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Donald Trump trying to remake America

First Donald Trump remade the Republican Party in his own image, and now he is trying to remake America the same way — into a selfish, dishonest country with no close friends, totally unpredictable, free of any commitment to enduring values, ready to stab any ally in the back on Twitter if it doesn’t do our bidding and much more comfortable with mafia-like dictators than elected democrats.

God forbid we become the United States of Trump. That would threaten our future and the stability of the world. The world has come to rely on an America that, more often than not, has been ready to pay any price and bear any burden to do the right things, say the right things, model the right things and stand for the right things — when others were unwilling or unable to do so.

All the tangible and intangible benefits flowing from the global order we generated helped to make us the richest, most secure and most respected nation in history. We need to make that prosperity more inclusive, but becoming the Ugly America will make us only more insecure.

Fox News Chorus: That’s awfully churlish, Friedman. After all, Trump may deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for the denuclearization deal he just forged with North Korea.

I’m glad Trump sat down with Kim Jong-un — nothing else has worked. But Trump is so dishonest, so much better at breaking things than making things and such a chump for anyone who flatters him, it is way too soon to say what will be implemented out this Singapore fling. If it’s the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, I’ll personally nominate Trump for the Nobel Prize. But let’s see.

For now, I’d only nominate him for the “Ignoble Prize.” It’s given to the leader who uses his presidential prerogatives to undermine the personal security of his citizens and values of his nation in more ways in just one year than any leader before him.

Tell me, are you really feeling more secure today?

Not if you have a pre-existing medical condition and are relying on Obamacare to guarantee your treatment if you change health insurers. In case you missed it, in all the tumult Trump has churned up lately, his Justice Department quietly indicated last week that it would not defend major parts of the Affordable Care Act that pro-Trump forces, having failed to kill it in Congress, are now trying to kill through lower courts. And this includes the requirement that insurance companies guarantee access to coverage without bias against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The implications? Senator Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who voted against repealing Obamacare, put it best: The decision not to defend key provisions of Obamacare — in a suit filed by Texas’ attorney general and 19 other states — “creates further uncertainty that could ultimately result in higher costs for millions of Americans and undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes.”

Are you feeling more secure?

Trump just picked a fight with our closest NATO allies, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who Trump’s team said “stabbed us in the back” after Trudeau’s mild-mannered defense of his own country’s trade policy on dairy imports. This after Trump has had nary a word of censure for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who stabbed us in the chest with the biggest cyberattack on our democracy ever.

What happens if there is another 9/11 and we need Canada’s help for something more than buying our milk? What country wouldn’t want Canada as its neighbor? Our president is compromised on Russia and is rapidly alienating every ally with whom we confronted Nazism, Communism and radical Islamism in the last 70 years.

Are you feeling more secure?

The Times reported last week that “Trump is the first president since 1941 not to name a science adviser, a position created during World War II to guide the Oval Office on technical matters ranging from nuclear warfare to global pandemics.” He relies on his “instincts” instead, and his instincts told him that climate change is a hoax.

So let’s see: In the case of North Korea, even if there was just a one-in-a-million chance Kim Jong-un would launch a nuclear missile at us, Trump said we must do everything possible to buy insurance so that it can’t happen — even if it meant pre-emptive war.

But in the case of climate change — where an overwhelming majority of scientists in Trump’s own government say human-induced climate change is 100 percent real and we need to join with the other major industrial powers in the Paris climate agreement to reduce carbon emissions to avoid the unmanageable aspects of climate change and manage the unavoidable ones — Trump chose to scrap Paris, throw away any insurance and move to revive coal.

Interestingly enough, Jim Bridenstine, the Oklahoma congressman whom Trump appointed as his NASA administrator, and who came in as a climate-change skeptic, told NASA employees at his first town hall last month: “I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we human beings are contributing to it in a major way.”

Are you feeling more secure?

Following a barrage of lobbying by chemical companies, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency just decided to scale back how the government decides health and safety risks linked to the toxic chemicals used in dry cleaning, paint stripping and cosmetics.

“The approach means that the improper disposal of chemicals — leading to the contamination of drinking water, for instance — will often not be a factor in deciding whether to restrict or ban them,” The Times reported.

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According to the Congressional Budget Office, the corporate tax cut that Trump’s Congress passed, along with the $1.3 trillion spending bill — including a huge surge in military spending — will, even with higher economic growth, add some $2.6 trillion to the national debt over the coming decade.

If interest rates rise even moderately, as expected, in the next few years, budget experts believe that nondiscretionary spending on interest on the debt, government health care programs and Social Security will leave virtually nothing left for us to invest in improved bridges and roads, scientific research, new weapons systems, education programs and housing.

Both parties have contributed to this problem, but Trump has just sharply exacerbated it — without ever taking the C.B.O.’s projections into account.

Are you feeling more secure?

Add it all up and you have a president tearing apart a range of longstanding accords and relationships at once — without any serious expert input — just to serve his short-term needs, satisfy his unhinged and now unrestrained instincts or feed his hatred of his predecessor.

Are you feeling more secure?

Sure, if climate change turns out to be a hoax, it won’t matter that we have a president who doesn’t believe in science. And sure, if we get consecutive years of exceptionally high growth, and no recession, maybe we’ll grow out of the massive increase in the national debt Trump took on with his corporate tax cuts.

Maybe China, Canada and our European allies will indeed bend to our will on trade and it really will be easy to win multiple trade wars at once. Maybe if another 9/11, or global recession like 2008, never materializes we won’t need allies and we really can cozy up to Putin. And, sure, if health care costs miraculously drop on their own, it won’t matter that Trump destroyed Obamacare without putting anything in its place, let alone something better and cheaper, as he vowed.

Sure. And maybe Justify will win the Triple Crown again.

Are you still feeling more secure?

Thomas L. Friedman