could start a trade war which will send domestic retail costs skyrocketing.
Shockingly juvenile has been the childish interplay between the Supreme Leader of the nuclear capable DPRK, Kim Jong Un and the president. Trump has often referred to Un’s diminutive size, calling him “Little Rocket Man.” While Un has referred to Trump as a “Doturd” or “Crazy Old Man.”
On a whim when South Korean representatives were visiting the White House, without counsel from the State Department, Trump told the South Koreans to set up a summit between the DPRK and the US.
Since then, the summit which is currently scheduled for June 12 in Singapore has been on again-off again depending on Trump’s mood and his interpretation of comments from abroad. Recently, the DPRK’s spymaster Kim Yong Chol was casually invited to the White House by Trump. US security specialists were aghast since Chol is a known murderer and cyber terrorist. Trump was nevertheless “impressed” with his sincerity.
Alas, these crucial international issues must be addressed with prudence, scholarship, wisdom, and clarity from the occupant of the Oval Office. Unfortunately, Donald Trump exhibits none of those characteristics. We American citizens just have to hope that his unorthodoxy will succeed somehow.