Seventy-five days ago today, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Trump has expanded US military operations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, while resuming arms sales to Bahrain. At the United Nations, the Trump administration led a boycott of U.N. talks to ban nuclear weapons, while pushing for the United States to expand its own nuclear arsenal. Trump picked climate deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, while slashing the EPA’s programs to combat climate change. He’s also attempted unsuccessfully to ban refugees and people from majority-Muslim nations from entering the US, and to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. For more on President Trump’s first 75 days, we speak with world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky. His new book, out today, is titled Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Seventy-five days ago today, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. On the international front, Trump has expanded US military operations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, while resuming arms sales to Bahrain. On Monday, he welcomed Egyptian leader General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the White House as thousands of activists remain locked up in Egypt. At the United Nations, the Trump administration led a boycott of U.N. talks to ban nuclear weapons, while pushing for the United States to expand its own nuclear arsenal. Trump has also threatened to unilaterally act against North Korea.
On the environmental front, Trump picked climate deniers to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, while slashing the EPA’s programs to combat climate change. Trump’s budget calls for an unprecedented $54 billion increase in military spending, while ending dozens of environmental, housing, diplomatic and educational programs. Trump is also requesting a nearly $3 billion increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, largely to pay for expanding the border wall and hiring 1,500 new Border Patrol and ICE agents.
AMY GOODMAN: However, the Trump agenda has faced some judicial and legislative setbacks. Federal courts have blocked the implementation of two travel bans targeting residents from six majority-Muslim nations. And in Congress, Trump failed in his attempt to repeal Obamacare, which would have stripped up to 24 million people of health insurance while giving the rich a massive tax break. Meanwhile, his administration is facing an FBI probe over its dealings with Russia before the election. This all comes as a resistance movement is growing throughout the country.
To help make sense of where the country stands 75 days into the Trump administration, we’re joined by one of the world’s best-known dissidents, the linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught for more than 50 years. He is the author of more than a hundred books. His latest book comes out today. It’s titled Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power.
Noam Chomsky, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Glad to be with you again.
AMY GOODMAN: So, why don’t we start, on this 75th day, by your assessment of what has happened in these first few months?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I think it was captured pretty well by a Los Angeles Times editorial, which simply called it a “train wreck.” But it’s very consistent, very systematic. Anything that can be of assistance to ordinary people, working people, middle-class people, people on the street — any such program has to be decimated. Anything that adds to wealth and power or that increases the use of force, that we carry forward.
And it’s done with — there’s kind of a two-tiered system working — I presume, consciously, so systematic it’s hard to question. The Bannon-Trump team wants to make sure that they dominate the headlines. So, whatever they do, that’s what people look at, and one crazy thing after another, the assumption apparently being you’ll forget the old ones by the time the new ones come in. So, no one talks anymore about the 3 million illegal immigrants who voted for Clinton. That one, we’ve forgotten. We’re on to the next one, and we’ll go on to the next one. While this is going on in front, the Paul Ryan-style budgetary and planning operations are going on quietly in the back, ripping to shreds any element of government that can help people either today or tomorrow. That’s the point of the destruction of the environmental system. It’s not just the EPA which was slashed. Most of the environmental programs were actually in the Energy Department. Their research and activist programs were slashed very seriously.