Trump’s disruptive power

Donald Trump signed 42 executive orders in his first 200 days as president. By comparison, Barack Obama, who Trump criticized for signing too many, averaged 35 executive orders a year during his two terms as president. His other two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, averaged 24 and 25 executive orders, respectively, during their first 200 days. But Trump’s factory line of disruptive power exercises aren’t necessarily extraordinary.

In the past, the number of executive orders issued by the president has varied greatly. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, reportedly issued more than 3,700 executive orders during his time as POTUS. George Washington, on the other hand, signed only eight through his entire presidency.

What stands out from Trump’s executive orders is more about the policies they push rather than how many there are. Trump has signed executive orders on a range of issues, including forming a commission to investigate voter fraud and expanding apprenticeship programs in the US. But most of them fixate on reversing Obama-era regulations, particularly those related to environmental protection. Today, Trump is poised to add another one to the growing list as he plans to sign an executive order that will likely push his $1 trillion-worth infrastructure ambitions forward.

The White House gave few details on what the executive order would entail, except that it would be “establishing discipline and accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects.” Read aloud, it sounds quite reasonable. Given the alarming reports from scientists and experts that suggest climate conditions are worse than what was assumed, it would seem wise – even pioneering – to start a new trend of environment-focused regulations.

However, the statement takes a dark twist when keeping Trump’s roaring pledge for new infrastructure in mind.

Trump said one of the biggest hurdles to America’s face lift was the painfully slow and expensive process of development permits issued by the government.

“It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam – but today it can take 10 years just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project,” Trump said during a press briefing at the US Transportation Department in June, pledging to expedite approvals for highways and other projects in his infrastructure plan.

This could lead to disaster if paired with a crumbling EPA. Now an executive order that reads like a conscious decision to put the health of the environment first and building blocks second, could possibly be an omen to softer government oversight on infrastructural developments and more disruption on the earth.

NATASHA ISHAK


MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston, installed in 1995, has now been vandalized twice in the last few months. A 21-year-old with a history of mental illness shattered a glass panel less than two months ago and on Monday a 17-year-old threw a rock through one of the panels. (Boston Globe)

Fall River officials are split on the need for additional liquor licenses, with the City Council in favor and the city administrator opposed. (Herald News)

A Florida businessman visiting Springfield and staying at the Sheraton discovers someone fired a bullet through his window. (MassLive)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump, bowing to pressure, rebukes Charlottesville racists two days after the melee there, but he also launched a tweet attack on Kenneth Frazier, the African-American CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, who resigned from the American Manufacturing Council because of the president’s initial equivocal statements. (New York Times) A Boston Herald editorial chides Trump and his do-over. “For a man who was quick to put labels on terrorists of the Islamic variety, Trump was remarkably slow to address this incident of domestic terrorism — and remarkably tone deaf to the consequences of failing to do that,” the editorial said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says “hate groups” are not welcome in the city, while Gov. Charlie Baker said he recognized the importance of free speech and also the need to speak out against hatred and bigotry. (CommonWealth) Three speakers backed out of a far-right rally planned for this weekend in Boston, but it was unclear whether some sort of event would be held. (Boston Globe) Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi says there is no hate speech exemption from the First Amendment.

The US Department of Justice requested information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against President Trump. (The Hill)

President Trump retweeted a tweet of a train running over a CNN reporter Tuesday and then quickly deleted it after it sparked criticism that it was inappropriate just days after the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence. (Washington Post)

ELECTIONS

Republican James McMahon III, a lawyer from Bourne, is seeking to oust Attorney General Maura Healey because of her decision to ban so-called copycat assault weapons. (Cape Cod Times)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Three executives — from Merck Pharmaceuticals, Under Armour, and Intel — quit the American Manufacturing Council in the wake of President Trump’s initially equivocal statements on the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence. General Electric’s Jeff Immelt and Dell’s Michael Dell are staying put. (Boston Business Journal)

EDUCATION

State education officials say the New Bedford Public Schools are showing significant improvement. (South Coast Today)

Berklee College of Music arms its police officers. (Boston Globe)

Legal wrangling continues over where to put a new Lowell High School. (Lowell Sun)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board approved two pilot service expansions — one for early morning bus service for employees who start work early in Boston and the other for commuter rail service between Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and South Station. The Foxborough pilot was pushed strongly by the Baker administration. A third late-night bus service for workers trying to get home in the wee hours of the morning was sent back to the drawing board. (CommonWealth) Opponents of the Foxborough pilot not surprisingly were upset by the board’s vote. (Boston Herald)

Brian Lang, a member of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, criticizes the way the authority presents employee absenteeism data, saying the information unfairly portrays workers as irresponsible. (CommonWealth)

Uber and Lyft are squeezing taxis at Logan International Airport. Taxi rides are off about 10 percent since February, but overall people are taking more chauffered rides to and from the airport.. (Boston Globe)

The MBTA reopens commuter rail service north of Salem after a month-long shutdown. (Salem News)

Joining MBTA machinists outside a garage in Lynn, Sen. Edward Markey urged the authority to negotiate with the union and not “make them sacrificial offerings to the private sector.” (Gloucester Times)

Bernie & Phyl’s launched a new “Banned in Boston” advertising campaign after its earlier ads were barred by the MBTA for being too suggestive. (Enterprise)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Holbrook embraces a trash transfer station for the $600,000 a year in income and free garbage pickup for residents it will bring, but the community’s neighbors are not pleased. (Patriot Ledger)

Worcester officials prepare to flip the switch on New England’s largest solar array. (Telegram & Gazette)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A jury sided with Taylor Swift in the groping lawsuit brought by a radio host. (Associated Press)

MEDIA

WEEI’s Mike Mutnansky was arrested Aug. 7 for driving under the influence in Saratoga, New York. (Boston Globe)