By Dan K. THOMASSON
Tribune News Service
If the world wasn’t certain about Donald Trump before, it should be now. He is basically a history-ignorant isolationist whose America First blabber is unsustainable, if not ruinous, in a global economy. Think the 1930s.
The proof, of course, is his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, which came against the advice of most of the country’s industrial base, business leaders, members of his family, and our allies overseas on grounds that the 195-nation agreement unfairly puts too much of the burden on the United States. For instance, it would reduce the number of coal mining jobs by 86 percent, he said in justifying his brash action.
Wonderful. This is the guy who called climate change a hoax during his campaign and promised to rectify that with just what he did, turning the clock back to the excesses that got us where we are now – ice caps melting, oceans rising and all the other obvious and scary things that leave no doubt about what is happening, no matter what a handful of nitwit ultra-conservatives dispute.
And by the way, coal jobs are never going to rebound to the days of rampant black lung, devastated landscapes and mining tragedies caused by refusal of the barons of the industry to follow safety procedures. The future is not fossil, it is renewable – fueled by wind and other refinements where jobs are beginning to flower. Tesla already is valued higher than General Motors.
Everyone should know by now that the real reason for Trump’s actions were to save face for not accomplishing all those things like health care and tax reform and a top-heavy military budget he promised would happen quickly to make us great again.
Dispelled the other day was also any doubt about his narcissism.
Before his appearance in the Rose Garden, his toady, Vice President Mike Pence, took the podium to tell those gathered and the millions watching television around the globe just all the incredible things Trump did on his European trip and how much the great man had accomplished in the brief time he has been in the White House. This despite Trump failing to do anything meaningful or positive, including organizing his own administration. If he wants to solve job problems, start in the White House, which looks like an outpost in a wasteland, and move on to other still-barren portions of his kingdom.
As for his overseas achievements, they include puncturing relations with our traditional allies, threatening the stability of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and any number of other foreign policy gaffes. So what if Germany’s Angela Merkel doesn’t look like Melania Trump. She has more on her mind than fashion.
Still, out to the podium strode the Orange Messiah, grinning benevolently at the assembled, and making his expected announcement in stunted vocabulary that reminds one of sixth-grade graduation remarks, peppered with “great” and “wonderful” and “very, very.” You know – all those startling things just short of “swell” to come in his glorious crusade to bring the country back to planet leadership.
You may have failed to notice that sitting in the front row was the emissary from prehistoric times, chief strategist Stephen Bannon, his vein-marked countenance aglow in the rapture of the moment. But why shouldn’t he be enthralled? He’s a major designer of this map to disaster and, some contend, the real president when it comes to policy.
If you don’t like his cartography, he has other jobs.
He is the head chef of official garbage. The man who at the stroke of every midnight flits through the mansion, turning back the clocks so everyone awakes every morning to Groundhog Day. Bannon seems rarely to come out except at night. Does that give you any ideas about his origins?
At the end, Trump stood regally at the podium while his new EPA director, a staunch opponent of the accords, praised his decision. All this sycophantic blather, however, failed to divert attention from the Russian scandal, as the White House had obviously hoped. New questions continued to arise almost hourly.
The United States won’t officially be out of the accords until 2020. Hopefully, Trump will exit at the same time. Meanwhile, some of this nation’s strongest businesses are putting together a consortium to make up the U.S. share of accord expenses. All is not lost – yet.
Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers.