(ANALYSIS) The First 100 Days of Trump’s Presidency: A Threat to Human Rights

Opinion

(Image: TIME)

President Donald Trump has officially been in office for 100 days, but before we congratulate him, we should take a walk down memory lane and reflect on all the conscious efforts he has made to repeal any advances in social reform and human rights.

In an effort to downplay the importance of marking a president’s 100 days in office, Trump tweeted:

President Trump does make a valid point: it may be ridiculous to set the first 100 days as a measure of successful leadership as not enough time has passed to truly reflect upon the successes and failures of a long-term goal. However, if we are to look at the grand scheme of events and assess these so-called ‘accomplishments’ from a human rights perspective, it becomes very clear that Trump’s first 100 days have taken the world 100 years back in time.

Muslim Ban

Days after the president’s inauguration in January, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The order banned citizens from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq – including dual nationals – from entering the US for a period of 90 days. With this executive order, Trump argued that his “extreme vetting” system will assist in keeping “radical Islamic terrorists out of the US.” The ironic twist of the story was the fact that the ban did not affect citizens from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – nationalities which are thought to be involved with the 9/11 attacks.

This poorly executed order caused havoc in airports across the US, in addition to causing uproar and protests to take shape in January. The executive order was later blocked when the 9th Circuit court upheld the stay of the ban in February.

Image source: Center for American Progress

Anti-Refugee Policies

The so-called “Muslim ban” wasn’t Trump’s only attempt to decrease immigration. The seven countries included in the ban were soon joined by others as Trump revised the travel ban, shrinking the number of refugees the US would admit throughout 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000.

As the US has already accepted 37,000 refugees, this new order would imply that only a mere 13,000 refugees would be accepted through US borders.

Donald Trump specifically stated in the executive order entitled, “Protecting the National from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States:”

“I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.”

Deportations

During Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, he promised to deport any illegal immigrants. Now, under the Trump administration, the US Border Patrol and ICE (Immigration Customs and Enforcement) have arrested 21, 362 people – who are in the country illegally – from mid-January to mid-March; in comparison to about 16,100 around the same time last year.

In these first few months of 2017, ICE has deported 54,936 people. At this rate, the Trump administration will have every legal and illegal immigrant out of the country by the end of this year.

Civilian Casualties from Airstrikes in Syria

As tension increased between Moscow and Washington, the US took a very detrimental step in the first week of April by firing 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross warships in the Mediterranean Sea at the al-Shayran air base near the city of Homs in Syria.

As Trump aimed to “bomb the shit out of ’em,” he also ended up severely bombing and killing over 80 civilians in the process. The Pentagon clearly denied that there were any casualties.

In addition, the mass casualty incidents attributed to US led forces in Iraq and Syria leading to nearly 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths in March alone.

 

Keystone XL Oil & Dakota Access Pipeline

A few days after Trump’s inauguration in January, the president signed executive orders giving the green light on the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. As both pipeline projects had been blocked by Barack Obama, primarily for environmental concerns, President Trump’s act of constantly pressing the undo button on the Obama administration progress in climate change soon became sharply criticised by Native Americans and climate change activists.

Trump argues that by creating these pipelines, he will create more jobs and expand the energy infrastructure of the US. He may be creating jobs, but he is certainly destroying the environment. Any effort to alleviate the globe from heating up will consequently go down the drain.

Trump stated, regarding his ‘military operation, “We’re getting gang members out, we’re getting drug lords out, we’re getting really bad dudes out of this country – and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before.”

When will someone kick the big bad dude out of the White House?

Protests against the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline / Image source: France 24

The End of Climate Change

President Trump has made it very clear that he tends to enact policies that are designed to support the oil and coal industries, despite objections by many activists and environmentalists. With that said, Donald Trump has worked towards the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency – created in 1970 to protect human health and the environment.

The Trump administration has proposed cuts to the EPA by shrinking spending by 31%, to $5.7 billion from $8.1 billion, eliminating a quarter of the 15,000 jobs the agency offers US citizens.

Evidently, Trump has everything under control, because as he accurately pointed out on Twitter, global warming is just a hoax invented by the Chinese:

You heard it first from Mr. / President / PhD in Ecology & Conservation / Climate Change Specialist Donald Trump.

Repealed Protection for Trans Students

In mid-February, President Trump repealed protections for transgender students that allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. This action rejects the Obama administration’s support – Title IX – for non-discrimination laws in schools. Transgender students should have the right to choose to use the bathroom that represents their gender identity.

In March, Trump rescinded former President Obama’s executive Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order issued in 2014 protecting LGBT+ workers which required federal contractors to provide policy documentation. This order prohibited contractors from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the Human Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and federal laws which afford protection against discrimination, sexual orientation and gender identity have remained as some of the only categories without explicit protection. Obama’s executive order was the only law which protected LGBT+ workers. Trump has once again pressed the undo button on this progressive stride jeopardising safe-working environments for millions of LGBT+ individuals.

Defunding Planned Parenthood

From Trump’s sexual harassment allegations to his flagrant anti-women campaign, Mr. “grab them by the pussy” has made several efforts to ensure that women have little to no access to sexual health and abortion providers across the US.

On the 13th of April, President Donald Trump signed a resolution allowing states to defund and withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other such abortion providers. This resolution, in effect, overturns former President Obama’s Health and Human Services rule which was passed last year and prevented states from defunding Planned Parenthood and sexual health and abortion providers.

Image source: Healthaffairs.org

Attempts to Cut Medicaid

In another effort to repeal the Obama administration’s socialist policies, President Trump attempted to revoke Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act – and replace it with the American Health Care Act. This bill would cut Medicaid, cut taxes for the wealthy, and favour those who are younger and healthy.

If passed, the AHCA would result in a total of 24 million Americans becoming uninsured by 2026 than they would be under Obamacare, according to new estimates.

Fortunately, the American Health Care Act failed to build a GOP consensus in March, forcing President Trump to pull the legislation from the House vote.

What’s the Consensus?

Trump is clearly out of control and who knows what decision he will make next. The only upside to the President’s erratic behaviour and obsession with repealing and revoking the Obama administration’s social reform in these first 100 days is that people are now waking up and smelling the disaster. There is stronger need for progressive action now than the US has seen for decades. With every Trump signature, 100,000 signatures will sign petitions; with every hateful and anti-human rights speech, thousands will march in peaceful protest and solidarity.

This may be the beginning of the Trump-era, but in light of Trump’s conservatism this could also be the start of a new wave of progressivism.

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About Dominic Lauren 16 Articles
Dominic is a Greek/American writer & editor; English and Theatre Studies Graduate

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