By Annabelle Bamforth | The Free Thought Project
President Donald Trump has hit his 100-day mark as commander in chief. While Trump has made good on some of his promises such as making adjustments to government agencies, creating a coalition to combat the opioid crisis, and making sweeping changes to the federal tax code, he made a plethora of campaign declarations and pledges that he has either abandoned — in a most hypocritical fashion — or is unable to fulfill.
Rand Paul warned that Trump was a chameleon in 2015 and cautioned that he was a “consummate insider.” As many of Trump’s former supporters have learned, he was right. Some of the pledges since dismissed by Trump were the very reasons why many voters ultimately chose Trump over Hillary Clinton or a third-party candidate.
1. The United States Healthcare System
Trump told voters numerous times that Obamacare must be repealed. Many conservative-leaning independents chose Trump because he had promised to repeal and replace Obamacare.
When the GOP’s “Ryancare” proposal was released, voters were surprised to find that Trump was urging Americans to embrace a plan that maintained most of the regulations, penalties, and benefits to special interests abhorred by Republicans, as well as the individual mandate. Trump even criticized RyanCare’s detractors when the House Freedom Caucus held strongly to their opposition of the bill.
2. Foreign Policy
Trump has never claimed to be an anti-war candidate, but he made some clear statements about foreign policy before and during his campaign. He criticized The United States in its role during the Iraq War and claimed after the election that “we will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with.”
In April, his administration went on to launch airstrikes on a Syrian airbase following a sarin gas attack that Trump declared was the doing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Trump is well-known for being vocally critical of the Obama administration’s launching of airstrikes in Syria in response to a sarin attack, attributed to the Assad regime, back in 2013.
3. “Draining the swamp”
The phrase “drain the swamp” became a battle cry of Trump supporters during his campaign. During his Inaugural Address, Trump indicated big changes for a new administration, saying that “today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People. For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.”
Trump hit hard against Wall Street during the campaign but brought Goldman Sachs insiders into the Treasury Department. He appointed ExxonMobil executive Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. He acknowledged to CBS that his transition team was full of lobbyists and indicated his acceptance of this because “that’s the only people you have down there.”
Prior to being elected, Trump also stated that he loved WikiLeaks. However, like the rest of the ‘swamp’, Trump now wants to see Julian Assange behind bars.
4. Education Reform
Trump has repeatedly called to end Common Core during his campaign and more recently, this month. However, he failed to explain to the public that he cannot simply end the CC standards at the federal level.
He issued an executive order this week seeking to halt “top-down mandates that take away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents,” according to Education Department official Rob Goad. While his administration is welcome to advocate for local control of schools, Common Core is not federal law and it’s up to states to decide whether to continue to implement the standards.
5. “Getting rid of ISIS”
While Trump rebuked regime change in Syria and was clear that his focus would be primarily on weakening the power of the Islamic State, his policies largely follow those of his predecessor.
The Trump administration launched airstrikes in Syria nearly immediately following a chemical attack that Trump was convinced had come from the Assad regime. This move did nothing but strain relations between the United States and Syria and has further aided ISIS. As Ron Paul pointed out, “Who benefits from the US attack on Syria? ISIS, which immediately after the attack began a ground offensive.”
6. Medical Cannabis and States’ Rights
Donald Trump often spoke obscurely about his position on marijuana, but was at least warm to the idea of states being able to decide on its legalization and regulation. As a private citizen, Trump actually wanted to end the drug war, but as a candidate he softened that position and said that “I think medical should happen— right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”
He then went on to appoint Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, who is staunchly opposed to marijuana even medically, including as a secondary option for patients who might otherwise use opiates. Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted that states that have legalized cannabis are likely to “see greater enforcement” of federal law.
7. Eliminating the National Debt
Trump claimed that he would be able to balance the federal budget within eight years. He’s not the first presidential candidate to make this claim, and the debt is so large that any actions taken in his administration thus far would show little effect at this time. However, Trump’s goal is not based in reality according to one of his own appointees.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s appointed director of Office Of Management and Budget, explained that “It’s fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole. I’m not going to be able to pay off $20 trillion worth of debt in four years. I’d be being dishonest with you if I said that I could. The reason the president doesn’t want to change some of the mandatory spending is because the public’s not ready for it yet. They’re ready for economic growth.”
8. Ousting Fed Chair Yellen
Trump as a candidate was quite critical of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as well as the Reserve itself. He told CNBC in May 2016 that he would probably replace her at the end of her term in 2018.
In September 2016, he accused Yellen of orchestrating a “false stock market” with artificially low interest rates and said she should be “ashamed of herself.” Speaking to the Wall Street Journal last week, Trump was asked if Yellen would be “toast” at the end of her term, to which Trump replied, “No, not toast. You know, I like her, I respect her.” He added that “I do like the low interest rate policy.”
9. Prosecuting Hillary Clinton
As unlikely as this scenario would be in reality, yards across America bore “Lock Her Up” signs in reference to Trump’s political nemesis Hillary Clinton and her infamous private email server in addition to the Benghazi scandal.
In October 2016, he told Clinton that “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there’s never been so many lies, so much deception.”
Former federal prosecutor Peter Seidenberg noted after Trump backed off on that vow in November 2016 that prosecuting Clinton was an issue that the president wasn’t authorized to take on himself and would be up to an independently-acting attorney general.
Also, in her first interview since her defeat in the presidential election by Trump, Clinton called on the United States to bomb Syria. Only hours later, in lock step with his formal alleged ‘rival,’ Trump sent 59 Tomahawk missiles hurling into Al-Shayrat air base in Homs, using two US Navy destroyers.
10. Building “the wall”
One of Trumps’ most famous and gargantuan promises to the public was that he would build a physical wall along the border of Mexico and the United States and that Mexico would foot the bill.
Following the election, that initiative has fallen apart and repeated attempts to keep the project alive have stalled. The $12 billion price tag has now nearly doubled to an estimated $21 billion, and Trump has since shifted his strategy to asking Congress to appropriate the initial funding and promising that Mexico will reimburse sometime in the future.
However, Mexico has never indicated willingness to pay for it, and Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray declared this week that “the wall is not part of any bilateral discussion nor should it be.” He also said that “under no scenario, will we contribute economically to any action of this kind.” Despite Videgaray’s explicit wording, Trump insisted via Twitter on Tuesday that “Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.”
As the Glen Greenwald notes, Trump has pulled the wool over the eyes of his supporters and immersed himself in with the deep state — using war is his cover.
In the last two months, Trump has ordered a commando raid in Yemen that has massacred children and dozens of innocent people, bombed Mosul and killed scores of civilians, and bombed a mosque near Aleppo that killed dozens. During the campaign, he vowed to murder the family members of alleged terrorists. He shut America’s doors to Syrian refugees, and is deporting people who have lived in the U.S. since childhood despite committing no crimes.
Given all that, could Americans possibly believe him when he says that he is motivated by humanitarianism – deep-seated anger over seeing Syrian children harmed – in bombing Syria? Yes, they could, and they are.