Reflecting on President Trump’s first 100 days in office, Judith Viorst’s wonderful children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day comes to mind. Similarities between the book’s main character, Alexander, and Trump are striking. The book’s first page depicts a defiant, crossed-armed, smirking, profoundly angry Alexander standing in the middle of his unorganized and catastrophic mess of a bedroom. Much like Alexander’s room, Trump’s White House has been a messy mixture of alternative facts, false promises, failed legislation and judicial setbacks.
“Much like Alexander’s room, Trump’s White House has been a messy mixture of alternative facts, false promises, failed legislation and judicial setbacks”
Trump, like Alexander, got off to a rocky start. Even before he was sworn in, we heard reports of an unorganized and sloppy management style that immediately put into question the new president’s pledge to restore security, honesty and economic well-being within his first 100 days in office. The New York Times reported Trump’s transition was the slowest one in decades and “from the moment he was sworn in, President Trump faced a personnel crisis, starting virtually from scratch in lining up senior leaders for his administration.” The same article noted that weeks into his first term, his administration was “hobbled by the slow start, months behind where experts in both parties, even some inside his administration, say he should be.” Alexander got off to a similar rough start: “There’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink,” he says.
Trump’s promise of “security to our communities” via a travel ban has been repeatedly blocked by the judiciary in what Trump says is “an unprecedented judicial overreach” that he hinted was political in nature and made the country look weak. The president’s young fictional counterpart had a similar reaction to adversity – he blamed it on someone else. “Anthony made me fall where it was muddy and then I started crying because of the mud. Nick said I was a crybaby and while punching Nick for saying crybaby my mom came back with the car and scolded me for being muddy and fighting,” Alexander says.
Repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act topped Trump’s to-do list when he took office, and he vowed that everyone would have insurance and no one would lose coverage. Yet if Congress approved Trump’s plan, a recent Rand study showed, 3 million veterans who currently receive medical care outside the Veterans Administration would have been adversely impacted through the shifting of service to a stressed and backlogged VA system. In November’s election, veterans and military families voted 2-1 for Trump. Repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act under Trump’s plan would have left an estimated 23 million citizens without coverage. In large part, due to his failure’s on healthcare and tax reform, resulting uncertainty has slowed economic growth to 2014 levels.
“Repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act topped Trump’s to-do list when he took office, and he vowed that everyone would have insurance and no one would lose coverage”
Like Alexander, Trump’s strong suits are not honesty and organization, as the president’s various tweets, alternative facts and cabinet-appointment failures have shown. Ironically, both Trump and the fictional Alexander have had dust-ups with Australia – Trump when he had a combative phone call with that nation’s prime minister, and Alexander when he visited his father’s workplace and was told not to use the phone. Alexander ignored that advice, picked up the phone, and accidentally called a wrong number – in Australia. His father requested that he refrain in the future from picking him up at his office. Some of us advise Trump to refrain from any more bellicose calls to Australia.
Still, Alexander’s parents had only one bad day – not four years. After his first 100 days in office, we are all left to wonder: will Trump’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad presidency ever end?