Progressives like me tend to say that Trump and the Republicans are not accomplishing anything. I think we need to modify that statement by adding the word “constructive” at the end. Much of what they are “accomplishing” is being done in a semi-news blackout because antics, scandals and other news are dominating coverage. I’d like to take a look at a few instances that occurred in just the last few days. Let’s explore.
The most disgusting act occurred in the House on February 15th and received almost no press because the nation was focused on the school shooting in Florida the day before. That day the House passed HR 620 which gutted parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It passed along mostly party lines with 213 of the 225 Republican members who bothered to show up for work that day voting for it.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s OMB Director, testified before the House Budget Committee on the day of the shooting and in responding to questioning said the President’s military parade would cost between $10 and $30 million. I know estimates are only that, but $20 million on a $10 million base seems like a hell of a spread to me. More importantly, I can think of better uses for that money regardless of amount; how about you?
Speaking of things military, on the day of the shooting Trump’s Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, was accused of wasteful and fraudulent spending by the Inspector General. I’ve lost count but that is at least the fourth Trump Cabinet official to get in trouble for their spending.
Interestingly on the 15th the Trump Inaugural Committee decided to release its long awaited final report. In round figures it has been speculated that about $50 million in donations were unaccounted for. Well, we now know that at least $26 million of that went to Melania Trump’s friend, Stephanie Wolkoff. That is in addition to the legitimate $25 million paid to Hargrove, Inc. for event planning. Ms. Wolkoff’s contribution to the festivities appears to be a bit more of a mystery. (Please note: suspicious payments to friends for mystery services is a favorite method of laundering money in the international money laundering circles Trump is familiar with. Think: organized criminal enterprise. Unlike Tony Soprano, Trump seems to be perfectly comfortable to involving his wife in “business”.)
The above events are an incomplete list from a very limited time period. In a normal administration any of them alone would constitute a major scandal. The Trump administration is far from normal.
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