Assaults on Government
From early in his administration, Trump revealed a stunning lack of respect for fundamental U.S. governmental institutions and the system of "checks and balances" between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. From his sweeping executive orders, his expectations of an uncontested confirmation process for his cabinet nominees, to his unending tweets of frustration at the judicial stay of his Muslim immigration travel ban executive order, he has exhibited a complete disregard for the basic concepts of American democracy.
This page will track Trump’s assaults on the fundamental structures of our system of government.
|2017.08.06||Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has failed to nominate anyone to most of the department’s 38 highest-ranking jobs, leaving many critical departments without direction or a coherent foreign policy. nytimes.com (See also Rex Tillerson, Department of State)|
|2017.08.07||After 200 days in office, Trump still lags far behind his predecessors in staffing up his administration, both in terms of nominations and confirming those positions. cnn.com (See also Federal Departments)|
|2017.08.07||Donald Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter, Peter Thiel, has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an “incompetent” administration, and one that may well end in “disaster.” buzzfeed.com|
|2017.08.07||When Trump ordered federal agencies to form teams to dismantle government regulations, those teams often turned to people with deep industry ties. nytimes.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Corruption)|
The Times and ProPublica identify more possible conflicts among appointees, as Democrats in Congress demand greater transparency from the White House.
|2017.08.20||The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning. washingtonpost.com (See also Environment, Climate Change, Assaults on Facts)|
|2017.08.24||The White House reiterated its willingness to risk shutting down the government to obtain funding for Donald Trump's long-promised wall between the United States and Mexico. nbcnews.com (See also Mexico Wall, Immigration)|
|2017.08.31||The Department of Health and Human Services announced it's slashing the advertising and promotional budget for the Affordable Care Act for next year by 90%. axios.com (See also Department of Health and Human Services, Affordable Care Act, Health Care)|
|2017.09.04||The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience. washingtonpost.com (See also Environmental Protection Agency, Environment, Scott Pruitt, Jeff Sessions)|
|2017.09.06||Buyouts offered by the Trump administration to more than 1,200 Environmental Protection Agency employees have prompted 400 people to leave their posts. the-scientist.com (See also Climate Change, Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt)|
|2017.09.17||Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that Donald Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his immediate predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, but the White House has refused to release this recommendation to the public. washingtonpost.com (See also Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke)|
|2017.09.21||Donald Trump’s appointees to jobs at the USDA include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant, and the owner of a scented-candle company, among other campaign staff and volunteers who have no experience with federal policy, much less deep roots in agriculture, or even college degrees, normally required to qualify for higher government salaries. politico.com (See also Department of Agriculture)|
|2017.09.25||The Trump administration nominated former criminal investigator and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association president Jon Adler as the Department of Justice's director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance; a man who spent a number of years on the advisory board of the Heroes Health Fund - a group that purports to offer support for "firefighters, police, EMTs, veterans, and others harmed by toxic exposures in the line of duty" using a detoxification program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. wired.com|
|2017.09.26||The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration will resign, as he had become convinced that Donald Trump had little respect for the law. nytimes.com (See also Corruption, Legal Issues)|
|2017.10.03||Since taking office in February, Scott Pruitt, head of the E.P.A., has held back-to-back meetings, briefing sessions and speaking engagements almost daily with top corporate executives and lobbyists from all the major economic sectors that he regulates — and almost no meetings with environmental groups or consumer or public health advocates. nytimes.com (See also Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency)|
|2017.10.05||With enrollment season on Nov. 1, the Health and Human Services Department has worked to suppress the number of people signing up by 1) slashing grants to groups that help consumers get insurance coverage, 2) cutting the enrollment period in half, 3) reducing the advertising budget by 90 percent, 4) announcing an outage schedule that would make the HealthCare.gov website significantly less available, and 5) not committing to funding the cost-sharing reductions that help 7 million lower income Americans afford out-of-pocket expenses. washingtonpost.com (See also Affordable Care Act, Health Care)|
|2017.10.13||Donald Trump remains determined to build his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, so much so that a top administration official said he’s willing to shut down the government to secure funding for the project. mic.com (See also Mexico Wall)|
|2017.10.17||Donald Trump said his nominee to be the nation's drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job — a move that comes in the wake of a Washington Post/“60 Minutes” investigation detailing how the lawmaker helped steer legislation through Congress that weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise. washingtonpost.com (See also Federal Departments, Hypocrisy)|
|2017.10.26||The Trump administration is not putting the legal Russia sanctions in place, as it is also revealed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has eliminated the office responsible for coordinating and enforcing those sanctions. foreignpolicy.com (See also Russia, Trump Relationship with Russia, Rex Tillerson, Department of State, Unprecedented Actions)|
|2017.11.02||Sam Clovis, an early backer backer of President Donald Trump caught up in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, has withdrawn his nomination to be a top official in the Agriculture Department. bloomberg.com (See also Trump Cabinet, Department of Agriculture, Russian Meddling in Election, Resignations and Dismissals)|
It should be noted that Mr. Clovis had no scientific background.
|2017.11.08||New data shows how the Trump administration is destroying the State Department, where 60% of its top management has quit, and new applicants have dropped by half. vox.com (See also Department of State, Rex Tillerson, Foreign Policy)|
|2017.11.09||Donald Trump's voter-fraud commission was hit with a new federal lawsuit Thursday, from one of the panel's own members, claiming that he's being denied access to the commission's records and effectively frozen out of its activities. politico.com (See also Assaults on Civil Liberties, Legal Issues)|
|2017.11.11||A Trump nominee, a 36-year-old lawyer who has never tried a case and who was unanimously deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association has been approved for a lifetime federal district judgeship by the Senate Judiciary Committee. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Unprecedented Actions)|
|2017.11.13||Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy. washingtonpost.com (See also Corruption, Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions)|
|2017.11.24||Donald Trump named his budget director as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's acting leader (an agency he vowed to destroy), despite the fact that he's still the budget director and after its departing leader had taken steps to install his own choice for acting chief. nytimes.com (See also Unprecedented Actions)|
|2017.11.26||Leandra English, the woman at the center of a White House battle for control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump's pick to lead the watchdog agency. washingtonpost.com (See also Unprecedented Actions, Legal Issues)|