One year ago, Republican Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest, defying the expectations of just about everyone who’d been paying attention. Los Angeles Times Opinion asked liberals, moderates and conservatives, political observers and politicians to consider What Happened (also the title of Clinton’s latest memoir) and reflect on the nature of the Trump presidency to date.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump made it crystal clear that he did not possess the temperament, acumen or values required to effectively lead our democracy.
After his election, many believed he would “pivot.” But we’ve seen over the last few months that Trump will never be presidential. He is dividing the people of this country and he has no respect for government or the Constitution.
It’s not only Trump’s flawed character that concerns me, but his potential to implement policies that could harm so many in this country.
Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in what appeared to be obstruction of justice, admitting that his decision to do so was based on his dissatisfaction with the Russia investigation. He later pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, despite a U.S. District Court ruling that he had illegally targeted Latinos.
It is clear from Trump’s behavior and efforts to derail the Russia investigation that he has something to hide.
Trump eroded America’s leadership in the fight against climate change by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. He isolated our NATO allies and embarrassed our country during the G20 Summit. He continues to risk our national security by provoking North Korea and delaying enforcement of new sanctions on Russia. Trump has also ignored the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, and he refuses to be critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The president has failed to deliver on many of his major campaign promises. Trump said he would create jobs by investing $1 trillion in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, but his budget proposal would reduce overall infrastructure funding over time. He promised that he would protect Medicaid and Social Security, but his budget proposal slashed $1 trillion from Medicaid and cut Social Security Disability Insurance by $64 billion. He vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but after congressional Republicans failed to pass legislation, he decided to sabotage the ACA by refusing to fund cost-sharing reductions.
Trump also instituted an ill-conceived travel ban on visitors from six majority-Muslim countries, and ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that affects 800,000 young people — more than a quarter of whom live in California.
As the clock runs out on his first year in office, Trump is preparing to give fellow millionaires and billionaires a hefty tax break that adds trillions of dollars to the national debt, raises taxes from 10% to 12% for Americans in the lowest tax bracket and penalizes blue states such as California by eliminating deductions for state and local income taxes.
Finally, every day we learn more and more about the extent of coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin to undermine our democracy. It is clear from Trump’s behavior and efforts to derail the Russia investigation that he has something to hide. I believe that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will reveal the facts, and in the final analysis, Congress will have no choice but to impeach this president.
Maxine Waters is the U.S. representative for California’s 43rd District.