Sundin column: Trump travesty revisited |

Sundin column: Trump travesty revisited

Hal Sundin

Back in January I commented unfavorably on Donald Trump’s performance during the first year of his presidency and was advised, “Cheer up, things could be worse.”

So, I cheered up, and sure enough things have gotten worse — much worse. Let me count the ways.

First, his promise to drain the swamp of the self-serving corporate dominance of our government that was ignoring the interests of the people. Instead, he has filled his Cabinet with executives from corporate giants like Goldman Sachs who, like Trump, have served the wealthy and run up grandiose travel bills at public expense.

He has passed a budget that permanently reduces taxes on corporations and the wealthy, including himself. This will create deficits which will increase the National Debt, something for which he has excoriated the Democrats. Trying to keep the deficits from being even greater, Trump has cut funding for education and a wide variety of other programs that benefit the public, especially families living in poverty due to sub-living-cost wages and health care for those with special needs.

But he is willing to spend millions of dollars on an extravagant military parade for a show of power to satisfy his overweening ego. Trump has further increased corporate profits, again including his businesses, by reducing or eliminating safe air and water standards, consumer protection laws against predatory practices and safety requirements that protect people.

Trump has exhibited numerous character flaws inconsistent with what is expected from those who occupy the office of President of the United States. He gets his information by watching Fox News on television. Thus, he is poorly informed and seems to be disinterested in distinguishing between the truth and what he believes. Facts he doesn’t like he brands as “fake news.“

Dangerously for our future, he chooses to ignore and even suppress science with which he doesn’t agree and the advice of those around him who are much more experienced, better informed and more knowledgeable on important issues.

His tweets and behavior set a bad example of bigotry and bullying, effectually sanctioning and encouraging white supremacists and hate groups that climaxed in the fatal riot in Charlottesville, Virginia. He even claimed that there were many good people among the neo-Nazi demonstrators!

Trump perceives as an enemy and tries to tear down anyone who does not agree with him or exposes his weaknesses and irresponsible actions. He is obsessed with “winning” regardless of the consequences. Trump seems to harbor a fixation on undoing anything President Obama accomplished.

He is particularly incensed with any reporting by the press that criticizes instead of praising him, and declares the free press to be “the enemy of the people.” He has tweeted his admiration for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose wealthy corporate owners have ordered their large network of stations to run pro-Trump messages, repeatedly giving him the adulation he craves and attacking what they call “fake news” from other media, such as CNN.

President Trump’s administration is in disarray and chaos with multiple defections and firings of his appointees. He even claims he likes it that way! It is time to stop running the White House like his TV reality show, “The Apprentice,” with his favorite line, “You’re fired!”

While Trump has promised to “Make America Great Again,” his ill-considered actions have done just the opposite. His tariffs on steel and aluminum have alienated our trading partners, starting a trade war which can financially hurt many parts of our own economy.

With his denial of global warming he has taken the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, making us the only country in the world with its “head where the sun don’t shine.” Confirming his denial, he is supporting coal mining and weakening automotive exhaust emission standards, placing corporate interests above threats to the future livability of our planet.

Our president is alienating our allies and questioning our participation in the UN, NATO and TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership), opening the door for China to replace the U.S. as the world leader. These actions may “Make China Great Again” instead of America.

All of this makes one wonder if he is mentally and emotionally fit for the demanding job of President of the United States and World Leader. Our Commander-in-Chief does not seem to be in command of himself. I, for one, am seriously concerned about where he is taking us.

P.S. This column was drafted before the book, “A Higher Loyalty,” published by former FBI Director James Comey, came out. Any similarities are strictly coincidental.

“As I See It” appears on the first Thursday of the month. Hal Sundin lives in Glenwood Springs and is a retired environmental and structural engineer. Contact him at

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