The Trumpy Awards
The votes are in and the hard-fought contest is finally over. The public has weighed in with their votes for the Trumpys – for the worst of the worst of the Trump administration. And now, without further ado, it’s time to announce the winners losers:
The Trumpy for Worst Assault on Democracy goes to …
Loser: Repealing the Johnson Amendment: Citizens United 2.0.
Runners-up: Firing Comey, suppressing people of color votes, legislative tricks to pass the tax scam
The case for the Trumpy: Early in his term, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment. Few Americans had a clue what he was talking about, but his audience did. The idea is to eliminate the restriction on churches (and charities) engaging in political, electioneering activity. This has long been an objective of evangelical churches that would like to participate directly in elections. In practical terms, it threatens to permit churches and charities to function as new, tax-deductible Dark Money organizations. It is completely realistic to anticipate that the move would lead to hundreds of millions of dollars of new Dark Money flooding into elections. That’s why many advocates are calling it Citizens United 2.0. A Republican effort to include the provision in the tax bill was derailed for procedural reason, but Trump and his allies are still pushing.
The Trumpy for Worst Corrupting Conflict of Interest goes to …
Loser: The Tax Scam: Tax Cuts for Trump and the Superrich Cabinet.
Runners-up: Trump Hotel & Mar-a-Lago, Jared Kushner’s Middle East conflicts, Carl Icahn’s effort to change ethanol rules
The case for the Trumpy: A superrich Cabinet designed and helped ram through Congress a tax bill that will transfer more than a trillion dollars … to the superrich and the corporate class. Among notable features, the bill doubles the amount exempt from the estate tax, a huge boon for Trump and his billionaire cabinet. The pass-through provisions will confer enormous benefits on Trump himself, lowering the tax rate he pays on his business operations; a last-minute change to the bill made the deal even more generous for Trump. “This is going to cost me a fortune,” Trump said untruthfully. But he revealed the reality at a gathering at Mar-a-Lago: “You all just got a lot richer,” he told his rich friends.
The Trumpy for Cruelest Action goes to …
Loser: Deportation Nation: Revocation of DACA and Temporary Protected Status
Runners-up: The Muslim ban, Authorizing work requirements for Medicaid recipients, ending enforcement against nursing home abuse.
The case for the Trumpy: Last fall, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration would end DACA – the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which curbed enforcement of immigration laws against immigrants without documentation who came to the United States as children. About 800,000 Dreamers are enrolled in DACA and facing deportation – in many cases to countries they do not know – unless the program is rescued by Congress in the next couple of months. Trump says he “loves the Dreamers,” has “a great love for them” and wants a “bill of love” to protect the Dreamers. But he hasn’t supported any actual legislation, and at best seems to want to hold a solution hostage to concessions on a border wall and other anti-immigrant measures, placing a priority on splitting up families. The Dreamers are the leaders of the 21st century and Trump’s actions are a disgrace.
The Trumpy for Worst Corporate Giveaway goes to …
Loser: Clean Power Plan Repeal
Runners-up: Net Neutrality repeal, return of private prisons, repeal of CFPB’s forced arbitration rule.
Note: The judges issued a special Historic Catastrophe Trumpy to the Trump tax scam, one of the greatest transfers of wealth to the corporate sector in American history, which otherwise would have lost this category hands down.
The case for the Trumpy: In October, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt – the Dirty Energy companies’ guy – moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
The Clean Power Plan was a win for almost everyone and every industry except for coal. Not only would it reduce climate risk, it would lessen other air pollution besides carbon, saving thousands of lives and preventing tens of thousands of illnesses. And, it would significantly reduce household electric bills. A Public Citizen study found the rule would lower bills in nearly every individual state by 2025, and all states by 2030 – and by as much as 20 percent in some states. Reflecting the modesty of the Clean Power Plan’s goals and the reality that coal is increasingly uneconomical, the United States already has achieved more than three-quarters of the plan’s targeted emission reductions – just two years in, and with 13 years to go. But Scott Pruitt seems much more concerned with the views of the Coal Baron and climate change denialist Robert Murray than helping consumers, averting illness or helping address what is arguably the greatest threat humanity has ever known.
The Trumpy for Worst Cabinet Official – Group I goes to …
Loser: Jeff Sessions
Runners-up: Ryan Zinke, Mick Mulvaney, Gary Cohn.
The case for the Trumpy: Among many other low-lights, Sessions has – 1. Adopted new policy for maximum charges against low-level nonviolent offenders – with disproportionate impact on people of color – while making it easy for corporate executives to evade criminal charges for overseas bribery – with massive disproportionate effect on white people. 2. Ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. 3. Reversed the Department of Justice’s historic defense of voting rights.
The Trumpy for Worst Cabinet Official – Group II goes to …
Runners-up: Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price/Alex Azar.
The case for the Trumpy: Among many other low-lights, Pruitt has worked to: 1. Repeal the Clean Power Plan –claiming it as an environmental achievement – and engineer the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. 2. Roll back 19 public health and environmental rules, covering everything from clean water to chemical safety. 3. Meet with Dirty Energy and industry interests almost 20 times more frequently than environmental organizations.
That closes the Trumpy season for now. We’ll be back next year. But in the meantime, stay on the lookout for special Trumpy awards popping up throughout the year. There’s sure no shortage of awfulness to highlight.