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An Anthology of Donald J. Trump's Presidency (updated 8/20/2017)
Latest Major Controversies
8/18/17 - In the span of less than a week President Trump managed to inflame America. On Saturday, August 12, 2017 a violent protest was held by a combination of White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and other hate groups in Chancellorsville, VA. They were faced by a large counter-protest intent on combating the hate groups message. The hate groups brought guns (which fortunately were not used), riot shields, and other military paraphernalia while their opponents used what was at hand. The melee was furthered marred by one of the Neo-Nazis terrorist barreling through a crowd of counter-protesters in his car killing one and injuring many. On Saturday, without naming the hate groups specifically, Trump condemned the violence from "both sides". On Tuesday, he was forced to read another statement that condemned the alt-Right groups by name. On Wednesday, he walked that back and made a moral equivalency between the hate groups and the those protesting against them. That set off a fire-storm of protest from virtually everybody, Left and Right. This precipitated the collapse of three presidential business advisory panels, numerous charities cancelling events at Trump properties, and at least one religious leader from Trump's Evangelical council.
8/2/17 - Special Counsel Mueller has impaneled a second grand jury, this time in Washington D.C. (the first one was in Virginia for the Michael Flynn probe.) This one is to investigate Russia's involvement with the 2016 elections and doing a deep dive into the Trump family's financial ties with Russia. He appears to be starting by issuing subpoenas regarding the Trump Jr., Manafort, Kushner meeting with a Russian lawyer and a representative of a Russian oligarch. allegedly to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that the Russian government had supplied.
7/21/17 - With the Special Counsel saying he is going to start investigating Trump business ties with Russia, President Trump is exploring Pardon options for himself, his family, and his aides.
7/15/17 - The list of attendees keeps on growing with the addition of the intermediary Rob Goldstone, a translator, and a representative of the Veselnitskaya's family who asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. It must be noted that the Veselnitskayas actually are interested in the adoption controversy. But, the fact remains that Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort were expecting to receive dirt on Clinton from a Russian government attorney. Rinat Akhmetshin's says that incriminating documents were given to Trump's campaign at this meeting. (This could be the same documents Comey referred to that prompted him release the Clinton email findings)
7/14/17 - The saga of President Trumps eldest son Trump Jr.'s attempt to procure oppo-research on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. The number of attendees has grew by one more. The latest is Rinat Akhmetshin's, a US citizen, lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who served in counter-intelligence.
Not to understate things very much, it is fair to say President Donald Trump's first 180 days in office have not been pleasant ... for him or for Americans. Until recently, not a day, not one, has gone by without some sort of major controversy. Some were serious, such as his travel ban of seven majority Muslim nations which was stopped by the courts or accusing President Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower which is what he opened March with. Others were not, like his tweets about SNL. Whether you agree with him or not, President Trump and his administration has sucked the air out of virtually all other news.
(In full-disclosure, I am a liberal Republican by orientation (yes, we still exist), but registered Democrat so I can vote in primaries. I have voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and now Hillary Clinton. My bias is to sensible fiscal conservationism and social liberalism. This translates to a believe that the gov't has a roll in helping its citizens but shouldn't break the bank doing it. While I do not personally like Donald Trump nor most of his policies, I will take a wait-and-see attitude toward his performance as President.)
President Donald Trump by the Numbers - Economy
Let me start with the following set of charts which will track various measures that, taken together, how well President Trump is doing on the domestic and economic fronts. Following the charts will be an discussion of what each means.
How Is the Economy Under President-Trump?Click thumbnail to view full-size
7/11/17 - Beating NY Times to the punch, Trump Jr. releases emails from friend and Trump (Sr.) business partner Rod Goldstone who was intermediary between the two parties which promised Russian government supplied information embarrassing to Mrs. Clinton. The June 3, 2016 email said in part:
“ ...would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” adding “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. responded “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
Possible "smoking gun" for collusion between Trump campaign and Russian government.
7/9/17 - Trump Jr. changes story to say that
“After pleasantries were exchanged,” he said, “the woman [the lawyer] stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”
7/8/17 - The NY Times reported that after being promised access to Russian information damaging to Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner (Trump son-in-law and adviser), and Paul Manafort (Trump campaign manager) agreed to meet with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on Jun 9, 2016 in an office in Trump Tower one floor below that of his father. Trump Jr. says the meeting was about adoption policy.
6/9/17 - President Trump responded that:
- Comey had lied under oath
- That he never asked Comey to give him a loyalty oath
- That he never told Comey, in a private meeting, that he "hoped [Comey] could get passed the Flynn investigation"
- That Comey was a leaker (Comey sent some of his unclassified notes of conversations with Trump to a friend to give to the media. Technically you can't "leak" unclassified information)
6/8/17 - Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Investigating regarding Comey's firing and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. Comey testified under oath:
- Confirmed that he had told President Trump he was not "technically" under investigation, only his campaign was.
- President Trump lied on several occasions,
- President Trump had asked for a loyalty oath
- Comey took Trump's "hope to get passed" this Flynn thing as a direct order to do so,
- That the Russian involvement in trying to influence the American election is long-term, wide-spread, and sophisticated
- That Russian hacks into election equipment, software, and databases probably were ineffective in changing in cast ballots
- That it is unknown whether Russian attempts to influence the election by other means was successful or not.
6/5/17 - Acting US ambassador to China, David Rank, resigned over Donald Trump taking America out of the Paris Climate Accord. This follows the resignation of acting US ambassador to the UK over the twitter assault by Trump on the mayor of London follow the weekend terror attack there. This is in addition to the resignation of Trump's communication director, the firing of the NSC director Gen Flynn. and withdrawal of several nominees to high level government positions.
6/1/17 - America joins Syria and Venezuela in rejecting the Paris climate change agreement.
5/21/17 - This is a controversy in that there really wasn't one in his visit to Saudi Arabia. Other than a couple minor slips of the tongue in his "Islam" speech, President Trump seems to have done a rather credible job on this leg of his journey.
5/19/17 - In his meeting with the Russian foreign minister and Ambassador, President Trump admitted that ""I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." This reinforces the widely-held belief that he fired FBI Dir Comey to obstruct the FBI investigation into the Presidential campaign and their relationship with Russia.
5/19/17 - Tapped conversations of Russians reveal they bragged about their ability to use Gen Flynn to influence President Trump
5/12/17 - President Trump opened a new line of investigation by tweeting:
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press! — @realDonaldTrump
Chairmen of various congressional investigations into Russian ties have asked for transcripts of any tapes.
Trump By The Numbers
GDP (000 2009$) -
Once the Great 2008 Recession passed in 2010, GDP quickly improved under President Obama. It.passed President Bush's record by Q4 2010; it has continued to grow ever since. President Obama ended the year (Q4 2016) with a tepid 1.8% annualized growth, however, although he did a few quarters of very strong growth. (Over all, Obama achieved 2% annual growth, not bad given the GOP 8 year effort to destroy his presidency.)
When considering GDP keep in mind that in the long-run only two factors determine the rate growth: population growth and productivity growth. While other factors can influence short-run growth, those come and go. The two principle drivers change very slowly.
EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS (000) -
This confusing chart shows each part of the employment picture (except the unemployment rate which is in the next chart). I didn't want to get accused of cooking-the-books so I offer all of the components that go into understanding employment and unemployment.
- Size of the Civilian Labor Force
- Number of people with Jobs
- Number of Full-Time Employees
- Number of Not in Labor Force (retired persons, students, those taking care of children or other family members, and others who are neither working nor seeking work)
- Number of Part-Time Employees
- Number who searched for work but not counted in Unemployment numbers and are not Discouraged
- Number who want to work but stopped looking (Discouraged)
(The final two components, the official unemployment rate and the participation rate, are presented on the next chart)
Depending on what side of the aisle you are on, you either believe the official unemployment rate for what it is, a measure of change, or you don't. For those that don't now is your opportunity to produce your own measure and defend it.
Notice that throughout President Obama's term, The Employment Level and Full-Time Employees is increasing faster than the Total Labor Force. That means the rate of employment in full-time jobs is increasing.
Notice also that Part-Time employment is flat, which means the PT rate is falling. So are the Marginally Attached (willing to work and searched sometime in the last year, but not in the last four weeks) and the subset of those who are discouraged (willing to work but stopped looking) have fallen dramatically.
Finally, the Not in Labor Force, figure is deceiving. Read the definition and you can surmise the reason for its hefty increase is the baby-boomers retiring.
In all cases where we are considering people who want to work, things have steadily improved throughout the Obama administration. Can a President Donald Trump keep it up?
UNEMPLOYMENT AND PARTICIPATION RATES -
The Unemployment Rate is the one published by the Labor Department and has been trending lower over the last 6.5 years. The Participation Rate, a figure wrongly used to deprecate President Obama because it kept falling. In fact, it only fell throughout the Bush administration and in the aftermath of the Great 2008 Recession, By early 2015, people understood the economy was going to continue to recover and the rate stopped decreasing and finally began a journey upward.
UNINSURED RATE -
President Obama's major promise to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance from its high of 40 million folks. It is now down to about 20 million. Based on several studies, that decrease translates into very roughly 15,000 lives saved every year because they now had insurance. Can a President Trump keep it that way?
DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE -
An often leading indicator of where the economy is going is the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It was decimated during the Great 2008 Recession. Soon after the announcement of President Obama's Stimulus Program it reversed course and hasn't stopped growing - about 1560 points per year. It stopped growing with the on-set of the Presidential election, began declining when Donald Trump became the GOP nominee and then took off when he won.
MANUFACTURING JOBS -
One of President-elect Donald Trump's major themes, the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs; a decline he attributed to President Obama. The facts are different, as you see. The decline was entirely withing the Bush Presidency and, as so many other bad things, in the aftermath of the Great 2008 Recession. The truth is, manufacturing jobs increased throughout the Obama administration. Can Donald Trump fulfill is campaign promise of continuing to bring back the manufacturing jobs lost under Bush?
CONSUMER SENTIMENT INDEX -
This is a measure of how excited consumers are about economic future improvement meaning, how willing are they to go out and spend money on products and services. As with most measures, it isn't the absolute number at any given point in time, but the direction of several measurements in a row. Of the four presidents listed on Chart 7, only under Clinton were people very optimistic. As would be expected, it tanked leading up to the Great 2008 Recession and then steadily improved during the recovery under President Obama.
FOOD STAMP USE - This is an indicator of how the lowest economic rung is doing. If they are benefiting from economic growth, then the use of food stamps should decrease. If economic growth is passing them by, the food stamp use is stagnant or will slow climb. If economic growth declines, food stamp use will skyrocket.
As important as how America is doing is how Americans are thinking. The next set of charts track a compilation of polls regarding how Americans perceive:
- The Direction of the Country
- President Trump's Favorability Ratings (what we think of him personally)
- President Trump's overall Job Approval Rating (how he is doing regardless of what we think about him)
- President Trump's Job Approval Rating regarding the economy
- President Trump's Job Approval Rating regarding how he is handling foreign policy
The horizontal lines provide an idea of how President Trump's support has increased or decreased using the percentage that voted for him in 2016 (the top line) and my estimate of his core support that he will keep no matter what he does.
As the approval ratings fall below the top line, then one can assume the independents and Democrats who voted for him are becoming less satisfied with their choice. If approval falls below the bottom line, that spells real trouble because his core supporters are becoming disenchanted.
What Do Americans Think About President Trump?Click thumbnail to view full-size
5/9/17 - At 5:30 PM the news broke the President Trump had fired Director of the FBI James Comey, who was leading the FBI criminal investigation into possible collusion between
5/9/17 - At 5:30 PM the news broke the President Trump had fired Director of the FBI James Comey, who was leading the FBI criminal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin and other Russians. See discussion below in the Timeline Section.
4/21/17 - Although I heard of this from other news sources a few days earlier in Reuters, CNN finally made it a headline that two documents from a Russian government think tank which produces policy suggestions for Vladimir Putin were publicly revealed that outlines exactly how Putin has gone about trying to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump (the 1st document) or delegitimize Hillary Clinton's presidency should she win (2nd document):
the Trump campaign and Vladimir Putin and other Russians. See discussion below in the Timeline Section.
4/21/17 - Although I heard of this from other news sources a few days earlier in Reuters, CNN finally made it a headline that two documents from a Russian government think tank which produces policy suggestions for Vladimir Putin were publicly revealed that outlines exactly how Putin has gone about trying to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump (the 1st document) or delegitimize Hillary Clinton's presidency should she win (2nd document):
The Donor Class - "Pay to Play"
Author's note - Donald Trump, Bernie supporters. and other Clinton opponents made a very Big deal about the access donors to the Clinton Foundation gained to the State Department. I argued there as no smoking gun there. In fact there was no gun at all because what went on between donors and access to government is the NORM, at all levels of government. It only crosses the line if some government official received some type of reward that had personal value; and in Clinton's case that never happened. Another no, no is if the requester got anything of value other than access.
To further that argument, I underlined those Trump picks, or those under consideration, who made huge contributions to Trump's campaign or the Republican Party. This is unadulterated Pay-To-Play; I give you lots of money to be elected and you give me a cabinet slot or ambassadorship, plain and simple.
Having said that, and while I disagree with the practice in general, I refuse to condemn someone for doing what has been done in politics since politics became a "thing". Trump (and Clinton) is doing nothing different than EVERY president-elect before him.
Your President-Elect Donald Trump
The Trump Advisors and Cabinet
The nomination and confirmation process is almost over. It has been a slow, arduous affair that is taking over 30 days to complete. The delay was an equal mix of the Democrats putting up a determined fight over some of Donald Trumps more controversial choices and the very poor job that was done vetting the candidates in the first place as well as getting proper clearance after they were in the confirmation process.
Only two nominations came down to the wire; Betsy De Vos for Education Secretary and Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary. It took Vice President Pence to push De Vos over the line by casting, for the first time ever, the tie-breaking vote because two Republicans had serious problems with her commitment to public education. Andy Puzder was forced to withdraw his nomination as his background of anti-labor rhetoric and actions, along with not paying taxes on illegal immigrants he employed.
The average number of Yes votes per candidate for Trump is 69 so far. The next lowest was President George W. Bush with 92 Yes Votes. Keep in mind, there are 52 Republicans in the Senate.
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (56 votes) , billionaire CEO of Exxon with long, friendly ties to Vladimir Putin. His politics are undetermined but is having trouble establishing himself because of in-fighting with Steve Bannon, senior political adviser, and Jared Kushner, senior adviser as well as President Trump's penchant for off-the-cuff foreign policy decisions.
Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis (98 votes). General Mattis (Ret. USMC) is well thought of on both sides of the aisle. He surprised Trump by telling him waterboarding, torture, was useless and that he, Mattis, could do better with a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers. Mattis is currently having issues getting his deputies through the White House. (Both of Trumps picks for Secretary of the Army and Navy withdrew because they couldn't get passed the conflict of interest review.)
Director of Homeland Security, Gen John Kelly (88 votes). General Kelly (Ret. USMC), like General Mattis, is a well respected, highly capable leader who is expected to do a superb, independent job in this critical position.
Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-AL: 52 votes).an extreme conservative who is known to be anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBT. Sessions has extensive experience in this area but, because of his background of being not supportive of minorities, his appointment to a Federal judgeship was denied by the Republican Senate in 1986. There is much debate on whether is views have changed or not changed in the subsequent 30 years. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/19/us/politics/jeff-sessions-donald-trump-attorney-general.html During confirmation, he apparently gave false testimony to two Senators about not having meetings with the current Russian ambassador.
Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin (53 votes), a billionaire who worked for Goldman Sachs and was Trump's top campaign fundraiser.. Mnuchin seems to be more moderate than his boss regarding trade and China but is accused of lying under oath about robo-signing foreclosure paperwork as CEO of failed OneWestBank as well as failing to disclose $100 million in assets on his financial disclosure statements.
Secretary of Energy, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX: 62 votes). While having experience running large organizations, Gov. Perry has no experience in the broad field of energy management which includes the oversight our nuclear arsenal and conducting state-of-the-art energy research (similar to DARPA in DoD). The previous two Secretaries were physicists, one a Nobel Laureate while Perry has a B.A. in animal husbandry with a 2.0 GPA.
Secretary of Labor. Currently unfilled because the initial nominee, Andy Puzder, a billionaire restaurant CEO, was forced to withdraw his name because of being a vocal advocate for cutting back labor regulations, opposes raising the minimum wage, and opposing expanding overtime to low paid salaried workers among many other anti-labor positions.
Comings and Goings
In the first six months of Donald Trump's presidency is cabinet has been in a serious state of flux (not to mention leaving a huge number of secondary and tertiary appointments unfilled). Below is a listing of the comings and goings:
Sally Yates (OUT): This does quite count as a 'coming and going' because, as acting Attorney General, a hold over from the Obama administration, it was a given she would be gone once a new AG was sworn in. She is only included because President Trump fired her for not wanting to enforce his newly minted Muslim ban (most of which has subsequently been put on hold by the courts).
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (OUT), former National Security Adviser: President Trump's National Security Adviser was first to fall after only 23 days in office. Flynn was the tip of the iceberg in the burgeoning investigation into ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He was fired/resigned ostensibly because he lied to Vice President Pence about the substance of his meetings with the Russians prior to Trump being sworn in.
Lt. Gen H. R. McMaster (IN), current National Security Adviser: Replaced Lt. Gen Flynn.
Katie Walsh (OUT), former Deputy Chief of Staff: A close ally to Reince Priebus, she left to take a position with the pro-Trump non-profit America First Policies.
James Comey (OUT), former FBI Director: As FBI Director, Comey was leading one of the investigations into the Russian involvement into the 2016 election process. President Trump tried to pressure Comey into first dropping the investigation altogether and failing that, asking that Comey issue a statement that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally. When Comey refused, President Trump fired him. A short time later Trump admitted to both Russian officials in a White House meeting and during a news interview that Comey was fired because of "that Russian thing.". Not too long after former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special prosecutor by the deputy attorney general (AG Sessions had to recuse himself from all things Russian because of his own undisclosed meetings) to continue the FBI's investigation
Mike Dubke (OUT), former White House communications director: He resigned amid speculations of a staff shake up. He was in the last stages of divesting himself of two communication firms when he resigned stating "personal reasons".
Walter Shaub (OUT). former Director of the Office of Government Ethics: Shaub resigned out of pure frustration with an uncooperative Donald Trump and joined the nonprofit advocacy group Campaign Legal Center.
Sean Spicer (OUT), former presidential spokesperson and other duties as assigned: Sean resigned when passed over for communications director when Trump brought in fellow billionaire Anthony Scaramucci aka The Mooch
Sarah Huckabee Sanders (IN): This daughter of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee replaces Sean Spicer as Press Secretary.
Anthony Scaramucci (IN), soon to be the new White House Communications Director: The Mooch is another New York hedge fund manager but with no experience in government or, for that matter, communications.
Reince Priebus (OUT), former Chief of Staff: After a sustained public humiliation from Scaramucci, Reince resigned and was replaced with Gen John Kelly
Gen John Kelly (IN), Secretary of Homeland Security: Kelly left this post to take on the position of Trump's Chief of Staff.
Anthony Scaramucci (OUT), soon to be Communications Director, was fired by the new Chief of Staff John Kelly for an obscenity-laced interview with Ryan Lazza of The New Yorker that berated both ex-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon.
Hope Hicks (IN), a 28-year old political neophyte and Trump organization communications director (her previous job was as a model), was appointed interim White House communications director to replace the aborted political career of Anthony Scaramucci. She earned an English degree from Southern Methodist University.
Steve Bannon (OUT), senior political adviser, was fired (Bannon would have you believe he quit) on Aug 18, 2017 after going on the record with a telephone interview (think "The Mooch") where he criticized President Trump and laid out his war with other senior Trump aides. Before midnight of the day he was fired, Bannon had his old position back with the alt-Right media outlet Breitbart.
Who is Next on the Chopping Block?
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General: President Trump has been savaging him in tweets and in speeches because he recused himself from all aspects of the Russian investigation because of lying about past meetings with Russians himself. Up to now, Sessions has said he is not leaving. There is rumor that Trump may move him to take of Homeland Security because Gen John Kelly, the former Secretary left to take on the Chief of Staff role at the White House. That would give Trump an opening to appoint someone who is not supportive of Robert Mueller, the Special Prosecutor investigating Trump and the Russians.
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State: He has been largely ignored and overshadowed by the jack-of-all-trades Jarad Kushner, the president's son-in-law. Kushner has been doing the lion's share of high level diplomacy. Tillerson has had several public run-ins with junior White House staff and is thought to be extremely frustrated with Trump and the job.
Donald Trump Lays Out His First 100-Day Plan
DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY #1
Politically Speaking: Where do you place yourself on the Political Spectrum?
Donald Trump's First 100-Day Plan
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP HAS LAID OUT in a the broad strokes of what he intends to do in his first 100 days in office. They are, in no particular order:
- Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress - FAILED TO DO
- Place a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health) - COMPLETED
- Make a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated - COMPLETED
- Make White House and Congressional officials sign and agreement not to become lobbyists for five years after they leave government service - COMPLETED for White House officials, but doesn't enforce. Has no power over Congressional officials - FAILED
- Place a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government COMPLETED but not enforced
- Ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections - FAILED
- Announce intentions to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205 - FAILED TO DO
- Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - COMPLETED
- I will direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator - FAILED, changed his mind.
- I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately - FAILED TO DO
- Lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal - FAILED TO DO
- Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward - PARTIALLY COMPLETED. Approved the Keystone Pipeline, but nothing more.
- Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure - FAILED TO DO
- Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama - FAILED, impossible to do given there were no unconstitutional executive orders from President Obama
- Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities - FAILED, only started a review
- Begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country - BEGUN and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back - FAILED
- Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered “extreme vetting.” - ATTEMPTED. Order was stayed by several judges around the country as probably unconstitutional
- Introduce Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the American Energy and Infrastructure Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act legislation - PASSED in House on second try. FAILED in Senate. McConnell tried to simply pass a delayed Repeal; failed that to..
- Introduce the Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the End Illegal Immigration Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Restoring Community Safety Actlegislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Restoring National Security Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
- Introduce the Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act legislation - FAILED TO DO
The link to Donald Trump's Contract is here.
Trump's Pre-President Policy Activities
MOST PRESIDENT-ELECTS WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE SWORN IN BEFORE TAKING substantive foreign and domistic policy actions. But not Donald Trump, who has broken every rule in the book ... and proud of it; it helped him win the election after all. Here is what has taken place so far that will set the foreign policy tone for the next four years.
- Trump picks winners and losers with his tweet "Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016" Lockheed Martin's stocked dipped 2% as a result/
- Trump enters the nuclear arms race in this response to Vladimir Putin saying essentialy the same thing: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016"
- Trump attempts to change American foreign policy with "The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed....cont: https://t.co/s8rXKKZNF1 — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016" (UPDATE - Trump failed in his bid to intercede for Israel; the United States abstained from the vote)
- Trump takes on Union Leader over Carrier jobs - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/08/trump-clashes-with-union-leader-over-carrier-deal.html
- Trump sets up call with Taiwan's President
- Dec 4 - Trump proposes a 35% tariff http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/donald-trump-threatens-u-s-companies-latest-twitter-diatribe-n691716
- Dec 5 - Trump takes China to task with http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-38167022
- Dec 12 - Trump tells China he may not be bound by the decades old "One-China Policy" - https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/chinese-paper-calls-trump-as-ignorant-as-a-childafter-taiwan-comment/2016/12/12/d91fbaea-c02c-11e6-b20d-3075b273feeb_story.html?utm_term=.ba5a610b414b
- Dec 3 - Trump talks with Taiwanese President - http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/world/asia/china-donald-trump-taiwan-twitter.html?_r=0
1/20/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13765 which directs all executive departments to begin the process of dismantling the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Potentially that means the IRS will stop enforcing the Individual Mandate (designed to keep health insurance premiums down) and drop defense of GOP lawsuit designed to eliminate subsidies for most exchange program users (to do so will kill the subsidies), The likely result from these actions are that few insurance companies will participate driving much higher premiums, and substantially increase the number of uninsured Americans.
In part, he wrote "It stressed that agencies can "waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement" of Obamacare that imposes a burden "to the maximum extent permitted by law."
1/20/2017 - Signed a Memorandum to stop a last minute FHA rate cut of 1/4 point put in place by outgoing President Obama. This action will cost homeowners about $500 in 2017,
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum freezing all regulations pending review by Department heads. This will have a positive impact on some businesses,but will also hurt many others
1/23/2017 - Signed Memorandum ordering Federal Agencies to freeze hiring new civil servants.1
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the hope to make bi-lateral deals with individual nations. That opens a huge void which China is likely to fill. Economist also predict this move will slow down America's economic growth. Whether it does or not remains to be seen and I will up-date this accordingly
1/23/2017 - Signed a Memorandum that reinstates the Mexico City Abortion Rule created by President Reagan in 1985. This policy denies USAID funds for any foreign nation project that includes money for counselling women or accomplishing abortions. Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and W. Bush promoted this rule. Presidents Clinton and Obama rescinded it.
1/23/017 - Apparently ordered EPA to cut grants. The Huffington Post reported "EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency,"
1/24/2017 - Signed several Memorandum to restart the Keystone XL and Dakota oil pipelines. One stumbling block Trump may face is whether there is a demand for it anymore. The world has changed since Keystone was envisioned and whether it is actually needed is now being debated.
1/24/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13766 to help "fast-track" high priority infrastructure projects.
1/24/2017 - Signed a Memorandum directing the Secretary of Commerce to come up with plan to mandate using American-made steel for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the United States.
1/24/207 - Signed a Memorandum that tells "directors of executive departments and agencies to support the expansion of manufacturing in the United States through expedited reviews of and approvals for proposals to construct or expand manufacturing facilities and through reductions in regulatory burdens affecting domestic manufacturing."
1/25/2017 - Tweeted this morning announcing his intent to investigate the unproven widespread voter fraud in which he claims 3 - million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. His criteria for fraud is if someone is registered and is 1) dead, 2) registered in two more states (like his cabinet nominee Mnuchin), or are illegal,
1/25/2017 - Signed an Executive Order 13767 to start the process of building a massive wall along the 1200 mile border with Mexico, similar to the Berlin Wall. It also defunds "sanctuary" cities who don't cooperate with federal authorities in apprehending suspected undocumented aliens. The cities and states are expected to largely ignore this threat which, based on the Obamacare-Medicaid expansion Supreme Court ruling, is probably unconstitutional.
1/27/2017 - Signed Executive Order 13768 to stop ALL citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia from entering the United States, roughly 134,000,000 people, for at least 90 days; the order makes clear this is just the start in terms of time and number of nations. At some point, non-Muslims will be allowed in from these countries. The order also stopped America's refugee program for 120 days to allow the State Department and DHS to make the already extreme vetting process even more extreme. He banned entirely refugees from Syria. It is worthwhile noting that 1) Trumps campaign promise was to ban all Muslims and 2) the experts say that of the 2 million or so refugees America allowed in since the late 1980s, none have been arrested as a domestic terrorist. The same is true of illegal immigrants coming across the Mexican border. Several days later courts put a nationwide stay on this order.
This order was effectively stopped by several court rulings over the next week. Trump is expected to rescind this EO and replace it with another one.
Federal regulations: Trump signed an executive order requiring that for every new federal regulation on small and large businesses, two existing regulations must be removed. He signed the document after a meeting with small business leaders. Trump said he wants to end regulatory discrepancy between big and small business.
CIA in the NSC: Trump added the Director of the CIA and his senior political adverser Steve Bannon as Principals to the National Security Council while down grading the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff. and Director of National Intelligence.
1/31/2017 - Supreme Court: Trump nominated federal appellate Judge Neil McGill Gorsuch to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Some Democrats promised to filibuster the confirmation process after Republicans refused to hold hearings on former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland after Scalia's death.
1 I went through that with Clinton - Gore. The result was a smaller, more expensive government. It was more expensive because the workload was not reduced and they had to hire contractors to do the work. The GAO reported that, on average, a contractor is about 20% or more expensive than an equivalent civil servant when the contract is long-term (exceeding more than a year) and recurring. My office shrunk so much that we could not perform some work sent to us by acquisition. Because government lost so much expertise, we had to hire contractors to oversee other contractors and report back to a civil servant, a person who was often one-deep in terms of having the knowledge to monitor the oversight contractor. There nothing new that says the same thing won't happen.
Wall Street Regulation: Trump signed an executive order to ease U.S. fiscal regulations in the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 -- Dodd-Frank was created, like the defunct Glass-Steagal Act, to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 Great Recession.
Money Manager Rule: The president ordered the Labor Department to review a rule from former President Barack Obama requiring financial managers to act in their clients' best interests when handling retirement accounts to determine whether to keep the rule in place..
Police Protection: Trump signed an order to review existing laws and produce legislation to better protect federal, state and local law enforcement officers.
Crime Reduction: The president ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to create a new federal task force to share information among agencies, develop strategies, identify deficiencies in current laws, evaluate criminal data and make recommendations for greater safety of U.S. citizens.
Foreign Crime Fighting: Trump issued an executive order prioritizing efforts to prosecute foreign-based crimes like drug and human trafficking. It calls for stricter enforcement of laws already on the books and efforts to "identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations."
2/14/2017 - Anti-Corruption Repeal: President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 41, which reverses a federal rule that requires energy companies to disclose royalties and government payments. The rule was imposed by the Obama administration last year as a transparency measure.
2/16/2017 - Repeal Coal Waste Regulation: Signed bill to repeal regulation to prevent coal waste products from entering streams.
2/25/2017 - Clean Water Repeal: Directed EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider a 2015 rule issued by President Obama known as the Waters of the United States rule. It gave the federal government authority over small waterways in order to prevent polluters from damaging larger bodies of water they connect to; about a 3% increase.
April 8, 2017 - Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in office, was sworn in. Trump intended that Gorsuch has the same kind of literalist (originalist) interpretive philosophy as Scalia proved to have. That, however, remains to be seen. The confirmation was a purely partisan affair starting with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defy the intent of the Constitution and refusing to allow President Obama's choice, Judge Merrick Garland, a hearing for the last year of Obama's term. The Democrats in return filibustered Gorsuch's nomination. Consequently, McConnell took the next step of destroying the founder's handiwork by invoking the "nuclear option" and forcing Gorsuch's confirmation with only a majority vote.1, 2
April 13, 2017 - The Air Forces MOAB (Massive Ordnance - Air Blast AKA Mother of all Bombs), was deployed against an Daesch (ISIS) tunnel complex in Afghanistan. It is a 21,000 lb device that is considered most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. inventory. It has not been used so far because of the fear of collateral damage. It was finally used in this case because it was determined, correctly apparently, that there were no citizens in the area and it was proving too costly to attack the complex with normal ground forces.
April 18, 2017 - A new executive order called Buy American, Hire American was signed today. The order attempts to put new life in the existing Buy American law. It directs reviews of the H1-B visa program. While It does not take direct action to fundamentally change the law. Instead it initiates a series of reviews and assessments and calling on federal departments to begin proposing reforms to the programs. The order would send a clear signal to federal agencies responsible for enforcing the programs that the administration wants to see a more aggressive stance.
1 The Democrats first used this option in 2013 as it applied to judgeship's, short of the Supreme Court, and cabinet nominations. The reason is McConnell blocked most of President Obama's choices from 2011 to 2014. In the 200+ year history of such actions, McConnell was responsible for 50% of them. The Democrats stopped short of the Supreme Court pick because the consequences were much more far reaching than for lower court and cabinet picks
2. It is clearly the founder's intent that the Senate NOT act like the House, that the Senate be the more deliberative body staffed by much more wiser men than those who would populate the feisty House. Those who created the Constitution did not intend the Senate to be a democratic body like the House was designed. Only one more hurdle remains to destroy that vision, killing the filibuster altogether.
May 9, 2017 @ 5:30 PM is when the news broke the story to the world (and Dir Comey as it turns out) that President Trump fired FBI director James Comey; probably one of the most, if not THE most controversial decision of his presidency to date. In fact. It may well be the biggest one of his entire four years. In his firing memo to Dir Comey, Trump clouded the reasoning for his actions by writing, in, part:
“... While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,”
This effectively tied Comey's firing to the Russian investigation. Nevertheless, for the next two days, his staff tried to use the "just following the Deputy AG's recommendation" story to explain the action. Then Trump threw them all under the bus by telling Lester Holt from NBC the following:
HOLT: Because your letter, you said, “I—I accepted their recommendation,” so you had already made the decision.
TRUMP: Oh, I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.
This reasoning was 180 degrees out of sync with what his staff had been telling the world for two days! His staff said Trump was "accepting the written recommendation of the new Deputy Attorney General (who oversees the FBI's investigation into the Trump-Russia connection) Rod Rosenstein" who reasoned that Comey's mishandling of the Hilary Clinton investigation warranted such action. In fact, Trump had already made up his mind. Worse, Rosenstein knew it, according to his testimony to the Senate a week later. Worse still, Rosenstein did not make any recommendation at all, he just summarized what he saw as the facts.
May 11, 2017: In a wide-ranging interview with NBC's Lester Holt, President Trump revealed he had already had decided to fire James Comey and that all the reasoning given the previous days were not in play (and therefore inaccurate) in his decision-making. He also dropped the following bombshells:
- "I actually asked him" if I were under investigation, Trump said, noting that he spoke with Comey once over dinner and twice by phone. "I said, if it's possible would you let me know, am I under investigation? He said, 'You are not under investigation.'" - Trump asking and Comey answering are at a minimum highly unethical and at worse, illegal
- He acknowledged that the Russia investigation was one of the things he considered. “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.” (He did say several other times he wants the "Russia thing" investigated and that he might [tell the FBI?] to lengthen the time to complete it)
5/20/2017 - President Trump starts his first trip out of the country ... and it is a doozy. He starts with a visit to Saudi Arabia, where he delivered a moderately toned speech on the responsibilities of Islam, similar in nature to the one President Obama delivered in Cairo eight years ago. He then will move on to Tel Aviv, the Vatican, Brussels (to attend a NATO leader's meeting), and Sicily (to attend a G-7 meeting).
6/1/2017 - President Trump formally began the process of taking the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord which will be completed in November 2020. At the same time, he is shutting down most government research into climate change and initiatives to continue the reduction of greenhouse gases begun over the last several years.
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