Newswire : Is Donald Trump the worst President on minority issues in 50 years?

News Analysis by Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Donald Trump, a man best known as a “birther” with a reality TV show and a real estate empire, who claimed that Mexico was sending drugs and rapists to the United States, was sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. What happened next was predictable and we should expect more of the same in 2018.
Here are seven decisions from the past year confirming that Trump has been the worst president for African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities over the last 50 years.
1. Trump picks Jeff Sessions to succeed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the U.S. Trump went out of his way to make sure that his administration’s justice policy reflected 1940s America, when he selected Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as his Attorney General.
According to a Huffington Post article published in January 2017, Sessions not only supported gutting the Voting Rights Act in 2013, he also has “a record of blocking Black judicial nominees.” Sessions, “unsuccessfully prosecuted Black civil rights activists for voter fraud in 1985―including a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Since, Sessions has taken over at the Justice Department, he has recused himself from an investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and ordered a review of Obama era police reforms. This is one time where the selection of Rudy Giuliani for attorney general may have actually looked like a more moderate choice.
2. Trump says “there were very fine people on both sides” at the Charlottesville White nationalists rally, during a Trump Tower press conference. Never mind that one of the largest gatherings of racists in America since the end of the Civil Rights Movement occurred only eight months into Trump’s presidency. Put that aside. Trump’s “both sides” comments on who was to blame for the public street fight in the college town was all anyone needed to understand regarding the thinking of America’s 45th president on the issue of race.
“I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side,” said Trump. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
Trump also said, “I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee.”
3. Trump calls for NFL owners to fire players over silent protests. Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Just in case you missed it with his comments on Charlottesville, Trump was back again to spoil the start of the NFL season by commenting on players who dared to silently protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Trump called kneeling during the anthem, “a total disrespect of our heritage,” and a “total disrespect for everything we stand for.” The result was more protests by NFL players who then locked arms on sidelines across the U.S. with many White players and coaches participating.
Even Rush Limbaugh found himself having issues with Trump on this one. “There’s a part of this story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this: I am very uncomfortable with the President of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody,” said Limbaugh. “That’s not where this should be coming from.”
4. Trump uses an executive order to block travel of refugees from majority-Muslim countries to the U.S. When you have former staffers for Jeff Sessions writing executive orders on immigration policy, you can expect what happened at the Trump White House on January 27, 2017. With absolutely no warning, on the seventh day of his presidency, Trump signed an immigration and travel executive order. This order had Steven Miller’s fingerprints all over it, After a few days of chaos and protests at airports across the nation, federal judges applied an initial smackdown blocking the order. But Trump’s DOJ revised the order to pass some of those legal tests.

5. Trump launches sham voting commission to investigate “voter fraud.” Since many voting rights advocates agree that Republican-controlled state legislatures cook up the most egregious voting laws, it should have been surprising to no one that former Kansas Attorney General, Kris Kobach, would be a fixture of the Trump Administration. Kobach is the Vice Chairman and “driving force” behind Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Since, he’s spent so much time rooting out voter fraud that is all but non-existent, Kobach was perfect for the job.
According to the Brennan Center, Kobach was the “driving force behind a Kansas law that included both a strict photo ID requirement to vote and proof of citizenship to register—which has blocked thousands of eligible citizens from the polls” and “has repeatedly made extravagant claims of in-person voter fraud or noncitizen voting with little or no evidence.”
After Trump kept repeating the falsehood that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in 2016, everyone knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump so a “voting integrity” commission was a given.
6. Trump pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Bull Connor of his era, Arpaio was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., for 24 years. According to one DOJ expert, Arpaio oversaw “the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history.” Trump was perfectly consistent in his anti-immigrant rhetoric of 2016 in pardoning Arpaio on August 25, 2017 from a conviction for criminal contempt of court. Trump just couldn’t resist another opportunity to give a wink of approval to the right-wing.

7. Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead of nominating a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama picked someone whose nomination no one cared about or would rally around (the instantly unexciting Merrick Garland). With that, the deal was done. The selection of Garland easily allowed the Republican-controlled Senate to ignore Obama’s pick and run out the clock out, opening the door for Trump to select Neil Gorsuch, who has “voted 100 percent of the time with the court’s most conservative member, Clarence Thomas, according to SCOTUSblog,” NPR reported.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist, political analyst and contributor to the NNPA Newswire

Newswire : Growing number of states reject voter data request from Trump’s election commission

Voting rights groups have also come out against Kris Kobach’s push to gain information about voters in all 50 states.

By: Arturo Garcia, Snopes News Service
Kristen Clarke, Director Lawyers Committee
Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law condemned the national request for voter data

At least twenty-two states have signaled resistance or rejected a request from President Donald Trump’s administration for data for every registered voter in the U.S.
The request was submitted via letters to all secretary of state offices in the nation and the District of Columbia by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on 29 June 2017, seeking information that includes the names, party affiliations, addresses, military statuses and the last four digits of the voters’ Social Security numbers, as well as voting history from 2006 onward.
Kris Kobach, the commission’s vice-chair and current Kansas secretary of state, has claimed in the past, as has Trump, that U.S. voter fraud is widespread — but without providing evidence. Trump signed an executive order creating the commission in May 2017, which quickly spurred accusations that it would be used to implement, rather than investigate, voter suppression.
Ten states — California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia — have fully rebuked Kobach’s call for voter data.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, in a statement of his own said, “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from. Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”
Even Kobach’s home state of Kansas balked, prompting backtracking from his office: “In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available. … Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” Kobach said.
He did not rule out the possibility of providing that information to the commission in the future. “If the commission decides that they would like to receive Social Security numbers to a secure site in order to remove false positives, then we would have to double check and make sure Kansas law permits,” Kobach said.
“I know for a fact that this information would be secured and maintained confidentially,” he added in response to security concerns.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) made reference to the allegations that led Trump to create the commission in a statement said: “New York refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election. We will not be complying with this request and I encourage the Election Commission to work on issues of vital importance to voters, including ballot access, rather than focus on debunked theories of voter fraud.”
Several other states have responded by saying that they will only share information that is already publicly available.
Voter advocacy groups have also come out against the commission’s push for access to the data, which it said it wanted by 14 July 2017. League of Women Voters president Chris Carson said in a statement that her group would support any state that refused to comply with Kobach’s request: “There is no justification for this giant fishing expedition. The Commission itself is a distraction from the real issue of voter suppression, and that efforts to “investigate voter fraud” threaten our most fundamental voting rights. This most recent move by Mr. Kobach is an indicator that the so-called Election “Integrity” Commission is not interested in facts, but false accusations and dangerous policy recommendations.”
Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law also condemned Kobach’s letters and called on his counterparts in other states to “discourage state and local officials” from participating in the commission’s activities: “This meritless inquisition opens the door for a misguided and ill-advised Commission to take steps to target and harass voters and could lead to purging of the voter rolls.”
Before joining Trump’s administration, Kobach worked as an attorney for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a hardline anti-immigration group. In September 2016, a federal appeals court found that Kobach had provided “precious little” evidence that non-U.S. citizens were engaging in voter fraud.