“Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead and more than 6 million have been infected with Covid-19 because of the administration’s disastrous response, but Trump’s top priority is showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors,” says Matt Kent of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
In the nearly six months since President Donald Trump declared a public health emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, he has rolled back at least 30 public protections, while proposing changes to at least 20 others, according to a report published Thursday by Public Citizen’s Coalition on Sensible Safeguards.
The report—Pandemic Rollbacks: Slashing Safeguards During the Coronavirus—tracks dozens of regulatory rollbacks enacted or proposed by the Trump administration since March.
SCOOP: Six months after his emergency declaration, Trump has repealed more than 30 public protections that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
Instead of fighting the coronavirus, he’s showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors.https://t.co/u41QnL2npz
— Sensible Safeguards (@goodregs) September 10, 2020
Noting that Trump “has directed agencies to press forward with his dangerous, unpopular, and corrupt deregulatory agenda as if it’s business as usual,” the report accuses the president of appearing “eager to take advantage of the crisis and ram through deregulatory policies while the rest of the country is distracted.”
The rollbacks are spread widely across numerous federal agencies, with many occuring at the besieged Environmental Protection Agency. Here is a sampling of some of the administration’s more egregious actions:
- Weakening EPA rules on methane emissions.
- Relaxing the Volcker Rule, which was enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to prevent banks from acting like hedge funds.
- Reducing regulations on trains transporting extremely flammable materials.
- Loosening restrictions on predatory payday lending companies.
- Revoking Health and Human Services Department nondiscrimination protections for transgender people and people seeking abortions.
- Easing rules on dark money disclosure by groups including the National Rifle Association and AARP.
- Limiting states’ power to reject fossil fuel projects.
- Eviscerating protections for asylum-seekers.
Among the administration’s proposed rollbacks are: revoking protections for unhoused transgender people, redefining critical wildlife habitats, revising the Clean Air Act, weakening pipeline safety rules, and removing barriers on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Sea.
“Instead of using their regulatory and enforcement powers to implement a national pandemic response, Trump officials have sabotaged or obliterated essential health, safety, environmental, anti-discrimination, and financial safeguards for the American public,” said Matt Kent, a regulatory policy associate for Public Citizen, in a statement.
“Nearly 200,000 Americans are dead and more than 6 million have been infected with Covid-19 because of the administration’s disastrous response, but Trump’s priority is showering giant corporations with deregulatory special favors,” Kent added. “It’s an appalling betrayal of the American people.”
‘Not gonna work!’: A Republican tried to promote masks — and got angrily booed by Trump voters
Republican Lt. Gov. Jon Husted of Ohio learned quickly on Monday that President Donald Trump’s voters aren’t ready for even mildly encouraging statements about wearing masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.
He appeared ahead of the president at a Trump rally in Ohio, and he tried to promote a series of Trump-branded masks. To the attendees’ credit, his speech was pretty condescending. Husted seemed to think he could convince them to wear face masks — which have become demonized on the right — just because they were branded with Trump logos.
But Husted was at least trying to encourage healthy behavior among his voters, which Trump has repeatedly declined to do. Experts agree masks are one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the respiratory virus, and the fact that this advice has become anathema to large swaths of the country — primarily supporters of the president — is extremely dangerous on its own terms and disturbing for what it says about our politics.
‘It affects elderly people … that’s it’: Trump falsely downplays coronavirus to Ohio supporters
At a rally in Ohio on Monday, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that coronavirus only affects the elderly, and that young people don't die from the illness.
Trump: "We now know the disease... it affects elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That's what it really effects. That's it."
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) September 22, 2020
Ron DeSantis pushes bill legally protecting drivers who run over members of ‘a mob’
On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed a bill that would aggressively crack down on the right to protest — and protect drivers from liability if they run over members of "a mob" in the course of trying to escape.
Today I announced bold legislation that creates new criminal offenses and increases penalties for those who target law enforcement and participate in violent or disorderly assemblies. We will always stand with our men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe. pic.twitter.com/ITl5GmmrZJ