All of Our Fears About Trump Are Coming True

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

President Donald Trump walks off of the stage after speaking at a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota.

Every once in a while, amid the relentless assault on one's psychological well being that is the Donald Trump presidency, it's tempting to say that as bad as things may be, we haven't had an outright catastrophe yet. The nuclear missiles remain in their silos, martial law has not been declared, and the citizenry does not yet lie trembling in their caves as they hide from roving bands of cannibals. So it could certainly be worse.

True as that may be, when you step back to take stock, you soon realize that things are very, very bad. In fact, this presidency is living up to all of our fears.

To see how, let's look at what happened just in the last week, a week that was only slightly more eventful than the typical one since Trump became president. Here are just some of the highlights:

  • According to The Washington Post's Fact Checker, Trump surpassed 5,000 false or misleading public claims made in the 20 months since he took office. In the last week he averaged an astonishing 32 false claims per day.

  • Bob Woodward's book about the Trump administration, Fear, was released. The book chronicles an atmosphere of chaos and backstabbing, in which one Trump aide after another finds themselves gobsmacked by the president's stupidity and ignorance.

  • Eric Trump said Woodward was trying to "make three extra shekels" by writing the book, a remark widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

  • It was reported that the president remains obsessed with finding out which administration official wrote an anonymous New York Times op-ed characterizing him as stupid and ignorant; according to Vanity Fair, one of the only people outside of his family Trump still trusts is the ghoulish Stephen Miller, who shares Trump's contempt for immigrants.

  • Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, a conservative ideologue who promises to push the court to the right, was accused of a sexual assault while in high school. Republicans, who have the votes to confirm him, were unmoved.

  • In Arkansas, 4,300 low-income people lost their health coverage because they were unable to navigate the bureaucratic maze of Medicaid work requirements set up by the state with the Trump administration's enthusiastic approval.

  • The administration cut off humanitarian aid to the Palestinians; the latest program given the axe is one meant to build relationships between Palestinians and Israelis in order to promote understanding and peace.

  • The New York Times reported that the "number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded ... reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017."

  • The Washington Post reported that there is an exodus underway of experienced civil servants choosing to retire or move to the private sector; in few agencies is it being felt more than the EPA, where 1,600 employees have departed and only 400 have been hired to replace them.

  • In the latest in a series of rollbacks to any effort to address climate change, it was reported that the administration "is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere."

  • When Trump arrived at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11 to commemorate the the anniversary and honor the people who died there, he exited the plane and did some fist-pumping and lip-biting, as though he was headed into a Thin Lizzy concert and was totally stoked.

  • Trump called his administration's response to Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, where an estimated 3,000 Americans died as a result of the storm, "an incredible, unsung success." He claimed that only a handful of people actually died, and the larger estimate was invented "by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible."

  • Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, joined Trump's former personal lawyer, Trump's former deputy campaign chairman, and Trump's former national security adviser in pleading guilty to crimes and agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement saying, "This had absolutely nothing to do with the president or his victorious 2016 Presidential campaign. It is totally unrelated."

  • The Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2018 was $895 billion, up $222 billion from the same period a year before. For some reason, Republican predictions that their tax cuts would increase revenue did not come true.

  • Republicans in Congress proposed yet another round of tax cuts for the wealthy.

As I said, this parade of horrors is only some of what happened in the last week. It featured most of what we've come to expect: mismanagement, incompetence, corruption, dishonesty, boorishness, malevolent policy choices, and the undermining of government itself.

It's true that we have not yet had a nuclear war, and some of Trump's campaign promises have yet to be kept, including the centerpiece of his campaign, building a wall between the United States and Mexico paid for by the Mexicans. But whatever your fears were about Donald Trump being president, chances are he has fulfilled them and more. Perhaps it would be better to ask: Is there anything Trump hasn't done that you were afraid he'd do?

He has proven a disastrous manager, and even more corrupt than many imagined. The people he has surrounded himself with are a reflection of the man himself; it would be a shock if many more of them don't wind up with prison sentences. He spends hours every day watching Fox News and rage-tweeting about what he sees there. His administration has attacked civil rights and been particularly vicious to immigrants. He has undermined the political, military, and economic alliances that America spent the last 70 years building.

And on a personal basis, Trump himself has not changed. He's as petty, vindictive, racist, insecure, and childish as he ever was—all that talk about how he would mature in office and become "presidential" has proven absurd. Republicans in Congress, furthermore, have not acted to constrain him; just the opposite, in fact. They vigorously defend his misdeeds and pledge their undying fealty to him. If there was one message from this year's Republican primaries, it's that this is Trump's GOP, and the only question most candidates asked was whether they had been sufficiently devoted to the cult of Trump.

This was just one week in the presidency of Donald Trump; now we begin another, which will likely be just as unspeakable. And there 121 more weeks between now and the end of his term—if he only serves one.

You may also like