Executive Eccentricity: a disastrous first month

It’s safe to say that the first 10 days of Donald J. Trump’s presidency has been a roller coaster of controversy. From entering yet another battle with the media over the size of his inauguration crowd to publicly criticizing the CIA, Trump has once again entered the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Adding fuel to the already raging fire, the President sparked nationwide protests after signing seven executive orders, two proclamations, and seven presidential memoranda. While Trump promised that the theme of his time in office would be to “put America first,” his early actions and attitude seem to put the country on a path of regression rather than progression.

Trump’s most notable action thus far was the decision to freeze immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations for 90 days. According to the Telegraph, the ban is all part of an extreme examination process that the president feels will “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US” by making sure they cannot enter the country as refugees (courtesy of the Telegraph). The problem with this is, a study by the Cato Institute shows that only three people have been killed by refugees in the United States since 1975 and the chances of ever actually being attacked is 0.00000008 percent. The threat he is trying to protect us from is non-existent. Senator John McCain, a member of Trump’s own party, points out that this seemingly hostile attitude towards Islam could be a “self-inflicting wound” that creates terrorists and resentment toward the US.

Just three days earlier, Trump signed off on the Border Security and Immigration Improvements Order. According to the official document, the order calls for construction of a wall along the southern border and the hiring of 5,000 more border patrol officers. Despite Trump’s promises during the campaign, Mexico will not pay for the border wall, meaning that the $15 billion cost will fall on American taxpayers. And the wall isn’t even going to address the immigration problems President Trump has brought up. According to Forbes, most illegal immigrants travel by air to the United States legally with a visa and then simply do not leave after the expiration date. Author, editor, and businessman Adam Hartung also points out that most illegal immigrants who do travel through the southern border are from Central America, not Mexico. Calling this a response to Mexico sending its citizens through our borders is just foolish. In fact, the whole concept of a border wall is foolish. Taxpayers will have to pay an absurd amount for a project that will change almost nothing; that isn’t putting American’s first, that’s throwing them under the bus over a baseless claim that illegals are stealing American jobs. Instead of just throwing it at a scapegoat for internal problems, that money could be used to improve roads and public transportation, creating more jobs and enhancing overall quality of life throughout the country.

This came immediately following the order to advance construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Initial construction was halted in December by former President Barack Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers due to pressure from protesters who felt that the project would put the water supply at risk and disturb Native American burial sites.  According to the Washington Post, this announcement was bolstered by a second order to speed up environmental reviews of “high priority” infrastructure projects to bypass what the president refers to as “incredibly cumbersome, long, horrible permitting process. That is terrifying; construction projects that threaten something as important as a community’s water supply should not be rushed through the review process. Every precaution must be taken to ensure the safety of affected areas, no potential profit is worth the potentially catastrophic consequences of an oil spill.

The president has every right to sign these executive orders, that isn’t the issue. What is concerning is that, as of now, Trump’s extravagant efforts to do what he thinks will benefit the American people have had the opposite effect. His immigration reforms do nothing but provide a scapegoat for unrelated internal problems. Encouraging American to take out their frustrations on specific ethnic and religious groups is pure manipulation and only increases worldwide hostility. Even his work in the energy sector proves that the president is willing to sacrifice the health of his citizens in favor of investors and a short term spike in job growth.