Shocker, right? In President Trump's post-truth "alternative facts" era, it comes as no surprise that he signed a series of executive orders on Monday that are completely unnecessary. Actually, no, strike that. The orders were necessary specifically as a means of pandering to his low-information base, not to mention his disciples and PR flacks on Fox News and AM talk radio.
The Mexico City Rule. First, there's the most controversial executive order in which Trump reinstated the "Global Gag Rule" regarding overseas organizations that receive U.S. funds. The "Mexico City Rule," as it's also called, prevents those organizations “from providing counseling or referrals for abortion or advocating for access to abortion services in their country.”
Not only was this an insult to the millions of women marched against Trump around the world, but it's also more or less redundant given the Hyde amendment, which carries similar language, as well as the Helms amendment. Together, it's clearly a gesture to the anti-choice crowd who might've been concerned about Trump's allegiance to all things evangelical. Making matters worse, Trump's order would rescind $600 million in family planning aid, benefiting 27 million women around the world.
Federal Hiring Freeze. Elsewhere, Trump signed an executive order that places a freeze on all non-military hiring inside the federal government. Why is this order stupid? First of all, the federal government has been precipitously hemorrhaging jobs throughout the Obama years. It's a fact of life that certainly handcuffed Obama's unemployment record. The other completely dumb aspect of this executive order should be self-evident. For more than a year, Trump's been hilarious pitching himself as "the greatest jobs president God ever created." Well, this is one area where Trump could've directly put Americans back to work. It's the one area where the president can directly create jobs -- good paying jobs, with healthcare and pensions. Instead, he chose to deliberately not hire any more federal workers on his first full weekday in office. So much winning.
Trans-Pacific Partnership. And finally, Trump signed an order withdrawing the U.S. from the controversial trade deal, TPP. As he signed, he made sure to note how the order was dedicated to the "working man." Fine, but completely bizarre given how he chose not to create any jobs in his previous order. It's also bizarre given that President Obama abandoned TPP way back in November. (Note to Trumpers: the previous link points to Breitbart, lest you accuse us of linking to allegedly "fake news.")
Of course, none of this comes as any surprise. Regarding the latter two orders, it's merely part of Trump's ongoing effort to flagrantly take credit for Obama's accomplishments. You might recall how Trump took credit for Sprint's 8,000 jobs, not to mention Ford's and Amazon's. He also took credit for holiday consumer confidence and the spike in the stock market. Similarly, Trump's business model throughout the last decade or so has been to piggyback his name onto the ideas of others, licensing his brand to high-bidders then taking credit when they do well, while quietly paying out legal settlements when they don't.
Obviously, we can expect Trump to take credit for everything that Obama accomplished and inventing "alternative facts" when his own policies fail. As he pilfers Obama's successful economy, he's debunking almost his entire inaugural address about the alleged "American carnage." It turns out, things aren't so bad now that Trump can take credit for everything that's excellent. Frankly, it's the most egregious example of political theft since Ronald Reagan took credit for freeing the Iranian hostages. And given how Trump's administration is populated with sycophants and alt-right propagandists, it's up to the political press to emphatically underscoring the reality of what he's up to. In other words, don't hold your breath.