We’re 10 months into the Trump administration, with fewer than 40 congressional working days left in 2017, and what’s Donald Trump have to show for it? A big, fat goose egg.
As most news outlets have reported, for all his big talk about success, Donald Trump has, in fact, accomplished very little so far. You name ’em. All the things he promised to do within the first week of his presidency, let alone the first year: building the wall, repeal of Obamacare, $1 trillion infrastructure program, tax reform, immigration reform.
Not one of them has happened. And it’s safe to say, not one of them will happen this year. Nor, as much as he’d like to, can Donald Trump blame it all on Democrats, either. Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House. They have enough votes to pass anything, all by themselves. They just can’t get their stuff together.
The Republican Party is in complete disarray, unable or unwilling to govern. It looks like Trump and congressional Republicans will end the year with only one feather in their cap: Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, which, of course, is due more to Mitch McConnell than Donald Trump.
But wait! Before you write these 10 months off as proof of a “do-nothing Trump administration” – as many commentators, including this one, have wrongly done – take another look. The fact is, while his big-ticket items may remain unfulfilled, Donald Trump, operating under the radar, has used his executive powers to systematically reverse almost every step forward taken during the last eight years.
Consider health care. Unable to destroy Obamacare legislatively, Trump has proceeded to sabotage it bureaucratically. First, even though Obamacare is still the law of the land and still available, the Trump administration plans to spend 90 percent less on Obamacare advertising designed to encourage people to sign up for health-care coverage. Then they slashed funding for the so-called “navigators program,” which provides counselors to help people sign up. In Michigan, for example, the Consumers for Health Care budget has been cut 89 percent. Last week, Trump also reversed an Obama-era rule requiring corporations, with few exceptions, to include contraception for women as part of their employees’ health-care plans.
And, this week, Trump signed an executive order allowing businesses to offer low-cost, sub-standard insurance policies for healthy people only, thereby driving up the cost for the sick. Obamacare is not yet in a death spiral, in other words, but Trump is doing everything he can to drive it there.
In a related move, one of his first acts as president was to reinstate Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Mexico City policy, cutting off any U.S. assistance to international health organizations that provide abortion counseling.
On climate change. Trump not only withdrew the United States from the Paris Accords, he renewed the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines and scuttled EPA rules limiting pollution from existing and new coal power plants, restrictions utilities had already agreed to and were complying with. Result: emission of more greenhouse gases and even more disastrous consequences of climate change.
On immigration. No immigration reform legislation has moved in Congress. So what? On his own, Trump has killed DACA, cut off federal funding to all sanctuary cities, unleashed ICE agents for more middle-of-the-night raids on immigrant families and given orders to speed up deportation of unaccompanied minors who cross the border.
On national security. Donald Trump has sent 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, expanding a war he promised to end. In a total contradiction, he’s announced plans to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, in effect punishing Iran for agreeing to stop building nuclear weapons. And he’s constantly attacking North Korea, even threatening military action against it, for refusing to stop building nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, he’s also issued three bans on Muslims entering the United States, named a phony voter-fraud commission, relaxed rules on investigating cases of campus rape, slapped a freeze on hiring new government workers and refused to fill more than 2,000 executive branch positions.
The list of bad stuff Trump has accomplished goes on and on. And all of this was done, mind you, with no assist from Congress. Donald Trump is a one-man wrecking machine.
So don’t think Donald Trump’s getting nothing done. He’s getting too much done. Rather than a “do-nothing” administration, Donald Trump has produced a “destroy everything” administration, which has already done so much damage it will take us decades to recover. And he’s just getting started.