100 Days Redux

Written by Johanna Costigan

The 100 Days Initiative has been busy trying to track and process the always wayward and frequently contested political actions taken by the 45th president. Our mission has been to make sense of the events taking place in Washington and deliver digestible and local action opportunities to Bard students as well as the surrounding area’s agents of resistance. Below are overviews of both the Trump administration’s grand opening gestures and the 100 Days Initiative’s actions and reactions, including expanding measures of civic understanding and providing suitable outlets for discussion and protest.

Trump’s First 100 Days:

Presented in chronological order, here are some of the key events that have occurred in Trump’s White House thus far. Inevitably, some critical actions will be left out; please click here for a complete timeline of “major moments.”

  1. Days 3 and 5 were specifically vital in their presentation of how the truth would be measured in this administration. Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely characterized Trump’s inauguration crowd as the “the largest ever,” counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway defended Spicer’s remarks, stating  that he provided the public with “alternative facts.” Then, on Day 5, Spicer confirmed that Trump believed millions of people had voted illegally in the election, explaining why Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. When the press asked for specifics, Spicer replied, “The president has believed that for a while based on studies and information he has.”
  2. On Day 7, Trump called for a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico in order to raise the money needed to construct his famous wall dividing the U.S. from the Mexican border. In response to Trump’s Tweets criticizing the nation, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a meeting between the two leaders that was scheduled for the following week. This is one instance out of many in which the president’s “America first” policies directly resulted in distance from world leaders, including those that have historically been strong and important allies to the United States.
  3. Of course, no one had time to process this incident with Mexico because the following day–Day 8–Trump signed the “travel ban”widely referred to as a “Muslim ban” prohibiting citizens of seven nations to travel to the United States. This ban resulted in mass confusion and significant delays in airports, as well as severe criticism on the basis of racial and religious prejudice.
  4. On Day 15, Conway tried to defend the president’s ban, arguing that Americans are severely endangered by the threats from Muslim-majority nations. She cited the non-existent “Bowling Green massacre” as proof of this.
  5. On Day 17 Trump appeared on the O’Reilly show and drew a direct line of comparison between the Russian government and that of the United States: when O’Reilly said that Vladimir Putin is a killer, Trump responded, “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”
  6. On Day 18, Senate Democrats held an all-night session, speaking out about Betsy DeVos’ impending confirmation as Secretary of Education. On Day 19, she was confirmed, once  VP Mike Pence cast the deciding vote, which broke the 50-50 tie.
  7. On Day 25, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned as a result of allegations stating that he lied about conversations he had with Russian officials. Trump administration members have at times announced that he resigned but later contradicted themselves, claiming he had been fired.
  8. On Day 28, Trump defended Flynn and criticized the media, accusing them again of spreading “fake news” in addition to  describing the press as “out of control.”
  9. On Day 37, Trump announced he would not attend the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. He did not specify why he was choosing to skip spending an evening with the press.
  10. The day following his first address to Congress–during which he was described as “his most presidential”– Trump did not lie. He also didn’t speak much, making no public announcements and tweeting only, “THANK YOU!”
  11. On Day 46, Trump signed a revised travel ban, this one excluding Iraq from the list of banned nations after the country promised to expand its information sharing with the U.S.
  12. But on Day 55, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the ban.
  13. On Day 60, FBI Director James Comey shot down Trump’s claim that Obama had wiretapped his phones in an act of espionage.
  14. On Day 64, Republicans, led by Paul Ryan, abruptly canceled the planned health care vote, calling into question the leadership’s ability to get things done, even with every majority.
  15. On Day 67, Trump signed an executive order on energy independence, asking the EPA to review Obama’s Clean Power Plan. This was considered a drastic attempt to undo a key Obama climate policy that would keep power plants cleaner. Some have argued that cutting this plan could cost lives, as a result of dangerous exposure to soot and smog.
  16. On Day 70, Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote that would allow states to defund Planned Parenthood clinics on the basis that, in addition to a range of healthcare measures, they also provide abortions.
  17. Day 86: On Tax Day, rallies are held in multiple cities demanding that Trump release his tax returns.
  18. Day 89: Trump signs “Buy American, Hire American” executive order.
  19. According to Gallup, Trump’s approval rating is currently at 40%. (Updated daily at 1 p.m.)

Our First 100 Days:

  1. Beginning Day 1 on February 2, the 100 Days Initiative  kicked off the project  with a conversation between journalist and writer Mark Danner and  Bard College President Botstein entitled, “Trump Abroad, Trump At Home: Declaring the New War.” The two discussed the tone set by Trump immediately after his inauguration and provided analyses that were both practical and intellectual.
  2. On Day 17, we hosted an event called, “Resisting Together: Symposium on Grassroots Political Action” during which local activists from a variety of organizations, sponsoring a wide range of efforts, came to the Reem-Kayden Center on the Bard campus to teach small groups about their activism expertise.
  3. On Day 20, we were visited by poet CAConrad, who gave a talk and workshop titled, “(Soma)tic Rituals & The Strength of Poetry When the World Taxes Your Soul.” Conrad provided the group with specific tactics and habits to write more presently, politically, and effectively.
  4. On the same day, Darrell West from the Brookings Institute gave a talk entitled, “Megachange in the Time of Trump and Technology.”
  5. On Day 29, the tradition of Phone Bank Fridays was officially instated, providing community members with a consistent and easy way to stay engaged. This weekly event takes place in the Campus Center and the 100 Days Initiative provides a script concerning a wide variety of issues, including climate policy and campaign funding.
  6. On Day 40 we held a screening and discussion of “The Hudson: A River At Risk” to talk about climate danger on a local level.
  7. On Days 57-58, the Experimental Humanities Department hosted a conference called, “Global | Local: Experiments in the Arts and Humanities” which included a talk by Women’s March National Co-chair and Bard alumna Ting-Ting Cheng.
  8. On Day 59, we partnered with Citizen’s Climate Lobby to discuss tactics of how to best communicate regarding climate issues.
  9. On Day 63, the Education Working Group hosted a talk with author Samuel E. Abrams.
  10. On Day 68, law professor and politician Zephyr Teachout gave a talk on “Rule of Law in the Trump Era” and explained the arguments of a lawsuit that she and other lawyers have filed against Trump regarding his conflicts of interest.
  11. On Day 69, Ajamu Baraka, who ran as Jill Stein’s VP candidate, spoke at Bard.
  12. On Days 74-78 Earth Days were celebrated on campus, in activities including no disposable materials at Kline and culminating in the nationwide Marches for Science.
  13. More is coming up! Email civic@bard.edu to stay connected via the 100 Days weekly newsletter, and visit our calendar available on our website (100daysinitiative.com) for a complete list of events.