With Donald Trump’s 100th day in office fast approaching, White House staffers are reportedly trying desperately to “rebrand” the colossal failure of the first 100 days as some kind of success.
Trump’s legislative agenda has been stymied. The drip, drip, drip of negative news about connections between campaign associates and Russia – and Russia’s efforts to affect our election – continues unabated. He seems to have no real strategy for governance other than pouting and gloating. His advisers are at each other’s throats. And the public has soured on him to a historic degree.
His failures so far, I suppose, should bring resisters like me some modicum of joy, but I must confess that they don’t. Or, more precisely, if they do, that joy is outweighed by the rolling litany of daily horrors that Trump has inflicted.
The horrors are both consuming and exhausting. For me at this point they center on an erosion of equality. This by no means downplays Trump’s incessant lying, the outrage of him draining the Treasury for his personal junkets, or his disturbing turn toward war. But somewhat below the radar, or at least with less fanfare, our access, inclusion and justice are being assailed by a man who lied on the campaign trail promising to promote them.
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As a candidate, Trump blasted Jeb Bush, who while answering a question about defunding Planned Parenthood suggested that the federal government had overfunded women’s health care.
On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump prattled to Mika Brzezinski: “The women’s health issue, which Jeb Bush so amazingly blew about four or five days ago when he said ‘no money going to women’s health issues’ or essentially that. With me, Mika, I would be the best for women, the best for women’s health issues.”
Well, last week that very same man quietly signed legislation “aimed at cutting off federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that perform abortions,” according to The New York Times. As The Times explained, the bill would allow state and local governments to withhold “federal funding for family planning services related to contraception, sexually transmitted infections, fertility, pregnancy care, and breast and cervical cancer screening from qualified health providers – regardless of whether they also performed abortions.”
As a candidate, Trump claimed to be a better friend to the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton, tweeting of that community “I will fight for you,” and saying during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show that transgender people should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”
As president, his administration rescinded Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools that allowed them to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
As a candidate, Trump disparagingly chided black voters with the question, “What the hell do you have to lose?” and issued a “New Deal for Black America” in which he promised: “We will apply the law fairly, equally and without prejudice. There will be only one set of rules – not a two-tiered system of justice.”
As president, his Justice Department has dropped its objection to a racially discriminatory Texas voter ID law. Just last week Time reported: “A judge ruled for a second time Monday that Texas’ strict voter ID law was intentionally crafted to discriminate against minorities, which follows another court finding evidence of racial gerrymandering in how Republican lawmakers drew the state’s election maps.”
This Justice Department has also “rescinded a 6-month-old Obama administration directive that sought to curtail the government’s use of private prisons,” as reported by NBC News, and “ordered a sweeping review of federal agreements with dozens of law enforcement agencies, an examination that reflects President Trump’s emphasis on law and order and could lead to a retreat on consent decrees with troubled police departments nationwide,” as The Times reported.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that consent decrees “can reduce morale of the police officers.”
Furthermore, The Washington Post reported last week that Sessions had appointed Steven H. Cook to be one of his top lieutenants, noting: “Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ‘90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.”
The clock is being turned back. Vulnerable populations are under relentless attack by this administration. This is a war, and that is not hyperbole or exaggeration. While folks are hoping that some Russia-related revelation will emerge from the darkness to bring this administration to a calamitous conclusion, the administration is busy rebuilding and reinforcing the architecture of oppression in plain sight.