It's strange how six months can feel like six exhausting years when they've produced nothing but a string of nonsensical superlatives.
As Donald Trump celebrates the first eighth of his ridiculous "amazing, stupendous, unsurpassed" presidency, we mere mortals are left to ponder what we have learned. Well, here are some takeaways:
• Facts do not matter to this White House. Trump has publicly lied about important matters more than 100 times since becoming president. These are not just equivocations open to dispute; they're flat-out, verifiable untruths. For example, he said he has accomplished more and signed more bills into law than any previous president. Not true. His staff follows his lead, disseminating statements that are lies.
• Trump not only failed to drain the swamp, he deepened and widened it. He has filled top posts with Wall Streeters and business cronies, doling out jobs like mints to loyal minions. After he promised not to touch Medicaid, which serves the disabled, poor and elderly in nursing homes, we were introduced to a Trumpcare plan that called for disqualifying 75 million and taking another 22 million off health insurance.
• He is a costly public servant. He is on track in his first year to spend more taxpayer money on personal travel than President Barack Obama did in eight. We also pay for security at Trump Tower, his hotels and his golf courses.
• Trump does not care that he has the lowest approval rating of any president since polling started (about 70 years). His base loves him even though he has done nothing for them since taking office.
• Trump has set the precedent that a president's conflicts of interest do not matter. Refusing to divest himself of his holdings, he has put his son Junior (the one who loves meeting with Kremlin operatives) in charge. His wealthy daughter and son-in-law have offices in the White House. His hotels draw foreign leaders who want to curry favor. Fees at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort have doubled to $200,000.
• Getting rid of excessive and overlapping regulations is one thing. Gutting environmental protection and consumer protection regulations as Trump is doing is another. His administration has taken an astonishing number of actions to further the interests of big business to the detriment of Americans who love their parks, want to breathe clean air, drink clean water and buy products that won't hurt their children.
• The artful dealmaker has not managed to make any good deals. Even with a GOP-controlled House and Senate, he has not repealed Obamacare. Instead he sabotages it by eliminating advertising, shortening the enrollment period and not enforcing the mandate to buy insurance or pay a tax to keep premiums low. Wages are not increasing. Exporters of American goods and services will be hurt by the lack of free trade he is engineering. No wall. No tax reform. No infrastructure plan.
• The number of investigations caused by Trump's inexplicable fondness for Vladimir Putin, the Russian thief, thug and murderer, is unparalleled for a first term. Trump refuses to admit Russia meddled in our elections yet wants a national registry of all Americans' personal information to root out voter fraud the experts say does not exist. Hey, Russia, Trump will make it easy for you to re-elect him.
• The United States is no longer the leader of the free world and fighter for human rights in the eyes of our once closest allies. After seeing Trump up close and personal at international meetings, some say openly they may never again trust us.
• Trump's misogyny, hedonism, lack of discipline, coarse language, bullying and refusal to read briefing papers or attempt to learn what he doesn't know diminish us. The man who convinced millions to watch him say "You're fired" every week parlayed celebrity into the White House, but the applause is fading.
-- Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at email@example.com.