16 Trump Policies That Have Already Hurt The U.S.

by Joseph D. Lyons
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's accomplishments aren't particularly numerous — and he has been president for more than 200 days. His approval ratings reflect this, with his numbers currently hovering around record lows of 35 percent following his lack of leadership on Charlottesville. His reaction to the white nationalism on display there has angered many Americans — even within his party. Couple that with the Russia investigation, and there plenty of reasons to be unhappy. But as for policies, there's plenty to be disappointed with too. There are 16 Trump policies that've already hurt the United States in particular.

Some of them come in the form of executive orders that he signed, many early on in his presidency and others more recently. But there are laws he has signed as well, reversing progress in any number of areas, particularly regarding reproductive health, Internet privacy, and controls on firearms.

Add foreign policy to that and the picture is clear: Trump has made the world a lot less safer, particularly for Americans. The grandstanding with North Korea aside, Trump has sown inconsistency with Syria, Russia, and even some of our closest allies in fighting climate change. So as you continue resisting, keep in mind that there are real reasons to persist in that work, because Trump's policies have already hurt many of your fellow neighbors.

1) Oppose All Obama Everything

This has been Trump's policy since even before he started running for the presidency. You can remember his opposition to President Obama's status as an American, for example. Well, this positioning didn't end when he took the White House. Working with the Republican-led Congress, he signed many bills that undid Obama-era rules and regulations.

For example, he undid a regulation that helped keep guns away from the severely mentally ill by making the Social Security Administration disclose information to the background check system. And don't forget that Trump signed a bill that allows Internet companies to sell data about the sites you visit to marketers without your permission.

2) Buddy-Buddy with Russia & Vladimir Putin

It's no secret that Trump doesn't share the opinion of most U.S. officials that Russia interfered during the election on his behalf. But his cozying up to Vladimir Putin is a policy that has real consequences. One, he's openly praising a man who has tried to undermine the U.S. democracy. And two, he's made it clear that the Russian government can do what they like, and there won't be any punishment from his administration. So pressuring them on issues like Ukraine or Syria will be even harder.

3) Love For Authoritarian Leaders Like Erdogan

If a perennial U.S. policy goal is to spread democracy around the world, it seems Trump has undermined that by his gushing support for autocratic and authoritarian leaders, like Turkey's President Erdoğan. Trump was the first foreign leader to call Erdoğan congratulating him following a contentious referendum that cements his power in Turkey.

4) Ruining The Iranian Nuclear Deal

According to officials, Iran is following the terms of the nuclear deal. And Trump has been very vocal about how they're not, perpetually trying to undermine a deal that works. This policy is more anti-Iran than anything that could be applied globally, like nuclear non-proliferation. It hurts the United States because it increases the likelihood of instability in the Middle East — even war — or another nuclear power when Iran gives up on Trump holding up the U.S. side of the deal.

5) Moving Ahead On The Wall

You could get into Trump's embarrassing conversations with Mexico's president, or you could consider the money that has been wasted on this build-out. $20 million was redirected for use by Customs and Border Protection. House Republicans want to fund at least $1.6 billion.

6) Leaving The TPP

Trump's anti-free trade policies have been harmful in lots of ways. Take the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Some have argued that pulling out of the pact won't create jobs in the United States. Furthermore, it strengthens China's hand in its region of the world in all sorts of ways, one being on trade. We could have made China play by our rules, but instead, we'll likely have to follow their lead in the future.

7) Raising The Stakes With North Korea

His bluster with North Korea did not make America any safer, and it actually brought about concrete threats against the U.S. territory of Guam. He put many Americans in unnecessary danger and with no real plan to limit the North's nuclear and weapon programs.

8) Pulling Out Of Paris Climate Accord

OK, a caveat here: This anti-climate policy only affects you if you're breathing. Trump's decision on Paris could be disastrous in ways we don't understand as the climate continues to heat up and sea levels continue to rise. But in addition to that, green jobs that may have been created in the country could move to places like Europe.

9) Turning Away From Cuba Detente

Everyday Americans might be scared to go to the island with threats of audits looming. Plus people-to-people and educational trips are now out. But the bigger way this policy will affect the United States is that businesses are now limited in how they can invest on the island. A huge player in the tourism industry, with connections to the Cuban military, is now off limits.

10) Some Student Loan Forgiveness Out The Window

Student loans are the worst. But just imagine your school had defrauded you into taking out thousands in loans. Wouldn't it seem fair that the government do something about it? Trump's Education secretary Betsy DeVos doesn't think so. Student loan forgiveness for students of fraudulent institutions are out the window, and there's some changes to the general program — the jury's still out on those.

11) Opposing Planned Parenthood

Over the years in private life, Trump has flip flopped on abortion rights. But as a president, he has been unequivocally opposed not just to the procedure but specifically to Planned Parenthood. "I would defund it, because I'm pro-life," he said at a Republican debate last year. Now he has signed a law that does just that, or at least lets states withhold federal money from it.

12) Opposing Obamacare At All Costs

The Republican repeal and replace bill didn't fly in the senate — nor did the straight repeal, or the skinny repeal. But now Trump has been threatening to stop paying subsidies, something that would result in far higher costs for Americans who get their insurance through the exchange. For now he hasn't gone through on the threats, but that alone sows uncertainty in health care markets.

13) Deported Mothers

Trump has been anti-immigrant since he first announced his candidacy in Trump Tower in 2015. Since he took the White House, he has signed executive orders that have made it far easier to deport immigrants without papers. Many of those ICE has chosen to deport have been mothers, separating them from their American-born children.

14) Travel Ban & Tourism

Trump's travel ban offends many Americans who believe it's both islamophobic and xenophobic. But it's also offensive to many foreigners, who have chosen not to visit the United States. That means fewer dollars from tourism, something that Chicago started to notice as far back as March. The Washington Post reported that even Canadians are reconsidering visits.

15) Surgical Cuts On Hiring

Trump's disdain for the federal government first came through in his federal hiring ban, announced just after he took office. At one point there was fear that the National Parks Service wouldn't have enough employees for the summer season. He has since discontinued it, but Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has directed agencies to hire within Trump's planned budget, which would mean no hires for lots of them.

16) Hesitating To Denounce White Supremacists

It might be controversial to call this a policy, but it does seem to be something that Trump continues to do. His "boost" to white supremacists, as The New York Times called it, is just the latest.

This is easily one of Trump's worst policies. The stage he has given white supremacists is unprecedented. If you want to see the damage it has already caused, just look at what happened in Charlottesville last weekend.