Voters and the media are all too aware of The Donald’s Twitter rants and the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in last year’s election. But while we’ve been distracted by the noise, here’s what Trump and the GOP have been doing in the shadows and away from the spotlight:
They passed and signed a bill overturning an Obama initiative to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing guns.
Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Paris accords on climate change. We are now one of only 3 nations in the world – the others are Syria and Nicaragua – who are not part of the effort. And Nicaragua only refused to sign because they didn’t think the effort went far enough.
The administration has empowered ICE to arrest and deport thousands of undocumented workers, which has resulted in the separation of families and made it difficult for fruit and vegetable growers to find enough help for harvest.
Trump announced the end of DACA for the “Dreamers” who were brought to the US as children. Now the White House is making funding of a border wall a condition for signing a new bill that would allow Dreamers to stay in the US – the only country they know.
Trump pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio who was convicted for criminal contempt of court after refusing to stop racial profiling of Latinos. Arpaio also boasted of running a “concentration camp” for prisoners. Some even died while in custody.
Trump praised the actions of extreme dictators in Russia, Turkey and the Philippines.
Trump refused to denounce Nazis and white supremacists for the violence in Charlottesville while, at the same time, giving them a voice in the administration.
The DOJ announced that it is ending a program to track domestic terrorists.
They dramatically increased defense spending despite audits that have shown extensive waste and a lack of DOD oversight.
They attempted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with parliamentary tricks and no debate – an action that would have drastically cut Medicaid, defunded Planned Parenthood, and denied health care access to tens of millions of Americans.
They cut payments to insurance companies that compensate them for losses created by the pent-up demand for health care of new ACA enrollees.
After Congress failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the administration defunded publicity campaigns for ACA enrollment and shortened the enrollment period in an attempt to reduce participation in the ACA marketplaces.
Trump signed an executive order to further undercut the ACA by allowing insurance companies to offer bare bones plans that will effectively encourage the youngest and healthiest people to leave the program and make it financially impossible for insurance companies to offer affordable coverage to those who most need it, especially those with pre-existing conditions.
Trump cut subsidies to help pay the cost of health insurance for low income Americans.
Trump is also considering incentives for employers to set aside money to help employees pay insurance premiums, a move designed to allow them to end traditional employee insurance benefits.
Congress has thus far failed to extend CHIP, which provides health care to millions of poor children who are not eligible for public assistance.
The House passed a bill which would cut $39 billion from SNAP, the food stamp program for the poor.
The House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks and making doctors vulnerable to prison.
They have packed the court system with young, extreme right-wing, anti-choice judges and justices.
Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by profiting from foreign guests staying in his Washington, DC hotel.
Trump signed an executive order which allows employers to deny contraceptive coverage to employees forcing tens of thousands of women to pay for contraceptives themselves.
The EPA announced it is ending the Obama era clean energy rules which is designed to replace dirty fuels that contribute to climate change.
The EPA and NASA removed all references to climate change from their websites.
The administration increased the number of mining and oil drilling leases on federal lands, which will allow uranium mining in the Grand Canyon watershed.
The administration has refused to protect Walruses under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, the administration is considering delisting Gray Wolves, Grizzly Bears and other species.
Trump has waged a name-calling war against the leader of North Korea, putting us on the precipice of nuclear war. Even if only conventional weapons are involved, millions of people would die on the Korean peninsula.
Trump restored many of the Cold War era restrictions on Cuba.
Trump’s proposed budget would make deep cuts to most government agencies, including Health & Human Services, the EPA, the State Department, the Agriculture Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Institutes of Health, the Commerce Department, the Education Department, HUD, the Department of Transportation, the Department of the Interior and FEMA.
Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate numerous programs, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs that support coastal and marine management. It would cut funding for new transit programs, Amtrak, the UN’s Green Climate Fund, and the Clean Power Plan.
Trump’s proposed budget would make deep cuts to the popular Meals on Wheels program for shut-ins.
Trump has decided to “decertify” the treaty with Iran – an action that will almost certainly accelerate Iran’s nuclear program.
The Interior Department has proposed cutting the number and size of our national monuments.
The administration has proposed opening the Arctic, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to oil drilling.
Congress and the administration have proposed a tax “reform” bill that will give massive cuts to multinational corporations and the wealthy, provide a tax “holiday” for corporations that have stashed billions offshore to evade taxes, and eliminate the Estate Tax which only affects the very wealthy.
If you don’t think all of that is bad enough, consider the fact that the Trump-led GOP also hopes to replace public education with for-profit private schools, to replace our efficient Medicare program with vouchers and to privatize Social Security, effectively ending safety nets for the elderly and the poor. Or consider the millions spent on Trump’s weekly golf outings at his own properties. Or the millions spent on personal trips in private jets by his cabinet members.
This administration and this Congress are quietly doing everything in their power to undermine the health of our nation, our planet and the well-being of its citizens, except the most wealthy and the most powerful. My advice to voters and the media alike: Stop being outraged by Trump’s Twitter rages and start paying attention to the actions that he and his government are taking behind the scenes.