Donald J. Trump: 360 degrees in 100 days
The swamp has proven to be too deep to drain. It is so deep that the Trump squad is now covered in mud up until their noses.
After 100 days, reality has sunk in for Donald Trump and his inexperienced political team.
The Republican candidate turned president of the United States has deviated from his rosy promises and has fallen into the Washington, DC business as usual.
For now, the Establishment seems to have regained almost full control over the outsider who promised to deal with alligators and piranhas. However, after 100 days, the swamp is still running the way it was before Trump took power.
Despite his views and threats as a candidate, which found open ears in a large group disenfranchised voters, Donald Trump, has tempered many of his opinions and threats.
In these 100 days as president of the United States, the nuances and rectifications have happened more often than anyone expected. This is a review of the most remarkable ones.
1. The obsolescence of NATO
A week before being sworn in, Trump called NATO “obsolete” for not fighting enough against terrorism and questioned the US commitment to the military organization.
“Now they fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete, it is no longer obsolete,” Trump said on April 12 after meeting in the White House with Atlantic Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
2. The Independence of Taiwan
After winning the November election, Trump infuriated Beijing by speaking with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on the telephone and asserting that he would condition his respect for the “one China” policy only if he received concessions from Beijing on matters of shared interest.
In early February, Trump reversed: he pledged to uphold the “one China” policy, the pillar of US diplomatic strategy since the 1970s, in which he recognizes Beijing as the only legitimate interlocutor and the corrupt Chinese government as the rightful opponent to the separatist ambitions of the island of Taiwan.
Two weeks before the election, Trump announced that on his first day in the White House, he would urge his Treasury Secretary to declare China a manipulator of its currency, as he promised during the campaign.
“They are not manipulators of their currency,” Trump said on April 13, a few days after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The change of stance responds to his strategy of making economic concessions to Beijing in exchange for aid in the face of the threat of North Korea.
3. Locking Clinton up
In the second presidential debate, in mid-October, Trump announced that he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the case of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails as Secretary of State. When the Democratic candidate responded that, fortunately, Trump was not in charge of the law, the Republican replied: “Because you would be locked up.”
Within two weeks of winning the election, in late November, Trump changed his mind. “I do not want to hurt the Clintons, she has suffered in many different ways,” he said. “It would be very divisive for the country,” and “it’s not something I feel I need to do,” he added.
4. Trumpcare to end Obamacare
Trump said he would, in his first 100 days, fight for the approval of a health care reform bill to end the one enacted under former President Barack Obama. The goal was to fulfill his electoral promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare,” which he had repeatedly called a “disaster.”
At the end of March, the House of Representatives decided not to vote the reform proposal, supported by Trump and driven by House Speaker, Republican Paul Ryan.
The law was not voted due to the lack of support within the Republican Party. Numerous members of different groups opposed the bill because it was too moderate, while others denied support because it was too radical. Right now, the project is paralysed.
5. The Great Trump Wall
In his 100-day road map, Trump announced shortly before the election, that he hoped Congress would finance the construction of a wall on the southern border, an emblem of his campaign, with “full assurance that Mexico would pay for it”. Later, Trump change his rhetoric and said that the US would pick up the tab, and that Mexico would reimburse the United States for the full cost of that wall.
That law has not been debated and the White House has struggled to even get approval of $1.4 billion to start construction of the wall this year.
The Government has started the bidding process for several stretches of the wall, which has caught the interest of more than 600 companies, and plans to allocate existing funds to pay for those stretches.
Mexico has insisted that it does not intend to pay for the wall and divergences in that matter forced the cancellation of a visit to the White House of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
6. Mega Vetting of Immigrants
During the election campaign, Trump promised a complete veto to the entry of Muslim foreigners into the United States, until they were properly vetted. Later he softened his position slightly and proposed an “extreme filter” in the arrival of foreigners.
In his first week as president, Trump signed an executive order banning the entry of people from seven countries including Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq.
The roll out of the executive order was chaotic to say the least and a week later it was paralyzed by a court that considered it unconstitutional by discriminating on the basis of religion. In mid-March, Trump presented another proposal and signed a more detailed executive order, but it was again suspended by liberal judges appointed by the Obama administration.
7. Illegal Immigration
In his first 100 days as president, Trump promised to begin the expulsion of more than two million undocumented immigrants who have criminal records and to cancel the granting of visas to countries that do not accept their deported citizens.
Trump signed an executive order in February that opened the door to enforcing immigration laws and empowering immigration officers.
In the first two months of the presidency, arrests of undocumented immigrants doubled. Overall deportations have fallen, but the fear that anyone can be deported has spread among illegal immigrants.
No restrictions on the visa system have been imposed, while the total number of illegals detained at the border has collapsed allegedly due to the “fear” that Trump has created among illegals who intended to cross into the United States.
8. Free Trade
Opposition to so-called free trade was one of the flags of the Trump campaign. Trump promised to withdraw the US from the TPP and to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico.
As president, he has kept both promises but for there has been little progress. Trump signed a TPP exit and a NAFTA renegotiation notification, but formal talks with Canada and Mexico have not started.
9. Energy Production and the Environment
Trump said that in his first three months in the White House he would lift restrictions on energy production, including coal and oil, and would facilitate major infrastructure works such as the Keystone pipeline. The Republican also promised to “cancel” the Paris agreement on climate change.
As president, Trump has named an anthropogenic climate change skeptic at the helm of the environmental agency but has not revealed whether he will withdraw the US from the Paris deal, a matter that divides his government.
Trump signed executive orders to start dismantling of the environmental restrictions promoted by Barack Obama and has given the green light to the Keystone pipeline.
10. A Conservative Supreme Court
One of Trump’s goals was to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. In his first 100 days, the substitute had to “defend” the Constitution as it was originally written.
Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch in early February. Gorsuch was sworn in on April 10 as a moderate conservative Justice. Trump was confident that, with that profile, he would gain Democratic support in the Senate, but that was not the case. For the first time, the vote of a Supreme Court Justice was carried out after changing 200-year-old rules which allowed the voting by simple majority.
11. Draining the Swamp
As a candidate, Trump vowed to bar government officials from working as lobbyists in their first five years out of government and impose a lifetime veto on lobbying for a foreign government. He also said he would propose a constitutional amendment to set a limit on congressional terms.
Trump has served in the White House with bans on lobbyists, but has not proposed any limits to lawmakers. The first steps serve to send the message that he intends to “drain the swamp” in Washington, an allusion to the influence of monied interests in US policy. However, Trump’s goals have been weakened by the perception that his cabinet is filled with many millionaires and by his close business ties.
Another fact that has blurred his intention to end corruption in Washington is the fact that a few of his closest aides left the administration early due to alleged irregularities as they supposedly acted as representatives of foreign governments and interest groups.
12. Military Interventionism
One of the strongest messages Trump delivered during his campaign was that it was time to take care of Americans as supposed to of people from other countries. America First was his motto. However, after just 100 days in office, Trump has already bombed a sovereign nation – Syria – and his military team seems to be actively engaged in business as usual, supporting terrorism in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
“Candidate Trump lied, claiming he wanted ISIS smashed. As president, he’s continuing the same imperial policies as his predecessors, accelerating, instead of ending them – supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups instead halting US support and combating them,” explains Stephen Lendman.
Trump has done nothing to withdraw troops from the over 100 countries the US occupies. Instead, more US troops and “advisers” have been sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries where the US has set roots since the turn of the century.