How Trump’s Response to Current Events Has Changed My Opinion of him as POTUS, Even from Australia

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Even as an Australian, watching the 2016 election unfold was disappointing for me.  It was initially only saddening to hear America had elected Trump when Hillary Clinton was the other option and was something promising for American and world history. Clinton would have been the first female president and, at the very least, she would have had women’s issues in mind. But, I figured that Trump couldn’t possibly start a war, flip international relations on its head or do anything to impact my life from nine and a half thousand miles away, especially in a country so politically different to the USA. 

When a country is run by someone who wants to run it ‘‘ahead of schedule, under budget’’, the focus is definitely not on running for the people, but for the profit. Watching this self-proclaimed businessman try to run a country is so worrying. Trump focuses on the ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality, ensuring consistently that he gets his way as the ‘CEO’ of America. This means that as the president of a country, and the representative for everyday Americans, he’s not focused on the right things. These might be representing issues from the people, protecting and preventing events that may harm its citizens, maintaining and creating internal relations and aiding in creating a better, stronger country through new policies, government schemes and management. Rather, he’s looking to establish dominance over other countries and political adversaries.

And even from across the oceans, Trump has made things eventful for an international audience watching from afar. His reactions to current events (and his constant tweeting) have certainly shifted my opinion of him – he’s no longer just a disappointing choice, but rather someone that I fear threatens to damage our way of life, even internationally. There are several reasons, but here are a few of the biggest:

 

  1. 1. He’s failed to address the COVID-19 pandemic effectively

    The major international pandemic that has shaped everyone’s lives this year has shown just how poorly Trump is running the country. With a total of 7 million cases and around 203 thousand deaths recorded in the US, the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled disastrously. From the very start, Trump has failed to implement important calls advised by health officials – especially the World Health Organisation – from nationwide lockdowns to mask mandates. 

    It’s now been revealed to the public that Trump knew the full extent of the dangers the Coronavirus poses and knowingly downplayed the severity in the US. The USA was slow to implement these measures and more, like social distancing to shutting down borders to international travelers. Instead, the appeals from hospitals, state leaders and medical officials for more resources to handle the virus at the onset of the pandemic fell on deaf ears, according to the New England Journal of Medicine

    While people are losing their lives, Trump continues to place blame on any party that takes the focus off of him, harking back to his ‘fake news’ media hoax. He ignores the situation, refusing to endorse a plan of action, failing to take advice from experienced professionals on how to act. More to the point, Trump consistently looks past the seriousness of the situation and the lives being lost daily and instead tightens his powers over the country, preventing any other states from making decisions to protect individual’s lives to suit his agenda. His refusal to take advice from an experienced health and disease professionals and the fact that he viewed a shutdown of the US to prevent the spread as weakening American businesses, rather than keeping the country safe as he has claimed is the job of a president, proves that Trump only cares about America from a business standpoint, keeping the country open to prevent loss of income for his ‘business’. 

  2. 2. He belittles the Black Lives Matter movement

    woman holding a sign that says "I can't breathe"

    The heightened racial tensions in the USA are another major source of contention and stand to show that Trump is refusing to address basic human rights issues. Instead, he adds fuel to the riots’ flames. Trump has made the accusation that white people are killed more than Black people, which he posits as evidence that the Black Lives Matter movement is redundant. He’s also defended the actions of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who brought an assault rifle to BLM protests and killed two BLM protestors.

    The president ignores public calls for change to the police force and its training protocols, and for charges to be laid against police involved in Black deaths. Trump moreover shows a deadly ignorance for Black people and their lives within his country. His reactions to the protests shows that Trump is out of touch with what the country wants and needs from its president and government. 

  3. 3. He abuses the political system

    Polling Station

    Trump’s disregard for a true and just political system makes me question whether his focus is obtaining power above Congress in order to ensure he makes America his business. Does this make him likely to target the government for power and bend the system to his will, helping him to become ‘CEO’? For example, he deliberately blocked federal funding to the United States Postal Service, which he admitted was to block mail-in ballots during the November elections in an effort to postpone the election until later. Not only does this interfere with people’s basic democratic right to vote, but it also undermines the whole position of the government and the checks and balances to power.

    Trump can manipulate and bend the law to his will and what he wants, which is scary in and of itself. But it also speaks volumes about the value and respect Trump has for government, its laws, and its people. The Republican party getting behind Trump’s abuse of power may be representative of a wider political focus on obtaining more government power – an issue that’s frightening considering that the checks and balances on power that are put in place to ensure that the government represents the people’s wishes –and not their own – are being steam-rolled. 

    Continued violations of government rulings and constitutional law reign in Trump’s presidency. He shows little regard for the environment. In direct violation of the law, Trump decided to open up Alaska’s refuge for oil and gas drilling, despite the massive environmental impacts and destruction of indigenous land and culture. More violations exist in Trump’s tying of his own businesses to his presidency, obtaining personal financial gain from them. He’s previously housed international officials at his own hotels and resorts, and has suggested these same resorts for governmental contracts and meetings, which would award his businesses millions of dollars illegally. Trump also withheld foreign aid to Ukraine, violating federal law, to force the Ukrainian government to interfere with the current election and investigate his rivals. According to the 1974 Impoundment Control Act, a US president cannot withhold funds that were delegated for spending by Congress. Trump has also tried to manipulate and change the US constitution to guarantee himself a third term because he’s ‘probably entitled to another’. A president with such little respect for the law is not fit to run a country, and endangers the very livelihoods that the constitution is set to protect.

  4. 4. He continues to mistreat immigrants

    Trump continues to separate around 3000 migrant children from their families at the borders. His lack of action in trying to reunite families goes to prove that as a president, he doesn’t care for migrant people, nor the laws he is violating to detain people. Despite the USA being a nation built upon migrants moving into already inhabited land, Trump has no respect for current migrant people or their right to due process, and continues to place them in detention centers similar to camps or cages.

    Trump is currently trying to extend a policy to allow these migrant detainees to be held indefinitely. The fact that Trump has no plan to help these families reunite from the camps shows that not only is he a president in violation of his own constitution, but he also has no upstanding for basic human rights. 

    This is precisely why a businessman should not run a country; people are not a commodity. Trump cannot use migrant people, or anyone, to establish his ‘dominance’ as president while trying to wage war on other countries (read: businesses). People who arrive in or live in the US are not political pawns to be used for gains of power, nor to boast their own political prowess to American voters in attempts to win favor as ‘CEO’ of America.

  5. 5. He has a long history of violations against women

    Donald Trump has a long history of sexual assault and rape allegations. He’s also made plenty of sexist comments. All this, combined with his total disregard for the #MeToo movement already paints a horrible picture of any person. Yet, events in 2020 have further cemented Trump as a man against gender equality. Trump’s abuse against Senator Kamala Harris has escalated now that Trump faces a formidable threat from his opponent, Joe Biden, with Trump calling her “nasty” and a “madwoman” and his own senators making sexist and racist remarks in calling her ‘Aunt Jemima’ and questioning her citizenship.

    More so, Trump tried to block laws that enforce companies to report the wages of their employees, preventing gender and age-related wage gaps. His scaling back and dismantling of reproductive health and family planning services is also a setback for American women. Trump’s administration has always had a clear lack of respect for women, and that’s something that simply cannot occur when you’re the president of a country. A country founded on being a refuge against persecution cannot turn around and persecute its own people.

A clear lack of concern for the public’s health and safety during COVID-19, his refusal to acknowledge racial issues, and a racist agenda within the American government, his bending of the law to his wishes, and mistreatment of women and immigrant people show a president who isn’t for the people. Rather, he’s someone focused – and in fact, hell-bent – on money and power, something far more dangerous than some miscellaneous tweets. I urge those of you who can vote to consider the character of Donald Trump and whether his actions and words, both past and present, really represent what you want to stand for you, your country, and the next President of the United States.