From his tweets to his bluster to his white supremacist policies, Donald Trump poses a security risk to the United States. He is actively making us less safe with each day in office. Here is a running list of just some of the ways he has threatened our safety—and don't forget to check out our new website, where you can learn more about the current #TrumpThreatLevel.
- The Trump administration considered an invasion of Venezuela. Reports emerged that the Trump administration held secret meetings with Venezuelan military officers contemplating a a coup in Venezuela. This comes on top of reports that Trump frequently asks his advisors about the possibility of invading Venezuela. Of the many terrible foreign policy ideas Trump has had, this is one of the worst. The US already has a dark history of interfering in Latin America, and doing so again would totally fail to solve Venezuela’s problems, escalate the violence and chaos, turn regional allies against us, and solidify support for the current authoritarian regime. There’s no way around it—this would be a disaster.
- The Trump administration will do anything to avoid accountability for war crimes. Noted Iraq war enthusiast John Bolton used his first speech as Trump’s National Security Advisor to attack the International Criminal Court and its current investigation into American war crimes in Afghanistan. His intent wasn’t exactly subtle, as he gave the speech at the far-right Federalist Society on the eve of the anniversary of September 11. The message? Trump’s America thwarts international norms and laws with impunity, and joins despotic regimes all over the world in rejecting accountability.
- Forever war in Syria? Apparently Trump wants to keep U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely—even though Congress still hasn’t voted to authorize this war in the first place.
- Trump expands war in Libya. It appears that the CIA will soon conduct secret drone strikes in Libya. This is just the latest in Trump’s expansion of America’s global, endless war operations.
- More blows to the Israel/Palestine peace process. The Trump administration closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, yet another escalation that threatens to derail hopes for a peaceful resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict. This comes shortly after the administration halted funding for the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, and the move of the US embassy to contested Jerusalem. This administration’s actions are making conflict much more likely and isolating us from allies.
- Trump’s war cabinet just lied about Yemen—what will Congress do about it? The annual military authorization bill included a provision this year that prevented any further U.S. support in the Yemen civil war unless the administration could certify that the Saudi-led coalition (the side we’re supporting in that war) is doing what it can to minimize civilian harm. It’s blatantly obvious that the Saudis are not doing that, as they recently racked up dozens of casualties by intentionally hitting school buses full of children. Yet, Secretary of State Pompeo certified that all is well. This clear lie has already drawn bipartisan outrage, but actions - not words - are needed to end this crisis.
- A US citizen is still being detained without charge. It has now been one year that the Trump administration has been detaining a U.S. citizen incommunicado as an “enemy combatant” (this doesn’t mean anything) without charge or trial. This is dangerous precedent under any administration, but especially this one.
- The US recently completed more strikes in Somalia. Trump has doubled up on the U.S. military presence (in addition to secretive CIA strikes) in Somalia, loosening targeting rules imposed in the Obama administration and entrenching the global, endless war even further.
- The 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks passed with the US still at war, still using “national security” as an excuse to diminish rights and liberties, and still no justice for victims of that tragedy.
- The facts show refugees don’t pose a security threat. The Trump administration doesn’t care. New reports show that the Trump administration ignored intelligence reports concluded refugees don’t pose a national security threat and instead chose to continue its racist and bigoted fear-mongering.
- The US government is nearing completion of a $100 million drone base in Niger. Instead of investing in health care, jobs, education or other human needs, the Trump administration is expanding the global war even further, at enormous cost.
- Shocker: Trump and his war cabinet are bad at diplomacy. Trump abruptly announced that Secretary of State Pompeo’s latest trip to North Korea wouldn’t happen, criticizing lack of progress in denuclearization. It’s just the latest example of the administration undercutting negotiations and botching talks.
- Trump is reportedly considering (again) a plan to privatize the Afghanistan war and make Erik Prince rich. Remember Erik Prince? Betsy Devos’ brother, founder of the mercenary organization Blackwater, possibly lied to Congress about a shady meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian businessman? That Erik Prince? He has been trying for a long time to convince Trump to replace American troops in Afghanistan with private contractors, which would make him lots of money. Trump is reportedly considering it.
- Trump is using racism to distract from his own corruption and crimes—again. In a failed attempt to distract the public from the fact that his own attorney, Michael Cohen, implicated him in a federal crime, Trump tweeted a racist conspiracy theory. He tweeted about a real issue (post-apartheid land reform in South Africa) but echoed white nationalist propaganda while doing it.
- The Trump administration is intentionally slowing down refugee admissions. As refugee admissions continue to plummet to historic lows, it is being reported that the administration is intentionally slowing down the vetting process, citing—as usual—national security risks. There is no evidence to suggest that refugees pose a national security threat. There is, however, much evidence to suggest that the Trump administration poses a threat to us all.
- As tensions with Iran continue to arise after the fallout from Trump tearing up the nuclear agreement, the administration has announced the formation of an "Iran Action Group." This is a highly specialized office within the government similar to what the Bush administration created in advance of the Iraq War. Trump and his war cabinet, headed by Iraq war enthusiast John Bolton, appear to be preparing for a new war with Iran.
- Trump can't stop tripping over himself on the international stage. Politico reports that Trump has made a number of embarrassing mis-steps beyond what we already knew when it comes to talking with world leaders. For example, he frequently tries to call them in the middle of the night, not understanding time differences. Trump is an embarrassment on the world stage, and it's hurting our relationships with global partners.
- Trump has canceled his dictator-inspired “military parade” on Veterans Day. The parade apparently cost more than the administration originally said -- it’s now estimated to carry a $92 million price tag. Trump tweeted late this week he’ll instead he will spend Veteran’s Day in France, watching their military parade.
- The situation in Yemen continues to get worse, with Trump's war cabinet refusing to fully admit to or take responsibility for the war crimes they are helping the Saudis carry out. Footage has emerged of dozens of Yemeni children laughing on a field trip before being struck and killed by US-supported bombs. This violence is disgraceful, and our government’s role in making it happen is an atrocity that spans administrations.
- Trump has revoked former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance as retaliation for political criticisms. John Brennan is a highly problematic figure who has supported CIA torture and played a key role in unlawful lethal strikes abroad, and there are real questions about how former security officials use their clearances for profit after leaving office. Nonetheless, Trump's actions are purely grounded in political retaliation, and that's a dangerous precedent to set for First Amendment purposes.
- In one of the most devastating headlines out of Yemen in a while, news emerged that a U.S.-backed Saudi airstrike hit a schoolbus filled with dozens of Yemeni children. Trump's war cabinet still denies that the United States is participating in the Yemen civil war and refuses to take responsibility for its complicity in war crimes.
- Pence announced plans to move forward on Trump's "Space Force." This is an unnecessary, expensive and silly proposal that would only expand militarism and distract from actual security solutions.
- A mild Canadian tweet critiquing human rights in Saudi Arabia was met with an escalation by the Saudis in the form of yanking its diplomats, international students and flights out of Canada. As usual, Trump had a role in this flare-up. His State Department refused to take a side or support our Canadian allies. As The Guardian opined, "And, there is Trump. There is always Trump. Saudi Arabia’s increasingly erratic behaviour cannot be divorced from the broader suspension of diplomatic etiquette. Trump praises, encourages and is generally in thrall to dictators who scare their people and don’t have to deal with the limitations of democracy."
- Trump kowtowed to Putin in Helsinki. Trump refused to confront the Russian president over Russia’s interference in our elections, seizure of Crimea, or human rights abuses -- days after he blasted our closest allies. As our Associate Policy Director Elizabeth Beavers said in an op-ed for CNN, “Trump's choice to spend his time overseas harassing and insulting our closest friends while cozying up to our adversaries Putin and Russia is just the latest in his year-and-a-half-long campaign to actively harm US interests by exporting Trumpism abroad.”
- Meanwhile, Trump thought handing over a former ambassador to the Kremlin to be interrogated was an “incredible offer.” He backed down when the Senate decided to vote on a resolution opposing this proposal (which passed 98-0), but his indecisiveness will only worsen the exodus of diplomatic and national security professionals who we depend on to keep us safe.
- Trump is throwing a temper tantrum on the global stage. He spent his time at the NATO summit in Brussels harassing and insulting our closest friends. He gave an extensive interview to a British tabloid undercutting their Prime Minister just as his visit was starting. And the whole time, he has spouted white supremacist talking points about Europe losing its “culture” because of immigration. This trip has demonstrated that Trump’s only clear foreign policy goal is depleting the domestic and international systems that are best equipped to protect peace, prosperity, and liberal democracy.
- The North Korea summit generated a lot of hot air, but we need actual committed diplomacy. Trump emerged from the summit proclaiming that North Korea is “no longer a Nuclear Threat,” but the truth is that years of difficult negotiations and setbacks are ahead if we are going to achieve peace and denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s war cabinet hasn’t demonstrated they’re up to the task. You can read our resource here to learn more about the need for long-term, sustained negotiations.
- The Trump administration helped commit atrocities in Yemen. After essentially receiving a green light from the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began a devastating assault on Yemen’s main port city this week, in defiance of the United Nations. The coalition (with assistance from the United States) also bombed a Doctors Without Borders facility, and lied that they didn’t know it was there. Our participation in these monstrous acts inflicts massive suffering on innocent civilians, and damages our standing on the world stage.
- Trump’s State Department is putting together a “loyalty list.” A senior advisor at the State Department has been charged with “vetting career diplomats and American employees of international institutions to determine whether they are loyal to President Donald Trump and his political agenda,” according to Foreign Policy magazine. This is yet another way that our national security is suffering because of the Trump agenda, as the administration politicizes institutions and depletes our reserves of qualified, career diplomats.
- Trump is driving a wedge between us and our closest partners. His actions to drive away our allies—including imposing tariffs and withdrawing from the Iran Deal and the Paris Agreement—have consequences. This week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the other six nations in the G7 do not “mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be.” We are at our strongest when we are working with our friends to achieve shared goals, but every action Trump takes moves us further from that ideal.
- Trump's justification for attacking Syria doesn't pass muster. After much delay, the Trump administration finally released a legal explanation to justify its reckless escalation of the war in Syria. Spoiler alert: this explanation isn’t good enough. Trump is basically claiming that he can authorize military force anytime he wants without first consulting Congress. That’s not what the Constitution says, and that puts us all in danger.
- The Trump administration has dramatically ramped up lethal force operations around the world, leaving behind a large civilian body count. But even though Trump is required by law to disclose just how many civilians have been killed, he is blocking accountability by refusing to share that information with the public.
- Trump’s Israel embassy move fueled violence. His decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem sparked protests in Gaza. In response to the protests, Israeli soldiers opened fire -- killing 58 Palestinians and wounding thousands more. Trump’s actions undermine chances for peace talks, and his silence signals approval of the violence that he helped cause.
- Congress is considering extending Trump’s blank check for war. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee marked up a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) from Senators Bob Corker and Tim Kaine this past week. This AUMF would do nothing to improve on the (already bad) status quo, and in many ways would make it worse. It’s too dangerous for Trump to have unlimited authority to wage war across the globe. You can learn more by reading our resource here.
- Trump is mixing business and foreign policy. Earlier this week, Trump tweeted that he wanted the Commerce Department to lift sanctions on Chinese phonemaker ZTE, despite warnings from the intelligence community that China may use the company's phones to surveil Americans. It was then revealed that Trump’s business has accepted $500 million in financing for a development in Indonesia from a Chinese government-owned company. This mingling of US foreign policy decisions with Trump Organization business decisions is the exact kind of conflict of interest that the Emoluments Clause and ethics rules seek to prevent.
- Trump unilaterally pulled the United States out of the Iran Deal. This unnecessary, reckless, and dangerous action by Trump isolates us from our allies and increases the likelihood of war with Iran. National security experts -- including members of Trump’s own cabinet -- agree that Iran is complying with the deal, and that it has helped to curb their nuclear program. Trump’s desire to spite President Obama at every turn is costing us, and the world, our safety.
- Trump’s CIA won’t release details about Gina Haspel’s record. They continue to refuse to disclose Gina Haspel's full record of torture and covering up her crimes—information that it is critical for the Senators deciding whether to confirm her to have. Maybe that's because the Acting Director of the CIA, who is in charge of deciding what information to release, is… Gina Haspel.
- Trump’s Guantanamo policy further erodes human rights. Trump wants to begin to refill Guantanamo Bay after President Obama worked to transfer or release detainees from the facility. Yet, Trump’s administration also transferred a detainee out of Guantanamo this week. This detention policy is not just confusing and counterproductive but the very existence of Guantanamo remains a threat to human rights and puts our international standing at risk.
- Ukraine has stopped cooperating with Mueller because of Trump. Reporting emerged this week that Ukraine has ceased cooperation with the Mueller investigation in order to avoid upsetting the Trump Administration and losing aid from the United States. This is a concrete foreign policy consequence stemming from Trump and his associates' misdeeds.
- Mike Pompeo is the new Secretary of State. Despite a record of Islamophobia, military hawkishness, and anti-LGBTQ comments, the Senate voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Pompeo will do nothing to temper Trump’s worst instincts on decisions such as whether to pull out of the Iran Deal or how to handle negotiations with North Korea, which puts us all at risk.
- Trump’s war Cabinet is nearly complete. With Gina Haspel’s confirmation coming down the pike and Mike Pompeo and John Bolton firmly in place, Trump has nearly finished filling out his Cabinet with war hawks and retreads from the Bush administration. We should have learned from the Iraq War that the world, and our country, are less safe when we go to war first and ask questions later.
- The situation in Syria remains tense. Last Friday, Trump authorized missile strikes in Syria without Congressional authorization, legal justification, or a strategy for what comes next. MoCs need to recognize their power and speak out to denounce Trump’s unconstitutional and reckless behavior. You can read our resource and make a call here.
- Trump is asking why we aren’t committing more war crimes. Early in his presidency, Trump asked the CIA’s head of drone operations “why did you wait?” after watching footage of a drone operator waiting to fire on a target until the target had walked away from his family. Trump is obviously too reckless and impulsive to be trusted as Commander in Chief.
- Trump is using the military for a border crackdown. Trump plans to deploy the National Guard to the southern border, over the objection of dozens of local communities. With unauthorized border crossings at the southern border at a 46-year low, the only effect this will have is to further terrorize immigrant communities, including the millions of Americans who live along our already-militarized border.
- Trump started a trade war. China has proposed tariffs on $50 billion worth of American soybeans, cars, chemicals, and other goods in retaliation for Trump’s off-the-cuff decision to impose tariffs on many Chinese imports. Trump’s volatility has consequences: his ramblings turn into policy, which then can affect anything from our economy to our standing in the world.
- The Trump Administration still has no coherent strategy for Syria. On April 3, Trump said he wants to pull US troops out of Syria “very soon.” Also on April 3, Army General Joseph Votel said that troops will remain in Syria. The next day, the White House issued a statement saying that troops will remain in Syria. This should all make one thing very clear: as the US gets pulled further into the quagmire of conflict in Syria, the Administration still has no idea what it’s doing there.
- Trump is still trying to ban transgender people from serving in the military. Trump has issued a “Trans Ban 2.0” and it will be challenged in court. This spiteful ban would stigmatize transgender members of the armed forces, and take away resources that could instead be invested in real, effective national security strategies.
- Trump’s assembling a war cabinet. In recent weeks, Trump has moved to add a trio of war hawks and criminals to his circle of advisors. We don’t have a way to stop John Bolton from becoming Trump’s new National Security Advisor, but we CAN stop Gina Haspel from becoming CIA Director and Mike Pompeo from becoming Secretary of State.
- The US is expanding the global war. The military launched its first drone strike in southern Libya, expanding even further the seemingly endless and global war that the U.S. has carried out since 9/11. Despite the death of four American servicemembers in Niger in 2017, Congress still does not appear to have the appetite to try to rein in Trump’s warmaking authority -- even as the number of places we are launching military force continues to grow, unchecked.
- Trump named John Bolton his new National Security Advisor. This drives the Trump Threat Level higher than it has ever been. Bolton is a warmonger and conspiracy theorist who helped the Iraq War happen and, in recent months, has advocated bombing North Korea and Iran next.
- The Mueller investigation is at risk. John Dowd, the lead lawyer for Trump’s legal team, quit on March 22 as Trump ratcheted up his attacks on the Mueller investigation. It seems Trump is more worried about congratulating Putin on his recent re-election (against the explicit, all-capital letters advice of his advisors) than he is about protecting our democracy.
- A Saudi prince bragged about having Jared Kushner “in his pocket.” Kushner reportedly shared information from the President’s Daily Brief -- the most classified rundown of intelligence in Washington -- with Mohammed bin Salman as the Saudi prince was violently consolidating power in 2017. Despite not even having a security clearance, Kushner is mismanaging classified information by sharing it with a foreign leader - the same one bombing civilians in Yemen and carrying out human rights abuses in his own country.
- Trump worked with outside conservatives to purge the State Department. Documents obtained by Reps. Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel indicate that the White House and State Department worked together with outside conservatives like Newt Gingrich to drive career civil service officials out of the government. This ideological purge has contributed to our diplomatic corps being drained of the expertise it needs to manage the Trump Threat Level.
- The Iran Deal is in trouble. Trump’s new Secretary of State choice, Mike Pompeo, is a known war hark and opponent of diplomacy with Iran. With reports that Trump is itching to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, placing Pompeo at the helm of State could help the administration bring us closer to war with Iran.
- Trump nominated a torturer to lead the CIA. Trump’s pick to head the CIA, Gina Haspel, is a war criminal. She ran the CIA’s “black site” in Thailand, where detainees were secretly detained and tortured. She also helped destroy the video evidence. She is unfit to lead the CIA at the best of times, but with Trump in charge she poses even more of a threat.
- Talks with North Korea are a good step -- but we need a fully functional State Department to make them successful. Going to the negotiating table is infinitely preferable to war on the Korean peninsula (which would invariably result in millions of people dying). However, for negotiations to be a success, Trump will need the full support of our expert diplomats and analysts -- experts he and Rex Tillerson have spent months running out of the State Department en masse.
- Trump wants to escalate the war in Syria. Trump is considering additional military strikes against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. This has not been authorized by Congress and is not part of a comprehensive strategy for success — in fact, it’s likely to pull us into an indefinite quagmire that makes things worse.
- Trump is considering John Bolton as his next National Security Advisor. Trump met with John Bolton this week, and is reportedly considering him as a replacement for H.R. McMaster once McMaster departs the administration. Bolton is a warmonger and former Bush administration official who notoriously helped make the Iraq War happen, and now advocates bombing North Korea first.
- The State Department isn’t spending any money to prevent meddling in our democracy. Of the $120 million that has been allocated since late 2016 for that purpose, the State Department has spent $0. Under the leadership of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s State Department has taken on a “see no evil, hear no evil” philosophy when it comes to safeguarding our institutions.
- Trump’s White House isn’t protecting classified information. After White House Chief of Staff issued a new policy for staff members with interim security clearances, over 30 Trump aides (including his senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner) had their clearances downgraded. That means that for months, people like Kushner had access to top-secret documents despite serious concerns about their trustworthiness—another black mark on the White House’s information security record.
- Jared Kushner’s business interests are a national security risk. Bob Mueller’s team has been asking witnesses for details regarding Kushner’s discussions with foreign country’s financing for his business. This comes after revelations that several nations have discussed how they can use Kushner’s business interests to manipulate him.
- Trump wants to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia. Trump wants to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia, even though the kingdom will not accept critical restrictions intended to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
- A key U.S. diplomat overseeing North Korea policy has retired. Joseph Yun, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, announced he would be retiring effective March 2. His departure is the latest in a staggering exodus of personnel from the State Department since Trump took office that has drained our nation’s diplomatic capacity, even as Trump creates new crises seemingly every week.
- Mike Pence botched a chance at diplomacy with North Korea. Pence was supposed to meet with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong Un, while he was at the Winter Olympics during his five-day trip to Asia. The North Koreans cancelled the meeting after Pence announced the “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions yet, leaving the United States frozen out of upcoming talks between North and South Korea.
- A Senator says Trump is ready to start a war. Senator Jim Risch of Idaho said that Trump is prepared to start a “very, very brief” war with North Korea to prevent them from developing the ability to attack the United States with nuclear weapons. Make no mistake: any war with North Korea would result in millions of deaths, and must be avoided at all costs.
- There’s no end in sight to the war in Syria. The Pentagon and State Department announced that the Trump administration has determined that it does not need new legal authority from Congress to keep troops in Syria indefinitely. This decision is yet another expansion of the endless “war on terror” started in 2001 that has cost thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars.
- The way Trump treats the threat of gun violence versus the way he treats the threat of terrorism is evidence of his white supremacist agenda. The week of February 12 illustrated that, when it comes to preventing gun deaths perpetrated by a white shooter, Trump and Congressional Republicans are prepared to look the other way -- but when the shooter is a person of color, they immediately propose racist solutions (such as a Muslim ban or building a wall).
- Trump and the GOP’s refusal to address gun violence is one of the biggest security threats we face. There have been 30 mass shootings so far this year (as of February 14), and 18 school shootings. The GOP’s utter unwillingness to consider any measures that could prevent gun violence is a threat to the health and safety of our families and communities.
- Trump’s White House is full of people who should not have access to classified information. Over 130 White House political appointees, including dozens of people who report directly to Trump, did not have permanent security clearances as of November 2017, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and White House counsel Don McGahn. These people have access to some of our nation’s most closely-held secrets, even though there is something in their background that has raised concern for those vetting them.
- Trump wants to bring nuclear arms “back in a big way.” The Trump Administration released the required quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review, which is supposed to set out the United States’ assessment of its nuclear policy. Spoiler: Trump wants to expand, not reduce, our nuclear stockpile, making nukes more available and increasing the likelihood of catastrophic escalations in wars.
- Trump’s “Muslim registry” could actually happen. A leaked Department of Homeland Security report recommends ramped-up tracking of Muslim immigrants based not on any wrongful behavior, but instead based on their demographics. This sounds pretty unconstitutional and bigoted, and a whole lot like the promised “Muslim registry.”
- The United States bombed Syria - again. Despite having zero congressional authority, the U.S. military has again bombed pro-government Syrian forces. They claim that they were acting in self-defense, but it begs a bigger question: what’s the Administration’s plan in Syria? What do they think their legal authority is to carry out that plan? We need to know.
- Trump wants to have a military parade. You’ve probably heard by now that Trump has directed the Pentagon to explore the possibility of having a flashy military parade. This is obviously ridiculous, and just another visual of Trump’s dangerous warmongering that enhances tensions instead of making us safer.
- ICE wants to expand its reach as Trump’s deportation force even further. Top officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are “actively exploring joining the U.S. Intelligence Community.” This is exactly what privacy and civil liberties advocates have been warning against, since this would mean that information gathered by warrantless surveillance would be available for targeting immigrants.
- Trump isn’t reading his daily intelligence briefings. Unsurprisingly, Trump “rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief,” which is a summary of the most pressing information from the intelligence community. Despite what Trump may think, watching Fox & Friends and being “like, a smart person” is not a substitute for the PDB when it comes to protecting our national security—and there’s no safety net if he misses something critical.
- Trump continues to pave the way for war with North Korea, with real consequences. Trump spent an absurd amount of time in his State of the Union address using scare tactics to talk about North Korea, similar to how George W. Bush primed us for a war with Iraq in his own SOTU 15 years earlier.
- Trump still has not implemented sanctions on Russia. Congress voted 419-3 in the House and 98-2 in the Senate last year to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, but the administration still has not taken steps to implement the mandatory sanctions laid out in the law. This shows he doesn’t take seriously the threat posed by Russia and doesn’t care to confront it.
- We are losing our best national security professionals. The State Department’s top career diplomat, Tom Shannon, retired. This leaves the State Department with only one career ambassador of the five who were there at the beginning of the Trump Administration. Trump also dropped a highly-qualified professional, Victor Cha, from consideration as ambassador to South Korea, because Cha opposes a military strike in North Korea. That post remains vacant.
- Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller. The New York Times reported that Trump has already tried to fire Special Counsel Mueller, which would be a constitutional crisis. This shows he is not taking seriously Russia’s attempts to interfere in our democracy and undermine our institutions. Here’s what you can do right now to prevent Trump from firing Mueller (and ensure you’re ready if he does).
- Trump wants to keep Guantanamo open forever. Trump is reportedly planning to issue an executive order rescinding Obama-era policy and attempting to keep the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay open forever, condemning those there to die without charge or fair trial. This gives international terrorism groups a recruitment tool and diminishes the US’ moral credibility on the global stage.
- Trump is releasing misleading stats on terrorism. The Trump Administration released a bogus “report” on terrorism without even consulting the Department of Homeland Security. This document stretched and misrepresented facts in order to achieve racist conclusions justifying the bigoted Muslim ban. This report comes nearly one year after the original Muslim ban, and shows how this administration continues to inflame racial and religious tensions in the name of “security.”
- Nineteen Democrats raised the #TrumpThreatLevel by giving the GOP enough votes to push through a bill expanding Trump's surveillance authority. The Senate voted 60-38 to invoke cloture on granting the administration broad spying authority—then they passed the bill itself by a 65-34 margin. This dangerous bill now heads to Trump’s desk. Once he signs it, it will expand his and Jeff Sessions’ ability to search through a massive amount of Americans’ electronic communications without obtaining a warrant.
- Trump suggested a terrorist attack would be good for his political fortunes. The Washington Post reported that Trump has privately been telling advisers that he doesn’t think the 2018 midterms will be bad for him because Republicans did well in 2002 after the September 11 attacks. If he indeed made these comments, he is displaying a callous disregard for lives in exchange for cheap political points.
- Rex Tillerson called for open-ended war in Syria. In a speech at Stanford University, Tillerson outlined a strategy for ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This would mean yet another open-ended, strategy-free U.S. war with Trump in the commander's seat.
- The House—including 65 Democrats—voted to expand Trump’s surveillance authority. The House voted 256-164 to raise the #TrumpThreatLevel by granting the administration broad spying authority. This dangerous bill heads next to the Senate, which will make or break Trump’s and Sessions’ ability to search through massive amounts of Americans’ electronic communications without obtaining a warrant.
- Trump is a racist, and it’s dangerous. His remark about “shithole countries” to lawmakers during an immigration meeting on Thursday is further evidence that white supremacy is the lodestar of his administration. This isolates allies and makes it harder for soldiers, diplomats, and activists to do their jobs internationally.
- New Year, same Trump. Trump started off the year by tweeting about the size of his "Nuclear Button" as he continued to escalate tensions with North Korea, instead of pursuing bold diplomacy to keep us all safe from a new war.
- Trump announced this week that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This was a reckless move that isolates the United States from allies, threatens chances for successful peace talks, and raises the risk of tension and violence in the region.
- The Trump administration took two other steps that further isolated us from our allies and eroded international norms. The Pentagon changed its policy and decided to embrace cluster munitions, a weapons system that has been banned by the global community. The administration also pulled the United States out of a United Nations project to create more humane conditions for immigrants and refugees.
- The administration continues to gut the State Department, as diplomats leave in droves. African-American, Latinx, and female diplomats in particular have been forced out, which will take decades to reverse.
- The Pentagon has been deceiving us about troop levels in Syria. Finally, the Administration has acknowledged that we have more than 2,000 troops in Syria—more than four times the number that they previously said were on the ground.
- Trump is only making the North Korea situation worse. On November 28, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a greater range than any previous missile—great enough to hit the East Coast of the United States. We can’t stress this enough: Trump needs to learn that angrily tweeting at other world leaders is not a suitable alternative to smart, reasoned diplomacy.
- Meanwhile, he’s driving our allies away and making us vulnerable to attack. On November 29, Trump retweeted bigoted anti-Muslim videos that generated from the fascist, violent “Britain First” movement. This ramped up racial and religious tensions, drew a rare rebuke from our allies in the UK, and provoked fears that there could be violent reactions at US embassies around the world.
- Putting torture advocates in positions of power. The Senate confirmed Steven Bradbury to be a top lawyer in Trump's administration. Bradbury is a war criminal who helped the Bush administration get away with illegal torture. Trump’s decision to tap him to serve demonstrates the administration’s lack of commitment to protecting human rights, putting us all at risk.
- Freezing relations with Cuba. Trump issued an executive order on November 8 rolling back some of President Obama’s efforts to restore diplomatic ties, travel and trade with Cuba -- widely regarded as a major foreign policy success. Trump now wants to roll back those successes and further isolate the US, just out of spite.
- Leaving us behind on climate. Syria signed the Paris Climate Change Accord on November 7, leaving the United States as the only nation that is not a signatory. Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our communities, and Trump’s isolation of the United States on the issue is embarrassing. His White House also pitched "clean coal" at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, drawing protest and ridicule.
- Trump is leaving critical diplomatic posts empty. In a Fox News interview on November 2, Trump responded to a question about vacancies at the State Department by saying that he isn’t worried because “the one that matters is me. I am the only one that matters." Trump’s failure to make these appointments leaves us vulnerable to global security threats.
- Trump is trying to use the tragedy in New York to push his white supremacist agenda. He has already responded by tweeting about his Muslim ban, the need for even more “extreme vetting,” and a call to crack down on immigration. He is making us less safe: Tell your MoCs not to let Trump exploit this tragedy.
- Trump is trying to muddy the water on Russia. Two former Trump associates, including campaign chairman Paul Manafort, have been indicted on charges including conspiracy against the United States. This development is the latest evidence that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to get closer to the truth. Tell your MoC to protect Mueller from being fired by Trump.
- Failing to take responsibility for life and death military decisions. On October 4, four American service members died in Niger. It took Trump 12 days to comment publicly on the soldiers’ deaths, and when he was asked about the deaths at a press conference, he resorted to falsely accusing former President Obama of not calling families of the fallen. Trump then deflected responsibility, denying he ordered the mission in Niger at all, passing the blame to his generals.
- Feuding with the grieving widow of a fallen soldier. Trump spent weeks publicly fighting with the wife of fallen soldier La David Johnson, after insulting her in a phone call overheard by Rep. Federica Wilson. Rather than working to extend his sincere condolences as Commander-in-Chief, Trump continues to use his power to harass and discredit both the Congresswoman and Ms. Johnson.
- Targeting refugees from 11 countries as an extension of his Muslim Ban. Trump issued a new executive order that tightens restrictions on refugees fleeing from 11 countries - a list that overlaps significantly with his unconstitutional Muslim Ban. It’s clearer than ever that these actions are about enacting his Islamophobic, white-supremacist vision for America and not about protecting our national security.
- Trump’s pathetic response to the the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Trump declined to denounce this as an act of terror or to propose credible solutions to end gun violence. It’s clear that Trump didn’t take this tragedy seriously, as he actively refused to support common sense gun safety measures in response. Compare that with his vicious overreaction to the San Bernardino shooting in which he proposed banning all Muslims from the U.S. It’s yet another example of Trump’s white supremacy on display, and how he’s actively making us less safe.
- Taking us closer to war with Iran. Trump announced on October 13, 2017 that he wants to rip up the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama put in place. This historic achievement keeps a nuclear weapon out of Iran’s hands, and if Trump is successful in killing the deal, we will be facing another North Korea situation and a likely new war.
- Failing to equip our diplomats. Despite spending plenty of time attempting to ban an entire religion from traveling to the United States, and talking about building a useless wall, Trump has so far failed to appoint qualified, career diplomats to key positions that help keep us safe. As just one example, in the midst of escalating tensions on global security, nuclear weapons and more, Trump has not nominated an Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs - that’s unacceptable.
- Expanding the Muslim Ban. Despite the many losses he has faced in court, Trump has continued to push forward with more and more versions of his “Muslim Ban.” This hateful and unconstitutional policy is a Muslim ban, no matter how many changes he makes. It emboldens bigots in the US and stokes anti-American sentiment abroad, and focuses security resources on meaningless screening procedures instead of focusing on real threats.
- Gutting funding for peace but ramping up spending for war. Trump’s budget proposed slashing funding for U.S. diplomacy and international aid, in exchange for bloated military and border security spending. We don’t need a wall or a giveaway to war profiteers - we need smart and measured diplomacy.
- Planning to further roll back protections for civilians. We’ve already seen how reckless Trump is with the protections that currently exist - it’s downright scary to think of the damage he can do if he follows through on repealing Obama-era rules protecting civilians in the U.S. “global war.”
- Slashing refugees admitted into U.S. Trump has consistently scapegoated refugees, ramping up the idea that they are dangerous. His administration made that rhetoric reality by slashing the maximum amount of refugees allowed into the US down to the lowest level in decades. This shows our international partners that we can’t be counted upon to help solve the global refugee crisis, contributes to right-wing fearmongering about refugees, and inflames racial tensions.
- Banning transgender people from the military. On August 31, 2017, Trump moved to impose a “trans ban” on the U.S. military, which experts say harms national security by creating unnecessary vacancies and damaging morale.
- Ignoring cybersecurity experts. Eight members of the White House’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council resigned in August, citing Trump’s actions that “threaten the security of the homeland.”
- Insulting our international friends and allies. Trump has frequently insulted and embarrassed key world leaders, including the prime minister of Australia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the mayor of London. He’s embarrassed us on the world stage and harmed our international relations.
- Voicing support for war crimes. Trump often suggests that the U.S. should engage in atrocities in order to display their strength and fight terror - sometimes spreading debunked fake stories in the process. From “bombing the shit” out of people to “taking out” terror suspect’s families, to assassinating Muslims with pigs’ blood-soaked bullets - Trump is using his platform of power to support the kinds of human rights violations that the global community has been working to eliminate for decades.
- Emboldening anti-Muslim and other hate speech. Trump consistently fails to speak out when marginalized communities are threatened or harmed, and refuses to unequivocally condemn white supremacy, choosing instead to say that blame exists “on many sides.” These messages from the highest office in the United States have an effect - hate crimes are on the rise as extremists feel emboldened by Trump’s words.
- Scoffing at Russia’s interference in our democracy. Even as special counsel Mueller and several congressional committees deeply investigate the role that Russian interference played in our elections (and the Trump campaign’s collusion), Trump himself continues to call the situation a “hoax,” and appears totally indifferent to these threats to our democracy.
- Pulling us out of the Paris Climate Agreement. With his dramatic declaration that the United States would pull out of this historic global partnership on climate change, Trump signaled to the world that the United States can’t be counted on as a partner, and that we don’t take climate change - a major security threat - seriously.
- Providing the weapons for atrocities. Trump secured a massive $110 billion deal with Saudi Arabia in exchange for heavy military machinery - which the Saudis will use to commit war crimes in Yemen. This means that, in exchange to Trump’s own global military expedition, he’s comfortable with the U.S. being complicit in other nations’ war crimes.
- Recklessly exposing classified information. Trump has proven time and again he can’t be trusted to keep secrets. From spilling information to Russians in the Oval Office to conducting a sensitive meeting about North Korea in public at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s recklessness is dangerous.
- Launching a missile strike in Syria without congressional authorization or a strategy. On April 6, 2017, Donald Trump stunned the nation by unilaterally launching missile strikes against a Syrian base with no Congressional authorization, no explanation of his legal justification prior to the attack, and no apparent strategy for what happens next.
- Ramping up civilian casualties. From his first botched Yemen raid to the “Mother of All Bombs” dropped on Afghanistan, Trump has demonstrated callous disregard for civilian lives trapped in conflict due to U.S. military force. National security experts - as well as settled international legal norms - tell us this is wrongheaded, and increases anti-American sentiment and makes us more prone to blowback and further violence.
- Leaving open the possibility that even Americans could be thrown in Guantanamo. Trump pledged to “load [Guantanamo] up with bad dudes,” a massive mistake in and of itself, as the notorious site of torture and indefinite detention continues to pose a human rights crisis and opens the U.S. up to security threats. But Trump has indicated that maybe a U.S. citizen could go to Guantanamo - not a remote possibility, as under Trump we are currently holding a U.S. citizen in secret military detention. It should be obvious how wildly unconstitutional this would be - and how it would put us all at risk.
- Saying “torture works.” Even though torture is totally illegal, immoral, and counterproductive, Trump used a major media platform to say “torture works” and he has frequently discussed his fantasy of “fighting fire with fire” and “doing things that are unthinkable almost.” This makes us less safe, damages international norms, and gives extremists plenty of propaganda material.