I love that everyone is so passionate and relentless with their views this election season. I believe it is vital and invaluable for a country to have citizens who are informed and who care. I’ve seen friends, family, and strangers alike taking stances, having debates, and sharing articles and news sources on social media outlets.
With the plethora of biased and opinionated information, I found it necessary to compile a summary of some key points thus far in Trump’s presidency as well as a guide of our new leaders to better understand the state of our government. More important than debating and arguing is to have concrete and reputable information in order to form a well thought and informed opinion on the matter.
* I tried to be as unbiased as possible, using information from different types of news sources and being intentional about sharing only facts. *
Some Useful Background:
Every President-elect nominates candidates to fill the cabinet positions underneath his administration. The Senate has to confirm all nominees before they can officially be chosen for the position. The Senate is made up of 100 senators, 2 elected from each state.
The 2016 elections were important for the US Senate for two reasons: one was that Republican Donald Trump’s success on the ballot lead to less Republican losses in the Senate than normal or expected, giving them more of the majority.
Secondly, the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016 made the 2016 elections of utmost importance. In order to confirm his replacement, 60 Senate votes are necessary, leaving the Republican dominated Senate with the ability to deny all nominations presented by Barack Obama. The pressure was on for both parties, seeing that a Democratic nominee could tip the scales of the Senate to a more liberal side. Obama never ended up appointing a justice, however, and that duty now lies with President Trump.
Currently, the Senate is comprised of 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and 2 Independents.
The President of the Senate (also called the Vice President) has the job of presiding over the Senate. While he can’t participate in votes, he can cast a vote to break a tie. Vice President Mike Pence currently holds this position.
The Majority Leader is the chief spokesperson for the majority party in the Senate. Currently that position is filled by Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
With so much riot, change, and outcry in such a short time, it can be difficult to accurately interpret and understand news outlets, such as who they’re talking about, what they’re saying and why it’s important. So, here is a condensed synopsis of some things President Trump has done so far, and who is essentially comprising the next generation of leadership. *this is not a complete list*
Executive Orders and Memos
Within 12 days of the inauguration, President Trump had signed 18 executive orders and memos (7 orders, 11 memos.)
The Mexico City Policy was one of the first memos signed as President, reinstating the Reagan-era policy that stops U.S. funding from global organizations to support abortions. The last 4 presidents have either repealed or reinstated this policy as one of the first decisions as president.
Two orders pertain to building a wall and increasing patrol forces.
The Immigration Order, titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” suspended new refugee admissions for 120 days and put a limit of 50,000 refugees allowed to resettle in the United States this year. Travelers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia are effectively banned for 90 days. This caused tension and legal repercussions due to the President being an integral authority on immigration matters.
Federal law allows the president to suspend or ban groups of people in he sees fit for national safety. In 1965 that law was updated to exclude bans on classes due to their “race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.” The tension comes from the apparent disregard of the First Amendment clause stating Congress cannot establish a religion, the right to due process, and the 1965 update. While this connotation was denied by Trump, this order quickly became known as "The Muslim Ban."
The decision to appeal and overturn this order was handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco by a federal district judge who blocked some main parts of the plan. President Trump plans on taking the decision to the Supreme Court and fighting for the implementation.
The Trump Administration:
Donald J. Trump-45th President of the United Statesconfirmed January 20th
Business owner well-known for his construction and estate in New York City and abroad
Received 304 electoral votes
Mike Pence- 48th Vice President of the United States
Previous Governor of Indiana
Known as a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican
History of pushing for education initiatives and restrict abortions
Signed a bill acting as an amendment to protect the LGBT community
Rex Tillerson- Secretary of State confirmed February 1st
Former CEO of ExxonMobil
He has a business relationship with Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, after coordinating international relations with Russia since the 1990s
Jeff Sessions- Attorney Generalconfirmed February 8th
44th attorney general of Alabama
Ranked by the National Journal (2007) as the fifth-most conservative senator
Known for Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act to reauthorize funding through 2018. Anti-abortion, opponent of same sex marriage.
Betsy DeVos- Education Secretary confirmed February 7th
51-50 vote with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie breaking vote.
Republican Party advocate and major GOP donor.
Supports greater state autonomy for education decisions
Known for believing education should be non-partisan, meaning having no bias to a certain political party
Tom Price- Secretary of Health and Human Services
Orthopedic surgeon and chairman of the House Budget Committee
Proposed a detailed alternative to Obamacare
He will play a huge role in any changes made to Obamacare
Gen. James Mattis (Ret.)- Secretary of Defenseconfirmed January 20th
Retired in 2013 from the Marine Corps after 41 years of service
Head of U.S. Central Command, leading all American forces in the Middle East
Said to have a personal library of 70,000 books
Noted criticism of Obama’s nuclear deals with Iran
Gen. John Kelly- Secretary of Department of Homeland Securityconfirmed January 20th
Retired 4 star Marine General
This position emerged as a result of 9/11 and includes coordinating national security and work with issues surrounding security such as immigration, borders, terrorism and cyberterrorism
Lost his son in Afghanistan in 2010
Believes in stronger border control but also believes more can be done to reduce undocumented entries
Let's keep debating, keep studying, keep standing up for what we believe is right, and keep taking advantage of the incredible opportunity for education we have in this country.
As always, stay informed and alert.
The Atlantic, Npr Boise, ABC news, FOX news, CNN news, New York Times, Trump.com, google