I fear we are becoming insensitive to shock in the Trump era. And the very concept of “government ethics” seems to be an oxymoron in this era. Here are two shocking reports by Teresa Hanafin, who writes the Fast Forward commentary of the Boston Globe:

Trump holds another campaign rally tonight, this time in Toledo. Earlier in the day, he’s scheduled to announce some proposed National Environmental Policy Act regulations, and that’s never a good thing.

Trump is dramatically reducing the authority of the act, signed by Richard Nixon in 1970. The idea was that the federal government would protect the environment from excess by assessing the impacts of major projects — and include the public in the deliberations. Trump’s instinct is to protect private companies from any restrictions, nature be damned.

His action will make it easier to for companies to build pipelines, clear-cut forests, dig mines, drill for oil, etc.

It’s in keeping with the entire anti-environment stance of his administration. The New York Times found that Trump has reversed 58 policies related to air pollution and emissions, drilling and extraction, infrastructure, animals, toxic substances and safety, water pollution, and more. And he is in the process of rolling back another 37 regulations, for 95 in all.

Some of his actions have been reversed by courts because they violated the environmental policy act, so now he’s gutting the act. Scientists say Trump’s rollbacks could significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions and lead to thousands of extra deaths from poor air quality every year. Economist Paul Krugman predicts that environmental destruction will be a lasting legacy of what he calls the Republican Party of Pollution.


Ho hum, another day, another Trump coverup. This time Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is trying to prevent Congress from finding out how much the Secret Service is spending on protecting Trump and his family during their frequent and extensive travels until after the November election.

This issue has arisen because Mnuchin is asking Congress to move the Secret Service back into his department — it was moved to Homeland Security after 9/11 — and congressional Democrats are using the request to try to pry travel cost information out of the service.

Despite the service’s failure to file reports about its spending on Trump’s travel, and the White House’s refusal to answer congressional questions about travel spending (what are they trying to hide?), there are some things we do know, according to The Washington Post:

— Trump has visited his properties outside of the D.C. area, such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida and his golf club in New Jersey, more than 50 times in the past three years.

— The government spent about $96 million on travel by Barack Obama during his eight years as president. Trump’s travel cost taxpayers $13.6 million in just one month in early 2017. At that pace, Trump would have exceeded Obama’s eight-year total in just seven months. Nothing succeeds like excess!

— Every time Trump goes to Mar-a-Lago, it costs taxpayers $3.4 million.For each trip.

— The Secret Service has spent $588,000 just on golf cart rentalsfollowing around the guy who said during his campaign that he was going to be too busy working to golf.

— Trump’s adult children also are gorging at the taxpayer trough. Even though they could easily afford private security, Don Jr. and Eric Trump,who don’t have a government job like Ivanka and aren’t students like Tiffany, take Secret Service protection when they travel overseas for their private business or go on illegal hunting trips.

One example: When Eric visited Uruguay in 2017 to promote the Trump Organization, he stuck US taxpayers with a bill of nearly $100,000 for hotel rooms to put up Secret Service and embassy staff. As the Post pointed out:

The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand.

Apparently Mnuchin’s refusal to tell Congress how much taxpayer money Trump is spending on travel security until after the election is causing some Democrats to withdraw their support for his request.