UPDATE – in the comments, Ubique writes of Trump’s 81 achievements. But most of these are not achievements, and many are unrelated to who is in the White House. To be an achievement it has to be both (a) positive to the people of the United States and (b) directly the responsibility of Donald Trump. I go through the list below the original post. Maybe there are three genuine achievements in that list.
Oscar Wilde wrote in the Importance of Being Earnest
To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
So far Donald Trump has been President for only 421 days (1.15 years) and has seen so many of the people who started with him depart – either through being sacked or resignation. These were the people brought in to ‘drain the swamp’.
It seems to me that rather than draining the swamp, Donald has become the swamp. Not only has he proven to be totally ineffectual as president, he has debased the office, shows no ability for self control and is the most unsuited person to be president in the history of the United States.
There is only one achievement to Trump’s victory. He stopped Hillary Clinton being president. That is worthy achievement, no doubt, but his behaviour since being elected has been so bad that perhaps we would have been better with Clinton. To me they are as bad as each other and both entirely unsuited for the office.
But his inability to hire an effective staff and ensure their longevity is telling. Of his own appointees – excluding James Comey and Sally Yates who were appointed by Obama – there have been 15 senior officials departing to date, with James Mattis and John Kelly likely to soon follow. Some of these officials – Tillerson, Flynn, Scaramucci etc – should never have been appointed. But all were appointed by Trump and he has to bear the responsibility for both their appointment and their early departure.
And the proof of Trump’s extremely poor character is the fact that he has fired officials – such as Tillerson – by a tweet without the courtesy of a meeting or even a phone call.
Trump is the ultimate coward – he is unable to confront those who he wishes to sack. I would like to see the Trump acolytes here at the Cat explain why it is reasonable to dismiss someone by a tweet.
Here is the list of those departures:
The 81 “achievements” (my comments in bold)
Jobs and the economy
- Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate. The efficacy of the so-called tax cuts have not been demonstrated – Government spending is increasing and the deficit and debt is projected to grow rapidly. Ultimately this will lead to tax increases. As for Obamacare – it still exists and Trump has backed off that reform.
- Increase of the GDP above 3 percent. What’s that got to do with Trump? It’s the private sector that drives economic growth. If that is an achievement you’d say that Bill Clinton was a great president since there was more rapid economic growth under his administration.
- Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent. Again, it’s the private sector.
- Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs. And then it dropped. If the measure of a presidency is the level of the Dow Jones you have to wait until the end of the Trump administration.
- A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high. Again, totally unrelated to Trump. Private sector – move on. Notice a pattern here that most of the ‘achievements’ are interrelated.
- A new executive order to boost apprenticeships. Whoopy do. Most of Trump’s executive orders are about this or that day (women’s day …). An executive order to boost apprenticeships? The government has no control over the number of apprenticeships and again it’s a private sector matter.
- A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs. Don’t all presidents claim this? This is not an achievement, it’s a ‘move’.
- Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans. Seems like a swamp-type priority doesn’t it? The type of thing Hillary would do.
Killing job-stifling regulations
- Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion. Another silly executive order. And what rot – how do you measure a reduction in regulations? There have been lots of new regulations brought in by Congress and the biggest burdens of regulation are those under an Act of Congress which none has been repealed. Trump can’t act there.
- Signed 15 congressional regulatory cuts. Rubbish – evidence? Again most of these points are variations on a theme and not genuine points. If congress has voted to cut regulations (which it hasn’t) then that’s a point for Congress not Trump. Separation of powers anyone?
- Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations. I’ll give that as a genuine achievement.
- Signed an Executive Order cutting the time for infrastructure permit approvals. Another EO without an outcome.
- Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry. Hasn’t made any difference. Again an outcome is the achievement not signing some EO.
- Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Perhaps another achivement I’ll grant
- Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S. They are always open. No difference.
- Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants. Private sector not Trump.
- Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad. Don’t all presidents say that?
- Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority. More protectionism – not an achievement but a detriment.
- Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba. Shameful – punish a small neighbour. That’s being a bully. Not an achievement.
Boosting U.S. energy dominance
- The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling. These were started by Obama. Trump is merely capitalising on Obama’s actions.
- Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy. So travelling is now an achivement!
- Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama. No he hasn’t.
- Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan. Maybe an achivement.
- EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions. So what if they are reconsidering? Where’s the outcome / achievement?
Protecting the U.S. homeland
- Laid out new principles for reforming immigration and announced plan to end “chain migration,” which lets one legal immigrant to bring in dozens of family members. No change to policy is evident.
- Made progress to build the border wall with Mexico. You’ve got to be joking. Not a single brick has been laid. And it will never be built, and certainly not paid by the Mexicans. A campaign lie.
- Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants. Trump backed down on this.
- Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S. Evidence?
- Doubled the number of counties participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement charged with deporting illegals. Evidence?
- Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016. That’s because there were 36 percent more criminal gang members in 2016. Criminal activity has grown under Trump. Perhaps he can claim credit for that?
- Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program. No he hasn’t – he has capitulated on that.
- Ditto for other amnesty programs like Deferred Action for Parents of Americans. No change in policy from Obama.
- Cracking down on some 300 sanctuary cities that defy ICE but still get federal dollars. What’s that supposed to mean? It’s a State responsibility.
- Added some 100 new immigration judges. So more bureaucracy.
- Justice announced grants of $98 million to fund 802 new cops. More FBI agents? I thought Trump didn’t like them.
- Justice worked with Central American nations to arrest and charge 4,000 MS-13 members. Normal operations for the DoJ
- Homeland rounded up nearly 800 MS-13 members, an 83 percent one-year increase. Normal operations for Homeland.
- Signed three executive orders aimed at cracking down on international criminal organizations. Meaningless EOs.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions created new National Public Safety Partnership, a cooperative initiative with cities to reduce violent crimes. Sessions will probably be sacked soon.
- Trump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Nominating someone to the Supreme Court is a normal responsibility for a president, as is nominating other federal judges. Hardly an achivement and who knows how they will turn out?
- Ordered ethical standards including a lobbying ban. Except for Russian lobbying of course. What rot.
- Called for a comprehensive plan to reorganize the executive branch. The executive branch has not been reorganised. Again, hardly an achivement.
- Ordered an overhaul to modernize the digital government. Obama did more in this space than Trump could ever contemplate.
- Called for a full audit of the Pentagon and its spending. Thowing more money at the Pentagon it seems.
- First, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids. Yet another war on drugs. Been there, done that. Look at how good prohibition was.
- His Council of Economic Advisors played a role in determining that overdoses are underreported by as much as 24 percent. Does this read like an achivement to you?
- The Department of Health and Human Services laid out a new five-point strategy to fight the crisis. Five point strategy hey? Seems like a Chinese practice.
- Justice announced it was scheduling fentanyl substances as a drug class under the Controlled Substances Act. So? What’s that to do with Trump?
- Justice started a fraud crackdown, arresting more than 400. There’s always a fraud crackdown because there’s always fraud. Putting down the normal operations of government as an achievement of Trump is clutching at straws.
- The administration added $500 million to fight the crisis. So now Trump is the big government – government is the answer guy? So much for draining the swamp.
- On National Drug Take Back Day, the Drug Enforcement Agency collected 456 tons. Wow – the Donald was right there. What BS.
- In his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions. Ok, so more post natal deaths. More like a travesty than an achivement.
- Worked with Congress on a bill overturning an Obama regulation that blocked states from defunding abortion providers. An action of Congress not the president. Separation of powers.
- Published guidance to block Obamacare money from supporting abortion. Variation on a theme above.
- Signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers. An Act passed by Congress separation of powers.
- Signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. Variation of a theme.
- Signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, to provide support. Variation of a theme.
- Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program. Variation of a theme.
- Created a VA hotline. That’s a specific achievement? God, we’re dredging deeply.
- Had the VA launch an online “Access and Quality Tool,” providing veterans with a way to access wait time and quality of care data. variation of a theme.
- With VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin, announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology. variation of a theme.
Promoting peace through strength
- Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review. Rebuilding the largest defense force in the world? I think not.
- Worked to increase defense spending. Yes as if Defense doesn’t already get enough. How about improving its efficiency? The US taxpayer doesn’t get much defence for its investment compared to other states.
- Empowered military leaders to “seize the initiative and win,” reducing the need for a White House sign off on every mission. Wait and see when some people start dying and that policy will revert to the White House.
- Directed the revival of the National Space Council to develop space war strategies. Dusted off some papers from the 1960s. Again not a Trump achievement.
- Elevated U.S. Cyber Command into a major warfighting command. It already was.
- Withdrew from the U.N. Global Compact on Migration, which Trump saw as a threat to borders. There are far greater threats including the structure of the US’s immigration program.
- Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security. Outcome of this? Has it been evaluated? I think not.
- Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory. Nothing to do with Trump. ISIS was on the decline under Obama.
- Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons. And pushed the world closer to nuclear war.
- Announced a new Afghanistan strategy that strengthens support for U.S. forces at war with terrorism. Not new, just more of the same.
- NATO increased support for the war in Afghanistan. I thought Trump hated NATO?
- Approved a new Iran strategy plan focused on neutralizing the country’s influence in the region. Neutralised? Rubbish, Iran is stronger than ever.
- Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack. Another achievement I’ll credit.
- Prevented subsequent chemical attacks by announcing a plan to detect them better and warned of future strikes if they were used. We will never know. There is still a long way to go in Trump’s term.
- Ordered new sanctions on the dictatorship in Venezuela. And what has that achieved? Nothing.
Restoring confidence in and respect for America
- Trump won the release of Americans held abroad, often using his personal relationships with world leaders. Rubbish.
- Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Will wait and see how this pans out.
- Conducted a historic 12-day trip through Asia, winning new cooperative deals. On the trip, he attended three regional summits to promote American interests. Attending summits is an achievement?
- He traveled to the Middle East and Europe to build new relationships with leaders. Travelling overseas is an achievement? The relationships he has ‘built’ have been pretty poor.
- Traveled to Poland and on to Germany for the G-20 meeting where he pushed again for funding of women entrepreneurs. Obama policy.