One Hundred Days Of “Accomplishments”

Even though Donald Trump has said repeatedly that the “100 days” marker is an artificial one and ridiculous to comment on (one of the few things he has said with which I actually agree!) he has nonetheless decided to commemorate it with a campaign style rally today. So, artificial or not, I guess that gives us permission to commemorate it as well.

The President has claimed that no chief executive in history has been able to accomplish as much as he has in the first 100 days. Certainly his volatile personality, Twitter fetish, and braggadocio have resulted in his receiving more press coverage than any of his predecessors. But does that equal actual accomplishment? I don’t think so.

From the time he falsely claimed that his inauguration was the largest in attendance of any one in history, Trump’s statements — mediated through, initially, the evil Kellyanne Conway (what ever happened to her, by the way?) and now the clownish Sean Spicer — have been laden with so-called “alternative facts.” No one in this country or world knows whether or not they can take Donald Trump at his word or whether he has any core beliefs whatsoever outside an all-consuming desire to line his pockets with more and more wealth.

He has successfully branded any media reports unflattering to himself as “fake news” and in so doing insulated himself from any revelations that might lessen support from his “true believers” base. It has become virtually impossible for the legitimate news media to do its job as watch dog on the powers that be since almost no one pays them serious attention anymore. Some of this, it must be said, is the media’s own fault for their slavish coverage of the Trump campaign (to the near exclusion of other candidates) from day one.

Accomplishments? Well, the travel/Muslim ban is hung up in the courts. The repeal-and-replace method of undoing Obamacare has been an embarrassment which shows no real signs of resuscitation at this point. After all, “nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” right?  The absurd claim of a “wire tap” by the previous administration on Trump Towers has now resulted in FBI and Congressional investigations into Russia’s interference in our election process and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign.

Our President is a laughingstock around the world as far as foreign policy is concerned. From his snub of Angela Merkel to his oft repeated promise to “build a wall and have Mexico pay for it” (how’s that working out for you, Donald?) to his back and forth position on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO is obsolete; NATO is not obsolete after all!), no one knows what to think about this new President. Including Canada which has now been threatened with some kind of trade war concerning lumber and dairy products.

A certain amount of unpredictability may indeed be successful in the short run (i.e. keeping North Korea off-balance with a good cop, bad cop approach), but over time our allies (and our enemies) must know that the leader of the free world will keep his word and that he has certain core beliefs which guide his actions and this country’s.

Is there nothing we can point to in these first hundred days that is positive? Well, firing Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor because of his Russian involvement was a good decision. But why was he hired in the first place? I believe the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is a plus overall because he seems to be a man of integrity. Surely, he will be a conservative vote for the next 30 years, but I do not believe he is a rubber stamp for anyone.

The recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Russian investigations was appropriate given his huge role in the Trump campaign. But it is troubling that the first action taken by the new chief cop in our nation was to recuse himself from a major investigation! While most of Trump’s Cabinet are billionaires who have no experience whatsoever in their new spheres of influence, I do believe Nikki Haley has handled herself well at the United Nations and appears willing to stand up to Trump while still keeping his confidence.

The one positive thing about a non-ideological president is that he can, and does, change his mind when confronted with new information. His new embracing of NATO, willingness to work with China, the souring of his opinion of Syria’s Assad after the latest chemical weapons attack will be positive provided nothing happens which allows him to flip flop once again.

However, none of these “accomplishments” are enough to keep the Donald’s approval rating from being the lowest of any sitting president since such polls have been taken. It seems to be becoming clearer and clearer that the one thing Donald Trump is focused on like the proverbial laser is making huge profits for himself, his family, and their vast joint holdings. The skeletal proposal for tax cuts (not real tax reform) should make that clear.

The only thing that gives me hope for the next four years is the genius of the United States Constitution with its checks and balances on the three branches of government. Even with the Republican Party in control of the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court, there seem to be enough level heads to counter the narcissism, misogyny, and just plain ignorance of the man this country somehow elected to be President of the United States. At least so far.

One hundred days may indeed be an artificial marker for evaluating a new President. But let’s hope the next hundred…and the hundreds to follow that…will show improvements.

 

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