(May 10) The verdict finding former President Donald Trump liable for sexual battery does not tell us much new about Trump’s character. His defenders are wrong, however, to say his performance as president somehow makes his awful character unimportant.

From a conservative vantage point, the record shows Trump was a bad president.

Take Trump’s signature issue of illegal immigration.

The ultra-progressive Barack Obama presided over a significant reduction in Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal immigrants in the final three years of his term, from 486,651 to 415,816. Trump, in contrast, made almost no progress in this regard from year two (404,142) to year four of his presidency (405,651), and also presided over an explosion in crossings during his third year (to 854,501). (I excluded the first year of each term because administrations overlap in January, and policy changes take a while to implement.)

That doesn’t even take into account Trump’s abject failure to build his promised border wall, much less make Mexico pay for it.

Trump shut down the government for a record 35 days, wreaking havoc on taxpayers looking for IRS help over the single issue of wall funding. His battle amounted to one of the worst negotiations in history — in the end, he secured less wall funding, at $1.3 billion, than the $1.6 billion Democrats had themselves offered in the beginning. Meanwhile, taxpayers shelled out $9 billion in back pay for federal employees, half of that for work that wasn’t being done.

Now take domestic (non-defense) discretionary spending — the part of the federal budget most directly subject to presidential control. In his first three years, Trump took it from $586 billion to $658 billion — worse by $72 billion overall, plus a second-year spike all the way to $722 billion. Under Obama, this category of spending went from $540 billion to $531 billion in his third year — a decrease of $9 billion.

Trump can’t even blame inflation, which accounted for only $36 billion of his $72 billion hike (not even counting the immense mid-year spike)…. [The full column is here.]


Tags: , ,