By my count, the Trump administration has issued 20 executive orders and memoranda since inauguration day. They have dealt with everything from taking health care away from millions of Americans, to building walls, to banning Muslim immigrants and refugees from seven countries. Those were all things he promised to do during his campaign.
But he also promised to address the concerns of working-class Americans. That was the heart of his so-called “populist” appeal. Since this administration is moving pretty fast on so many of their promises, it might be time to ask the “what have you done for me lately” question.
There are those who would point to the president’s memorandum last week withdrawing the U.S. from the Transpacific Partnership trade agreement as his nod in the direction of American workers. Even if you are prepared to buy the idea that doing so helped them, Trump’s statement merely formalized what was already a reality. It was a totally empty gesture.
On the other hand, many of the president’s executive orders will hurt American workers. For example:
- Destabilizing the health insurance market by taking the first steps to repeal Obamacare
- Creating an opening to remove corporate regulations that protect workers and their families
- Rather than creating jobs, instituting a federal hiring freeze
- Starting the process to spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on a wall that accomplishes nothing
All of that has come down the pike in just the first eleven days. I would propose that the message this administration is sending is that those in power care a lot more about catering to the moneyed-class while fueling white nationalism than they do about helping working-class Americans.
It’s also interesting to pay attention to the promises that haven’t come up in the last week and a half. Other than crowd-pleasing lines about an infrastructure plan, we haven’t heard a peep about actually working on that. And remember how much time Trump spent at his last press conference talking about reining in the evils of big pharma?
We’ve got to get our drug industry back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They’re leaving left and right. They supply our drugs, but they don’t make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry because they’re getting away with murder.
Pharma, pharma has a lot of lobbies and a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power and there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don’t bid properly and we’re going to start bidding and we’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.
Apparently Trump met with some of those pharma lobbyists today. He dropped that promise like a hot potato.
Today, after a meeting with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists and executives, he abandoned that pledge, referring to an idea he supported as recently as three weeks ago as a form of “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” Instead of getting tough, Trump’s new plan is that he’s “going to be lowering taxes” and “getting rid of regulations.”
Personally I’ve never understood how anyone ever bought the idea that Donald Trump would be some kind of populist hero who would do anything to help the working class. When he’s not campaigning for political office, they are the kind of people he considers losers.
In just eleven days Trump and Bannon have shown us where their true interests lie: padding the pockets of the corporate elite and stirring up fear in support of white nationalism.