The first 100 hor­rific days of a Trump pres­i­dency

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION - Dana Mil­bank is syn­di­cated by the Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group. Dana Mil­bank Colum­nist

In the early hours af­ter this year’s Brexit vote, the top Google searches on the topic by shocked Bri­tons were “what does it mean to leave the EU” and “what is the EU.”

Don’t let this hap­pen here.

Now that James Comey has ded­i­cated the FBI to the elec­tion of Don­ald Trump, a re­mote pos­si­bil­ity is a se­ri­ous prospect. But we don’t have to won­der what the first 100 days of a Trump pres­i­dency would look like. Trump has given a clear pic­ture of what he plans, and the rest would be filled in by events be­yond Trump’s con­trol.

Among things you can ex­pect: a trade war with China and Mex­ico, a restart­ing of Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram, mil­lions los­ing their health in­sur­ance, the start of mass de­por­ta­tions, a pos­si­ble mil­i­tary stand­off with China in the South China Sea and North Korea, the re­sump­tion of wa­ter­board­ing, the use of fed­eral agen­cies to go af­ter Hil­lary Clin­ton and other Trump crit­ics, the spec­ta­cle of the com­man­der in chief su­ing women who have ac­cused him of sex­ual mis­con­duct and a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis as the pres­i­dent of the United States at­tempts to dis­qual­ify the fed­eral judge in a fraud suit against him be­cause the judge is Latino.

Oh, and the Fed­eral Re­serve would be au­dited, and guns would once again be al­lowed in schools.

Trump has said that on his first day in of­fice he will la­bel China “a cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tor” — kick­ing off puni­tive tar­iffs. Trump said he will seek a 45 per­cent tar­iff on Chi­nese im­ports. Like­wise, he will on his first day an­nounce that he will rene­go­ti­ate or (more likely) with­draw from the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment. He fa­vors 35 per­cent tar­iffs on Mex­i­can im­ports.

China and Mex­ico, thrown into re­ces­sion, will likely re­tal­i­ate by block­ing U.S. busi­ness from their mar­kets. In the en­su­ing trade war, Amer­i­can con­sumers would be un­able to pur­chase prod­ucts they rely on, and in­fla­tion would soar.

Amer­i­can busi­nesses would lose hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars in ex­ports. A Moody’s report done for The Wash­ing­ton Post pre­dicts a net cost to the United States of 7 mil­lion jobs. Re­ces­sion would come within a year — un­less fur­ther eco­nomic shocks bring about a 1930s-style de­pres­sion.

Trump has said he will ask Congress, also on his first day, to re­peal Oba­macare. This would mean the loss of health in­sur­ance for 24 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, and mass chaos.

At the same time, Trump would de­liver a shock to la­bor mar­kets: He would, on his first day, be­gin the de­por­ta­tion of more than 2 mil­lion “crim­i­nal il­le­gal im­mi­grants.” The lib­eral Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress cal­cu­lates this would cost $20.1 bil­lion, and there’s only enough fund­ing cur­rently to de­port 400,000 per year.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, Trump pledges to de­liver an im­me­di­ate blow to lo­cal-govern­ment fi­nances, cut­ting off hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in pub­lic safety and other funds to “sanc­tu­ary cities.” U.S. uni­ver­si­ties and lab­o­ra­to­ries would be hit by Trump’s pledge to can­cel pay­ments to U.N. cli­mate-change pro­grams, the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress says. Huge tax cuts that Trump pledged would re­quire ei­ther mas­sive cuts in govern­ment spend­ing (and re­sult­ing job loss) or a vast in­crease in debt.

The back­drop for these eco­nomic shocks: in­ter­na­tional chaos. Many Trump early-days prom­ises — halt­ing im­mi­gra­tion from ter­ror­ist-prone coun­tries, rene­go­ti­at­ing NATO terms and the Iran nu­clear ac­cord, pulling out of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and the Paris cli­mate-change agree­ment — will open rifts with al­lies in Eu­rope, Asia and the Mid­dle East.

As trade wars spread, shocks to the econ­omy mount and al­lies re­treat, the new pres­i­dent will be dis­tracted by le­gal pro­ceed­ings. Though “Crooked Hil­lary” gets the at­ten­tion, a judge in New Jersey last month ruled that there is prob­a­ble cause to in­ves­ti­gate a com­plaint of of­fi­cial mis­con­duct against Gov. Chris Christie — the head of Trump’s would-be tran­si­tion — be­cause of his role in the Bridge­gate scan­dal. Ties to Rus­sia by two Trump loy­al­ists are re­port­edly un­der fed­eral ex­am­i­na­tion.

Trump Univer­sity is fac­ing mul­ti­ple in­ves­ti­ga­tions and class-ac­tion suits ac­cus­ing it of fraud. One such suit is sched­uled to go to trial on Nov. 28 be­fore U.S. Dis­trict Judge Gon­zalo Curiel. Trump called In­di­ana-born Curiel “Mex­i­can” and said the judge can’t be im­par­tial be­cause of his eth­nic­ity.

Trump has threat­ened to use the power of the pres­i­dency against Curiel, much as he has threat­ened to use it against Clin­ton and the me­dia.

This is life in the early days of a Trump pres­i­dency: eco­nomic shock, in­ter­na­tional in­sta­bil­ity and con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis as Trump makes the pres­i­dency his play­thing.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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