Editorial: 100 days of hurt

Much has been made in the media about what Trump has or has not accomplished in his first 100 days in office. Trump, of course, boasts he has done more than any other president. Political historians, using facts, say he has accomplished relatively little in the way of legislative accomplishments.
It’s worth reviewing primarily because Trump made such a big deal during the campaign about how much he was going to accomplish: It was going to be extraordinary, he said; like nothing we’d every seen, he exclaimed. Some American voters believed him. To that end, those true believers should understand what Trump has delivered, and how much of what he said was bluster.
Before getting to those facts, however, we’re quick to say that Trump has been able to do more damage than we feared. With a spineless Republican Congress as an accomplice, Trump has: undone regulations to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions that helped mitigate the causes of global warming; eliminated public inspection of the White House visitor’s log that allowed the public to see which lobbyists have the president’s ear; reversed policies established under Obama that treated working immigrants with respect and has instead initiated harsh deportations of immigrants who fill vital jobs; he has insulted several foreign leaders, while also displaying an alarming ignorance of history and foreign policy, causing a weakening of American relations with Mexico, China, south America and our Asian and European allies, while strengthening China’s leadership role in the world; he has pledged to cut the very government agencies that regulate big business, banks, clean air and water policies, and is weakening worker rights and safety; he is hell-bent on giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest few, while delivering only modest tax cuts to the middle class; and while his initial effort to repeal Obamacare was an embarrassing failure, he is back at it again. He continues to refuse to release his tax returns as promised, was until recently an apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and is colluding with Republicans in Congress to withhold information pertinent to the investigation of his campaign ties to Russia’s efforts to sway the presidential election.
So, don’t count us among those who say Trump has not done much in the first 100 days. He has, in fact, inflicted major damage in a short time.
But what has he done to advance the agenda he promised the American people? Very little.
A quick look at Trump’s “Contract with the American Voter” that he championed on Oct. 22, 2016, is the best judge of his accomplishments compared to what he had proposed. In that contract, Trump boasted that in the first 100 days he would:
• Pass six measures to “clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C..” Of those six measures, he said he would: propose a constitutional amendment to put term limits on all members of Congress; initiate a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service; pass a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
How’s he done? Since it’s clear Russians were heavy donors to Trump’s campaign and Russian support was a clear factor in his victory, it’s no surprise he has not moved to ban foreign lobbyists. Similarly, he has granted more ethics exemptions for lobbyists that any such restrictions are now a sham under Trump, and the potential for conflicts of interests within his administration are rampant. Meanwhile, he has imposed greater secrecy over White House actions than previous administrations, making any claims of transparency laughable. He has, in short, done the opposite; and now that he and Republicans are in power, there has been no mention of term limits.
• He promised seven actions to protect American workers: renegotiate NAFTA, withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, label China a currency manipulator, reverse foreign trade abuse that unfairly impact American workers, allow the Keystone Pipeline, “cancel billions in payments to the United Nations climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental structures.”
His scorecard? He now admits that NAFTA is not as bad as he once said; he cancelled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (allowing China to aggressively move into that void, and placing American economic interests in jeopardy); admitted China was not manipulating its currency; and found no “abusive trade pacts” to reverse. He did allow the Keystone Pipeline, which will increase use of oil from Canadian tar sands, adding to global warming, while delivering few long-lasting jobs. And about his pledge to fix America’s water and environmental structures? Pure bunk.
• By his 100th day, he said he would have launched an economic plan “designed to grow the economy by 4 percent per year and create at least 25 million jobs; and he said a middle class family with two children would get a 35 percent tax cut. Scorecard: Nothing yet, though there is talk of massive cuts for the wealthy, but only modest tax cuts for the middle class.
• He said he would build a border wall in Mexico “with the full understanding that the country of Mexico will be reimbursing the U.S. for the full cost.” Mexico says no. It’s just another lie, another broken promise for Trump.
• And, along with numerous other promises that he has failed to deliver or even address, said he would “enact new ethics reforms to drain the swamp and reduce the corrupting influences of special interests on our politics.” Scorecard? It’s worse than ever before. The swamp is filled with billionaire Trump cronies, inadequately vetted by Congress and many oozing with blatant conflicts of interests.
He appointed Jeff Pruitt to head the EPA, who, we predict, will go down in infamy as the worst head of the EPA ever; while the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch helped undermine long-standing Senate rules and will forever change the bipartisan character of that institution.
Trump has done a lot in these first 100 days, but it’s been to diminish our country — not make it great.
Angelo Lynn

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