Opinion by Robert Reich
(BERKELEY, CA.) -- It seems like forever, but
it was just one
year ago that Donald Trump was elected president. So what have we
the presidency and who is running the country?
1. The first big thing we’ve learned is that Trump is
not really the
president of the United States – because he’s not governing.
A president who’s governing doesn’t blast his Attorney General
for doing his
duty and recusing himself from an FBI investigation of the president.
A president who’s governing doesn’t leave the top echelons of
and agencies empty for almost a year.
He doesn’t publicly tell his Secretary of State he’s wasting
time trying to
open relations with North Korea. Any president with the slightest
governing would already know and approve of what his Secretary of State
He doesn’t fire half his key White House staff in the first
creating utter chaos.
A president who is governing works with his cabinet and staff
policy. He doesn’t just tweet new public policy out of the blue – for
that transgender people can’t serve in the military. His Secretary of
is likely to have some thoughts on the matter – and if not consulted
decide to ignore the tweet.
He doesn’t just decide to withdraw from the Paris Accord
without any reason
A president who is governing works with Congress. He doesn’t
just punt to
Congress hard decisions – as he did with DACA, the Iran nuclear deal,
subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and details of his tax plan.
He doesn’t tell a crowd of supporters that he’s ended the
Clean Power Plan –
“Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone” – when any such repeal
legal process, and must then withstand court challenges.
Instead of governing, Donald Trump has been insulting,
and getting even:
Equating white supremacists with people who protest against
Questioning the patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting
violence and racism.
Making nasty remarks about journalists, about his predecessor
his political opponent in the last election, national heroes like
John Lewis and Senator John McCain, even the mayor of San Juan Puerto
Or he’s busy lying and then covering up the lies. Claiming he
would have won
the popular vote if millions hadn’t voted fraudulently for his opponent
without a shred of evidence to support his claim, and then setting up a
fraudulent commission to find the evidence.
Or firing the head of the FBI who wouldn’t promise to be more
loyal to him
than to the American public.
A president’s job is to govern. Trump doesn’t know how to
apparently doesn’t care. So, logically, he’s not President.
2. The second thing we’ve learned is that Trump’s
Since he lost the popular vote, his approval ratings have
further. One year in, Trump is the least popular president in history
37 percent of Americans behind him.
Most Republicans still approve of him, but that may not be for
He couldn’t get his pick elected to a Senate primary in
Alabama, a state
bulging with Trump voters.
Republican senators refused to go along with his repeal of the
Care Act. And they’re taking increased interest in Russia’s
interference in the
Business leaders deserted him over his remarks over
vacated his business advisory councils.
NFL owners have turned on him over his remarks about players.
Tom Brady, who
once called Trump “a good friend,” now calls him “divisive” and “wrong.”
There’s no question he’s violated the Constitution. There are
at least three
grounds for impeachment – his violation of the emoluments clause of the
Constitution by raking in money from foreign governments, his
justice by firing the head of the FBI, and his failure to faithfully
the law by not implementing the Affordable Care Act. And a fourth if he
aides colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
But both houses of Congress would have to vote for his
removal, which won’t
happen unless Democrats win control in 2018 or Republicans in Congress
Trump is a political liability.
3. The third big thing we’ve learned is where the
governing of the country
is actually occurring.
Much is being done by lobbyists for big business, who now
swarm over the
Trump administration like honey bees over a hedgerow of hollyhocks.
But the real leadership of America is coming from outside the
Leadership on the environment is now coming from California –
every automaker and many other corporations have to meet in order to
sell in a
state that’s home to one out of eight Americans.
Leadership on civil rights is coming from the federal courts,
struck down three different versions of Trump’s travel ban, told states
voter ID laws are unconstitutional, and pushed police departments to
profiling and harassing minorities.
Leadership on the economy is coming from the Federal Reserve
decisions on interest rates are more important than ever now that the
lacks a fiscal policy guided by the White House.
Most of the rest of leadership in America is now coming from
– from people all over the country who are determined to reclaim our
and make the economy work for the many rather than the few.
They stopped Congress from repealing the Affordable Care Act.
They’re fighting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to
money on for-profit schools and colleges that cheat their students.
They’re fighting EPA director Scott Pruitt’s crusade against
And Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s attempts to tear down the
church and state.
They’re fighting against the biggest tax cut for the wealthy
history – that will be paid for by draconian cuts in services and
levels of federal debt.
They’re fighting against the bigotry, racism, and xenophobia
that Trump has
And they’re fighting for a Congress that, starting with next
elections, will reverse everything Trump is doing to America.
But their most important effort – your effort, our effort – is
resisting Trump. It’s laying the groundwork for a new politics in
new era of decency and social justice, a reassertion of the common good.
Millions are already mobilizing and organizing. It’s the one
that’s happened since Election Day last year – the silver lining on the
If you’re not yet part of it, join up.
ROBERT B. REICH is the
Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley,
senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
He served as secretary of labor in
the Clinton administration and Time magazine named him one of the 10
effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century.
Mr. Reich has written 14 books,
including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond
most recently Saving Capitalism.
is also a founding editor of The American
Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American
of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary