How Trump’s Reality is Damaging Ours

President Donald Trump. // Photo Credit: Associated Press.

President Donald Trump. // Photo Credit: Associated Press.

As we pass the one-month mark of Donald Trump’s presidency, many of us are still grappling with the consequences of Trump’s actions. The vast majority of his policies have been proven at best, unnecessary, and at worst, harmful. However, even when directly confronted with evidence of the harm he is doing, our president refuses to accept the facts, instead remaining steadfast in his unfounded belief that his actions are wildly successful. Although these moments provide great material for SNL skits, the real-life implications of Trump’s tendency to live in his own reality are potentially damaging. When the person in charge of our country can’t agree with the rest of the world on basic facts, serious problems arise.

Many of Trump’s policies so far reflect the large inconsistencies between his views and the facts. A prime example is the executive order that temporarily banned immigration by people from seven Muslim-majority nations. Though on the surface this may seem like a reasonable step to stop the terrorists the president says are pouring into the U.S., in reality, the facts show that the travel ban will have little effect on the fight against terror. Ten former senior U.S. diplomats and security officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA director Michael Hayden, submitted an affidavit to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stating that Trump’s order was missing its target. There have been very few terrorist attacks by foreign citizens since 9/11. In fact, as noted in the affidavit, not a single alien from any of the seven affected countries has committed an act of terrorism on U.S. soil during that period. If the executive order’s aim was to prevent potential terrorists from launching attacks, it has failed miserably in fulfilling its purpose. In addition, the ban does nothing to deter home-grown extremism, which has been the source of the vast majority of U.S. terror acts. New America, a nonpartisan think tank, reported that “every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident,” which highlights how Trump’s perspective on terrorists is outdated and harmful to our ability to combat terrorism. It appears that his order may actually be counterproductive; the former officials argued that the ban would be used as propaganda by extremists showing that the U.S. is targeting Islam. Thus, Trump’s misinformed views on how to prevent terrorism have created circumstances that will not keep our country secure, instead giving organizations like ISIS recruitment material.

Another troubling development that has emerged is Trump’s attempts to undermine the judiciary. This issue is hardly new; one of the Trump campaign’s most criticized moments was when Trump attacked Judge Gonzalo Curiel on his “Mexican heritage” for allowing a case against Trump University to proceed. His willingness to rail against judges who stand up to him, often using personal insults, illustrates his apparent disregard for the role of the judiciary as a check on the executive. President Trump has expanded his attacks, and when Judge James Robart, a federal justice widely-praised by both Democrats and Republicans, blocked the travel ban, Trump unleashed a series of tweets, calling Robart a “so-called judge.” Even though his administration lost its case again, this time in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump simply shifted his attacks to the higher court, stating that their ruling was “disgraceful” and that “a bad high school student would understand this.” In Trump’s reality, any attempt to rein in his actions is inherently wrong, and only he can be trusted to make the right decisions. However, this clearly contradicts how the U.S. government actually operates, where the judicial branch serves as an important check on executive power.

Over the past month, President Trump has attempted to radically expand his powers and enact policies that have no justification in the real world. He believes that he can intimidate and fling personal insults at those who stand against him in order to get his way. However, we have also seen incredible unity and resistance in the form of events such as the Women’s March and widespread protests at airports. Whether we are directly impacted or not by these or future unjust policies, we must stand up and let our voices be heard. Our government depends on our voices, and we cannot allow Trump to erode the checks in place against him or continue his misguided actions.