Government Watchdogs: Trump's First 100 Days Are Fueling a 'Golden Era of Activism'
By Nadia Prupis / Common Dreams
Some of the nation’s leading watchdog groups released reports this week taking stock of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, covering everything from his failure to “drain the swamp” to the resistance movement meeting his administration head-on.
The consensus seems to be that Trump and his administration are doing everything they can to dismantle recent progress on civil rights, climate action, government accountability, and other critical measures for democracy—but in doing so, have ushered in a game-changing era of grassroots activism.
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW), which has sued the president over his conflicts of interest, released its report Friday, detailing “the ethical failings of both the president and his staff.”
“President Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp,’ but instead the first 100 days of his administration have illustrated the catastrophic consequences when a president fails to prioritize ethics when entering public service,” CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder said. “This failure of leadership resounds through the administration and the government as a whole, and ultimately harms our democracy and the interests of the American people.”
CREW’s report also looks at the track records of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Health and Human Services (HHS) head Tom Price, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, senior White House staff, and the president’s children.
Trump “has established a record that no one would want to hold: the most unethical first 100 days since we started counting eight decades ago,” CREW board chair and former presidential ethics adviser Norman Eisen said. “From his own unresolved and unconstitutional conflicts, to the deplorable ethics of his cabinet and White House staff, to his denial of transparency for his taxes and for his White House visitor records, the Trump administration is a disgrace.”
“It is no wonder that Trump is already facing a major investigation and the lowest popularity rating of any president at this point. Unless he straightens up and flies right it will only go further downhill from here,” Eisen said.
Then there was the Leadership Coalition for Civil and Human Rights, which said Trump’s first 100 days were marked by his “utter contempt for the protection of civil rights and civil liberties, especially for marginalized communities.”
“Enabled by a Republican Congress, Trump has filled key posts with people like Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos who are intent on undoing much of the progress we’ve made. His Supreme Court nominee had a clear record of ruling against women, working people, students with disabilities, victims of discrimination, and other disadvantaged communities,” said the coalition’s president, Wade Henderson.
With report after report, similar condemnations abounded.
Maggie Alt, executive director for Environment America: “There is no question, President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health. His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will put at risk our oceans and national parks.”
Celine McNicholas for the Economic Policy Institute: “In his first 100 days in office, President Trump has continued to talk about creating ‘jobs where Americans prosper and grow.’ However, his actions during that time tell a different story.”
“Working Americans deserve more than talk,” McNicholas said Thursday. “If the president were serious about improving the lives of working men and women, he could strengthen overtime rules, work to increase the minimum wage, and support workers’ rights to bargain collectively. Instead he has steadily undermined the laws and institutions that protect working people and advance their interests.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has been fighting the president’s immigration and travel bans, among other measures, released two reports Wednesday entitled “100 Days of Failure” and “100 Days of Resistance.”
“In his first 100 days, Donald Trump has accomplished only one thing that is remarkable—he’s awoken American democracy like never before and reminded us all that it’s ‘We the People’ who truly govern,” said ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero. “As Trump’s 100th day in office approaches, it is clear that resistance to his unconstitutional and un-American policies is everywhere.”
“It is broad, deep, and intersectional, breaking barriers across class, gender, race, and even political and party lines, as some conservatives cast their opposition to Trump,” Romero said. “If sustained, this golden era of citizen activism may indeed be one of President Trump’s greatest legacies—albeit unwittingly.”