A Transfer of Power like No Other: A Lens into the Biden and Trump Presidencies
February 2, 2021
A look back on the Trump presidency brings about mixed emotions for many Americans. However, it is with optimism that the American people can look forward to a Biden presidency. Social justice and activism cannot end, but at least the Biden administration will listen to the American people and allow themselves to be held accountable. These two opinion pieces take an inside look into the Trump presidency and a preview of the time to come with President Biden for the next 4 years.
Goodbye Trump: A Look Back on his Presidency
Finally, the last four years of the Trump era have come to a close as we got to witness one of the most watched Presidential inauguration of our time. The years of the Trump presidency might have seemed like an eternity or a blur of one treasonous and corrupt act after another. Now let’s take a look at a very condensed recap of the presidency that will forever impact American history, with a few takeaways for us all to learn from.
Starting with some contextualization, the 2016 presidential race was the beginning of the tangible division within America, between and within political parties. Throughout the year of campaigning and debating, Trump insulted women, immigrants, BIPOC communities and disabled people, as well as mocked a prominent disabled reporter while he was at a rally. In his debates with Hillary Clinton, he acted unprofessionally and was not the eloquent candidate the Republican Party had prided themselves on nominating. Throughout the campaign, Trump continuously chanted to “lock her up” and referred to Clinton by his degrading nickname for her, “Crooked Hillary.” This unfortunately close election secured the Trump presidency after an extremely turbulent campaign full of sexual misconduct allegations, refusal to release tax returns as well as a racist and xenophonic agenda that perpetrated a feeling of white supremacy. Any white supremacist events that followed, came a less of a shock to those who saw the telltale signs of bigotry in action.
When he was first elected, there was a retaliation of disappointment in people, primarily minority groups, across America. Trump’s inauguration which drew a record low number of attendees cannot be discussed at length because the showstopper of January 2017 was the Women’s March that drew crowds of hundreds of thousands of men, women and people to major cities across the country and even internationally. Throughout Trump’s campaign, 26 women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations regarding the presidential candidate which inspired other women to speak out about their experiences with Trump and other terribly influential wealthy men. The Me Too Movement touched women across the world as more and more women were coming forth with sexual assault allegations. This protest symbolized the beginning of a cry for action. Trump’s candidacy, secured through voter suppression tactics and Russian social media propaganda, provided a glimpse of what was to come. Donald Trump started off with a controversy and ended with many.
The startling culmination of the former president’s prejudiced actions was the not-at-all inspiring event that happened to occur during his first year in office. This was the violent and baseless rally dubbed the “Unite the Right Rally” by white supremacists and self proclaimed neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, North Carolina. A popular Trump quote was spoken in August 2017 regarding the violent aggressions made by a faction of his supporters when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.” The white supremist rally came at a time where the Black Lives Matter protests and advocacy were gaining a larger following of ardent supporters. By comparing the Black social justice advocates to racist people rallying in support of the brief and historically embarrassing Confederacy, Trump showed just how little he knew or cared about the civil rights of the diverse American population. Ultimately, he couldn’t stay true to his despicable promises of making America great and come the year 2020, it was clear he only thought the so called, “fine people” in the far-right groups were his supporters.
“While Trump was in office, I realized that putting money into our defense system is critical to our success as a nation. Even though he was so brutal, he showed me that we need to love our community more unlike how he did. And most of all Trump’s presidency showed me that all it takes is a little persistency to achieve what you believe is best,” sophomore Trip Beardslee said.
These key moments were just at the start of the Trump presidency. Month after month, year after year, minority groups came together in a long fight for justice. Justice for marginalized low income communities, justice for indigenous peoples whose sacred land was viewed only as profit for oil drilling, justice for children being kept in cages at the border and justice for the climate which was brushed aside as unimportant and the existence of climate change was repeatedly denied. Organizers united through the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Sunrise Movement and Fair Fight Action to fight for their causes by showing that you cannot silence those who advocate for what is just. By unifying and advocating for different yet prevalent issues, Americans showed Trump what truly makes America great, the passion that each person holds for their planet, their people and their community.
“2020 was a year of self reflection, if nothing else. As a country, Americans watched firsthand, the downfall of the most destructive president this nation has ever had. Time after time, tweet after tweet, Donald Trump failed and disrespected our democracy. It was disappointing, though not surprising, to witness the divide that Trump has fostered over the past 4 years unfold in the ugliest of manners. It is my strongest belief that President Joe Biden is fluent in change, and will bring back the air of unity and morality this country has been drained of,” sophomore Marina Devine said.
Instead of dwelling on the atrocities of the past four years and giving more unnecessary popularity to the former president, it is important to highlight the good that America came together to fight for. From xenophobic legislation to lack of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic to the failure to condemn white supremist insurrectionists at the US Capitol earlier this year, the Trump presidency brought out the worst in America. But, these past four years also brought out the best in America. A call to not be complacent as politicians disregard the will of the people is what the Trump administration achieved. Hopefully, this period in time will not be forgotten and America will continue to increase voter turnout, fight voter suppression, reverse the disastrous effects of climate change and regard every minority group and person with respect and not brutality.
Abigail Felan is a junior in the International Baccalaureate Program at Gables. This is her first year in CavsConnect and Abigail hopes to improve her...
Hello Biden! The First 100 Days
As the Trump era ends and a new administration is desperately ushered in, the American people are beginning to see kept promises and consistency in leaders’ messages. A theme in President Joe Biden’s speeches and overall campaign has been unity. Along with his frequently reiterated goal of creating unity between all Americans in order to overcome the current challenges, Biden has repeated four key phrases: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, recovering the economy, fighting both racial injustice and climate change. The president has already set his priorities straight; in his transparent and detailed plans for his first 100 days in office, Biden has immediately begun to enact necessary change and repair the damage done by the Trump administration.
As Vice-President Kamala Harris said, “[we’ll] hit the ground running,” and running they did. On the same day that the president was sworn in, he got straight to work, signing 17 executive orders, more than any other president on the first day as commander-in-chief. A handful of these orders were directed towards pandemic relief. This included appointing a COVID-19 response coordinator that will report solely to the president, a mask mandate for all federal employees on federal property and rejoining the World Health Administration, all stark contrasts from Trump era executive orders. In the process of getting passed in Congress is the administration’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that aims to extend unemployment benefits and send out stimulus checks of $1400. Intertwined in this bill are funds that will be allocated to schools so that they have the resources to reopen safely as well as funds to support small businesses that are having trouble staying afloat.
Compared to the recent $600 stimulus check that Congress recently passed, the $1400 proposal that Biden is pushing for is directed at the low-income POC communities that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, as well as all the Americans who are simply struggling to make ends meet. On the note of racial justice, Biden has reversed the 1776 Commission, a policy that the Trump administration issued that inevitably whitewashes American history. Other policies that have been rolled out set up what will be the lengthy task of uprooting systemic racism in federal agencies. Lastly, Biden undid Trump’s Islamophobic Muslim travel ban and plans to find ways to assist those who were negatively affected by the legislation.
“This year’s inauguration was more than just swearing in a new president and vice president, it marked the beginning of a new United States that will be filled with empathy and inclusivity,” junior Joaquin Breslin said.
Offering a lifeline, he has signed an executive order to prolong evictions and foreclosures until the end of March. This is meant to help Americans who are unable to make their monthly payments stay in their homes. The original order signed by President Trump was meant to last through Jan. 31. The aforementioned $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that Biden proposed prior to getting sworn in, asks that Congress not only increase unemployment benefits, but also prolong evictions until September. On top of this, he has also signed an order that asks the Department of Education to extend the current pause on federal student loan payments. The Department of Education has now extended federal student loan payments until Sept. 2021.
Staying true to his word, Biden signed a letter to the United Nations to formally re-enter the United States in the Paris Climate Accord —a coalition of countries that work together to tackle climate change — which President Trump had formally withdrawn the US from. President Biden also signed an order that would begin to undo a plethora of anti-climate conscious policies that the Trump administration set in place.
Aside from the everything done on the first day, in Biden’s first 100 days, he and his administration are aiming to reach 100 million vaccinated Americans. It comes as no surprise that the Biden administration has to create a vaccination plan from scratch, given that Trump had simply left that responsibility up to individual states. It is worth noting that Biden is determined to create effective federal plans that tackle the pandemic, the economy, racial justice and the climate crisis; he will not be taking the easy way out and just leaving it up to the state level governments.
The restoration of the moral compass—that is what is truly necessary right now. By studying what President Biden has done on his very first day in office, it is clear what this country needs in order to “build back better.” The toxic Trump term policies that so gravely injured our nation, must become undone. It will be a hectic 100 days but, at least now, the American people will begin to see positive headlines about the White House.
Lucia Chico is an upcoming sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. She is hopeful to join the Varsity soccer...
Katherine Blanco is a junior in the International Baccalaureate program (IB) at Coral Gables Senior High. She is very excited to be a founding member for...