10 alarming things Trump has promised to do in a second term
This is reality: Donald Trump will almost certainly be the Republican nominee for President for the third consecutive election. Given the United State's polarized political climate, either major party nominee has a realistic chance of winning a second term on November 5, 2024.
Trump is a deeply flawed candidate with some unique advantages. He has an energized base that will stick with him no matter what. Four serious criminal indictments — and a jury verdict finding him civilly liable for sexual assault — have not impacted his dominant standing in the Republican Party. Trump is also facing an opponent, President Joe Biden, with a historically low approval rating. Biden's popularity stands at just 37%, which is a lower rating than any elected president at this point since Gallup began tracking the data in 1955.
Over the next 330 days, media outlets will spend countless hours covering the anticipated matchup between Trump and Biden as if it's a sporting competition. Polls will be analyzed, dissected, and averaged. Predictions will be made. This kind of coverage is popular because people are anxious to know who will be the next president.
Here's the truth: No one will know who the next president will be until November 5, 2024. Save yourself some time and ignore the chatter.
Unlike a horse race, the outcome of the 2024 presidential election will impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and billions of people around the world.
The presidential election will likely be decided by people who, today, have not made up their minds about who to support in 2024. For many of these swing voters, their decision will hinge on their expectation of what Trump will do in a second term. Of course, we don't know everything that will happen in a potential Trump second term. But Trump and his allies have made their intentions clear on a range of key issues.
Trump says he will "abuse power" and be a "dictator" on "day one."
On December 5, Trump participated in a town hall with Fox News' Sean Hannity. On a couple of occasions, Hannity attempted to get Trump to declare that he would not behave as a "dictator" if he won the presidency. The first time Hannity tried, Trump dodged the question, emphasized that he had been wronged, and compared himself to Al Capone.
HANNITY: They want to call you a dictator. You used the words, "I am your retribution." And now, before that, you said, if you have been wronged, and you used other words as well. But I want to be very, very clear on this. To be clear, do you in any way have any plans whatsoever, if reelected president, to abuse power, to break the law, to use the government to go after people?
TRUMP: You mean like they're using right now. So, in the history of our country what's happened to us, again, has never happened before over nonsense, over nothing, made-up charges. I often say Al Capone, he was one of the greatest of all time, if you like criminals. He was a mob boss, the likes of which -- Scarface, they call him. And he got indicted once. I got indicted four times.
The second time Hannity attempted to get Trump to swear off dictatorship, Trump explicitly said he would behave as a dictator on his first day back at the White House.
HANNITY: I want to go back to this one issue, though, because the media has been focused on this and attacking you… You are promising America tonight. You would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?
TRUMP: Except for day one.
HANNITY: Except, what?
TRUMP: He's going crazy. Except for day one.
TRUMP: I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.
HANNITY: That's not -- that's not retribution. I got it.
TRUMP: I'm going to be -- I'm going to be, you know, he keeps -- we love those guy. He says, you're not going to be a dictator, are you? I said, no, no, no, other than day one. We're closing the border and we're drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I'm not a dictator.
Note that it was Hannity, not Trump, who said that he would not abuse his power to enact retribution against his enemies. On December 11, Trump claimed that when he said he would act like a dictator, he did so in a "joking manner."
Trump says election fraud in 2020 gives him the power to "terminate" the Constitution
On December 3, 2022, Trump posted the following message about the 2020 presidential election on his social media platform, Truth Social:
A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!
Trump says he will issue "full pardons" to January 6 insurrectionists
Trump has promised to issue pardons to those involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. In September 2022, in an interview with Wendy Bell, Trump said, “I will look very, very favorably about full pardons… with an apology to many.”
In May 2023, during a town hall with CNN, Trump again said that he would likely pardon “a large portion of” insurrectionists, stating that “it’ll be very early on.” Trump said, “They’re living in hell… and they’re great people. Many of them are just great people.” Trump added that while he was “inclined to pardon many of them,” he couldn’t “say for every single one because a couple of them, probably, they got out of control.”
Among those convicted for their actions on January 6 are Thomas Webster, who was sentenced in September 2022 to “10 years in prison for assaulting police” during the Capitol attack, and Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, who was sentenced in September to 22 years in prison for “seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol.”
Trump says he will cut funding to schools that cover subjects he believes are "inappropriate"
Trump has vowed to cut funding for schools that teach about aspects of race and gender. In a campaign video released in January, Trump promised to “cut federal funding for any school or program pushing Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children,” stating that “[w]e are not going to allow it to happen.”
Critical Race Theory is a complex legal theory that is not taught in K-12 schools. Despite this, the right has dubbed many books that simply discuss racism as Critical Race Theory. Because of this, if Trump is reelected, any school that does not implement an ideological purge of its curricular materials could be at risk of losing federal funding.
Trump says he will legally erase trans people and ban them from military service
In a video posted to his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said he would “ask Congress to pass a bill establishing that the only genders recognized by the United States government are male and female, and they are assigned at birth” if reelected in 2024. At the Turning Point Action conference in July, Trump additionally promised to “restore the Trump ban on transgender in the military.”
“No serious country should be telling its children that they were born with the wrong gender,” Trump said in the video. Trump falsely claimed that it is a concept “never heard of in all of human history” before “the radical left invented it just a few years ago.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, however, “transgender and non-binary communities” have existed for centuries.
Trump says he will end birthright citizenship by executive order
Trump has pledged, on his first day back in office, to "sign an Executive Order to stop federal agencies from granting automatic U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal aliens." The Executive Order would "make clear that going forward, the children of illegal aliens will not be granted automatic citizenship, and should not be issued passports, Social Security numbers, or be eligible for certain taxpayer funded welfare benefits." Moving forward, "at least one parent be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for their future children to become automatic U.S. citizens."
Such an order would defy 125 years of legal precedent and the text of the 14th Amendment: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” The 14th Amendment was adopted in response to the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision, which denied citizenship to people of African descent born in the United States.
Trump says he will impose a new 10% tax on all imported goods
In an appearance on Fox Business on August 17, 2023, Trump pledged to impose a new 10% tariff on all imported goods. "When companies come in and they dump their products in the United States, they should pay, automatically, let’s say, a 10 percent tax," Trump said. "I do like the 10 percent for everybody."
This tariff would be passed on to consumers, who would be pushed "into buying higher-cost, lower-quality goods, because that’s what protectionism does, making America as a whole poorer." It could also spark a wave of retaliatory tariffs, harming U.S. businesses and the global economy.
Trump says he will investigate NBC and MSNBC for treason and potentially remove the company from public airwaves
Trump has proposed investigating media publications for treason. In a post on Truth Social, Trump said that “Comcast, with its one-side and vicious coverage by NBC NEWS, and in particular MSNBC… should be investigated for its ‘Country Threatening Treason." Trump promised that when he “WIN[S] the Presidency of the United States” the media “will be thoroughly scrutinized.”
Trump also questioned whether media companies should be potentially removed from the airwaves. “Why should NBC, or any other of the corrupt & dishonest media companies, be entitled to use the very valuable Airwaves of the USA, FREE?” Trump called NBC a “true threat to Democracy” and “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE,” stating that the “Fake News Media should pay a big price for what they have done to our once great country.”
Trump says he will demand anyone convicted of selling drugs get the death penalty
In May, during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire, Trump said, “We’re going to be asking everyone who sells drugs, gets caught selling drugs, to receive the death penalty for their heinous acts,” adding that “it’s the only way.” According to Drug Policy Facts, there were 110,771 arrests in the United States “for sale or manufacture of a drug” in 2022.
According to NPR, expanding the death penalty as Trump suggests for drug offenses “would be a violation of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),” which states that the death penalty should only be used for “the most serious crimes.”
Trump says he will order the arrest of all urban homeless and relocate them to federally-run tent cities
In August, Trump posted a video to his website announcing his plan to combat homelessness by “BAN[NING] urban camping wherever possible.” Trump promised that the “[v]iolators of these bans will be arrested, but they will be given the option to accept treatment and services if they are willing to be rehabilitated,” adding that “[m]any of them don’t want that, but we will give them the option.”
Trump says he will “open up large parcels of inexpensive land, bring in doctors, psychiatrists, social workers, and drug rehab specialists, and create tent cities where the homeless can be relocated and their problems identified.”
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “[t]here were nearly 600,000 Americans experiencing homelessness last year.” Ann Oliva, the CEO of the organization, told Newsweek that Trump’s plan was “alarming and dangerous in numerous ways,” stating that “[t]he way to end homelessness is not to arrest people and move them out of sight into internment camps.”