A brief, amateur look at the first week of Trump’s presidency
It’s been an experience, to say the least.
So, Trump’s first week as President of the United States is up, and I think we can safely say it’s been… interesting. As a UK citizen who has generally normal views, and a writer who has no authority on the subject of US politics, what are my thoughts?
First up, it’s pretty damn clear Trump’s legacy in office is going to be climate change and immigration. Other things he is doing — equality, abortion rights — are awful and deserve to be condemned, but they’re the kind of things that go back-and-forth between presidents. However, climate change is a huge, huge thing; it threatens the entire planet, let’s not forget, and if Trump is in power for two four year terms, that could have a massive effect on the global warming, rising sea levels, etc. The fact that he gagged Environmental Protection Agency scientists from communicating (although the grant freeze has been rescinded), plus has ordered the Agency to remove the ‘Climate change’ page from its website (that’s now been put on hold following backlash), is testament enough that this isn’t just hot air, if you’ll excuse the pun. Obama’s administration saw huge strides in this area, including the historic Paris Agreement to lower carbon emissions, and it looks like that’s gone totally out the door in just one week.
The other major, possibly world-changing thing I’ve observed is his status on immigration. As others, who I hasten to add are much more qualified than I am on this subject, have written, refugee resettlement has been a major part of US foreign policy since World War II, and to have that changed by a president who apparently does not understand how small a threat terrorism actually is… I can’t get this in my head. Europe is in the midst of a refugee crisis at the moment, simply through lack of space, and the new president of the most powerful country on earth is refusing to take Syrian refugees indefinitely, and refugees from other countries for up to 120 days? It boggles my mind.
The last thing I’ve observed is Trump’s views on the internet, and net neutrality. His administration hasn’t had a good week of it, with Press Officer tktk tktk tweeting out his password — woops — and the senior staffers in the White House using a private email server. On top of that, the @POTUS account was linked to a private Gmail account for a good part of a week. And all this when Trump’s campaign heavily criticized Hillary Clinton for her — condemnable — use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State in Obama’s administration. If this is the attitude towards cyber-security that we can expect under Trump, the US is going to have to buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Don’t forget the fact Trump doesn’t use a computer, saying he’s allergic to them. Incredibly, in 2017, he gets his staff to print out emails, and he then handwrites replies. These replies are given back to his staff, typed up, and sent out. Wow.
On net neutrality, all I can say is the United States better make the most of a free, open internet while we’ve got it. How anyone could seriously be opposed to that I don’t know, but I suppose money talks. All I hope is this attitude doesn’t spread to the UK, and our internet access can remain a utility.
All in all: at this point, I’m glad I don’t live in the US. Theresa May isn’t perfect — the Investigative Powers Bill is a sure-fire sign of that — but at least she isn’t Trump.