Hey, I only heard about it today! What’s going on? The White House comment line, which regular folks like you and me can use to call the White House and let the President know (indirectly, I’m sure) what we think of his performance, was closed shortly after Trump took office. But last week, it reopened. Why is it important? This is another way of expressing one’s views about Trump, via a channel that’s not that far removed from the man himself.
Not a headline to set the world on fire, but it happens to be what it’s about! What’s going on? As you can read here, the Trump administration released new guidelines regarding how it intends to enforce Trump’s recent executive orders against undocumented immigrants. The administration is essentially trying to downplay fears that it is going to engage in mass roundups and deportations of undocumented immigrants. Members of the undocumented immigrant community and their advocates are understandably skeptical of these assurances.
Trump originally suggested there was a terrorist attack in Sweden. There wasn’t. Then he “clarified,” but was wrong about that, too. What’s going on? During his Saturday night rally in Florida, Trump said, “you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” in regard to his Muslim travel ban. This would suggest a terrorist attack or something else bad happened in Sweden Friday night. But nothing of the sort happened at all.
Republicans have nearly full control of the US government. But can they even use it? Trump is the most unpopular incoming President in at least a century. Republicans came into 2017 with a wishlist of policy goals: attacking abortion, repealing Obamacare, deregulating as many industries as possible, massive crackdowns on undocumented immigrants, stripping back LGBT rights, and the list goes on. With a solid House majority and Senate control–though not a 60-vote supermajority–there is a lot they could get (un)done.
I’m going to run out of headlines for these weekly updates, I think. How many ways are there to say “Trump had a bad week”? But maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll be out of office in a few months! Anyway… * National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned in disgrace after details came out suggesting he told the Russian ambassador that the sanctions put in place by Obama last fall would be removed if Trump won--and he is alleged to have said this _before_ Election Day, which is quite a no-no (and possibly a federal crime).
What’s next, concentration camps? What’s going on? The Associated Press got their hands on a draft executive order which suggests mobilizing up to 100,000 National Guard troops to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in rounding up and detaining undocumented immigrants. If implemented, this would be an utterly terrifying and inhumane move. It’s hard to say just how much worse things would get, if the Trump administration followed through with it.
Trump hasn’t been in office a month, and already it would be fair to characterize his administration as “embattled.” What’s going on? Presidents usually enter office with some political capital to spend. This often entails public support for the President’s agenda, and a new President can generally get a few things on his wish list through Congress before his political capital is exhausted. Obama, for instance, burned much of his capital getting a stimulus bill passed, and especially getting the Affordable Care Act through Congress.
Trump’s words: ”So I’m looking at two-state and one-state–and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two, but honestly if Bibi and if the Palestinians–if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn didn’t even last a month, brought down by a Russian scandal. Could this end Trump? What’s going on? It’s a little convoluted, but stay with me: retired Army General Michael Flynn was appointed as National Security Advisor, head of the NSA, by Trump. But over the weekend, reports emerged that Flynn had discussed possible sanctions against Russia with Russian officials, before the election. This is a pretty big no-no.
If one is willing to take a closer look, Trump’s actions look less like an incoherent grab-bag and more like a calculated attack on this country’s most vulnerable. Trump’s campaign platform revolved around the narrative that there exists a vast, ignored swath of Americans who have fallen behind–who have seen the economy take off and the country move forward without them. This group has been characterized many ways: as “deplorables,” as the white working class, as people tired of “political correctness,” as “real Americans” who feel persecuted for their religion, their skin color, or their lack of sophistication.