A Muslim White House staffer said she quit Donald Trump’s administration after only eight days of working for it because of the travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority nations. In a piece for The Atlantic on Thursday, Rumana Ahmed said that while she was “the only hijabi in the West Wing”, she could no longer work for an administration “that saw me and people like me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat”.
Ahmed, who worked on the White House’s National Security Council, said she also informed NSC communications adviser Michael Anton of her departure. “I told him that the administration was attacking the basic tenets of democracy,” she said. “He looked at me and said nothing. It was only later that I learned he authored an essay under a pseudonym, extolling the virtues of authoritarianism...and calling Islam ‘incompatible with the modern West’.”
Calling her time in the Trump White House “strange, appalling and disturbing”, Ahmed added that the administration was a “chaotic attempt at authoritarianism”. The White House had allowed “legally questionable executive orders, accusations of the press being fake” as well as allowing political surrogates to proclaim that Trump’s national security authority would not “be questioned”.
The former staffer, whose parents immigrated to the country in 1978, also narrated other racially-charged incidents she and other people she knew had encountered. “I was almost hit by a car by a white man laughing as he drove by in a Costco parking lot, and on another occasion was followed out of the metro by a man screaming profanities: ‘Fuck you! Fuck Islam! Trump will send you back!’”
Trump, who had campaigned and won the United States presidential elections on an anti-immigrant plank, has faced severe criticism for and legal obstacles against the travel ban as well as other policies, including barring several news organisations like the The New York Times, CNN and BBC from an informal press briefing. Ever since he came to power Trump has attacked the media, while accusing certain news outlets of providing “fake news”.