Reviewing some of the differences between candidate Trump and President Trump
Fairly or unfairly, U.S. presidents often are accused of making promises on the campaign trail they don’t keep. Donald Trump is no exception.
From supporting the LGBTQ community to repealing the Affordable Care Act, Trump has shifted from what he said on the campaign trail.
Trump pledged support to the LGBTQ community during the election. As president, however, he announced plans in July to reinstate a ban on transgenders, barring them from serving in the military.
The reason, Trump said, was due to “tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender[s] in the military would entail.”
Dover resident Andy Foraker, who’s trans, called the financial concern as fake news.
“The military budget for transgender veterans is $8.4 million. And the military spent $41.6 million [in 2014] on Viagra,” the 18-year-old said. “If you really want to cut costs, cut out the Viagra.”
Military spent $84 mil on erectile dysfunction meds
A 2016 study by Rand Corporation estimated the annual medical costs for transgenders would be between $2.4 million to as high as $8.4 million.
In contrast, the military spent $84 million in 2014 on erectile dysfunction medication, with the bulk of it for Viagra ($41.6 million) and Cialis ($22.8 million), reported the Military Times.
In 2014, the Williams Institute of UCLA School of Law reported there were an estimated 1,320 to 6,630 transgenders in the active component of the military, or 0.1 to 0.5 percent of the entire active component.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) backs Trump’s plan. The congressman, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, represents the Eastern Shore and portions of Harford County.
He said transgenders in the service would “affect morale and function of the military.”
One of the popular ideas put forward by opponents to transgenders joining the service is they’re too emotionally unstable.
It’s a fact transgenders have a higher rate of suicide attempts - an alarming 41 percent, compared to the 4.6 percent in the general public, according to a 2014 report by the Williams Institute.
Milford resident Hank McCann, who retired after 37 years in the Army National Guard, said the ban is intended to ensure troops will have a greater chance of successfully completing missions.
“The military is to protect and defend the United States” or “kill people and break things. That’s what we do,” McCann said. “It’s not a social experiment.”
Foraker argued a transgender should be able to serve if they pass the mental screening tests.
“That’s why before you go into the military, they have psych evaluations,” said Foraker, whose lifelong dream to join the military was dashed two years ago when his doctor discovered a blockage in his heart.
If not for his heart condition, Foraker said he’d be a transgender serving in the military right now. Born female, he’s currently five months into his two-year process of transitioning into a male. He’s been receiving testosterone injections the last five months, before he can have his operation, he said.
Foraker said the trans surgery is important to him because he always felt like “a little boy in a girl’s body.”
Sen. Chris Coons said the transgender ban is uncalled for.
“Anyone who is willing and able to serve our country in the armed services should not only be allowed to do so, but should be applauded for their bravery and sacrifice,” Coons said. “I regret that President Trump is turning away those transgender service members already in uniform.”
Dover Air Force Base spokeswoman Ashleigh Peck emailed a statement regarding the president’s plan.
“There will be no modifications to current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the statement said.
“All Airmen will continue to be, and always will be, treated with dignity and respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, all Airmen will remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.”
Trump also promised to replace Obamacare within his first 100 days as president, guaranteeing the replacement would ensure “coverage for everyone.”
A version of repeal and replace passed the House, but the Senate was unable to generate enough votes through several attempts.
Though the president has failed to make good on this, Harris said it’s not Trump’s fault. Harris said he’s concerned about the situation.
“Obamacare is not affordable to the United States,” the congressman said. “It adds $200 billion to our federal deficit. It’s left thousands of people in my district without affordable insurance.”
Sen. Tom Carper said it’s unclear what kind of health care package Trump is proposing to replace the current one with.
“Obamacare is not perfect, but the people who sent us to Washington expect us to do bipartisan work to make it better, not pursue a misguided political victory at any cost,” Carper said.
Many ‘good hombres’ deported
One of Trump’s loudest pledges as a candidate was to quickly deport undocumented immigrants.
He vowed to first deport 2 to 3 million “bad hombres,” people who entered the country illegally and have criminal records. Then he promised to figure out what to do with the remaining immigrants or “terrific people.”
Yet his administration has deported nearly the same number of immigrants without criminal records than those with a history. The president has also deported fewer immigrants with criminal records in his first six months than President Barack Obama did during the same period last year.
From January to June, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 61,370 immigrants with criminal records, down from 70,603, reported the Washington Post.
Since January, immigration officials have cracked down on more than 105,000 immigrants, 42 percent of whom didn’t have a criminal record.
During the election, Trump promised to end the amnesty program Obama created for undocumented immigrants called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.
This program, from 2012, protects children, known as Dreamers, who were brought into the country illegally from getting deported, and provides them with a Social Security card and driver’s license.
Delaware State University had 34 Dreamers enroll last fall and is set for around 80 this fall.
As president, Trump softened up and suggested DACA recipients shouldn’t be concerned about getting targeted, since, he said, he has a “big heart.”
Those words sent a mixed message in April when Juan Manuel Montes, 23, became the first reported Dreamer to get deported, according to USA Today.
DSU Dreamer Fernando Morales was blindsided by the arrest.
“I was very shocked about what happened,” Morales, 20, said.
In the USA Today story, a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said Montes’ DACA status expired in 2015, though his lawyer provided documentation that his status was good through 2018.
Nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have benefitted from DACA.
Recently attorney generals from 10 states have threatened to sue the Trump administration if he doesn’t stop granting or renewing DACA status by Sept. 5.
Morales said he’s concerned this might be the end for DACA.
The DSU sophomore, who graduated as his high school valedictorian in Arkansas, said it’s ironic he and his fellow Dreamers are scrutinized more closely than the white supremacists who created headlines after one drove a car into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, Va., two weeks ago, killing one woman.
“We’re treated more rough than those people who treat others without respect,” he said. “Yet, they’re citizens and there’s nothing done about that. But we’re seen as criminals.”
DSU Dreamer Estephany Martinez, 21, said she thinks many lawmakers who support Trump wouldn’t deport undocumented immigrants if they had a chance to get to know them personally and learn their stories.
She added this country has a “messed up immigration system,” which needs revamping.
“My dad, I know he filed paperwork more than 13 years ago; and we have yet to get a response back,” said Martinez, who was brought illegally into the country when she was 8 years old.
Harris acknowledged Morales’ point that some bad people have American citizenship when some members of DACA who have better morals don’t.
But at the end of the day, “a DACA recipient is not an American citizen,” Harris said. “It’s a matter of law, not a matter of philosophy.”
Coons, four other senators and 10 House members are among those signing a letter in support of keeping DACA.
“Dreamers have been a boon to our economy. Deporting them would cost $60 billion and would result in a $280 billion loss in economic growth over the next decade,” the letter said.
“After President Trump’s inauguration, he said ‘we’re going to deal with DACA with heart.’ He needs to keep this promise,” the statement said.
Trump’s unbroken promises
Harris said there are promises Trump has kept.
“He said he’s going to cut down illegal immigration. Illegal immigration at the border is down 50 percent. That’s tremendous,” Harris said.
He said the president has improved the military.
“He’s beefing up the military and made it quite clear to the rogues of the world that their behavior will not be tolerated,” Harris said. “He started that with the firing of the 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian base [in April], from which chemical weapons were launched.”
Coons argues the attack wasn’t the wisest decision.
“This strike against Syria further complicates our engagement there,” he said. ”Those troops, their families and the American people deserve to know our plan for conducting, paying for, and concluding our involvement in this volatile region.”