JUL 21, 2020
It’s easy to lose track of all the unconscionable actions Trump has taken in office and the real harm he has caused. Here’s a condensed refresher of Trump’s worst attributes, and the receipts to prove why a vote for Trump in 2020 is utterly indefensible.
When it comes to explaining why Trump is such a disastrous president, it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve been keeping track of the worst of his actions, and offer this guide as a resource for your conversations with family and neighbors, for your letters to the editor, and for refocusing the debate each time Trump’s propaganda machine tries to distract us with an outrageous tweet. We also hope that it will help remind you why, when faced with a corrupt, lying, cruel, inhumane, racist, despotic, and grotesque sexual assailant con artist tax cheat national security threat, we have to do far more than just vote.
TRUMP IS A NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT
Trump hired a campaign chairman, transition advisor, and national security advisor who were all unlawfully working as foreign agents. He intervened to grant security clearances to White House staff who were denied security clearances. He reportedly does not read his daily intelligence briefings, and is consistently unprepared for and “outplayed” in calls with foreign leaders. He invited Russian officials into the Oval Office and shared classified intelligence with them. He conducted sensitive discussions about a North Korean missile launch with a state leader in a full, unsecure dining room at his easily hackable and unsecure resort. He tweeted a classified photo of an Iranian rocket launch pad. He uses and calls others on private, unsecure cell phones in unsecure locations, likely resulting in his calls being intercepted by foreign intelligence agencies. His incompetence has led us to the brink of war with North Korea and Iran. He regularly circumvents government security protocols and firewalls by deploying personal operatives like Rudy Guiliani, making him vulnerable to foreign intelligence services seeking to exploit the shadow operations. He unlawfully withheld congressionally-approved military aid to an ally engaged in a hot war with our adversary to pressure them into investigating his political rival. He ignored intelligence about Russia paying bounties to Taliban fighters who killed US soldiers in Afghanistan, and has yet to take any action.
TRUMP IS A DESPOT
He praises murderous dictators and authoritarians, while trashing relationships with critical allies. By arguing before the Supreme Court that he is not obligated to comply with subpoenas related to investigations or oversight, and that he can’t even be investigated for shooting someone in the street, Trump shows that he believes himself to be above the law. He blocks government officials from testifying before Congress and intentionally obstructs investigations and oversight. He asked foreign adversaries Russia and China to investigate his political rivals. He instructs his staff to hide transcripts and notes from meetings with Putin. He spreads misinformation and conspiracy theories aimed at suppressing the vote. He installed industry lobbyists and insiders in key cabinet positions in order to dismantle the agencies they lead. He has blocked press access and calls the press “the enemy of the people.” He stripped pandemic data collection authority from the CDC, blocks public health officials from testifying, and is attempting to cut billions of dollars in funding for coronavirus testing in order to hide the scale of the crisis. He authorized military forces to attack peaceful protestors with gas and rubber bullets so that he could pose for a photo holding a bible. And shortly after the Voice of America published this piece about Trump threatening to use more military force against Americans, Trump appointed a far right ally to take over the parent organization and purge all of its top executives. He ordered a secret force of federal officers to attack and kidnap unarmed protesters in Oregon, defying the state government’s wishes. In opposition to directives of the constitution, he is trying to remove undocumented US residents from the 2020 census count.
TRUMP IS CORRUPT
His self-dealing while in office has resulted in more than $16 million in political and taxpayer funds being paid to his hotels and resorts. Unlike all modern presidents, he never divested from any of his business holdings when he took office and still refuses to release his tax returns. He paid off a porn star to hide an affair that would damage his campaign. He told a US ambassador to convince a foreign government to move a lucrative golf tournament to one of his resorts. He leveraged taxpayer funded aid to a critical foreign ally to try to get dirt on a political rival. He uses the Justice Department to give preferential treatment to his friends and to punish his enemies. He fired five inspectors general who were conducting oversight and investigations into his cabinet. Since his impeachment, he has directed AG Barr to replace US Attorneys in the three critical districts conducting investigations into his corruption, and bypassing Senate confirmation to give the jobs to Barr’s own deputies.
TRUMP IS CRUEL AND INHUMANE
He attempted to uproot DACA recipients who know no other home but America, and to deport seriously ill children receiving lifesaving health care in American hospitals. He held families and children in cages at the border. He dramatically increased raids to round up migrant parents (including those of American children) at their jobs, leaving children abandoned and without care. He separated more than 4,000 families at the border and failed to reunite them all. Separated babies and children were held in inhumane conditions, without adequate food or care for weeks, and at least seven died. The Trump administration continues to separate families even after the separation policy was terminated, and even though they know it causes harm to the children. His administration built internment camps in the desert for holding 15,000 immigrant children indefinitely, where some have been sexually abused and denied legal representation. Since the pandemic struck, his administration is now rapidly rounding up unaccompanied immigrant children and deporting them, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes without notifying their families. He recently proposed a rule that will end all asylum into the US.
TRUMP IS A CHAMPION OF DISCRIMINATION
He has not only rolled back a large number of civil rights protections for LGBTQ people, but has openly targeted trans people for discrimination. He rescinded all guidance to schools for treating trans students fairly, forced all trans people out of the military with a tweet (even those who were already serving), and allowed religious organizations to bar LGBTQ from adopting children. In the midst of a pandemic, he passed a rule that allows health care providers, programs, and insurance to deny service to trans people and barred them from accessing homeless shelters. He directed the Department of Justice to issue a sweeping “license to discriminate,” allowing virtually anyone (even federal agencies) to engage in illegal discrimination against LGBTQ people. He directed the State Department to stop issuing family visas to the same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats. He directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make it easier for landlords and lenders to discriminate against minorities and enable residential segregation. He directed the Department of Education to illegally delay a rule to address racial disparities in special education and to remove civil rights protections for student victims of sexual assault.
TRUMP IS A RACIST
We knew this before he was elected president, as a result of his championing the “birther” movement against Obama, calling Mexican immigrants rapists, demanding the execution of the Central Park 5 even after they were exonerated, being sued for discriminating against black people as a landlord and employer, publicly pitching an Apprentice series that was “white people versus black people,” and for demanding a judge step down from a case because his parents are Mexican. Since taking office, his racism continues: enacting a Muslim ban, saying that some of the white supremacists and nazis who marched in Charlottesville are “very fine people,” calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” telling a group of US-born black and brown congresswomen that they should go back to the countries they came from, retweeting white supremacists and a video of a Trump supporter exclaiming “white power”, calling Covid-19 “Kung Flu,” and defending the use of the Confederate flag, among many other examples.
TRUMP IS AN ADMITTED AND CREDIBLY ACCUSED SEXUAL ASSAILANT
Besides his own words bragging about how his fame entitles him to “grab ‘em by the pussy”, 25 women have accused him of sexual assault and rape. Two women have filed defamation cases against him as a result of his calling them liars, which are currently in the courts.
TRUMP IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT
He pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, making America the only country in the world refusing to fight climate change. He eliminated environmental standards and protections aimed at slowing the deadly rise in global temperatures. He eliminated protections for threatened and endangered species. He opened national parks and preserves to fossil fuel exploitation, including projects that threaten Native tribes. He is still trying to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which would result in 20 million people losing their health insurance in the midst of a global pandemic. He slow-walked, happy-talked, and refused to take the lead on the pandemic threat, resulting in an estimated 36,000 avoidable deaths. His denial and mismanagement of the pandemic has caused public health and economic crises to compound and the virus to rage out of control, which could lead to as many as 100,000 new cases each day, and tens of thousands more dead Americans.
TRUMP IS A CON ARTIST AND A TAX CHEAT
Not only did he swindle Trump University students out of millions of dollars, he cheated on his taxes, manipulated the prices of stocks, and stiffed his own employees and contractors for decades. He was forced to pay a $2 million dollar settlement for “persistently illegal conduct” surrounding his charitable foundation, and proudly brags that he is “the King of Debt.”
TRUMP IS A COMPULSIVE LIAR
He’s currently averaging 23 lies per day, including enormous and dangerous lies that impact our national security. Research shows that the average person tells 1 or 2 small lies per day. As of July 9, 2020, Trump has tallied more than 20,000 lies, and his statements were awarded PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
TRUMP IS GROTESQUE
He mocks POWs (even after they are dead), people with disabilities, and children. He spread conspiracy theories about a newscaster being involved in a colleague’s death and about a political opponent’s father being tied to the JFK assassination. He disparaged the parents of a soldier killed in battle. He called football players who kneel in peaceful protest sons of bitches. He described African nations as “shithole countries.” He said a reporter who asked him tough questions “had blood coming out of her wherever.” He has also used the words “fat,” “ugly,” “bimbo,” “disgusting,” “nasty,” “third rate,” “dog,” and “face of a pig” to describe women reporters and politicians who disagree with him. He reportedly told British Prime Minister Theresa May that she was weak and lacked courage, and told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that she was “stupid.”
A NOTE OF THANKS …
We’d like to take a moment to highlight the amazing news outlets and advocacy organizations whose work is found at each of the hyperlinks above. Behind each of the organizations listed below are hundreds of reporters, researchers, fact checkers, editors, lawyers, and publishers. They and many others have each contributed to a vast knowledge base, providing truth in tumultuous times and resources for an informed electorate. We thank them for their diligence, and encourage everyone to support their work by subscribing to your favorite local, regional, and national press.
The Baltimore Sun
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Columbia Journalism Review
Columbia University Law School | Columbia University Earth Institute
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Immigration Law Center
National Low Income Housing Coalition
The New Yorker
New York Magazine
New York Review of Books
The New York Times
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Texas Tribune
US News & World Report
Voice of America
The Wall Street Journal
The Washington Blade
The Washington Post
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