Trump and the Parasitic Presidency
We have now passed the 50-day mark of the Donald Trump administration and one thing is clear: There is no new Trump. There is only the same old Trump: Dangerous and unpredictable, gauche and greedy, temperamentally unsuited and emotionally unsound.
If you were trying to create in a lab a person with character traits more unbecoming in a president, it would be hard to outdo the one we have.
He continues to have explosive Twitter episodes — presumably in response to some news he finds unflattering or some conspiracy floated by fringe outlets — that make him look not only foolish, but unhinged.
Indeed, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll published last week found:
“By 2-1, those surveyed disapprove of Trump’s temperament, a much more negative rating than he gets for his policy positions. Six in 10, including 40 percent of Republicans, complain that he tweets too much.”
In these fits of rage, he generates a lie or repeats one, which shifts the burden of proof to the legitimate media to swat it down and defend the truth. This exercise is already getting old.
Trump’s assaults on the truth are not benign. Presidential credibility is American credibility. There is no way to burn through one without burning through the other.
And when he’s not making explosive charges, he’s taking destructive actions. He has signed a slew of executive actions to demonstrate his power and signal his administrative direction.
As Business Insider pointed out, as of March 6, “The 45th president has signed 34 executive actions so far, with far-reaching effects on Americans’ lives.” These included “16 executive orders in 45 days.”
In addition, federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have “delayed, suspended or reversed” more than 90 regulations in the short time since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times.
The Times’s report continued: “The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as ‘the deconstruction of the administrative state.’”
Now, Trump and congressional Republicans have locked arms in an effort to ram through a disastrous Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan — attempting to cast doubt on the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in the process — that promises to be a boon to insurers and the rich and a bane to the poor and the elderly.
Trumpcare would likely not only be more expensive and cover fewer people, but some people currently in need of care to extend their lives would no longer get it.
Put quite simply: This plan is not only bad, it could be deadly. Add to these destructive policies the fact that this president and his family are burning through taxpayer funds like it’s Monopoly money.
As The Hill reported on Saturday, “President Trump paid a visit to one of his golf courses again Saturday, marking apparently his ninth visit to a golf course in the seven weeks since he took office.” The site pointed out, “Trump has made several weekend trips to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., as well, calling the property the ‘Winter White House.’ ”
In February, numerous media outlets pointed out that Trump was spending on travel in a month nearly as much as what the Obamas spent in a year. This doesn’t even include the travel and security costs of Trump’s children or the cost of Trump’s wife and son remaining in Trump Tower in New York, at least for now, which is estimated to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousand of dollars a day.
This was particularly jarring because Trump had been a chief critic of the amount of money the Obamas spent on vacations. Indeed, Trump tweeted in 2012: “President @BarackObama’s vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars — Unbelievable!”
No, what is unbelievable is the staggering nature of the hypocrisy of Trump and his current spending and the near silence of Obama’s conservative critics.
Trump appears to view the Treasury as a personal piggy bank and the presidency as a part-time job. I think any who have been holding out hope that Trump will eventually change into someone more polished, professional and amenable than the man we have come to know must simply abandon that hope.
This is a 70-year-old man who has lived his entire life as the vile, dishonest, incurious creature who got elected. That election validated his impulses rather than served as a curb on them.
Trump will continue to debase and devalue the presidency with his lies. Trump will continue to follow Bannon’s philosophy of internal deconstruction of our government, its principles and its institutions. And Trump will continue to leech as much personal financial advantage as he can from the flesh of the American public.
That’s who Trump is. America elected a parasite.