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Friday, April 28, 2017

What Has Trump Accomplished?

Look! I did one thing!

Ticking down to Trump's hundredth day in office, Michael Grunwald tells us about what Trump actually has -- and hasn't -- gotten done during his tenure:

The indelible takeaway from those first 100 days is that Trump’s assault on political norms has continued. In fact, he has violated Washington norms so casually and constantly that his norm-breaking is becoming normalized. That shattering of protocol and expectations may turn out to be more consequential than any of his massive policy
promises or modest policy achievements to date.
Some of Trump’s he-did-what? provocations have been consequential in their own right, like his explosive accusation that President Barack Obama wiretapped him, which he refused to retract even after it was debunked, or his conspiracy theory about 3 million illegal voters, which many see as a prelude to a push to restrict voting rights. He’s flouted democratic norms with banana-republic attacks on journalists, judges, protesters, the Congressional Budget Office and other critics beyond his control. He’s flouted anti-corruption norms by refusing to divest his business empire, spending almost every weekend at his own clubs, and making little apparent effort to avoid conflicts of interest. He’s defied the Washington hypocrisy police with incredibly brazen flip-flops on Syria, Medicaid cuts, China, NATO, Goldman Sachs and the nefariousness of presidential golf. And even though he had no experience in government, he’s shocked Washington by surrounding himself with aides with no experience in government: his son-in-law, his daughter, the former head of a right-wing website and a Goldman executive.
What’s also shocking is what’s no longer shocking, like the president getting his news from "Fox & Friends," or calling the Senate minority leader a “clown,” or obsessively trashing Hillary Clinton months after he beat her, or congratulating Turkey’s leader for rolling back democratic rules, or repeatedly threatening to let the individual health insurance market collapse to score political points, or suggesting his speech to Congress was the best speech ever given to Congress, or appearing to suggest he thinks his “good friend” Luciano Pavarotti and even Frederick Douglass are still alive. Trump’s Twitter feed is a through-the-looking-glass jumble of baseless allegations, over-the-top boasts and all-caps reactions to whatever he just saw on TV. Even more amazing: Trump’s national security adviser was fired after just three weeks in office for lying about his contacts with Russia, and his White House aides apparently helped engineer a charade where the House Intelligence chairman pretended to uncover evidence supporting the president’s impulsive wiretapping tweets. The thing is, whenever there’s amazing news, new amazements soon overshadow it, and the national conversation moves along.
The point is that the unprecedented is becoming commonplace. Imagine how the media would have reacted if Obama had signed a party-line bill to let oil companies hide their payments to foreign governments, or if his spokeswoman had urged Americans to buy products from his daughter. Imagine how Fox News would have reacted if Obama’s White House had released (and defended!) a Holocaust remembrance statement that didn’t mention Jews, or if his wife had decided to live in Manhattan instead of the White House. In the Trump era, it all blends into Trump-being-Trump background noise. We barely notice when he promises to negotiate bilateral trade deals with European countries that are legally prohibited from negotiating bilateral trade deals, or when his administration puts out a press release consisting entirely of administration officials praising him. It wasn’t a big story when Trump’s nominees for Army secretary, Navy secretary and deputy commerce secretary withdrew because they couldn’t unwind their financial conflicts, even though their would-be boss didn’t even try to unwind his. Remember his trash talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings at the National Prayer Breakfast? Did his White House really accuse the British of spying on him, too? The bar for surprise rises every day.

It's a very detailed piece, documenting Trump's major moves, their immediate impact, and their potential long-term significance. It also has cool charts :)

Long read, but worth it. Read the whole thing here.

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