The 10 Worst Things Donald Trump Did This Month
It’s been a little more than a month since Donald Trump won the presidential election, so it seems like a good time for our first installment of The Worst Things Donald Trump Did This Month.
This list covers only atrocities that Trump has committed since November 8, 2016. If you think I forgot anything, just go ahead and shout into the void about it because nothing matters anymore. To the list!
1. Hiring Steve Bannon.
Just days after he was elected, Trump chose Steve Bannon as his chief strategist. Bannon declared last year that he wanted to make his website Breitbart the premier platform for the neo-Nazi “alt-right” movement. He largely succeeded, as the site was embraced by the worst elements of the white nationalist cause. Bannon’s ex-wife also said in a sworn statement that Bannon doesn’t like Jews and didn’t want their kids going to school with them. In a separate sworn statement as part of a domestic violence charge against Bannon, his ex-wife said that he had injured her. Donald Trump, after running as the “law and order candidate,” proceeded to put Bannon in the West Wing.
2. Siding with Putin against the CIA.
Throughout the election, there were reports that the Russians were attempting to interfere with the democratic process by helping Trump’s campaign. Trump positioned himself as the more Kremlin-friendly candidate, and reaped a number of rewards, including allegedly the hacking of his opponent’s campaign manager’s emails. All this was known before the election, and Hillary Clinton made sure that everyone knew it. But now, in the wake of Trump’s win, the CIA has reportedly assessed that the Russians were in fact successful in influencing the election in Trump’s favor. In response to this news, Trump has said that the intelligence community cannot be trusted because of the Iraq War, and his likely pick for deputy secretary of state has called the entire thing a “false flag” operation potentially carried out by the Obama administration. It was, from Vladimir Putin’s perspective, the perfect response.
3. Skipping his intelligence briefings.
The President and president-elect are entitled to daily intelligence briefings about the state of American national security. These daily sessions are intended to be held… daily. President Barack Obama receives his daily intelligence briefings six times a week. Donald Trump has had four such briefings total. Not surprisingly, Trump used to criticize Obama based on the false notion that Obama was skipping his briefings. Never fear though, Trump says he doesn’t need many briefings because he’s “like, a smart person.” That’s literally a quote. Verbatim.
4. Putting his foundation’s top donor in his cabinet.
Trump and the GOP (along with some Democrats) attacked Clinton for the outsized influence that they believed Clinton Foundation donors would have on her presidency. Trump won in part based on the belief that he can’t be bought. Less than one month after winning the election, however, he appointed the biggest donor to the Trump Foundation to a cabinet position, despite the donor having no government experience. To a degree, this one doesn’t feel like he’s trying to get away with anything. It feels more like he wants to make sure that everyone knows from the get-go that his hypocrisy and dishonesty will be far greater than anyone could have feared.
5. Picking a nutjob for his national security advisor.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn is known for his outspoken nature, but his advocacy for Trump during the campaign crossed the line into dangerous and deranged. Flynn attacked Muslims, claiming without evidence that there was a robust infrastructure of signs in Arabic posted along the southern border to direct radical jihadists on their attacks, and calling on all people to “fear” Muslims. He also tweeted out a link to a fake news story about the Clintons’ purported involvement in a child sex abuse ring with the thoughtful caption, “U decide.” This is the person who will have the last say in advising on America’s national security decisions.
6. Flaunting his conflicts of interest.
In the first few days after Trump won the presidency, he fielded calls from leaders from such countries as Argentina and Taiwan, where he is in the midst of attempting to gain approval for major real estate deals for his company. The Argentina deal gained government approval shortly after his call. He also put his children on his transition team, reportedly requested security clearance for them, and included his daughter Ivanka in his first diplomatic meeting as president-elect, despite saying during the campaign that he would put his businesses in a “blind trust” by putting his children in charge (that’s not what a blind trust is). When confronted about his conflicts of interest, Trump said that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest” and I swear to God I’m not making this up.
7. Threatening to revoke dissenters’ citizenship.
The burning of the American flag has long been a controversial issue, but it was one that had almost surprisingly not been brought up in 2016. That changed when Trump apparently saw an early-morning segment on Fox News about flag burning, and felt it necessary for the president-elect of the United States to tweet his desire to revoke citizenship from those who show their dissent through flag burning. That alone is pretty bad, but it’s worse when thought of as an opening salvo meant to test the public’s openness to punishment for political protesters :).
8. Lying about saving Carrier jobs.
Of Trump’s many unorthodox moves since winning the election, perhaps the only good one was his effort to save some jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana. There’s plenty of criticisms to be made about the practice of rewarding companies with tax breaks if they threaten to outsource jobs– particularly when Trump campaigned on punishing such companies– but at its core, it is good that these workers won’t be laid off. Except, hundreds of them will. Trump lied. He lied when he stood on stage and told them their jobs were saved. He lied when he said that more than 1,100 of them would have their jobs kept in Indiana. As the local union head put it, “he lied his ass off” when the cameras were rolling, and once he left the layoffs came anyway. About 800 of the 1,700 positions at the plant were saved, while hundreds will be laid off.
9. Filling his cabinet with Goldman veterans.
Working at Goldman Sachs of course should not disqualify anyone from future government office. There are plenty of good, smart people who work there and it would be foolish to castigate them all. Yet Donald Trump went ahead and did just that during the campaign. He blasted Ted Cruz for connections to Goldman. He pounced on Hillary for speaking to them and taking donations. He promised to “drain the swamp,” removing the corrupt, greedy lobbyists and bankers from government. Then he went and appointed three Goldman veterans to top positions, including a Goldman executive as his chief economic advisor. I’m kind of beginning to think that Trump just loves to lie and cheat and scam.
10. Tweeting bad tweets.
Finally, there are the damn tweets. His tweets are bad. They are often outright (and easily debunked) lies. They target private citizens. They threaten us all. They are bad tweets and he should feel bad about them.