The classic term for spectacle that distracts from embarrassing or damning facts is “smoke and mirrors.” In Donald Trump’s America, it may be time to update the axiom to “goofy props and oversized charts.” (Videos below.)
President Trump held an event today to try convince the masses that — despite undermining America’s institutions, repeatedly attacking our Constitution’s First Amendment, victimizing millions of innocent people, and claiming not a single legislative accomplishment in 11 months — he’s been a very effective leader.
The main bragging point was that he had cut regulations, and this is true. Although the regulations in question are more accurately described as “protections” for the American people.
For example Trump showed a clownish, oversized chart of the protocol that needs to be followed to build a road, fumbling to hold it up as Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao giggled behind him. The president bragged as he played with his props that he would be slashing those regulations.
Does anybody think it should be easy for contractors to simply up and build a road? Roads are useful, sure, but they’re also giant concrete scars through our communities that, if constructed improperly, could cost many lives.
On the flip side, if regulations are cut, corporate giants could accelerate production and cut costs associated with protective measures, thereby maximizing profits and funneling even more money to the richest among us.
Trump then posed with scissors and literal red tape between the stacks of paper symbolizing regulations today and those more than a half century ago — an era before seat belts, lead paint and asbestos laws, to say nothing of the internet and drones.
“Elaine, are you ok?” the president suddenly asked his Transportation Secretary for no apparent reason as he stood at the tape.
“Yes,” she replied.
“You ok?” he repeated.
“Yes, I’m fine,” she insisted.
“She has a lot to do with it,” Trump continued, turning to the press. “These things called roads. Roads. And bridges. Right?”
“Yes,” Chao told the ostensible Commander-in-Chief, confirming the most basic facets of the arena he is planning to gut.
Make no mistake, these regulations protect Americans and save lives. So it’s no surprise that the president opposes them. There’s also no surprise that Trump is using theatrics to change the narrative.
And humiliating himself in the process.
WATCH: President Trump displays a chart that shows the process to get a permit for a highway. pic.twitter.com/7ktN6vXpFn
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 14, 2017
In 1960, there were approximately 20,000 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations. Today there are over 185,000 pages, as seen in the Roosevelt Room.
Today, we CUT THE RED TAPE! It is time to SET FREE OUR DREAMS and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/teAVNzjvcx
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2017