By Rachel Fergus.
January 21st, 2017
On Trump’s first day as President of the United States, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, carried out his first press briefing. To the astonishment of everyone in the room, Spicer spent the entire time defending Trump’s claims that his inauguration was the largest ever. Spicer began by stating, “Photographs from the inauguration proceedings were intentionally framed to downplay crowd sizes.” Later, Spicer commented, “This was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration.” Spice explained that the crowd looked small because Trump’s inauguration was “the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings [were] used to protect the grass on the mall.”
The Washington Post quickly corrected these statements. The Washington Post explained that floor coverings were first used in 2013 for Obama’s second inauguration. Also, “Marcel Altenburg and Keith Still, crowd scientists at Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, analyzed photographs and video taken of the Mall and its vicinity for the New York Times and concluded that about 160,000 people were in those areas in the hour before Trump’s speech”.
January 22nd, 2017
On Tuesday Kellyanne Elizabeth Conway, an American Republican campaign manager and advisor to President Donald Trump, was asked on ABC’s ‘This Week‘ if Trump’s White House would respond to the petition with 200,000 signatures asking to see his tax returns. Conway responded, “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns.” Apparently, the promise to release Trump’s taxes after the audit no longer stands.
Chuck Todd also interviewed Conway on Tuesday. When Todd asked why Sean Spicer was sent to make statements that were clearly untrue and easily disprovable, Conway replied, “Don’t be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What, you’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving – Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts…” What an alternative fact is, we still don’t know. The reality is, however, that a fact is a fact. Sorry, Kellyanne Conway. You can’t have two opposing statements that are both true.
January 24th, 2017
As many Americans have been anticipating, Trump signed an executive order to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the [Affordable Care] Act”. In other words, Trump has begun repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The concern surrounding the changes to the ACA has been seen throughout the country, including among Republican Congressmen. On Thursday, they met during a retreat in Philadelphia. A couple of days later, a recording was leaked to the press that included numerous interesting comments by the congressmen about the ACA. Some of these included:
“We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created… That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.” – Tom McClintock from California.
“It sounds like we are going to be raising taxes on the middle class in order to pay for these new [refundable tax] credits.” – Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
No matter what your opinion is on health insurance, we can all see that Trump is working towards destroying the ACA without any idea of a replacement in mind. What was his slogan about healthcare? Oh yes, “repeal and replace.” If you must carry out part one of your slogan, Mr. Trump, you must also carry out the second part. Otherwise, millions of Americans will be left without health coverage.
While the country was (rightly) focusing on the first steps of repealing the ACA, the White House sent a memo to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (It should be noted that the memo has been rescinded.) Below is the internal memo sent to all EPA employees after the White House contacted the EPA:
I just returned from a briefing for Communication Directors where the following information was provided. These restrictions are effective immediately and will remain in place until further direction is received from the new Administration’s Beach Team. Please review this material and share with all appropriate individuals in your organization. If anyone on your staff receives a press inquiry of any kind, it must be referred to me so I can coordinate with the appropriate individuals in OPA.
- No press releases will be going out to external audiences.
- No social media will be going out. A Digital Strategist will be coming on board to oversee social media. Existing, individually controlled, social media accounts may become more centrally controlled.
- No blog messages.
- The Beach Team will review the list of upcoming webinars and decide which ones will go forward.
- Please send me a list of any external speaking engagements that are currently scheduled among any of your staff from today through February.
- Incoming media requests will be carefully screened.
- No new content can be placed on any website. Only do clean up where essential.
- List servers will be reviewed. Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.
I will provide updates to this information as soon as I receive it.
(This memo was reported by the Huffington Post.)
If you think starting to take insurance away from millions of Americans and gagging the agency that protects our environment is a lot to do in one day, you would be right. However, Mr. Trump did not stop there. On the 24th he also reinstated the Dakota Access and Keystone Pipelines.
Ominously, on the same day President Trump signed this edict, CNBC reported that a “Canadian oil pipeline spill[ed] 200,000 liters on aboriginal land.” Am I the only one who sees the terrifying irony in this?
January 25th, 2017
Trump declared that the first steps towards creating a Mexican border wall will begin. BBC reported that Trump said: “Mexico will pay for the border wall 100%” and “We’re going to be starting those negotiations relatively soon.”
There are a couple of key things essential to know about Trump’s desire for a wall: First, the wall can’t be built without Congress’ approval because Americans will pay for the wall before we are “reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico” (Trump). Secondly, even though the President is still promising that Mexico will pay for the wall, Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has made it clear that Mexico will, in no way, pay for anything. President Trump and President Nieto were scheduled to meet but Nieto cancelled the meeting.
Other events on the 25th included The Hill reporting that a member of the Trump transition team disclosed the plan to cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. As frustrating as this is, the future of this 0.02% of America’s budget must be decided by Congress. Trump cannot make the decisions about the budget on his own.
Also on the 25th, Trump declared that there will be a “major investigation into voter fraud…” because Trump is still convinced that he lost the popular vote due to illegal votes. There is still no proof to back up this claim.
January 27th, 2017
As the BBC reported, an executive order was signed banning and limiting immigration to the United States. Parts of the order include:
- “The suspension of all US Refugee Admissions Programs for 120 days”.
- An indefinite ban on Syrian refugees coming to America.
- A ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for (at least) 90 days.
- “To prioritize future refugee applications from those persecuted for their religion – but only if the person is part of a minority religion in their home country”.
- A verdict that only 50,000 refugees can enter the United States a year.
Trump also met with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network on the 27th. When Brody asked Trump, “As it relates to persecuted Christians, do you see them as a priority here?” Trump replied:
“Yes, yes they’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in. But if you were a Christian it was almost impossible. And the reason that that was so unfair is that […] everybody was being persecuted in all fairness but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians and I thought it was very, very unfair. So, we are going to help them.”
According to the BBC, Christians make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population, so it makes sense that fewer Syrian Christians have come to the United States than Syrian Muslims. Also, as The Hill reported, the United Nations has found that only 1.2 percent “of the roughly 2 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt who have registered with UNHCR… are Christian…” In other words, it is not America that is keeping Christian Syrians out.
Finally, this ban on immigrants from seven counties came on Holocaust Remembrance Day. In 1937, 937 Jews sailed to America in search of asylum. The majority of these Jewish men, women and children were sent back to Germany and 254 of them were eventually murdered in the Holocaust (The Guardian). On the day this tragedy is supposed to be remembered, Donald J. Trump banned asylum seekers from Syria and six other nations from entering the United States. Just as a boat filled with humans was turned away because of their religion then, President Trump is turning away immigrants fleeing from war and violence because of their religion now. Just as innocent men, women and children were killed in the Holocaust due to America’s choice to ignore them, innocent men, women, and children may face death because of the actions carried out by America on the 27th of January.
Everything above happened in the first week of Donald Trump’s Presidency. What will happen in the next 223 weeks?
Featured Image: This picture is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.