Trump's obsession with household goods
Sinks! Toilets! Light bulbs! The president seems to now be obsessed with certain household items — see for yourself.
Right-wing rage against the machines
From his long, failed battle against “ugly” wind turbines near his Aberdeenshire golf course in Scotland to his fight to banish energy-saving light bulbs from the White House, President Donald Trump’s objection to green initiatives seems deeply personal. Trump has only sharpened the hostility he feels towards bothersome environmental measures, which has become a feature of his U.S. presidency. Making appliances more efficient used to be seen as a relatively uncontroversial good. The first bill setting appliance standards was signed by Ronald Reagan in 1987 after passing a Democrat-controlled Congress on bipartisan lines. In 1992, George H.W. Bush signed legislation requiring toilets to use 1.6 gallons per flush, and in 2007 George W. Bush approved a law that phased out particularly energy-inefficient lightbulbs.
These regulations have made a difference
For instance, according to Appliance Standards Awareness Project data, fridges have gotten more energy efficient even as they've gotten bigger and cheaper in inflation-adjusted dollars. Consumer Reports notes that dishwashers use half the water they did 20 years ago, which also means a reduction in energy required to heat that water, though the tradeoff is they take longer to run through a cycle. And while newer energy-saving lightbulbs like LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they also last much much longer and save consumers money on their electricity bills.
Denouncing toilets, lightbulbs, and sinks as worse than they used to be is a way to both tap into a powerful strain of nostalgia and express contempt for the regulatory state. These rants from Trump showcase what makes him different from previous Republican presidents, who endorsed the ordinary regulations that are now the target of iconic right-wing rage. This rhetoric is coupled with actual action that experts say will confine future efforts to make appliances more efficient and fight climate change.