The theme of the Trump presidency is cruelty and corruption, and this reality was on display yesterday in two major news stories about recent policies of the Trump administration.

First, the Trump administration will no longer recognize automatic citizenship for children born overseas to American service members, going against decades of policy and tradition.  Children of federal employees born abroad have for many years been considered born on American soil but now some of them who don’t meet certain criteria will have to apply for citizenship.  Coverage in the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/28/us/politics/service-members-citizenship.html

Trump’s policy is a middle-finger to our military and foreign service staff, and as the article points out, groups like VoteVets are not happy.  Will Goodwin of VoteVets said:

The children of Americans who risk their lives in uniform are not automatically citizens of the United States: That is an abominable and antipatriotic position for the Trump administration to take…

This is part of the Trump scheme to put up as many roadblocks to citizenship as they legally can regardless of who they hurt or inconvenience, convinced that the Trump base will applaud any attack on citizenship rights no matter how immoral, unethical or insidious.

Second, Trump has shifted (taken) roughly $150-billion from FEMA to spend on his ridiculous border wall and has urged his aides in private meetings to get the wall done and take whatever land they need, offering pardons to any aide who breaks the law.  Trump later denied saying these things, though White House sources have confirmed them and they fit with statements he has made in the past.  One of the main obstacles to building more border wall is obtaining land owned by private citizens.  The land must be taken by the use of “eminent domain”, the right of the government to force the sale at a fair price of private land for public use.  Trump and conservatives used rage and rail at the use of eminent domain by other administrations (Obama) but now Trump could care less. Coverage in the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-alarmed-by-trumps-promise-of-pardons-to-build-border-wall/2019/08/28/8eebe408-c9a2-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

Most troubling here is the dangling of pardons to urge illegal activity.  The White House suggested that Trump was only joking when he offered the pardons, but this has become his go-to excuse any time he is caught saying something vile, unAmerican or illegal. At the very least, it’s an instance of abuse of power and corruption.

Almost daily, Trump does something wildly unAmerican or unConstitutional or otherwise scandalous that would bring down any other presidency, but it’s hard to even keep track of all of the outrages from his train-wreck of a presidency.  We have to keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

Postscript:  In local politics, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew from the Presidential race yesterday citing lackluster fundraising and low polling, vowing to continue serving New Yorkers in the Senate.  We wish her the best in that vital role.

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