18 Women Describe Trump's First 100 Days in Office in Their Own Words
Saturday, April 29 will be the 100th day of Donald Trump's presidency. Trump's first 100 days, which included controversial measures like a travel ban and an executive order to help facilitate the construction of his infamous proposed wall along the Mexican border, seem to have divided the country as much as his candidacy. As of April 23, according to a Gallup poll, just 40 percent of Americans approve of Trump's performance as president; 54 percent say they disapprove.
Trump's critics cite a variety of reasons for their disapproval. His campaign is currently being investigated by the FBI for possible ties to Russia. In light of the questions raised by such an investigation, E.J. Dionne, writing for the Washington Post, argued that Trump "plainly has no business being president." Trump has also been criticized for his frequent trips to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. "Trump appears to view the Treasury as a personal piggy bank and the presidency as a part-time job," New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote in March. Critics have also slammed the president's alleged conflicts of interest, refusal to release his tax returns, and his choice of environmental officials, among other issues.
Even Trump voters and supporters have cause for complaints: the president failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, even though he promised he would during his campaign, and both iterations of his travel ban stalled in the courts. Those who hoped the president would "drain the swamp" may be frustrated that he nominated a Cabinet with more wealth than one-third of American households combined.
The Trump administration's multiple attempts to restrict funding to Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations have also posed unique concerns for women. In addition to signing into law a measure that would enable states to deprive Planned Parenthood of Title X family planning funds, he also reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which withholds funds from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) if they merely offer information about accessing abortions — even though U.S. money is already forbidden from being used to pay for abortions.
Bustle spoke with women across the country to hear their thoughts on the first 100 days of a presidency. Some women told us they worried about their healthcare options; others, that they felt the right to choose was in jeopardy. Other women think the president is off to a good start — an important reminder that the Women's March doesn't speak for the 42 percent of female voters who selected Trump. All in all, the responses — from liberals, conservatives, immigrants, and women of many religious affiliations — paint a picture of an America that is deeply conflicted about its commander-in-chief.
1. Tendai Dandajena, 23
"As a recent citizen of the United States, I was nationalized soon before the presidential election, I was very excited to be able to vote in my first election. Finally I would be able to truly contribute to who we have running our country. The morning after the election I woke up to a headline reading: "Trump Wins the Presidency." For the entire day I believe I was in shock, I had no idea what emotion I was supposed to be feeling at the time. Finally days after I began to feel anger, sorrow, and confusion as to how this could have happened. Over the past 100 days I’ve been continuously disappointed in 'President' Trump. From his continuous advocacy for building the wall, to his spastic changes in policy views, and to his complete inexperience with government policies. Also, as a black woman, I’ve seen the way that minorities are treated over the past 100 days change slightly as well. I have seen the number of people who would normally feel uncomfortable speaking on racially charged situations increase.
"On a positive note, I have seen minorities band together over the past 100 days and move toward a solid goal of unity. There have definitely been positives and negatives but one thing is for sure, being a black woman in America currently is not any easier than it was before. All I know is that the only way we can overcome this presidency is by taking action through things like the Women’s March and the March for Science so that the country can make progress through the next four years."
2. Shana Sally, 24
"Trump was not my first choice for a Republican nominee. I didn't vote for him in the primary. During his campaign, he made a lot of what felt like empty promises to the American people. Another politician promising Americans things that we'll probably never see during their term. Did I agree with every single thing he was promising? No. My biggest take away from President Trump's first 100 days is he is a man of his word, whether you like it or not.
"I don't agree with everything he's done and I do believe he's been somewhat of a hypocrite since getting into office (i.e. golfing what feels like every weekend when us conservatives railed on President Obama for the same). Politics aside, however, the amount that he has done in the first 100 days is fascinating. With the snap of a finger it seemed like he had started taking action on so many of his campaign promises. This is certainly not something we see often in Washington, D.C."
3. Molly Monk, 22
"I've been exhausted for the first 100 days of Trump's administration because his behavior emboldened really nasty commentary in my state [Iowa]. We went from being one of the first states to legalize gay marriage to a state that [voted to] defund Planned Parenthood. My sister is also a military officer in South Korea. With Trump's constant change of opinions on foreign policy and lack of diplomacy, I really don't feel great about things at all."
4. Azmia Magane, 31
"I'm a Muslim woman, and I wear the hijab. My husband is from Morocco, and we are in the visa process... Trump's first 100 days have brought me even closer to my faith, because I rely on it as a coping skill. Since Trump has taken office, I've definitely experienced things that I've never before experienced in my 31 years of life — things like being verbally assaulted and harassed, including sexually, because I'm Muslim. I've been told to leave the country a few times. Where would I go? I was born here; I'm a third-generation American.
"There's a lot of anxiety but there's also a lot of hope, because the overwhelming majority of people aren't normalizing his hateful rhetoric; he's being called out for it. It's not that people are too sensitive or that we live in a society obsessed with being politically correct; it's that now we knew better, so we need to do better. We can't let bigotry define American values."
5. Heidi Hecht, 35
"I think he over-promised. It's fair to say that Trump may have over-promised on what he could deliver in the first 100 days. Stuff like the border wall isn't going to get done quickly, and, of course, the Obamacare repeal and replace is going to take time if Republicans want to do it right. That's why I'm not mad at Paul Ryan for derailing the first try. Republicans in Congress are smart to not ram this thing down people's votes the way that Democrats did with Obamacare."
6. Lilly Cohen, 22
"He didn't even do the things he promised to do, and his attempts to deregulate everything are going to absolutely destroy the environment and give companies the power to strip away the rights of their lower level employees. Also, why does he spend so much time and money playing golf?"
7. Emma Lapp, 22
"I think his first 100 days have been a disaster. He clearly has no idea what he's doing, and it seems like everything he does is for show. I think it's interesting that he's pushing all these executive orders instead of going through Congress — he's obviously not a team player — so it looks like he's accomplishing a lot, but it'll be easy for the next president to undo all of it..."
8. Janice Elliott-Howard, 50
"President Trump is trying to fulfill his campaign promises to his constituency. Unfortunately, he will hurt most of them in the process. The one thing that he has done that made sense to me was his firm stance on Assad's behavior towards his people. The Mexican wall is a waste of time and energy. We should not have to pay for something that is not going to stop anyone or anything from entering the United States. I am totally against the ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] team who is going after the illegal immigrants who are compliant with the necessary steps to be able to maintain a life in America (i.e., they check in regularly and obey our laws). Many of them know of no other place than America as home. The travel ban is a joke... Many of his efforts have been thwarted because of the irrational tactics used to get his agenda items checked off.
"I have nothing against his choice for Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch because so far he is the most qualified appointment that he has made. His cabinet members are a collage of misfits who may or may not benefit the country.
"As an Obamacare participant, I am worried about whether or not the exasperated replacement will be something that I can afford. Thank goodness I do not have ailments that require regular medical attention or medication. This choice for leadership cannot be undone, so all I can do is hope for the best."
9. Courtnie Weber, 29
"Trump’s first 100 days as President have been stressful and somewhat terrifying. They’ve been chaotic. They’ve been an amalgam of party over country, sheer hatred of former President Obama, and a deep desire to make the rich even richer.
"There’s been an outright hatred of poor people and sick folks who depend on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act to get by —like me. Science is under attack. Reason and facts are under attack."
10. Ajah Hales, 32
"I am a 32-year-old, black, female small business owner living below the federal poverty level. As a woman, I fear for the safety and sovereignty of my own body. As a person of color, I fear for the safety of my people, being fully aware that people who look like me are at best anecdotal and at worse incidental under president Trump. As a poor person, I fear for my continued ability to subsist and survive under a president who sees the programs I rely on daily as entitlements. We are living in an America I no longer recognize, under the leadership of a man who is more interested in exploiting vulnerable bodies than protecting them."
11. Mary Kaarto, 59
"President Trump intentionally stepped away from a company he took many decades to build to run for office for no other reason the slogan he campaigned on: to 'Make America Great Again.' He already has name recognition, plenty of self-confidence, and money. As he has said many times, 'I didn't have to do this.' My passion and purpose in life is to encourage anyone who is laid off. While additional layoffs have occurred since President Trump took office, which is heartbreaking to me, I am willing to give him 1,360 days to create the good-paying permanent jobs with benefits that people need, and hope my fellow Americans will do the same.
"For me, his first 100 days in office have taught me a great deal about politics and human nature from both sides of the Washington playground. One thing I can [say] about President Trump: he is his own man and always has been. Every presidency is different. Different doesn't necessarily mean right or wrong — it just means, different."
12. Gwen Fishel, 24
"I didn't have very high expectations for Trump's first 100 days, but I think that regardless of what one's politics are, it's clear that he's accomplished very little. Even with a majority in both chambers of Congress, he could not pass through his healthcare agenda — which I'm definitely not upset about! That being said, the majority of what he has accomplished has been through executive order, and had it been any other president in the White House using executive orders left and right, Donald Trump would have certainly lambasted him/her. The one thing that I thought he might do once he got in the White House was give up his Twitter account, or at least his Twitter tirades, but that has ceased to happen as of yet. All in all, I've been very displeased with the last 100 days. Everything I care about has taken a sharp turn for the worse in this administration."
13. Shayanne Gal, 24
"Between the two proposed [travel] bans, the stripping away of our environmental protection efforts, the overruling of women's reproductive rights, and the proposed federal budget cuts to education, public arts, and health/human services, I am feeling uneasy about the direction our country is moving in under Trump's lead. Personal liberties are at stake, politics are overriding policies, and the reputation of the USA as a powerful diplomatic actor is compromised.
"As someone who spent 19 years trying to become a legal citizen of the USA — and only just became naturalized this month! — I truly believe in the influence and authority of the people of the United States and in the power of our democracy to enact real positive change for humanity. Even though Trump's first 100 days have been a disheartening combination of policy backlashes against the Democratic platform and after Obama's two terms in office, I remain hopeful that the power of free speech, protest, and checks and balances will reign over the Trump administration and their schismatic policy efforts in the years to come."
14. Savannah Simons, 25
"I was not a fan of Trump before he was sworn into office and after his first 100 days, I've come to realize my fears were not irrational. 'Privately' signing a law aimed at cutting off federal funding for Planned Parenthood, slashing budgets for the EPA, and signing over 30 executive orders within his first 100 days were the exact fears I had before the election.
"The executive orders are getting out of hand for a president who once commented on the high number of executive orders President Obama signed... I never wish for a president to fail, because then all of us will fail. However, I'm not impressed with him thus far, but also not surprised."
15. Myriam Varjacques, 25
"I don't really know what I expected from Trump's first 100 days in office. Maybe more scandals? Maybe fewer? It's hard to say. I'm definitely not surprised at his walking back on campaign promises. There are so many examples I could point to that highlight his incompetence and hubris. What's really terrifying to me is the normalization of hate speech and xenophobia his presidency and cabinet represent."
16. Sarah Dougherty, 19
"I am proud of what President Trump has accomplished in his first 100 days. He's lived up to his campaign promise to put America first by focusing on job creation, protecting our borders, and facilitating a pro job economic environment. Trump has asserted himself as a strong and pragmatic leader of the forgotten men and women of America."
17. Kelly Meister-Yetter, 54
"He is a disaster as a president, he clearly has no idea how to be a leader, and he has made himself look utterly ridiculous with all his tweeting, and disputing things like how many people attended his inauguration, or whether he has big hands. He is a dangerous man and I worry what disaster will befall the United States during his watch."
18. Maddie Divine, 24
"100 days after President Trump's swearing in, I find myself alternating between moments of alarm or despair-triggered paralysis and moments of pride, community, and fearlessness. One night I find myself furiously calling and faxing my reps, and the next a friend announces the most recent news of U.S. military action at dinner, and I go down my mental list of friends and family, considering who lives in a city that could be the target of a foreign attack in response to Trump's actions.
"Participating in the Women's March, arm in arm with my mother and father, has served as my strongest reminder that through empathy, we will survive Trump's America. I'm tempted to go so far as to thank the Trump administration and its sympathizers for unifying and mobilizing an international community of empathizers. Our heads are bloody, but unbowed."