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Monday, December 09, 2019

Trump’s Fake News: He Didn’t Repeal 860 Regulations


Reprinted with permission from

Under pressure to name any of Donald Trump’s accomplishments as the calendar winds down on his first year in office, and unable to point to any bills passed or agenda items completed, the White House has of late begun to point to rolling back regulations.

But it turns out even this desperate grasp is more lie than truth, as 97% of the 860 regulations cited are simply made up. An investigation by Bloomberg shows the actual number is much smaller — 27 regulations to be exact.

With a nearly invisible legislative record this year, no wall, and an approval rating plummeting to 32 percent, the White House doesn’t have many options in terms of crafting a compelling story on Trump’s behalf.

So aides have leaned heavily on this idea that with a stroke of his mighty pen, Trump has magnanimously swept away “burdensome” regulations that are keeping liberty and capitalism down.

“The claim of victory in the war on regulation is instead based almost entirely on stopping proposed rules that haven’t yet made their way through the machinery of government,” Bloomberg notes. “The White House says it has killed or stalled 860 pending regulations. It’s done this by withdrawing 469, listing another 109 as inactive and relegating 282 to “long term.”

Even those claims are exaggerated:

So, of the 469 regulatory actions the Trump administration said it had “withdrawn” this year, Bloomberg reports that 42 percent were as good as dead already.

As just one example, the Trump team claimed credit for a governing rule for glider flights that was withdrawn Dec. 23, almost a month before Trump took office. Bloomberg found hundreds of examples like that of regulations that had previously been withdrawn or had sat dormant for years.

In total, the news organization gives Trump credit for tabling just 27 regulations, laughably short of the 860that press secretary Sarah Sanders has claimed.

Over at the Brookings Institute, the number is even smaller. The venerated policy think tank can only find 12 active regulations that the Trump administration has effectively scrubbed this year.

Trump’s accomplishments are incredibly thin, and of course he refuses to take the blame. Perhaps his schedule of watching eight hours of TV every day while downing a dozen Diet Cokes simply doesn’t allow him the time to get anything else done.

Header image: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta


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