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What really makes the Trump presidency scary

And so it continues. With no end in sight to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump, who rightly s...

Posted: Jan 2, 2019 10:39 AM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 10:39 AM

And so it continues. With no end in sight to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump, who rightly said a government shutdown should be blamed on the White House, now seems unwilling to accept responsibility.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of innocent government workers -- Democrats, Republicans and Independents -- are being forced to go without the paychecks they need to feed, house and clothe their families. (These are government workers who, by the way, Trump decided will not receive any pay raise in 2019.) And millions of citizens nationwide are being forced to go without some of the government services on which they may depend.

Donald Trump

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Reacting to Congress' resistance to force US taxpayers -- rather than Mexico -- to fund his border wall, Trump even threatened to shut down the southern border on Friday night. No one knows what that means exactly, but his impetuous response reveals a much bigger issue at play here: In whose interests is our President acting?

It increasingly appears he is acting in his own, putting America and Americans second.

Let's take a look at a few recent examples of this "Trump first" approach at play:

Withdrawal of US troops from Syria

No one likes the idea of putting US troops in harm's way, especially in the midst of what seems like an unwinnable war thousands of miles away. That said, our armed forces are in Syria for a good reason: to eradicate an avowed enemy that seeks to destroy us -- ISIS.

Trump claimed our mission in Syria was done and it was time to withdraw our forces. Most experts disagreed. While outgoing Secretary of Defense James Mattis cautioned the President against such a hasty decision, it did not seem to matter.

Instead, Trump made a unilateral choice, which shocked our political and military establishment, as well as our allies abroad -- but delighted our chief international adversary, Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a press conference, Putin said, "If the decision to withdraw was made, then it is a correct one."

Though Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who opposes withdrawal, said Sunday, "We're in a pause situation" on Syria withdrawal, the President has not formally announced a change to his drawdown plans.

Given that the threat of ISIS still remains, it appears Trump's decision is more motivated by a desire to fulfill a campaign promise than to ensure the safety of the American people at large. Also, if the United States leaves, ISIS could well be able to reactivate with few, if any, interruptions from enemy forces, and that certainly will not be in America's national security interests.

Intentionally undermining pillars of democracy

Trump's incessant criticisms of the press and our system of justice are so frequent that some may be getting numb to their poisonous effects. But a democracy cannot exist without these two pillars.

Trump does not seem to care. He has called the free press "the enemy of the people," has suggested on Twitter the possibility of an official government network to rival the media, and has made the Federal Bureau of Investigation a repeated target of his ire.

A muzzled press and a corrupt justice system are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes. That Trump seeks to intimidate and corrode public confidence in these pillars of democracy is -- to use one of his favorite words -- a disgrace.

But Donald Trump knows both institutions are devoted to pursuing the truth about him, his businesses and his presidential campaign. That seems to scare him, so his attacks are unlikely to let up any time soon. His personal interests are best served by a lack of public confidence in the press and in the justice system. The heck with what is best for the country.

Endangering the smooth working of free markets

Add Wall Street to the list of institutions Trump appears to no longer respect. In his sights is the very essence of our economic system: the stock market. He is making it virtually impossible for anyone to know in what to reliably invest. Trump is smart enough to realize what he says matters to the markets, yet he insists on saying one thing on Monday, and another -- sometimes the opposite -- on Tuesday.

Like corporate CEOs who seek consistent and sustainable earnings growth to keep stock prices on an upward trend, so, too, should the President's comments be consistent and sustainable. Lately, at least, Trump's have been neither. And he has taken the highly unusual step of publicly criticizing his hand-picked chairman of the independent Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, whom he appointed just last year -- saying he was "not even a little bit happy" with him. In fact, according to CNN sources, Trump has even asked about the legality of firing Powell, which only adds to instability and uncertainty in the marketplace. Not surprisingly, Trump's criticism of Powell has taken a toll on markets, which have seen extreme highs and lows over the last month for a variety of reasons.

Were Trump interested in stabilizing and strengthening the US economy, rather than merely bullying the independent Fed chairman, Trump would choose his words more carefully.

No one should be surprised at Trump putting himself first. After all, he campaigned on being a disruptor, and clearly much of the country welcomed that approach. He and his supporters seem to relish his eschewing of "presidential norms."

But this pattern of Trump putting his interests before the country's could not be more at odds with what a president is supposed to do.

Indeed, the one norm to which every president must adhere is putting the American people first. Regardless of his or her personal style, the president of the United States must at all times act in a way that protects the well-being of our citizens and the strength of our republic. That means supporting -- not seeking to destroy -- what makes our country great, even if doing so is at his own expense.

Recent actions by Trump provide legitimate reason to question if, whenever the government comes back to full strength, that will be his priority. On that there can be no compromise. Ever. Our survival depends on it.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94573

Reported Deaths: 2870
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7032159
DeSoto547759
Harrison380573
Jackson343069
Madison323386
Rankin322577
Lee265468
Jones245279
Forrest242571
Washington219772
Lafayette213739
Lauderdale2038125
Bolivar181366
Oktibbeha176350
Lamar165534
Neshoba1556104
Panola145527
Lowndes144958
Sunflower143946
Warren138450
Leflore138381
Pontotoc124916
Pike122450
Monroe120768
Scott117126
Copiah116633
Coahoma114428
Holmes109558
Marshall108516
Lincoln107553
Grenada107236
Yazoo104630
Simpson101844
Union98824
Tate96237
Leake94638
Adams92637
Wayne88821
Pearl River87053
Marion84535
Prentiss83417
Covington81322
Itawamba78721
Alcorn78611
Newton76723
Tallahatchie76421
George75913
Winston73519
Chickasaw66724
Tishomingo66738
Tippah65417
Attala65325
Walthall59525
Clay58518
Hancock57221
Clarke57045
Jasper56215
Noxubee54616
Smith52914
Calhoun50812
Tunica48213
Claiborne45916
Montgomery45820
Lawrence42912
Yalobusha42314
Perry41618
Humphreys37515
Quitman3735
Stone36512
Greene35917
Jefferson Davis33511
Webster33313
Amite32110
Carroll31412
Wilkinson30218
Kemper28815
Sharkey26513
Jefferson2449
Benton2232
Franklin1923
Choctaw1816
Issaquena1043
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 132452

Reported Deaths: 2335
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
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