You don’t have to hunt far to find pundits describing President Trump’s presidency as so dysfunctional and chaotic that he can’t accomplish a single thing. His critics may take comfort in that, but David Graham at the Atlantic has some bad news for them: Yes, there’s plenty of chaos, but look beyond that and you’ll see that the Trump administration is actually getting quite a bit done, albeit in quieter fashion. “It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects,” writes Graham. “It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come.” Sure, Trump gets into silly feuds with the media on whether he has or hasn’t signed more bills than any other president, and his enemies love to gloat when he’s proven wrong.
“But that is small consolation for progressive environmentalists, public-lands advocates, LGBT activists, and criminal-justice reformers” hit by his executive actions. Trump, of course, was able to put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, but he’s also been able to begin packing lower federal courts with young conservative judges who will shape the nation’s laws for decades to come. Trump acts on his own when he can, such as withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, and various agencies from the EPA to the Justice Department have been successfully unwinding Obama-era regulations. “These less heralded, less noticed, and sometimes obscure changes to federal policy are more fragile than major legislation,” writes Graham, who details some of them. “But their effects are no less real, and in many cases they’re drastic.” Click for the full column.