A year and a half into his presidency and no one has really figured out how to neutralize Donald Trump. Every single day, Trump sets the narrative, and every single day, the media follows that narrative. The daily news cycle is a referendum on Trump. If you don’t like him, you refute his policies, you point out the facts, throw in a few insults, and throw your hands in the air and give up. If you like him, you find a way to justify his policies, defend him, and blame Democrats or The Deep State for all of his problems.
Ultimately, however, it’s always about Trump, and until 2019 when the Democrats begin to field candidates for 2020 and hopefully offer a loud oppositional voice that the left can rally behind, every news cycle is going to revolve around Trump, which means seeing his face, hearing his voice, and reading his tweets every stupid day, a toxic endeavor that can feel like having your soul poisoned one drop at a time, because even when the news is good — an indictment, a firing, a resignation, a Supreme Court case that goes in our favor — the subject material (Donald Trump) still feels toxic.
If the media, or the Democratic opposition, were smart, however, they’d attack EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt as a proxy for Trump. It’s not that people aren’t attacking Pruitt — there’s a new ethical impropriety leveled against him nearly every day — it’s that so few people tie him directly to Trump. But he is Donald Trump.
Pruitt is everything that Trump stands for. Pruitt is dismantling the E.P.A., and while a lot of conservatives who don’t believe in climate science say, “Good!” what many don’t realize is that the EPA also protects Americans — largely poor people — from poisonous water, chemicals, and cancer-causing agents. Remember A Civil Action? Or Eric Brockovich? Donald Trump — through Scott Pruitt — is making cases like that more possible again because he’s relaxing the rules against businesses and making it easier for them to pollute our air and water, and thereby, making it easier to kill poor people. Why? So stockholders can earn higher dividends.
But also, Donald Trump is standing by a man who epitomizes the very swamp he claimed to want to drain. Scott Pruitt is being investigated for living in a condo subsidized by an energy lobbyist; he spent $43,000 on a secure phone booth; he spent $3.5 million on a security detail he did not need; he used taxpayer money to take flights to vacation destinations like Italy and Morocco; he once spent $5,719 to take a 40-minute flight; he asked a political aide to ask a Chick-fil-A franchise to open a franchise for his wife to run; he asked his security detail to drive him around to find a hand lotion; he sent an intern to get him a mattress from Trump hotel; he spent $1,560 of taxpayer money on 12 fancy pens.
Donald Trump hasn’t fired Scott Pruitt for any of this; in fact, Trump praised Pruitt two days ago for his work in the E.P.A. Trump — who has spent more money playing golf than the special counsel has spent investigating Russia — is just like Scott Pruitt. They’re one in the same.
If I’m a Democrat, that’s what I would want to run against. “Can you believe that Donald Trump supports a man who uses taxpayer money to search for hand lotion? Or who spent $1500 on pens? Or who used taxpayer money to fly to Italy? Donald Trump says that he’s for the common man, the coal miner in West Virginia or the factory worker in Ohio. Well, does the coal miner spend $43,000 on a phone booth? Does the factory worker need $5,000 to take a 40-minute flight?”
Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump are two peas in the same pod. Scott Pruitt stands for everything that this presidency is about: Self-enrichment, corruption, close relationships with lobbyists, and refusing to stand up for regulations that lead to contaminated water and higher cancer rates.
If that weren’t true, then why hasn’t Trump fired Pruitt?
Donald Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp, but instead, he’s turning our nation’s water supply into a cancerous swamp. The only people profiting from the Trump presidency are lobbyists, corporations, and Donald Trump and cabinet members like Scott Pruitt. Do you want another four years of men like him raiding the nation’s piggy bank for hand moisturizer?