Taking It in the Trump: Everything the President Did This Week (July 2nd, 2017)
The GOP fails to squeeze its highly disputed health care reform through the Senate and Trump has his biggest Twitter meltdown yet.
Published on July 2, 2017

As per usual, it’s been a clusterfuck of a week for Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, both of which have placed their focus on pushing health care reform through the Senate. Much to the president’s dismay, the highly scrutinized proposal failed to gain enough Republican support, and seems to have galvanized Democrats to take action into their own hands. Meanwhile, the Mr. Trump has been dishing out callous insults at news pundits via Twitter, preparing for his upcoming face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and undermining the special investigation into Russia’s possible meddling with the 2016 election. On the surface, it might seem like a typical week in Trump’s America, but there have been a wide range of important news stories that are worth wrapping your head around. Here's a recap of everything the president and his cronies did over the past several days.

GOP Healthcare Replacement Fails to Gain Support in Senate

  • After Republican Senators were heavily criticized for drafting up their Obamacare replacement bill behind closed doors, the proposal ultimately failed to gain enough support from GOP colleagues. Things have gotten off to a bad start for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other backers of the controversial Better Care Reconciliation Act. On Monday, a report from the Congressional Budget Office stated that the Senate's healthcare bill would leave 22 million Americans uninsured by 2026. The CBO statement also claimed that the average cost of insurance premiums would rise for the average person, but would eventually drop by 20 percent by 2026. Still, the detrimental effect that the reform would have on millions of people seems to have convinced a few Republicans to rally against the bill. Additionally, the AARP called on all senators to vote no on the measure and to “start from scratch” on the legislative process,

  • After the CBO report revealed the dirty details of the GOP replacement bill, support from the right side of the aisle started to waver. A number of Republican Senators, including Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Susan Collins (Maine), have come out against the proposal, effectively preventing the GOP from obtaining the majority of votes needed to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act. As a result, McConnell has delayed the vote until after the July 4 recess, and will make changes to the bill before renegotiating with the GOP-controlled Senate.

  • Trump seems particularly keen on getting rid of Obamacare, even if the Republicans don’t have an agreeable replacement plan ready to take its place. On Friday, the President took to Twitter to call on the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act now and figure out how to reform it at a later date. If you look at this outlandish tweet as a policy statement, Trump is basically supporting the idea of scrapping health care without a viable backup plan for millions of Americans. A CBO analysis from last year found that repealing Obamacare without a replacement would result in 32 million people losing coverage by 2026 in total, while 19 million would lose Medicaid coverage.

  • However, although the president is hellbent on decimating anything that has former President Barack Obama’s named tied to it, Trump himself doesn’t seem to know much about the health care bill he’s adamantly advocating for. This past week, The New York Times reported that a GOP senator left a White House meeting with the feeling that the president didn't understand basic parts of the repeal plan. According to an aide who received details of the exchange, Trump "seemed especially confused" after a moderate Republican claimed that they would not support the measure because it appeared to be nothing more than a "massive tax break for the wealthy."

  • While the Republican party struggles to come to an agreement on how to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Democratic party seems to be collectively strengthening its argument for a more progressive healthcare system. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling for the left to integrate a national single-payer healthcare plan into their campaign platform in 2018 and 2020. She also argued that the Democrats would perform better in future elections if they ran a more progressive platform.

Trump and Putin to Meet Next Week, Reports Show GOP Involvement With Clinton Email Scandal

  • Next week, all eyes will surely be on the G-20 summit in Germany, where Trump is expected to meet face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin. With the Russian investigation intensifying, officials seem worried about how the Commander-in-Chief will interact with the foreign adversary. On Thursday, a report stated that Trump has been asking his National Security Council staff to come up with a number of "deliverables" that he could offer Putin, which could possibly include an easing of the economic sanctions that were leveled against Russia by Obama back in December. Many national security experts have expressed concerns that the president’s eagerness to get along with the Russian leader could be taken advantage of. In fact, White House officials have hinted that Trump doesn’t even have “formal agenda” for the upcoming meeting, potentially giving Putin the upper hand in conversations.

  • On Wednesday, CNN reported that National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers is becoming increasingly frustrated that Trump does not believe the evidence suggesting that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Sources stated that the National Security chief voiced discontent over the White House’s lack of focus about the threat of future cyber efforts against U.S. voting systems.

  • Perhaps the biggest Russia-related story of the week, a former British intelligence official named Matt Tait claimed that he was approached last summer by a Republican operative who asked him to help verify hacked Hillary Clinton emails that were allegedly obtained by Russian hackers. The veteran GOP colleague, Peter Smith, was reportedly working alongside Trump’s former foreign policy adviser Michael Flynn to pursue and validate these emails. The report also suggested that Smith was in cahoots with Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, possibly hinting at collusion by the president’s top aides.

  • Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was forced to resign from the campaign over criticism about his business dealings with pro-Russian interests, has also been scrutinized by the special investigation that is being headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller. On Tuesday, Manafort disclosed that his consulting firm had received over $17 million from a Ukrainian political party that has strong links to the Kremlin.  

  • Meanwhile, the team behind Special Counsel Mueller continues to grow, potentially spelling out trouble for the White House. On Friday, the former intelligence chief added Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Goldstein, a top federal prosecutor from New York, into the investigative squad. The highly respected lawyer is known for his role in successfully prosecuting multiple lawmakers on corruption charge.

Trump Lashes Out at the Hosts of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe"

  • The president has been under fire from both Democrats and Republicans for lashing out at Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC's show Morning Joe. Here’s what the President of the United States decided to post onto his social media account…

  • Brzezinski and her colleague Joe Scarborough responded to the president’s indignant rant with a bombshell revelation, claiming that the White House threatened to have a negative story about the two news pundits published in the infamous tabloid magazine, the National Enquirer. “This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the President to have the story spiked," the two expressed. Unsurprisingly, Trump turned to Twitter to defend himself and give a different account of this bizarre scenario.

  • The vicious attack on Brzezinski drew criticism from both sides of the political aisle. A number of Republican Senators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), spoke out against the president after he called the MSNBC co-host “crazy” and attacked her physical appearance. Here are a few of the most critical GOP responses to Trump’s unacceptable attack:

  • The latest Trump Twitter catastrophe seems to be impacting the president’s standing with the House of Representatives, as well. After the social media altercation took place, a total of 25 House Democrats came out to back a proposal that would give them a path to remove the president from office. This bill would create an Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity, which would allows for Trump to be removed from office if the Vice President and either a majority of the White House cabinet or Congress signed off on it.    

  • According to Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor who worked for the Obama administration, the claim that the White House told the Morning Joe co-hosts that they would “smear” them through a National Enquirer story would be a crime. If true, these actions could be a direct violation of the anti-extortion statute.

  • The dispute with the MSNBC news pundits wasn’t the only media-related controversy that Trump got himself involved with this past week. During a phone call with the new Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, the president halted the conversation in order to comment on the looks of Caitriona Perry, a Washington correspondent for the Irish public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann. "She has a nice smile on her face, so I bet she treats you well," the president said to Varadkar after telling Perry, who was in the Oval Office covering the discussion, to come closer to his desk.

Policy Recap: Trump’s Travel Ban Partially Instated, National Space Council Reintroduced

  • On Friday, Trump held a ceremony for his executive order that will recreate the National Space Council, a special advisory council that was responsible for the country’s first moon missions over 60 years ago. According to the Washington Post, even a relatively respectable moment for the Trump administration couldn’t go on without encountering a few hiccups. Not only did the White House not list the ceremony on the president's calendar, but no one from that NASA headquarters came to the event, while the one female astronaut who was in attendance was left off the thank-you list.

  • The president also refused to follow a major precedent set by Obama, refusing to acknowledge June as LGBT Pride Month. Although the White House has failed to explain why Trump wouldn’t recognize this celebratory event, he did find time to proclaim June as Great Outdoors Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Ocean Month, and National Homeownership Month. With all these special designations, many in the LGBTQ community can’t help but feel that the president’s silence was an intentional smack in the face.

  • The president received a minor victory from the Supreme Court this past week after they decided to allow a limited and temporary version of the Trump travel ban into law. The repeatedly failed executive order aims to ban travel from six Muslim-majority countries, barring visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. Trump has hailed the SCOTUS decision as a “victory for national security,” but the outcome is not as simple as the president might hope. In October, the Justices will hear the full arguments for and against the travel ban, and will come to a more enduring decision on the legal validity of the executive order. Until then, visitors from these six listed countries that lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” will be denied entry into the country.

Tyler Koslow
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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