On Friday night, President Trump launched another series of military strikes against Syria, without authorization from Congress and without any comprehensive strategy. Indeed, Trump’s own description of the strikes as ongoing and long-term conflicted with descriptions from British Prime Minister Theresa May and even his own Secretary of Defense. But while chances that these strikes will ease the suffering of civilians in Syria are anybody’s guess, one thing we know for sure is that Trump’s blockade against all refugees from the war-torn country, as part of his “Muslim ban” campaign pledge, turns a cold and bigoted shoulder to the pain and death they are enduring.
As of April 13, 2018, the United States has only accepted a total of 11 Syrian refugees this year. Compare this to the 15,479 Syrian refugees accepted in 2016, or even the 3,024 accepted in 2017. These drastically reduced numbers are a result of his xenophobic immigration policy platform, which has included multiple Muslim and refugee bans. If he truly wanted to help the people of Syria, he would help resettle those fleeing for their lives–not just from chemical attacks, but from the daily, brutal violence of the war between radical insurgents and the Syrian and Russian governments.
While Trump may claim that he does not want to admit refugees because of the threat of terrorism that they pose, the numbers do not support his “fear.” The risk of being killed by a refugee in the United States is 1 in 3.64 billion per year. Compare this to your 1 in 700,000 odds of being struck by lightning. Let’s be clear: Refugees undergo an extremely thorough vetting process before they are admitted into the country. It’s clear that Trump doesn’t actually care about helping the Syrian people. He just wants to claim all of the glory for “helping” innocent people without actually doing the work.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Hold Them Accountable. Tomorrow is Tax Day! Join people rallying across the country to hold Republican lawmakers accountable for their transparently selfish votes on the #TaxScam. Find a Tax March near you, and hold them accountable.
Sitting While Black. News emerged out of Philadelphia this weekend, where Starbucks employees called the police to remove two black men sitting at a table while waiting for a friend to arrive. The men were handcuffed, fingerprinted, and photographed before eventually being released eight hours later. The Starbucks CEO has since apologized for the “reprehensible” incident, which Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that this “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.” This is another reminder of what it’s like to be black in America. Time and again, we see black people unable to ask for directions; hold skittles or cell phones; drive; or peacefully protest. Today, we see black people can’t even sit in a Starbucks and wait for a friend.
Morally Unfit. Yesterday, former F.B.I. director James Comey made waves during his first public interview discussing Donald Trump, during which he called Trump “morally unfit” to be president. Trump has provided no shortage of examples of his moral character (or lack thereof). On the campaign trail, Trump drew widespread criticism when he mocked a disabled reporter. Then, the Access Hollywood tape came out, featuring Trump bragging about being able to grab women by the genitals, on account of his being a “star.” Days after being sworn in, he signed the first Muslim ban. And let’s not forget his repeated, disgusting attacks on the physical appearance of multitudes of women—not to mention the numerous accusations of sexual misconduct pending against him. There are too many instances to count, which begs the question: shouldn’t moral fitness be a metric by which we judge presidential fitness? Much emphasis is placed on Trump’s legal status, but we should ask ourselves this: even if Trump isn’t found guilty of crimes, is this man of such weak moral character the person we want representing the United States, both to its citizens and those in countries around the world?
UNDER THE RADAR
Virginia Medicaid Expansion. The Virginia state legislature, buoyed by the progressive shift in representation after the November, 2017 elections, is very close to passing Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. If passed, Virginia Governor (and former physician) Ralph Northam would almost surely sign the bill, as it has been one of his top priorities for many years to ensure that “all Virginians have access to affordable and quality care.”