Donald Trump thinks he is a dictator, or a king. His statements about using the Department of Justice as a weapon against political opponents show that, as does his increasing frustration with the limited powers of the presidency.
Of course, that’s one of the concepts our nation was founded on – the balance of powers. In fact, it could be argued that the executive branch, which Trump heads, is the least powerful branch of government, with both the legislative and judicial branches able to eclipse it at will.
That desire to be a dictator may be why Trump, in a meeting with indigenous leaders in June, told them to ignore federal laws and regulations and to just drill their land for resources, because “China’s doing it” and “I’m not Obama.”
‘The chiefs explained to Trump that there were regulatory barriers preventing them from getting at their energy. Trump replied: “But now it’s me. The government’s different now. Obama’s gone; and we’re doing things differently here.”
‘”Chief, chief,” Trump continued, addressing one of the tribal leaders, “what are they going to do? Once you get it out of the ground are they going to make you put it back in there? I mean, once it’s out of the ground it can’t go back in there. You’ve just got to do it. I’m telling you, chief, you’ve just got to do it.”
‘The tribal leader looked back at one of the White House officials in the room — perhaps somebody from the White House Counsel’s office — and he said “can we just do that?” The official equivocated, saying the administration is making progress and has a plan to roll back various regulations.
‘Trump interjected again: “Guys, I feel like you’re not hearing me right now. We’ve just got to do it. I feel like we’ve got no choice; other countries are just doing it. China is not asking questions about all of this stuff. They’re just doing it. And guys, we’ve just got to do it.”‘
Wild, unregulated drilling will destroy our environment, poison our water and air, and get people killed. Regulations exist for a reason – to stop profit-oriented companies from cutting costs by dumping waste on public ground or in waterways, to stop easily-preventable workplace injuries, and to maintain lands for further use in the future. The list goes on.
Simple-minded Republicans seem to think anything that falls under the term “regulation” is part of a giant conspiracy against business. Should regulations be reviewed occasionally, to determine whether the benefits are still worth it? Sure. Is “cut everything, drill everywhere” a good policy? No.
If out-competing China overwhelms all economic and regulatory sense, we’re doomed. Not just us – every nation that would be adversely impacted by extreme weather events, sea level rise, etc. In other words, everybody. The drive to consume without reason may endanger the future of our species.
The Trump government just released a report confirming that human-driven climate change has almost reached a catastrophic tipping point. We need to be doing everything we can to limit emissions and become carbon neutral – and that certainly doesn’t mean ripping every resource out of the ground with no respect for the law.
Here’s more information on the recent climate report:
Of course, when Trump met with tribal leaders, he completely ignored the climate:
Featured image via Steve Pope/Getty Images