Presidency of Donald Trump
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- Follow the money: This administration is all about enriching slash-and-burn-style businesses at the expense of low-income workers and consumers. This is the same administration, after all, that has gone out of its way to turn the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into a vehicle to protect payday lenders and that has waged war on the student loan forgiveness program. The NLRB’s extraordinary anti-union efforts are more of the same. They are about making workers more vulnerable and more insecure, as are the administration’s relentless efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion—because the more insecure that people at the bottom of the economy are, the easier they are to bully and exploit.
- In the wake of teachers’ strikes in a number of states, recent polling shows public support for unions at 64 percent—the highest, except for a few blips, in half a century. These are important developments. Labor is finally stirring. And Americans are on to the fact that Trump’s faux populism is actually all about rigging the game in favor of the wealthy.
- The scale of the plague is surprising, indeed shocking, but not its appearance. Nor the fact that the U.S. has the worst record in responding to the crisis. [...] There will be recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, at severe and possibly horrendous cost, particularly for the poor and more vulnerable. But there will be no recovery from the melting of the polar ice sheets and the other devastating consequences of global warming. [...] The current administration had ample warning about a likely pandemic. In fact, a high-level simulation was run as recently as last October. Trump has reacted during his years in office in the manner to which we have become accustomed: by defunding and dismantling every relevant part of government and assiduously implementing the instructions of his corporate masters to eliminate the regulations that impede profits while saving lives — and leading the race to the abyss of environmental catastrophe, by far his greatest crime — in fact, the greatest crime in history when we consider the consequences.
- Noam Chomsky, in an interview with C.J. Polychroniou, Chomsky: Ventilator Shortage Exposes the Cruelty of Neoliberal Capitalism (April 1, 2020), Truthout
- Competing power centers are a motif of this administration, and its approach to the pandemic is no exception. [...] Nor does his operation appear to be internally coherent.
- If not in life, certainly in this administration.
- Programs that reduce child poverty help even in years when poor or near-poor parents gain and, of course, are critical in bad times, since sooner or later booming job markets also bust. [...] The Trump administration has, for good measure, rewritten the eligibility rules for such programs in order to lower the number of people who qualify. The supposed goal: to cut costs by reducing dependence on government. (Never mind the subsidies and tax loopholes Trump’s crew has created for corporations and the super wealthy, which add up to many billions of dollars in spending and lost revenue.)
- Even before Donald Trump’s election, only one-sixth of eligible families with kids received assistance for childcare and a paltry one-fifth got housing subsidies. Yet his administration arrived prepared to put programs that helped some of them pay for housing and childcare on the chopping block. No point in such families looking to him for a hand in the future. He won’t be building any Trump Towers for them. Whatever “Make America Great Again” may mean, it certainly doesn’t involve helping America’s poor kids. As long as Donald Trump oversees their race into life, they’ll find themselves ever farther from the starting line.
- This is a presidency whose defining feature isn’t ideology, much less policy. It’s neurosis.
- Bret Stephens, "Trump Gives Conservatives Their Just Comeuppance" (15 September 2017), The New York Times
- Within a month of the election, I found myself compulsively watching the news and checking my Twitter feed, anxious and unable to concentrate on anything else. Though nothing Donald did surprised me, the speed and volume with which he started inflicting his worst impulses on the country- from lying about the crowd size at the inauguration and whining about how poorly he was treated to rolling back environmental protections, targeting the Affordable Care Act in order to take affordable health care away from millions of people, and enacting his racist Muslim ban- overwhelmed me. The smallest thing- seeing Donald's face or hearing my own name, both of which happened dozens of times a day- took me back o the time when my father had withered and died beneath the cruelty and contempt of my grandfather. I had lost him when he was only forty-two and I was sixteen. The horror of Donald's cruelty was being magnified by the fact that his acts were now official US policy, affecting millions of people.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 15
- The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody else. It's weakening our ability to be kind or believe in forgiveness, concepts that have never had any meaning for him. His adminstration and his party have become subsumed by his politics of grievance and entitlement. Worse, Donald, who understands nothing about history, constitutional principles, diplomacy (or anything else, really) and was never pressed to demonstrate such knowledge, has evaluated all of this country's alliances, and all of our social programs, solely through the prism of money, just as his father taught him to do. The costs and benefits of governing are considered in purely financial terms, as if the US Treasury were his personal piggy bank. To him, every dollar going out was his loss, while every dollar saved was his gain.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 15-16
- Donald has, in some sense, always been institutionalized, shielded from his limitations or his need to succeed on his own in the world. Honest work was never demanded of him, and no matter how badly he failed, he was rewarded in ways that are almost unfathomable. He continues to be protected from his own disasters in the White House, where a clique of loyalists applauds his every pronouncement or covers up his possible criminal negligence by normalizing it to the point that we've become almost numb to the accumulating transgressions. But now the stakes are far higher than they've ever been before; they are literally life and death. Unlike any previous time in his life, Donald's failings cannot be hidden or ignored because they threaten us all.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 16
- Although my my aunts and uncles will think otherwise, I'm not writing this book to cash in or out of a desire for revenge. If either of those had been my intention, I would have written a book about our family years ago, when there was no way to anticipate that Donald would trade on his reputation as a serially bankrupt businessman and irrelevant reality show host to ascend to the White House; when it would have been safer because my uncle wasn't in a position to threaten and endanger whistleblowers and critics. The events of the last three years, however, have forced my hand, and I can no longer remain silent. By the time this book is published, hundreds of thousands of American lives will have been sacrificed on the alter of Donald's hubris and willful ignorance. If he is afforded a second term, it would be the end of American democracy.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 16-17
- Most leaders lack the discipline to do routine risk-based horizon scanning, and fewer still develop the requisite contingency plans. Even rarer is the leader who has the foresight to correctly identify the top threat far enough in advance to develop and implement those plans. Suffice it to say, the Trump administration has cumulatively failed, both in taking seriously the specific, repeated intelligence community warnings about a coronavirus outbreak and in vigorously pursuing the nationwide response initiatives commensurate with the predicted threat. The federal government alone has the resources and authorities to lead the relevant public and private stakeholders to confront the foreseeable harms posed by the virus. Unfortunately, Trump officials made a series of judgments (minimizing the hazards of Covid-19) and decisions (refusing to act with the urgency required) that have needlessly made Americans far less safe. In short, the Trump administration forced a catastrophic strategic surprise onto the American people. But unlike past strategic surprises – Pearl Harbor, the Iranian revolution of 1979, or especially 9/11 – the current one was brought about by unprecedented indifference, even willful negligence. Whereas, for example, the 9/11 Commission Report assigned blame for the al-Qaida attacks on the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan through George W Bush, the unfolding coronavirus crisis is overwhelmingly the sole responsibility of the current White House. [...] The White House detachment and nonchalance during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak will be among the most costly decisions of any modern presidency. These officials were presented with a clear progression of warnings and crucial decision points far enough in advance that the country could have been far better prepared. But the way that they squandered the gifts of foresight and time should never be forgotten, nor should the reason they were squandered: Trump was initially wrong, so his inner circle promoted that wrongness rhetorically and with inadequate policies for far too long, and even today. Americans will now pay the price for decades.