Trump Entrenched in Controversy First Weeks of Office

Andreas Casillas and Sean Duff, Reporters

President Donald J. Trump has been one of the most controversial leaders of any country within the last couple of years. He entered the race as a Populist candidate and promised an overall “anti-establishment” movement, basing his platform off of three main components: “drain the swamp,” “build the wall,” and “return the power.”

So far, Trump is keeping to his campaign promises, despite people believing that he would flip-flop after the election. Even with a historically low approval rating of only 42 percent as of Feb. 22, Trump continues to stick to his guns and pass executive orders, making decisions that thousands of American citizens find unfavorable.

Although not all of his recent orders are expressed here, these are some of the most discussed and concerning issues.

Travel Ban
Trump loop-holed the system and instead of banning a religion, he banned six countries citizens from entering the US.

The  initial ban targeted people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The revised ban removed Iraq from the list. Trump’s order on this ban allowed no preparation for the ban, and it caused confusion among national security.

However, the seven nations that the ban targets have not been responsible for a death in a terrorism-based attack in America since 1975, but nations near them have caused terror related deaths.

The ban stopped citizens from those nations from entering for 90 days, refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Mexican Border Wall
One of Trump’s most recurring campaign promises was the construction of a wall along the entire US-Mexico border within the first two years of his presidency.

Critics explained that this would be impractical and difficult to build. Trump made promises that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto stated numerous times that Mexico will not be paying for anything.

After countless arguments, Trump planned to place a high import tax on all Mexican imports; this includes avocados, vehicles, and many other products. Mexico is the United States third largest trade partner, so placing a high tax would be detrimental to the relationship between the two countries.

According to Trump, the tax would inadvertently cause Mexico to pay for it, although it that is not the case. An import tax would actually harm American consumers more than it would Mexico since Americans would have to pay more for Mexican goods.

In addition the 45 foot wall that is promised by the president won’t actually keep out as many immigrants as previously thought. Around 40 percent of all undocumented immigrants enter the US by air travel. A wall would also be ineffective because most immigrants that are currently in the US had legal visas at one point, but decided to stay in the US longer than allowed.

Building such a wall would also be incredibly difficult because the Rio Grande River lines most of the border so a wall can’t be built in the water.

Trump’s solution is to place a fence instead of a wall, but his wall supporters are upset that he is changing his promise of a wall.

Building such a wall would also be an enormous construction project, and with construction comes environmental disaster.

According to a study by MIT, the wall would cost an upwards of $40 billion, the production of concrete could produce as much as 3.7 million tons of CO2, and the steel could produce up to 4.1 million tons of CO2.

Trump’s Cabinet
Trump’s Secretary of State is former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson who lacks any government or military experience. He does, though,  have a decades long business relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a former Alabama Senator who shared his support for Trump early in his campaign. He was confirmed in a 52-47 vote, despite facing allegations of racism. Current controversy surrounds him after reports surfaced of him meeting with a Russian ambassador, after he denied any meetings with Russians during the campaign.

Betsy DeVos was confirmed for Secretary of Education by Vice President Mike Pence who broke the 50-50 vote in the Senate.  Even after her interviews with the Senate’s health, education, labor, and pensions committee which showed her lack of  knowledge of education issues, Trump stuck with his choice.      

Trump’s Supreme Court pick is Neil Gorsuch. He was appointed for the court of appeals in the 10th circuit by George W. Bush in 2006 and nominated by Trump on Jan. 31 to replace Judge Antonin Scalia’s position after his death on Feb. 3, 2016.

Stephen Bannon is a former banker and filmmaker who serves as the White House Chief Strategist and assistant to the president. He also served as an executive chair of Breitbart News, which is a far right news, opinion, and commentary website.

White House Press Secretary and Communications Director Sean Spicer has a contentious relationship with the media and has been mocked for his “alternative facts.”

China Policy
It is well known that Trump despises China and the many threats that our nation’s largest trade partner poses to us. Many of the accusations he made about China have been somewhat false, pointing to the loss of jobs due to outsourcing when it is in fact due to increased automation. Other claims made by more notable sources have shown China does pose a risk to US security.

US leaders have recognized, although not explicitly, that the nation of Taiwan is an independent democracy of China. China’s position is that there is only one Chinese government, which is known as the One China policy.

Trump broke diplomatic ties by accepting a call from the Taiwanese government before being inaugurated. By accepting the call, Trump is destabilizing American relations with China.

China and a few other countries, such as Russia and North Korea, are threats to national security. Currently, in the South China Sea, China has been constructing artificial islands close to the US territory border in the region. Our government is concerned because China has weapons and other military supplies on the islands.

This has not sat well with Trump and the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Both are open to a possibility that the US may have to go to war with China within the next decade for the sake of national security.

North Korea has already shown they have the technology to hit US territories in the area and possibly Hawaii, and with China being extremely more advanced, the damaged could be worse.

Environmental Policy
Currently, Trump has not been an advocate for the environment. One of the first executive orders that Trump enacted was an order to cut around $800 million from the Environmental Protection Agency and freeze all current actions.

He has also done this with the Department of Interior by not allowing any department to publicly make statements. Most notably, Trump criticized the Department of Interior for providing facts on the size of his inauguration crowd size, when they compared it side to side with Obama’s; Trump’s crowd size was much smaller.

Cutting funding from the Environmental Protection Agency will be detrimental to the well being of the planet because the US is one of the world’s biggest polluters and without proper funding, regulation could begin to relax and the state of the Earth could get worse.

Another executive order that Trump pushed forward was to reverse Obama’s bill to continue construction on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Oil Pipeline. DAPL has generated renewed controversy in the past few months because construction is set to go through one of the few remaining, and small, Native American Reservations in the US. Building this pipeline would cause the water and soil quality in the area to deteriorate which does not fare well for the people of that reservation who live and technically have sovereignty there.

Not only is building the pipeline detrimental for the environment, it exacerbates the poor relationship between US government and Native Americans.

In late January 2017, President Donald J. Trump enacted executive orders that many citizens and officials considered unconstitutional and unAmerican. From top left going clockwise: A wall currently exists between Mexico and United States, but Trump wants to reconstruct it and to make it bigger. Protests took place in airports across the nation when Trump’s travel ban took effect. Protests emerged after Trump revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline that cuts through a Native American reservation and threatens their only water supply. Chinese government creates artificial islands with weapons and military supplies that closely borders the US territory line in the Pacific ocean. Photo collage by Andreas Casillas