We Never Trumpers Tried to Warn You
Everything we feared a Trump presidency would mean is happening, and fast.
Donald Trump’s presidency is nearly 100 days old, and it feels more like 1,000.
Watching him preside over the United States for 100 days is akin to dealing with a newborn baby for three months. The late nights, unpredictability, the constant need for attention, the crying—it’s an eerie parallel. More importantly, if Trump’s first three months and change in office are an indicator of what’s to come, it provides a measure of satisfaction to those of us who warned this would happen.
The “Never Trump” Republicans were united by a pledge never to support his candidacy—one that was based on his behavior, his past, and our deep fears about that he would do if ever occupied the Oval Office. Those fears are now playing out.
More than once, we thought voters might come to their senses, and somebody like Marco Rubio or even Ted Cruz would start winning primary races. The Trump Train chugged along, racking up win after win until it was only Trump and Cruz with Ohio Governor John Kasich following along like a small yapping dog suffering from separation anxiety. The Trump fan base, who managed over a period of months to morph from supporters into cult-like followers, slammed the Never-Trump movement at every opportunity, reveling in their short-sightedness so they could point and cackle, “Haha! You loser Never-Trumpers got it wrong!”
It is true that we whistled past the graveyard on Trump being the nominee and nearly every prognosticator outside the circle of Trump got it wrong on the general election results. That said, the same people who paid off their Vegas bookies after losing those bets are currently sitting back thinking, “We warned you this would happen.”
“This” being his train wreck of an administration through the first 100 days.
We tried to warn you—that Trump’s impetuousness and penchant for believing outlandish stories, his inability to deal with criticism, his long-time past as a Democrat and his absurd promises would come back to haunt the very people who thought his face would one day adorn Mt. Rushmore.
Start with the Mexican border wall. Building a wall along the border of Mexico from California to Texas was a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign. Trump’s overstated reputation as a “brilliant” businessman doesn’t diminish his marketing skills. Illegal immigration gets highlighted as a problem during times of economic uncertainty and is an easy target when manufacturers go through downsizing. Donald Trump seized on these issues as well as Republican criticism directed at Barack Obama for his immigration policies. He launched his campaign on the back of illegal immigration, and throughout his campaign, he promised to build a wall and promised to make Mexico pay for the construction. Trump led chants at his rallies like a Pop Warner football coach, imploring the crowds to shout who was going to pay for the wall and they loudly cheered, “Mexico!” It was a laughable promise, and just recently, we’ve arrived at the zenith of its absurdity: The Trump administration threatening—and then backing away from that threat—to shut down the government because Democrats promise to block funding for the construction of the wall Trump promised would be paid for by Mexico. Dizzy yet?
On March 4, Donald Trump “shockingly” tweeted an accusation that Barack Obama tapped his phones inside of Trump Tower in the heat of a presidential campaign. His outrageous charge came with zero proof and set off a chain of events that included enlisting the help of Devin Nunes as a stooge to help “prove” the President correct. The effort was a bigger flop than Gigli, with Nunes having to recuse himself from the House investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
Trump’s accusation, crazy as it may have been, was “shocking” only to those who hadn’t paid attention to him since 2011. His political ascension relied almost entirely on his support of the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was born not in Hawaii, but in Kenya, thereby making him ineligible for the Presidency.
During the campaign, Trump trafficking in a bevy of “fake news” including the claim he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating on the streets of Jersey City as the towers fell on 9/11. He happily repeated the ridiculous claim Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, was involved with John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Also, he floated the idea a man who rushed the stage one of his rallies had ties to ISIS, justifying the claim on “Meet The Press” by explaining “all I know is what’s on the internet.” He’s carried on with this behavior for years, so there is no expectation it will end with his foolish wire-tapping tweets.
On the legislative front, Donald Trump dealt his supporters the equivalent of a 2-7 offsuit hand in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em poker. Along with the border wall, Trump promised the immediate repeal of Obamacare with a replacement covering “everybody.” When the CBO released their findings showing tens of millions losing their coverage, the media (rightly) criticized the President for failing to provide a plan that matched his constant promises on the campaign trail. Many Republicans who for seven years pledged to repeal Obamacare wouldn’t abide by the “Obamacare lite” bill the GOP leadership floated, backed by Trump. Trump’s response was to publicly attack the House Freedom Caucus, the very type of conservatives people warned Trump would abandon once in office. Now, he’s got a “Trumpcare lite” bill that the Freedom Caucus is behind but that still looks DOA in the Senate if it can manage to limp out of the HOuse.
Trump’s failure to lead the GOP to the repeal and replacement of Obamacare is likely going to push any attempts at tax reform back to later this year at the very least. Tax reform hinged partly on repealing taxation provisions within Obamacare as a starting point. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has rolled out his “plan” for cutting taxes, one that mostly echoes Trump’s campaign rhetoric, devoid of the details that would make it much more than a way to show “progress” in his first 100 days. A hallmark of the Trump administration since January 20th is claiming “progress” with no plan to actually have those plans progress.
Trump’s failures may come with a hefty price tag for the Republican Party. Thanks to his approval numbers being in the toilet, he’s dragging GOP leaders in Congress down with him. Two special elections in Kansas and Georgia didn’t portend to show the strength of the anti-Trump movement so much as it revealed a lack of enthusiasm on the part of Republican voters to get out and support their party, with Trump as the defacto leader.
Trump won, but “'Never Trump” was right in predicting the mess we’re currently witnessing, and the damage Trump is doing to the GOP brand. All of it after a mere 100 days. Just imagine how much damage this baby will be capable of by the time he turns four.