Troubles Brewing in the Trump Administration

Kamille Ritchie, Cactus Editor

More unsettling news drifts from the Trump administration. It seems the nation can’t go a week without hearing something questionable our President has done. The weekend of President’s day, I heard some troubling news on my way home from work. A Jewish cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri was the site of an anti-Semitic attack: more than 170 Jewish graves were desecrated, vandalized and toppled over. The same day, several Jewish community centers in different states received a wave of bomb threats. To say I was horrified is an understatement. How can this happen? Clearly the President is not responsible for these acts, however the climate of hatred and intolerance in our country since his inauguration seems to be growing.

Although there are plenty of other matters to discuss, this one is more of a personal concern. Since I was a child, I have always been interested in reading and learning about the Holocaust. I would always count my blessings because this particular topic showed me how much worse my life could be and the evils human beings are capable of. For many people of Jewish heritage, these times must seem eerily similar to that time period 84 years ago. I am choosing to dedicate my editorial to this topic to show support for my Jewish counterparts and let them know that they have an ally.

Many individuals have expressed concern over the Trump administration’s “brushing off” of Jewish concerns. Some might recall President Trump’s slip up on January 27: Holocaust Remembrance Day. The White House issued a statement, which failed to mention Jewish victims. As it turns out, the State Department had prepared a statement, which indeed mentioned the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, but the White House claimed they did not see the statement prior to their statement being issued. Now this excuse may be plausible. Stuff happens. Although considering what day it was, I would assume you would mention the Holocaust to remind citizens of its horrors and how it shouldn’t happen again.

In many ways, America has more freedoms than other countries. However, these freedoms sometimes give people, with malicious intentions, the ability to express themselves with little censorship. In several news conferences, Mr. Trump appeared to avoid questions related to Jewish concerns. An example of this occurred, several days after his Jan. 27 slip. Mr. Trump held a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington. During this conference, an Israeli journalist asked President Trump about the alarming increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. and in Canada. Instead of seizing the opportunity to assure Jewish citizens that he condemns anti-Semitism, President Trump decided to do what he does best: talk about himself. After reliving his greatest hit (gaining the presidency), Mr. Trump gave a pretty general response: We’re going to have peace in this country, stop crime, and “do everything in our power to stop racism and everything else going on because there’s a lot of bad things going on.” He went on to mention the existence of his five Jewish family members, because acknowledging them answered the reporter’s question.

The following day, Mr. Trump was given another opportunity to show his empathy. Of course, he did not carpe momentum. During that press conference, Jake Turx, a journalist for an Orthodox Jewish publication asked, well, attempted to ask President Trump a question. After reassuring Trump that he is not accusing him of being an anti-Semitic, Turx expressed his concern about the current situation and the lack of action being done to alleviate the problem. However, before Turx could get his question out, Mr. Trump interrupted him and insisted he understood the question and that he was the least anti-Semitic person Turx has ever seen. When Turx tried to elaborate, Trump told him to be quiet and sit down. Let’s just say Turx’s concerns went on unaddressed.

Over 100 bomb threats have occurred since the beginning of January; threats have been reported in 33 different states in the U.S. and two provinces in Canada. While none have proved legitimate, the anxiety and chaos they have induced is startling. According to sources, the incidents seem to concentrate on an almost weekly basis beginning on Jan. 9th, and following through Jan. 18th, Jan. 31st, Feb. 20, and Feb. 27th as of now. These threats are like domestic acts of terrorism so it’s surprising to see the government has very little intelligence on the matter. As of now, FBI officials can only say that the unknown assailants are using voice-masking technology to disguise their voices when calling the schools and community centers.

Now it may seem like my last few editorials have been cutting down on President Trump, but I have many concerns. Considering the legitimate fear in the Jewish community during this time, the Trump administration’s delay to respond is alarming. It was not until his February 28th presidential address that Trump finally spoke on these troubling matters, reminding citizens that although “…while we may be a nation divided by policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning “hate and evil in all its forms.” I only hope you mean that, President Trump…

Throughout his campaign, Trump insisted his goal is to make America great again, but in all honesty, America hasn’t been great. Yes, our nation has achieved many things, but often, these accomplishments involved stepping on someone’s back, or removing the human element from a person and treating them as dogs. If Trump wants to make this country great, he cannot condone or seem to ignore acts such as these hate crimes. He needs to be the one to take action and show there are consequences for these acts. Instead of burning his energy on immigration policies, President Trump should focus his attention on the U.S. citizens terrorizing others.