Thursday, April 11, 2019

Trump's Bottomless Presidency

Trump has abdicated his role as leader of the free world and taken the presidency to lows never before thought possible. Trump is at war with reality, anyone with even a casual interest in the facts can easily find themselves in his cross hairs.This man has revoked more the 40 regulations designed to protect the health and safety of Americans.

Although it reads like a belated April Fools joke Trump is apparently about to try to sell himself as an environmental accomplishments. The administration is trying to rebrand the president by touting "success stories" like cleaner air and greenhouse gas emissions. What they will not say is that whatever progress was made on these fronts was due to the work of his predecessor Barack Obama. Nor will they mention that on Trump's watch fossil fuel extraction has increased as have the nation's emissions.

To add to the irony, Trump recently added to long list of gifts he has given to the fossil fuel industry. At the end of March he resurrected TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline by signing a presidential permit that sidesteps the courts. On April 10 Trump signed a couple of EOs that will reportedly restrict states’ ability to oppose fossil fuel pipelines even if it is to protect the health and safety of American citizens.

On April 8 Vanity Fair's Bess Levin summarized Trump's environmental insults as follows:

"he’s pulled out of the Paris climate agreement; loosened regulations on toxic air pollution; announced plans to weaken Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards; encouraged the Interior Department to approve coal mining on federal land; and moved to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan with “regulations” that would turn the planet into a polluter’s paradise and kill up to 1,400 Americans a year."

Trump has not concealed his contempt for science, he and his administration have purged scientists and buried research. The White House is even setting up a panel to whitewash the scientific consensus on climate change. Trump is so bad that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin recently trolled him as a climate denier.

It is hard to know what Trump is going to do next because he has no policy agenda. It would appear that ruling from his gut precludes a coherent strategy (who knew).  It would be generous to describe the Trump presidency as an ideological anomaly. A more honest assessment reveals a confusing maelstrom of opportunistic addenda.

Trump cannot be described as a traditional conservative in fact he has repeatedly acted in ways that contradict the right's core convictions. His trillion dollar deficit is antithetical to the fiscal responsibility that lies at the heart of conservative lore.

The one thing that Trump has made clear is that he has an anti-globalization agenda. His disdain for global bureaucracies is shrouded in the pretext of protecting American sovereignty.  Trump rejects multilateralism and he has undermined venerable international institutions at every turn.

Trump does not want to be beholden to treaty obligations that force him to defend his allies. He does not want to honor global agreements like the Paris Climate accord nor does he respect the authority of the International Court. 

Trump refuses to support global economic trends even if they represent multi-trillion dollar opportunities.  Despite the tremendous opportunity associated with energy efficiency Trump has adopted a policy of energy inefficiency and his energy agenda is as insane as his presidency. It is the understatement of the year to say that Trump has been an impediment to sustainability

Trump's failure to invest in climate resilient infrastructure degrades the nation's economy as do his tax cuts

The Trump administration wants to appear strong but as evidenced by the response to his comments at the UN, he is a laughing stock. Worse still his trade wars, disdain for science and failure to incentivize the green economy are making the US less competitive every month he is in office.

The latest attempt to try to convince the American public that he cares about the environment is about as cynical and dishonest as it gets. There is no bottom for this president. Every time we think he could not possible get worse he manages to descend to new lows.

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