Whenever the doorbell rang, the legendary Dorothy Parker reportedly said, “What fresh hell is this?” I feel the same way every day under President Trump. His speech to Congress on his 40th day as president was no different.
It was striking to see how this president has spent his first 40 days in office versus those of President Obama. Nancy Pelosi sums it up:
One week and one day from [Obama’s] swearing in, the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [the stimulus bill]. One week later, the Senate passed it. On February 17th, Four weeks from his inauguration, he signed a bill, which saved or created 4 million jobs [firemen, police, teachers and other essential services jobs]. He had already signed Lilly Ledbetter [equal pay for women, and], the children’s health insurance program…
What has Trump done since his inaugural address, where he talked so pessimistically about our country’s decay and carnage without any respect for past presidents who were sitting there? He’s put Wall Street first and frightened immigrants. In his speech to Congress, Trump repeatedly tried to draw a connection between immigrants and violent crime. While every victim and every crime is a tragedy, it is also plain fact that immigrants actually commit crime at lower rates than native-born citizens. Why is Trump so intent on demonizing these people? Even kids are skipping school for fear they will be deported.
Despite promises to “drain the swamp,” Trump has filled Washington with Wall Street cronies and his billionaire business buddies. He has rolled back Obama’s Wall Street regulations, like an SEC rule that forces oil companies to disclose payments to foreign governments (Vox). Trump said he wants “to have clean air, clean water. That’s very important to me.” But he just signed a bill that allows polluters to pour toxic waste back into the waterways. Does he intend to outright lie to the American people or does he not even see the contradictions between his promises and his actions?
His appointees at the EPA and Education Department seem intent on destroying their agencies. Steve Bannon even admittedly it plainly, saying the cabinet picks are meant to aid in the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” Trump says that he is quashing lobbying and special interests in Washington, but immediately kowtowed to the NRA allowing mentally disabled to own firearms.
Trump says he “inherited a mess.” But Stephen Colbert, who has never been better, helped clarify the truth for us, “No, you inherited a fortune. We elected a mess.” In fact he inherited a growing economy in America, while President Obama inherited a quasi-depression in 2009.
Trump claims credit for a bump in the stock market, but conveniently forgets that it was Obama who oversaw the second-longest bull market in history; the Dow went up 10,000 points. He brags about saving 700 jobs at one company, but doesn’t mention the $7 million tax break they got in return. Obama presided over the creation of 15 million jobs during his tenure. If Trump wants to bring back jobs, why can’t his branded merchandise, like his ties and baseball caps, be made here instead of China?
“What makes America great is when our government is as good as our people, and acts with compassion and decency and humility...”
Trump claims he’s going to make Obamacare better, but the Republicans have yet to produce an actual plan that lives up to their promises. Since the ACA passed, the uninsured rate fell below 9 percent. The Health and Human Services Department Secretary has projected 30 million people could lose health care coverage if this Administration and Congress repeal it. Eight out of 10 people have been able to get coverage for less than $100 on the ACA marketplace because the cost is based on income. There are a record number of people signing up for ACA coverage this year.
Trump even tried to blame Obama for a failed raid in Yemen that Obama never approved. The father of the Navy Seal, Ryan Owens, killed during that raid refused to meet with Trump and said, “Don’t hide behind my son’s death.” As we now know, Trump wasn’t even in the situation room, but instead was tweeting and promoting his own television appearance. The White House calls it a successful mission, but it has produced no intelligence, upwards of 30 civilians were killed including women and children, and a $90 million U.S. military aircraft was destroyed.
With the lowest approval of any new president on record, Trump, in a fit of paranoia, now blames Obama for protests against him. After endless tweets criticizing President Obama for time away from the White House, Trump has now spent approximately one-third of his first month on vacation, with three weekend getaways and multiple rounds of golf. His jaunts to Mar-a-Lago have already cost taxpayers $10 million.
Trump is a walking conflict of interest. His business ties have put him in violation of the Constitution since day 1, according to George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer. The emoluments clause of the Constitution is there to keep our politicians from profiting off their position to make money off of foreign governments. Trump has been fighting to trademark his brand in China for a decade. After being elected, Trump threatened the long-held American support of the “One China” policy. Then he reversed his comments, saying he will continue to support China and suddenly he got his long awaited trademark deal from the Chinese Government.
The Government of Kuwait switched their reception from the Four Seasons to Trump Hotel in DC presumably to keep him happy. Trump’s Muslim ban did not include any countries where he has business dealings, and strikingly missing from the ban were countries where the 9/11 terrorists came from, namely: Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It just came to light that Trump’s Commerce Secretary was Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, famed for laundering the money of Putin’s oligarchs.
Trump has promised to “make America great again.” What makes America great is when our government is as good as our people, and acts with compassion and decency and humility… When it encourages people to support one another … When we celebrate our diversity and work together to make our bonds even stronger instead of living under a more authoritarian government trying to divide us. He has failed this test already in his first 40 days.