Let’s be honest, Donald Trump is a bully … plain and simple. During the primary and general election Trump humiliated his opponents with comments like: “Low energy Jeb,” “Little Marco” and, of course, “Crooked Hillary.” However, the most egregious example of Trump’s egotistical, mean spirited personality was his mockery of a reporter with Cerebral Palsy. Let’s face it, Trump takes the art of bullying to a whole new level.
So, it should come as no surprise that Trump chosen to institute a 90-day ban on travel from Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Iran – all Muslim majority countries. Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, claimed that the ban was to “ensure that the people of the United States were safe.” Give me a break.
In this case the ban was much to do about nothing … emphasis on nothing. Since 1975, not a single American has been killed by a citizen of the seven countries named above (according to the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank). In contrast, over that same period of time, 162 Americans have been killed by Egyptians, 2,369 by Saudis (includes 9/11) and 314 by citizens of the United Arab Emirates. To be honest, I would have slept a little better last night if the ban had been placed on these other three countries.
It should also be remembered that the “vetting” process from countries in the middle east is already “extreme.” According to David Miliband, former foreign secretary for the United Kingdom, the vetting process takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months, involves the resources of 12 to 15 government agencies and the use of biometrics. That might be the reason why there were only 80 Americans killed by terrorists from 2004 to 2013. Of that total, 36 were killed in the US – less than four a year. (I lost my stepson to a tragic accident last fall so I know that each and every life lost is a tragedy). Since 2013 there have been several additional acts of terrorism in the U.S. including Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando – both at the hands of U.S. citizens who had been radicalized here and not at the direction of ISIS or Al Qaeda.
Now, let’s compare the statistics above with the following:
- 440,095 gun deaths from 2001-2014.
- 10,080 killed by drunk drivers every year.
- 144,000 deaths due to preventable medical errors in our nation’s hospitals.
- 98,000 deaths due to the fact that 50 percent of our physicians don’t wash their hands between patients.
- 20,000-30,000 deaths each year due to a lack of health insurance (prior to Obamacare the figure was 40,000 per year).
Given a choice I’m willing to bet that every American would rather take their chances of being killed in a terrorist attack than by any of the above.
Now, let’s address the claim by Trump that this was not a Muslim ban. First of all, Trump made a Muslim ban one of the cornerstones of his campaign. Remember, “I, Donald J. Trump, propose a complete and total ban on all Muslims from entering the United States until we fix our broken immigration system.” Second, Trump’s press secretary tried to claim it was not a Muslim ban because it did not cover all of the countries with a majority Muslim population. Nice try. The focus must only be on the seven countries in question. In that case, the ban is clear – all Muslims who live in these countries will not be allowed to enter the United States for 90 days. The only exception is for religious minorities – primarily Christian. It is for this reason that many Constitutional lawyers believe the ban violates the 1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …
Will this ban make us safer? David Miliband doesn’t think so. He strongly believes this ban simply plays into the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda by supporting their core narrative that the West is trying to destroy the Muslim faith and will be used to recruit “radical Islamist terrorists.”
Finally, let’s look at national security from a broader perspective. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed that the defense department had been “hollowed out” by the Obama administration and must be rebuilt. Once again, nothing could be further from the truth. Again, let’s look at the facts. The average defense budget between FY 2010 – 2015 of the Obama administration was $663.4 billion vs. $634.9 for the Bush administration between FY 2002-2009.