Almost everything Trump has done since taking office has been a meaningless publicity stunt

Though Steve Miller claims that Trump is "a president who has done more in three weeks than most presidents have done in an entire administration," the reality is that almost everything in his executive orders is either an inflammatory restatement of an existing policy; an unenforceable and meaningless intervention into domains where the administrative branch holds no sway; or (as in the case of the Muslim Ban), is an unconstitutional omnishambles destined to be swiftly undone by the courts.

Trump's deportation raids, for example, have been high profile and designed to sow terror, but Obama deported people at three times the rate Trump is pursuing. His executive order on the Dakota Access Pipeline has no bearing on the matter, which is before the courts and in the Army's hands. The order the build a border wall? Mostly a restatement of Obama's border fence order, which Congress wouldn't fund. The rollback of Dodd-Frank? An order "directing the secretary of the Treasury to review existing regulations and report back on which ones might be refined to achieve better outcomes."

What Trump has done is created a bunch of presidential news-hits, but not much presidenting.

But Miller was dead wrong about this. There is a wide gap, a chasm even, between what the administration has said and what it has done. There have been 45 executive orders or presidential memoranda signed, which may seem like a lot but lags President Barack Obama’s pace. More crucially, with the notable exception of the travel ban, almost none of these orders have mandated much action or clear change of current regulations. So far, Trump has behaved exactly like he has throughout his previous career: He has generated intense attention and sold himself as a man of action while doing little other than promote an image of himself as someone who gets things done.

President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing [Zachary Karabell/Politico]

(via Naked Capitalism)

Notable Replies

  1. Hey, he did sign one piece of legislation! You know, the one that allows for rampant corruption to go unchecked in the energy industry.

  2. The President is very much a figurehead - he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.

    An orange sash is what the President of the Galaxy traditionally wears.

    On those criteria Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the most successful Presidents the Galaxy has ever had. He spent two of his ten Presidential years in prison for fraud. Very very few people realize that the President and the Government have virtually no power at all, and of these very few people only six know whence ultimate political power is wielded. Most of the others secretly believe that the ultimate decision-making process is handled by a computer. They couldn't be more wrong.

  3. What I've been wondering about for awhile is what's his goal here? I mean, most Presidents are former Senators or people whose entire career is about politics and public service; besides the obvious benefit to his own businesses, what's Trump trying to achieve?

    My theory so far is that he wants a legacy. He wants his name in the history books and he wants that chapter to be long and wordy. He doesn't want to just be a failed businessman or a bland politician -- he wants to be remembered as a colorful, loud character that people will remember and talk about for a hundred years. Actually achieving anything is secondary -- what matters is being in the news constantly and making as much noise and mess and chaos as possible.

  4. jlw says:

    Nominated one Supreme Court Justice.

    That may be enough evil that all his other pen strokes won't matter.

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