Point/Counterpoint – Trump’s First Year – A Disaster

Henry Driesen, Junior, Guest Writer

January is here, marking the conclusion of President Trump’s first year in office. The political outsider who managed to be elected president has dealt with numerous controversies and scandals in his first year, and thus far he has yielded the execrable approval rating of just 37 percent, according to Newsweek, making him “the least popular president in modern history.” With the White House beginning to look more and more Orwellian with its false narratives, “alternative facts,” and press briefings where the president video conferences with reporters while sitting just a few hundred feet away in another room, it’s apparent that Trump’s first year in office has been unlike any other.

One of the most Trump’s most appalling presidential acts has been his ban on Muslim immigrants. It is beyond wrong to ban people because of their religion, and it’s equally wrong to blame an entire group of people for the actions of a small minority. It’s imperative to note that not a single terrorist act or plot has been carried out by any of the seven nations listed, six of which are of Muslim majority. The only change this ban makes is limit innocent refugees and family members of immigrants from coming to this country. This is one part of Trump’s attempt to alienate the Muslim community and turn popular opinion against them. On the campaign trail Trump lied about Muslims celebrating on 9/11 and on November 29, 2017, re-Tweeted three incredibly misleading propaganda videos from Britain First, a far right movement that began in 2011 by former members of the British National Party. Incidentally, neither Saudi Arabia nor Qatar was placed on the list, and they are, in fact, hotspots for terrorism as well as alleged state sponsors of it. Their exclusion may be attributed to Trump’s business connections in said countries, leading to further questions about Trump’s ethics.

Another of Trump’s blunders was his handling of the unrest in Charlottesville. The “Unite the Right” rally brought together the scourge of the United States, alt-right white nationalists, into one city, and Trump wouldn’t properly condemn it. The rally was attended by the Ku Klux Klan, Vanguard America, and the National Socialist Movement, just to name a few of the alt-right organizations. They marched using the Nazi slogan, “Blood and Soil” and ignited violence that resulted in the murder of a counter-protester. Trump stated that there was “blame on both sides,” yet the counter-protestors were only there to oppose the open display of white supremacy and hatred. Furthermore, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.” However, even if one has the most innocent intentions, one’s credibility ends the moment you join up with those displaying signs that read “Jews will not replace us.”

A key issue that Trump has had to deal with is the investigation being conducted by the FBI into his possible collusion with Russia. Although Trump has been quick to deny every charge, there are some very peculiar findings. Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former national security advisor Michael Flynn lied about meeting with the Russian ambassador twice during the campaign, while Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller got an indictment against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, suggesting that the president’s advisor was, in fact, a paid agent for pro-Russian foreign interests. While the findings of the Russia probe are still incomplete, information is damning. Even if Trump knew nothing about the actions of his advisors, it then calls into question the president’s judgement about who he chooses to surround himself with.

On the first birthday of the Trump administration the country is more divided than ever. It’s unclear what the rest of his term will look like, but if Trump’s actions and rhetoric remain the same, we’re in for a long three years.