BY STATE SENATOR JAMES SANDERS, JR.
With his approval rating dropping, and his continuous inability to make good on his campaign promises, I thought it would be a good time to look back at President Donald Trump’s first 200 days in office. It is ironic that Trump’s political aspirations are so different from the liberal views and diverse population of the borough of Queens, which he once called home.
Let us talk about where Trump has managed to have a real impact on policy, and how these policies will affect Queens. As for where he has failed, we must ask ourselves – what do his intentions predict for the future?
Trump’s travel ban has now returned and is pending a final ruling in the Supreme Court. We live in a country, at which at this moment discriminates against the entry of Muslims. Whether or not the ban ultimately fails, Trump has established a dangerous precedent. No doubt as acts of terrorism continue to occur abroad, our Commander-in-Chief will keep trying to design new travel bans, or reassert the old one. If he succeeds in pinpointing a danger to a Muslim majority nation like Bangladesh or Turkey, many people in Queens could be cut off from family at home, or worse.
Trump has begun the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, an international accord meant to restrict warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Apart from the fact that such warming would already be catastrophic, going beyond that will be even worse. As we saw recently during Hurricane Sandy, Southeast Queens is in the crosshairs of climate change. We stand to lose our homes and heritage so that Trump can show his base some victory.
On the other hand, though he mobilized his party, or tried to, he was unable to repeal Obamacare. When all was said and done, the GOP attempted to pass a bill to repeal only the individual mandate, a policy that would have gutted the individual exchanges. It would have resulted in millions losing health coverage with no plan to insure them. It would have jeopardized the coverage of many middle class people, freelancers and entrepreneurs in our borough and my district who rely on the exchange. All of this was aimed at getting a symbolic political victory.
Finally, as a historian and the father of MWBE legislation in New York City, I can tell you that American history is full of examples of minority groups, women and immigrants denied the fruits of government support. It was an America that we all hoped we were leaving behind. However, Trump’s budget proposed downsizing of two federal offices that investigate and enforce anti-discrimination laws on projects that receive federal funding would mean weaker anti-discrimination enforcement on projects happening right here in Queens, namely the renovation of JFK. Is this what Trump means by making America great again?