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Trump’s first 100 days in office

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: May 15, 2017 - 12:14:08 PM

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Critics say his reign is marred by reckless decisions, so where does that leave country?

DAY 99 - In this April 28 photo, President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association Leadership Conference in Atlanta, GA. Photo: AP/Wide World Photo

WASHINGTON—Just 100 days into the job, and with precious few of his campaign promises kept, President Donald J. Trump admitted in an interview that being president “is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

It hasn’t been easy work by the new administration. The boastful president’s performance during this initial on-the-job training period has been substandard, and he remains unpopular among American voters, with 53 percent disapproving of his performance in office, while only 42 percent approve.

“The first thing that comes to my mind as this 100-day assessment is being made is Minister (Louis) Farrakhan’s declaration that if President Trump won the election he would take America to hell in a rocket ship. And I must note the speed and alacrity with which he is dismantling this country,” Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, an attorney, said in an interview.

President Trump’s performance receives harsh reviews from critics. Is there anything wrong with the Trump administration? “Everything is wrong with the Trump administration,” said Dr. David Bositis, statistician and political scientist. “Donald Trump was never qualified to be president. His people, and everything he’s done so far has been a disaster. Is there anything wrong? There’s nothing right with the Trump administration!” Dr. Bositis said in an interview.

“Certainly, with regard to domestic policy, the Trump administration is in a shambles,” Dr. Gerald Horne, Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston also said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the consistently poor marks given the president by his critics were channeled into “homework” for Black communities by a panel of experts convened in Washington—just five blocks from the White House at historic Metropolitan A.M.E. Church, where abolitionist Frederick Douglass once worshiped—on Mr. Trump’s 99th day in office.

“The 2016 campaign was not a victory for ‘45’ (the 45th President Mr. Trump), it was a victory for predatory capitalism,” Dr. Julianne Malveaux, former president of Bennet College for Women told a panel discussion on a “Report Card” on President Trump’s first 100 days in office convened by Dr. Ron Daniels and the Institute of the Black World 21st Century. “What am I saying here?

“When power is concentrated, it’s possible to extract every little bit of what there is from the smallest of people,” said Dr. Malveaux. The result she pointed out will make conditions even worse for the poor and middle class. Everything President Obama did to protect people at the bottom with executive orders, President Trump has attacked.

“In the last two economic expansions—let’s take an economic expansion from the 70s, 1972 (for example). At that point, the bottom 90 percent gained 56 percent of the results of the expansion. The top 10 percent got the other 43 percent. Well that wasn’t fair,” the MIT-trained economist continued.

“Well guess what’s happening right now? The top 10 percent got 115 percent of the effects of the expansion, and the bottom 90 percent lost 15 percent.

“Whether we were dealing with a ‘45’ or a Hillary, the structural conditions for African American people were abhorrent in the first place. We need to be clear. Whether you have ‘45’ or Hillary, we have an income ratio of 60 percent. Black folks have 7 percent of the wealth. Let’s not do a thing about ‘45’ being the devil. Predatory capitalism is the devil. ‘45’ is wearing horns,” Dr. Malveaux said.

In addition to Mr. Trump’s failure to win a single legislative victory—most especially a failure to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act—the Trump administration got off to a rocky start in world affairs, first offending, then making amends with allies Australia, Canada, Germany, and neighbor Mexico, and then finding its footing with a pair of gratuitous shows of military force—a missile strike against Syria, and the deployment of a massive 21,000 pound “Mother Of All Bombs” in Afghanistan. Mr. Trump got a ratings-bump after his aggression.

But regarding the Trump foreign policy: “Trump knows nothing about the world, and less about war,” author Bill Fletcher, former president of Trans Africa Forum told the IBW panel. “That is what makes this very, very dangerous. He has no real interest in the rest of the world, and he lies to portray the United States as being the victim of other people’s actions.”

“I think it’s important that we are clear that the occupant in the White House was leading a movement that is rooted in what they call in Europe ‘revanchism.’ A movement that is focused on revenge, and of getting back what people allege has been taken from them,” Mr. Fletcher continued. “This is a movement that believes that the greatest mistake in U.S. history was the election of a Black President in 2008. This is where the issue of race cannot be avoided.

“In working with people who are being stomped on by everything that Trump has implemented, they are still holding on to: ‘At least we corrected the mistake of 2008 and 2012.’ We have to talk about the fact that these folks believe that there was that kind of mistake and that this is correcting that, that this is restoring the White Republic.

President Trump’s first 100 days have been marked by protests. Photo: Haroon Rajaee

“The politics that we come forward with has to make it clear that the issue of race cannot be avoided. We’ve got to understand that some of these so-called ‘sincere,’ Trump voters, no matter how much they are stomped on, many of them will cling to the fact that ‘at least it’s not a Black man,’” Mr. Fletcher said. The Trump foreign policy is as reckless as his domestic policy.

“You have the effort to ban Muslims from coming into the United States,” Min. Ava continued. “You have the attack on Syria. You have a standoff right now with North Korea. You have what appears to be acts of treason on the part of members of the Trump administration and the Trump campaign—up to and including him—with regard to relationships with Vladimir Putin, and Russia.

“It seems as though every single day, the president and/or someone in his cabinet or his circle of advisers is in the news because of a scandal. And these are not lightweight social scandals, these are actions that are immoral and in many cases criminal. In my mind this just further confirms the predictive power of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and now his National Representative Minister Louis Farrakhan in warning Black people in particular and America in general, of the errors of America’s way,” Student Min. Ava Muhammad continued. She also serves as national spokesperson for Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

Further proof of this president’s bad intentions is clear in virtually every policy and every announcement he has made. He seems to single out former President Barack Obama and some of his Black appointees, like National Security Adviser Susan Rice, for frequent condemnation.

“What’s really going on with this administration,” Barbara Arnwine, founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition and Former Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law told the forum, “is the stripping and destruction of all the guidance and regulations at federal agencies. What’s going on right now is the literal destruction of every civil rights component of every federal agency in this country.”

In the school context—grading President Trump’s first 100 days’ performance—the Black community was given “homework” assignments by many of the academics on the panel. “We have to really understand that this time that we’re in, requires a new infrastructural development for ourselves,” Attorney Arnwine continued.

“We have unfinished business in civil rights and anti-poverty,” Ben Jealous, former President of the NAACP added. “We have to put out into this atmosphere, not only thoughts, not only spirits, not only the requirements of fighting for justice, but we have to be present in a different way. To me it is imperative that we really look at that,” Ms. Arnwine said.

“And we can never forget about voting rights,” she continued. “He wanted to do an executive order about voting rights, until he got called out by his own staff and others. Do we realize that in 2016 there were two million less Black votes counted than in 2012?

“The projection from every political scientist, was that in 2016, all things being equal, African American vote count would increase by 6 percent. It decreased by 11 percent in 2016! This is the effect of voter suppression. When you look at that two million votes, and you look at how close this was—60,000 vote difference, that put this man in office—this is what we need to be working on.

“These are the imperatives of our times. This is beyond resistance,” she continued. “This is the movement we have to be a part of.

We have to bring the word to our people. We’ve got to bring the word to this nation in a way that nobody’s bringing it, because our voices are blocked.”

The Trump supporters have remained fiercely loyal, with 90 percent of those who voted for him saying they continue to support the Trump presidency. Dr. Horne offered an example those in the African-liberation struggle should be able to easily understand.

“During the apartheid era, the African majority oftentimes said that they were in favor of sanctions, even though they may endure some short-term pain because they had a long-term goal in mind, which was taking power,” Dr. Horne explained, agreeing with Mr. Fletcher’s analysis.

“As I look at those Trump supporters—those Euro-American Trump supporters—where his measures on health care would really harm their interests, his measures in many different spheres, in terms of cutting government programs, would harm their interests. But it seems to me they have a long-term goal in mind, of a counter-revolution, against the changes of the recent decades. And so therefore they’re willing to ignore, what they see as short-term pain, in order to get to the long-term goal of a counter-revolution. I hope that I’m wrong, but I fear that I’m not.”

The solution is already familiar, in recent times to many, and the ideas have been articulated on a national scale by Minister Farrakhan and others: reparations to be paid by this country to the descendants of slaves, and economic boycotts to force the rest of the country to “share the pain” Black people are experiencing.

Ms. Arnwine, who frequently visits offices and attends hearings on Capitol Hill, urged participants and listeners to WPFW-FM 89.3 in Washington, and nationally on the Sirius XM Progress channel to pressure members of the Congressional Black Caucus to (among other things) support H.R. 40, legislation proposed by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), in every Congress since 1989 to study reparations for slavery. She also advocated use of the boycott, pointing out that the most effective tool used by freed slaves in the first years since Emancipation, from 1865-1870, in fact was the boycott.

Mr. Trump’s “ascension into the Oval Office speaks volumes about the state of mind of America and what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad referred to in an article lifted in a recent Final Call, ‘The Great Commotion,’ that is taking place,” Min. Ava Muhammad concluded. “I believe that we have to really hurry, as a people … Black people need to hurry and flee to the safety to the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad under Minister Farrakhan, and move quickly toward what he has stated is the best and only solution, which is indeed (racial) separation.”