Comrade Trump loves to announce things. Announcing stuff is fun. You get to stand in front of a lot of people who want to hear the announcement, you make your announcement, then you can go do something else. Eat some chicken, play golf, make some phone calls. After a while you get to watch television and see how they report your announcement. Great fun.
The best thing about announcing stuff? It gets reported as if whatever it was you announced you were going to do is basically already done. You get credit for the thing just by making the announcement.
Here’s an example. Yesterday Comrade Trump held a…okay, I don’t even know what to call it. He called it a ‘press conference’ because the news media were there, but it was held at one of Trump’s golf clubs and attended by members of his club (who repeated booed the reporters). And he used the forum to campaign against Uncle Joe, so I guess it was sort of a mini-rally for folks who paid US$200,000 to join his golf club and had a free afternoon.
Whatever it was, Trump used it to announce that he’d signed “four bills” (they weren’t bills) that he said would “save American jobs and provide relief to the American worker” (they don’t). But hey, he announced it, he signed some documents, he showed the documents to the audience so they could applaud, and they applauded. Job done. The news media reported it like it meant something.
It didn’t. But here’s the headline from USA TODAY:
Trump signs executive orders enacting $400 unemployment benefit, payroll tax cut after coronavirus stimulus talks stall.
It sounds really decisive, doesn’t it. It wasn’t. It sounds like Trump actually did something. He didn’t. Three of the four ‘bills’ he signed were actually memoranda; the other was an executive order. The one he claimed would provide a moratorium on evictions only suggested that HUD should consider halting evictions. He also said he’d defer payroll tax payments for some folks, which basically means they’d still have to pay those taxes–but just not right now. It would all come due at tax time. And, of course, a payroll tax only applies to people who are actually on a payroll. If you’re unemployed, it doesn’t help you at all.
And that US$400 in unemployment insurance he promised? He’s sucking enough coin out of FEMA to increase unemployment benefits by $300 (which is nothing to grumble about), but the deal depends on states paying that last $100, which is a serious problem because 1) it means the states have to set up a system to do that, which could take some time and 2) the states are almost broke because 2a) they’ve lost a lot of tax revenue because of Covid-19 and 2b) Trump dumped the responsibility for testing and treatment on the states, which cost them big bucks. So this probably won’t fly.
The only real thing Comrade Trump did was to issue an executive order extending the suspension of monthly payments for federally-held student loans. It’s only for three months, but it’s something. And it’s a good thing (and you people say I never give Trump credit for the good thing
s he’s done).
So the headlines suggest that Trump has actually done the things he announced, even though all he’s done is announce them. The list of things he’s announced he was going to do but hasn’t is extensive. Google ‘Trump announces’ and you’ll get about 921,000,000 results. I mean, how many times has he announced that Covid-19 is under control? But here we are with 5,000,000 confirmed cases and nearly 165,000 dead.
Comrade Trump is a serial announcer, no mistake. But here are a few things he hasn’t announced:
- a mask mandate
- the arrest of the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor
- sanctions against Russia for putting a bounty on killing Marines in Afghanistan
- the release of his income tax records for the last ten years
- an apology for…well, any of the appalling shit he’s said and done
- his resignation
Of course, even if DID make those announcements, he probably wouldn’t follow through.