Saturday, April 29 marks the 100th day of President Donald Trump's presidency, a juncture that's traditionally been used to take the measure of a new administration. So, how is our president doing? Well, if you are one of those voters who supported him because he says what he means, and means what he says, you have to be disappointed.
His promise to "drain the swamp" in Washington? It used to be against regulations for agencies to hire anyone who lobbied them during the previous two years. Trump just relaxed this ethics requirement by naming Michael Catanzaro, a former oil and gas company lobbyist, White House energy adviser, and by allowing Geoff Burr, a former construction industry lobbyist, to accept a job at the Department of Labor. These two foxes will cause much mischief in the hen house.
Get rid of the Affordable Health Care Act on Day One? It is still the law of the land, and Trump has discovered the hard way that "health care could be so complicated."
Other flip-flops? Trump told voters that NATO was obsolete. Now he's become a big supporter. He said he was going to name China as a currency manipulator during his first days in office. Now he says he won't. He was against the Export-Import bank, and threatened not to renominate Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve. Now he tells us to nevermind. He's already lifted the federal hiring freeze he ordered on Jan. 23 and, after meeting with China President Xi Jinping, he's decided he can't force China to crack down on North Korea's nuclear antics.
Many of Trump's reversals have come after talking to someone who actually knew something about the issue, like Xi Jinping on North Korea. This is a positive sign that Trump is capable of on-the-job training, but more proof of how woefully unprepared he is for one of the world's most demanding offices.
Way back on April 19, 2011, Trump promised to release his tax returns if then-President Barack Obama would release his birth certificate. Obama did, and Trump didn't. Then he promised to release his returns if Hillary Clinton would release the emails she sent while secretary of state. She did; again Trump didn't. He continued to promise to release his returns "at the appropriate time" all during the campaign, but never did. Now he says he has no plans to do so, and the American public is no longer interested. That's despite an April 5-9 poll by the Global Strategy Group that found 80 percent of Americans, including 64 percent of Republicans, think he should release them.
On the petty side, Trump pledged he was "not going to have time to play golf." As of April 16, he's reportedly golfed 14 times in Florida and each jaunt to his resort costs taxpayers over $2 million.
Or perhaps you voted for Trump because he claimed to be a populist and pledged to champion those Americans who had been ignored and/or abused for far too long. If so, try to name one executive order or one legislative initiative intended to improve the lot of the average American.
Trump's first major legislation would have taken health insurance away from 24 million people. He's also signed a resolution that allows states to withhold Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood that are used to subsidize contraception, Pap smears and other preventative health care services for 4 million low-income Americans.
Trump has asked the EPA to weaken Obama's fuel economy standards, not to help us spend less on gas, but because it makes life easier for automakers. He also rolled back Obama's Clean Streams Act preventing mines from polluting waterways with coal waste. Too, he signed a resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.
Perhaps the best example of Trump trampling on the disadvantaged is his administration's going to court to gut the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He wants to destroy its independence as a watchdog by bringing it under White House control. Reminder: The CFPB was established because of the abuses of banks (think sub-prime mortgages), payday lenders, debt collectors, financial scammers and credit card companies.
Trump also signed a directive halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients. Consider that for a moment.
The score so far? Big business 7, Mr. Littlechap and friends 0.
Frank Batavick writes from Westminster. His column appears Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.