Fecteau: Trump’s Embarrassing First-100 Days
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Matt Fecteau, GoLocalPDX Guest MINDSETTER™
Mr. Trump has to pull a rabbit out of a hat to salvage his nascent legacy, which is why his administration is heading toward this farcical showdown with Congress. You see, remember that southern border wall Trump said Mexico would pay for? Well, that turned out to be a sheer lie. So Trump is including this wall in the American budget at taxpayer expense despite strong opposition in Congress even if it results in a complete shutdown of the government.
Trump’s first 100 days differ very much from the past. For all of Trump’s berating of President Barack Obama, Mr. Obama had some serious legislative accomplishment in the first 100 days such as the stimulus package, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Mr. Obama also okayed the Trump surge in Afghanistan, and started the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq – the latter didn’t turn out so well.
While Mr. Trump’s victories are few and far between, he bombed a couple of countries. If you consider blowing up some 'bad hombres' in Afghanistan and bombing a bunch of obsolete jets in Syrian jets a triumph, as an infamous banner behind a past president on an aircraft carrier once said, “Mission Accomplished.”
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump and his campaign team produced a plan called, “Contract with the American Voter.” Key elements of his plan which included term limits, labeling China a currency manipulator, and the renegotiation of NAFTA were simply, yet conveniently forgotten. Other parts, including the hiring freeze, were simply modified, lifted – as the saying goes, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Mr. Trump did keep some promises, though difficult to believe. He withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Congress never formally voted on it so this move was merely symbolic. He rolled back some regulations and approved the Dakota Access Pipeline, which were considered small conservative victories. Yet, a majority of the promises remain broken.
Mr. Trump recently went so far as to say, “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days." That does a supreme disservice to basic American history; Mr. Trump should explain that to FDR, but as we know, FDR is dead just like Frederick Douglass; Mr. Douglas, mind you, is the guy Trump believes 'is being recognized more and more’ (referring to him in the present, ‘living’ tense). In the world of Kellyanne Conway-style alternative facts, anything is possible, including resurrection.
Trump’s claims of accomplishment are likely based on a number of executive actions – including orders, presidential memorandums, and proclamations – he has taken. Executive actions can be overturned by the next administration. I’ll have to give credit where credit is due, Trump has issued 32 executive orders, the most since World War II. If Trump was a Democratic President named ‘Barack Obama,’ the Republican National Committee would be condemning him as a dictator, and mailing him constitutions on his birthday – remember that?
Mr. Trump’s principal accomplishment by far is appointing a conservative Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court – Mr. Neil Gorsuch. Even that was wrought with controversy, not receiving one Democrat vote in the Senate (the Democrats were still seething over the lack of a vote on Chief Justice Merrick Garland). Republicans eventually used the dreaded nuclear option to suspend Senate rules, filling the vacancy in an exceptionally partisan, toxic manner.
Mr. Trump does have one less recognized accomplishment; Mr. Trump has golfed more than any president in recent memory, including Mr. Obama. Yes, our current president will go down in history as one of our most seasoned golfers ever to live in the White House. If there is a golf ball to be hit, Mr. Trump will be there with his ten-thousand-dollar Honma irons in hand – go, Donald, go.
The 100 days of the presidency are more symbolic – that is understandable. Nevertheless, the way Mr. Trump talked during the campaign, his tenure and his time in office were supposed to be all puppies and rainbows. Mr. Trump came to Washington D.C. with a can-do attitude, but found out this isn’t the business world or television; you need to compromise and work with the other branches of government.
With no real legislative accomplishments, this is embarrassing for a man who said he can allegedly get things done. Maybe a reality television star isn’t a prerequisite for success in Washington D.C – just a thought.
Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau