By Larry Schweikart
Three years ago, I coined the phrase “Cheese in the maze” for the way President Trump dealt with the Hoax News media. At the time, all focus was on the Russia “collusion” investigation, and it was common not only for the White House to encourage certain members of the Hoax News media to pursue stories (that it knew were complete dead ends) but to at times salt the earth with rumors. “Kushner and Bannon Battle for Power Inside the White House” was a typical type of Hoax News headline with, usually, no basis in truth.
Yet Trump not only tried to stamp out such fires—he encouraged them. That was because the unending search for the cheese in the maze kept the “journalist” corps occupied with fruitless and irrelevant stories while the real achievements were taking place elsewhere. Quite often, President Trump would make an offhand remark about, “Oh, we will be having a Space Force soon.” Then there would be—seemingly—no news until out of the blue a U.S. Space Force is born. The best example of the cheese in the maze strategy involved judges: it was almost a full year before liberal activists finally figured out that Trump was remaking the American judiciary in light speed under their very noses while they had focused on Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, or Omarosa’s latest tantrum.
Other than the judges, though, the left still to a large degree have not figured out the cheese in the maze strategy. This has been on full display during the China Virus crisis, where almost daily the press corps badgered President Trump, then his spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany in April 2020. Overwhelmingly, questions were about why President Trump wasn’t wearing a mask, or why some states were reopening sooner than others.
And right under their noses was one of the most massive initiatives in American history, possibly, by the time it is finished, one that exceeds the New Deal.
Trump’s national “Infrastructure” program has taken shape almost entirely without actual legislation through Executive Order. Barack Obama loved to wield executive orders to get around a Congress that opposed him. Now Trump has made an end run around a Congress that does virtually nothing but investigate. Trump’s achievements already are stunning:
*Beginning early in his administration, in January 2017, he issued an executive order expediting environmental reviews for high priority infrastructure projects, drastically reducing the time it took to complete them.
*In October 2018, he got enough Congressional support to sign the Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, that enhanced coastal ports; reduced flood risks; restored ecosystems; improved inland waterways; upgraded dams, hydro-power, and irrigation systems; and improved drinking water treatment, storage, and delivery. In February 2020, President Trump issued a directive to complete the long-term coordinated operations of the two major California water suppliers and to modernize the water infrastructure and develop more water storage.
*An executive order in February 2019 was issued to maintain America’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence research, development, and deployment, designating Artificial Intelligence as an R&D priority and requiring all military and agency heads to prioritize it in their budgeting.
*A key danger that both Presidents Bush and Obama ignored was that of an Electromagnetic Pulse weapon (EMP). In March 2019, Trump was the first president to prepare for electromagnetic pulse responses and defense as run through the National Security Staff and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
*The China Virus exposed many weaknesses in the American supply chain. In May 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency directed at the “extraordinary threat” posed to U.S. national security in the communications technology supply chain. This national emergency was to last a year and would empower federal agencies to address the threat to American information chains.
*This went hand in glove with an earlier, March signature of the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act that prohibited federal funds from being used to purchase communications equipment from companies that posed a national security threat and which removed and replace previous equipment thought to be compromised.
*In February 2020, Trump issued an executive order strengthening the positioning, navigation, and timing services of our GPS worldwide. He directed that the “Positioning, navigation, and timing” networks of space-based systems, undergo a thorough review and that the PNT profiles would be shared with all private sector users. Further, within a year, the Secretary of Homeland Security was to test the vulnerabilities of all these systems and within a year to fix any weaknesses.
*Also, in February, the White House issued a memorandum on increasing titanium sponge access that is necessary for national defense. Currently 68% of our titanium sponge was imported and the memo sought to modernize and recapitalize the sole American producer of the product, as well as to renew agreements with Japan to continue a flow of titanium sponge from that nation.
*Finally, in May 2020 President Trump issued an executive order securing the United States Bulk-Power system by prohibiting acquisition of any element of the system owned by nations that are considered adversaries. He also declared a national emergency in addressing the bulk power system.
Taken together, this is an astounding body of initiatives and executive orders that is rivaled only by President Ronald Reagan’s first two years in office with foreign policy concerns about the USSR, Libya, and Grenada. Yet none of these have found their way into the national discussion. Rather, masks, Trump holding a water bottle with two hands, and predictable hit-pieces on Jared Kushner absorb the Hoax News media’s attention. In short, Trump has achieved a vast amount of his “infrastructure” agenda by complete stealth.
Larry Schweikart is the co-author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, "A Patriot’s History of the United States", author of "Reagan: the American President", and is the founder of the history educational website, Wild World of History (www.wildworldofhistory.com) that features full courses in US and World history with “Professor Larry” instructing. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarrySchweikart