Welcome to “Explained and Exposed,” a new series I’ll be writing every week, dissecting the truth behind the latest email newsletter that the Trump White House has sent out to its supporters. I encourage you to read the official Trump newsletters for yourself and come to your own conclusions. They’re all available for free public download here.
You can read Trump’s newsletter “Week 26: Made in America” in its entirety here.
Saturday, Jul 22
MADE IN AMERICA WEEK
President Trump hosted companies from across the country at the White House to showcase products Made in America. In order to celebrate and highlight each state’s effort and commitment to American-made goods, businesses from each of the 50 states displayed products. Leaders from each company showcased their unique businesses on the South Lawn and on the State Floor of the White House. Products ranged from sandwiches, to wool blankets, to firetrucks; each business connected by the common thread of American excellence. Since first running for office, President Trump has urged industry to Buy America, Hire American. He showcased that commitment again this week from The White House.
Reviving American industry has always been a center piece of Trump’s platform, but according to GQ, many American manufacturers aren’t buying it. GQ sat down with 11 American manufacturers to gauge their support for Trump’s policies, and it turns out that very few believed that the “isolationist” trade policies that Trump has proposed would be likely to help their businesses.
For one, in order to make their products, almost all American manufacturers depend on imported materials, from yarn to pocket linings to buttons. Many also conduct much of their sales overseas, making haphazard restraints on imports and exports serious roadblocks to their businesses. Trade restrictions would likely affect the domestic market as well, driving up the costs of American made products past the point that many American consumers would be willing to pay.
And, while Trump has staged a ton of symbolic public spectacles like the one described in his newsletter above, when it comes to his family’s own business, it’s hard to see these events as much more than shallow publicity stunts. As CNN reports, Ivanka Trump’s line of apparel and accessories are made exclusively overseas in countries such as Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Bangladesh, places that are widely known for operating sweat shops with terrible working conditions.
As I see it, American industry has become deeply integrated into the global economy, and no matter what we do, there’s no going back. And we shouldn’t. American businesses are globally competitive and rely on global markets to thrive. Instead of being scared of participating in the world outside our borders, we should be crafting honest, intelligent, humane terms for global trade.
What Trump’s doing instead is shutting out the world, while maintaining special exemptions for his own private interests. And, on top of it all, he’s lying to the American public. I’m sure it’s fun to pose for a photo pretending to drive an American-made firetruck on the White House lawn, but it’s a poor substitute for actually crafting a strategic foreign trade policy.
UPHOLDING AMERICAN ELECTION INTEGRITY
Election integrity matters to every American. President Reagan declared that the “right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties.” By establishing this commission, President Trump is taking action to ensure that the ballot box remains inviolate, and that the crown jewel shines brighter than ever before. “Every time voter fraud occurs, it cancels out the vote of a lawful citizen and undermines democracy. Can’t let that happen. Any form of illegal or fraudulent voting, whether by non-citizens or the deceased, and any form of voter suppression or intimidation must be stopped,” said President Trump. At the President’s direction, Vice President Pence will serve as chairman of this commission and, with the help of a bipartisan group, Vice President Pence will perform a truly non-partisan service for the American people.
Another thing that the Trump administration loves to trumpet is the menacing threat of “voter fraud,” claiming that millions of illicit votes were cast in the 2016 election. This new commission, the administration claims, will stand as a proud bulwark, courageously defending our voting system against this imposing threat to American democracy
The problem is that there isn’t a single reputable source that’s looked into the topic of voter fraud that’s found that the problem exists almost at all. According to the Brennan Center at New York University, “examination after examination of voter fraud claims reveal fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators.”
And it isn’t just the Left who believes the threat of voter fraud to be a myth. Many Republican Party leaders and election officials also agree that fraud is not widespread. According to Time Magazine, Matthew Masterson, the Republican chairman of the bipartisan U.S. Election Assistance Commission, ranks Election 2016 among the most trouble-free elections ever.
So what is going on?
According to Rolling Stone, the new commission is being led by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, who recently drew headlines when he was fined by the federal government for making “patently misleading representations to the court” regarding his state’s voting rules.
Kobach’s criminal behavior seems only to be continuing in his new role. Since taking over the commission, Kobach’s first move has been to request private voting records from all 50 states, a move many believe to be in direct violation of the federal Privacy Act of 1974.
Kobach has been here before. Two years ago, after claiming that as many as 18,000 non-citizens registered to vote in the state, the Kansas legislature authorized him to look into it. Other than making a 66-year-old Republican pay more than $50,000 in legal fees for owning property in two states and making an honest mistake, he found almost nobody to prosecute.
Support the commission if you want to. I can’t stop you. But you should understand that doing so has nothing to do with stopping an actual threat to American democracy and everything to do with making it harder for people who disagree with Donald Trump to vote in upcoming elections. And, personally, I have a hard time imagining anything less American than that.
LISTENING TO IDEAS FROM OUR SERVICE MEMBERS
President Trump and Vice President Pence sat down for lunch with service members who served in Afghanistan. The President has heard plenty of ideas from a lot of people, but he wanted to sit down and listen to the people on the ground. “We’ve been there for now close to 17 years, and I want to find out why we’ve been there for 17 years,” said President Trump.
Trump loves to talk about how he’s going to bat for our nation’s veterans, but again, the problem here is that he simply isn’t living up to it.
According to USA Today, although Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would increase spending across the Department of Veterans Affairs, much of which would go to the private contractors providing services to veterans, last month, the Trump administration introduced a proposal that would have slashed individual unemployment benefits for disabled veterans by more than $40.8 billion over 10 years.
At present, there are 338,800 disabled vets receiving these benefits, about two-thirds of whom are over age 60, and advocates say that the cuts could mean a reduction of as much as $22,000 per year for some eligible veterans. According to Carlos Fuentes, the Legislative Director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the week the proposal was announced, 30,000 emails and letters flooded Congress in opposition to it.
According to Millitary.com, John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, said the cuts would “completely abandon many of the most severely disabled veterans of the Vietnam generation and could make thousands of elderly veterans homeless.”
“If they cut VA at all, my family and I will be destroyed,” said one Army veteran who had to retire because of his Crohn’s disease after 30 years in public service. “I would try to get another job, but with Crohn’s disease, it’s really hard to carry a toilet around with you.”
Kudos to Trump for making the time to eat lunch with veterans, but hamming it up over ham sandwiches won’t keep our nation’s vets out of poverty.
For our nation’s men and women returning from the horrors of war, civilian life can be incredibly hard. On average, around 20 US veterans kill themselves every day. If we look past the photo ops, far from making America great again, the legislative proposals that the Trump administration is pursuing would likely only make things worse for our veterans.
As Trump likes to ask, are you tired of all the fake news? If so, come back next week when I explain and expose Trump’s Week 27 newsletter. Thanks for reading!