President Donald Trump. Photo: Shealah Craighead / White House

Mark Charles: A Native perspective on Donald Trump's first 100 days

A Native Perspective: 100 Days 

By Mark Charles

Last Friday, in a speech to the National Rifle Association, President Trump spoke about his victory in the Electoral College. He noted that he was the only candidate to give a speech to the NRA during the campaign. And, he warned his audience that in the 2020 election many Democratic candidates would be clamoring to speak to the NRA as well, possibly even Elizabeth Warren, whom he attempted to caricature as “Pocahontas.”   

Also on Friday, in an  interview with Reuters,  President Trump stated, regarding the Presidency, "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier."   

On April 23rd, in an interview with the Associated Press, President Trump was asked, "Is there anything from your business background that just doesn't translate into the presidency, that just simply is not applicable to this job?"   

To which he replied, "Well in business, you don't necessarily need heart, whereas here, almost everything affects business but you're trying to just negotiate a good price...Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government, involves heart, whereas in business, most things don't involve heart...In fact, in business you're actually better off without it [heart].”

No wonder President Trump finds the job of being President so hard. By his own admission, his years of business experience have literally trained him to exploit, objectify and dehumanize anyone who stood in his way of making a profit. But it is not true that business does not require heart. Business, like government, affects people. And any job that affects people requires heart. The reason that President Trump believes business does not require heart, is because he has taught himself to value profits more than people.   

As a Native man, I am appalled that, in a speech in 2017 to the National Rifle Association, President Trump ignorantly and childishly caricatured a female political opponent as Pocahontas’. Some have defended President Trump because his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, has been accused by the Native community of misappropriating native identity.

But this sort of name-calling is not helpful. Not only is it beneath the office of the President, but it also uses the Native community as a rhetorical weapon in President Trump's divisive administration. If he truly wants to defend natives, then perhaps he could respect our treaty rights and block the Dakota Access Pipeline. But he has already made his decision on that. Unfortunately, this is the price we pay for electing a businessman who blatantly celebrates his previous life, which trained him to value profits more than people.

In the same interview with Reuters, President Trump “reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.” And he stated, "I loved my previous life. I had so many things going." 

I encourage President Trump to follow his longing and return to his previous life as a businessman. And sooner is probably better than later. Because an office that expects you to govern for the good of hundreds of millions of people, an office that has been stripped of the legal constraints of conflict of interest, and an office that gives you access to the unbelievable power of launching nuclear weapons, is not an office that someone without heart should occupy.

Mark Charles (Navajo) serves as the Washington DC correspondent for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog “Reflections from the Hogan.” His writings are regularly published by Native News Online in a column titled “A Native Perspective” which addresses news directly affecting Indian Country as well as offering a Native perspective on national and global news stories. Mark is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram under the username: wirelesshogan

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