Just a little more than seven years ago, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and it was signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Seven times since the ACA became the law of the land, Republicans in Congress have passed legislation that would dismantle what they've tagged “Obama Care.” Seven times, of course, the House-passed legislation failed.
Things are different now. Not only do Republicans control the House of Representatives, they also control the Senate and the White House. So … the first time that repeal of the ACA is a distinct possibility, what happens? The Republicans can't even pass legislation that would repeal and replace the law.
The extreme right wing of the GOP felt the bill was not extreme enough, that it didn't restrict availability of health care for poorer Americans enough, even though the bill would have given a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans, while squeezing the poorest Americans even more. Apparently, nothing will satisfy the so-called “Freedom Caucus” of the GOP except total withdrawal of any and all aid to poorest Americans. It's not over, though. Just watch. Republicans will now do everything they can do to undermine the ACA and, unless we watch them closely, they will be able to make it implode. Trump, of course, blamed the failure on Democrats. That would be funny, if it weren't so utterly ridiculous.
Now, apparently, the GOP will move to tax reform. Undoubtedly, this will result in another form of legislation that gives huge tax breaks to the wealthy, huge benefits to big corporations and place enormous burdens on working Americans.
In just under three months since Donald J. Trump became president, there has been no legislation, unless you call the many executive orders legislation. Trump's signature on those executive orders has also failed to bring about change on his frequent campaign promise — the ban of immigration for all Muslims. He tried, and he tried twice. The first executive order was struck down by a court in Washington and upheld by an Appeals Court.
“See you in court,” Trump said. But, that was just another idle threat. Instead of appealing that decision, Trump issued another executive order, which he said was “a watered down” version of the first bill. If anything, Donald Trump is proving that he's not a very smart individual. His “watered down” statement was used when his subsequent travel ban was also turned down by the courts.
Now, the fact that repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the fact that Trump's travel ban has twice been struck down in the courts would normally be big, big news. It is, but it's almost anti-climactic with everything else that's going on surrounding the Trump White House.
Within the past two weeks, FBI Director James Comey verified that the Trump White House, particularly staff close to the White House, is under investigation for possible ties to a foreign government, in this case Russia. Already Michael Flynn was asked to resign his post as national security advisor, when the White House said he lied to Vice President Mike Pence. A bigger reason came to light in the past few days — Flynn is registered as a foreign agent.
How did we end up with someone like Flynn in the position of national security advisor?
And, now we learn that Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, also has undeniable ties with Russia.
We will find out. Truth always comes to the surface. But, it will be difficult, especially with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) acting as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Trump's ties with Russia. It's almost a sham that Nunes heads the committee; he was a member of the Trump Transition Team and is an avowed Trump supporter.
It was almost comedic, and would have been had it not been so serious, when Nunes rushed to the White House to tell the president that some White House staff names had come up during legal surveillance conducted against foreigners. Nunes first rushed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who obviously gave Nunes the go-ahead to tell the White House the “news.” Nunes now won't deny that the White House itself was responsible for the mis-information. The fact that legal surveillance had produced names is a far cry from Trump's ridiculous charge that Pres. Obama wire-tapped Trump Tower during the election.
That Trump charge is very serious, and would be cause for even more outrage were it the only ridiculous “Tweet” from the man who sits in the White House (when he's not, at taxpayer expense, off at his weekend retreat in Florida).
Here's a man who, for years, was an exponent of the “birther” movement, claiming that Barack Obama was not an American citizen. Here's a man who even claimed that Obama was Muslim. Here's a man who has never retracted obviously false statements that millions of people voted illegally and that's the only reason he lost the popular vote; here's a man who still insists his inauguration drew the largest crowd in history; here's a man who promised that “on the first day” in office he would get rid of Obamacare and that “on the first day” he would ban Muslims from entering the country.
Here's a man who, according to FactCheck, a bi-partisan organization, lied 78 percent of the time during the campaign. It's sad that we have an amoral man in the White House who lies over and over and over, then denies he said what we've all heard him say.
Despite efforts by some Republican members of congress, the truth will one day come out. We will all learn the facts about Donald J. Trump.
He must be hiding something very, very damaging when he continually refuses to release his tax returns. I remember another campaign promise he made. He said he would stop Tweeting when he became president. But, early-morning Tweets have become his way of connecting with his ever-shrinking base of hard-core followers. No president before him has ever had such low approval ratings less than three months in office.
There's a reason for those low ratings. It doesn't take a genius to know there's something wrong with a man who will Tweet that a former president has wire-tapped his tower and only minutes later send out another Tweet that “The Apprentice” television show is failing only because Arnold Schwarzenegger was now in charge and not Donald Trump.
Fox News, especially Sean Hannity, calls the investigation into Trump and his staff a “witch hunt.” It's more than that.
And, it's not over.
Bill Haglund is a retired writer for the Boone News-Republican and Dallas County News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.