Trump Score Card: 63 Days and Counting

From my political science class in college I recall that newly elected presidents typically enjoy a honeymoon period of up to one year. Most people tend to give the new president the benefit of a doubt; and even if he (or could have and should have been a she) was not their choice, they hope that he will be successful. The first 100 days are especially important because that is when the tone is set and the foundation is laid for getting things done.

So what kind of start has Mr. Trump had?

As outlined below, it has been a rocky start, by many accounts the worst in the history of our republic:

  1. The Cabinet. Trump’s first move was assembling a cabinet. A couple appear to be solid and competent—Tillerson as Secretary of State, and Mattis as Secretary of Defense. Others like McMaster as National Security Adviser, Kelly in Homeland Security, Chao in Transportation, and Pompeo generally get pretty good marks, but the rest are controversial at best, dismal at worst. There are reports of infighting, conflict, over-sized egos, and lack of direction; and Trump according to some reports has designated “spies” to keep an eye on each cabinet member to report back as to loyalty to Trump. Most troubling is Steve Bannon, the alt-right extremist who is Trump’s chief adviser, who is advocating “deconstruction” of the government. What is not clear is how the cabinet members will work together and whom Trump will listen to. Grade: D.
  2. Immigration. His second move was immigration. His two orders to ban immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries have been blocked each time by judges and are currently in limbo. Bad idea in the first place and poorly executed. He has loosened the restrictions as to who can be deported by ICE, and more aggressive deportations seem to be getting underway. The undocumented residents we know are terrified. Attendance in public schools in majority immigrant communities is way down as are 911 police calls in those communities . We could be on the cusp of a reign of terror. In my view as scary as his agenda is shaping up to be, this is the most inhumane and cruel because families get ripped apart, dreams are crushed, and loyal, law abiding people are uprooted. If his budget passes with billions allocated for more ICE police and massive prisons for deportees, it will get much, much worse. Grade F.
  3. Repeal and Replace. The first legislative move was to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump has lent his full support to the Ryan bill, which has turned out to be extremely controversial even among Republicans. The bill will be voted on by the House tomorrow where it is not a shoe in. The CBO shows 26,000,000 fewer people receiving health insurance if it passes, many of them Trump supporters, most of them with modest incomes. If it becomes law, it will also have a profound impact on doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and insurers, most of whom oppose it. The problem that Trump faces is that the 30-plus members of the Freedom Caucus support repeal but adamantly oppose any “replacement,” and the more moderate members fear a backlash if thousands of people in their districts lose their insurance. Even if it passes in the House, it has an even tougher chance in the Senate where all it takes are three Republicans to get cold feet. Bottom line: it is very uncertain how or even if the Republicans will “repeal and replace” Obamacare . And that is actually good news. Grade: F for Trump.
  4. The budget came out next. This could be called the gotcha budget. All the stuff that Trump said he was going to do to help working people? In the trash can. Besides the health care bait and switch, there is nothing in the budget for poor people or the working class and lots of tax cuts for the rich. Huge cuts to affordable housing, transportation, the environment, food stamps, school lunches, health research, homeless shelters—you name it. Nothing is spared. And for the multi trillion dollar infrastructure initiative? There are big cuts for Amtrak and Metro and no mention of any new initiatives. This budget is so merciless and anti poor that even some Republicans are saying that it has gone too far. Who wrote this thing? Did Trump read any of? Trump, the populist, the guy to sock it to Wall Street and help the little guy? Fortunately this budget stands zero chance of passing. Where it ends up and how much of the slash and burn agenda can be modified is anyone’s guess. Something will ultimately pass that will move back toward the center, but it will still mean hard times for working people. Grade F.
  5. The Russia Connection. Comey confirmed whatever everyone already knew: the FBI is investigating Russia and also connections between Russia and the Trump campaign. With all the ongoing contacts and known connections with Russia by people like Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, how likely is it that there was no mention EVER of the presidential campaign? Who knows if the FBI will ever be able to nail Trump, but I have got to think that the chances are pretty high that the likes of Manafort, Stone and Flynn and perhaps others are going to be implicated. Is this something really big like  Watergate or just another slimy distraction? Time will tell. Grade F.
  6. The Tweets. He can’t stop. It is some kind of illness and will continue and perhaps ultimately bring him down. The outrageous lies about the Obama wire tap—which he still stands by—why does he say these things? It just keeps on coming—the Muslims dancing in NJ when the World Trade Center came down, the massive voter fraud in California, the record crowds at his inauguration, the Obama birth scam. The entire world—except perhaps for a hard core group of his most ardent supporters—knows that Trump is an incorrigible liar. How do you know what to believe? How can an incorrigible liar be effective in anything –let alone the President of the United States? “Sad.” Grade F.
  7. The Conflicts of Interest. Still no tax returns. Still seemingly more interested in what Donnie Jr and Eric are doing than in the business of the country. Still spends more time in Mar-a-Lago than the White House at the tax payers expense. Grade F.
  8. The Push Back. Trump would probably deny it as fake news, but the Resistance is growing. There are demonstrations every day somewhere about something. The Women’s March broke all records. The million post card protest has gotten minimal publicity but surely someone in the White House noticed. The fake press like the NY Times and Washington Post continue to pound away. The late night comedy shows have never been more popular. The pushback is just getting started. If continued—and indeed it must—it can’t help but have an impact. Grade A. Not for Trump, for the Resistance.

Let’s simply say that it has not been a great start. Trump has squandered over half his allotted 100 days and accomplished nothing positive. The White House would appear to be in disarray. Where he is headed is still not totally clear. He could not be having any fun. Where all this leads and what it means to us and to our planet, that is to be determined.

Stay tuned.

 

11 thoughts on “Trump Score Card: 63 Days and Counting

  1. Yes, unbelievable!!
    Will his ” TrumpCare”, which he has not yet owned, really pass.
    Let’s see how many NO’S Trump can browbeat into YES’S.
    I’m thinking LET IT PASS. SEE YOU IN 2020.

    1. Yes, Sam, I think you were dead on. And with its defeat the Republicans may have been saved from themselves by the Democrats. How ironic can you get. I completely agree that Trumpcare would have suffered the same fate as Obamacare but with Trump’s and the Republicans’ names attached to it. So now what?

  2. When Obamacare first passed you asked me what I thought, and I said I tought it a mistake to try to do it all in one bite. Better to do it piecemeal so as not to overwhelm or destabilize the whole system. So now Trump wants to repeat Obama’s mistake in reverse by massive repeal and replace. Better to dismantle it piecemeal for the same reason. Sam’s right. Trump care will be an Albatross around his neck and will be no more successful than O’care. I believe that repealing the individual mandate and maintaining coverage for pre-existing disease is a mathematical impossibility, unless you come up with some major tax increases. The Repubs would be better off to let nature take its course with O’care.
    To look at things from a higher altitude, our nation is alarmingly divided between those on the left and right extremes, both of whom are welded to their views with no room for or thought of compromise. Some that I know on the right would give Trump straight A’s on your report card. As one said on a recent PBS report, “He’s doing everything I sent him to Washington to do.” I doubt that any such animal walks the streets of D.C., but I bet Sam knows some in Cookeville. In the late ’30’s we had a similar divide between the isolationists and the interventionists. It took Pearl Harbor to quell that division. I hope we can handle this one without such a massive shock to the system.

    1. OK, Doctor Killebrew,
      I get it that despite an overall popularity rating of something in the mid 30s–possibly the lowest of any president this early in his term–the vast majority of his Republican supporters give him very high ratings.The question that I pose for you and for Sam and others who may live in red towns is this: why do they feel the way they do?
      Why do they think Trump has a great cabinet?
      Why do they want a ban on Muslim immigration?
      Why do they want 11,000,000 undocumented residents of the U.S. removed?
      Why do they want to see 26,000,000 people with no health insurance options possibly including themselves?
      Why do they want to see the safety net programs dismantled–possibly when it may affect them?
      Why do they support more tax breaks for the rich while cutting benefits for the poor–in many cases when they ARE poor themselves?
      Why do they tolerate, even applaud, Russia’s interference in our election?
      Why do they cheer on Trump’s tweeting when they must know he is lying?
      Why do they tolerate, if not cheer on, his many conflicts of interest? His billionaire lifestyle?
      I will admit I am stumped. I have lived inside the Beltway for almost 50 years. I am an unapologetic Democrat and Progressive. A bleeding heart. I am just as biased in my way of looking at the world as the people I am accusing of being biased and intolerant. I am looking for answers.
      So help me out on this one. Most of Trump’s supporters are not “bad” people. Most are doing the best they can to get by. They love their families and are patriotic Americans. Many are loyal church goers.
      So why the hatred? Why the venom? Why do we have such divisions in our country?
      This is an open question for anyone following this blog and I welcome your insights.

      1. Inadvertently omitted from my comment was factor number one, namely an intense, incandescent and vitriolic hatred of Hillary Clinton.

  3. Wow! This could be long and disjointed. I have neither a facility for stream of consciousness writing nor ADD, but this answer may lead you to believe I have both.

    The easy and short answer is that I don’t know for the simple reason that I can’t get inside the heads of the peeople in question and read their thoughts. That said, one commonly stated motivation before the election was a perceived need to shake up Washington to its core, like a dog with a rag toy. This seemed to flow from frustration with gridlock and a general distrust of politicians of all stripes. Trump was an outsider, a non politician, as are the mostly white men he has chosen to advise him. This change was welcomed by people of all political persuasions, even a few that supported Hillary. A lot of people were fed up with the status quo.

    We live in a socially fluid time. Gone are the days of our country being the domaine of the white male. In what seems like a blink of the eye it has become the domaine of–you fill in the blank. Here in the Deep South I encounter mixed race couples on essentially a daily basis, 95% of whom are black man and white woman. In our lifetime, Emmit Till was lynched for simply speaking “inappropriately” to a white woman in Mississippi. In LaGrange, historically a textile town, that industry has essentially evaporated, and it happened rapidly. The void is slowly being filled by the automobile industry, the names of which are all Oriental. Add to all this the economic shock of 2008-09. All this makes for shifting sand under our feet. Two of Trump’s ardent local supporters are both WWII vets. One helped build the Burma Road and the other flew B-24’s over Europe while not yet 20. I quote, “This ain’t what I fought for.” But what exactly “this” is is hard to pin down.

    As for venom, well, that is a fluid commodity too. The people that blocked pedestrians from getting into the inauguration or broke windows in DC, or that rioted in Berkeley and other places because they didn’t like the views of a planned speaker and succeeded in shutting him down might seem venomous to some on the right. So did they appear venomous to those on the left?

    As for health care, let’s return for a minute to pre ACA America. In my own experience, those with third party support got the care they needed essentially on demand. So that leaves the uninsured, some of whom were voluntarily so and some not, the “uninsurable” that were neither employed nor disabled. These people actually had access to health care but only after the ox was already in the ditch. They went to some free care clinic or the ER, were admitted if necessary and cared for by some doctor who was on call for patients with no doctor. Some paid their bill, most didn’t. Their unpaid and uncollectable bill was written off, the cost of their care being covered indirectly by those that did, with or without the aid of insurance, pay their bill. Far from ideal, disliked by all, it worked, leaving everyone grumbling. True, there were tiers of care. There always will be. There is only one “best” doctor and one “best” hospital.

    So in steps the ACA, a laudable initiative and, it seems, another road to hell paved with good intentions. The uninsurable are allowed to purchase insurance. The voluntarily uninsured either buy insurance or face a tax penalty April 15th. Apparently enough of the latter continue to skip insurance that it drives up the premiums for all, or almost all. And for the most part, the insurance they opt for is a sham in that it carries deductibles and co pays that are far out of reach of these people to handle. It is classic catastrophic insurance, maybe even highly catastrophic insurance. If a 20 something has to go to the ACA for insurance he can afford, he is going to buy only what he needs to avoid the tax penalty. Why should anyone think he can come up with five to seven thousand dollars per year to pay his uncovered deductibles? Surely the crafters of the ACA had to have seen this.

    As for immigration and The Great Wall of Trump, there is again the social change going on right before our eyes. I think this leads to fear of the unknown, not uncommon amongst us mortals. Trump himself is a huge unknown and one that probably frightens the hell out of his detractors.

    Finally, make no mistake about it, every Trump fan I know wishes he would shut the hell up with the tweets!

    Personally, I pine for the day when compromise returns to politics. And that’s all the energy I have right now.

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