As we continue the Valley Advocate tradition of awarding halos to the good and horns to the bad in 2017, I reflect on the year’s ups and downs.
It didn’t take long to realize that a lot of the “downs” had something in common – they originated with President (for now) Donald Trump.
As the hands-down biggest horns-earner of 2017, Trump is getting his own special section for an extended airing of grievances. We don’t have the space to make it comprehensive, so this will have to be a collection of the “lowlights.”
The first news cycle of the presidency of America’s pathological-liar-in-chief and head of megalomania was dominated with Trump’s lie about the crowd size at his inauguration, which was far smaller than that of President Barack Obama.
Things only got worse from there.
On January 27, less than a week into Trump’s presidency, he signed an executive order to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming to the U.S. and to deny entry of refugees from war-torn Syria. Critics have called it a blatant attempt to ban Muslims from the country. That order was quickly blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii a week later. Since then it has been rewritten twice and challenged again. The Supreme Court earlier this month allowed the third version to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue.
On January 31, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and he was confirmed in April. The Supreme Court vacancy, which opened with a year to go in Obama’s presidency, was stolen by Senate Republicans, and now Gorsuch is arguably the most conservative justice on the court. That wasn’t enough for Trump, however, who reportedly seethed that Gorsuch wasn’t grateful enough for the appointment and had spoken in private about rescinding his nomination.
On March 24, Trump issued a permit for the Keystone oil pipeline, making good on a statement from January he would be resurrecting the project after it had been denied by Obama. Last month, a leak in the existing Keystone pipeline in Canada spilled 5,000 barrels of oil on a farm field. The project remains tied up in the courts.
On April 21, Trump issued threats against so-called “sanctuary cities,” stating that federal funding would be cut to localities which refused to document cooperation with the federal deportation squad ICE.
On May 9, Trump fired FBI director James Comey during an open investigation into the president’s ties with Russia and influence in colluding with Russia to swing the 2016 presidential election. He later admitted that the firing was intended to relieve pressure on him and halt the investigation.
On May 25, Trump was caught on camera grabbing and childishly pushing the prime minister of Montenegro aside so he could stand in the center of a NATO photo shoot.
On June 1, Trump announced the U.S. would be leaving the Paris Climate Accord, which at the time was signed by all countries in the world except for Nicaragua and Syria. Since that time, both Nicaragua and Syria have signed on, and so have localities in the U.S. in spite of Trump.
On June 16, Trump announced he would reinstate travel and commercial restrictions with Cuba, returning to a Cold War-era policy.
On July 26, Trump tweeted that transgender individuals could not serve in the military, a move that flummoxed his own staff and allies in Congress. Since then, the ban, which is opposed by many senior members of the military, has been stayed by a court order, allowing transgender individuals to continue to enlist as the court battle plays out.
On August 8, Trump ad-libbed a speech threatening nuclear-armed North Korea by saying the U.S. would unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against the country.
On August 12, the same day that a woman was killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump claimed there was violence “on many sides,” thus equating counter protesters to the white supremacists who attacked and killed one of them. He did not condemn white supremacists in his original statement, and then when public outcry forced him to make another statement (which he read lifelessly from a teleprompter), he immediately undercut his second statement by doubling down on defending the white supremacists.
On August 27, Trump pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio following a conviction of criminal contempt related to his crackdown on undocumented immigrants that civil rights groups say violated the Constitution.
On October 3, following devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricanes Irma on September 5 and Maria on September 20, Trump finally visited the U.S. territory, and threw paper towels at the Puerto Ricans. Many have since accused the Trump administration’s recovery efforts on the island as lackluster and inadequate, comparing them to the George W. Bush administration’s fumble following Hurricane Katrina.
On December 4, Trump endorsed Roy Moore, a credibly accused pedophile, in the contest for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.
On December 6, Trump ordered the U.S. Embassy in Israel to move to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, throwing the sensitive Israeli-Palenstinian peace process further into disarray.
On December 14, the FCC enacted Trump’s wishes to end net neutrality, an Obama-era policy protecting consumers from internet providers like Comcast and Verizon slowing down targeted sites and enacting fees and tolls.
There are so many more problems with Trump, how he’s categorically appointing heads of departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education with people trying to dismantle or destroy them, consistently trying to undermine Obamacare, toying with the idea of pardoning himself, ramming through a rob-from-the-poor-to-give-to-the-rich tax policy, and probably more things that will happen between when I’ve written this and when you read it.
The good news? Read on. Many of our halos this year are dedicated to members of the #resist movement, including the voters of Alabama, Virginia, New Jersey, and Washington, who ousted Trump’s allies. Next year, 2018, may be the year that we send a wave of Trump resisters to D.C. to put a halt to this administration’s horrifying agenda.
Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.