North Carolina Pastor Criticizes Trump's First 100 Days As 'A Disaster'
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
The week of Donald Trump's inauguration back in January, I took a road trip to North Carolina and Virginia. I asked people about their hopes and fears for the Trump administration. This week, as the administration approaches its 100 day mark, we're going to check in with a couple of people from my trip - today, Reverend John Mendez. In Winston-Salem, N.C., he delivered a Sunday morning sermon the week of the inauguration connecting Jesus to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to the struggles of today.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
JOHN MENDEZ: I am disappointed, but I am not discouraged. And I ain't no ways tired.
SHAPIRO: Reverend Mendez joins us again now. Welcome back to the program.
MENDEZ: Thank you. Glad to be here.
SHAPIRO: How do the president's actions so far compare to the expectations that you had when we last spoke in January?
MENDEZ: It pretty much affirms what I was thinking, feeling and expecting back in January. I think these first 100 days been really a disaster.
SHAPIRO: Well, what specifically stands out to you the most?
MENDEZ: His foreign policy has been a disaster in terms of creating the threat of war, this budget which eliminates so many important programs for working people and struggling people. The proposal for $54 billion to be added to the war budget makes this president a war president.
SHAPIRO: When I visited your church, in your sermon, you encouraged people not to give up hope, to keep fighting, to keep marching. What do you think of the opposition so far, what folks describe as the resistance?
MENDEZ: I think people are ready to move. The demonstrations are happening literally every day. We've had some demonstrations, and demonstrations are further being planned. So...
SHAPIRO: Do you think they're making a difference?
MENDEZ: Yeah, I think people realize that this is not the time to sit on their laurels and just imagine that things will change by themselves. It's important that people literally all over the country resist. I'm in fact thinking about planning a demonstration for elderly people 65 and up. You know, there's a lot of concern out there but a lot of fear as well in terms of how people imagine themselves living and surviving under this administration.
SHAPIRO: You mean in terms of Social Security, health care for the elderly, things like that.
SHAPIRO: What do you think of the job that Democrats have done in Congress?
MENDEZ: I'd like to see Democrats fight and resist more. But also, I think it's imperative that they offer the alternative to what Trump and his administration's proposing. And what I mean by that is, I think it's important to challenge tit for tat everything that the Republicans propose. And the reason why that's important is because people need to hear another view, another alternative.
SHAPIRO: This is something that Republicans used to say during the Obama administration - is, you can't just be the party of no. You have to present some affirmative alternative.
MENDEZ: Exactly, and they have yet to do that.
SHAPIRO: You know, the last time we met, I spoke with your granddaughter who's a teenager. Her mother is originally from Mexico and she was talking about harassment at school increasing after Donald Trump won the election.
SHAPIRO: How's she doing?
MENDEZ: She's doing great. She has a made-up mind in terms that she's not going to let that bother her or interrupt, you know, the progress that she's making for herself. And she's determined to resist.
SHAPIRO: Well, I'm so glad to talk to you again. Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.
MENDEZ: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.
SHAPIRO: That was Reverend John Mendez of Emanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.