The Atlantic, a publication that wouldn’t know unbiased journalism if it bit them in the a$$…published what appears to be a reluctant piece on President Trump’s outstanding accomplishments during his first 6 months in office. Most of the people reading this piece by The Atlantic are fans of their writing because they’ve bought into the progressive, anti-American sentiment they were fed like crack cocaine in college. Almost like the patch that smokers wear to help them get through the withdrawal of nicotine while going through a cessation program, The Atlantic provides their readers with enough anti-Trump propaganda to keep them in business, while acting like a support group for their readers, who fear every anti-American piece of legislation Barack Obama worked so hard to implement, is all unraveling, thanks to this guy who “foolishly” wants “Make America Great Again”. Of course, in the eyes of The Atlantic reader, America was never great to begin with.
The parts where The Atlantic talks about President Trump’s accomplishments are italicized and the comments the writer makes to counter Trump’s successes have been highlighted.
The Atlantic starts out the article by giving credit to Trump’s “shadow government”, as somehow being responsible for his amazing successes in his first 6 months. According to The Atlantic, the “actual government” is the fake news stories and the obsession with negative chatter surrounding Trump’s presidency, while President Trump’s accomplishments have been hidden in the “shadows”.
The Atlantic – Imagine, if you will, that there is a shadow government.
The actual government, the administration of Donald Trump, is coming off the worst week of his presidency, although there haven’t been any smooth weeks. Trump’s top legislative priority, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, seems dead for the moment. (Tax reform? Forget it.) His administration has set a new standard for chaos and dysfunction, rolling through staffers the way other administrations run through, well, legislative initiatives. Trump’s foreign policy remains inchoate and ineffective. Meanwhile, a special counsel investigation looms over the entire administration, threatening both its legitimacy and legal jeopardy for some of its members.
Things are going considerably better for the shadow government. With the Trump administration’s chaos sucking up all the attention, it’s been able to move forward on a range of its priorities, which tend to be more focused on regulatory matters anyway. It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects. It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come.
…let’s consider the Trump administration’s accomplishments. Spoiler alert: like climate change, they’re real.
One of the two biggest victories has come on border security, which was one of Trump’s top campaign priorities. Border crossings have already plummeted, suggesting that rhetoric making it clear to immigrants that they are not welcome is effective in its own right. Customs and Border Protections report that apprehensions of unauthorized people are down nearly 20 percent from the same time in 2016. (Trump continues to radically exaggerate these figures, though.) This decline has occurred despite Trump being foiled on his actual policy proposals at the border. Construction hasn’t begun on his border wall yet, and federal courts have repeatedly smacked down his Muslim travel ban.
That said, he did get one good result in courts—and that points to a second area of success. The Supreme Court allowed parts of the travel ban to go forward, in a victory that would not have happened without Neil Gorsuch on the court, filling a seat that under all previous customs would have been filled by Barack Obama’s appointee Merrick Garland. Given his legislative struggles, the most enduring Trump victories are likely to come in the judicial branch.
Trump may get to appoint several more justices to the high court. And in the meantime, he’s filling up lower courts with lifetime appointees. As the veteran Democratic official Ron Klain wrote recently, “A massive transformation is underway in how our fundamental rights are defined by the federal judiciary. For while President Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers.”
There are the quiet, far-reaching changes. Getting back to Pruitt, the environment is one of the places where the Trump administration has had its largest impact. The most prominent move was Trump’s June 1 announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate accord. But the EPA is moving on other fronts as well. It’s working to dismantle Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a signature policy aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. In June, following a February executive order from Trump, the EPA began the process of rescinding the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which aimed at protecting smaller bodies of water and streams in the same way that larger ones had been. In December, in the closing weeks of his administration, Obama banned drilling in the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic Ocean; the Trump administration promptly set about undoing that ban. (How interested oil companies will be remains to be seen.)
The New York Times found in June that Pruitt’s EPA “has moved to undo, delay or otherwise block more than 30 environmental rules, a regulatory rollback larger in scope than any other over so short a time in the agency’s 47-year history.” And it might have done more if not for constraints imposed by judges. EPA tried to abandon an Obama-era rule on methane emissions, but a court on Monday forced it to continue enforcing the rule.
Other agencies are also in on the environmental deregulation act. The State Department reversed an Obama-era decision, clearing the way for the Keystone XL pipeline to begin construction. The Interior Department is considering reversing a rule on fracking on public lands, and might also reverse some equipment regulations on offshore drilling equipment implemented after the 2010 Gulf oil spill. The department has rolled back a ban on coal mining on public lands.
Although the Justice Department had staunchly opposed a Texas voting law that has repeatedly been smacked down by courts as discriminatory, Sessions switched the department’s position, and it has now told courts the law ought to be allowed to remain. The attorney general has also sought to cut off funding to so-called sanctuary cities, though his legal authority to do so is disputed.
Curiously, since he campaigned as an atypically LGBT-friendly Republican, Trump has also made a range of changes on gay issues. Last week alone, the Justice Department announced that sexual orientation was not covered by Section VII, and the president said that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the military. The administration has also rejected Obama-era protections for transgender students.