Courtesy of theguardian.com, Phil Maynard and Simon Roberts, April 26, 2017
The US president’s first 100 days in office have seen a flurry of executive orders, tweets, leaks and military attacks in the Middle East. But his domestic agenda has been thwarted at every turn, with healthcare plans, travel bans and the Mexican wall ensnared by other branches of government.
After months of campaign promises to help ordinary Americans, President Donald Trump’s first 100 days have revealed that his true policy priorities are benefitting corporations and the wealthiest few at the expense of everyone else. His actions and those of his administration have been characterized by broken promises, gross conflicts of interest, and a stark erosion of transparency, ethics, and other democratic norms.
As a candidate, Trump promised the American people that we were going to “… win so much, [we’ll] be sick and tired of winning.” But it is not the American people who have been winning—it is Wall Street, private prisons, the oil industry, and Trump’s own family. A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans now believe that President Trump does not keep his promises and is unable to effectively manage the government.
In response to the 100-day mark—a first waypoint for measuring the progress and tone of a new administration since President Franklin D. Roosevelt—the Center for American Progress has compiled a list of the top 100 ways that the Trump administration has hurt Americans.
- Raised housing payments for new homebuyers by about $500 in 2017. On its first day, the Trump administration reversed an Obama administration action to lower Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, mortgage insurance premiums for new homebuyers by 25 basis points, which could have lowered mortgage payments for 1 million households purchasing or refinancing their home this year alone.
- Attacked the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, which would have required retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best financial interest. President Trump delayed the rule’s implementation by 60 days and has ordered the department to re-evaluate the rule. This will make it much harder to save for retirement, as high fees from conflicted advice result in savers losing $17 billion in fees annually.
- Delayed court proceedings on the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime, failing to defend the pro-worker rule. This rule would have raised wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years and extended overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans. In his confirmation hearings, Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta suggested he would attempt to weaken the overtime rule.
- Delayed enforcement of a rule to reduce workers’ exposure to deadly silica dust for three months. After more than four decades of development, this rule would protect construction and manufacturing workers from inhaling silica, which can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. It was projected to save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.
- Repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which ensured that federal contractors complied with worker protection laws before receiving government contracts. The order would have required companies wanting to do business with the government to disclose past labor law violations and come into compliance before receiving new contracts. Because of the repeal, millions of workers will be more vulnerable to wage theft, workplace injuries, and discrimination on the job. The order also would have protected women by banning forced arbitration in the case of sexual assault, harassment, or discrimination claims.
- Supported efforts in Congress to cut taxes on the wealthy that help fund the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. As part of Congress’s effort to repeal and replace the ACA, a move that President Trump supported, the 3.8 percent net investment income tax would have been repealed at a cost of $157 billion over 10 years, according to Congressional Budget Office, or CBO. This is revenue needed to fund important programs that ensure basic human living standards and retirement security for tens of millions of working Americans. Based on Trump’s rental real estate income alone, The Wall Street Journal estimated the repeal would have saved Trump $3.2 million in taxes in 2016 alone.
- Tried to cut his own taxes by millions of dollars while taking health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. Based on President Trump’s leaked 2005 Tax Return Form 1040, repealing the ACA could give Trump a personal tax cut of more than $2 million. At the same time, the House legislation to repeal the ACA would have taken health insurance from 24 million Americans.
- Assembled a team of wealthy financial industry elites to advise him on tax reform, which he promised would benefit the middle class. The tax code is the tool of choice when special favors are doled out to special interests. Despite his campaign promises to drain the swamp, President Trump has assembled a band of elites to construct his tax reform plan: three former Goldman Sachs executives, Steve Mnuchin, Gary Cohn, and Steve Bannon; two more former executives from the finance industry, Justin Muzinich and Craig Phillips; and a former tax lobbyist for Fidelity Investments, Shahira Knight.
- Made it harder for veterans to find jobs with a federal hiring freeze. Veterans receive a strong hiring preference for federal jobs, and roughly one-third of all newly hired federal employees in 2015 were veterans. Even if many jobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, are exempt from the hiring freeze, other vacant jobs will still be unavailable at other federal agencies.
- Proposed budget cuts that would devastate rural America. President Trump’s budget would eliminate programs that support rural jobs, housing, infrastructure, health care, and economic development. If implemented, these budget cuts would eliminate affordable housing for tens of thousands of struggling rural families; eliminate community service jobs for 18,000 senior citizens living in rural areas; and eliminate critical support for airline connections serving 175 small and rural communities.
- Proposed dramatically slashing job training programs and worker wage and safety enforcement. President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget could result in 2.7 million adults and youths losing access to job training and employment services in 2018.
- Proposed budget cuts that would increase roadway congestion and reduce economic productivity. The budget calls for eliminating the TIGER grant program at the U.S. Department of Transportation, or USDOT, which funds innovative surface transportation projects. Additionally, the budget calls for the phased elimination of the New Starts program within the Federal Transit Administration, which funds major public transportation projects. Rail and bus rapid transit projects help to reduce roadway congestion and air pollution while spurring economic development.
- Proposed budget cuts that would threaten billions in loans and investments to distressed communities. The proposed budget would eliminate the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which supports billions of dollars in financing across low-income communities, including more than $300 million in rural and Native American communities, as well as the Economic Development Administration and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, costing another $300 million or more that is annually invested in community growth. Without federal support, economic development in these locations will suffer, including small-business development.
- Reneged on his promise to disclose his tax returns. President Trump’s refusal leaves Americans in the dark about whether any tax reform he proposes will benefit him or working Americans. Trump repeatedly stated before and after he was elected that he would disclose his tax returns. While initially he said he could not release them because he was being audited—a fact that does not prevent anyone from releasing their returns—his counselor, Kellyanne Conway has now said, “He’s not going to release his tax returns.”
- Proposed $6.7 billion cut to housing and community support programs. President Trump’s budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant, which is used by 1,265 local communities for important initiatives such as Meals on Wheels, neighborhood rehabilitation, the development of affordable housing, job training, and business expansion. The Housing Choice Vouchers program will also experience deep cuts in funding, as will other programs providing supportive services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 200,000 families will no longer receive a housing voucher to pay for their rental costs and could eventually face homelessness in a housing market where there is a severe shortage of affordable housing.
- Attacked neutral budget analysts so that lawmakers ignore negative effects from their policies. The Trump administration attacked the nonpartisan CBO in an attempt to preemptively discredit their estimates related to legislation repealing the ACA. These attacks continued after the CBO estimated that the House ACA repeal bill would take coverage away from 24 million Americans by 2026. This is part of a larger attempt by the Trump administration to discredit independent data and analysis in order to obscure the negative impacts that their agenda will have for working families.
- Undermined investor protection by making it harder for the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, to hold Wall Street accountable. An independent and vigorous Division of Enforcement at the SEC is vital to preserving free and fair financial markets for investors. After the Bernie Madoff scandal, Obama administration SEC Chair Mary Schapiro made it easier for Division of Enforcement staff to open investigations and issue subpoenas to protect investors and get to the bottom of suspected malfeasance. Chair Michael Piwowar inexplicably rolled back this change, hindering the SEC’s ability to protect the average investor from financial wrongdoing. He has also proposed rolling back key advances in corporate transparency, including regarding human rights risks in supply chains and the pay ratio between CEOs and the median worker.
- Proposed funding cuts for programs that help support and encourage small business development. President Trump’s budget cuts funding for several programs that help groups with historically low business ownership rates overcome barriers to becoming entrepreneurs, including the PRIME technical assistance grants for low-income micro-entrepreneurs; the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Economic Development Administration.
- Attempted to make it harder for entrepreneurs to get access to affordable health. The ACA helps millions of entrepreneurs obtain access to health care without relying on a spouse or employer, which allows them to take one of the necessary risks associated with starting a business. The proposed American Health Care Act, or AHCA, would reduce access to health care and make it more expensive for many people to get comprehensive health care coverage.
- Proposes leaving 23,000 calls for help unanswered from disaster-struck Americans. President Trump’s skinny budget proposed eliminating the Corporation for National and Community Service, which would also eliminate AmeriCorps, a vital service program that plays a critical role in mobilizing volunteers to aid with disaster preparedness and response.
- Proposed slashing the WIC program. President Trump’s proposal to slash funding for the WIC program puts basic food security at risk for thousands of families. At an annual food cost of about $513 per person, the $200 million cut could help pay for a year’s worth of food and formula for nearly 390,000 participating women, children and infants.
- Proposed elimination of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. To date, HOME has helped more that 1.2 million families gain access to safe and affordable housing. But this successful program is also on President Trump’s budget chopping block, thereby threatening housing security for thousands of families.
- Proposed eliminating NeighborWorks America. NeighborWorks America provides grants to community development organizations that help build and maintain affordable housing. The program created 53,649 jobs and assisted 360,009 families with affordable housing in the last year alone.
Environment and energy
- Proposed cuts to energy programs that save people money. The Trump budget blueprint calls for a 5.6 percent cut overall to the U.S. Department of Energy. This cut, along with calls for additional funding to nuclear security and waste cleanup, mean that there will be steeper cuts for programs designed to develop household appliances that save families money. President Trump’s budget proposal also eliminates programs such as ARPA-E, which helps entrepreneurs develop clean, affordable energy, and the Weatherization Assistance Program, which upgrades the homes of low-income families with insulation and cost-effective energy efficient improvements to help reduce utility bills.
- Allowed a dangerous pesticide to stay on the market, despite it being a threat to children’s health. Chlorpyrifos a common agricultural pesticide that causes neurological harm in children exposed in utero. In 2016, the EPA’s scientists concluded that the agency should ban chlorpyrifos after finding unsafe levels of the chemical on apples, peaches, oranges, strawberries, and other fruits. Dow Chemical, one of the largest producers of products using this chemical, gave $1 million to President Trump’s inauguration committee and leads a presidential advisory committee on manufacturing. On March 28, Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rejected the findings of the agency’s scientists, denied a petition to ban the chemical, and delayed further action until 2022.
- Eliminated pollution standards for power plants and oil and gas facilities. In his final term, President Obama established the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants and the first-ever methane standards for oil and gas drilling facilities. These standards would have reduced soot- and smog-forming pollutants that trigger asthma attacks and cut emissions of carbon and other gases that cause climate change. On March 28, President Trump signed an executive order that started the process of nullifying these pollution standards and making it harder for future presidents to put them back in place.
- Proposed cutting EPA programs to clean up water sources. In February, President Trump proposed a budget for the EPA that would cut the agency’s funding by 31 percent and its staff by one-quarter. The president’s proposal targets several popular programs, such as regional efforts to clean up the Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and other iconic bodies of water.
- Proposed eliminating programs at the EPA dedicated to preventing children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which can cause neurological delays. An estimated 38 million U.S. homes contain lead-based paint, and in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control found that 243,000 children had elevated levels of lead in their blood. Lead is a neurotoxin that causes permanent nerve damage.
- Rolled back important protections for drinking water in coal communities. One of the Trump administration’s first actions was to nix the Stream Protection Rule put in place by the Obama administration to prevent coal companies from polluting nearby streams. Scrapping this environmental protection was a top priority of the coal industry at the expense of clean drinking water in coal communities.
- Repealed anti-bribery rule to the delight of the oil industry. President Trump eliminated an anti-corruption rule that had required oil and gas companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. When he was still the CEO of Exxon Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had lobbied to remove the rules established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
- Ripped off American taxpayers and avoided fixing the broken federal coal-leasing program. The Trump administration moved to preserve a loophole the Obama administration closed that allows coal companies to rip off taxpayers by allowing them to sell coal mined on federal lands to their own subsidiaries at artificially low prices and shirk royalty payment responsibilities.
- Halted the first comprehensive review of the federal coal program in more than 30 years while simultaneously opening public lands for new leases to mine coal. Federal coal lease sales only bring in, on average, $1 per ton in bids, and taxpayers are estimated to be losing $1 billion annually in lost royalty payments on undervalued coal sales.
- Proposed major cuts to the Department of the Interior’s budget that would impair critical maintenance of our national parks while making a public show of supporting them. A few weeks after proposing to cut $1.5 billion, or 12 percent, from the Department of the Interior’s budget, President Trump had Press Secretary Sean Spicer ceremoniously hand a $78,000 check—Trump’s first-quarter earnings—to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to help the National Park Service. Here’s the rub: Trump’s check only covers 0.01 percent of $1.3 billion in “critical systems deferred maintenance” that the National Park Service urgently needs.
- Pulled the rug from under private investors backing conservation efforts. As part of a sweeping executive order aimed at gutting actions the Obama administration took to address climate change, President Trump rescinded the presidential memorandum that encouraged private investment when developers work to mitigate impacts on natural resources. This action undercuts the economic and environmental gains that the fast-growing restoration industry has made recently to the tune of $1.15 billion between 2014 and 2015 in private capital invested in habitat conservation and water management. These relatively new environmental marketplaces rely on regulatory consistency that President Obama’s memorandum bolstered.
- Declared open season on baby bears and wolves in wildlife refuges. President Trump overturned a rule that had protected black bear mothers and their cubs from being hunted in their dens. The Obama administration’s “Fair Chase” rule, which applied to national wildlife refuges in Alaska, also limited baiting, trapping, and the use of aircrafts to track and shoot bears and wolves.
- Moved to weaken air quality standards for ozone. Ozone pollution is a key contributor to smog, which can cause more frequent asthma attacks and exacerbate lung diseases. President Trump’s EPA is moving toward changing air quality standards established under the Obama administration to allow greater ozone pollution. Ground level ozone pollution can increase the frequency of asthma attacks, cause shortness of breath, aggravate lung diseases, and cause permanent damage to lungs through long-term exposure. Elevated ozone levels are linked to increases in hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and premature death, and can cause pronounced health impacts in children and the elderly.
- Signed an executive order nullifying the “social cost of carbon.” President Trump essentially determined that climate change has no cost by eliminating a critical metric used to measure the benefit of cutting carbon pollution.
- Stopped rules that would limit dumping toxins from power plants. Trump’s EPA is stopping rules that would limit the dumping of toxins, such as mercury and arsenic, and pollution from power plants into public waterways. These would have been the first protections in more than 30 years to curb toxins and other pollutants in power plants.
- Changed standards to protect water and wildlife from lead poisoning. Hours after riding a horse to his first day on the job, Secretary of the Interior Zinke reversed a ban on using lead bullets for hunting in wildlife refuses. Lead content in these bullets can poison water and wildlife.
- Opened the door to reducing methane pollution standards. The president signed an executive order directing the EPA and the Bureau of Land Management to review the methane pollution standards for oil and gas drilling facilities and determine whether to rescind or revise them. Methane pollution supercharges global warming 86 times as much as carbon pollution.
- Took steps to reverse progress to date on U.S. preparations for climate change. President Trump signed an executive order rescinding previous executive orders related to preparing the U.S. for climate change; encouraging private investment in efforts to mitigate pollution; and ensuring our national security plans consider climate change impacts.
- Nominated an EPA administrator who denies scientific proof of climate change. EPA Administrator Pruitt told the media that he does not think carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to climate change. His statement is the climate science equivalent of saying the world is flat.
- Proposed budget cuts to that will cause 5.7 million low-income residents to lose assistance with their heating bills and about 673,000 to lose cooling assistance. President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, will be especially dangerous as more states experience extreme weather.
Democracy and government reform
- Imperiled American voters with untrue claims about illegal voting. President Trump’s empty claims of widespread fraud undermine the integrity of our elections and lay the basis for voter suppression efforts that attack our constitutional right to participate in self-government. When government officials spread lies that call into question the legitimacy of our elections, people lose faith in the democratic process. Instead of responding to the clear and present dangers of foreign interference and discriminatory efforts to keep some American citizens from casting their ballots, Trump chooses to spread baseless slander while calling for a witch hunt against American voters.
- Brought pay-to-play corruption to the presidency. The Trump family continues to promote their private business interests at home and abroad while profiting off of the presidency. Corruption, or even the appearance of corruption, diminishes trust in government and increases cynicism toward democratic institutions. At a time when 75 percent of Americans already believe that corruption is widespread in government, President Trump’s blatant disregard for ethics rules and constitutional prohibitions on presidential enrichment further undermine democratic norms and threatens our democracy, economy, and national security.
- Undermined transparency and accountability by continuing to hide his tax returns and withholding White House visitor logs. Due to his refusal to release his tax returns the full extent of President Trump’s indebtedness and foreign entanglements remains unknown. As a result, Americans cannot be sure that Trump is not providing favors and special treatment to his business partners or that foreign states and businesses are not leveraging influence over the Trump administration and its decisions. It is impossible for Trump to lead an effort to revise the tax code without Americans knowing how his proposals would line his own pocket. Changing the practice to stop disclosing White House visitor logs prevents the public from knowing who is accessing federal officials on a daily basis and keeps special interest influence shrouded in secrecy.
- Signed two Muslim and refugee bans, both of which have been enjoined by federal courts. In January, and then again in March, President Trump signed executive orders banning immigrants from seven—and then, subsequently, six—Muslim-majority nations for at least three months and halting the refugee program for four months. The January executive order sparked widespread protests at airports all across the country and was quickly blocked by a federal court in Washington state and then by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In early March, Trump signed a barely revised version of the original order, which courts in Hawaii and Maryland rightly acknowledged still constituted a Muslim and refugee ban. The core parts of the ban were once again put on hold.
- Made every unauthorized immigrant a deportation priority, regardless of equities. As a matter of the smart prioritization of resources, the Obama administration focused its immigration enforcement on serious threats to national security and public safety, as well as recent border crossers. Within days of taking office, Trump signed an executive order eliminating the Obama priorities, effectively making all unauthorized immigrants a priority for deportation, regardless of how long they have been in the country, their ties to families and communities, or other equities. In practice, this has meant that people like Guadalupe García de Rayos, a mother of two from Arizona who has been in the U.S. for over two decades, and Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a mother of four U.S.-born children have been deported.
- Made immigrant survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault afraid to turn to law enforcement for help. Aggressive immigration enforcement by the Trump administration—including a case in El Paso, where immigration officials arrested a victim of domestic abuse at a courthouse after she received a protective order against her abuser—has made immigrants and Latinos, regardless of immigration status, increasingly reluctant to come forward to report crimes. Prosecutors in Denver have been forced to drop four domestic violence prosecutions because immigrant victims no longer wish to cooperate. Another domestic violence case in Austin hangs in limbo under similar circumstances. Since last year, Los Angeles has seen reports by Latinos of sexual assault decline by 25 percent, and Houston has seen reports by Latinos of rapes decline by nearly 43 percent. By making everyone a priority, the administration has made no one a priority to the detriment of public safety.
- Arrested multiple recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Even though Trump has said that he will deal with young unauthorized immigrants with “great heart,” and even though Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly has said that he is “the best thing that happened to DACA,” the Department of Homeland Security has detained at least five recipients of DACA—which grants eligible young people a two-year reprieve from deportation and a work permit—since taking office. The detained include Daniela Vargas, Daniel Ramirez, Edwin Romero, Josue Romero, and Francisco Rodriguez. It is now also being reported that the Department of Homeland Security deported Dreamer Juan Manuel Montes while he was protected from deportation through DACA.
- Threatened to take away critical community safety funding from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. As part of the January 25 executive order on interior immigration enforcement, President Trump threatened to take away federal funds from more than 600 so-called sanctuary jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. On March 27 Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to revoke Department of Justice grants that, among other purposes, help local law enforcement to eliminate barriers to processing rape kits, combat gang and gun crime, and stop human trafficking. The attorney general’s comments were swiftly denounced by the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Research shows that counties with sanctuary policies have lower crime rates and stronger economies than those without the policies.
- Scared authorized immigrants away from accessing benefits and necessary health care for which they and their children are eligible. Not long after the Trump administration took office, a draft executive order leaked, illustrating that the administration was looking to target even legal immigrants living in the United States. Among other provisions, the draft order would make lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, eligible for deportation if they use any type of means-tested benefit. The mere possibility of the order, as well as increased immigration enforcement, has had a chilling effect on communities across the nation. In California, for example, the Alameda County Community Food Bank saw 40 families cancel their food stamps and another 54 eligible families choose not to apply for food stamps. Other reports indicate that some immigrants are taking their names off of the list to receive baby formula or keeping children away from child care centers.
- Trampled on the religious liberty of Muslims with his attempts at unconstitutional travel bans. President Trump’s January 27 executive action on refugees and revised March 6 executive action both aimed to prohibit travel to the United States for nationals of Muslim-majority nations and fundamentally reshape the refugee admissions program to prioritize the claims of Christians. Trumps actions have alienated the Muslims communities not only within the United States but also around the world, damaging critical relationships with national security allies.
- Attempted to redefine religious liberty only for those who share a conservative Christian faith. From the anti-Muslim travel bans to disturbing Holocaust-denying remarks, the administration is a threat to religious minorities, many of whom are already vulnerable to rising incidents of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry.
- Promises to destroy the Johnson Amendment, which prevents nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship—from endorsing political candidates. A leaked draft executive order indicates plans to insert religious exemptions in federal nondiscrimination protections, revealing a pattern of attempts to redefine the foundational value of religious freedom so it will only protect people of faith who share conservative Christian beliefs.
Gun violence prevention
- Signed a law that weakens the firearms background check system and undermines enforcement of the current law that prohibits certain individuals with a serious mental illness from gun possession. Using the shortcut process of the Congressional Review Act, President Trump repealed a Social Security Administration regulation that formalized the process by which the agency could provide to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, the names of beneficiaries who—because of serious mental illness—are prohibited from gun possession under federal law. This action represents a significant step backward from recent efforts at the federal and state level to better enforce current law by ensuring that all records of prohibited purchasers are provided to NICS.
- Made it easier for fugitives to buy guns. Under federal law, anyone who is “a fugitive from justice” is prohibited from buying and possessing guns. Since at least 2006, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have disagreed over the proper scope of this law, with the FBI adopting a position that it applies to all individuals with an outstanding arrest warrant while the ATF argued for a narrower interpretation that it applies only to individuals who had left the state where the warrant was issued. Because the FBI is the agency that operates the background check system, that agency’s interpretation prevailed. However, in February 2017, the Department of Justice issued new guidance resolving this dispute by adopting ATF’s interpretation and dramatically narrowing the category of individuals with active criminal warrants who will be prohibited from buying guns.
- Attempted to repeal the ACA. Repeal of the ACA would cause significant stress and anxiety for millions of families who rely on it for coverage. The AHCA would have resulted in 24 million more people being uninsured in 10 years—breaking President Trump’s promise to cover “everybody.” It would also have broken Trump’s campaign promise not to cut Medicaid.
- Undermined the ACA marketplace. The Trump administration has already undermined the ACA marketplace by refusing to officially abandon its efforts to repeal the law. In addition, its refusal to commit unequivocally to paying the cost-sharing reduction subsidies is generating massive uncertainty for insurers. This uncertainty is having a direct impact on the marketplace by encouraging insurers to quit the market in 2018 or raise premiums.
- Began to undermine Medicaid. In a letter to governors by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, the administration encouraged states to pursue harmful changes to their Medicaid programs, including work requirements and increased cost-sharing.
- Made ACA marketplace enrollment more difficult. In the final days of the most recent open enrollment period, the Trump administration cancelled Healthcare.gov TV ads and email outreach, which are critical in helping people remember the deadline and enroll in time. Although some of this was restored after a backlash, a former Healthcare.gov chief marketing officer estimated that the administration’s actions reduced enrollment by 480,000 people.
- Stripped Title X funding. With Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote, the Senate voted to overturn Obama era protections for Title X providers. Trump signed the bill, which allows states to block Title X funding. Title X funding provides critical reproductive, educational, and counseling services related to family planning and contraception to 4 million clients each year.
- Reinstated the Global Gag Rule. One of Trump’s first actions as president was to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which prevents recipients of U.S. foreign aid from offering any information, referrals, services, or advocacy regarding abortion care—even if they do so with separate funding sources. The Global Gag Rule will lead to more maternal deaths, more unintended pregnancies, and higher rates of unsafe abortion.
- Proposed cutting funds for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.The Trump budget proposes a $50 million reduction in funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which works with organizations across the United States to implement evidence based, proven programming.
- Proposed defunding Planned Parenthood. President Trump’s health care bill, the AHCA, would defund Planned Parenthood, which served 2.5 million patients in 2014.
- Proposed deep cuts to programs that help make college more accessible and affordable for low-income students and students of color.President Trump’s budget proposed more than $5 billion in cuts to valuable programs, including the Pell Grant program and the work-study program, which provide needed funds to help low-income students afford the rising cost of college. The cuts also target important college-access programs—including TRIO and GEAR UP—that provide supports such as tutoring, mentoring, and research opportunities to low-income and first-generation students.
- Rescinded protections for student loan borrowers. On March 16, the Trump administration withdrew measures to protect struggling student loan borrowers and made repayment more difficult by allowing debt collectors to charge a 16 percent fee—even when the borrower agrees to make good on their debt within 60 days. On April 11, the Trump administration stripped away important measures that would hold student loan servicers accountable when their actions are not in the best interest of students. It has been well-documented that servicers sometimes place borrowers in repayment programs that could ultimately make it more difficult for them to repay their debt.
- Failed to help students when a critical resource for financial aid and loan repayment was shut down. In March 2017, with no advance warning, the IRS and U.S. Department of Education disabled a key web-based tool that helps millions of students apply for aid and repay their loans. Failure to notify students put financial aid applicants at risk of losing access to grant aid that helps pay for college and put student loan borrowers at risk of seeing their payments jump by hundreds of dollars.
- Endangered students by appointing for-profit college officials to top positions. Robert Eitel, senior counselor to Secretary of Education DeVos, joined the administration well before he even left his job at Bridgepoint Education—a for-profit college company facing multiple federal investigations. And Taylor Hansen, a former lobbyist for for-profit colleges—whose father’s student loan debt-collection company sued the Obama administration—served on the department’s “beachhead” team.
- Undercut students’ civil rights by naming skeptics to top civil rights positions. The nominee to serve as general counsel in the Department of Education, Carlos Muñiz, defended Florida State University against allegations that it protected a star quarterback from rape charges. And the new head of the Office for Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, has claimed she experienced discrimination for being white and called the women who accused President Trump of assault and harassment “fake victims.”
- Proposed completely eliminating federal funding for after-school programs. In President Trump’s budget, the administration zeroed out the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provides $1.2 billion to districts across the country for after-school programs that support students and working families. This funding serves more than 1.6 million students participating in these programs.
- Proposed completely eliminating federal funding to support teacher quality. In President Trump’s budget, the administration zeroed out Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides $2.4 billion to states and districts for teacher recruitment, training, retention, and support. This cut translates to a loss of 40,000 teacher salaries.
- Nominated the highly unqualified and anti-public school Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. DeVos’s only experience with education is as a lobbyist and megadonor pushing private school voucher schemes in states across the country. Instead of working to support public schools and the students that attend these schools, she has called public education a “dead end.”
- Rescinded the Obama administration’s regulations that supported school accountability under the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Through the Congressional Review Act, Congress and President Trump eliminated key protections and guidance for states and districts to implement the law, leaving significant confusion at the state and local level. The Trump administration has also signaled that it will take a very lax enforcement stance with states, opening the door for states to ignore their responsibilities to protect vulnerable students.
- Rescinded the Obama administration’s regulations that supported improving teacher preparation programs. Through the Congressional Review Act, Congress and Trump eliminated requirements for states to make sure that teacher preparation programs are helping prospective teachers gain the skills needed to be successful in the classroom and support student learning. Without these regulations, states will continue to struggle to improve teacher preparation programs and support the most effective programs.
- Proposed cutting $9 billion from public education while spending $1.4 billion on school choice. This proposal includes harmful private school voucher schemes and the creation of a new $250 million federal program that will allow taxpayer dollars to flow to private schools, which are not accountable; can discriminate in admissions and discipline; and are not subject to basic monitoring, oversight, and civil rights laws.
- Proposed cutting crucial support for school reform efforts. By zeroing out support for the AmeriCorps program, President Trump would undercut many of the most successful education organizations—from KIPP Public Charter Schools, to Teach For America, to City Year—that have had positive effects on students across the country and rely on that program.
- Named Jeff Sessions, a long-time opponent of civil rights, as attorney general, the top law enforcer in the nation. Sessions co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, a draconian measure that prohibits the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of religious beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” As a federal prosecutor in 1983, Sessions prosecuted a trio of voting rights activists for voter fraud. As the chief enforcer of the civil rights laws of the United States, it is almost impossible to imagine how he will now protect the very community for which he endorsed discrimination.
- Appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch—a judge with a long record of ruling against the rights of workers, women, and students with disabilities—to the Supreme Court. Justice Gorsuch will rule on fundamental constitutional issues—including civil rights, the role of money in politics, and reproductive rights. For example, he will soon vote on whether the Court should allow North Carolina’s 2013 voting bill—which a lower court said targeted black voters with “almost surgical precision”—to remain in effect.
- Pressured the Senate to enact the “nuclear option” to get his Supreme Court nominee confirmed. Nearly every other justice on the Court had bipartisan support and crossed the 60-vote threshold at some point during their confirmation process, but many senators objected to President Trump’s nominee. The nuclear option means Senate leaders can now confirm Trump’s ideologically driven judges with a simple majority.
- Undermined the legitimacy of the court system. As a candidate and as president, Trump has attacked judges whose rulings he does not like and undermined the legitimacy of these courts. He called a judge who ruled against his discriminatory Muslim ban a “so-called judge.” During the campaign, he said that a Mexican-American judge could not be impartial in a lawsuit against Trump due to his ethnicity. These attacks on the third branch of government undermine the founders’ separation of powers as well as the very rule of law.
- Nominated ideological extremists to federal courts. The Trump administration is already vetting conservative ideologues to appoint to federal courts. President Trump’s nominations, particularly for seats on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, signal an aggressive push to bend the federal judiciary ideologically. Trump has well over 100 seats to fill—thanks to Senate obstruction during President Obama’s term—and Trump recently announced that the administration would no longer seek the recommendation from the nonpartisan American Bar Association.
- Proposed eliminating the Legal Services Corporation. Already scarce access to justice will be put even further out of reach for 60.6 million low-income Americans under President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Legal Services Corporation—the nation’s main funding stream for civil legal services.
- Tried but failed to stop Baltimore police reform efforts. Attorney General Sessions asked a court at the last minute not to accept a consent decree that was supported by the Baltimore police commissioner, mayor, community members, and career Department of Justice attorneys. The federal court rejected Sessions’ motion, allowing needed police reforms that would build trust between the police and the communities they serve to proceed.
- Attempted to bring back the war on drugs. The outdated strategy was ineffective and caused long-term devastation to thousands of families. Attorney General Sessions is implementing a tough-on-crime approach that would increase federal prosecutions and long prison sentences even for low-level, nonviolent offenders. Even as the Trump administration pushes outdated law-and-order policies, Democratic and Republican governors are making progress on sentencing reform, drug treatment, and alternatives to incarceration.
- Supported outdated and ineffective criminal justice reforms that have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Attorney General Sessions should be focusing on the need for police reform; supporting innovative crime-reduction strategies; and ensuring drug treatment and alternatives to incarceration are available. Yet, instead, he has ordered a review of current pattern and practice cases of police misconduct where evidence and a clear record has shown a police department has acted with systemic misconduct. He has also questioned decades of research and science rejecting a tough-on-crime approach.
- Reversed the Obama era Department of Justice’s order to stop contracting with private prison facilities. Private prisons create a perverse incentive to incarcerate more people since these companies are motivated to increase profit, which is generated only if there are more inmates filling their facilities. Private prisons that contracted with the Department of Justice were found by the department itself to be less efficient and have more issues with security and management.
- Supported economic policies that are detrimental to communities of color. Many of the budget cuts proposed by President Trump would cut key social service programs. For example, 41 percent of the 9 million Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, recipients are people of color. The budget also eliminates the Minority Business Development Agency, which promotes business development for people of color—the fastest growing segment of the population.
- Supported education policies that do not support students of color. The Trump administration supports cuts to Pell Grants and tuition assistance programs as well as cuts to after-school programs that would affect 1 in 4 African American students. The administration also supports voucher programs that do not encourage the success of students of color.
- Pushed environmental policies that will negatively affect communities of color. As noted above, the EPA wants to eradicate programs dedicated to reducing exposure to lead paint, which disproportionately affects communities of color. The EPA is also cutting funding for the environmental justice office that had just been set up to specifically deal with lead, pollution, and other issues facing communities of color.
- Turned a blind eye to illegal anti-transgender discrimination in schools. The Trump administration revoked Title IX guidance issued by the Department of Education clarifying schools’ long-standing obligations under federal civil rights law to treat transgender students equally and with dignity. Transgender students face pervasive harassment and discrimination in schools, impeding these students’ ability to learn. Nearly 1 in 6 out transgender K-12 students have been forced to leave school because of this harassment.
- Erased LGBTQ people from federal surveys, making it impossible to know if government programs serve them fairly. The Trump administration removed questions about LGBTQ people from key federal surveys about programs that serve seniors and people with disabilities, without which policymakers and advocates cannot ensure LGBTQ people have equal access to key government services such as Meals on Wheels. The administration also appears to have included—but then gone back and omitted—questions about LGBTQ people from the American Community Survey, an annual survey that gathers information about Americans’ educational attainment, housing, and health coverage.
- Appointed longtime opponents of LGBTQ rights—including members of anti-LGBTQ hate groups—to key administration positions. Many of President Trump’s appointees, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, made their careers standing in the way of LGBTQ rights—and now, they’re in charge of agencies that enforce those very rights. The appointments get even more disturbing the closer you look: Trump tapped Ken Blackwell, a former fellow at an anti-LGBTQ hate group, as a domestic policy adviser; selected leaders of the hate group C-FAM for the president’s delegation to the United Nations; and appointed Roger Severino, a longtime opponent of transgender civil rights, to run the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
- Proposed slashing funding for research to cure HIV/AIDS. President Trump has proposed devastating cuts to health research, including $6 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health in the budget and a $50 million cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HIV research and prevention programs. The administration has also pushed a $300 million cut to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR—an extraordinarily successful program that provides lifesaving treatment to 11.5 million people worldwide and has broad bipartisan support.
- Barred refugees and asylum seekers fleeing anti-LGBTQ persecution from protection in the United States. President Trump’s refugee suspension blocked LGBTQ Syrian and Iraqi refugees from finding protection in the United States, leaving them stranded in countries where they are persecuted. His policy of detaining all immigrants who enter at the southern border and expanding the populations targeted for deportation traps LGBTQ asylum seekers in dangerous immigrant detention facilities and increases the risk that they will be wrongly deported to countries where their lives are at risk. The administration also decided to close the only dedicated transgender immigrant detention pod in the country, leaving transgender immigrants in detention at risk.
- Made Americans less safe from the Islamic State, or IS. The anti-Muslim bigotry of the Trump administration makes every American less safe by helping IS and other terrorist groups recruit followers. As one IS commander in Afghanistan put it, the Trump administration’s “utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands.” The original Muslim ban included Iraq, where Iraqi soldier fighting alongside U.S. forces against IS called it a “betrayal.”
- Made Americans more vulnerable to pandemic diseases such as Zika and Ebola. Massive cuts in aid, diplomacy, and health proposed in President Trump’s FY 2017 budget would end the Global Health Security account, which works to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks around the world, including Ebola. In his proposed budget, Trump has also called for the elimination of funding for the Fogarty International Center, which supports global health research initiatives, including for infectious diseases research in developing countries.
- Undermined American jobs and security by ceding global leadership to Beijing. President Trump has taken no actions to achieve more balanced trade with China. He recklessly toyed with overturning nearly 40 years of official policy recognizing “one China” but backed down during his first call with the Chinese president, showing that his threats were hollow. Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed they would stop China from building on disputed islands in the South China Sea, but China proceeds to do what it wants, where it wants. Trump’s summit with President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort resulted in no progress on any difficult issues. Beijing sees Washington as hot air with little substance. Trump’s all talk, no action approach is encouraging repression over freedom and making authoritarian leaders confident that repression will be tolerated.
- Oversaw an increase in civilian deaths from U.S. military operations. After years of decline, civilian deaths from U.S. military operations have surged under Trump, destroying families, undermining strategic aims, and providing a propaganda boon to U.S. enemies. U.S. military spokesperson Col. Joseph Scrocca said “[More civilian casualties] is probably detrimental to the strength of our coalition. And that’s exactly what ISIS is trying to target right now.” Civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria have spiked in 2017, already far surpassing the total for all of 2016. Trump’s first major raid as president, in Yemen in January, was decided over dinner in the White House—far outside the regular process—and resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.
- Threatened national security and hurt the integrity of America’s democracy by an ongoing lack of transparency and refusal to disclose details about his finances and ties to Russia. Americans cannot know who President Trump might owe money or what obligations or commitment he and his team could have to Russia or other foreign powers. Trump’s refusal to condemn the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 elections; release his tax returns; step away from his business; and support an independent commission and special counsel to get to the bottom of Russia’s influence over the 2016 election are a green light to Russians and others who want to meddle in U.S. democracy. All Americans from all political parties are vulnerable when foreign influence, money, and hacking can run roughshod though America’s democratic institutions.
This list is just a sample of the ways in which President Trump and his administration have already broken their promises to Americans and revealed their true priorities. As this list grows, real damage is being done to communities and working families across the nation. Trump should heed their calls to put the needs of ordinary Americans ahead of corporations and the wealthy.