Donald Trump’s campaign mouthpieces today billed his speech in Gettysburg as a “major policy speech,” outlining what he would do in the first 100 days of his presidency. So, what did he begin his speech with? The big wall? The deportation of undocumented immigrants his immigration police are going to round up? A plan to build tariff barriers to punish China? Oh, no. He started by repeating yet again his lie that somehow the election is “rigged” against him and by threatening to sue every woman who has come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.
Trump just can’t help himself. By threatening the women who have come forward, he guarantees that the lead to the story about the so-called policy speech will be, “Donald Trump gave a speech today in Gettysburg where he threatened to sue the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.” It’s my bet that those women could have their pick of excellent, Democratic-leaning lawyers to represent them pro-bono against any lawsuits Trump was foolish enough to initiate. Their first piece of evidence would be Trump’s own admissions to a giggling Billy Bush on that open mike in 2005 that he regularly sexually assaulted women. (Oh, yes, and on the same day as his speech, an eleventh woman came forward with an accusation of unwanted sexual advances.)
If we do look beyond his latest tirade, however, many of the policies he outlined in the speech are both dangerous and extreme. I was most struck by the harshly anti-environmental nature of one major portion of the speech. Trump promised as president to lift all restrictions on the fossil fuel industry, to eliminate all environmental regulation, to build the Keystone pipeline, and to end all money being earmarked for for climate change mitigation. The one good thing about his plans, besides the hopefully-remote possibility of his election at this point, is that congressional action would be required for most of those actions. The bad thing is that if he is elected and Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress, those promises just might be put into action. If there hasn’t been a reason before for young voters to go to the polls and vote for Hillary Clinton, this policy assertion that is straight from the Koch brothers playbook should give them the reason they need. Unless the world acts together to do our best to mitigate the effects of climate change, their generation and their children will suffer most of the consequences.
Trump did modify his promise to build “a wall, a great wall” between the U.S. and Mexico. He said the United States would waste the $80 to $100 billion dollars the ineffective wall would cost, but he promised that Mexico would reimburse the U.S. for the cost. Evidently, he hasn’t thought ahead enough to figure just how he plans to force the Mexican government to do that, unless he’s contemplating a war with Mexico.
Trump also promised to somehow introduce a constitutional amendment to limit the terms of both houses of Congress. That’s impossible for him to achieve. In order to have such an amendment sent to the states, 2/3rds of each house would have to pass it, houses that contain a substantial number of long-serving legislators. He also said he will stop the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, ignoring the fact that the president doesn’t have the power by himself to stop any merger. (I guess this “policy” is the result of his hatred of the media since Time Warner owns CNN.) Trump promised to impose tariffs on corporations that manufacture products in other countries and then import them to the U.S. Well, the president doesn’t impose tariffs, either. That’s the job of Congress.
All in all, this was another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day for Donald Trump, a day when he was supposed to have a reset yet again to display his policies. No matter what his far-right advisors try to use to contain his temperament and lack of good judgment, he manages to confound them. As, a Democrat I enjoy every minute of his discomfort.