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infrastructure week

infrastructure week

In 2017, President Donald Trump announced plans for an “infrastructure week,” a series of high-profile events which were aimed at building support for the president’s trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the country’s highways and bridges.

Said Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn: “We’ve had some achievements to date … but we’re really formally launching the things we’re doing. Next week we’re going to announce a few very interesting things.”

Vice President Mike Pence promised that the week would usher in a “new era for American infrastructure in the United States.” 

However, as The Hill noted later, the whole week was overshadowed by ex-FBI Director James Comey’s gripping testimony on Capitol Hill:

Much of the derailment on the infrastructure rollout has been of President Trump’s own making. He repeatedly veered off message in tweets and during infrastructure-themed speeches, flouting some of White House staffers’ carefully laid plans.

Throughout the Trump administration, the idea of an “infrastructure week” has turned into a bit of a running joke, as the Trump administration has announced one infrastructure week after another. The Week noted that there had been six “infrastructure weeks” in the period between 2017 and 2019, with little visible output from any of the events. The Week declared:

The words “Infrastructure Week” have become synonymous with any unsuccessful or clumsy attempts to get an actual policy off the ground, as well as with the administration’s odd tendency of pushing infrastructure whenever unfavorable headlines start appearing in the news.

The Week wasn’t alone in its derision. Infrastructure week has become an event that journalists love to hate. In 2019, the New York Times wrote:

At this point in the Trump presidency, “Infrastructure Week” is less a date on the calendar than it is a “Groundhog Day”-style fever dream doomed to be repeated.

And in fact, one “infrastructure week” after another has been derailed by other news stories. The first week, back in 2017, was overshadowed by Comey’s testimony, of course. The following event was overshadowed by the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, and a later infrastructure week was buried in the headlines about the resignation of White House aide Rob Porter.

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