In the words of the great Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.”
This phrase has continually come back to me throughout President-Elect Donald Trump’s political campaign, as he has affirmed his character, or lack thereof, to me, to the American people, and to the world. Very little surprises me about Trump at this point because from the opening statements of his campaign, he has demonstrated that he has no regard for what is right and only has regard for himself.
News of Trump’s surprise at the magnitude of the office of the presidency and his dismal cabinet picks have trickled down from on high, Trump Tower in New York City. Trump’s team was apparently unaware that they would have to replace the entire West Wing (around 4000 people). Trump spoke to international leaders, including Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, before being briefed by the State Department on foreign threats and initiatives.
And yet, his limited knowledge on procedure and the depth of the president’s occupation do not surprise me; we saw how little he knew about governing in the presidential debates.
Trump has selected known white supremacist and anti-semite Stephen Bannon to be his Chief Advisor. But because one racist in the cabinet is not enough, Trump followed Bannon with two more racists: Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama, who could not get confirmed as a federal judge in the 1980s because of racist comments, is his pick for attorney general. Retired general Michael Flynn may get a national security job, in spite of (or perhaps, because of) his commitment to Islamophobic tactics, including limiting immigration from Muslim countries and potentially requiring Muslims to register with the government, strategies that history shows us are inhumane and against religious liberty.
And yet, these choices do not surprise me; his campaign rhetoric showed us that he would place racism and human rights violations at the center of his policies.
To top it all off, Trump has continually spread lies from his Twitter account since winning the election. Most recently, he claimed to have prevented a Ford plant from moving to Mexico, although the Ford plant was never planning to move in the first place.
Again, I’m not surprised, these lies and the unsavory choice of complaining on Twitter are his modus operandi. Trump has been a Twitter troll and conspiracy theorist for years, even though he promised to act more “presidential,” if he won the election.
This man is no champion of the working class, and I have no illusions that he could be. On November 15th, Trump, ditching his press pool and with little security, walked into 21 Club, a fancy NYC restaurant, telling the other rich folks there not to worry, that he would lower their taxes.
And yet he’s a populist champion. And yet he tells it like it is. Let me remind you that we still do not have access to this man’s tax records.
So stop telling me to “give Donald Trump a chance.” Stop telling me to “respect democracy.” I choose to side with women, with black people, Mexicans, the undocumented, Muslims, queer people, truth and justice. Buckle up for the next four years, folks, and get real. Donald Trump showed us long ago who he is. It is time we just believe him.