Since when did I become a Trump defender?
It is not without extensive thought that I ask myself such a question — in fact, it’s the last thing I ever thought I’d say. I am a Republican, but President Donald Trump is an intolerable politician, and answering for him can be daunting, particularly when it involves his rhetoric or tweets, as he has a track record of being blatantly untruthful.
I didn’t vote for Trump or Clinton. Despite this, I will always respect the office of the president.
There are, however, things I do not respect. I will not respect the lies stemming from the “disease” that seems to have “infected” the population: Trump Derangement Syndrome. The immediate dismissal of everything someone does or says just because of who’s doing or saying it is unfair and unacceptable. Instead of “never Trump” or “always Trump” a more fair position is that of “sometimes Trump.”
You cannot go a day without hearing a story about the current administration — and it’s never a nice one. “If Trump breathes, it’s breaking news on CNN,” a coworker told me recently. This has been one of the most irritating parts of his presidency: Everything he tweets is a front-page story, and it’s the status quo in the mainstream to be “never Trump.”
Trump is arguably the exact opposite of the D.C. insider status quo idealization. His administration has repealed regulatory reforms (at least two reforms eliminated for every one introduced), enacted tax cuts, and implemented a hardline immigration strategy through the process of a now watered down (the third version was only recently approved) travel ban.
These aren’t all bad things, but of course that depends on how you perceive the policies themselves. More importantly, what comes out of this is a certain kind of backlash. People get really upset, and they do so publicly. You either support a fascist authoritarian OR you’re a Democrat. I have never seen more frequently occurring untrue headlines and impulsive hate than I have today. The irony is, we really aren’t that divided, but what attracts attention are headlines that put hate and racial divisiveness at the forefront of political discourse.
To begin: Neither Neil Gorsuch nor Brett Kavanaugh should be synonymous with bad politics (both are picks other Republican presidents may have chosen), net neutrality hasn’t killed anyone (I’m not paying more for a Google search, are you?), and tax cuts are pretty normal for conservatives. Those are what people tend to gravitate toward and that’s what you’ll hear nonstop on cable news.
Here are things most people don’t think about: The Senate has approved 44 Article III judges, two Supreme Court judges, and 23 judges for the United States court of appeals. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are set on giving the courts a conservative tilt. Trump has appointed the first ever Indian-American governor to the post of United Nations Ambassador, and Elaine Chao, an Asian-American to be Secretary of Transportation.
From this so-called homophobic, and xenophobic administration, Trump appointed a Log Cabin Republican (pro-LGBTQ group of Republicans) to be his ambassador to Germany. Those stories don’t make headlines, unless you go to explicitly right-leaning sites like Breitbart.com.
It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but no administration in American history ever has been. Recently, an Associated Press story headline stated that immigrants were being kicked out of the military for no apparent reason. Immediately, after a fair amount of due diligence, this story was proven false and misleading by both an opinion page from the Washington Examiner and from National Review.
What matters isn’t the story, it was the impulse by reporters and media editors to go with whatever story has the worst affect on Trump regardless of how untruthful it is. The original story had thousands of re-tweets and shares, while the counter-arguments had a much smaller audience. This is just one of the many stories the mainstream media publishes that hurts the possibility of any kind of civil debate.
When I talk to peers about politics, I almost always asked, “But you’re a Hispanic? Aren’t you a Democrat?” I laugh off this slightly prejudicial remark. Then, undoubtedly, I am told of the perils of the Trump regime, how he “isn’t exactly Hitler,” but close to it, and how he’s a racist, sexist and bigoted.
While the evidence definitely points to him being a misogynist, I don’t believe he’s a racist or a bigot. I then ask how they felt about Bill Clinton or JFK and their promiscuous tendencies. It was during one of these exchanges where I asked myself: “Since when am I a Trump defender?”
Trump is very “America First,” that’s partially why he won. If he was a bigot he wouldn’t have pardoned a black woman from a jail sentence, met with Kanye West or appointed Nikki Haley to be his ambassador to the United Nations. Additionally, he wouldn’t have worked with the only black Republican Senator in Congress, Tim Scott, while figuring out the best way to implement “opportunity zones” in the tax bill. The Senator offered his own response when a writer from the Huffington Post called him a “black prop.”
Of course, I understand the vitriol toward his rhetoric; it’s painful and often grammatically incorrect. I also understand the argument that just because he appoints non-whites to positions of authority, doesn’t mean he isn’t a racist — but I find that argument pointless and impossible to argue due to countless counterexamples.
I often ask people this question, “How has your life specifically been affected by Trump — just tell me one policy his administration signed into law that’s negatively affected you.” The majority of people can’t list any bills or actual legislation, so it then comes down to what he says, not his actual policies — which I understand, but it makes them boring and unintelligent to complain about things that they can’t even name.
Trust me, I never wanted to defend Trump, but I see it as defending the truth, and if it’s occasionally on Trump’s side, shouldn’t everyone be on board with it?
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