By Trevor Glassey
The United States swore in its 45th President on Jan. 20 when Donald J. Trump was inaugurated into office. After winning the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016, the Republican nominee took office three months later, and started writing out many executive orders.
Inauguration Day was marred by controversy regarding the new president. Sixty members of Congress boycotted the inauguration, while many musical artists declined to perform. Furthermore, the morning of Inauguration Day saw riots in Washington DC near the parade route. In the midst of the protests, four presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – attended the inauguration. Numerous marches in protest also rose up after the event.
The swearing-in ceremony began at 11:30 am (EST) when Mike Pence took the oath to become the new Vice President of the United States. Trump followed as he was sworn into the presidency by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. A number of students were allowed to watch the inauguration in their US government or economics class.
“I don’t think Trump will do as badly as people think,” expresses senior Jay Tat. “We should remain optimistic and keep an open mind.”
In his inauguration speech, Trump envisioned an “America First” policy; he focused on providing jobs for Americans, criticizing American support of other nations while not providing such support for the country itself. He vowed to make decisions that would benefit Americans in topics like foreign policy, commerce and taxes.
“Together, we will make America strong again, we will make America wealthy again, we will make America proud again, we will make America safe again,” concluded Trump. “And yes, together, we will make America great again.”
With President Trump finally inaugurated, the question of what will he do with this new power was quickly answered. Many in the Bay Area fear what has happened, in outrage at his recent actions. One of Trump’s first actions was to roll back ObamaCare, taking out key provisions, but still leaving it partially intact. He then moved on to leave the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), a move which some feel gives China too much power in the region, and will hurt the American economy. Soon afterwards, he signed in executive orders to begin construction of amount of border walls and to increase the number of people deporting immigrants and the criteria for being deported.
On Fri., Jan 27, Trump signed an executive order that stopped refugees in general from entering the US for 120 days, and from Syria until the Trump administration deems it safe. He also banned entrance by people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia. This ban was vilified upon its release, with protests spawning at airports around the country, opposed to the ban and the effects it had. Many people from these countries with valid visas were detained on arrival or prevented from boarding when the order was signed into effect. Iranian National and english teacher Babak Shahrivar heritage heard of the ban on his way back from Canada.
“I was very nervous. What does this mean when I get married? Can my family not come?” lamented Mr. Shahrivar. “My fiancee Rachel and I were planning on going to Iran — can we not anymore?”
The ban was set into place to prevent Islamic terrorists from entering the country, yet of the Muslim majority countries ban, no major terrorist attacks have come from these countries. That said, the ban has heavily affected many people living in the United States who have family living in countries like Iran.
“We have a really multicultural campus, but we don’t have a strong Muslim presence,” explains Mr. Shahrivar. “I encourage people to engage with people who have friends and family in these countries. It’s important when things like this happen for people to be educated, so their ignorance can’t be taken advantage of.”
Trump’s most recent major action was to nominate federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Neil Gorsuch is known as being being a conservative judge against judicial activism and in favor of strict construction. That said, he is called a fair judge by a number of people, and they hope he will aid as a bulwark against some of Trump’s more extreme actions.
The Trump administration is lacking quite badly in terms of popularity. According to five different polls including the Washington Post, NBC News and CNN, Trump has on average only 41% approval for his transition into presidency with an average disapproval rate of 52%, lower than even Bush’s approval in his transition during the 2000 election.
“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before,” said Donald Trump on Twitter.
While the polls did end up being wrong during the election, it is important to realize that statistics come with a margin of error and the polls did give Trump over 33% chance of winning. Whether or not they’re perfect, the polls still offer insight into the opinions of the population.
Here at PHHS, many people fear Trump’s election. Social Science teacher Frank Cava doesn’t believe that Trump will do anything important, lacking both political background and the popular vote.
“He has no ideas of substance,” asserts Mr. Cava. “(He) will defer to the hard right conservatives to set (policies).”
Some students are uncertain of what to think of Trump’s plans, given how few he has actually announced
“He has yet to outline any concrete plans for the country’s internal affairs,” states senior Noah Galvan. “His foreign policy is not something I look forward to.”
While some may hope he will be unable to enact his more extreme policies, his coming to power is a historic event, as this is the first time a celebrity with no political or military background has been elected. This ends up being both a point for and against him as some praise his lack of career politics.
“He’s not an establishment candidate,” points out senior Andrew Giluso. “He can relate more to the public.”
To his supporters, Trump is an outsider of the political system able to focus on helping the American people. To his detractors, he is a loud-mouthed incompetent unable to serve the country’s needs. Either way, these next four years under Trump will be an important presidency.