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Biden admin sends Trump's showerhead rule down the drain

At Trump's insistence, the Department of Energy created ridiculous water-flow standards for showerheads. The Biden administration is undoing the policy.
Water jets from the shower on black
Andrei Berezovskii / Getty Images/iStockphoto

By mid-December 2020, things weren't going well for Donald Trump. He'd lost his re-election bid; his efforts to nullify the results were failing; his country was struggling with a brutal COVID surge; and his weak public standing was deteriorating further.

The Republican did, however, get one piece of news that he was eager to hear: The U.S. Energy Department finalized a rule to overhaul showerhead water-flow standards.

Seven months later, it's poised to be undone.

President Joe Biden's administration is reversing a Trump-era rule approved after the former president complained he wasn't getting wet enough because of limits on water flow from showerheads. Now, with a new president in office, the Energy Department is going back to a standard adopted in 2013, saying it provides plenty of water for a good soak and a thorough clean.

As a practical matter, the significance of the news is quite limited: the industry was operating under the 2013 standards for nearly a decade, and manufacturers weren't rushing to make dramatic changes.

But as a political matter, this is pretty amusing.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane to review how we reached this exceedingly silly point. In January 2020, as the U.S. House prepared to send articles of presidential impeachment to the U.S. Senate, Trump headlined a campaign rally in Wisconsin where he reflected on the issue that was foremost on his mind: water, or more specifically, household devices that use water.

The then-president specifically complained about showerheads that only provide a "drip, drip, drip," adding that modern showerheads are inadequate when washing what he described as his "beautiful head of hair."

As the pandemic intensified, the Republican couldn't shake the distraction. "So showerheads -- you take a shower, the water doesn't come out," Trump said at a White House event in July. "You want to wash your hands, the water doesn't come out. So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair -- I don't know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect." He peddled similar rhetoric a month later at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Ohio.

None of this made sense. Federal regulations dictated that showerheads should go through 2.5 gallons of water per minute, regardless of the number of nozzles. At the former president's insistence, the Trump administration created new rules that would have created showerheads that used 2.5 gallons per nozzle per minute.

Or put another way, if your showerhead has four nozzles, Trump's plan was to create showers in which you'd go through 10 gallons of water every minute, not 2.5 gallons.

There was no reason to do this. Indeed, there was no evidence of public demand for such a change, and it served no policy purpose, but Trump wanted the change, so his administration delivered it.

And now the Biden administration is undoing it. A whining statement from the former president seems inevitable.