Dissecting the Worst First 100 Days of a Presidency
Congratulations to Donald J. Trump. Not since 1933 when they started using this century metric to measure the length and breadth of a newly minted president have we seen more chaos, failure and mayhem in the first 100 days of an administration. This was his aim and now it is his greatest achievement. In other words, this is what the office looks like when it is held by a game show host. Not surprising, but certainly entertaining and exciting and full of the type of lunacy that brings a joy to my black heart and worthy of review.
It would take at least four of these columns to cover this properly. But all of it has to start with the fact that Donald Trump broke a speed record for urinating on the Constitution, a pastime of nearly all of our presidents. The second he lifted his hand off the Bible, Trump was in violation of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 for failing to officially divest himself of his business holdings, which are numerous and international and a major conflict of several interests all at once. Then, before long he would replace his top advisor, an alt-right white supremacist web master, with his son-in-law and daughter, both of whom still represent these businesses and are now considered the most powerful people in the U.S government.
This, of course, would soon pale in comparison to how Trump got the gig, which was under investigation within weeks of his presidency when it was learned that the FBI had been officially examining his campaign since July for colluding with the Russian government to skew the outcome of the U.S election in his favor. We have learned, almost daily, that more people inside the campaign than not had either taken cash from or met with Russian officials under cover. Several are under indictment and one, the friggin’ National Security Advisor, General Michael “Lock Her Up” Flynn, was sacked after 27 days and is most likely going to jail.
Don’t kid yourself; to be the first president to be investigated within the first 100 days by a bipartisan committee in both houses of congress and the highest law officials in the government is a goddamned spectacular feat. And when it looked as though it couldn’t get more sordid, the White House colluded with one of its lead investigators by secretly handing him erroneous information to back an unsubstantiated claim made by the president via Twitter that the former president illegally wire-tapped his private residence. When this ruse went belly up—several sources including his attorney general and the FBI director said no such thing occurred—he blamed one of the United States’ most trusted allies, the British Intelligence community.
Election tampering, colluding with a known enemy of the United States to queer an election, refusal to divest business ties and slander is a pretty daunting criminal record for about four months of governing; all of which has earned Trump the lowest approval ratings of any president in his first months in office. The lowest. Not the bottom five or one of the worst, the worst. Ever.
And for laughs, the president, who issued about two-dozen executive orders as if on a drunken binge (something he mocked the prior president for doing), ordered some kind of bizarre and wholly unconstitutional ban on Muslims from entering the country. When it was struck down in court in about five seconds of argument he issued a second one which was then immediately struck down in court. Both remain there and will do so until some enterprising nut adds an amendment to our Constitution making it legal for the government to discriminate on the basis of religion, which I am rooting for but has zero chance of happening.
But crimes are not the only thing that has stamped this as the absolute worst 100 days in presidential history; save for William Henry Harrison, who summarily dropped dead on day 31.
There was the complete and utter collapse of a seven-year Republican promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Despite owning both houses and the executive branch, they twice failed to even vote on Trump Care, which was viewed by both parties and the majority of the American people as some kind of aborted half-assed Band-Aid on the existing law everyone apparently hates…except they really don’t. In fact, Donald Trump has turned out to be the law’s best advocate, as it has not only grown in popularity in polls but people have come out of the woodwork, à la the TEA Party uprising against it, to decry its doom, consequently spooking members of congress all over the place.
This turned what is usually a honeymoon period wherein the first legislative attempt is always (not sometimes) always achieved into a historically damaging crash and burn. All of it despite the entire Trump staff threatening members of congress (all Republican) with every known political black-opt in the ledger along with the kind of pathetic pleading that has people believing Donald Trump is actually some kind of decent negotiator.
Oh, the deals and winning we expected…oh, the losses we’ve seen.
Trump has also ignored staffing a majority of the state department and other key departments that still at the time of this writing have 2,000 vacancies. And his choices to run pretty significant government agencies have been downright hilarious. Just to name two (I’ll leave off Ben Carson, who begged Trump to not give him a job, because he was incapable of doing it) an EPA Director who tried to sue the EPA several times and the head of the Energy Department who vowed to shut down the department of energy when running for president, but couldn’t recall its name when declaring it. “Oops!” Oh, you know, the same guy said Trump was “a cancer on the Republican Party” during the primaries.
Trump wasted no time declaring war on the American press calling it “the enemy” or “fake news” whenever it pointed out his daily delusions, not the least of which was framing his three-million popular-vote loss in the general election as “massive voter fraud”. Let me stop for a moment and explain that the winner of the election screamed for weeks that the entire electoral process was fraudulent. Oh, and after saying he would have no time to golf once president, Trump has spent more time playing it and used up more taxpayer money in the first four months on travel to do so than eight years of the previous president. He even held nuclear strategy sessions at his own non-classified golf resort called “The Winter White House”. This included the flipping of his already nebulous position on Syria in 24 hours and ordering a bombing raid on a whim over chocolate cake.
For more fun, he compared the U.S. intelligence community to Nazi Germany, joined the Pentagon in lying about Navy war ships speeding to the Korean Peninsula during a contentious week of saber-rattling with a lunatic, defended a talk show host who was eventually fired after millions in payouts for sexual harassment, while several cases against his own sexual harassment are pending. He settled on fraud charges against his bogus Trump University despite promising to fight and win the case and tweets incessantly that every massive protest against his wacky presidency (and there has been hundreds every weekend since his inauguration all over the nation) are funded by the Democratic Party.
He has taken completely opposite positions on issues he vehemently campaigned on like regarding Chinese manipulation of currency and the legitimacy of NATO, which he admitted in print he had no idea about, and reneged on everything listed under Trump’s Contract with America (still on his website) guaranteed to be completed in his first 100 days; Middle Class Tax Relief and Simplification Act, End the Offshoring (tic) Act, American Energy and Infrastructure Act, School Choice and Education Opportunity Act, Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act, Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act, End Illegal Immigration Act, Restoring Community Safety Act, Restoring National Security Act, Clean Up Corruption in Washington Act.
And guess what, folks? Remember the infamous border wall? Mexico ain’t paying for it. Not now or in any fantasy con this guy is whipping up. And if there is a wall, highly doubtful at this or any juncture, you’re paying for it.
To be fair, he did appoint a candidate for the Supreme Court, which was confirmed by the Senate, even though they have blown up the entire rule structure for all time. There’s that.
“Politicians are idiots, they don’t know what they’re doing,” candidate Donald Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail. Now he is president and proving this with tremendous alacrity.
By any standard or metric measuring for the past 80 years this has been one whiz bang, horrifyingly beautiful shit-circus of a presidency.
I cannot wait for the next 1,300.
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James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey”, “Fear No Art”, “Trailing Jesus”, “Midnight For Cinderella” and “Y”. and his new book, “Shout It Out Loud—The Story of KISS’s Destroyer and the Making of an American Icon”.