Although President Trump has been criticized for his job performance, he’s done some of what he promised to do. However, that is not necessarily a good thing.
On the positive side, Trump promised time and again that he was going to drain the swamp in Washington. He has certainly delivered, although his method has been somewhat unorthodox. Rather than taking direct aim at the swamp dwellers, he has lured many of them into his government, let them demonstrate their unsavory character and then banished them from the swamp when they turned radioactive.
A few of the swamp creatures he was able to thusly flush down the drain are General Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, all of whom were more loyal to their pocketbooks than to this country; Ryan Zinke, Tom Price and Scott Pruitt, all of whom enjoyed using public funds for personal benefit; Bill Shine and Rob Porter, both of whom mistreated women; Steve Bannon, a white nationalism fancier; potty-mouth Antony Scaramucci; immigrant bullies Jeff Sessions and John Kelly; and sexual predator coddler Alexander Acosta.
So, there has been good progress on the swamp-cleansing promise. On the other hand, delivering on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act has been more problematic. Despite trying every strategy available to weaken the ACA and drive up its cost, there has been only limited success on this front.
The president fell one vote short of killing the ACA, which would have taken health care coverage away from millions of Americans and done away with the protection it provides to people with pre-existing medical conditions. The president correctly blames that heroic figure, John McCain, for frustrating his plans to create chaos in the health care system.
The courts have also been an obstacle to elimination of the ACA. The Supreme Court saved it twice and a federal appeals court has just blocked a Trump rule that would have allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their workers. Nevertheless, Trump is still working in court to destroy the ACA. We don’t know what might happen if he succeeds because he has yet to unveil the “beautiful” replacement plan he has been promising for the last three years.
Trump has worked hard to keep America white and has become the hero of white nationalists at home and abroad. He gave a nice shout-out to those “very fine people” in Charlottesville who were carrying tiki torches and yelling, “Jews will not replace us.” Those groups have found a favorable atmosphere under his watch.
More recently, Trump has tweeted that Congresswomen of color should go back to the “crime infested places from which they came.” His Tweet went a bit awry because three of his four targets were born in the U.S.
Some people saw this outburst as evidence of racism. Senator Lindsey Graham called the president a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot,” but I’m not sure that counts because it was before Graham underwent bigot conversion therapy. The husband of White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway flat stated in a July 15 op-ed that “Trump is a racist president.”
The president sent a defensive tweet, claiming he did not “have a Racist bone” in his body. It is hard to judge his bone structure, though, because we still don’t know what happened to those bone spurs that kept him home from Vietnam.
On the negative side, Trump recently suffered a defeat by failing to get a citizenship question on the census. Had his entire administration not lied about why it really wanted the question, he might have won that fight. Honesty is the best policy.
Even when he loses on an issue, Trump rarely backs down. If his dogged effort to kill the ACA succeeds, I expect he will be appropriately rewarded at the polls in November of 2020.
Jim Jones is a former Idaho attorney general and a former Idaho Supreme Court chief justice. His previous columns can be found at JJCommonTater.com