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Promises: empty words or real commitments?


Last updated 12/2/2021 at 10:27pm

Early in Trump’s career as a public figure, he found that if you promise people something they’d really, really like to have, you can get their undivided attention. He also developed the persona of complete confidence: that he could deliver the goods. But there’s a downside to promises: if you deliver, then you have to come up with something else to capture the peoples’ interest. Trump’s solution: never deliver on a promise – just keep stringing the people along. Here are two prime examples:

1. Trump vowed to “build the greatest infrastructure on the planet earth – the roads and railways and airports of tomorrow.” (The Hill, 6/22/16) Four years later (6/15/20), Reuters reports: “The White House [that is, Trump], which has made similar proposals in recent years, is aiming to unveil its latest effort in July….”

2. “In his early days on the campaign trail, circa 2015, he [Trump] said on CNN he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with “something terrific,” and on Sean Hannity’s radio show he said the replacement would be “something great.” Fast-forward to 2020. Trump has promised an Obamacare replacement plan five times so far this year. And the plan is always said to be just a few weeks away.” (KHN, 8/13/20)

What Trump wouldn’t or couldn’t, do President Biden has done, delivering a bi-partisan, hard infrastructure bill. And his second act, Build Back Better, is in the pipeline, having just been approved by the House. I call it the soft infrastructure bill because it includes benefits for middle and lower income people like you and me: like improved health care coverage and lower premiums for coverage.

John H. Terrell


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