The War on Women Report: No. 3

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.

Friday 9/8

+ The White House announced on Friday President Trump’s latest wave of U.S. attorney nominees. He has now nominated 42 such attorneys, and only one is a woman—Jessie Liu. All 93 U.S. attorneys are nominated through a process knows as “blue slipping,” which requires senatorial sign-off on nominees. However, the president is ultimately responsible for setting the tone.  Because attorneys often become judges or even senators, missed opportunities to elevate women to these positions stunts women’s potential to rise into leadership roles in both the short and long term.

Monday 9/11

+ As the Senate HELP Committee works to lay out a plan to secure states’ Affordable Care Act exchanges, disputes over the extent to which the process by which states can waive some of the ACA’s requirements can be altered are taking center stage. The discussion is focusing primarily on how broadly to loosen the waiver process—also referred to as the “guardrails—that requires states to meet the minimum coverage goals of the ACA. Democrats fear that going lenient on standards at the state level will lead to a nationwide unraveling of the complex, interwoven components of consumer protections that create better access to affordable health care. Attacks on the ACA disproportionately impact women, and many fear that giving states too much exemption from requirements will put critical women’s care on the chopping block.

+ On Monday, the Justice Department filed papers to dismiss Joe Arpaio from his criminal conviction, arguing that Donald Trump’s presidential pardon proves Arpaio’s criminal case is moot. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who found Arpaio guilty in July of detaining people based solely on suspicions of illegal immigration status, is expected to hear arguments on Arpaio’s case next month. Arpaio’s tenure is one in which pregnant women and women of color were mistreated in prisons, and rape cases were discarded or botched—all while racist “birther” projects and a culture of racial profiling were handled with care.

Tuesday 9/12

+ According to journalist Emily Miller, White House official Tom Delay met with three prominent anti-choice lobbyists on Tuesday to discuss a nationwide total ban on abortion that is allegedly pending in Congress. The ban, known in the House as the “heartbeat bill,” is modeled on a vetoed Ohio bill that attempted to end legal abortion six weeks into pregnancy—a window that has been predicted to eliminate at least 90 percent of abortions in America and would fly flagrantly in the face of women’s rights under Roe. The so-called heartbeat bill was formally introduced a week before Trump took office in January.

+ Also Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration full reign to continue the banning of refugees under its so-called travel ban. The ruling, which is expected to impact nearly 24,000 people from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, blocked a court ruling last week that would have allowed refugees with a written commitment from resettlement organizations to be exempted from the travel ban while the justice examines the legality of their contract. Women in particular would be hit hardest by such a ban due to the gendered nature of warfare. Despite the tinge of success now pulsing through supporters’ veins, it is likely that this latest move is merely a stabilizing step designed to maintain the ban as it is until the full case is heard next month.

+ Meanwhile, the Trump administration is deliberating measures to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. over the next year to under 50,000—the lowest number since 1980 according to government officials. Should Trump move forward with this hard-line proposal, it would compound his initial decision to dismantle Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, becoming the second instance in two weeks that he has abused executive authority to discriminate against immigrants.

+ According to Democrats, in a meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer Trump allegedly agreed to protect DREAMers and move closer to a deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrant youth. This development marks the second time this month that Pelosi has effectively skewed the president’s position away from his harshly conservative allies. Despite this glimmer of hope, the reprisal against undocumented families continues. House Republicans are now pushing a replacement bill that would excuse racial profiling and allow government officials to deport immigrants based on appearance, bar access to humanitarian protections for victims of gangs, and eviscerate due process protections. This Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act is the latest Republican effort to falsely align immigrants with criminals to justify further deportations and detentions.

+ The Campaign Legal Center Tuesday announced that their inquiry via FOIA Request revealed that the Heritage Foundation had pushed back on naming a single Democrat to the so-called Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. The commission has come under fire since its creation for spreading falsehoods and working to roll back voting rights. “Any commission tasked with looking at the integrity of our elections should be bipartisan and should not be trying to make voting harder,” Trevor Potter, president of CLC and a former Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said in a statement. “Yet Secretary Kris Kobach, the vice-chair of the commission, continues to use his position to further his quest to undermine citizens’ right to vote. His demonstrably false claims about election results in New Hampshire leading up today’s meeting impugned the dignity of that state and were clearly intended to undermine our democracy rather than strengthen it.”

Wednesday 9/13

+ White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for the firing of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill, an award winning journalist, after she published a series of tweets referring to Donald Trump and his supporters as white supremacists. ESPN’s response was cowardly at best; the national network distanced itself from Jamele’s remarks and called her actions “inappropriate.” The National Association of Black Journalists has proclaimed support of Hill’s actions and her freedom to express her First Amendment rights. Huckabee Sanders is now the subject of an ethics complaint filed by the Democratic Coalition.

+ Paola Garcia, a student at Transylvania University in Kentucky is weathering hateful, racist attacks following Trump’s decision to rescind DACA and leave hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors in positions of fear and unknown. A TU classmate posted a photo from Garcia’s Facebook with a caption that called for fellow students to report Garcia for “bragging about breaking the law.” The attack was hardly addressed—Garcia told officials that the student responsible for the post, an emboldened Trump supporter, will not be expelled for his incitement of violence. The inability of schools to properly address harassment fuels the office of the presidency’s platform of hate that reaches the eyes and ears of millions.

Thursday 9/14

+ On Thursday, the vice chair of Trump’s election integrity commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, published a column in the alt-right outlet Breitbart falsely claiming that in New Hampshire 5,300 people voted illegally with out-of-state driver’s licenses—a form of ID that in fact guarantees legal, legitimate voting rights. Kobach’s grotesquely fallacious remarks have been used to back the arguments of men like John Lott, head of a gun rights advocacy group, who suggested earlier this week that the background-check system used for gun purchasers should be used to determine Americans’ eligibility to vote.

+ In a meeting with reporters Thursday, President Trump reiterated his belief that there was blame on “both sides” in the chaotic white supremacist riot in Charlottesville that left one counter-protester and dozens of others injured. Trump’s comments come after a private meeting with Republican Tim Scott, who wanted to talk to Trump about racism and was jarred by his comments after the violence in Virginia. (Reminder: There remains only one side.)

Friday 9/15

+ The Washington Post reported Friday that U.S. Army recruiters have abruptly and unexpectedly cancelled the enlistments of hundreds of foreign-born military recruits since last week. Many had joined the ranks as part of an immigration recruitment program that fast-tracks to citizenship; now, some are at risk to be deported.

Further Reporting

+ Read Amy Siskind’s write-up on Week 44 in the Trump administration.

+ Read Melissa McEwan’s daily round-up of acts of resistance in the age of Trump from this week.



Jessica Merino is a former Ms. editorial intern.