Donald Trump has made mistakes in his first 100 days, but the root of government ineptness rests with the Republicans in Congress.
All the folks who are trashing the Trump administration for its lack of accomplishment over its first 100 days should take a step back and consider what the accomplishments would be if it was a Democratic, or for that matter any other Republican in the White House.
If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency you can bet that her administration wouldn’t have much to brag about after 100 days. Clinton would have faced a Republican controlled Senate and House that had honed its obstructionist skills over the course of President Barack Obama’s term. Most likely, witch hunt investigations into Clinton emails and other election-related conspiracies would have been the top headlines the past 100 days, but we probably also would have seen more GOP posturing about the debt ceiling and budget talks, and we’d have heard Republicans lament how terrible it is that the government continues to spend more than it brings in. And yes, there probably would already have been a dozen or so of those symbolic Republican votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Had some other Republican won the presidency there would still be congressional stalemates because the GOP, while it has become adept at complaining and obstructing, has in recent years shown no ability to govern responsibly. And it has continued that into the new administration.
Take Donald Trump out of the picture and do you think a President Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or Mike Pence would have been any more successful repealing Obamacare? The answer, of course, is no. The party itself is too split and, despite years and years of condemning the health care law, not one single Republican Senator or Representative has been able to put together a plan that others in the party would buy in to and vote for.
Debate over the future of health care, in all honesty, has consumed much of the first 100 days. And all that it revealed was that Republicans still do not know how to govern. In that toxic environment, no Republican would have been able to pull the party together and successfully repeal Obamacare.
Likewise, just about any Republican president would have nominated a conservative justice to fill the vacancy left open almost a year by Senate Republicans who refused to perform their constitutional duty under Obama. Just about any other Republican president also would be looking for ways to slash funding for people in need and to cut taxes on the rich, just as Trump has done with his proposed budget. Most of the major candidates campaigned on those promises to one degree or another.
Now granted, Trump took things quite a bit further with some of his actions and proposed cuts. Ending money for arts programs or PBS – who advocates killing Big Bird? – saying seniors don’t need to eat and Meals on Wheels is a waste of money, or having federal agents swarm children whose only crime is that their parents brought them to this country illegally (like the kids had a choice) are all a bit of a shock to a nation that traditionally has reached out to help our neighbors in need. But Trump is The Great Negotiator. And the first thing you learn in negotiating school is to ask for a ton more than you want so, when you eventually settle in the middle, you are getting your way over the competition. So his proposals shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise. We’d have seen a lot of the same under any Republican, but any other Republican probably would have started the negotiations more toward the middle and settled for less.
No, about the only thing that makes Trump’s presidency different from how the first 100 days would have shaken out for any other person sitting in the Oval Office is his propensity for exaggeration, and even in some cases outright lies, in his constant effort to feed his fragile ego.
Supporters remain strong, because they like his unorthodox style and the fact that he is shaking things up. Sure, we may all go to bed each night wondering if he will start a nuclear war – something most people under the age of 40 haven’t had to worry about in their lifetime – and we can’t believe anything he says because he changes his mind so often, but policy wise he really isn’t doing much differently than any other Republican who might have been elected, and who likely would have even less to show after 100 days in office.
Trump has his issues, to be sure, but our real problems rest with the ineffectiveness of Congress. Democrats and Republicans share the blame. But now, with Republicans controlling both the Senate and the House, as well as the presidency, the lack of accomplishment is a telling indicator of their collective inability to govern effectively. The lack of any meaningful accomplishment is a staggering display of ineptness for a party that controls the Senate, House and presidency.
Jim Lee is editor for Gatehouse Media Delaware. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.