As President Trump reaches the 100-day mark, the liberal and mainstream criticism is that he hasn’t accomplished much, but that baiting only makes Trump likely to wage more wars and push a more right-wing agenda, says Sam Husseini.
By Sam Husseini
A CNN headline blares before the end of President Trump’s “First 100 Days”: “Trump’s race against the clock to do something.” Similarly, “Democracy Now” headlines a segment: “‘It Has Not Gone Well’: 100 Days of President Trump and No Major Achievements.”
It certainly hasn’t gone well, but Trump has in fact accomplished a great deal. For one, Neil Gorsuch was put on the Supreme Court using “pro-life” rhetoric and has already facilitated death. Gorsuch provided the deciding vote in denying convicted murderer Ledell Lee’s request for a DNA test to prove his innocence because Arkansas’ supply of the execution drug midazolam was nearing its expiration date. Gorsuch’s ascension to the high court basically consolidates rightwing control over all three branches of government.
Trump also has assembled an incredible cabinet of corporate bosses, Wall Street operators and pro-war apparatchiks. And he has adroitly broken the letter and spirit of virtually any positive promises he made to curtail U.S. interventionism and war-making around the world; to take on Wall Street; to up taxes on the wealthy; etc. He appears to be escalating Obama’s war on whistleblowers to a war on publishers by threatening WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
What are euphemistically called “flip flops” are actually betrayals of the interests of most of the people who actually voted for Trump. This is a phenomenal accomplishment for a politician to have managed in his first 100 days in office.
Like Obama before him, Trump has ensured the continued solidification of an oppressive pro-war and pro-Wall Street establishment that runs at odds to the aspirations and interests of much of the U.S. public, to say nothing of the global public. By putting forward the criticism that Trump has “no major achievements,” do alleged opponents of Trump pretend that they are helping prevent further damage by him?
Trump could be carrying out horrific policies but many media outlets would ignore the substance and focus on some dumb Trump comment, such as — stop the presses — the White House misidentified Steven Mnuchin as “commerce secretary” when he’s actually treasury secretary. They should identify Mnuchin as a Goldman Sach insider, foreclosure king, or someone whose net financial worth — estimated at $46 million — is only a fraction of that of Wilbur Ross, the actual commerce secretary, who has $2.5 billion.
This non-criticism of Trump will actually empower him to do more damage. The problem here is quite similar to how George H. W. Bush was depicted early in his administration by liberals: “A wimp.” The sensible media watch group FAIR even ran a piece scrutinizing the Bush administration’s attempts to refashion his public image as a “rough rider.” But this depiction of Bush as “a wimp” was even more consequential: it helped enable his use of military violence, with the invasion of Panama in 1989 and then the first attack on Iraq in 1990-91.
It’s clear that when liberal commentator Van Jones calls Trump “presidential” because the President in an address to Congress exploited the widow of a Special Forces soldier who died in Trump’s first hastily authorized military violence (a botched and bloody raid in Yemen), that the praise increased the likelihood of more violence. (Since then, Trump won widespread media praise for his hasty decision to blame Syria for the chemical-weapons incident at Khan Sheikhoun and — without United Nations or Congressional approval — rain 59 Tomahawk missiles down on Syria, reportedly killing nine civilians, including four children.)
As Trump racks up more “accomplishments” — as he and his cabal of corporate bosses cut deals with House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — the liberal criticism of Trump “not accomplishing anything” will deserve an assist on every one of those “accomplishments.” Mission accomplished?
Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, a consortium of policy analysts, and founder of VotePact.org, which encourages cooperation between principled progressives and conscientious conservatives.