Sohn: The shame and the hope of Trump's first 100 days

Sohn: The shame and the hope of Trump's first 100 days

April 23rd, 2017 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

To see the growing anger of Americans tired of being betrayed by the GOP, look no further than Georgia, where Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old Democrat and political novice, on Tuesday came within two percentage points of winning outright a congressional seat held by Republicans for four decades.

"This is already a remarkable victory," Ossoff said when it became clear he will face a June runoff with Republican Karen Handel, who received 20 percent of the GOP vote. "We defied the odds, shattered expectations, and now are ready to fight on and win in June."

Though President Donald Trump and Republicans deny it, the Georgia election and another close one in Kansas the week before, scream that Trump and the GOP have a growing trust problem — a staggering debacle for a president not yet through his first 100 days.

But last week, about on day 89 or so, Trump kept up the baloney: "No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days," he said during a braggy, bring-back-my-campaign-glory-days speech in Kenosha, Wis.

Not only is this not reality, it's not even reality TV.

Taking office in the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his administration by declaring a banking holiday to quiet panic. Then he called a special session of Congress and won passage of emergency legislation — 14 historic laws — to stabilize the banking system and set the foundation of the New Deal. Now that was an accomplished 100 days.

Another over-achiever was Trump's immediate predecessor, President Barack Obama, who like FDR came into office facing an economic crisis, the worst since the Depression. Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law in his first month, while also achieving a law expanding health care for children and the Lilly Ledbetter bill on equal pay for women.

Trump, on the other hand, has accomplished nothing. His first attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law exploded on the runway. His attempt to secure the borders with a travel ban from terrorism-prone regions has been blocked by the courts. His promised tax overhaul and infrastructure plans have yet to reach Congress. His nomination of a conservative Supreme Court justice was only successful after the long-standing Senate rules were blown up to allow a 51 percent approval bar rather than the long-held two-thirds vote.

And don't forget his ethics scandals, the multiple Russia probes and a national security adviser forced to resign in just 27 days. Meanwhile, the White House and cabinet limp along with more than 500 normal government appointments still not made.

He has ceded military control to the Pentagon, and given generals carte blanche to send missiles to Syria and our largest non-nuclear bomb to Afghanistan — all without authorization of Congress. What's more, Trump and his administration either blatantly lied or just flatly lost track of a fleet of warships that Trump, two generals and the White House spokesman said were steaming to the Korean Peninsula last weekend when nuclear war threatened. As it turned out, that was a miscue and the fleet was sailing in the opposite direction to a training rendezvous. What was meant to be a powerful deterrent signal to North Korea became a laughing stock, and our allies in the region feel betrayed.

Trump's trade pledges have fallen flat. Our "way, way behind" fellow NATO members aren't in arrears at all: They committed in 2014 that by 2024 they would be spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their military budgets, not hand over money.

Reuters reported last week that stock market questions still hang over the 'reflation' trading that had lifted markets since Trump became president. "A run of disappointing U.S. economic data and doubts the Trump administration will progress with tax cuts have quelled expectations of faster inflation," according to the Reuters analysis. Meanwhile, Trump's continued refusal to release his taxes further jeopardizes his proposed tax code changes. Why should Democrats or even fiscally conservative Republicans cooperate on rewriting the tax code unless they know how revisions would benefit the billionaire president and his family?

No wonder his favorability rating during the honeymoon of his term marks a record low.

And just wait until next week. When day 100 rolls around, he may be explaining why the government he's charged with running has partially shut down since the Congress he lives to polarize seems unlikely to negotiate a spending bill to cover the final five months of the fiscal year.

So in the end, Trump's only real first 100 days' accomplishments may be gutting our environmental and privacy laws by decree and creating governmental chaos.

This brings us back to Jon Ossoff and the 48.1 percent of the vote he won for a congressional seat in GOP-red Georgia.

On Wednesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer refused to give any credence to questions of whether Ossoff's strong showing was a rebuke of Trump.

"They came up short," Spicer said. "Anything short of describing that as a loss is sort of inconceivable to me in the sense that's literally what they said their goal was to do [win outright without a runoff]."

Seriously? What is inconceivable is that any Republican would not see some handwriting on the wall in all of this and be shaking.

Democrats should be encouraged. Cautious, but encouraged.

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