Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He got facts and laws wrong, this time on trains.

Trump used some of his "executive" Twitter time today to attack the state of California for cancelling its high-speed rail project.

California has not cancelled its high-speed rail project, although it has scaled it back. 

Trump also insisted that California "owed" the federal government $3.5 billion. Recent comments by Trump suggest that he believes—or at least wants people to think he believes—that presidents can reallocate money that Congress has budgeted. But they can't. 

Trump has a political grudge against the governor of the state, Gavin Newsom, and has attacked the state repeatedly—most recently blaming its devastating fires on the state's forest management practices, although the blazes began and spread on federally managed land. (Trump responded by threatening to cut off the federal money that California uses for forest maintenance, which would only have made the problem worse.)

But more to the point, Trump's sneering at the supposed failure of a "green" mass transit program is likely at the behest of the coal and oil industry figures who funneled money into his inaugural committee (currently under criminal investigation as a slush fund) and received extraordinary return on investment in the form of policies and cabinet secretaries.

Who cares?

  • Presidents do not get to rewrite laws, including budget laws, just because they want to.
  • It's bad if a president is openly hostile to one of the United States and is rooting for its failure.