More and more, Trump implements policies from both the Left and the Right. Is he becoming our first Independent President in modern times?
Earlier this week President Trump tweeted an attack on the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer:
“Pfizer & others should be ashamed that they have raised drug prices for no reason. They are merely taking advantage of the poor & others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere. We will respond!”
Pfizer announced a price rollback.
This week also, Mr. Trump has appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Liberal Yale law professor Akhil Reed Amar who was a supporter of Secretary Clinton called the appointment Trump’s “finest hour.”
More importantly, Senator Susan Collins of Maine a moderate Republican and a crucial swing vote said, “Judge Kavanaugh has impressive credentials and extensive experience.” Absent some scandal, Senator Mitch McConnell will probably get Judge Kavanaugh confirmed.
Mr Trump then went to Europe where he excoriated NATO allies for not meeting their spending requirements on defense leaving the US to make up the difference. He also criticized Germany for making an important agreement with Russia on energy claiming “Russia controls Germany.”
He added: “So we’re supposed to protect you against Russia but they’re (Germans) paying billions of dollars to Russia and I think that’s very in inappropriate.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded: “I have experienced myself how a part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions.”
Translation: The Germans will pursue their interests as they see fit.
After a day of meeting with NATO officials, President Trump said:
“We really accomplished a lot with respect to NATO. For years, Presidents have been coming to these meetings and talked about the tremendous expense for the U.S. And tremendous progress has been made – everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment.
“They’re going to up it at levels that they’ve never thought of before. Everybody in that room got along, and they agreed to pay more, and they agreed to pay it more quickly.”
In the last few days Mr. Trump has also announced tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods. This came a few days after he had imposed other tariffs on China.
Mr. Trump also pardoned Dwight Hammond 76 and his son Steven Hammond 49, ranchers in Oregon. The Hammond’s were in a dispute with the federal government over land use. They were convicted in 2012 of setting fires that spread from their ranch to government-managed land. The fires had been set to fight invasive species. Originally the Hammond’s were sentenced to a 3 month term for the father and a year and a day for the son. But federal prosecutors in the Obama administration stayed after them, appealed the sentence and another judge sent the Hammonds back to prison to serve the full five-year terms.
The Trump White House called that appeal “overzealous” and the resulting sentence “unjust” in issuing the pardons.
In this grab-bag this week, there’s something for liberals (tariffs and pushing around a private company) and something for conservatives (Kavanaugh and the pardons of the Hammonds).
As to the foreign policy dustups, many Americans will resonate with Mr. Trump’s brusqueness over Europe relying on us to pay for its defense while Germany colludes with Putin.
Just another week in Trump-world. And it’s only Thursday.