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.
Origin of “Infrastructure Week”
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, declaring:
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 was derailed by other news stories.
The term eventually took on a symbolic and somewhat ironic meaning, representing the administration’s broader challenges in advancing its policy agenda.
For political observers and commentators, “Infrastructure Week” came to embody the disarray and frequent shifts in focus that often characterized the political landscape during that period.
Even after Trump’s term, “Infrastructure Week” continued to be used humorously to refer to unfulfilled political promises or initiatives that were announced with great fanfare but ultimately derailed by other events.
To use military slang, it could also be described as fugazi.
Use of “Infrastructure Week” in a sentence
- “Infrastructure Week” was announced with great fanfare by the Trump administration, promising a focus on vital improvements to roads, bridges, and other public works, but it often became overshadowed by other political events and controversies.
- Critics pointed to repeated “Infrastructure Week” declarations as symbolic of the administration’s difficulties in maintaining focus on policy initiatives, as each attempt seemed to get derailed by unrelated political issues.
- By the end of President Trump’s term, it’s Infrastructure Week had become a running joke among political commentators, emblematic of unfulfilled promises and the challenges of implementing a coherent policy agenda in a tumultuous political environment.
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.