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Trump still can’t be taken seriously

Courtney Dalton

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After President Donald Trump’s address to Congress Tuesday night, many people were left feeling hopeful. Republicans were thrilled with the content and delivery of the speech. Some were confused by his change in tone, as he moved more toward the center with several of his comments about healthcare. I, however, remain skeptical.

It is interesting that Trump remained so opposed to undocumented immigrants in his speech to Congress given that, just hours before, he had mentioned to reporters — including some from The New York Times — that he would consider granting legal status to undocumented immigrants if they were deemed safe. At the address, however, there was no mention of this shift in policy. Perhaps he refrained from this knowing his supporters would consider him a hypocrite. Trump has been known to change his policy preferences based on whatever is convenient for him at the time, so to me this is no surprise.

Just after the election, NBC News reported that Trump was softening his stance on immigration. “The ‘big, beautiful wall’ along the United States-Mexico border that Donald Trump made a central promise of his presidential campaign could be part fence,” Chelsea Bailey reported. Trump also changed his deportation stance by stating his main priority was to deport illegal immigrants who are dangerous rather than the 11 million he said he would deport previously. As we can see, changing policy stances is not something new for Trump. He did it just days after he was elected.

Since November, Trump has continuously pushed for budgets to be created for his wall and has remained seemingly tough on illegal immigration. However, on Tuesday, Trump noted that, “real and positive immigration reform is possible,” but with Congress already busy with attempting to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and soon to begin on his infrastructure demands, I am not sure when immigration reform will come to fruition.

The American people do have to keep in mind that Trump is — according to Vox, The Daily Beast and other media outlets — doing whatever Steve Bannon tells him to do. And not only this, but he is doing whatever will keep the Republicans on his side and increase his own power. Bannon, as reported by The Washington Post in February, is not fond of even legal immigrants, so of course Donald Trump can be expected to remain tough on illegal immigration.

Trump is now realizing that he will need at least some Democrats on his side in order to pass the bills he promised his supporters. That is what his address was about Tuesday night. He needs to unite Congress enough to get his agenda through. With the pressure from progressive Americans to keep opposing anything Trump proposes, Democrats are in for a tough position. Should they continue to oppose everything President Trump wants to pass, or is compromise possible?

For me, it is difficult to take anything Donald Trump proposes seriously, especially when his cabinet and appointees still remain cloaked in scandal. How are the American people or Congressional Democrats supposed to strive for compromise when this administration has had contact with Russia and is clearly working for big business, not average Americans? Attorney General Jeffery Sessions is just the latest in many suspicious happenings that surround this administration.

Michael Flynn was fired for having interactions with the top Russian diplomat, and now it has come out that Sessions did the same exact thing last year. During Sessions’ confirmation hearing, he said that he knew nothing of Trump’s campaign having connections with Russia. He also failed to mention that he himself had spoken with the diplomat himself.

The Department of Justice has been investigating the ties between Russia and Trump’s administration and campaign. Sessions is now right in the heart of this investigation. Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation, but I think it’s best if he simply resigned from his position. Not only did Sessions meet with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian diplomat, twice in July, he also met with him in his office in September while he was a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee. This is unacceptable for someone who is now the Attorney General of the U.S. and has been a long-time Trump surrogate.

If Michael Flynn, former senior National Security Adviser to Trump, could be fired for having contacts with Russia, Jeff Sessions should certainly resign over this mess. This administration will never be taken seriously if its members cannot hold the public’s trust. I am so tired of turning on the news to another scandal or lawsuit being brought against Donald Trump and his surrogates. If Donald Trump wishes to unite the parties and be taken seriously, he needs to start with appointing people who hold the public’s interests at heart, not people like Jeff Sessions.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Trump still can’t be taken seriously