People For the American Way

Trump Sneaks In Some Last-Minute Cruelty Before the New Year

Federal Update
Trump Sneaks In Some Last-Minute Cruelty Before the New Year

Don’t let all the golf fool you! Donald Trump actually had a busy holiday break. On the Fridays before Christmas and New Year’s Day, when many of us weren’t paying much attention, Trump and his administration snuck in big rollbacks on Obama-era protections for the environment, workers, seniors in nursing homes, and many others.

Here’s a list of some changes Trump snuck in while our heads were turned:

  • WORKER CONDITIONS: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration – which protects workers from unsafe working conditions – is bleeding staff who are not being replaced. Meanwhile, Trump plans to eliminate 19 agencies like the Chemical Safety Board who were told to begin preparations to shut down.
  • CENSUS SABOTAGE: The Trump administration already determined the Census would collect no data in 2020 on LGBTQ people… and now his DOJ is pushing to have a question about people’s citizenship added, which could effectively erase large numbers of immigrants from the count.
  • FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Because of Trump’s tax scam—signed into law right before Christmas—federal workers may lose out on bonuses or pay raises so that Republicans can pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
  • BIG OIL: Regulations were put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill that dumped 9 billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers to prevent such a disaster from ever occurring again. But oil companies wanted those rules weakened, so Trump’s agencies complied.
  • HIV/AIDS PREVENTION: In June, six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS quit, writing in Newsweek that Trump does not take the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During the break, Trump obliterated the rest of the council by firing the remaining members without any notice via letters sent through FedEx.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE: Remember Trump’s pro-infrastructure week? Neither does he, apparently. He’s reneged on Obama’s agreement to pay for half the cost of a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that would have built a much-needed Amtrak tunnel from New Jersey to New York’s Penn Station.
  • FRACKING: Trump’s administration overturned critical environmental protection rules on hydraulic fracking, loosening standards for construction and no longer requiring the disclosure of the dangerous chemicals in fracking fluids.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Bye bye birdie. Trump axed an Obama-era rule that protected migratory birds by fining oil, wind, gas, and solar operators that accidentally killed birds… again, at the request of big energy interests. Without these measures, energy businesses have no incentive to prevent the unnecessary deaths of millions of birds every year.
  • NATIONAL PARKS: Ivanka Trump’s billionaire landlord got a boost when Trump renewed expired mining leases for his company on the border of a lush national park in Minnesota.
  • NURSING HOMES: At the industry’s request, Trump rolled back already weak guidelines which the Obama administration put in place to protect the elderly in nursing homes. The rules included fines if nursing homes harmed residents or put them in grave risk of injury. Under new guidelines, some nursing homes may not be fined even if their actions cause a resident’s death.

And of course, Trump tweeted a lot:

GLOBAL WARMING: A very tone-deaf tweet about global warming that demonstrates no understanding of climate change or its damage to our planet:

JAILING POLITICAL OPPONENTS: A tweet calling on DOJ to jail Huma Abedin, a former top aide for Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton:

SUPER HERO: He took credit for 2017 being the safest year for commercial aviation worldwide (which he has no right to claim):

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: And don’t forget… the only reason we can say “Merry Christmas” is Trump:

Trump came into office clearly determined to do as much as possible to eliminate important regulations that protect Americans and roll back any iota of progress made by the Obama administration. And he’s making it clear that in 2018 he’s not going to let up.