Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 4, 2019
If we can set aside the indignity of hearing Donald Trump dishing dirt on those who patriotically risked their careers to testify about Trump running afoul of the Constitution, we return inevitably to Trump’s view of actual governing — you know, the substance of his job.
Over the weekend, Trump once again threatened California for being the site of wildfires as the dry season grows into most of the year under Climate Change.
Trump’s response as empathizer-in-chief: He Is threatening to cut off further federal aid to the state, announcing by tweet, naturally, that the state is failing to clean and rake forest floors.
As it happens, many of the fires in California this year are in non-forest areas as in forested areas. The area around the Getty Museum is not a forest, it is in the Los Angeles city limits. The area around Sylmar above Los Angeles is suburban. The areas around Healdsburg in the north are in the Napa Valley.
Even with his magic Sharpie pen, Trump might look at a map to see that this is not simply a replay of last year’s disastrous fires around Paradise. And that even then, raking forest floors clean of any brush has nothing to do with fighting wildfires fueled by Santa Ana winds of up to 90 miles per hour.
He chooses to twist words he heard from the leader of Finland, which is in a different northern climate zone, about the need to clean forests to help keep fires down. But then, that might require knowing something about forests, or fires, or wind, or the map. It might require actually taking in information.
Instead, we are treated, once again, to Trump’s idea of governing only half the country that voted in majority for him. Government to Trump is an opportunity — an opportunity to punish perceived enemies and to line his own pockets.
This is the same president who cannot nominate permanent heads of government departments, at least in part to avoid Senate review of their qualifications, and in part to keep department heads from having too much to say about the heart of government policy. He’d rather fight with California about setting mileage standards than actually set mileage standards.
This is the same president who doesn’t see regulation as needed to oversee businesses like Boeing, or to ensure safety from an ever-spreading number of guns on the streets. This is the same guy who ignores Science, economic analysis by the Fed, and the needs of health care.
Indeed, this is the same president who is governing by issuing executive orders rather than seeking legislation, the exact criticism that he had leveled against predecessor Barack Obama.
In fact, he has issued at least 130 executive orders on issues broad and narrow, nearly all with language so vague as to be directional but not useful in establishing actual governmental rules.
Trump made it a point on the campaign trail to deride Obama’s use of executive orders, saying “the country wasn’t based” on them and that Obama’s executive orders were “a basic disaster,” since he couldn’t “even get along with the Democrats.”
These executive orders and declarations in an attempt to push through some of his biggest campaign promises, like authorizing a border wall, securing its funding and banning travelers to the U.S. from predominantly Muslim countries. He’s also heavily used them to impose sanctions.
Set aside the Ukraine matters for a moment. We ought to be removing Trump from office because he can’t do the job.