President Trump has two deferred positions when his policies don’t work – lie or fire people, and usually he defaults to both.
His primary campaign promise (to decrease immigration, build a wall on the southern border and have Mexico pay for it) has turned into increased illegal immigration, no new wall built and not only Mexico not paying for it, but him closing the government to get money from taxpayers to pay for it.
Trump, despite trying for two years, has not only not made a dent in holding back immigrants from entering the country via the southern border, the numbers have increased. And even though he has built not one foot of his wall, he says he has started – but what he really is doing is replacing wall, not building new wall, a program begun before he was elected.
Thus, he has done what he does whenever his policies don’t work – he fires people. In this case, the top of the leadership at the Department of Homeland Security, including the secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, who has gone from someone he didn’t like, to someone who sucked up completely to him and winning his approval to someone he doesn’t like because his policies aren’t working and he’s pointing the finger at her.
Trump is at his best (worst) when something is wrong and he has someone(s) to blame. His current targets to blame are Nielsen, others in her department and the courts. Trump is the most lawless-abiding president we’ve ever had. He wants, according to sources unnamed in the media, his appointees to break the law to stop immigration, legal and illegal.
It is legal to enter the United States and seek asylum. It’s one of the strengths of our country – “Give me your tired...” etc.
Trump says his dad was born in Germany (he wasn’t) but in any event his ancestors, like all of ours (unless you’re an American Indians), came from other countries. His chief immigration brain, Stephen Miller, is also the son of immigrants who came to the U.S. for a better life. Miller is the mastermind of Trump’s failed immigration policy and basically wants to stop everything this country provided to his ancestors, and thus him, for their success – and even for the son of immigrants to work at the White House.
Miller, it’s safe to say, is a raging lunatic on the subject. And he stays in his safe White House job of advising the President instead of seeking a line job where he actually would be responsible for immigration. This way, when things don’t work he, like his boss, can blame someone else and lobby for their firing.
Fortunately, America’s institutions are still working and the courts have become what they were intended to be – interpreter and applicator of the law in the name of the state and the mechanism for dispute resolution. When Trump takes a turn for the worse, the courts snap the choke collar and right the American ship again. So far.
You may have noticed that not only has Trump had two picks for the Supreme Court, which he thinks gives him a majority once his crimes (and many are crimes) reach the Court for a decision. Fortunately, so far in our history, the Supreme Court almost always does the right thing based on the Constitution. So far.
Trump, as he is trying to do on the Federal Reserve board, is placing Trump acolytes – folks (all men so far) he thinks will be loyal to his way of thinking and, thus, he expects, they will back him up when the time comes despite the law.
If he’s right, our system will have failed us if those independent institutions start following his loony lead.
Trump’s new immigration mantra is “our country is full,” which in his mind means we stop accepting immigrants. I guess that also means his Trump Organization can stop building new housing in this country since we are full.
A challenge though is our country is not full in any sense of the word. My generation, baby boomers, are retiring and dying, which lessens the population pool and the employee inventory. We not only have room for immigrants, we need them to keep the country going.
But that would take looking ahead, something this White House seems allergic to. Its temporary inhabitants only see today, not tomorrow. Those who run Trump properties understand as they regularly have used illegal immigrants as waiters and waitresses, cooks and caretakers of his golf resorts. It’s been part of their business model.
Imagine what we will see from President Trump if he should win a second term and no longer has to worry about reelection and, thus, is free(er) to run things as he chooses. Right now, according to reports, he orders his underlings to break the laws and from what we know, that has been mostly resisted.
It goes, too, to the release of his taxes. His Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on the Sunday shows last weekend: “Keep in mind that that’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns, they knew he didn’t and they elected him anyway.”
Which would be a good explanation if it were true.
The facts are that the President said he would release his taxes if they weren’t under audit (a claim that has not been confirmed by anyone) so the voters elected him on the promise of the release of his taxes and for many other reasons, of course.
A piece in the New York Times by Ruchir Sharma makes the case that Trump runs much of his economic policy based on what will keep the stock market healthy. That could be his focus as a New Yorker on the exchange’s reflection of the economy (which it is not completely) or because maybe he is doing his best to focus on the market because of his investments?
We don’t know and won’t unless he releases his taxes, like every other president has done in recent decades.
The fact is, as reported by credible news outlets, the people who work for him have referred to him as “unhinged,” especially as the 2020 elections get closer and he worries about his reelection and his failure to deliver on many of his promises.
Not often the person who depends on you for his or her job calls you “unhinged.”
His acting chief of staff, it’s been reported, defers to Trump’s gut on many important issues, which is one reason he is so far successful in Trump’s eyes. He reinforces the President’s desires and doesn’t often try to stop his gut.
Prior to joining this Administration Mulvaney was a leader of the right-wing Tea Party in the House of Representatives. That’s the crowd that, pre-Trump, wanted to burn down Washington as it exists.
He’s gone from trying to burn it down to just working to blow it up.🔷
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(This piece was originally published on The Screaming Moderate. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)