Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (April 30, 2017) - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (April 30, 2017)

As we surpass the 100-day mark of Donald Trump's reign in the White House, it's clear his presidency is as dysfunctional and contentious as ever.

by Tyler Koslow

While Donald Trump was on the campaign trail, vying for the United States presidency with his nationalistic and divisive rhetoric, he released the “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” Although Trump frequently had issues talking details about his policy in debates against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the extensive plan finally created a palpable guide to what his goals would be as president. Well, as we all know, Donald Trump has been president for over 100 days now. Unfortunately for the Don, his checklist of campaign promises has proven more difficult than he ever could have anticipated. Throughout the past week, the Commander-in-Chief has been bombarded by reports from media outlets cross-examining his actions during this period of time, sending his administration into spin mode. But while everyone was talking about the shortcomings of Trump’s first 100 days, the president has continued down his schismatic path of executive orders and Twitter bombardments. To help you sift through the dirt, we’re bringing you another weekly installment of “Taking It in the Trump." 

100 Days of Bummer

  • Back when he was on the campaign trail, Donald Trump made a lot of promises to his supporters, about 663 to be exact. In the first 100 days since he was sworn into the Oval Office, Think Progress claims that the president has already broken 80 of those promises. Compared to this, he’s only kept seven of them, while the other 588 are still left to be decided. The administration has put a heavy emphasis on their successes during the first 100 days, but Trump has also dismissed the media scrutiny by claiming that “the hundred days is just an artificial barrier.”  

  • Despite his constant weekend trips to the golf course, the intensive responsibilities of running the United States seems to be taking a toll on Mr. Trump. In an interview with a Reuters reporter, the president expressed surprise about the difficulty of his new job, and also seemed to reminisce for his life prior to being Commander-in-Chief.  “I love my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a … I’m a details-oriented person. I think you’d say that, but I do miss my old life. I like to work so that’s not a problem, but this is actually more work,” Trump said.

  • A recent national poll has showcased the reproach that has mounted towards both Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress. The numbers show that 53 percent disapprove of Trump while 61 percent have an unfavorable view of house speaker Paul Ryan. On top of that, the poll revealed that 44 percent of Americans are in favor of impeachment, which is equal to the number of people that believe his transition team was in cahoots with the Russian government. Another poll conducted by Washington Post/ABC showed that Trump has the lowest approval rating at this point of any president since 1945, which is when this polling first began. 53 percent of the respondents disapprove of his performance as president, while just 42 percent approve of his performance.

  • But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has tried to deflect the negative media attention by spinning Trump’s time in the Oval Office in a positive light. On Tuesday, the president’s spokesman claimed that Donald “has rebuilt America’s standing in the world,” a highly questionable and almost ludicrous statement considering the faltering relationships between allies and increased tensions in the Middle East and North Korea.

  • But all of this negative attention didn’t stop the Trump administration from advertising his “Winter White House” in Florida. This past week, the U.S. State Department received heat for posting a page on an official website that presented Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club in an advertorial way. The page was quickly taken down after concerns of a potential conflict of interest went public. The president has used his newfound status as a world leader to capitalize on his property, doubling the cost of fees since January.  

This Week in Russia: Flynn-ghazi Intensifies

  • As the FBI probe into the Trump transition team’s connections with the Russian government continues, the controversy of the week seems to revolve around former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Although his sketchy ties to Russia were revealed months ago, the White House is now being accused of trying to cover up for the disgraced advisor. This past week, Rachel Maddow reported that the Trump transition team conducted a background check on Flynn but decided to bring him onboard anyways. White House officials have tried to pin the blame on Barack Obama for authorizing his security clearance. Earlier this week, the House Oversight Committee said that Flynn may have broken the law by taking payments from Russia and Turkey without approval from the military and State Department. The Pentagon even went so far to warn him against taking such payments.

  • On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed that his previous recusal from investigations into the 2016 campaign will extend into inquiries into the sketchy and potentially unlawful activities of Flynn. Sessions also received criticism for failing to report on his multiple meetings with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the campaign. The former Alabama Senator claims that his meeting was conducted as a member of the Senate and not for his role in Trump’s campaign team.

  • Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has strengthen his stance against Russia, claiming that the U.S. sanctions leveled against the country will not be removed until President Vladimir Putin gives Crimea back to Ukraine. Trump’s position on whether or not he intended to lift these sanctions has been unclear, but as his administration comes under fire for their connections with Russia, his team has suddenly started to distance themselves from having better relations with Putin.

  • While the GOP-controlled House and Senate continue to drag their feet with the ongoing investigation, the country is starting to grow impatient with Congresses inefficiency. According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 73 percent of Americans say that they want an independent and nonpartisan commission to lead the investigation regarding Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

Anti-Immigration Nation

  • Donald Trump has continued trying to make good on his promise to crack down on illegal immigration, but the judicial branch has continued to stand in his way. He signed an executive order that would allow the administraiton to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities if they failed to comply with his immigration demands, but, on Tuesday, a federal judge California blocked the President’s order after San Francisco and Santa Fe county urged the courts to intervene, as they stood to lose over $1 billion in funding. In typical Trump fashion, the president responded to the ruling on Twitter.

 

  • As it turns out, the president’s Twitter rage was misguided towards the wrong court. The 9th Circuit wasn’t actually the court that blocked his executive order on sanctuary cities, rather it was the federal district court in San Francisco. However, if and when Trump appeals that ruling, it will go to the 9th Circuit, which is the same court responsible for blocking his controversial "Muslim ban."

  • But the judicial branch isn’t the only entity trolling Trump’s attempt to enforce harsh anti-immigration laws. On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security opened a office called VOICE, which claims to "serve the needs of crime victims and their families who have been impacted by crimes committed by removable criminal aliens." After the news made its way around social media, a vast number of people called the hotline to talk about UFOs and extraterrestrials, effectively undermining and causing delays in the service.

The Tax Plan That Puts More into Wealthy Hands

Executive Orders Call for Extreme Measures

  • There have a handful of other attempts to ram Trump’s agenda past a divided GOP and dissenting population, starting with the return of healthcare reform. The revised version stands to jeopardize underserved Americans even more than the last pitiful repeal act. Released on Tuesday, the Republican amendment would allow states to waive preexisting condition requirements created by Obamacare. This means that insurers could charge sick people higher premiums, and could impact millions of Americans currently under the Affordable Care Act. Even worse, the House GOP included a provision that would exempt themselves from their own healthcare plan, leaving the people to bare the brunt of their heinous repeal act. After the news surfaced, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) quickly came out to promise that he would close this loophole.    

  • On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the change in direction under Trump. Unsurprisingly, this entailed the removal of several agency websites that offered detailed climate data and scientific information. The move came less than a day after thousands of protesters marched to demonstrate against the president’s rollbacks on Barack Obama’s climate policies. The People’s Climate March took place this past Saturday, on Trump’s 100th day as president, and more than 150,000 people joined together to voice their concern with the president’s dismissal of climate change and support of policies that pose a threat to the environment. Prior to the demonstration, Trump also signed an executive order to expand offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, rolling back environmental protections originally put in place by his predecessor.    

  • This past week, leaked documents showed that Trump plans to strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world. The office’s budget would be completely stripped down to zero, leaving it completely defunct.

  • A few weeks ago, the president signed a bill that would effectively eliminate net neutrality, allowing internet providers to gather and sell your data without your approval. But in a desperate attempt to stop this highly disagreeable measure from going into effect, over 800 tech startups have co-written a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, denouncing his plan to strip away the rules of net neutrality. The joint document stated: “We also depend on an open Internet—including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can’t discriminate against people like us. We’re deeply concerned with your intention to undo the existing legal framework."

Stirring Trouble Around the Globe

  • NAFTA:  After boldly proclaiming that the United States would be pulled out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump suddenly had a change of heart after receiving calls from Canada and Mexico. The president claims that the two countries asked him "renegotiate NAFTA rather than terminate" it, but also that he would dismantle the free trade agreement if “we do not reach a fair deal for all.”

  • North Korea: Tensions continue to flare between the Trump administration and North Korea, so much so that the president called for all 100 Senators to come to the White House for a briefing on the issue. This meeting was far from routine, as these matters are usually handled on Capitol Hill instead of the White House, but the president suggested the change of venue. Although Trump promoted the briefing as an urgent matter, not all of Congress bought what he was selling. Sen. Bernie Sanders decided to ignore the invite, claiming that he “did not want to be part of a photo op."  

  • South Korea: While the possibility of military action in North Korea continues to rise, Trump has also been stirring trouble with our allies in South Korea. During an interview this past week, Trump called for South Korea to pay $1 billion for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a U.S. military defense system that has become a politically divisive issue in the Asian country. On Friday, Moon Jae-in, an adviser to the leading candidate for South Korea’s next presidency, stated that paying for the US for THAAD was an “impossible option.” Meanwhile, the Pentagon stated that they had no idea about Trump’s plan to bill their ally for the system.


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Tyler Koslow is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with an intensive focus on technology, music, pop culture, and of course, cannabis and its impending legalization.



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