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Culleton: Trump's government inexperience already showing

Those of us on the political left felt that Donald Trump, who had not spent an hour in public or military service, would be a terrible president. Unfortunately, we underestimated just how bad he would be. Indeed any of the other candidates from either major political party would not have done so much damage in so short a period in office.

One of those candidates appeared on a Sunday morning talk show a few weeks ago. I was impressed with the good sense of his ready answers and his willingness to dismiss popular prejudice when it ran counter to the facts. He pointed out that total foreign aid was only about 1 percent of our total budget expenditure, and that half of that aid went to the relatively prosperous nation of Israel.

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One of my relatives said "that cannot be," so I checked on the internet.

I found this quotation in Borgen Magazine discussing the fiscal year 2016 budget: "Excluding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), Obama's budget called for $46.3 billion to be allocated to the State Department and Other International Programs (State/OIP). This is an increase of $6.2 billion from 2015. ... While numbers like $46.3 billion may seem large, this amount of money was actually less than one percent of the total fiscal budget."

So the candidate was correct. He is Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham from South Carolina. He would have made a competent president.

One would expect a president with zero experience in public service would surround himself with some experienced government hands. For the most part, Trump has chosen folks with no experience in government and who oppose the very programs they will be charged with administering. It is truly the ignorant leading the prejudiced.

For example the secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, favors charter schools over public schools even though students from charter schools often do more poorly on standard tests.

And as The Tennessean pointed out: "During the three-hour [confirmation] hearing, she refused to pledge to maintain public funding for public schools; evaded commitments to the educational rights of students with disabilities in schools receiving public funds; muddled the distinction between measures of student learning (which are commonly understood and very consequential in the lives of teachers and students); and casually overestimated by 800 percent the increase in student debt over the last eight years."

This pattern of destructive appointments is repeated in Health and Human Services, the Interior, Justice and so on. Only in defense matters do Trump's appointments make any sense at all.

Trump's early blunders in foreign policy have antagonized our allies and emboldened our potential enemies like Russia. He has insulted Iraq who is carrying the fight to ISIS and taking casualties in that fight. The British and Australians — our stout allies In World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Gulf War and so on — are angered to the point that he is not welcome to address the British Parliament, an unheard of situation for an American president. His over-eager executive order banning travelers from certain countries was immediately met with similar bans against Americans from some of those countries. The statistics are that you and I are much more likely to be killed by lightning than killed by a foreign terrorist.

Trump, who labeled his opponents as liars, has deliberately broken many of his campaign promises already. I suspect he never intended keep them. He never released any tax returns. He didn't abolish The Affordable Care Act on Day 1.

Thus far the Republican dominated houses of Congress show no appetite for reining in the president.

Fasten your seat belts. It will be a rough four years.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at cct@wexfordpress.com.

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