Donald Trump is an abuser.
This is not speculation: It is a fact supported by what we are witnessing, by the reported experiences of people who have interpersonal and/or business relationships with him, and by his own words.
As is the habit of people who are abusive in the way Trump is, he routinely justifies his abuse by asserting that it is necessary in order to "protect" people. That is also a feature of authoritarianism, and it has long been a strategy used by the Republican Party to justify all manner of harm.
Today, Trump signed a trio of executive orders, the contents of which were not immediately released.
"I'm signing three executive actions today designed to restore safety in America," Trump announced from the Oval Office as he swore in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying the first would "break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth."Even without the specific text of these orders, we can reasonably conclude, based on Trump's previous and constant assertions of what he believes constitutes "restoring safety in America," that they have been designed to primarily and disproportionately target Latinx immigrants and Black communities.
The others, according to Trump, create a task force on reducing violent crime and instruct Sessions to implement a plan to stop crime against law enforcement officers.
"A new era of justice begins and it begins right now," Trump said.
They are part of a comprehensive agenda of white supremacy, which includes (but is not limited to) his Muslim ban, defended on the basis that it is necessary to keep Americans safe; his elevation of Jeff Sessions to U.S. Attorney General, whose support for eroding Black voting rights is defended on the basis that it is necessary to protect Americans from voter fraud; the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day which failed to mention Jews, defended on the basis that it was somehow meant to be more inclusive.
Every act, incident, and policy of white supremacy is rationalized and defended on the contemptible premise that it is necessary in order to "keep America safe."
And every time, buried within that protective language is the implication that "America" is (straight, cis, able-bodied) white people—and every American who deviates from that highly privileged class is someone from whom White America needs to be protected.
I am a white American, and thus I am one of the people being invoked as needing "protection" from Black people, from Latinx immigrants, from Muslims. (Even as I am simultaneously an "enemy" or "hater" per Trump himself, as one of his critics.) He uses me, over and over, to justify this abuse. And he does so without my consent.
Donald Trump: Stop using me. You do not have my permission to say I need your "protection." And you do not have my consent to use me to conceal that your "protective" measures are just rank white supremacy.
I will not silently abide my life being co-opted by a vicious coward who refuses to be honest about his sinister objectives.
It pisses me off to be treated like a rhetorical human shield by a vile despot, but, more importantly, I resist this strategy with rageful fervor because I want there to be no question whether I agree that I am in need of "protection" from people of color, immigrants, and/or refugees.
I do not agree.
This middle-aged, straight-married, middle-class, suburban white woman—despite the fact that, on paper, I seem precisely the type of person Trump asserts to be protecting—does not not take up space in solidarity with white supremacy and the mendacious narratives conjured to defend it.
I take up space in solidarity with the people from whom Trump says he's "protecting" me—because they are the ones in need of protection.