War on Women Report: Trump’s Xenophobic, Transphobic and Sexist Legacy

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, June 19

+ The Trump administration backed a law passed in Idaho banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports leagues. The first law of its kind in the nation, the Idaho ban prevents transgender students who identify as female from competing on women’s sports teams funded by public schools and universities. Notably, the ban does not extend to men’s sports teams. 

A 2018 queer and trans rights protest in D.C. (Ted Eytan / Flickr)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

“The Trump administration has been attacking trans folks in the United States since basically inauguration day,” said legal director for the ACLU of Idaho, Ritchie Eppink. “It’s not surprising they made this a part of their anti-trans agenda as well.”

Sunday, June 21

+ The American Museum of Natural History decided to remove a prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt which received criticism for glorifying colonialism and westward expansion. Ellen Futter, the museum’s director, defended the decision, saying, “The community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd.” She added “the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.”

Trump, however, called this decision “ridiculous,” once again demonstrating his ignorance towards the country’s racist history the majority of the country is looking to our leaders to rectify and heal. 

Monday, June 22

+ As states around the U.S. make moves to increase vote-by-mail capabilities in the coming November election, Trump has repeatedly attacked this voting method with unsupported claims aimed to rile up his supporters—even though he himself has voted by mail, as well as 16 other Trump officials (including Attorney General Bill Barr, who just this week said expanded voting by mail would open “the floodgates of potential fraud”).

Five states already vote entirely by mail. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, this voting method is becoming increasingly necessary, since in-person polling booths create unnecessary danger—especially for high risk voters. 

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Because of a long-standing gender gap in the voting trends of men and women, polling shows that women—especially women of color—are less supportive of Trump and more likely to vote Democratic than their male counterparts. Ensuring ease in voting will make sure that the voices of women and people of color are represented in election results.

Tuesday, June 23

+ In a tweet which has been flagged by Twitter for promoting abusive behavior and threatening harm, Trump suggested that he would use “serious force” against protesters in D.C.’s Black House Autonomous Zone. This threat was part of an ongoing conflict between Trump and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser regarding the city’s responses to recent protests. Bowser has supported the Black Lives Matter movement and First Amendment rights of protesters, and had “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street outside of the White House. 

Following violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement in the autonomous zone, the mayor’s office reiterated they hope to keep the area safe for protesters to come together and nonviolently demonstrate. As Bowser is taking efforts to heal and lead her city, Trump is doing the opposite. His threats to use force put protesters at risk and challenge the mayor’s authority. 

+ Trump confirmed his 200th federal judge to a lifetime appointment. Now, one in four circuit court judges—the second-most powerful judges in the judiciary—is a Trump-appointed judge. Trump’s appointees are overwhelmingly white and male. Most concerning though, is the fact that Trump’s federal judge picks are significantly younger than Obama’s.

Trump appointee Cory Wilson, 49, was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals this week. And Justin Walker, 38, was Trump’s 199th nomination. The American Bar Association considers Walker “not qualified.” Walker praised U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.

Due to their young ages, Wilson and other similar judges now have decades to inform decisions; as such, Trump’s nominations possess significant power. These judges will rule on cases related to abortion, rights of LGBTQ people, immigration and police reform among other important issues currently on the forefront. Trump’s actions on these issues have been disastrous and dangerous; it is likely that his appointees will rule along similar lines. 

Wednesday, June 24

+ In a Fox News town hall, Trump criticized several Democrat-run cities. Most notable was Chicago, whose mayor Lori Lightfoot has promised police reform in response to the killing of George Floyd. Trump falsely stated that Chicago’s crime rates are “worse than Afghanistan,” Honduras and Guatemala.

Apart from being factually incorrect, Trump’s statements are also insensitive to the history of racism and segregation the city faces. Since his campaigning for the 2016 election, Trump has repeatedly criticized Chicago, calling it a “living hell” and threatening to “send in the feds.” Trump’s criticism of Chicago and mayor Lightfoot once again demonstrate his ignorance and his tendency to attack, rather than solve problems

Thursday, June 25

+ Trump has continually referred to coronavirus as the “China virus,” the “Kung Flu” or “Chinese virus,” promoting dangerous xenophobic sentiments. Nationwide, Asian Americans have reported being both physically and verbally attacked on account of coronavirus anger and fear fueled by Trump’s rhetoric.

Trump has defended this shorthand repeatedly, and he guarantees his racist messages to be at the forefront by tweeting. Charissa Cheah, lead researcher in a study examining coronavirus-related discrimination against Chinese Americans, explained:

“[Trump is] essentially throwing his American citizens or residents of Chinese and Asian descent ‘under the bus’ by ignoring the consequences of the language he uses. He’s fueling these anti-Chinese sentiments among Americans … not caring that the people who will truly suffer the most are Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans, his citizens whom he’s supposed to protect.”

The coronavirus accentuates ever-prevalent racist sentiments against Asian Americans and existing tropes implying Asians harbor disease.

About and

Jenna Ashendouek is an editorial intern at Ms. and a student at Tufts University pursuing a BA in International Relations with a minor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies.
Marissa Talcott is a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Philosophy and Public Affairs. She is a Ms. editorial and social media intern.