Where did Donald Trump’s absurd, brutal and immoral budget proposal come from? His recently appointed Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, has now told us: “If he said it in the campaign, it’s in the budget,” he said. “We wanted to know what his policies were. And we turned those policies into numbers.”
What a fine way to create a budget for the United States: Consulting the array of impulsive utterances, crowd-pleasing, absurd and often contradictory campaign promises, robotically delivered speeches written by others, and perhaps even early-morning, incoherent tweets that add up to the nothing-burger that is Donald Trump’s policy “thinking.”
Let me see if I understand this process: During the campaign, Trump panders to xenophobic supporters, and shouts about building a “beautiful” wall, and making Mexico pay for it. Virtually everyone who knows anything about our relationship with Mexico—and border security — calls this an absurd idea. Even his campaign cronies know that this is not a realistic idea. Nevertheless, in the interest of fulfilling a ridiculous campaign utterance, his Budget Director translates that into $2 billion in the US budget—no mention, by the way, of the bogus “promise” to make Mexico reimburse us for the costs.
In speeches obviously written for him by whisperer-in-chief Steve Bannon, Trump trumpets about “rebuilding our military,” which, in reality, does not need rebuilding. He is said to have requested a display of military tanks and rocket launchers during his inauguration parade. Mulvaney picks up on that notion and makes an extra $54 billion in new military spending magically appear in the budget, so Trump can fulfill his 12-year-old-boy fantasy of having the biggest, most destructive toys to play with. So, this is how policy is interpreted and turned into budget proposals?
And if he’s “culling” Trump’s pronouncements for policy ideas, you have to wonder how he translated some of Trump’s tweets into numbers. There’s a scary thought.
To give this story a bit of historical context, think back to Richard Nixon. He was notoriously prone to instruct his White House staff to commit nasty, sometimes illegal acts—and not just the Watergate break-in. We learned, later, that his top aides often left the Oval Office scratching their heads and then agreeing to simply disregard what they had been asked to do. Even those guys—most of whom left political life in disgrace—had the judgment to recognize intemperate, unsound orders from a mentally unbalanced president when they saw them.
Mulvaney could have done America a great service by not enshrining Trump’s unreasoned rantings in a document as important as the budget. But he didn’t. He’s just another Trump sycophant who refuses to acknowledge that the emperor has no clothes.
The fact that Mulvaney said that he “wanted to know what [Trump’s] policy priorities were,” is a significant tell: After his boss has been in office for two months, Mulvaney still can’t identify the president’s policies and has to hunt them down? Clearly, that means that Trump doesn’t have any thoughts about issues, let alone priorities. And if you’re searching through his speeches, tweets and campaign rants for trends, it quickly becomes clear that his only priority is himself.
It is irresponsible and insane to base our national budget on the zigzagging, self-contradictory and utterly uninformed pronouncements of this man.