War on Women Report No. 16

The War on Women is in full force under the Trump administration. We refuse to go back, and we refuse to let the administration quietly dismantle the progress we’ve made. We are watching. 

This is the War on Women Report.

Alan Greig / Creative Commons

Monday, 2/19

+ On Monday, the GOP’s Twitter account shared a link to an online card users could sign to greet Donald Trump a happy President’s Day, but predictably enough, in the wake of multiple indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller regarding the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the card became the source of a number of Twitter jokes.

In many ways, President Trump is really only recognized as president by his base of supporters. His oppression of all other Americans in his policies and rhetoric has led many to recognize him as the president of United States—but not as their president.

Tuesday, 2/20

+ Less than a week after a tragic mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Flordia, President Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr. “liked” a tweet that called the Parkland student activists who survived the shooting actors. The violence, trauma and terror unleashed on young people who went to school to learn has transformed many of them into courageous activists, speaking to media and raising awareness about their experiences and the urgent need for meaningful reform that will prevent more mass shootings in schools—and everywhere, for that matter. The devaluation of their experiences and powerful work by conspiracy theorists is particularly frustrating considering how young these activists are, and the trauma from which they found their voices, in the first place. But considering the mass conspiracy theories that went hand-in-hand with the 2012 tragedy in Sandy Hook, these damaging and uniquely offensive lies are only to be expected.

+ Also on Tuesday, President Trump shared multiple tweets attacking the credibility of one of the more than a dozen women who have accused him of sexual abuse.

In his tweets, Trump suggested that Rachel Crooks, a former employee at Trump Tower, had accused him of sexual misconduct in the pursuit of money. It’s an all-too common stereotype that women who accuse wealthy and powerful men of abuse only do so for money and fame, and often leads women who are victimized by these men to not report or speak up about their experiences, knowing their credibility will be publicly attacked. Trump’s tweets were an attack on not only the character of the woman accusing him, but also on all women and survivors who come forward.

Wednesday, 2/21

+ On Wednesday, approximately one week after the Parkland school shooting, Trump hosted a “listening session” for survivors of the shooting, their families, the families of victims and others directly affected by the shooting. Over the course of the session, many students eloquently voiced their opinions about the need for gun control to ensure gun sales are adequately and safely regulated, and people with records of violence have no access to firearms. Parents in attendance also took aggressive stances against Trump. “It doesn’t make sense. Fix it. Should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it!” the father of a Parkland shooting victim said in an impassioned speech. “And I’m pissed—because my daughter, I’m not going to see again. She’s not here. She’s not here. She’s… out in Ft. Lauderdale at whatever it is, King David Cemetery. That’s where I go to see my kid now.”

Trump, however, used the listening session as a platform to propose his dangerous idea of arming teachers with firearms. The proposal was out of line with his more recent actions—such as asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to propose regulations to ban bump stocks and considering raising the minimum age to purchase AR-15s—but it’s pretty much in line with his long history of troubling ideas about guns and gun laws.

+ Also on Wednesday, Politico reported that a State Department report about global women’s rights will not include descriptions of family planning, contraception and abortion as human rights. Another section about racial, ethnic and sexual discrimination will also be scaled back. This news is already drawing criticism because of its politicization of basic health needs of women and the civil rights of marginalized people. In other words, the disdain of conservative American government leaders that has already, provably damaged many American lives, could drastically impact the health and safety of women in other parts of the world, too. “Women’s rights are human rights,” Hillary Clinton wrote in a Thursday tweet. “That was a radical idea back in 1995. It shouldn’t still be two decades later.” The former senator and secretary of state, and first woman to win the popular vote of a presidential election, referenced her famous speech while she was first lady visiting China in 1995.

Thursday, 2/22

+ On Thursday, Trump wrote a tweet criticizing a widely viewed town hall that CNN hosted for Parkland survivors and victims’ families to question their lawmakers and NRA representatives. The president claimed the town hall was “scripted,” advancing the harmful and offensive conspiracy theory that Parkland survivors are puppets of the gun control movement. Arguably even worse, he took an issue as critical and tragic as mass gun violence and trivialized it with talk about poor “ratings.”

CNN responded to Trump and Fox News’ allegations with a tweet stating they were simply false, and additionally responded to one students’ claims that the network had tried to give him a script and rejected his ideas about enhancing school safety by hiring military veterans as security guards. According to CNN, the student’s father had withdrawn him from the town hall, but he is welcome on CNN to discuss his views in the future.

+ According to a Thursday New York Times report, in a phone call with one Parkland shooting survivor who had been shot in both legs, still has the broken glass of a shrapnel shell in her eye and only recently left the hospital, Trump told her he had heard she was “a big fan” of his, and referred to the Parkland shooter as “a sick puppy.” Since, Samantha Fuentes, has gone viral on social media for her straightforward interview with the Times about the phone call. Fuentes said she had “never been so unimpressed with anyone in my life” than she was with the President—who she claimed “didn’t make [her] feel better in the slightest.”

+ In another interview with NBC, Fuentes made her opinions about gun control clear. “I don’t know how Columbine wasn’t enough,” she said. “I don’t know Sandy Hook was not enough. I don’t know how the Las Vegas shooting was not enough. I don’t know how the Pulse nightclub was not enough. I don’t know how any of it was not enough. But now it is. This is enough for me.”

+ Also on Thursday, CNN’s Jim Acosta reported a disturbing change to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. The website no longer identifies the United States as “a nation of immigrants,” and in its new description, places emphasis on security and “lawful” immigration. Unsettlingly enough, this is pretty much in line with President Trump’s overarching agenda—one of stigmatizing immigrants as national safety threats and disdainfully distinguishing between those who are “legal” and “illegal” human beings.

Kylie Cheung is an editorial intern at Ms. She writes about feminism in politics and pop culture with a focus on reproductive justice. Her work appeared in Rewire, Teen Vogue, The Mary Sue and Mediaite, among others.

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