It was an interesting year. Donald Trump, a man best known as a birther with a reality TV show and a real estate company, was sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2017. What happened next in terms of policy was predictable for minorities in the U.S. is likely to be a major driver of issues around the 2018 elections controlling the House and Senate.
But before that we should expect more of the same in 2018. Below are seven decisions from the past year confirming that Trump was the worst President for African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities over the last fifty years.
01. Jeff Sessions. As if to go out of his way to make certain that his Administration’s justice policy reflected 1940s America, Trump selected Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General. What happened next was predictable from a man whose namesake (Beauregard) was Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard. From standing up in defense of debtor and private prisons to sham voting commissions Sessions was there. This is one time where the selection of Rudy Giuliani for AG may have actually looked moderate.
02. Trump’s Both Sides Comments on Charlottesville on August 16. Never mind that one of the largest gatherings of racists in America since the end of the civil rights movement occurred only eight months into Trump’s presidency. Put that aside. Trump’s “both sides” comments on who was to blame for the public street fight and eventual murder, even after the violent death of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist, was all anyone needed to understand regarding the thinking of America’s 45th president on the issue of race.
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee,” Trump stated.
03. Trump’s NFL Comments. Just in case you missed it with his comments on Charlottesville on August 16, Trump was back again to spoil the front of the NFL season by commenting on players who dared to silently protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. First Trump went to his old standby: Lying. Ignoring the fact that the protests were about injustice, Trump once again revealed himself on his views about people who don’t look like him requesting equal justice. Trump called kneeling during the anthem, “a total disrespect of our heritage,” and a “total disrespect for everything we stand for.” The result was more protests by NFL players who then locked arms on sidelines across the U.S. with many white players and coaches participating.
Even Rush Limbaugh found himself having issues with Trump on this one. “There’s a part of this story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this: I am very uncomfortable with the president of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody. That’s not where this should be coming from,” Limbaugh said.
04. The Muslim Travel Ban. When you have former staffers for Jeff Sessions writing executive orders on immigration policy, you can expect what happened at the Trump White House on January 27, 2017. With absolutely no warning on the seventh day of his presidency, Trump signed an immigration and travel executive order, more popularly known as the “Muslim ban.” You just knew Steven Miller wrote the order when you found that it applied to people from countries already approved for green cards in the U.S. It took only days for federal judges to apply an initial smackdown. But Trump’s DOJ revised the order to pass some of those legal tests in a revised version.
05. That Sham Voting Commission. Since making voting more difficult is all but in the Republican platform, it should have been surprising to no one that former Kansas Attorney General, Kris Kobach, would be a fixture of the Trump Administration. Kobach is the Vice Chairman and “driving force” behind Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity. Since he’s spent so much rooting out voter fraud that is all but non-existent, Kobach was perfect for the job. After Trump kept repeating the falsehood that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in 2016, everyone knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump so a “voting integrity” commission was a given.
06. The Pardoning of Joe Arpaio. The Bull Connor of his era, Arpaio was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., for 24 years. During that time he was one of the worst racial profilers and violators of civil rights in America as determined by the Department of Justice. Arpaio’s “immigration round ups” made headlines nationwide. “Arpaio’s office paid more than $146 million in fees, settlements, and court awards,” according to wikipedia. Trump was perfectly consistent in his anti-immigrant rhetoric of 2016 in pardoning Arpaio on August 25, 2017 from a conviction for criminal contempt of court. Trump just couldn’t resist another opportunity to give a wink of approval to the right wing.
07. Neil Gorsuch. For whatever reason, President Obama didn’t want to appoint an African American female from Harvard or Stanford after the sudden death of Antonin Scalia. He instead picked someone whose nomination no one cared about or would rally around (the instantly unexciting Merrick Garland). With that, the deal was done. The selection of Garland easily allowed Senate Majority Leader to ignore the pick and run the clock — and he did it to all but zero protest. And then Trump picked Neil Gorsuch.