War on Women Report No. 15

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.

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+ In a Monday speech addressed to Cincinnati power plant workers, President Trump suggested the Democrats who did not applaud for him at last week’s State of the Union address were “un-American” and even “treasonous.” His comments are already being brushed off by supporters as a light-hearted joke—a pass that’s become all too familiar. But despite what any Trump loyalists may argue, his words were an undeniable jab at freedom of expression and political opposition, and a false equivalence of loyalism to patriotism. “They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘Treasonous.’ … Can we call that treason? Why not,” he said.


+ In audio obtained by the Washington Post Tuesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly suggested immigrants were “too lazy” to sign up for DACA. “There are 690,000 official DACA registrants, and the President sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” Kelly said in the audio. “The difference between 690 [thousand] and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.” In an American economy driven by the hard work and labor of immigrants, many of whom are doing everything they can to provide for and keep their families from being separated, Kelly’s comments are not only condescending but also ignorant and rooted in racist stereotyping.

+ On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Trump had issued a presidential directive demanding a large-scale military parade. According to the report, the Pentagon is looking at dates in November for the parade to be held in Washington. Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are already raising concerns about the costs of the parade. “A military parade costs millions,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz said in a tweet. “Let’s fix military housing, hire more VA doctors, fund telehealth, DOD schools, support the commissaries, daycare for families, or give more flight training time. Our highest defense priority must be the service members, not the politicians.” The last major military parade held in Washington took place in 1991, when President George H.W. Bush held a parade to celebrate victory in the Persian Gulf War. The parade cost an estimated $12 million at the time, which is the equivalent of $21 million, today.

+ On Tuesday, Trump signed an order to establish the National Vetting Center, which will be run by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the intelligence community and the departments of State, Justice and Defense. The center’s mission will be to “collect, store, share, disseminate and use.” Civil liberties groups like the Brennan Center for Justice have spoken out to express skepticism over the the president’s order. “We already rigorously vet people traveling to the U.S., so it is unclear what value such a center would add,” Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program, said in a statement. “In all likelihood it is simply another means of implementing the administration’s unnecessary and discriminatory policies, such as so-called ‘extreme vetting.”


+ In a Wednesday appearance on Politico’s Women Rule podcast, Meghan McCain, daughter of former Republican presidential nominee John McCain, questioned Ivanka Trump’s branding of herself as non-political. “You’re an advisor to your father, who also happens to be the president, and you’re not a political person?” McCain said. She also questioned Ivanka’s praise for Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech, which tackled both civil and women’s rights. McCain pointed out how the speech was not only “politically loaded,” but was also laden with criticism of Ivanka’s father and his racist and sexist rhetoric and policies. McCain raised important points about Ivanka’s capitalizing on her father’s political power to advance her brand, while simultaneously trying to distance herself from her father’s controversies.

+ Also on Wednesday, White House secretary Rob Porter resigned when allegations that he abused his former wives became public. The White House, and, specifically, Chief of Staff John Kelly, offered ambiguous responses to the allegations that seemed to suggest Kelly and others already knew about the allegations but worked with Porter nonetheless. This would be in line with the administration’s record of overlooking domestic abuse and sexual assault allegations, such as allegations that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was violent toward an ex-wife, and allegations of child molestation and sexual assault from former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. Notably, President Trump has more than a dozen allegations of sexual abuse toward women, and his first wife previously accused him of rape.


+ The federal government briefly shut down yet again Thursday evening, when Congress failed to reach an agreement on a colossal bill, once again, yet again to conflict regarding immigration. The Senate eventually passed a temporary compromise spending bill, which President Trump signed early Friday morning. The bill will precede an immigration debate on the Senate floor on Monday. Much of the conflict emerges from ambiguity about DACA, and Republican refusal to guarantee the safety of young undocumented people. President Trump has been part of perpetuating this conflict, not only through his long record of racist rhetoric, but also through his inconsistent and often xenophobic stances and policy proposals.


+ On Friday, the president finally made a public statement about former White House secretary and alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter—wishing him well while expressing no sympathy for the women he allegedly abused. “We certainly wish him well,” Trump said of Porter. “It’s obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House.”



Kylie writes about feminism, reproductive and survivor justice, and women in politics, and is the author of two books about feminism, The Gaslit Diaries and A Woman's Place: Inside the Fight for a Feminist Future.