Rogues Gallery: Jeff Sessions. Scott Pruitt. Rex Tillerson.

President Donald Trump has issued executive orders as his chief method of bringing about change.  In past administrations, presidents such as Barack Obama used executive orders when they faced strong political opposition in Congress.  Trump was elected with a Republican majority in the Senate and the House. Yet, he appears to bask in the applause of supporters in the Oval Office as he holds up each signed order to be photographed. The members of his cabinet who then have the responsibility to carry out the orders are usually next to him at the signings. Since many of his orders concern The Justice Department, The Environmental Protection Agency and The State Department, Jeff Sessions, Scott Pruitt and Rex Tillerson are often at his side.

It is interesting to review the work each has done since being sworn into their important Cabinet positions: United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions,  E.P.A. Secretary Scott Pruitt and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. There are other heavy weight departments like Treasury, Commerce, Education and Transportation, but most of the executive orders were not in those areas.

Jeff Sessions.  On February 8, 2017,  Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions was confirmed as  United States Attorney General by a party line vote of 52 to 47.  His earlier record of  a  denied federal judgeship in the l980’s  was discussed as part of the divided  senate deliberation. Sessions had been a close surrogate of Donald Trump throughout the campaign.  Once installed, he reflected Trump’s overall aim to overturn Barack Obama’s initiatives throughout the federal government.  In his first speech in February, Sessions said, “ government needed to help police departments get better,  not diminish their effectiveness.”   Elsewhere, he did admit to questioners that he had not read recent reports on Ferguson or Chicago.

On April 3, 2017,  Sessions instructed the Justice Department to review Consent Decrees  in more than a dozen cities, including Ferguson, Newark, Chicago and New Orleans.  The DOJ also filed a motion for a 90 day postponement of a decree with Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody there. The  Consent decrees were created as part of the 1994 crime bill to address situations in which a “pattern or practice of the police violated citizens rights.”  A consent decree allows the Justice Department to step in when one of the country’s 18,000 law enforcement departments goes seriously awry. Since 1994, seventy police and sheriff ‘s departments have come under investigation; forty one entered into reform agreements including consent decrees.  By April, 2017, police departments in fifteen cities were under federal oversight.   In mid-April while meeting with civil rights advocates , Sessions complained that “oversight penalized entire departments for the actions of a few officers.”  He said the Justice Department had found no systematic abuse in 24 of its investigations and declined to pursue oversight.

Los Angeles,  Baltimore and Chicago all attest to improvement from the Consent decrees. Los Angeles had enacted reforms, and public approval of the police has risen as a result.  Chigato’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel said, “We’re on the road to reform and we’re not getting off!” Baltimore’s police commissioner,  Kevin Davis, said he was “ disappointed” by Sessions action.  He added, the city would benefit from a federal monitor who held “its feet to the fire” on reform.

Border Security.  On Tuesday, April 12, Jeff Sessions went to the border in Arizona and declared it a “hellscape, a ground zero” where Americans must “take our stand” against a “tide of evil” flooding up from Mexico.  When he reached the part about “the criminal aliens, and the coyotes, and the document forgers” overthrowing our immigration system, the large American flag behind him fell over backwards from its stand!   An agent rushed to rescue it and stood holding it for the rest of Sessions speech. A reporter wrote,  “Old Glory had heard enough!”

Sessions ordered all 94 U.S. attorney’ offices to designate “border security coordinators”, no matter how far they are from “ground zero”  The actual crimes they pursue are usually nonviolent offenses, unauthorized entry, document fraud, and other  minor misdeeds   Illegal border entry from Mexico has been falling for 20 years. In his Arizona speech, Sessions summed up: “Be forewarned.  This is a new era.  This is the Trump era!”

Other important targets are the ‘Sanctuary Cities’ who have reacted to Trump’s obsession  that  millions of Mexican undocumented immigrants voted against him in the 2016 election.   Sessions threatens these cities with withholding of DOJ funds and many cities have already raised alternative dollars from local sources to meet that threat.

Harsher charges and penalties for non-violent crimes.  In early May, Sessions released  guidelines in a memo that were a drastic shift from the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. during the Obama administration.  The new direction runs counter to the growing consensus among law enforcement and legal experts in the nation.  The current view is that excessive incarceration for minor offenses and increasing prison populations are too costly in tax dollars as well as harmful to families and communities.  Sessions has always beem a tough-on-crime advocate. Now he is urging prosecutors to pursue the toughest penalties possible. He has been against reducing mandatory minimum sentences for low-level non-violent drug offenses for years. However, bi-partisan support for this legislation has grown in the Senate. Final factor is that Trump has put Jared Kushner in charge of working on a criminal justice overhaul.

Eric Holder in 2013 took aim at drug sentencing rules. He encouraged prosecutors to consider the individual circumstances of a case and to exercise discretion in charging drug crimes.  In cases of nonviolent defendants with insignificant criminal histories and no connection to criminal organizations, He also instructed prosecutors to omit details of drug quantities so as to avoid harsher penalties automatically. Eric Holder called Sessions policy “unwise and ill- informed”.  Some within the Republican party also criticized the Sessions memo.  Senator Mike Lee of Utah labeled the overhaul of the Justice Department a conservative issue.  He wrote on Twitter,  “To be tough on crime, we have to be smart on crime.”

Epilogue. Perhaps, Jeff Sessions has become most famous as Attorney General for his comment to Mark Levin on his conservative talk radio show in late April. They were discussing the failure of president Trump’s second attempt at a Travel Ban against Muslims from six nations.   It had been blocked by federal Judge Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii who issued an injunction that was effective worldwide.  Sessions remarked,  “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of The United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.”

Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter: “Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity and immigrant experience —including my own. Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant and dangerous.”  Brian Schatz, the other senator who is also a Democrat, wrote in Twitter: ‘Mr. Attorney General, you voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

…………………………………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

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Welcome to The Fantasy World of Voter Fraud!

On May 11, 2017, Donald Trump  signed an executive order creating The Election Integrity Commission to combat voter fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law called this action a “sham” the very day the announcement was made. The Brennan Center, founded 25 years ago, is the premier authority on The Voting Rights Act of l965, Voter ID laws,  Restricting the Vote, Redistricting and  “The Myth of Voter Fraud”.

History: November, 2000 marked the controversial presidential election results between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Weeks  stretched on before The Supreme Court stopped the chaotic vote count in Florida and declared George W. Bush president on the basis of his electoral vote total.  Al Gore won the popular national vote, but he did not dispute the decision although many Democrats urged him to do so. George W. Bush moved on with his job and never raised the issue of voter fraud during or after the election.

On November 8, 2016, Donald J. Trump won the election with over 270 electoral votes to become president.  Hillary Clinton brought in 2.8 million more popular votes when they were all counted.  Ever since winning, the president has been obsessed with the size of the crowds at his inauguration and “the millions of people” who voted him into office.  He has challenged Clinton’s popular majority vote by claiming that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally for her in California and other western states. The subject of voter fraud is one that he always brings up in interviews to support his claim that he is the “majority” president.  He repeats it at victory rallies since the election, basking in the adoration of the crowds who invoke the “Lock her up” chant of the campaign.

In Arizona, Republican secretary of state, Michele Reagan, said that her state “didn’t have widespread voter fraud.”  In New Mexico, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said that the president’s allegations were “simply not true.” The American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) filed a legal request of the White House showing “concrete evidence “ of fraudulent voting.

At the Brennan Center, there was concern that Trump’s  charge of “voter fraud by illegals” in the 2016 election would harm faith in the election system.  They decided to prove once more that allegations of “widespread fraud” specifically noncitizen voting” were untrue. Over four months, they gathered facts from the officials who administer elections in the cities and counties with the largest numbers of noncitizens in the country.  Across the 42 jurisdictions in their study of the 2016 election, they tabulated over 22 million votes. They documented 30 suspected incidents of noncitizens voting.  As a percentage, this breaks down to 0.0001 % of all ballots counted. That’s one in 800,000 chance of voter fraud.  A Texas election official dismissed Trump’s claims as “much ado about nothing.”

There was deep irony in the title of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.  Vice President Mike Pence is the head of the Commission and his spokesman Marc Lotter brought that out when he said that “voter suppression” would be among the topics studied by the commission which would take a wide-ranging look at the problems at the state and national levels.  This broad aim was not in Trump’s order. He made no mention of voter suppression or voting restrictions, only “improper” or “fraudulent registration” as issues to be explored.

Trump named Kris Kobach, Kansas secretary of state, who has championed the strictest voter I.D. laws in the country to be vice-chair of the commission. “Selecting Kris Kobach as vice-chair reflects exactly the kind of discriminatory witch hunt people can expect from this commission” , said the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi of California.  Kobach was behind a Kansas law requiring new voters to produce a passport or birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship in order to cast a ballot. In 2016, he worked to disqualify the state and local votes of thousands of people who did not meet those criteria.  He has alleged voter fraud without producing any proof.

Voter Suppression should be the main subject that the Election Integrity Commission investigates. It began in earnest after the 2000 election and has grown steadily since then, fueled by laws passed in the state legislatures.    It is a 21st Century phenomenon and a dangerous threat to the health and strength of our democracy.

We have come a long way from the voter suppression of the 19th and 20th centuries: poll taxes,  grandfather’s clause, intimidation, cross burnings,  literacy tests, violence and lynchings. Women finally gained the right to vote with the 19th Amendment in 1920.  The Civil Rights Movement in the 50’s and 60’s led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965. John Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement and current Representative from Georgia, calls “The Right To Vote the heart of our democracy.”

After the chaotic 2000 election 19 states passed laws that required ID for all voters with photo or non-photo ID accepted in most states.  Six states required photo ID: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota.  Indiana passed the country’s strictest law, requiring the ID meet four criteria to be acceptable: driver’s license, passport, state issued ID and some other government issued photo ID. This law was challenged in the courts by the Democratic Party and A.C.L.U. They presented evidence that the rationale – to prevent voter impersonation fraud –was not supported by fact. There had never been a case of voter fraud proven in Indiana! They argued that the purpose of the law, passed by the Republican legislature was to suppress voting by poor, elderly, minority and disabled citizens – groups that usually voted Democratic. The law reached the Supreme Court and was upheld with Chief Justice Roberts in the majority.

After Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the Midterm elections in 2010 resulted in Republican control of many state legislatures.  A group financed by the Koch Brothers, ALEC, The American Legislative Council,  approached the state legislators holding  seminars and presenting proposals for laws to increase conservative aims and programs.  They were very successful launching voter ID laws to reduce the number of young, minority, elderly and the poor in the 2012 election.  Election analysts reported those groups were the least likely to have a driver’s license or a passport.

ALEC also had learned that early voting accounted for one third of all registered voters in states that offered that option. By 2011, five states cut back their early voting, including Florida which cut early voting from 14 to 8 days and eliminated the Sunday before election day, known as “Souls to the Polls” by African American churches. Georgia cut early voting from 45 to 21 days and Maine stopped voters from registering to vote on election day which had enrolled 60,000 new voters in 2008.

During the 2016 election campaign , North Carolina’s Republican legislature cut certain voting districts that served primarily African American voters from sixteen to one district!  When Donald Trump won the state, civil rights groups challenged the law in court.  The suit reached the appeals court of the Fourth Circuit which struck down the law as an “effort to target African Americans with almost surgical precision”.  On Monday, May 16, 2017, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, turning back one of the most restrictive state laws written to counter what they called widespread voter fraud. The law rejected ID forms used disproportionately by African Americans including IDs used by government employees, students and people receiving public assistance.  The headline in the New York Times article: “Justices Thwart Strict ID Law That Unevenly Hurt Blacks” ran above the picture of  African Americans celebrating at their church in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson

Will Trumpcare be The Third Rail for Republicans and The President?

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president during the Great Depression, created Social Security in 1935 as one of the most significant laws of his New Deal. All presidents who followed F.D.R. realized how important Social Security was to the American people.  It overcame what Will Rogers called “going to the poor house in an automobile.”  All people who work  would  contribute a percent of their earnings to the F.D.I.C. (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) which insures against bank failures.  When they reached 62 or 65, they could retire with an income from their earned savings.  It was not an “entitlement” a term that politicians often use.   Few presidents after F.D.R. have tried to make changes in Social Security, fearing it would lead to major losses of support and votes in future elections.  George W. Bush flirted with certain possible “adjustments” in his first term that never came to fruition.  He avoided the danger of stepping on “The Third Rail.”

Donald J. Trump boasted during the campaign that he would repeal and replace Obamacare with “a plan that would cover EVERYBODY and LOWER COSTS.”  When he later turned his attention to health care during his first l00 days,  he commented, “We didn’t realize the complexity.”  He also insisted Obamacare was dying and would soon collapse.  The facts do not support this false assertion.  Millions of people are healthier with Obamacare.  And public opinion has shifted. National polls show that the majority of Americans are positive about the benefits of The Affordable Care Act.   This became very evident when T.V. covered  town meetings of Congressional representatives and senators. Thousands of women and men waved  “Save A.C.A.” signs and shouted A.C.A., A.C.A. at the speakers.  They told personal stories of family members lives being saved.  The Indivisibles , groups that oppose Trump policies, camped outside offices of their Representatives across the country in support of Obamacare.

The Republicans first attempt to pass a replacement to Obamacare resulted in  failure when Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill, knowing they didn’t have the votes.   The House Representatives were split , with the very conservative Freedom Caucus opposed. Trump was furious and wanted to punish them.  He had gone to The House and warned them,  “Vote or you’ll be stuck with Obamacare!”  After he calmed down, he announced that he would not set Health Care aside.

In the weeks that followed,  House members began to make major changes to attract the Freedom Caucus members.  Obamacare had a list of “Essential Provisions”. The changes, called amendments, cut some very popular provisions from that list.  “Pre-existing Conditions” is one of the most important provisions that people have cited as saving family lives under Obamacare.   Millions of Americans struggle with Cancer, different types and stages,  Asthma and other respiratory diseases,   Heart disease,  Diabetes, Arthritis,  Multiple Sclerosis,  Muscular Dystrophy , Mental Illness,  Drug Addiction, Autism…. There were ninety one different Pre-existing Conditions covered by Obamacare.  Under Trumpcare, that guarantee of coverage would no longer exist.  Instead, each state could decide whether to issue a waiver that could raise the cost of the coverage .  Other Essentials were also dropped or changed.

Another crucial change could eliminate the subsidies that the federal government provides to the states that offer Medicaid under Obamacare to their people.   Certain Republican governors joined the Democratic governors in offering Medicaid.  Governor Kasich of Ohio has deep concerns about the 850 thousand men, women and children in Ohio who will lose coverage if Trump pulls the 90 percent federal subsidies from the state. He has indicated he may do that.

The heart of Trumpcare is to take dollars from Medicaid and turn them into a tax cut for the richest Americans.  That includes the Trump family, of course. The bill would cut $880 billion dollars over ten years from Medicaid which provides health care to 74 million poor, disabled and elderly Americans.  As a result, 26 million fewer people would have access to health care by 2026 according to the Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.) analysis of the earlier bill with similar Medicaid provisions.  That threat of millions losing health care they have finally gained in Obama care is fueling the growing Resistance Movement  across the country.  The Republicans rushed their revision through before the  C.B.O. had a chance to score the new version which will probably cause larger numbers of Americans to lose health care by 2026. Many House members also admitted they had not read it; aides had scanned it.

On Thursday, April 4, the House Health Care bill narrowly passed: 217 to 213.  Twenty moderate Republicans voted against the bill.  It now goes to the Senate where four Republican senators of their 52 have already said they would not support it.   Others are skeptical at best.  Some have said they will start from scratch  to write a new bill.  When one considers that Obamacare was created and written by health experts working with the legislators to craft their bill, one wonders how  senators will have the knowledge to do that.  Barack Obama brought   in doctors, nurses, health experts, insurance and pharmaceutical representatives  to work on his bill.  It took many months.  Then it was presented to the House and Senate for extended discussion and debate.  Eventually, The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama.

It is ironic that thirteen senators, all men. have been chosen to produce their version of a health care bill. Three of the four Republican senators opposed to the House bill are women. One wonders why they were not chosen to be on the newly formed committee. Much of health care is of particular concern to women.
There is a section in the House bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.  That cuts funding for mammograms to screen for cancer,  birth control and other vital services for 2.5 million people, mostly women.

After the House bill passed,  Trump gathered supporters at the White House to celebrate the victory.  The picture flashed across the country and the world showing a phalanx of well dressed white men, most older and rich, with only two women off to the side.  Trump stood front and center with his arms outstretched, a triumphant smile on his face. He had finally chalked up a legislative achievement in his first hundred days.  Members Of Congress went home for another long recess.  They were immediately met by angry voters who had followed the House vote on television.  Representative Raul Labrador was met by hundreds of people at a packed town meeting on Friday nite, May 5 in Idaho.   An angry woman demanded to know why Pre-existing Conditions was no longer guaranteed coverage in the new bill.  His reply, “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to Health Care” went viral in seconds across cable TV and social media.  He had become famous — or infamous instantly.

I thought of “The Art of The Deal”, when Donald Trump said that playing to people’s fantasies and promising the greatest product was an “innocent form of exaggeration.”  In this case, he had promised “health care for everybody with lower costs”  over and over during his campaign.  Now, it could come back to haunt him and Republicans in Congress when they run for re-election in the 2018 Midterms and  the 2020 Presidential year.  They may all discover a new version of The Third Rail in United States politics.

…………………………………………………………………………………… Joyce S. Anderson

To: James B.Comey, J’accuse…!

Prologue: As Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey  supervises 50 state field offices in large cities and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  His responsibilities are broad and significant.  He reports directly to the United States Attorney General at the Department of Justice.  His job is to oversee the development and completion of appropriate investigations. The next step is to give his findings to the U.S. Attorney General.  James Comey was appointed to his current position in 2013 by President Barack Obama. During the hard fought 2016 presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,   Director Comey became a controversial figure.

Act One:  As the  presidential campaign unfolded, it became known that Secretary Clinton had used a private server for emails,  following the practice of former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell.  Bernie Sanders, her opponent in the Democratic primary, said in a debate, “The American people are sick and tired of your damn emails!”  This brought much laughter and a hug from Clinton who agreed and thanked him for his good natured response.  However, when Donald Trump became her opponent in 2015,  the email issue emerged as  one of his favorite attack lines, calling her “Crooked Hillary”  and inviting a chant of  “Lock her up!” from his supporters at the Republican convention and  rallies that followed.

The F.B.I. interest in Clinton’s emails began in July 2015 when the intelligence community learned that classified information had been found on certain e-mails. On July 10, the F.B. I. opened an investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information.   The investigation lasted into the summer of 2016.  By the end of June, agents finally interviewed Clinton aides and Hillary, who was interviewed for over three hours on July 3.  On the morning of July 5, Comey called Attorney General Lynch and said he was going to hold a news conference.  He did not tell her what he planned to say.  As  his superior, she did not insist he tell her.

The F.B.I. summoned reporters to their headquarters in D.C. for the briefing from Director Comey.   A few blocks away, Hillary was about to give a speech.  At the Justice Department, prosecutors and F.B.I. agents watched anxiously.  All Cable TV stations carried Comey’s conference  live.  Comey strode into a large room in  the F. B. I. building and stood in front of two American flags and two royal blue F.B.I. flags.  At six foot  8, he was a commanding figure.  He read his remarks from a script in a firm, clear voice for fifteen minutes.  Comey said F.B.I. agents had reviewed 30,000 emails and found 110 that contained classified information.  He added that computer hackers may have compromised her emails. He criticized the State Department’s lax security culture and Secretary Clinton directly.  He called Clinton and her aides “extremely careless” in their handling of the emails. This became the most quoted phrase by TV and press reporters. Many listeners said later they expected him to announce criminal charges as Trump had been urging for months. That did not happen.  In the last two minutes, Comey explained that the agents had found no criminal “intent”.  Therefore, Comey said, “no charges are appropriate in this case.”

Comey had broken established Justice Department rules of procedure.  His job was to give the F.B.I. investigation findings to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  She would then decide if further action was warranted.  Donald Trump called the system “ rigged” and rejected Comey’s failure to bring criminal charges.  Comey followed it up with a meeting a few days later with angry Republicans in the House of Representatives. He assured them he would keep them abreast of any further revelations. Throughout the rest of the heated campaign, Trump wielded  Comey’s remarks as a constant refrain. Hillary had been “extremely careless” and could not be trusted as president.

Act Two.  October 28, 2016 was only eleven days before November 8, Election Day.  The polls showed Clinton with a clear lead. Almost all forecasters predicted she would have a strong victory in the Electoral College. Then,  James Comey called a second press conference to announce that thousands of emails from Anthony Weiner , husband of Clinton’s top aide had included  some involving Hillary Clinton.  Therefore, he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails.  This BREAKING NEWS on all cable stations was immediately lableled a violation of a long standing  tradition in the political world: There could be no information or introduction of news that would roil the campaign within sixty days of the election.  This tradition, that had been followed for 50 years, was inscribed in writing by Attorney General Eric Holder during the Obama years.  It was FORBIDDEN  by Justice Department rules to do what James Comey did that day.

In the days that followed, it became known that Loretta Lynch and her deputies had urged Comey not to reopen the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Donald Trump chortled and embraced Comey after castigating him for months.  Hillary Clinton kept to her schedule of rallies and  speeches.  She even moved into red states  that appeared to be turning blue. The polls continued to show she was leading Trump in both Electoral College votes and the Popular Vote. But the margin  had narrowed.

Act Three:  On Sunday, November 6, two days before Election Day,  Director Comey sent a final letter to Congress.  He said his agents had worked their way through thousands of emails and “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusion that we reached in July.”   James Comey did not vote on Election Day, records show. The first time he ever skipped a national election.  Hillary Clinton said, “Our analysis is that Comey’s letter, raising doubts that were groundless, baseless… stopped our momentum.”  She pointed to polling data that showed late deciding voters choosing Trump in large  numbers.

Epilogue:  We have learned since the election that James Comey and the F.B. I. were beginning their investigation of possible collusion between the Russians and the Trump Campaign in July, 2016 when he held his first News Conference about Hillary Clinton.   This investigation continues and has become a major news story during the First Hundred Days.  When asked why he didn’t say anything before the election about this, he answers that it was not completed at the time. Comey continues to stand by his news conferences and letters to Congress  about Clinton’s emails. He told Senate Judiciary members  he is “mildly nauseous”  at the idea he swayed votes and caused Hillary Clinton to be the loser in the election, making Donald Trump president! Each citizen can make his or her own judgment on that question. I have made mine as reflected in the title of this blog.

……………………………………………………………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

“First Hundred Days”: Resistance to President Trump Grows!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the record when he took office in 1933 during the Great Depression and passed fifteen major pieces of legislation. Ever since then, presidents have been measured by that daunting standard and have reacted in different ways.  John F. Kennedy tried to lower expectations when he said on Inauguration Day, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days, nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days.”  Barack Obama looked ahead on the night he was elected and said, “We may not get there in one year, or even one term.”  Donald J. Trump didn’t wait for the 100 days mark.  He boasted in mid April , “ No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.”  Now, as the 100 day deadline approaches, he has reversed himself saying, “It’s an artificial barrier.  Not very meaningful.  A  ridiculous standard.”

Trump had set himself up in October when he issued a “Contract With the American Voter,  which he called “my l00 day action plan to Make America Great Again.”   He certainly has been very busy in the Oval Office:  taking the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific- Partnership Trade agreement and signing 25 executive orders  reversing many of Obama’s regulations on the environment.  He enjoys holding each one up to be photographed for Cable News coverage.  Trump has also signed 28 bills into law concerning teacher preparation, land management and federal procurement.  His appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is his one major accomplishment.  The important promises he made repeatedly throughout the campaign at his rallies have not happened. Two Muslim Travel Bans were stalled by Federal Judges.  The much touted Wall on the Mexican border has not been started.  The Repeal and Replace Obamacare bill failed to even reach a vote in The House of Representatives.  Another promise to change or scrap NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has not occurred.

Of, the ten major pieces of legislation Trump had vowed to pass, only one had been introduced – Healthcare. “None have been passed – not a single one—and nine haven’t been sent to the  Congress” said Ronald A. Klein,  top White House aide under Obama and Bill Clinton. “If Trump finds himself hoisted on the 100-day test,  it is a petard that he erected for himself.”

Saturday, January 21, the day following Donald Trump’s inauguration as president,  American women, men and children marched in the millions across the country in cities and towns to proclaim their resistance to his election.  These were the largest marches in United States history. They began a Resistance Movement  that has built steadily since that day.  Resistance to President Trump has taken many forms and appears to strengthen and increase.  Television coverage and commentary keep the public informed as Town Meetings and Representatives’ offices are besieged by unhappy voters.  They protested, “ACA! ACA! “  Affordable Care Act, when Congress was considering replacing Obamacare.  Citizens were vocal and angry as they told personal stories of lives being saved.

Voters camp outside offices and flood telephone lines to their Representatives and Senators for many reasons.  They are dismayed that EPA regulations on clean air and water are being overturned by executive orders.  They are extremely unhappy with the choice of  Betsy De Vos to be Secretary of Education since she favors charter schools over public schools. Hundreds of people marched across the states and petitioned senators to stop her appointment. It passed by only  one vote – Jeff Sessions— on the day before he became Attorney General.  Mitch McConnell, Republican majority leader, postponed Sessions assuming office so that his vote could be counted.

Trump’s approval rating fell into the mid 30’s. It rose to 40% after he launched a bomb strike at a Syrian airport in retaliation for Assad gassing his people. At 40%, it is the lowest by far of any modern president at the 100 day mark. (Obama was at 61%)  John Cassiday wrote in The New Yorker about the Resistance Movement,  “Indeed, what is striking is how many people Trump has mobilized who previously didn’t pay much attention to what was happening in Washington. He has politicized many formerly apolitical people; ultimately, this may be among his biggest achievements as president.”

During the Spring recess,  members of Congress returned to their districts to find voters filled with anxiety and anger at town hall meetings.  Two  Republican senators are seen as vulnerable in the 2018 election:  Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona.  Heller in a state that Hillary carried,  wavered on his support for Planned Parenhood funding at a town hall  meeting in Reno.   Chants arose of “Answer the  question!”   Jeff Flake was also harangued at a town hall in Mesa on Planned Parenthood funding.  Women and men shouted over and over, “You work for us!”  Trump’s failure to release his tax returns was another hot issue for senators and representatives.  Senator Tom Cotton, a strong Trump supporter, was booed heavily when he defended Trump’s refusal, saying, “As far as I’m  aware, the president says he’s still under audit.”  Loud jeers erupted at  this answer.  People have known since the campaign that the  I.R.S. affirms that an audit is not an impediment to releasing tax returns.

Other signs have buoyed hopes of the Resistance Movement .  Two very close House elections  in solid red states, Kansas and Georgia resulted in a razor- thin 7 point victory in Kansas, and a run-off in Georgia where the Democrat nearly garnered  50% for victory.   Two national polls also showed resistance to Trump was spreading fast among young voters.  A Gallup poll released in mid-April found that the percentage of respondents age 18-34 who believed Trump keeps his promises fell sharply, 22 points in the two months from early February to early April, from 56 percent  to 34 percent.  In addition,  Pew Research Center surveyed young people 18 to 29.  They gave Trump his highest disapproval rating of 63 percent of any age group.

Wired magazine reported in April that “the resistance is weaponizing data” with the emergence of a new tool Flippable.  It finds and designates which districts are the most competitive for Democrats and allows donors to target those districts. Finally, Time magazine reported in early April, “For more than 15,000 students  across the country Wednesday marked the first day of Resistance School —a program where the educational focus is mobilizing against President Donald Trump’s administration.” The school was organized by a group of Harvard graduate students and offers “lessons on mobilizing activists and sustaining long term resistance.”

April 15: Marches for Trump Tax Returns.  In over 200 cities, American citizens turned out on Saturday in huge numbers across the country to protest Donald Trump’s failure to release his tax returns.   Despite Trump insisting that people “are not interested” in his taxes, polls consistently show 74 percent want him to do just that.  In San Francisco,  an enormous chicken was blown up and displayed to make him look ridiculous and cowardly.  Some commentators reminded everyone how Trump smirked during the debates and said, “That’s smart!” to find ways to avoid paying taxes.

The March for Science: On Saturday, April 24, protest marches took place in hundreds of United States cities and around the world in Europe and Asia.  The kick-off began in Washington D.C. where thousands of scientists and their supporters gathered to call on the American people to stand up for scientific research.   As they streamed toward the capitol, they chanted, “Save the E.P.A.”  and “Save the N.I. H”.  They carried signs listing diseases that no longer occur due to vaccines… One read, “If you think research is expensive, try disease!”

During his campaign, Trump called climate change a “ hoax created by the Chinese”, and attacked the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as encroaching on American sovereignty.   He also cast suspicion on the validity of vaccines.  Once elected, he appointed cabinet members who were anti-science.  Secretary Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency had led lawsuits against the E.P.A. as a state attorney general. In his Budget, Trump would cut the E.P.A by 31 percent, and eliminate a quarter of the 15,000 employees. The N.I.H., National Institutes of Health would lose 18 percent of their funding. In Boston, where many work in hospitals and biomedical firms, thousands marched in a cold rain.  Students from Harvard and M.I.T. marched over a bridge from Cambridge, chanting, “What do we want?  Science!” Dr. George Daley, dean of the Harvard Medical School, said, The proposed cuts would have a “cataclysmic effect” on the state’s economy.

Epilogue:  Denis Hayes, the principal organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, said, “You have a clear enemy.  You’ve got a president, who, along with his vice president, his cabinet and his party leadership in both houses of Congress have a strong anti-environmental agenda. He’s basically  trying to roll back everything that we’ve tried to do in the last half century.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson