On his first official day as president, President Donald Trump broke 34 of his promises that he said he was going to do on “Day One.” Yes, someone actually counted, and no, no one is actually surprised.
“The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.” Besides swearing to faithfully execute the Office and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, it’s the most important promise an incoming president can make. During the peaceful transfer of power - the hallmark of American democracy for 238 years - it is not only customary but, generally speaking, just the right thing to do, for the new president to make some sort of statement acknowledging those who didn’t vote for him, or who have serious reservations, during the Inaugural Address. However from the incoming president with the lowest approval ratings in four decades, who lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, there was nothing.
“I will never, ever let you down,” he continued, as I was, subsequently, let down.
“You will never be ignored,” Trump said, while just 24 hours later, approximately 500,000 protesters marched in Washington, D.C. alone, joined by over one million in “sister marches” across the country, not to mention demonstrations worldwide, and were - you guessed it - completely ignored (and later, mocked in a tweet).
In his administration’s first ever White House press conference, the Women’s March on Washington was not addressed. Rather, Press Secretary Sean Spicer lectured the media for accurately reporting Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd as smaller than both of President Obama’s - even lying that this was the first time white ground coverings were used which highlighted empty crowd space, to which multiple journalists tweeted pictures of the same coverings being laid for Obama’s inauguration.
Because it turns out, apparently, the most important thing going on in the White House right now is Donald Trump’s damaged ego. And Trump thinks so little of us that he thinks we, as people with able eyes, can’t look at two pictures of the inaugurations side-by-side and see the obvious: that less people turned out. (Not to mention, it was 17 degrees colder on Obama’s inauguration).
I don’t know where Donald Trump was when we all learned the golden rule in first grade is that if you want respect, you have to give respect. And that requires not only listening, but acknowledgement. His calls for unity are completely empty with no intention or effort to listen to those, the loud majority, who voted against him - rooting and invested in our country’s success as well as those who voted differently from them, but see no hope from the Oval Office, and so are turning to one another.
Donald Trump must have also been absent (or probably just not paying attention) the day we learned, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Because on his first day, he didn’t show up. He signed an executive order to ease the repeal of Obamacare, setting up the system to collapse while offering no plan to preserve coverage or path to coverage replacement for the 20 million Americans on it. During his first speech as president of the CIA, instead of focusing on, oh I don’t know, national security, Trump complained about (correct) “false reporting” of his inauguration crowd size - which former CIA Director John Brennan called “a despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes.”
But who did show up? Hundreds of thousands of women and allies, across the nation and across the world. So did Hillary Clinton, to her opponent’s inauguration. One can only imagine what was going through her head - because she looked stoic, confident and pretty amazing.
American women are no stranger to marches. We’ve been doing it since the 1800s. What happened on Saturday was the resurgence of a movement - and we are going to continue showing up everyday. When we pledge to support someone - a friend or family member, a cause, our country - we will “never, ever let them down.”
Marissa Piccolo is associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets@marissapiccolo.