Donald Trump celebrated his first 100 days in office by offering a tax reform package that will make himself and his family much, much richer. This best defines the ethically challenged, ratings-obsessed former reality TV performer: It’s all about me.
To mark this milestone the White House published a fact-challenged boast that he’s had the most productive first hundred days since FDR. It’s the wrong comparison. Not the man from Hyde Park but Old Tippecanoe.
The only president to have a worse First Hundred Days was William Henry Harrison, who died one month after his inauguration.
Ron Shafer, author of a new book on the ninth president, said, “What Harrison has in common with Trump is that his wife never moved into the White House. Old Tip died before she had time to make the trip from Ohio.”
It’s been a dizzying 100 days with all of Trump’s flip-flops, feuds and failures. His claims of success are alternative facts. And he dismisses real facts as “fake news.”
He’s not been without his achievements. He has the lowest approval ratings in history, has spent more time on the golf course than any other president, has the most chaotic White House in history and he calls it a “well-oiled machine.”
He’s also the first president to enter the office under the cloud of a FBI criminal investigation, the first to refuse to release his tax returns, the quickest to start feuds with leaders of friendly democracies (Australia, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Canada) while warmly embracing autocrats in Turkey, Russia, Egypt and his virtual endorsement of France’s Marine Le Pen.
He decided to bomb Syria while having some “beautiful” chocolate cake at his golf course with the president of China.
Topping his ever-growing enemies lists is unelected judges who have the temerity to uphold the Constitution when Trump tries to trample it. Especially when they’re on an island off in the Pacific, or if their parents were immigrants or their names end in vowels.
It took three tries to get it right about Holocaust remembrance. The first overlooked 6 million Jewish victims; the second said Bashar Assad was worse than Adolph Hitler, and finally on Day 96 he read a well-written speech prepared by others. It’s too early to tell if that is a one off following a campaign littered with anti-Semitic dog whistles, and Trump still has a slew of white supremacists, xenophobes and alt-right conservatives in high posts.
He may have lost 75 percent of the Jewish vote but he won the hearts of right wing Israelis by promising to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, give a green light on settlement building and a red light on peace processing. He did all that right up until he didn’t. He’s since made U-turns on all those, but Bibi Netanyahu and the far right don’t care as long as he’s not a Democrat and not named Obama.
And he can be a loyal friend. When no one else was coming to the defense of another sexual predator, Bill O’Reilly, the groper in chief exonerated him.
The draft dodger with mysterious bone spurs who became commander in chief will be remembered for sending his “armada” in the wrong direction. His brinkmanship and threats to attack North Korean didn’t rattle Pyongyang but they terrified the South Koreans and the Japanese.
Trump undermined the authority and credibility of his own government by appointing agency heads hostile to the mission of their own departments (Justice, Energy, Education, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, and Labor to name a few) and then intentionally under-staffing them so they can’t function properly. That Cabinet of fellow multi-millionaires has a net worth greater than the world’s 70 smallest countries combined, The Boston Globe reported.
And that’s just the first 100 days. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. There’s still 1,361 days to go.