(COMMON DREAMS) – After his first bizarre year, his apologists told us he was growing into the job and that in his second year he'd be more restrained and respectful of democratic institutions.
Wrong. He's been worse.
Exhibit one: the "Wall." After torpedoing Mitch McConnell's temporary spending deal to avert a shutdown, he's holding hostage over 800,000 government employees ("mostly Democrats," he calls them, disparagingly) while subjecting the rest of America to untoward dangers.
Advertisement - story continues below
On-site inspections at power plants have been halted. Hazardous waste cleanup efforts at Superfund sites are on hold. Reviews of toxic substances and pesticides have been stopped. Justice Department cases are in limbo.
Meanwhile, now working without pay are thousands of air traffic controllers and aviation and railroad safety inspectors, nearly 54,000 Customs and Border Protection agents, 42,000 Coast Guard employees, 53,000 TSA agents, 17,000 correctional officers, 14,000 FBI agents, 4,000 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and some 5,000 firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service.
Having run the Department of Labor during the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, I'm confident most of these public servants will continue to report for duty because they care about the missions they're upholding. But going without pay will strain their family budgets to the point that some will not be able to.