Good news! Proof you can’t fool all the people all of the time.
A record 65 percent of Americans say they do not approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing in the White House. Six out of 10 Americans say he isn’t honest.
Americans don’t like the inability to focus, the unpresidential tweets, the chaos, the obvious lack of experience and the galling incompetence. They dislike Trump’s evidence-free insistence on blaming others for his self-created problems.
When Syrian leader Bashar Assad this month killed dozens of his own people, including young children, with chemical weapons that Russia assured the Obama administration had been destroyed, did Trump blame Russia, which has been a big supporter and arms-supplier for Syria? No, Trump’s instinct was to blame former President Barack Obama.
Even as the FBI investigates ties the Trump campaign might have had with the Russian government while Vladimir Putin went about undermining American democracy, Trump has been desperately trying to deflect attention to – yes – Obama, despite no proof whatsoever.
“The world is a mess. I inherited a mess,” Trump said Wednesday, promising to “fix it” after seeing pictures of writhing Syrian babies. How? Getting rid of Assad? Establishing a safe zone? War? He said he won’t tell us. “I now have responsibility and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly,” he said.
But while we wait for Trump to learn how complicated foreign policy is and what his options are, Trump will not sit idle. Even as he struggles to switch from campaign to governing mode, Trump is changing the country and world.
For example, he just abruptly cancelled U.S. funds for the United Nations Population Fund, which has supplied millions of women in developing countries with contraceptives. Advocates for women’s and children’s health are reeling, with no idea how they will continue to help women who already have more children than they can care for, especially in the many countries facing drought and war.
Trump is in the process of meeting world leaders. What is inexplicable is that he refuses to warn dictators to stop committing human rights violations that have been documented by the United States and international rights organizations. For example, when he met with Egypt’s president, Trump widely praised the military autocrat who has killed, tortured and jailed thousands of opponents and journalists. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has done a “fantastic job,” Trump said.
One of the first acts of Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency was to revoke the agency’s proposal to ban a pesticide known as chlorpyrifos, made by Dow AgroSciences. EPA scientists had warned the chemical damages children’s brains by interrupting the electrochemical processes that nerves use to communicate with muscles and other nerves. It can adversely affect development, the immune system, reproduction and neurology.
When Trump signed an executive order designed to get rid of dozens of health and safety regulations, he gave his pen to the CEO of DOW chemical, who was standing beside him.
The EPA also is requiring that its employees now tell Washington headquarters about any enforcement actions they plan to take against any company anywhere and get permission. The EPA also is asking businesses what health and safety regulations they think should be repealed. With a one-third cut looming in the agency’s budget, prepare for chaos.
One of the laws Trump has signed gives internet providers the right to sell data based on everything any of us look up online. Why does he not care about our privacy?
And at the start of Sexual Assault Awareness month, Trump defended Fox News’ Bill O'Reilly after it was reported he or the network settled with five women who accused him of sexual harassment for $13 million. “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong,” said Trump, who just knows these things and bragged about sexual assault himself. Nearly two dozen former O'Reilly advertisers disagree.
Nonetheless, 35 percent of Americans continue fooling themselves.
The writer is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.