Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (Feb. 12, 2017) - Culture | MERRY JANE
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Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (Feb. 12, 2017)

Keep track of the Donald’s problematic presidency with this recap.

by Tyler Koslow

We’ve just rounded the third week of the Donald Trump presidency, and his onslaught of controversial executive orders and divisive rhetoric doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This past week, we saw the orange-hued demagogue get himself stuck in a power struggle with the entire judicial branch, keep up his campaign against the media and facts, and continue to debase his office. To keep you up-to-date, here is your weekly recap of every swift blow that Trump has delivered to the well-being of the U.S. and the rest of the world.

 

War Against the Media

  • At the start of the week, Trump came out swinging at the mainstream media, speculating that it was intentionally covering up terrorist attacks. To try and back up his outlandish claim, the Trump administration released a list of “under-reported” terror attacks, which included highly publicized attacks in Paris, Nice, Berlin, Orlando, and more. Interestingly enough, the list was void of any terrorists from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, four of the seven countries included in Trump’s controversial travel ban.  

 

Trump Takes on the Judicial Branch

  • Speaking of the Middle Eastern travel ban, the battle between the Trump team and U.S. judicial branch amplified this week. Last weekend, Federal Judge James Robart issued a nationwide block on the executive order, leading the president to bring his case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. On Thursday, the three-judge panel voted unanimously not to overturn the previous ruling, delivering a heavy legal blow to the travel ban.

  • In typical Trump fashion, the president took to Twitter to voice his frustration over not getting his way. The outburst hints that the Trump administration could bring its appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court.

  • Even Judge Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, spoke out against the president’s harsh criticism of the judicial system. On Wednesday, the conservative judge denounced Trump’s condemnation of the independent judges as “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Some have speculated that Gorsuch’s break from Trump could be an attempt to woo Democrats into confirming him for the SCOTUS.

  • On Friday, it was revealed that Trump could be issuing another executive order on immigration this coming week. White House lawyers are reportedly rewriting the travel ban order to overcome current legal challenges. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily ... well win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order on Monday,” Trump said.

  • It isn’t just the judicial branch that is standing up to fight Trump’s travel ban. Earlier this week, 97 U.S. technology companies filed joint court papers to challenge the executive order. Major names like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are included on the filings, which claims that the Muslim ban “has had immediate, adverse effects on the employees of American businesses.”

 

Communication Breakdown

 

Betsy DeVos Squeaks Through Senate Confirmation

  • Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, was approved for the cabinet position by the slimmest of margins this past Wednesday. The final Senate tally was split 50-50, leaving Vice President Mike Pence to make an historic and controversial tie-breaking vote in favor of DeVos. The wealthy GOP donor has been widely criticized for her glaring lack of experience and disdain for public education.

  • Over the weekend, protesters blocked DeVos from entering Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C.—her first visit to a public school as the education secretary. The demonstration was reportedly organized by the local teacher’s union. Both parents and teachers gathered outside with signs opposing DeVos, but she eventually managed to get inside of the school for the event.  

 

Jeff Sessions Confirmed as Attorney General

  • The day after DeVos was confirmed, the Senate approved Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions as the U.S. Attorney General. Known as a staunch opponent of cannabis, the controversial Republican will now head the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes the DEA. Sessions has also been accused of harboring racist views, and was denied a federal district court seat under the Reagan administration as a result.

  • The Democrats fought tooth-and-nail to prevent Sessions from being confirmed. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took the Senate floor to read a scathing 1986 letter written about Sessions by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The letter was highly critical the Alabama senator’s civil rights record, and having it read aloud seemed to rub his Republican colleagues the wrong way. After being warned about “impugning” Sessions, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped in to invoke “Rule 19,” effectively silencing Warren for the remainder of the night.  

 

Suppressing the Vote

  • While Trump has been crying out about voter fraud costing him the popular vote, a GOP majority house committee voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission. The independent committee was created in 2000 to help upgrade voting technology and provide accurate information to federal entities. Republicans have defended their actions by claiming that the election commission was an example of government waste.  

 

Smooth Criminal

  • On Thursday, Trump signed three crime-oriented executive orders that he claims were “designed to restore safety in America." The slew of orders reportedly aim to reduce crime and restore public safety by curbing transnational drug cartels, prioritizing the fight against “illegal immigration,” and allowing the use of federal law to prosecute those who commit crimes against law enforcement. All three were signed soon after Jeff Sessions was sworn in as the U.S. Attorney General.

 

Stirring Trouble Around the Globe

  • Yemen: Last week, the Navy conducted a botched raid in Yemen that left one Navy SEAL and a number of civilians dead, including an 8-year-old girl. It was Trump’s first military strike, aimed to take out Al Qaeda chief Qassim al-Rimi, who escaped during the raid and has since been taunting Trump.

  • United Kingdom: In a bold diplomatic move, the UK Parliament announced that it will not allow Trump to speak at Westminster Hall. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, called the opportunity to address Parliament was not “an automatic right” but “an earned honor.” The rejection comes a week after UK Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit the UK.  

  • Saudi Arabia: After lambasting Hillary Clinton throughout the election for her ties with Saudi Arabia, Trump seems to be getting cozy with the Middle Eastern country himself. The Washington Times reported that the president is prepared to approve major weapons packages for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The sale was initially blocked by former President Barack Obama over human rights concerns in both nations.

  • Russia: It wouldn’t be a week of Trump without some sketchiness involving the president and Russia. This past week, investigators proved that parts of the 35-page dossier alleging collusion between Trump and Russian government operatives were true. U.S. intelligence has confirmed some of the conversations between Russian officials occurred on the same days and locations that were stated in the memos. Additionally, national security adviser Michael Flynn is under fire over reports that he discussed sanctions with Russia’s U.S. ambassador before Trump was officially sworn in as president.

 

The Kellyanne and Spicer Show

  • After the department store Nordstrom announced that it would stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s spring fashion collection because it is not selling, an enraged President Trump lashed out, tweeting about how “unfairly” his daughter is being treated. Meanwhile, during a live television interview, his advisor Kellyanne Conway called on viewers to go out and support Ivanka’s brand. This led to accusations that Conway had committed an ethics violation by promoting Ivanka’s fashion line from a position of power on live television.

  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer spent the week talking about a fictitious terror attack that took place in Atlanta. After mentioning the nonexistent attack three times, Spicer finally corrected himself, stating that he misspoke and was referring to the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando. The mistake comes just one week after Kellyanne Conway fabricated another terrorist attack, the “Bowling Green Massacre.”

  • On Friday, Spicer went after CNN for reporting on the unverified dossier involving Russia. As mentioned above, parts of the memos were recently proven by U.S. investigators to be true.


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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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