APUSH Chapter 20: President Trump
Trump's presidency, while short, will go down as one of the most bizarre.
( Mia Marquez / Rowdy Magazine Graphic Designer )
In 2015, when Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, not too many people took this man seriously. I mean c’mon.... how can a real estate mogul with a reality TV show and no experience in public office be elected as the 45th president of the United States? Well — look where we are now.
Maybe it’s recency bias or maybe it’s the fact that these past four years have felt like a disturbingly long Black Mirror episode that we cannot seem to fucking escape, but Trump is one of the most consequential presidents in modern history. He will, without a doubt, go down in the history books and into the AP history tests — and he probably won’t be written in the way that many of his supporters expect.
From wanting to block off the Mexican border with a wall, to the fall of it and failure to construct all 2,000 miles of barrier, to refusing to concede his presidency and inciting a riot, there’s a lot to reflect on. That’s why we’ll be counting down the top (worst?) (dumbest?) moments of the Trump administration and what he’ll be remembered for.
His precious wall
Alright, so let's continue discussing Trump's first dose of xenophobia and racism: the wall. Trump ran his 2016 campaign on the guarantee that he would build a wall on the Mexican border to stop Mexicans from coming in and “taking” American jobs. On top of insulting Mexican immigrants by stating that “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”, he also promised that Mexico would pay for it. LOL.
That’s not even mentioning the time when a GoFundMe was started by Trump supporters to personally fund the wall, but then it was discovered to be part of a larger scheme where the founder was, allegedly, pocketing some of the money. Or the time Trump signed an executive order to build the wall.
In many ways, the wall can be seen as a racist symbol that aims to keep America white and stop the imigration and integration of Latinos in the USA. If the true concern of the wall was illegal immigration or job protection, Trump would’ve also petitioned for a Canadian-American wall on the Northern border.
His ban obsession
So, there was the Muslim ban. And then the other Muslim ban. And then the other one. Long story short, Trump passed an executive order banning predominantly Muslim countries’ citizens from entering the USA. When federal judges blocked the initial ban, he knocked down the Xenophobia a bit by removing one of the seven countries (Iraq), but it still wasn't enough.
It wasn’t until his third iteration of the ban, which added North Korea and Venezuela, that judges upheld it; it was just the perfect amount of Islamophobia for this country’s long-established taste. Almost like Goldilocks, if she were racist.
Then, a few months later in July 2017, Trump announced another infamous ban: the transgender military ban. With this one, Trump essentially said that the military shouldn’t and can’t be “burdened” with transgender military members and they would no longer be allowed to serve in “any capacity.”
Trump didn’t even bother to try and mask his transphobia when he announced the ban (via Twitter, of course). Once again, he validated the USA’s gender-normative state by treating the trans community as less than human. So much for “LGBTs for TRUMP.”
( CARLO ALLEGRI / Reuters )
Trump’s all-caps Twitter tantrums
Honestly, there is so much to say about Trump’s fascination and obsession with Twitter that I’m not even going to say anything. Trump is like a grouchy toddler with behavioral issues who knows how to use a phone. For four years, he managed to bother us EVERY single day with some new bullshit, and his fans ate it up like it was part of Wendy’s 4 for $4 menu deal. And despite the fact that Trump constantly violated Twitter’s terms of policy, Twitter only JUST banned him like two weeks ago. In a way, it’s a little sad to see him banned. It’s like seeing that one toxic relationship break up; You hate that they are together, and it hurts to see them in pain, but they’ve stuck it out for so long it's upsetting to see it end.
He worsened racial tensions
It would be irresponsible of me to blame the recent rise in racial tensions in America on Trump. However, Trump has definitely exacerbated the issue — so much so that a 2020 FBI report showed that hate crime increased to their highest number in a decade.
His campaign slogan was literally “Make America Great Again.” Again?? AGAIN?!?!? Since when was America great? This slogan, along with all these other small dog whistles, appealed to the closeted racists who have been hiding out for years, and he gave them a platform to be unapologetically hateful.
It also doesn’t help that during the Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA, Trump said that there were “very fine people, on both sides.” Or that when he was asked to condemn white supremacy, he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” practically embracing the racists’ commander title. Or that when BLM protests and riots were happening in the summer of 2020, he said that “when the looting starts the shooting starts.” Or how BLM protesters were tear-gassed so Trump could take a picture with an upside down Bible in front of a church. Or, how — you know what, I think you get it.
His neglect during national emergencies
Trump’s response to national and international crises’ will definitely be remembered as some of the biggest failures of his tenure in office. For example, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the administration neglected to properly respond to the situation and almost 3,000 people ended up dying. In fact, the mayor of San Juan (Puerto Rico’s capital) stated that “The Trump administration killed the Puerto Rican with neglect,” a sentiment shared by many.
Then, when the coronavirus pandemic hit America, chaos undoubtedly ensued. I seriously don’t even know where to begin with this, (and clearly neither did the Trump administration).
Although this situation was quite unprecedented, Trump’s ineptitude to act on the virus early on and his continual denial of literal science screwed us all over in the end. He was even reluctant to encourage mask use. In all honesty, there is no reason why one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world has almost 24 million COVID-19 cases and almost 400,000 deaths. It's quite disturbing and one of the biggest disappointments of this presidency.
(Remember when he told people to inject bleach? LOL.)
In the year 2045 when our kids have to learn one fun fact about each president, there is no doubt in my mind that Trump’s most distinct and astonishing fact is that he is the first president in all of American history to be impeached TWICE. Like, wow — What kind of dumbass gets impeached twice?
Although it feels like a lifetime ago, the first impeachment had to do with the allegations that Trump had colluded with foreign countries to help him win the presidential election. The more recent impeachment was for inciting a riot at the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential win. As I said before, it’s like a Black Mirror episode that just keeps getting worse and worse till we get to the point of unbelievability.
Although Trump’s time in office is finally coming to an end, Trump has shaken the United States to its core and has completely changed the political atmosphere. We will be living in his administration’s ripple effects for the next few years and his branch of Republicanism has shown that they are here to stay, whether or not Trump is the President.
Luigi Bencosme is an online writer at Rowdy Magazine. When he's not frantically swiping through Twitter or Instagram, he's indulging an iced coffee while blasting all genres of music. You can reach out to him on Instagram @luigibenc or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org