BY: MOMAL RIZVI
On Jan. 20 2017, Donald Trump was sworn into office. Three years have passed and the 2020 presidential primaries are in full swing. While we're anxiously following the news and filling out voting ballots for the upcoming presidential election, let's not forget to remember the 2017-2020 presidency.
Summarizing the last four years was not an easy task. That's why I chose to recap by highlighting Trump's absolute worst moments. Here are the top five (in no particular order):
1. When Children we being kept in cages at the Southern border:
A prime focus of the Trump presidency has been a more strict immigration policy. In the summer of 2019, thousands of unaccompanied minors were being held at the U.S.-Mexico border in shelters. The detained minors were being held in small, chain-link enclosures, suffering poor living conditions that can be equated to animal cages. This included a lack of contact with family members, as well as improper hygiene careâ€“â€“ such as irregular access to toothbrushes and showers. The treatment that these children received due to Donald Trump and his administration were major human rights violations. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, as of January 2020, there are 3,600 unaccompanied minors under their care.
2. When he implemented the Muslim Ban:
On Jan. 27, 2017, Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that banned the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. Along with this, refugees were banned for 120 days, and Syrian refugees were banned entirely. The Muslim Ban has and continues to impact foreign nationals, green card holders, and U.S. citizens. People have been separated from their families, interrogated at airports, and have faced both Islamophobia and rampant xenophobia.
3. When he used the term "shithole countries":
At the beginning of 2018, Donald Trump referred to Haiti and African nations as "shithole countries" during a bipartisan congressional meeting. The meeting was called to discuss an immigration deal. When African countries were brought up, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from "all of these shithole countries" and suggested that it was better for the U.S. to take immigrants from European countries, such as Norway. Leaders around the world responded to Trump's remarks with anger. Laurent Lamothe, former Haitian president, said that these comments displayed Trump's ignorance, while Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, said that Trump's "mouth is the foulest shithole in the world." These comments made by Donald Trump are yet another instance of how his immigration policy has proved to be racist.
4. When he banned transgender people from enlisting in the military:
Donald Trump posted a number of tweets stating that "the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," in July 2017. By August, the Trump administration finalized the ban. The president argued that the ban was not directed towards transgender people, but rather those with gender dysmorphia. However, this proved to be false, as transgender people were forbidden from joining the military, and those who were currently enlisted were unable to transition.
5. When he pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement:
In June 2017, Donald Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which was formed to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. On Nov. 4, 2019, the Trump Administration gave the official notice of the intention to withdraw from the agreement, which would take twelve months to occur. The United States is the second-largest global-emitter in the world, meaning that its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement could have a significant impact on the environment.
As Donald Trump's firstâ€“â€“ and hopefully, onlyâ€“â€“ term comes to an end, it is clear that the last four years have been full of discriminatory policies and ill-advised decisions. As the 2020 presidential primaries and election quickly approach, students on American University's campus are getting more and more politically activeâ€“â€“ if that's even possible. Some notable student groups that have been formed are AU Students for Bernie, AU Students for Warren, and AU Students for Pete. They can often be seen tabling on the quad or inside of the Mary Graydon Center.
The Kennedy Political Union hosted a Democratic Primary Debate for the first time, where students participated in a mock debate, representing the current candidates for the Democratic nomination. A student moderator was designated to ask questions that pertained to important issues in current U.S. and foreign policy. After the debate, students who attended were able to vote for the candidate who they believe won. This event plays an important role in the political climate of AU, as it not only helps educate students on the primaries and the candidates, but also showcases the prominent political viewpoints at the university, and which candidates students are supporting.
So, while AU students prepare for the presidential election, let's ask the question that's on everyone's mind: Will 2020 bring a new president into the White House, or are we going to have yet another repeat of the last four years?