The Trump presidency thus far has been a bona fide progressive nightmare, but at the very least, the new commander in chief has been widely credited with delivering on his campaign promises—seemingly, all of his campaign promises.
Among them: ordering the much-hyped wall on the Mexican border (thus alienating a longstanding U.S. ally), enacting a sweeping travel ban on Muslim-majority countries (that treads on U.S. law, if not the Constitution), and nominating a conservative pick for the Supreme Court (and conveniently ignoring the overly qualified and unfairly stymied Merrick Garland).
Still, sorry/not sorry, Sean Spicer, but Donald Trump doesn’t deserve a cookie just yet: Upon closer look (and Trump’s actions usually warrant one), the president is simultaneously going back on the fiery words of his campaign. After hurling nasty base attacks at Hillary Clinton over everything from her alleged failing health to conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation, Trump is currently engaged in at least five of the same exact behaviors he had attacked his opponent over. Hypocritical? Sure! Sexist? Definitely. Read on.
Ties to Wall Street
“I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over [Ted Cruz]. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton,” Trump spouted during the campaign. He went on to slam Clinton for giving paid speeches to Wall Street banks, saying they “owned her.”
Fast-forward to the present, and Steve Bannon, a 17-year Goldman Sachs veteran, may be the one with total control over the president: He’s seated in an office next to the Oval, has unprecedented access to the Principals Committee of the National Security Council (a committee of the government’s officials who make the country’s most important foreign policy decisions), and the title of #PresidentBannon. Additionally, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury secretary nominee, is a former Goldman partner; Wilbur Ross, a Wall Street billionaire, is in line for commerce secretary; and hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci was a member of the Trump transition team. A veritable picture of the working class!
The Use of Private Email
There was no more consuming line of criticism against Clinton than the use of her private email server: “It’s a disgrace, and honestly, you ought to be ashamed,” Trump said, blasting Clinton during the second presidential debate.
Five days after taking office, Trump was still using his “unsecured Android phone” and, according to recent reports, Trump’s senior staff including counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor and first son-in-law Jared Kushner, Spicer, and Bannon had active private emails under the Republican National Committee server as of one week ago. Pot, meet kettle.
Conflicts of Interest
Trump made much ado of the Clinton Foundation allegedly accepting donations in exchange for access to Secretary Clinton and her State Department.
Since then, Trump’s own conflicts of interest have made attacks against the Clinton Foundation (a charity that combats global AIDS and has a higher rating than the American Red Cross) feel quaint: The president has failed to place his real estate empire in a blind trust—instead, it’s being run by his sons, Eric and Donald, Jr., who could very easily share valuable business information with the leader of the free world that could make him an even richer man. Unsavory? Indeed. But it’s also a potential violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits U.S. officials from profiting from elected office, and, technically, is an impeachable offense. (Shouldn’t this be where the chanting of lock him up, lock him up starts?)
Endangering Servicepeople Overseas
One word (innumerable hearings and questioning): Benghazi. Clinton was almost single-handedly maligned for lapses in security that ultimately led to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. (While she ultimately took responsibility as secretary of state, there was little precedent for the level of blame she incurred; officials like former Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged that while she shared responsibility with the intelligence community and other agencies, the multiple investigations into Clinton were a “stupid witch hunt.” Which is not to be confused with a “stupid witch,” which is also probably something Trump called her.)
Meanwhile, within the first 12 days of Trump’s presidency, questions swirl about the first Trump-ordered military attack against al-Qaeda in Yemen, which killed Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and an 8-year-old civilian girl, among others: According to Reuters, U.S. military officials said that the operation was approved without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup operations.
Sickness and Health
When Clinton came down with pneumonia during the rigors of campaigning, Trump pounced: saying she suffered from “low energy” and “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all the many adversaries we face.” (This from a not-exactly svelte guy most often pictured digging into a bucket of KFC, but anyhoo.)
A fortnight into the Trump era, his aides are explaining his hotheaded call with the Australian prime minister by saying he was “fatigued” because it was the “end of a long day.” To clarify, it was 5:00 p.m. Mr. President, where ever is your stamina?