A popular comment among Republicans I know is: “I don’t like Trump as a person and I don’t like the way he talks, but he did great things for our country.”
It’s a way of absolving themselves from aligning with a horrible human being and still feel good about supporting that horrible human being.
So, the question is- what is the Trump legacy? What did he do that is worth overlooking his hideous personality?
He failed miserably in the final act of his presidency with the Coronavirus. He provided no workplace guidelines and jeopardized worker’s health. He declined emergency standards as the virus spread, out of control, causing worker shortages, supply chain breakdowns, and ultimately reversed an economic upswing.
He supported fraudulent colleges (like his own) and curbed relief for defrauded students.
He shrank the food safety net and scaled back $60 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for low income families. 755,000 desperate families lost access to needed food.
He weakened rules for overtime pay for millions of workers putting in longer hours.
He rolled back regulations on dangerous methane emissions and drastically minimized America’s role on reducing greenhouse gasses. Even oil companies like Shell and BP spoke out against Trump’s draconian cuts.
His tax cuts led to huge deficits and ultimately did little to help working class families, while significantly extending the income divide with huge tax cuts for the wealthy.
He rescinded rules to protect workers from sexual harassment.
He ended many restrictions and regulations to control auto emissions, and increased greenhouse gas impact on the environment.
His positions on immigration fanned a new high of xenophobia and racism and he even cracked down on legal immigrants in his fear-fueled rhetoric against illegal immigrants.
He blew up bipartisan deals to regulate toxic chemicals and has exposed America’s drinking water to fewer protections.
He rolled back rules on banks designed to protect us from another great recession.
As egregious as any Trump policy is what many Republicans call just questionable personality traits, and it is the fact that he criminally lies, cheats, belittles, insults, attacks, boasts, and brags from his malignantly narcissistic perch. He routinely diminished the world’s perception of America as a land of justice, tolerance, and freedom for all.
His most impactful move could be packing the Supreme Court with activist judges who have systematically reduced women’s rights and civil protections.
Trump’s legacy? Bad for public health, bad for workers, bad for the environment, bad for the poor, bad for foreign relations, bad for the environment, bad for civil rights. From where I sit, it is a tale of self-serving, faux-patriotism following a false, fairytale narrative written by privileged forebears. Too harsh? I don’t think I’ve gone far enough. He lowered the bar for what an American and America should be.
AND he has a hideous personality.