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  • Denis Pepin

76 Reasons Why Trump Shouldn't Be President Again - Part 2

Updated: Mar 30



The United States Capitol building at night with a stormy sky and lightning bolts in the background.
The US Capitol in peril: a powerful image of the fragility of democracy and the danger of authoritarianism in the United States.

48. Handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico:


President Donald Trump faced widespread criticism for his handling of Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm that devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in damages. He was accused of being slow, inadequate, and insensitive in his response to the humanitarian and economic crisis, and of being hostile and dismissive of the Puerto Rican people and their leaders.


One of the main criticisms was that Trump failed to provide sufficient and timely federal aid and support for Puerto Rico, which was already struggling with a debt crisis and a weak infrastructure before the hurricane. He delayed the declaration of a major disaster, which would have activated more federal resources and assistance. He also imposed restrictions and conditions on the aid, such as requiring Puerto Rico to pay a share of the costs, and limiting the duration and scope of the relief programs. He also withheld and obstructed the disbursement of the congressionally approved funds, citing concerns about corruption and mismanagement in Puerto Rico.


Another criticism was that Trump showed a lack of empathy and respect for the Puerto Rican people and their suffering, and that he blamed and attacked them for their problems. He downplayed the severity and the impact of the hurricane, and exaggerated the success and the generosity of his administration’s response. He also disputed and dismissed the official death toll of nearly 3,000 people, and accused the Puerto Rican government and the Democrats of inflating the numbers to make him look bad6 He also made controversial and insensitive remarks during his visit to the island, such as throwing paper towels to the crowd, complaining about the cost of the recovery, and comparing Maria to a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina.


Trump’s handling of Hurricane Maria was widely criticized for being an attempt to deny and deflect responsibility for the failure of his administration to adequately respond to the disaster, and for being an insult and an injury to the Puerto Rican people, who are U.S. citizens and deserve equal treatment and respect. His actions were seen as a violation of his oath of office and his duty to protect and serve the American people, as well as a manifestation of his racism and ignorance towards the Puerto Rican culture and history. His actions were also seen as a detriment to the recovery and the resilience of Puerto Rico, which still faces many challenges and needs in the aftermath of the hurricane.




 49. Inflammatory Comments on Twitter:


Trump’s use of Twitter was often criticized for being inflammatory and divisive, as he frequently posted false, misleading, or controversial statements that provoked outrage, backlash, or ridicule from his opponents, critics, or the public. He also used Twitter to attack, insult, or mock his perceived enemies, such as political rivals, journalists, celebrities, or foreign leaders. He also used Twitter to spread conspiracy theories, incite violence, or undermine democracy and the rule of law

Some examples of his inflammatory comments on Twitter are:


On August 23, 2017, he retweeted a meme of himself “eclipsing” former President Barack Obama, with the caption “The best eclipse ever”.


On September 30, 2017, he attacked the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulín Cruz, who had criticized his administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, calling her “nasty” and accusing her of “poor leadership”.


On October 1, 2017, he mocked the late-night TV host Stephen Colbert, calling him “no-talent” and “fake news”.


On November 29, 2017, he retweeted three anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British group, Britain First, which were later debunked as inaccurate or misleading.


On January 2, 2018, he boasted about the size and power of his “nuclear button” in response to a threat from the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who had said he had a nuclear button on his desk.


On January 11, 2018, he reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “shithole countries” during a meeting on immigration, and suggested that the U.S. should instead accept more immigrants from countries like Norway.


On July 14, 2019, he told four Democratic congresswomen of color, known as “the Squad”, to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came”, even though three of them were born in the U.S. and one was a naturalized citizen.


On October 17, 2019, he called the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “a third rate politician” and “a very sick person” during a meeting on Syria, and later tweeted a photo of her standing up to him, with the caption “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown”.


On May 26, 2020, he accused a TV host and former congressman, Joe Scarborough, of being involved in the death of a former staffer in 2001, despite the lack of any evidence or connection.


On May 29, 2020, he threatened to use military force against the protesters in Minneapolis, who were demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, saying “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.


On November 7, 2020, he refused to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden, and falsely claimed that he won by a “landslide” and that the election was “rigged” and “stolen” by widespread voter fraud.


On January 6, 2021, he incited his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to stop the certification of Biden’s victory, and later praised them as “very special” and “great patriots” after they stormed the building and caused violence and chaos.


Trump’s inflammatory comments on Twitter were widely criticized for being unprofessional, unpresidential, and untruthful, and for having negative consequences for the U.S. and the world. His comments were seen as damaging the U.S. reputation and credibility, undermining the U.S. institutions and values, endangering the U.S. national security and interests, and inflaming the U.S. social and political divisions. His comments were also seen as violating the Twitter rules and policies, and eventually led to his permanent suspension from the platform on January 8, 2021, after Twitter determined that he posed a risk of further incitement of violence.




50. January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot:


On January 6, 2021, a violent mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by Congress. The rioters breached the security barriers, clashed with the police, vandalized the property, and occupied the chambers and offices of the lawmakers. The attack resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer, and more than a hundred injuries. The riot was widely condemned as an insurrection and an assault on American democracy.


Trump was accused of inciting the riot by spreading false claims of election fraud, holding a rally near the White House before the attack, and urging his followers to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to stop the steal. He also failed to condemn the violence and to deploy the National Guard and other federal forces in a timely manner. He initially resisted requests from the lawmakers and his own advisers to tell the rioters to leave the Capitol, and instead expressed his love and appreciation for them. He later issued a video statement telling them to go home peacefully, but still repeated his baseless allegations of a rigged election.


Trump’s role in the riot sparked a political, legal, and social backlash. He was impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time on January 13, 2021, on a charge of incitement of insurrection, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 13, 2021, after a five-day trial, with 57 senators voting to convict him and 43 senators voting to acquit him, falling short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction. Seven Republican senators joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history.


Trump also faced legal consequences for his actions. He was sued by several plaintiffs, including members of Congress, Capitol police officers, and the District of Columbia, for inciting the riot and violating various federal and state laws. He was also criminally investigated by the Department of Justice and the District of Columbia Attorney General for his role in the riot and his attempts to interfere with the election results. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on November 4, 2023, on four counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, tampering with a witness, and conspiracy against the rights of citizens. He pleaded not guilty and claimed that the charges were politically motivated and unconstitutional.


Trump also faced social repercussions for his actions. He was banned or suspended by several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, for violating their policies on inciting violence and spreading misinformation. He was also denounced and ostracized by many of his former allies, supporters, and donors, who distanced themselves from him and his movement. He lost his influence and popularity among the Republican Party and the American public, as his approval ratings plummeted to historic lows. He also faced challenges and opposition from his potential rivals in the 2024 presidential race, who sought to redefine the direction and the future of the GOP .


However, despite the subsequent Capitol Riot indictments and the widespread criticism and condemnation he faced, Trump’s approval rating surprisingly rebounded and rose fairly high in the following months. According to a November 2023 poll by Quinnipiac University, Trump had a narrow edge over Biden in the presidential race, with 48 percent of the voters backing him and 46 percent supporting Biden. This is a significant increase from his all-time low of 29 percent in January 2021, according to the same poll. Trump’s supporters remained loyal and faithful to him, believing that he was the victim of a witch hunt and a deep state conspiracy. However, the economic recovery and the vaccine distribution that occurred during his last year in office were largely due to the efforts and policies of the previous administration and the Congress, not to Trump’s leadership or actions. Trump capitalized on his popularity and announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, vowing to make America great again.



 

51. Lack of Consistency:


One of the most common criticisms of Trump’s presidency and his political career was his lack of consistency on various issues, both domestic and foreign. Trump often changed his positions, contradicted his statements, and reversed his policies, sometimes within hours or days, without explanation or justification. He also ignored or dismissed the facts, the evidence, and the advice of his own experts and officials, and relied instead on his instincts, his impulses, and his personal interests. His inconsistency created confusion, uncertainty, and instability among his allies, his adversaries, and his own administration, and undermined his credibility and his leadership.


Some examples of Trump’s inconsistency include:


On health care, Trump repeatedly promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, with a better and cheaper plan that would cover everyone and protect people with preexisting conditions. However, he never presented such a plan, and instead supported several attempts by the Republicans in Congress to dismantle the ACA, which would have left millions of Americans without health insurance and exposed them to higher costs and lower quality of care. He also undermined the ACA by cutting its funding, weakening its regulations, and expanding its alternatives.


On immigration, Trump campaigned on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and making Mexico pay for it, as well as banning Muslims and refugees from entering the country. However, he failed to deliver on his promises, as he faced legal, financial, and logistical obstacles to his plans. He only built about 80 miles of new fencing, mostly replacing existing barriers, and used U.S. taxpayer money to fund it. He also faced multiple court challenges to his travel bans and his attempts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation. He also flip-flopped on his stance on legal immigration, sometimes supporting a merit-based system and sometimes calling for a reduction or a suspension of immigration.


On trade, Trump pursued an aggressive and protectionist approach, imposing tariffs and sanctions on several countries, including China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, and withdrawing from or renegotiating several trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Paris climate accord. However, he also faced backlash and retaliation from his trading partners, who imposed their own tariffs and sanctions on U.S. goods and services, and challenged his actions at the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also failed to achieve his goals of reducing the U.S. trade deficit, boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector, and creating more jobs and growth for the U.S. economy. He also changed his tone and his tactics with some of his adversaries, such as China and North Korea, sometimes praising and flattering their leaders and sometimes threatening and insulting them.


On foreign policy, Trump adopted an isolationist and unilateralist approach, withdrawing the U.S. from several international organizations and agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the World Health Organization (WHO), and reducing the U.S. role and contribution to NATO and the United Nations. However, he also faced criticism and opposition from his allies and his own administration, who argued that his actions weakened the U.S. leadership and influence in the world, and undermined the U.S. national security and interests. He also failed to deliver on some of his promises, such as ending the U.S. involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and achieving peace and denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East. He also showed a lack of consistency and coherence in his dealings with some of his allies and adversaries, such as Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, sometimes supporting and sometimes confronting them.



 

52. Lack of Enforcement of Russian Sanctions:


One of the main criticisms of the Trump administration’s approach to Russian sanctions was that it failed to fully implement the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was passed by Congress in 2017 with overwhelming bipartisan support. CAATSA imposed mandatory sanctions on Russia for its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, its annexation of Crimea, and its support for the Assad regime in Syria. However, the Trump administration delayed, waived, or ignored some of the sanctions required by the law, such as those targeting Russian oligarchs, intelligence agencies, and defense sectors. The administration also faced criticism for lifting sanctions on three companies linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned for his ties to the Kremlin and involvement in the 2016 election meddling. Critics argued that the administration’s lack of enforcement of Russian sanctions undermined the credibility and effectiveness of the U.S. sanctions policy and sent a signal of weakness to Moscow.



53. National Emergency Declaration for Border Wall:


Another controversial move by the Trump administration was the declaration of a national emergency at the southern border of the United States on February 15, 2019, in order to bypass Congress and obtain additional funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The declaration was made after Congress refused to meet Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for the wall as part of a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown. Trump claimed that the situation at the border was a national security and humanitarian crisis that required urgent action, citing the influx of illegal immigrants, drugs, human traffickers, and criminals8. However, the declaration faced strong opposition from Democrats, some Republicans, and various groups, who challenged its legality, constitutionality, and necessity. They argued that Trump was abusing his executive power, violating the separation of powers, and diverting funds from other vital programs and projects. Several lawsuits were filed against the declaration, and the House and the Senate passed resolutions to terminate it, but Trump vetoed them. The declaration also provoked countermeasures from Mexico, which rejected Trump’s claims and refused to pay for the wall.



54. Post-Election Legal Challenges:


After the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the campaign for incumbent President Donald Trump and others filed and lost 62 lawsuits contesting election processes, vote counting, and the vote certification process in nine states and the District of Columbia. The lawsuits were based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities, which were repeatedly rejected by judges, election officials, and even Trump’s own administration. The lawsuits failed to produce any evidence that could overturn the election results, which showed a clear victory for Democrat Joe Biden.


The most notable lawsuit was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the electoral votes of four states that Biden won: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The lawsuit was supported by Trump and 17 other Republican attorneys general, as well as 126 Republican members of Congress6. However, the Supreme Court swiftly dismissed the lawsuit, saying Texas had no legal standing to challenge the election results of other states.


Trump’s legal challenges were widely criticized as an unprecedented attempt to undermine the democratic process and the will of the voters. Some of his lawyers, such as Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, were accused of spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation about the election, and faced legal consequences for their actions. Some of Trump’s supporters, who believed his false claims of a stolen election, resorted to violence and intimidation against election workers, officials, and lawmakers10. The most shocking example was the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the building to disrupt the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.




55. Response to Charlottesville Violence:


Trump’s response to the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, was one of the most controversial and criticized moments of his presidency. The violence was sparked by a rally of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other far-right groups, who gathered to protest the planned removal of a Confederate statue. They clashed with counter-protesters, who opposed their racist and hateful messages. One of the white supremacists, James Alex Fields Jr., drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.


Trump initially condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” without specifically denouncing the white supremacists or their ideology. His vague and equivocal statement drew widespread backlash from politicians, activists, religious leaders, and the media, who accused him of failing to provide moral leadership and of emboldening the extremists .


Two days later, under pressure from his advisers and allies, Trump delivered a second statement, in which he explicitly condemned the “racist violence” and the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” involved in the Charlottesville events. However, he also blamed the “alt-left” for provoking the violence and defended some of the rally participants as “very fine people” who were peacefully protesting the removal of the statue.


Trump’s second statement, which he made at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, reignited the controversy and provoked even more criticism and outrage from across the political spectrum. Many saw his remarks as a false equivalence between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters, and as a sign of his sympathy for the former . Some of Trump’s own advisers and officials expressed dismay and disagreement with his response, and several business leaders and members of his advisory councils resigned in protest.



56. Response to Police Violence Protests:


Trump’s response to the nationwide protests that erupted in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, was also widely condemned as divisive, inflammatory, and authoritarian. The protests, which were mostly peaceful but sometimes turned violent, called for an end to police brutality and racial injustice, and demanded reforms in the criminal justice system.


Trump, however, portrayed the protesters as “thugs”, “anarchists”, and “terrorists”, and focused on restoring “law and order” by using force and intimidation. He repeatedly threatened to deploy the military to quell the unrest, and encouraged the police and his supporters to “dominate” the streets and crack down on the demonstrators . He also blamed the violence on the “radical left” and the “antifa” movement, and accused the Democratic governors and mayors of being weak and incompetent in handling the situation .


Trump’s response was criticized by civil rights groups, human rights organizations, religious leaders, and former military officials, who accused him of violating the constitutional rights of the protesters, escalating the tensions, and undermining the democratic principles and values of the country . Some of Trump’s current and former aides and allies also expressed concern and disagreement with his approach, and urged him to adopt a more unifying and empathetic tone .


One of the most controversial and symbolic incidents of Trump’s response was his photo-op at St. John’s Church, a historic Episcopal church near the White House, on June 1, 2020. Shortly before Trump walked to the church, federal law enforcement officers forcibly cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, using tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons. Trump then posed for the cameras, holding a Bible in front of the church, which had been damaged by a fire during a previous night of unrest. The photo-op was widely denounced as a political stunt and an abuse of power, and was criticized by the clergy of the church, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and several prominent Republicans .


 

57. Response to Russian Bounties on U.S. Soldiers:


Trump’s response to the reports that Russia secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan was also met with criticism and skepticism. The reports, which were first published by the New York Times and later confirmed by other media outlets and intelligence officials, said that a Russian military intelligence unit had offered rewards for successful attacks on American and coalition forces in 2019, and that the Trump administration had been briefed on the matter but had not taken any action.


Trump denied that he was made aware of the intelligence assessments, and claimed that they were not credible or corroborated. He also called the reports a “hoax” and a “fake news” story and suggested that they were part of a plot to damage him and the Republican Party. He did not denounce Russia or its president, Vladimir Putin, over the allegations, nor did he express any concern or sympathy for the U.S. troops who may have been targeted.


Trump’s response was challenged by lawmakers from both parties, who demanded more information and accountability from the administration. They also called for a strong and swift response to Russia, if the reports were confirmed, and for more protection for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Some of Trump’s former aides and officials also questioned his handling of the issue and said that he had failed to confront Putin and defend the U.S. interests and values.




58. Response to Hong Kong Protests:


The Trump administration has had a mixed and inconsistent response to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which began in 2019 and continued into 2020. The protests were sparked by a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trial, but later expanded to demand greater autonomy and civil rights for the former British colony.


On one hand, Trump has expressed some support for the protesters and their cause, signing into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in November 2019, which imposed sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses and required an annual review of Hong Kong’s special trade status with the U.S1. He also signed another bill that banned the export of tear gas, rubber bullets, and other crowd-control weapons to the Hong Kong police.


On the other hand, Trump has also been reluctant to take a stronger stance against China and its leader, Xi Jinping, whom he has praised as a “friend” and a “great leader”. He has repeatedly said that he hopes the situation in Hong Kong will work out peacefully and that he respects China’s right to handle its own affairs. He has also downplayed the scale and significance of the protests, calling them “riots” and suggesting that they were not a major issue.


Trump’s response to the Hong Kong protests has been influenced by his desire to maintain a trade deal with China, which he sees as a key priority for his administration and his reelection campaign. He has admitted that he held off on imposing sanctions on China over its crackdown on Hong Kong in order to avoid jeopardizing the trade negotiations. He has also reportedly promised Xi that he would not speak out in support of the protesters in exchange for China’s cooperation on the trade talks.


Trump’s response to the Hong Kong protests has been criticized by many lawmakers, activists, and experts, who have accused him of abandoning the U.S.'s commitment to democracy and human rights, and of sending a signal of weakness and appeasement to Beijing. They have urged him to take a more vocal and decisive role in supporting the protesters and pressuring China to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.



59. Response to the Black Lives Matter Movement:


Trump’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice has been largely negative and hostile, as he has portrayed the protesters as violent extremists and criminals, and focused on restoring law and order by using force and intimidation. He has repeatedly threatened to deploy the military to quell the unrest, and encouraged the police and his supporters to “dominate” the streets and crack down on the demonstrators. He has also blamed the violence on the “radical left” and the “antifa” movement, and accused the Democratic governors and mayors of being weak and incompetent in handling the situation.


Trump’s response has been criticized by civil rights groups, human rights organizations, religious leaders, and former military officials, who have accused him of violating the constitutional rights of the protesters, escalating the tensions, and undermining the democratic principles and values of the country. Some of Trump’s current and former aides and allies also expressed concern and disagreement with his approach, and urged him to adopt a more unifying and empathetic tone.


One of the most controversial and symbolic incidents of Trump’s response was his photo-op at St. John’s Church, a historic Episcopal church near the White House, on June 1, 2020. Shortly before Trump walked to the church, federal law enforcement officers forcibly cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, using tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons. Trump then posed for the cameras, holding a Bible in front of the church, which had been damaged by a fire during a previous night of unrest. The photo-op was widely denounced as a political stunt and an abuse of power, and was criticized by the clergy of the church, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and several prominent Republicans.


Trump has also shown little sympathy or understanding for the grievances and demands of the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to end police brutality and racial injustice, and to reform the criminal justice system. He has dismissed the notion of systemic racism in America, and defended the police and the Confederate symbols that many protesters want to remove. He has also attacked the 1619 Project, an initiative by The New York Times that aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the national narrative. He has accused the project of being “toxic propaganda” and threatened to cut federal funding for schools that teach it.




60. Rollback of Environmental Regulations:


The Trump administration has also rolled back many other environmental regulations that were established by previous administrations to protect the air, water, land, wildlife, and public health from pollution and degradation. The administration has justified these rollbacks as part of its deregulatory agenda, which aims to reduce the regulatory burdens and costs on businesses and industries and to promote economic growth and energy development.


Some of the major environmental regulations that the Trump administration has rolled back or weakened include:


The National Environmental Policy Act, a 50-year-old law that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts of their actions and projects, and to consider alternative options and public input. The administration has revised the rules to limit the scope and duration of the environmental reviews, and to exclude the consideration of climate change impacts.


The Endangered Species Act, a law that protects threatened and endangered species and their habitats from harm and extinction. The administration has changed the rules to make it easier to remove species from the list, to reduce the critical habitat protections, and to allow economic factors to be considered when making listing decisions.


The Clean Water Act, a law that regulates the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s waters and protects the quality of drinking water sources. The administration has repealed and replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule, which defined which waters are subject to federal oversight. The new rule narrows the definition and excludes many wetlands, streams, and groundwater from protection.


The Clean Air Act, a law that sets national standards for air quality and limits the emissions of harmful pollutants from various sources. The administration has revised or revoked several rules under the act, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which limit the emissions of mercury and other toxic substances from power plants; the Methane Rule, which limit the emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from oil and gas operations; and the Fuel Economy Standards, which set the fuel efficiency and emissions standards for cars and trucks.


The rollback of these and other environmental regulations has been met with strong opposition and resistance from many environmental groups, state and local governments, public health organizations, scientists, and even some businesses and industries, who have argued that the regulations are necessary and beneficial for the environment, the health, and the economy. They have also filed numerous lawsuits to challenge the legality and validity of the rollbacks, and to defend the existing rules.



61. Supreme Court Appointments:


Donald Trump appointed three justices to the Supreme Court during his four-year term, the most by any president since Ronald Reagan, who appointed four. Trump’s appointments shifted the ideological balance of the court to the right, giving the conservatives a 6-3 majority. Trump’s appointments also made the court more diverse in terms of gender, religion, and educational background, but less diverse in terms of race and ethnicity.


Trump’s first appointment was Neil Gorsuch, who replaced Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. Gorsuch was nominated by Trump on January 31, 2017, and confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017, by a vote of 54-45. Gorsuch is a conservative and an originalist, who interprets the Constitution according to its original meaning. He is known for his clear and forceful writing style, and his willingness to challenge the precedents and the views of his colleagues.


Trump’s second appointment was Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced Anthony Kennedy, who retired in 2018. Kavanaugh was nominated by Trump on July 9, 2018, and confirmed by the Senate on October 6, 2018, by a vote of 50-48. Kavanaugh is a conservative and a textualist, who interprets the law according to its plain meaning. He is known for his pragmatic and conciliatory approach, and his emphasis on the practical consequences of the court’s rulings.


Trump’s third appointment was Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020. Barrett was nominated by Trump on September 26, 2020, and confirmed by the Senate on October 26, 2020, by a vote of 52-48. Barrett is a conservative and an originalist, who adheres to the judicial philosophy of her mentor, Antonin Scalia. She is known for her academic and judicial credentials, and her devout Catholic faith .


Trump’s Supreme Court appointments were controversial for several reasons. First, they were enabled by a rule change made by the Senate Republicans in 2017, which applied the so-called nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees and allowed them to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, rather than the historical norm of a 60-vote supermajority. This change lowered the threshold for confirmation and reduced the need for bipartisan support .


Second, they were opposed by the Democrats and many liberal groups, who feared that the new conservative majority would undermine or overturn the precedents and rights established by the court on issues such as abortion, health care, immigration, voting, and LGBTQ equality. They also criticized the qualifications, temperament, and views of the nominees, and accused the Republicans of hypocrisy and double standards in their treatment of the nominees .


Third, they were marked by political drama and public outcry, especially the nominations of Kavanaugh and Barrett. Kavanaugh faced allegations of sexual assault and misconduct from his high school and college years, which he denied. His confirmation hearings were tense and emotional, and sparked a national debate on the MeToo movement and the treatment of women. Barrett faced questions and criticism about her religious beliefs and their influence on her judicial decisions. Her confirmation process was rushed and unprecedented, as it took place just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic.




62. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Windfall for the Wealthy and a Woe for the Rest:

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was a major tax reform bill that was signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The TCJA made significant changes to the federal tax system, affecting both individuals and businesses. However, the TCJA, signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, was widely criticized for being a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations, while leaving behind the middle class and the poor. Some of the ways that the TCJA benefited the very rich but not the other citizens are:


Lowering the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. This was a huge windfall for the corporations, especially the large and profitable ones, as they paid less taxes and increased their profits and dividends. The TCJA also allowed the corporations to repatriate their foreign earnings at a lower tax rate, which resulted in a massive inflow of cash that was mostly used for stock buybacks and executive compensation, rather than for investment or wage growth. The TCJA also created new loopholes and incentives for the corporations to shift their profits and operations overseas, and to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. The TCJA did not require the corporations to create jobs, raise wages, or invest in the U.S. as a condition for receiving the tax cuts, and there was little evidence that the tax cuts had any significant or lasting impact on the economy or the workers.


Creating a 20% deduction for qualified business income from pass-through entities, such as partnerships and S corporations, subject to certain limitations and exclusions. This was a boon for the owners of these businesses, who were mostly wealthy individuals, such as lawyers, doctors, consultants, and real estate developers. The deduction allowed them to pay lower taxes on their business income, which was often a large share of their total income. The deduction also created new opportunities for tax avoidance and abuse, as some individuals could reclassify their income as business income to qualify for the deduction, or create new pass-through entities to take advantage of the deduction. The deduction also favored certain types of businesses over others, and created disparities and complexities in the tax system.


Reducing the individual income tax rates and adjusting the income brackets. This was a benefit for all taxpayers, but the benefits were skewed toward the high-income earners, who paid less taxes on their income and capital gains. The TCJA also lowered the top marginal tax rate from 39.6% to 37%, which applied to the income above $600,000 for married couples and $500,000 for single filers. This was a significant tax cut for the very rich, who earned most of their income from the top bracket. The TCJA also widened the income gap between the top and the bottom brackets, and reduced the progressivity of the tax system. The TCJA also made most of the individual tax cuts temporary, expiring after 2025, while making the corporate tax cuts permanent, creating uncertainty and instability for the taxpayers and the budget.


Doubling the standard deduction and eliminating the personal exemption. This was a mixed bag for the taxpayers, as it simplified the tax filing process and reduced the taxable income for some, but increased the taxable income and the tax liability for others. The TCJA also eliminated or limited several deductions and credits that benefited the middle class and the poor, such as the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), the deduction for mortgage interest, the deduction for medical expenses, the deduction for casualty losses, the deduction for miscellaneous expenses, the credit for electric vehicles, and the credit for adoption expenses. The TCJA also expanded the child tax credit and created a new credit for other dependents, but these credits were not fully refundable, meaning that they did not benefit the low-income families who did not owe any taxes. The TCJA also did not adjust the credits for inflation, meaning that they would lose their value over time.


Repealing the individual mandate penalty under the Affordable Care Act, which required most Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine. This was a benefit for the healthy and wealthy individuals, who could opt out of buying health insurance and save money on the premiums and the penalty. However, this was a detriment for the sick and poor individuals, who relied on the health insurance to access and afford health care. The repeal of the mandate also destabilized the health insurance market, as it reduced the number and the diversity of the enrollees, and increased the premiums and the uninsured rate. The repeal of the mandate also reduced the federal revenues, as it eliminated the penalty payments and increased the spending on health care subsidies and programs.


Increasing the exemption amount and the phase-out threshold for the alternative minimum tax (AMT). This was a benefit for the wealthy individuals, who were more likely to be subject to the AMT, which was a parallel tax system that ensured that the high-income earners paid a minimum amount of taxes, regardless of their deductions and preferences. The TCJA increased the exemption amount from $84,500 to $109,400 for married couples and from $54,300 to $70,300 for single filers. The TCJA also increased the phase-out threshold from $160,900 to $1 million for married couples and from $120,700 to $500,000 for single filers. This meant that fewer taxpayers would have to pay the AMT, and those who did would pay less. The TCJA also reduced the number and the amount of the deductions and preferences that triggered the AMT, such as the SALT deduction and the miscellaneous expenses deduction.



Increasing the exemption amount and the tax rate for the estate and gift tax. This was a benefit for the very rich individuals, who were able to transfer more of their wealth to their heirs and beneficiaries without paying any taxes. The TCJA doubled the exemption amount from $5.49 million to $11.18 million per person, or from $10.98 million to $22.36 million per couple. This meant that fewer estates and gifts would be subject to the tax, and those who were would pay less. The TCJA also kept the tax rate at 40%, which was lower than the historical average. The TCJA also did not change the rules for the basis step-up, which allowed the heirs and beneficiaries to inherit the assets at their current market value, rather than their original cost, and avoid paying any capital gains taxes on the appreciation. The TCJA also made the estate and gift tax exemption amount temporary, expiring after 2025, while leaving the tax rate permanent, creating uncertainty and complexity for the taxpayers and the budget.


The TCJA was the largest overhaul of the tax code in three decades, and had significant impacts on the economy, the budget, and the distribution of income. However, the TCJA was widely criticized for being a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations, while leaving behind the middle class and the poor. The TCJA increased the income and wealth inequality in the U.S., reduced the progressivity of the tax system, and provided more incentives for capital accumulation by the rich. The TCJA also reduced the federal revenues, increased the federal deficit, and added to the national debt. The TCJA also increased the complexity and uncertainty of the tax system, as many of its provisions were temporary, expiring, or subject to future changes. The TCJA was controversial and divisive, as it was passed without any bipartisan support and faced strong opposition from various groups and stakeholders.




 

63. The 1776 Commission: Preserving White America from the Threat of Critical Race Theory:


In September 2020, President Donald Trump announced the creation of the 1776 Commission, a group of 18 members appointed by him to write a report on “core principles of the American founding” and how to “patriotically” teach them to students. The commission released its report in January 2021, two days before the end of Trump’s term, and it was widely criticized by historians, educators, and civil rights groups for its errors, omissions, and partisan politics. The report was also seen as a response to the 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning initiative by The New York Times Magazine that aimed to reframe American history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans at the center of the national narrative.


One of the main targets of the 1776 Commission’s report was critical race theory (CRT), an interdisciplinary academic field that examines how race and racism are embedded in laws, policies, institutions, and culture. CRT emerged in the 1970s and 1980s as a critique of the limitations of the civil rights movement and the liberal legal system in addressing racial inequality and injustice. CRT scholars argue that racism is not only a matter of individual prejudice or discrimination, but also a systemic and structural phenomenon that shapes the distribution of power and resources in society. CRT also challenges the notion of color-blindness, the idea that ignoring race or treating everyone equally regardless of race is the best way to achieve racial justice. Instead, CRT advocates for the recognition and redress of the historical and contemporary effects of racial oppression, as well as the affirmation and celebration of racial diversity and identity.


The 1776 Commission’s report denounced CRT as “toxic propaganda” and “a form of child abuse” that teaches students to “hate their own country” and to “view themselves only as members of groups, oppressed or oppressor”. The report claimed that CRT is based on “false and harmful assumptions” that “America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country” and that “some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors”. The report also accused CRT of being “anti-American” and “anti-democratic” because it rejects the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and instead promotes “identity politics” and “group rights” that undermine individual liberty and national unity.


The 1776 Commission’s report was widely condemned by critics who pointed out its factual inaccuracies, historical distortions, and ideological biases. For example, the report downplayed the role of slavery and racism in American history, and portrayed the founders as flawless heroes who created a perfect system of government. The report also ignored the contributions and struggles of women, Native Americans, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people, and dismissed the movements for social justice and civil rights that challenged and expanded the meaning of democracy and equality in America. The report also misrepresented the nature and goals of CRT, and failed to acknowledge the diversity and complexity of its scholarship and perspectives. Critics argued that the report was not a serious or scholarly work of history, but a political document that aimed to whitewash America’s past and present, and to silence and demonize those who question or challenge the dominant narrative.


The 1776 Commission’s report was removed from the White House website by the Biden administration on its first day in office, and the commission was disbanded by executive order. However, the controversy over CRT and its place in education and public discourse has continued, as several Republican-led states have introduced or passed bills that seek to ban or restrict the teaching of CRT or related concepts in schools and colleges. These bills have been opposed by educators, students, parents, and civil rights groups, who argue that they violate academic freedom, censor diverse voices and perspectives, and prevent students from learning the truth about America’s history and society.


In conclusion, the 1776 Commission and its report were part of an attempt by the Trump administration to promote a “patriotic education” that glorifies America’s founding and denies or minimizes its flaws and failures, especially regarding race and racism. The report also attacked CRT as a dangerous and divisive ideology that undermines America’s values and identity, and that should be excluded from the curriculum. However, the report was widely criticized for its historical inaccuracies, ideological biases, and political agenda, and was removed and rejected by the Biden administration. The debate over CRT and its role in education and society, however, has persisted, as some states have tried to ban or limit its teaching, while others have defended and supported it as a valuable and necessary framework for understanding and addressing racial issues in America.




64. Treatment of Central American Migrant Caravans:


President Trump adopted a harsh and hostile stance toward the Central American migrant caravans, which were groups of people fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries and seeking asylum in the U.S. or Mexico. The caravans were organized by humanitarian groups, such as Pueblo Sin Fronteras, to provide safety and solidarity for the migrants, who faced many dangers and challenges along their journey. The caravans were not a new phenomenon, as they had been occurring for about 15 years, but they gained more attention and prominence in recent years, especially in 2018 and 2020.


President Trump portrayed the caravans as an “invasion” and a “national emergency” that threatened the security and sovereignty of the U.S. He accused the caravans of being infiltrated by criminals, gang members, terrorists, and drug smugglers, without providing any evidence to support his claims. He also blamed the caravans on the “radical left” and the Democrats, who he alleged wanted to open the borders and allow illegal immigration for political gain. He also criticized the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where most of the migrants came from, for not doing enough to stop them and threatened to cut off or reduce foreign aid to those countries.


President Trump took several measures to deter and prevent the caravans from reaching the U.S. border or from entering the U.S. if they did. Some of these measures included:


Deploying thousands of troops and National Guard members to the border to assist Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in securing the ports of entry and building barriers and fences.

Declaring a national emergency and diverting funds from the Pentagon and other sources to finance the construction of a border wall, which he had promised during his 2016 campaign.

Implementing a “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents or guardians, who were prosecuted for illegal entry and detained in different facilities. The policy was widely condemned as cruel and inhumane and was later reversed by an executive order and a court ruling, but many families remained separated or unaccounted for.

Imposing a “Remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum seekers who crossed the border to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed in the U.S., rather than being released into the U.S. with a notice to appear in court. The policy exposed the migrants to dangerous and unsanitary conditions in makeshift camps and shelters and limited their access to legal representation and humanitarian assistance. The policy was challenged in court and suspended by the Biden administration.

Negotiating agreements with Mexico and the Central American countries to curb the flow of migrants and asylum seekers and to accept the return of those who were denied entry or protection in the U.S. The agreements, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), the Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACA), and the Safe Third Country Agreements (STCA), were criticized by human rights groups and advocates as violating international and domestic laws and norms on refugee protection and non-refoulement.

Issuing a series of executive orders and proclamations that restricted or suspended the entry of certain categories of migrants and asylum seekers, based on public health or national security grounds. For example, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration invoked a public health law known as Title 42 to expel migrants who crossed the border without authorization, without allowing them to seek asylum or other forms of relief. The administration also banned the entry of migrants who crossed the border between the official ports of entry or who did not apply for asylum in a third country before reaching the U.S.


President Trump’s treatment of the Central American migrant caravans was met with widespread opposition and resistance from various groups and stakeholders, who argued that his policies and rhetoric were inhumane, unlawful, and ineffective. They also pointed out the root causes and the humanitarian aspects of the migration phenomenon and called for a more compassionate and comprehensive approach that respected the rights and dignity of the migrants and addressed the factors that drove them to flee their homes.



65. Treatment of Gold Star Families:


Gold Star families are the relatives of U.S. military service members who died or were killed in the line of duty. The term derives from the gold star that is displayed on a service flag or banner to indicate the loss of a loved one in the armed forces. Gold Star families are honored and respected for their sacrifice and service to the nation, and are entitled to certain benefits and privileges, such as the Gold Star Lapel Button, the Presidential Memorial Certificate, and the Survivor Benefit Plan.


President Trump sparked several controversies and scandals over his treatment of Gold Star families, raising questions about his respect and empathy for the fallen service members and their loved ones. Some of the incidents that provoked criticism and backlash included:


In 2016, during his presidential campaign, Trump engaged in a feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. The Khans spoke at the Democratic National Convention and criticized Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Trump responded by questioning their motives and suggesting that Ghazala Khan, who stood silently beside her husband, was not allowed to speak because of her religion. Trump also claimed that he had made sacrifices comparable to those of the Khans, such as creating jobs and building buildings. Trump’s remarks were widely condemned by veterans, politicians, and the public, and were seen as disrespectful and insensitive to the Khans and other Gold Star families.


In 2017, Trump called Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger along with three other U.S. soldiers. Johnson said that Trump’s call made her cry, as he did not seem to remember her husband’s name and told her that he “knew what he signed up for.” Trump denied being disrespectful and said he had a “very nice conversation” with Johnson. He also accused Rep. Frederica Wilson, who was present during the call and corroborated Johnson’s account, of lying and fabricating the story. The controversy escalated when Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, a retired Marine general and a Gold Star father himself, defended Trump and criticized Wilson for politicizing the issue. Kelly also falsely claimed that Wilson had boasted about securing funding for an FBI building named after two fallen agents during a 2015 ceremony, a claim that was refuted by video evidence.


In 2020, Trump suggested that he may have contracted the coronavirus from a White House event honoring Gold Star families. Trump said that the families came close to him and wanted to hug and kiss him, and that he did not want to tell them to back up. He also said that attending the event was “obviously dangerous.” Trump’s comments were seen as shifting the blame to the families and implying that they were the source of his infection, without providing any proof. The organizer of the event said that none of the families who attended had tested positive for the virus, and that they were all tested by the White House medical team before entering the building. The event was also criticized for not following social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.




66. Treatment of Transgender Individuals in the Military:


President Trump adopted a harsh and hostile stance toward transgender individuals in the military, reversing the Obama administration’s policy that allowed them to serve openly and receive medical care. Trump’s policy was challenged in court and suspended by the Biden administration.


In 2016, the Obama administration announced that transgender people would be allowed to openly serve in the military, effective July 1, 2017. The policy also required the Pentagon to provide medical care, such as hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, to transgender service members who needed it. The policy was based on the recommendations of a RAND Corporation study, which found that allowing transgender people to serve would have minimal impact on the military’s readiness, cohesion, and budget.


In 2017, Trump announced via Twitter that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military, citing the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” that they would entail. Trump claimed that he had consulted with his generals and military experts, but later reports revealed that he had not informed the Pentagon or the Joint Chiefs of Staff of his decision. Trump’s announcement was met with widespread opposition and criticism from veterans, lawmakers, civil rights groups, and medical associations, who argued that his policy was discriminatory, irrational, and harmful to the military and the transgender community.


In 2018, Trump issued a memorandum that implemented his policy, based on the recommendations of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The memorandum stated that transgender people who required or had undergone gender transition would be disqualified from military service, unless they had been grandfathered in under the Obama policy. The memorandum also stated that transgender people who did not require or had not undergone gender transition would be allowed to serve, but only in their biological sex. The memorandum effectively banned most transgender people from joining or staying in the military, unless they were willing to suppress their gender identity.


The Trump policy faced multiple legal challenges from transgender service members and advocacy groups, who claimed that it violated their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. Several federal courts issued injunctions to block the policy from taking effect, pending the outcome of the lawsuits. The Trump administration appealed the injunctions to the Supreme Court, which in 2019 lifted the lower court orders and allowed the policy to be enforced while the litigation continued. The Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the policy, but left the door open for further review.


In 2021, President Biden issued an executive order that reversed the Trump policy and restored the Obama policy, allowing transgender people to serve openly and access medical care in the military. Biden’s order stated that the Trump policy was based on “flawed scientific and medical assumptions” and that it “prevents transgender individuals from effectively serving their country.” Biden’s order also stated that the military should not exclude or discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender identity, and that the military should ensure the dignity and well-being of all service members.



67. Treatment of Women:


President Trump has been accused of sexism, misogyny, and sexual misconduct by numerous women and critics, who have pointed to his comments and behavior towards women as evidence of his disrespect and hostility. Trump has denied the allegations and dismissed them as lies, exaggerations, or jokes.


Some of the examples of Trump’s treatment of women include:


In 1990, Trump told Vanity Fair that he would never buy his then-wife Ivana any decent jewels or pictures, because he did not want to give her “negotiable assets”.


In 1991, Trump told Esquire that it does not matter what the media write about him as long as he has “a young and beautiful piece of ass”.


In 1992, Trump told New York magazine that men are better than women, and that “a woman who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10”.


In 1997, Trump told Howard Stern that he could have had sex with Princess Diana, but that he would have made her take an HIV test first.


In 2004, Trump told NBC that pregnancy is “an inconvenience for a business” and that “it’s certainly an inconvenience for a husband”.


In 2005, Trump was recorded on a hot mic saying that he can grab women “by the pussy” and that “when you’re a star, they let you do it”.


In 2006, Trump told ABC that he would date his daughter Ivanka if she was not his daughter, because she has “a very nice figure”.


In 2012, Trump tweeted that Arianna Huffington is “unattractive both inside and out” and that he understands why her husband left her for a man.


In 2015, Trump mocked Carly Fiorina, his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, by saying “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”.


In 2016, Trump attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who had gained weight after winning the pageant, by calling her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping”.


In 2016, Trump accused Hillary Clinton, his opponent for the presidency, of playing the “woman card” and said that she would not get 5% of the vote if she were a man.


In 2016, Trump denied the allegations of sexual assault and harassment made by more than a dozen women, and said that they were either lying, seeking fame, or not attractive enough for him to assault.


In 2017, Trump tweeted that MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw her at his resort.


In 2019, Trump said that E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of raping her in the 1990s, was “not my type” and that he had never met her, despite photographic evidence to the contrary.


In 2020, Trump said that Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, was “nasty”, “horrible”, and “a mad woman”.




68. Use of Executive Orders:


Executive orders are directives issued by the president of the United States to the executive branch of the government, without the approval of Congress. They have the force of law, but can be challenged or overturned by the courts or by subsequent legislation. Executive orders are one of the ways that presidents can exercise their constitutional powers and implement their policy agenda.


President Trump has made extensive use of executive orders to enact policy changes, especially on issues such as immigration, trade, health care, and the environment. He has signed 220 executive orders from January 2017 to January 2021, more than any of his recent predecessors in their first term. Some of his most controversial and consequential executive orders include:


EO 13765: Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This order instructed federal agencies to waive, defer, or delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to the extent permitted by law. It was the first step in Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the health care law.


EO 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements. This order authorized the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, increased the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants, and expanded the use of expedited removal procedures. It also directed the allocation of federal funds to the wall project, which was opposed by Congress and challenged in court.


EO 13769: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. This order banned the entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 90 days, suspended the admission of refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely barred Syrian refugees. It sparked widespread protests, legal challenges, and international condemnation. It was later revised and replaced by EO 13780 and EO 13815, which reduced the number of affected countries and added some exceptions and waivers.


EO 13771: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. This order required that for every new regulation issued by a federal agency, at least two existing regulations must be identified for elimination. It also imposed a cap on the total cost of new regulations for each fiscal year. It aimed to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and the economy but was criticized for being arbitrary and detrimental to public health and safety.


EO 13783: Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. This order reversed several Obama-era policies and regulations on climate change and energy production. It instructed federal agencies to review and rescind or revise any rules that could burden the development of domestic energy resources, especially fossil fuels. It also revoked the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and withdrew from the Paris Agreement, a global pact to combat climate change.


EO 13836: Developing Efficient, Effective, and Cost-Reducing Approaches to Federal Sector Collective Bargaining. This order imposed new limits and restrictions on the collective bargaining rights and protections of federal employees and unions. It aimed to improve the efficiency and accountability of the federal workforce but was opposed by labor groups and lawmakers as an attack on workers’ rights. It was partially blocked by a federal judge, who ruled that it violated the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.


EO 13950: Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. This order prohibited federal agencies, contractors, and grant recipients from conducting any training or education programs that promote "race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating" or teach that the United States is "fundamentally racist or sexist". It targeted the use of critical race theory and diversity and inclusion initiatives, which it claimed were divisive and un-American. It sparked backlash and lawsuits from civil rights groups, educators, and businesses, who argued that it violated free speech and equal opportunity principles.


President Trump’s use of executive orders has been disapproved by some critics, who have accused him of abusing his authority, circumventing the legislative process, and undermining the rule of law and the separation of powers. They have also pointed out the legal and practical challenges and uncertainties that his orders have faced, as many of them have been delayed, modified, or overturned by Congress, the courts, or his successor.



 

69. Withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty:


The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was a bilateral agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, signed in 1987, that eliminated all land-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The treaty was considered a landmark achievement of arms control, as it reduced the risk of nuclear war in Europe and Asia.


President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty in October 2018, citing Russia’s violation of the treaty as the main reason. The U.S. accused Russia of developing and deploying a new cruise missile, known as the 9M729, that exceeded the permitted range. Russia denied the allegation and claimed that the U.S. was also breaching the treaty by deploying missile defense systems in Europe and Asia.


The U.S. formally notified Russia and other treaty parties of its withdrawal on February 2, 2019, triggering a six-month period for possible resolution. However, no agreement was reached, and the U.S. completed its withdrawal on August 2, 2019. Russia followed suit the same day, declaring the treaty terminated.


The withdrawal from the INF Treaty raised concerns about the future of arms control and global security, as it opened the possibility for a new arms race between the U.S. and Russia, as well as other countries such as China, which was not bound by the treaty. Some experts and allies urged the U.S. and Russia to extend the New START Treaty, another bilateral agreement that limits strategic nuclear weapons, which is due to expire in 2021.



70. Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal:


The Iran Nuclear Deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a multilateral agreement reached in 2015 by Iran, the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK, and the EU. The deal aimed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions imposed on Iran. The deal required Iran to limit its uranium enrichment and nuclear activities, and to submit to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal on May 8, 2018, calling it “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.” He argued that the deal was not permanent, did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional influence, and did not prevent Iran from cheating. He also announced the reimposition of sanctions on Iran, as well as on countries and companies that do business with Iran.


The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal was met with regret and criticism by the other parties to the deal, as well as by many international organizations and leaders. They argued that the deal was working, as confirmed by the IAEA, and that it was the best available option to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. They also warned that the U.S. withdrawal could destabilize the region and trigger a nuclear proliferation crisis.


After the U.S. withdrawal, Iran announced that it would gradually reduce its compliance with the deal, unless the remaining parties could provide economic relief and protect Iran’s interests. Iran began to exceed the limits on its uranium enrichment and stockpile, as well as on its research and development activities. Iran also threatened to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, if the U.S. sanctions were not lifted.




71. Withdrawal from Paris Agreement:


The Paris Agreement is a global pact on climate change, adopted by 195 countries in 2015, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement aims to limit the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement also sets goals and mechanisms for countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and provide financial and technical support to developing countries.


President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017, saying that the agreement was “unfair” and “costly” for the U.S. economy, workers, and taxpayers. He claimed that the agreement would impose “draconian” restrictions on the U.S., while allowing other countries, such as China and India, to continue to increase their emissions. He also said that he was open to renegotiating the agreement or joining a new one that would be more favorable to the U.S..


The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was widely condemned by the international community, as well as by many state and local governments, businesses, and civil society groups in the U.S. They argued that the agreement was vital for the global effort to combat climate change, and that the U.S. was abdicating its leadership and responsibility on the issue. They also pointed out the benefits of the agreement for the U.S., such as creating jobs, enhancing innovation, and improving public health.


The U.S. formally notified the UN of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2019, triggering a one-year waiting period. The withdrawal took effect on November 4, 2020, making the U.S. the only country to leave the agreement. However, President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the agreement on his first day in office, and to pursue a more ambitious climate agenda.



72. Withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty:


The Open Skies Treaty is a multilateral agreement that allows its 34 member states to conduct unarmed, short-notice reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories, to collect data on military forces and activities. The treaty was signed in 1992 and entered into force in 2002, as a confidence-building measure and a tool for enhancing transparency and security in Europe and beyond. The treaty also provides for the sharing of the imagery collected by the flights among all the member states.


President Trump announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Open Skies Treaty on May 21, 2020, accusing Russia of violating the treaty and denying the U.S. access to certain areas. The U.S. also claimed that Russia was misusing the treaty to gather information on critical infrastructure and military assets in the U.S. and its allies, and that the U.S. could obtain the same or better information from other sources, such as satellites.


The U.S. formally notified the other treaty parties of its withdrawal on May 22, 2020, starting a six-month countdown. The withdrawal took effect on November 22, 2020, and the U.S. is no longer a party to the treaty. Russia followed suit on January 15, 2021, announcing its intention to withdraw from the treaty, while initiating the domestic procedures for withdrawal.


The withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty was criticized by many experts and allies, who argued that the treaty was valuable for maintaining stability and cooperation in Europe, especially amid the tensions with Russia over Ukraine and other issues. They also expressed concern that the withdrawal would undermine the existing arms control regime and the prospects for future agreements. They urged the U.S. and Russia to resolve their disputes and preserve the treaty.

 


  

73. Trump and Putin: A Controversial Relationship:


One of the most controversial aspects of Donald Trump’s presidency was his relationship with Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. Trump repeatedly praised Putin as a strong and smart leader, expressed his desire to improve ties with Russia, and downplayed or dismissed the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. Trump also contradicted or undermined the findings and assessments of the U.S. intelligence community, which concluded that Russia had engaged in a systematic and covert campaign to influence the outcome of the elections in favor of Trump and against his opponents, especially Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden


The most striking example of Trump’s trust in Putin over the U.S. intelligence agencies was his statement at the joint press conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. Trump and Putin had met for a summit to discuss various issues, such as Syria, Ukraine, nuclear arms control, and cybersecurity. However, the summit was overshadowed by the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers by the U.S. Department of Justice on July 13, 2018, for hacking and leaking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign in 2016.


At the press conference, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he believed his own intelligence agencies or Putin, who denied any involvement in the election meddling. Trump responded by saying that he had “great confidence” in his intelligence people, but that Putin was “extremely strong and powerful” in his denial. Trump also said that he didn’t “see any reason” why Russia would have interfered in the election, and that both countries were to blame for the poor state of their relations. Trump added that he had “President Putin” and that he “just can’t go along with” the idea that Putin lied to him.


Trump’s statement was widely criticized and condemned by politicians, media, experts, and the public, both in the U.S. and abroad, as a betrayal of his oath of office, a sign of weakness, and a threat to national security and democracy. Many accused Trump of siding with an adversary over his own country, and of giving Putin a free pass for his aggression and malign activities. Some even called Trump’s statement treasonous, and demanded his impeachment or resignation.


Trump later tried to walk back his statement, claiming that he misspoke and meant to say that he didn’t “see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia” that interfered in the election. He also affirmed his support for the U.S. intelligence community, and said that he accepted their conclusion that Russia was responsible for the election interference. However, he also added that it could have been “other people also”, and that he had “confidence in both parties”.


Trump’s statement in Helsinki was not an isolated incident, but rather a reflection of his consistent and persistent trust in Putin over the U.S. intelligence community throughout his presidency. For example, in 2017, Trump reportedly revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office, jeopardizing a source of intelligence on the Islamic State. He also reportedly told them that he had fired the FBI director James Comey, who was leading the investigation into the Trump-Russia ties, and that he faced “great pressure because of Russia” that was “taken off”.


In 2019, Trump reportedly dismissed the warnings of his own intelligence chiefs about the threats posed by Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and the Islamic State, and called them “naive” and “wrong”. He also reportedly told them to “go back to school”.



In 2020, Trump reportedly ignored or downplayed the intelligence reports that Russia had offered bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan. He also reportedly did not confront Putin about the issue in their phone calls, and instead discussed topics such as oil prices, arms control, and the coronavirus pandemic.


In 2021, Trump reportedly refused to acknowledge or condemn the massive cyberattack on the U.S. government and private sector, which was attributed to Russia by the U.S. intelligence and security agencies. He also reportedly suggested that China could have been behind the attack, and that the media was exaggerating its scope and impact.


The reasons behind Trump’s trust in Putin over the U.S. intelligence community are not clear, but some possible explanations are:


Trump’s admiration for Putin’s authoritarian style of leadership, and his aspiration to emulate him.


Trump’s personal and business interests in Russia, and his desire to pursue lucrative deals with Putin and his associates.


Trump’s fear of Putin’s leverage over him, such as the alleged compromising material or “kompromat” that Russia may have on him.


Trump’s resentment of the U.S. intelligence community for investigating his ties with Russia, and his perception of them as part of the “deep state” that was trying to undermine his presidency.


Trump’s rejection of the U.S. intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections, and his view of them as a threat to his legitimacy and ego.


The implications and consequences of Trump’s trust in Putin over the U.S. intelligence community are serious and far-reaching, both for the U.S. and the world. Some of them are:


The erosion of the credibility and morale of the U.S. intelligence community, and the loss of trust and confidence in their work and products by the U.S. government, allies, and partners. This could undermine the effectiveness and efficiency of the intelligence operations and analysis, and weaken the ability of the U.S. to detect and counter the threats and challenges posed by Russia and other adversaries. It could also damage the cooperation and coordination between the U.S. and its allies and partners on intelligence sharing and joint action, and reduce the influence and reputation of the U.S. as a global leader and a reliable ally.


The emboldenment and empowerment of Putin and Russia, and the encouragement and enablement of their aggressive and malicious behavior and activities. This could increase the risk and frequency of the cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and covert operations by Russia against the U.S. and its allies and interests, and undermine the security and stability of the international order and the democratic values and norms. It could also encourage and enable Putin and Russia to expand their influence and presence in the regions and issues of strategic importance and contention, such as the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and nuclear weapons, and challenge and confront the U.S. and its allies and interests.


The confusion and division among the American public and the political system, and the polarization and radicalization of the political discourse and the social fabric. This could erode the trust and confidence of the American people in their democratic institutions and processes, and in their elected leaders and representatives. It could also fuel the spread and acceptance of the conspiracy theories, misinformation, and propaganda that undermine the facts and the truth, and manipulate the emotions and opinions of the public. It could also increase the hostility and violence between the different political and social groups and factions, and threaten the peace and harmony of the society.




74. Trump’s Claim of Innocence:


Donald Trump has a habit of making exaggerated and false claims about himself and his achievements, but one of his most outrageous statements was when he declared himself “the most innocent man in US history” at the first major rally of his 2024 campaign. The former president was appearing in front of crowds in Waco, Texas in March 2023 when he made the extraordinary claim, as well as repeating the usual nonsense about the 2020 election being stolen from him.


Trump’s claim of innocence came in the context of his possible indictment by a Manhattan grand jury for his role in a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, with whom he allegedly had an affair in 2006. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for arranging the payment of $130,000 to Daniels shortly before the 2016 election, and testified that he did so “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump2. Trump denied having an affair with Daniels, whom he called “Horse Face”, and also denied knowing anything about the payment, which he called “a simple private transaction” that had nothing to do with his campaign.


Trump also faced several other criminal and civil investigations into his business dealings, tax returns, charitable foundation, inaugural committee, and alleged sexual misconduct. He was also impeached twice by the House of Representatives, once for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, and once for inciting the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Although he was acquitted by the Senate both times, he was the only president in US history to be impeached twice, and the only one to be impeached after leaving office.


Trump’s claim of innocence was not only absurd and delusional, but also insulting and offensive to the millions of Americans who suffered from his policies, actions, and rhetoric. Trump’s presidency was marked by corruption, incompetence, cruelty, and divisiveness, which resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 Americans from the COVID-19 pandemic, the separation of thousands of migrant children from their parents at the border, the erosion of democracy and the rule of law, the alienation of US allies and the empowerment of US adversaries, the rise of white supremacy and domestic terrorism, and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.


Trump’s motive for claiming innocence


Why did Trump claim to be the most innocent man in US history, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary? One possible explanation is that he was trying to rally his base and energize his supporters for his 2024 campaign, which he announced shortly after leaving the White House. Trump knew that his loyal followers believed his lies and conspiracy theories, and that they saw him as a victim of a “witch hunt” and a “deep state” plot to undermine his presidency. By portraying himself as innocent and persecuted, Trump appealed to their sense of grievance and resentment, and their desire for revenge against his enemies.


Another possible explanation is that Trump was trying to preempt and discredit any legal action against him, which he feared could jeopardize his political and financial future. Trump knew that he was no longer protected by the immunity of the presidency, and that he could face criminal charges and civil lawsuits that could expose his wrongdoing and hold him accountable. By claiming to be innocent and accusing his prosecutors of being corrupt and biased, Trump attempted to undermine the legitimacy and credibility of the justice system, and to sow doubt and confusion among the public and the jury.


A third possible explanation is that Trump was trying to convince himself and others of his innocence, which he genuinely believed or deluded himself into believing. Trump had a narcissistic personality disorder, which made him unable to admit or accept any fault, mistake, or responsibility. Trump also had a cognitive bias, which made him selectively remember and interpret information that confirmed his beliefs and expectations, and ignore or reject information that contradicted them. By claiming to be innocent and dismissing any evidence of his guilt, Trump reinforced his self-image and self-esteem, and avoided any cognitive dissonance and emotional distress.



Trump’s impact on the US and the world


Trump’s claim of innocence had a negative impact on the US and the world, as it further polarized the American society and politics, and damaged the US reputation and leadership. Trump’s claim of innocence deepened the division and distrust between his supporters and opponents, and between the Republicans and the Democrats, who had different views and values on various issues, such as the pandemic, the economy, the environment, the immigration, the health care, the race, the gender, the religion, and the foreign policy. Trump’s claim of innocence also eroded the confidence and trust in the US institutions and norms, such as the media, the courts, the Congress, the elections, the Constitution, and the democracy, which he constantly attacked and undermined.


Trump’s claim of innocence also tarnished the US image and influence in the world, as it showed the US as a dysfunctional and unreliable democracy, and as a hypocritical and arrogant superpower. Trump’s claim of innocence made the US lose its moral authority and credibility to promote and defend human rights, freedom, and justice around the world, and to criticize and sanction other countries for their violations and abuses. Trump’s claim of innocence also made the US lose its strategic advantage and leverage to cooperate and compete with other countries on global challenges and opportunities, such as the climate change, the nuclear proliferation, the terrorism, the trade, and the technology.


Trump’s claim of innocence was not only a lie, but also a threat to the US and the world. It was a lie that contradicted the facts and the reality, and that insulted the intelligence and the dignity of the American people and the international community. It was a threat that endangered the US security and prosperity, and that destabilized the world order and peace. Trump’s claim of innocence was not the mark of a leader, but of a con man, a demagogue, and a tyrant.




75. Trump’s Use of Dehumanizing Language:


One of the most disturbing features of Donald Trump’s political rhetoric is his use of dehumanizing language to describe his opponents and critics. Trump has repeatedly referred to people who disagree with him or challenge him as “vermin”, “animals”, “scum”, “dogs”, “rats”, “losers”, “enemies”, and other derogatory terms. He has also used these terms to label entire groups of people based on their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or immigration status, such as “Mexicans”, “Muslims”, “Africans”, “refugees”, and “illegal aliens”.


Trump’s use of dehumanizing language is not accidental or occasional, but deliberate and systematic. He uses it to achieve several political goals, such as:


To mobilize his supporters and followers, who share his hatred and fear of the “other”, and who see him as their champion and protector. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language creates a sense of solidarity and loyalty among his base, who feel validated and empowered by his words.


To demonize and discredit his rivals and adversaries, who pose a threat to his power and ego. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language creates a negative and hostile image of his opponents, who are portrayed as evil, dishonest, incompetent, and dangerous. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language also undermines the credibility and legitimacy of his opponents, who are dismissed as unworthy of respect, dialogue, or compromise.


To justify and rationalize his policies and actions, which are often harmful, unethical, or illegal. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language creates a moral and legal exemption for his behavior, which is presented as necessary, righteous, and patriotic. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language also creates a moral and legal obligation for his supporters, who are expected to follow his orders, defend his decisions, and attack his enemies.


Trump’s impact of dehumanizing language


Trump’s use of dehumanizing language has a negative impact on the US and the world, as it violates the principles and values of democracy, human rights, and civility, and as it incites violence, hatred, and division. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language has the following consequences, such as:


To degrade and devalue the dignity and worth of human beings, who are reduced to subhuman categories and stereotypes. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language denies the humanity and individuality of his targets, who are stripped of their rights, freedoms, and identities. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language also denies the diversity and complexity of human societies, who are divided into binary and hierarchical groups of “us” and “them”.


To normalize and escalate the aggression and hostility towards the “other”, who are seen as enemies and threats. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language encourages and condones the discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and violence against his targets, who are treated as objects and targets. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language also encourages and condones the suppression, censorship, and persecution of his critics, who are treated as traitors and criminals.

To polarize and destabilize the political and social order, which is based on cooperation, dialogue, and compromise. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language undermines the trust and respect among different groups and individuals, who are driven to conflict and confrontation. Trump’s use of dehumanizing language also undermines the institutions and norms that regulate and restrain the exercise of power, who are corrupted and manipulated.


Trump’s use of dehumanizing language is not only a rhetorical device, but also a political weapon. It is a weapon that he uses to attack and destroy his enemies, and to rally and control his supporters. It is a weapon that he uses to advance his personal and partisan interests, and to undermine the public and common good. It is a weapon that he uses to endanger the US and the world.



76. Trump’s Ignorance of History:


Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, has often displayed his ignorance of history, both in his words and in his actions. He has made numerous factual errors, false claims, and misleading statements about the past, showing that he has little knowledge or understanding of the events and people that shaped the nation and the world. He has also shown a lack of respect and appreciation for the historical context and significance of his role and responsibilities as a leader. His ignorance of history has had negative consequences for his credibility, his policies, and his legacy.


Some of the examples of Trump’s ignorance of history are:


He suggested that former President Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War, could have prevented the war if he had been alive. He also claimed that Jackson was “very angry” about the war, even though Jackson was a slave owner and supported the expansion of slavery.

He praised Abraham Lincoln as a “man of great intelligence” and a “great president”, but also said that most people don’t know that Lincoln was a Republican. He also implied that Lincoln’s party affiliation was a reason why he deserved more recognition.


He confused the dates and causes of the War of 1812 and the Revolutionary War, and blamed Canada for burning down the White House in 1814, even though it was British troops who did it.

He mispronounced Canada as “Canya” while speaking about trade deals, minutes after mocking President Joe Biden for his supposed inability to read teleprompters.


He declared himself “the most innocent man in US history” at a 2024 campaign rally, despite being accused of multiple crimes and scandals, and being the only president in US history to be impeached twice.


He called people who disagree with him or challenge him as “vermin”, “animals”, “scum”, “dogs”, “rats”, “losers”, “enemies”, and other derogatory terms, using dehumanizing language that violates the principles and values of democracy and human rights.


He claimed that Frederick Douglass, the 19th-century abolitionist and civil rights leader, was still alive and “doing an amazing job” in 2017. He also seemed to be unaware of who Douglass was and what he did, saying vaguely that he had “done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more”. Trump’s remarks were made during a Black History Month event at the White House, and were widely criticized as disrespectful and uninformed. Douglass, who was born into slavery and escaped to become a prominent writer, speaker, and activist, died in 1895.


The reasons and effects of Trump’s ignorance of history


Why is Trump so ignorant of history, and what are the effects of his ignorance? There are several possible explanations and implications, such as:


Trump is ignorant of history because he is not interested or curious about the past, and he does not value or respect the sources and methods of historical inquiry. He relies on his own intuition, opinion, and memory, rather than on facts, evidence, and analysis. He also prefers simple and sensational narratives, rather than complex and nuanced interpretations. He is not willing or able to learn from the past, or to acknowledge his mistakes or failures.


Trump is ignorant of history because he is dishonest and manipulative, and he uses history as a tool to advance his personal and political agenda. He distorts, omits, or invents historical facts and events, to suit his own narrative and vision. He also exploits and inflames the historical grievances and emotions of his supporters and followers, to mobilize them and to justify his actions. He is not concerned or accountable for the accuracy or the consequences of his historical claims or references.


Trump’s ignorance of history has a negative impact on his credibility and reputation, both domestically and internationally. He loses the trust and respect of the people, the media, the experts, and the institutions, who can easily expose and challenge his historical errors and lies. He also loses the moral and intellectual authority and leadership, that are expected and required of a president, who is supposed to represent and inspire the nation and the world.


Trump’s ignorance of history has a negative impact on his policies and decisions, both in the short and long term. He fails to understand and address the historical causes and contexts of the problems and challenges that he faces, and he fails to anticipate and prevent the historical risks and consequences of his actions and reactions. He also fails to appreciate and utilize the historical opportunities and lessons that are available and relevant to him, and he fails to create and contribute to the historical legacy and vision that are desirable and necessary for him.



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