On Monday night, President Trump fired his acting attorney general, Sally Yates, when she refused to defend his executive order closing the nation’s borders to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.
Yates, who graduated from the University of Georgia and worked her way to U.S. Attorney through Georgia offices, knew that she had to take a stand for fairness, equality and American values — even if it meant risking her job.
People all over the world have felt the effects of this controversial order — and Georgia is no exception. People with green cards at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, travelling students and Atlanta-bound refugees faced detainment, separation from family and demonization from the far-Right. And we still don’t fully know the effects the order will have on Georgia, America or the globe.
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities of the Department of Justice, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” she wrote in a letter to the Justice Department lawyers.
Trump’s reaction to fire Yates is concerning on a number of levels. For one, Trump is purging those who disagree with him from office. By firing Yates, Trump showed us that those who dare to stand up to orders with such dangerous, widespread effects will be bulldozed by Trump and his army of incompetent officials.
Firing Yates is in line with Trump’s agenda to consolidate power and dole out important leadership positions to inexperienced and extreme conservatives, just as he did with Stephen K. Bannon. Trump gave Bannon, a white nationalist with zero military, foreign relations or security experience, a position on the National Security Council. This role is historically reserved for someone with experience as a military general, yet Trump has no problem handing over serious political responsibility to those who have no business wielding it.
The effects of the executive order will continue to unfold across the world. The precedent Trump set by firing those who challenge him and appointing inept followers in their place will continue to harm innocent people while damaging the United States’ reputation as the “Leader of the Free World.” The question is: Do Trump and his extremist supporters care?