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Trump’s transition trainwreck

Courtesy of Wikimedia

President Donald Trump has accomplished another one for the history books. According to a CBS news poll, he has the lowest favorability numbers of any president-elect since 1993. The Trump team’s transition to the White House has been rocky at best and has seen his popularity fall dramatically. Two days before his inauguration, Trump’s favorability rating was a staggeringly low 40 percent.
In contrast, following his historic election, Barack Obama took office with a favorable rating of 78 percent, almost double that of Trump’s. Even President George W. Bush, who entered office after a Supreme Court case handed him the election following a popular vote loss, had a favorability rating of 62 percent. The President-elect fired back at these polls, calling them “rigged,” just another event in a pattern of attacks and misinformation that has become the norm since his election.
Trump’s transition has been one mishap after another. From attacking the media, to siding with Putin over American intelligence, it’s not a surprise that most Americans do not have a favorable opinion of him. Throughout the transition he has thrown away every chance to act presidential and work in the interests of the United States. His words and actions since Nov. 8 have been divisive, inflammatory and at times dangerous.
Soon after his election, Trump broke with decades of American foreign policy and accepted a call from the President of Taiwan. When questioned about this decision, he then refused to commit to the One China policy, raising tensions with China before he even took office. Trump has also worked to undermine the legitimacy of American institutions such as the intelligence community. The American intelligence community has produced information confirming that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of electing Trump.
However, Trump has dismissed this information and blamed the Democratic National Convention for being hacked, saying that they “allowed hacking to take place.” Though he eventually stated that he believed that Russia was behind the DNC hacks, Trump’s support of Putin over the intelligence community is cause for concern over how he will deal with Russia when he is president.
Additionally, he routinely attacked the media, referring to them as the “dishonest media” and discounting factual reporting. When pressed by a reporter from CNN during a press conference, Trump said CNN was “fake news” while incoming press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to kick the reporter out and demanded that he apologize.
The job of journalists is to ask tough questions, to make politicians feel uncomfortable and to hold those in power accountable.
When the President-elect demonizes the media and turns his supporters against one of our most needed institutions, their ability to check power and corruption is weakened. We need journalists now more than ever to hold Trump accountable and to do good investigative reporting into his vast conflicts of interest. His attacks on the media are telling of his enormous hatred of criticism and are extremely dangerous for the future of our democracy.
Trump has continued to use his position of power to go after not only the media but anyone who has a negative opinion of him. During the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. day, Trump attacked Representative John Lewis, a civil rights icon, saying he was “all talk” and “no action.” Rep. Lewis was beaten by police in Selma, Alabama in 1965 while marching for civil rights with King. At the same time, Trump was dodging military service through student deferments and a medical deferment that he later attributed to heel spurs. Trump also referred to Meryl Streep, who holds the record for most Academy Award nominations, as “overrated” after she voiced her criticism of the president-elect.
Trump has continued to deviate from political norms and politeness, attacking anyone and anything not to his personal liking. Republican Senator John McCain has said that Trump “seems to want to engage with every windmill that he can find,” which raises questions as to how he will conduct himself as president. Will he continue to personally attack private citizens and journalists? Will he continue to seek conflict throughout his term, possibly putting American lives at risk?
His erratic behavior during the campaign and the transition suggests that he will. With the worst approval rating of an incoming president in recent history and a drastic loss in the popular vote, the president-elect has a lot to do to earn the confidence of the American people. The transition is over and Trump needs to face the truth: that he won the election and is now President of the United States, and he needs to act like it.

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