Just as a followup to my March 3 column, about Trump’s attacks on the “bad people” — read that “disloyal people” — he claims to have purged from the federal government, let me offer this:

Trump brags about spending billions more on national defense and building a border wall, yet he shuttered a special unit established during the Ebola threat to oversee epidemic preparedness. And here we are, at the onset of the coronavirus in the United States, with three cases now confirmed here in Maryland. How can anyone have confidence that an administration led by a destroyer of government is competent and prepared to deal with a major health crisis? “You build a fire department ahead of time. You don’t wait for a fire,” Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Washington Post. “There is an underappreciation for the amount of time and resources required to build a prepared system.”

Indifferent to climate change, the Trump administration has repealed or proposed eliminating nearly 100 environmental regulations, pulling government back from its central role in combating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. More than 1,600 scientists left government employment in the first two years of the Trump administration, according to The Washington Post.

And don’t forget Trump’s needless and stupid government shutdown: He created chaos and uncertainty, damaged the economy, caused unnecessary stress in thousands of households, and for 35 days shuttered services of the federal government, many of them vital to the safety and health of millions of citizens, in pursuit of a border wall that a majority of Americans don’t want or believe necessary.

When this presidency ends — hopefully, in January 2021 — the next president will have to conduct a nationwide call-out for people to reconsider careers in public service. The next president will have to say, “Please, come back,” to many who have left because of Trump and we will again have to invoke JFK’s words to ask young people to consider serving their country, and not just in the military.

Make sure you read the long Atlantic story I mentioned in the column: How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will

One thought on “Trump’s assault on good government, science and expertise

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