It’s only four days in to the new administration, but President Trump has already proved that we have our work cut out for us if we’re going to get through the next four years. Here’s the summary of just a few of his actions in ONLY the first few days, a summary which makes it clear that the working people who voted for him have been conned:
Trump Screws Home Buyers
- One of his first actions was to block an Obama initiative which would have reduced the cost of mortgages for home buyers. Right out the gate, Trump’s very top priority was to screw over middle class buyers.
Veterans and Federal Workers
- Trump issued an immediate freeze on all pay, benefits, plus hiring, for the federal workforce — which is 31% veterans. It’s unclear if this freeze extends to VA. (Update:Apparently the freeze does also stop hiring doctors, techs, other support at VA and DoD .)
More Voting Rights Restrictions?
- Trump met with Congressional leaders yesterday. Among other things, he claimed that he actually won the popular vote, but that somewhere between three and give million illegal votes were cast. This is a baseless claim. If he really believes that, why hasn’t he ordered an investigation? I’ll tell you why. Because this will be the primary talking point in the next two years as Republicans try to cram more voting restrictions down our throats. I think you can reasonable expect no investigation, but that the numbers will quietly make their way into Republican discourse all over the country.
Combatting Chinese Conspiracies (or destroying the environment)
- EPA has frozen all research grants, effective immediately. Further, the EPA staff was ordered not to discuss the halt in grant spending or risk being fired.
- An upcoming conference hosted by the Centers for Disease Control on Climate Change and Health was abruptly cancelled with no reason given. But we know the reason. Because climate change is a Chinese hoax
- Today, Trump is signing executive orders reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
everybody wealthy people white men only)
- As expected, Trump moved quickly to attack the Affordable Care Act. What’s interesting is that after all the months of saying that what replaces will be “something terrific” and that “everybody” will be covered, his first order merely told the federal government to stop acting on the existing law. How the different agencies will interpret that is a big unknown, but in the next quarter the insurance companies will set out their rates for the next year, and you can bet uncertainty will play a part in how they set those rates.
- The new president also signed an order which has flipped back and forth with each flip in party since Reagan, blocking overseas agencies from receiving federal funding if they provide or advise people about abortion. Note that this isn’t the federal government funding abortions — it’s any entity which even talks about them. Among other things, that likely means that U.S. servicemembers who get pregnant will no longer be able to go to their own health care providers.
Competition with North Korea
- In a move which would have been in character for Kim Jong Un, the President signed a proclamation in his first minutes in office which declared that January 20, 2017 would forever more be known as the National Day of Patriotic Devotion. Seriously. Here’s the proclamation. For comparison, USA today describes the sorts of proclamations issued on inauguration day by his predecessors.
Freedom of the Press
- Before even 24 hours had passed from the inauguration, (oh, oops, I forgot… the National Day of Patriotic Devotion) the White House attacked the media in a bizarre press briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who claimed, wrongly, that it was the biggest, best, most attended inauguration EVER. And, if the press didn’t report on it correctly, they would be held accountable.
- Update 12:45 PM. Just saw this. Voice of America — government funded, but always independently operated previously, just got a chill down its spine with a visit from Trump staffers critical of coverage and tweets from the news agency. This is after Congress already eliminated the board of directors which kept the agency independent.
More Science attacks? (updated at 12:45 PM):
USDA scientists have been notified in a memo that they are no longer authorized to share data with the public or other scientists. Undoubtedly this is only the opening salvo against scientific research of all kinds under the new administration.