Part of what makes the United States uniquely wonderful is its citizens' diversity. Everyone has different backgrounds, opinions, and viewpoints – which is why I've accepted the undeniable fact that there are some Americans who see the positives and somewhat promise in a Donald Trump presidency. And while I can't pretend to fully see eye-to-eye with these Americans, I can't deny that there are different perspectives to be had with our 46th president.
What I can't accept is the optimistic perspective that this is a man who sticks to his word. This is an argument I cannot stand by or "agree to disagree" to because history, old tweets, and simple provable fact does not support it. We can't just ignore his obvious hypocrisy and hope that he'll eventually own up to his mistakes and deliver what he's promised the American people.
You have to look at a politician's past in order to judge his or her character, and this is a man who has been a hypocrite far too many times. For instance,
1. His unkept promises for his presidency's first 100 days
Since the days of FDR, a United States President's first 100 days have become critical, a hint at what the rest of his presidency will look like. Trump's campaign laid out a "contract with the American people," where he listed off promises for his first 100 days in the Oval Office. However, these important days brought no significant legislative victories, stalling his campaign staples like health care and immigration, while significantly uniting Democrats in the process.
2. His frequent golfing
Even before Trump was even remotely recognized by the country as a politician, he was tweeting about his disapproval of President Obama's time spent playing golf. He complained that Obama shouldn't be wasting time on vacation when there's plenty of work to be done as president – which is fair. But now, having the opportunity to take the reigns and spend more time on legislation than on the course, President Trump is golfing even more than his predecessor did. He even went golfing on the Fourth of July, breaking a streak of presidents visiting soldiers on this holiday, and went golfing his first few days in office, something he specifically criticized Obama for. You can't make this stuff up.
3. His stance on LGBTQ+ rights
Trump's outlook on gay rights has seemed to flip flop throughout the years. Last year, after the tragic Orlando nightclub shooting, he tweeted, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” This past January, he also voiced his support when his staff said he “continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election.” But he refused to acknowledge pride month once throughout all of June, and his administration withdrew federal guidance for transgender students. Let's also not forget that Trump chose Mike Pence to be his right hand man, a man who once referred to the gay community as "social experimentation" and a signal of "societal collapse".
4. The infamous (and now green?) wall
Trump had promised his supporters a towering wall along the Mexican border, promised that it would be paid for by Mexico, and that it would be extremely effective in the fight against illegal immigration in the United States. In order to give the president the benefit of the doubt, I'll avoid talking about how the goal of the wall overall are naive and probably unattainable. But he has just recently added even more confusion to this plan, deciding that he is open to the idea of the wall having solar panels to help cover the cost, even saying it "would actually look good."
I'm sorry, isn't this the same man who pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, claiming that global warming isn't a dangerous problem, who now thinks that energy-efficient solar panels would be a good way to keep undocumented Mexicans out? And let's not ignore his aspirations to also somehow make this wall transparent. While Trump keeps sharing his dream scenarios about this imaginary wall, Mexicans and Congressional Americans are withdrawing more and more support for it.
5. Attacking Syria
In April, Trump attacked Syria without Congressional approval – another action he specifically criticized his predecessor for doing. In 2013 he tweeted, "TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN" and "The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!"
There's really nothing else to add to prove his hypocrisy in this situation. Again, can't make this stuff up.
5. Denouncement – and then praise – of the electoral college
Another Twitter-based flip-flop from the president. He sometimes seems to support things or people only when they benefit him. Back when Mitt Romney almost won the popular vote in 2012, he filled his Twitter page with outrage, claiming "the electoral college is a disaster for democracy." If you enjoy irony as much as me, then that's probably when of your favorite Trump tweets. Because just a presidential term later, he tweeted that the electoral college is "actually genius."
Is it genius? Or do you just love how you were able to benefit from it?
6. Criticizing Obama for avoiding intelligence briefings
Back when Trump was a full-time Twitter journalist, he condemned President Obama, claiming he did not attend briefings and that he was "too busy I guess!" But when Trump was first elected, he claimed he didn't need the briefings, and sometimes refused to attend them himself.
7. Criticizing Hillary Clinton for her private e-mails
During his campaign, Trump could not seem to criticize his opponent enough for her usage of a private email server. But sources are saying that Trump himself is currently using an unsecured device – his Android smartphone. In addition, his @POTUS Twitter account is also connected to a private Gmail account.
You would think that after all the controversy surrounding Clinton's campaign, Trump would try to keep his devices and accounts as transparent as his dream wall.
8. Condoning of "alternative facts"
Trump loves to throw around the words "fake news," whether it's at press briefings, rallies, or part of a hashtag on his Twitter page. It seems like the bare truth is very important to him, except that it's not. The infamous birth of the "alternative fact" came about in January, when Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, used this new term to excuse Trump's lying about his inauguration crowd size. Trump seems to be okay with exaggerating the truth to benefit him, but again, only if it's benefitting him.
9. Condemnation of only some biased news sources
Maybe something all level-headed Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that almost all news can sometimes be a little biased. While the New York Times can present one perspective of news, Fox News presents another, and so on. They're news sources created by human beings so, of course, they're not devoid of fault. The great thing about America is these different news perspectives can coexist without interference by the government.
Or they could, before Trump was elected. He has criticized major and credible news outlets like NYTimes, CNN, NBC, ABC, and The Washington Post, calling them "fake news." These denouncements usually follow some kind of negative news coverage about something that Trump did, in fact, do, but in his world, only the flattering news is real – like Fox. Fox News is recognized as a conservative news source, having 60% of their viewers identifying as conservative (by comparison, CNN's viewers are 32% conservative, 30% moderate, and 30% liberal). Because of their outwardly optimistic views on Trump, he has continuously praised them for it.
10. His views on James Comey
Well, we all know what Trump's views on Comey are now that he's fired him. But what about a few months ago, before the Russia investigation controversy? Back in October, Trump praised Comey for the work he was doing in Clinton's e-mail investigation. He openly shared his respect for Comey, claiming "he did the right thing." Obviously the tables turned dramatically once Trump realized Comey would then be investigating him. Since Comey was no longer benefitting him, he lost all respect for him and left him out of a job.
11. Criticizing Obama's executive orders
Last, but certainly not least, are Trump's hypocritical views on presidential executive orders. Before he was sitting in the Oval, he consistently condemned Obama's use of executive orders, saying he only signed them because "he can't get anything done" otherwise. Today, executive orders comprise the majority of Trump's accomplishments as president, signing even more than Obama did at this point in the term.
It seems as through businessman Donald Trump and President Donald Trump are very different people. But if we can't judge our national leader based on his past, how are we expected to trust him with our future?