The White House would like you to know it has accomplished things
Donald Trump’s team sent out an email blast this morning to the press titled “President Trump’s 100 Days of Historic Accomplishments.” The list, which includes headings such as “getting the government out of the way,” contains comparisons to what former presidents had completed at this point in their terms. The list also highlights that Trump has signed 30 executive orders since taking office in January, compared to former President Barack Obama’s 19.
WH blasting out new email this morning listing first 100 days accomplishments
Trump’s email blast comes despite criticism from the president about the concept of using the first 100 days to judge effectiveness. In the last week, Trump has called the benchmark “not very meaningful” and suggested it’s overrated as a tool of evaluating a presidency.
The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC & NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!
The public weighs in
A new poll has some bad news for the president. Donald Trump’s approval rating is at 42 percent with just days left until he reaches his 100-day mark, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Sunday. That’s the lowest for any president at this point in their term since pollsters began tracking it in the 1940s. For comparison, former President Barack Obama had a 69-percent approval rating at this juncture of his first term.
I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs matter!
Trump unhappy with ‘100 days’ benchmark
The president has a bone to pick with the “first 100 days” benchmark used to evaluate how a presidency is going. Donald Trump criticized the standard in a tweet Friday, calling it “ridiculous” and insinuating the media would not give him credit for his successes. Trump’s main victory since entering office, which he highlighted in his post, has been the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. Many of his other notable moves, such as his travel ban or healthcare replacement, have failed to be instituted.
Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.
Patriots visit the White House
With just 10 days left of Trump’s first 100 days in office, the White House played host to the New England Patriots today. The visit is in honor of their victory earlier this year at Super Bowl LI. The president met with the team’s players and gave remarks where he singled out around seven team members for their performance. But one player not in attendance was quarterback Tom Brady, who cited personal family matters as his reason for staying home. Donald Trump has long touted his friendship with Brady, but Brady wasn’t the only player to skip. Several team members opted out of the visit due to political disagreements with the president.
Dems failed in Kansas and are now failing in Georgia. Great job Karen Handel! It is now Hollywood vs. Georgia on June 20th.
New executive order says ‘Buy American’
On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed a new executive order essentially stating “Buy American; Hire American.” The order is meant to reduce the number of low-wage foreign workers in the country and improve the amount of job opportunities for American employees. The initiative is in line with his “America First” theme for his first 100 days in office, but defies his campaign rhetoric, where he suggested it would be unfair to crack down on H1-B visa holders.
Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn’t even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!
Next target: Jon Ossoff
The president stepped into campaign mode once again when he got involved in the Georgia special election. The election is being held to fill Tom Price’s congressional seat, following his confirmation as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Trump began tweeting about the main Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, after polls made it clear that Ossoff was the leading character in the race. The district in question isn’t exactly a Republican stronghold; Trump won by less than 2 percent back in November. Nevertheless, it was expected that Ossoff would fall short of the 50 percent marker he needs to avoid a runoff election later this year.
I did what was an almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College! Now Tax Returns are brought up again?
Trump’s White House visitor logs will be private
The White House has announced that most of the visitor logs for those stopping by the Oval Office will remain private. Citing “grave national security risks and privacy concerns,” the Trump administration will not willingly disclose the names of the president’s vistors. Unless the White House amends this policy, it could take years for that information to be revealed.
The president signed off today on a resolution that will allow states to defund family planning centers such as Planned Parenthood if they provide abortion services. The resolution overturns a late Obama-era policy that prevented the government from defunding these providers for any reason other than lack of “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries in an effective manner.”
Though Republicans have long held a stance against taxpayer money being used to pay for abortion services, it’s a solution without a problem. The Hyde Amendment has prevented tax dollars from being used for abortion services for decades.
Jobs are returning, illegal immigration is plummeting, law, order and justice are being restored. We are truly making America great again!
The president is disturbed by the United Airlines video
The White House said Tuesday that Donald Trump has seen the viral video of United Airlines passenger Dr. David Dao being forcibly deplaned and that Trump is “disturbed” by the video. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters during his daily briefing that he believes anyone would be bothered by how Dao was treated. “I don’t think anyone looks at that video and isn’t a little disturbed that another human being is treated that way,” Spicer said.
No troops in Syria… for now
In an interview set to air Wednesday morning on Fox Business, the president said that the U.S. is not putting ground troops in war-torn Syria. Literally. “We’re not going into Syria,” Trump told Fox’s Maria Bartiromo. Trump’s interview comes amid questions about the White House’s next move, after he ordered missile strikes last week against a Syrian airbase. The strikes were a response to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, who is suspected of using chemical weapons against his people last week in an attack that killed dozens.
“Look, what I did should have been done by the Obama administration a long time before I did it,” Trump said. “And you would have had a much better – I think Syria would be a lot better off right now than it has been.”
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
Trump makes his mark on SCOTUS
Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch was sworn onto the highest bench in the country Monday. His swearing in marks the president’s first landmark success with Congress since taking office. Gorsuch will serve as the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement, more than a year after Scalia passed away. Gorsuch is considered very similar to Scalia in how he will decide cases, being a constitutional originalist.
The president ordered airstrikes on the Al-Shayrat airbase in Homs, Syria on Thursday, in retaliation for a chemical weapon attack that killed more than 100 people. The attack is suspected to be the work of Bashar Assad’s government, and these airstrikes are the first targeted U.S. action against Assad since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.
The administration says the site of the strikes was chosen because U.S. officials tracked the planes that carried the chemical weapons using radar. In remarks shortly after the strikes, Trump said they were “in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
Eleven weeks in, Trump says he’s had the one of the most successful 13 weeks…?
Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks his administration has had “one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of the presidency.” There are just two problems: First, he’s had one of the most controversial terms in history to date, with multiple Cabinet picks stepping down, ongoing investigations into his campaign’s ties with Russia, a failed healthcare bill, and low poll numbers.
Second, he’s only been in office for 11 weeks.
Bannon removed from the National Security Council
White House senior adviser Steve Bannon has been removed from the National Security Council, according to reports. On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order reorganizing the NSC. In it, he restored the director of national intelligence, CIA director, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to full participation and removed Bannon from the panel. The White House did not announce the move publicly, so it wasn’t reported on until Wednesday. A White House source said Bannon can still attend any meeting where his expertise is needed, CNN reported.
As a reminder, Bannon has zero national security experience; rather he previously served as the publisher of alt-right white nationalist new org, Breitbart. His appointment did not require senate approval. We do not yet know why Bannon was removed, but we’re chalking it up to common sense.
Donald Trump is not done tweeting about Hillary Clinton. On Monday morning, the president tweeted about his former Democratic rival and her campaign manager, saying “Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted? Did Hillary know?” Shortly after, he followed up with a sarcastic question about whether or not Clinton apologized for an instance where she was provided questions in advance of an interview. The tweets appear to be an attempt to deflect growing criticism of his administration’s ties with Russia. Clinton has largely remained out of the spotlight since losing the election in November.
White House financial disclosures show that everyone is rich.
The White House released its employees’ financial disclosures Friday night; and to no one’s surprise, they showed enormous wealth. According to the documents, senior adviser Steve Bannon has more than $1 million in his bank account and has made significant income from his rental properties. Bannon values his consulting business at somewhere between $5 and $25 million, the disclosures show.
Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, both list far higher numbers. Because Ivanka Trump was only just given an official title, her personal disclosure hasn’t been completed yet, but her assets appear on her husband’s forms. The two could be worth as much as $740 million, reports show. Much of their fortune comes from Kushner’s real estate holdings and Trump’s business.
The president’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is also a financial success. The disclosures show that she was worth as much as $40 million before she was named a White House staffer.
The president revived his fight against the Freedom Caucus on Thursday morning, tweeting that the ultra-conservative congressional group would damage Republicans in 2018. Trump has been highly critical of the Caucus since they aligned against his replacement healthcare plan, despite the fact that many moderate Republicans were also opposed to the bill.
If climate change was a hoax, it won’t be for long. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing many of former President Obama’s climate change regulations. The order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era regulation that called for the replacement of coal-powered plants with new wind and solar farms.
The order also calls into question whether Trump will abide by the landmark Paris climate change agreements that the U.S. signed just a short time ago. The U.S. has agreed to cut its emissions by 26 percent over the next decade. Experts say such measures are essential to prevent the temperature from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature they agree spells global catastrophe down the line.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is reportedly considering hearing the revised travel ban case with its full bench-rather than the panel of three judges who would normally hear it. In an order on Monday, the court asked both the government and the plaintiffs to address whether the full bench should hear arguments.
If all 15 active judges hear the case, it could potentially spell good new for opponents of the ban. The 4th Circuit is made up of nine Democratic appointees, five Republicans, and one appointed by a Democratic and later confirmed under a Republican. Basically: It skews left.
Donald Trump’s landmark replacement for Obamacare was shot down Friday when the House of Representatives decided not to even bother voting on it. The president and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decided to pull the bill from consideration after it became clear it would fail if it went to vote.
The American Health Care Act’s rejection means that Obamacare will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
White House bans laptops in carry-ons for eight Muslim countries
On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that people flying nonstop to the U.S. from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries would no longer be allowed to bring laptops in their carry-on luggage. Passengers are allowed to check them in with their baggage, however. The airports are spread across eight countries: Morocco, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar.
The administration has cited the need to do so for security but didn’t say there was any specific new threat or intelligence. Several hours after the announcement, the U.K. made a similar move, though their ban affects some different airports than the U.S. ban does.
Donald Trump went after allegations that he has ties to the Russian government again Monday, just hours before FBI director James Comey is set to testify in front of Congress. In a series of tweets, Trump wrote that the “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign.” He added that “the real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!”
Comey is expected to testify about Russian involvement in November’s presidential election, which committees in both houses of Congress have been investigating.
On Sunday, Donald Trump concluded his fifth weekend in Florida since taking office. Though Trump was regularly critical of former President Obama taking vacations, he has spent more than half of his weekends as president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. Trump also spent time holding meetings at his local golf club, according to his press pool, where he may have stepped out “to hit some golf balls,” the Palm Beach Post reported.
Sooo, Trump’s budget is cool if you don’t like PBS or the environment
Donald Trump released his budget plan Thursday, and it cuts pretty much everything people expected. Among the agencies that would take hits are the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and many more. Almost no departments are spared from cuts-the only ones without any cuts are Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. But Trump did manage to find $2 billion for a down payment on the wall.
A federal judge in Hawaii blocked Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Wednesday evening, just one night before it was set to take effect. The new ban was a watered-down version of the first, excluding some of the more controversial policies-like the ban on green card holders. The Trump administration argued that the new executive order addressed all the legal criticism of the first, but Judge Derrick Watson was unimpressed. Watson wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would still view the ban as an attempt to discriminate against members of one religion (despite Trump’s statements to the contrary.)
A second judge ruled similarly in Maryland just hours later.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released it’s official estimates on the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan today, and the news wasn’t good. According to the report, it’s projected that 14 million people would lose coverage next year under the new House bill. The number of uninsured would grow to 24 million by 2026.
The White House pushed back hard on the report, saying it disagrees “strenuously.” Health Secretary Tom Price said it will cover more individuals and lower costs. As for the estimate that 14 million people would lose coverage, he said, “It’s just not believable is what we would suggest.”
Trump endorsed the plan last week, despite the fact that, back in January, Trump told the Washington Post his health-care law would include “insurance for everybody.”
Red alert! The president went an entire day without tweeting on Sunday, capping off a contentious weekend with radio silence. That may not seem notable; but as The Hill reported, Trump has tweeted more than 260 times since his inauguration, meaning he averages more than five per day.
The first thing we do, let’s fire all the lawyers
Over the weekend, the Trump administration asked for the immediate resignation of 26 U.S. attorneys from the Obama era. That’s pretty normal for a new administration, but Trump is drawing rebuke from Democrats for his handling of one specific case. Preet Bharara, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, declined to resign from his post and was fired-even though Trump had reportedly personally asked him to stay in his role. Bharara announced that he was fired on Twitter:
Friday marked the halfway point in Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office, the time period generally used to determine how effective a new administration has been. In that time, Trump has signed 16 executive orders, which is on pace with former President Barack Obama. But unlike Obama, Trump’s first 50 days have been marred with controversy. Protests and court battles derailed his first travel ban, the replacement plan for Obamacare has been almost universally panned, and several members of his administration are under investigation for ties to Russian officials.
Trump has made strides toward keeping some of his more realistic campaign promises. His administration has caused either the repeal or delay of more than 90 Obama-era federal regulations, and he withdrew the U.S. from the TPP trade deal. An executive order he signed allowed work to recommence on the Dakota Access Pipeline, despite ongoing protests in North Dakota.
One thing Trump has not accomplished is a major legislative victory. At this point in his presidency, Obama had passed an $800 billion economic stimulus package through Congress as well as a law making it easier for women to sue over equal pay discrepancies. Trump is looking to make a repeal of the Affordable Care Act his first landmark achievement in Congress, but he has so far been unsuccessful.
Donald Trump has chosen Jon Huntsman, a Republican who ran for president in 2012, as his ambassador to Russia. This will be Huntsman’s third ambassadorship: He represented the United States to Singapore under George H.W. Bush, and to China under Barack Obama. It will also likely be his most heavily scrutinized role, as the Trump administration is investigated for alleged ties to Russian officials during his presidential campaign. Huntsman originally endorsed Trump for office, but had called on him to drop out after the release of a vulgar tape where Trump described grabbing women to Billy Bush.
Sean Spicer tries to explain what Trump is talking about
Donald Trump has “no regrets” about accusing former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him, at least, not according to Sean Spicer. The White House press secretary gave a news conference on Tuesday where he attempted to explain some of the president’s more controversial recent statements. Spicer said the president is waiting for the results of an investigation into his claims, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support his accusations.
Spicer also touched on Trump’s claim that Obama released 122 “vicious” Guantanamo Bay inmates that have since returned to fighting. In reality, Obama released just nine of those prisoners; the other 113 were released by George W. Bush’s administration. Spicer acknowledged that Trump’s comments were incorrect.
Donald Trump signed a new executive order today banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from applying for visas to the United States. The new ban, which no longer includes Iraq, bars citizens from those six countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and suspends refugee admissions for 120 days. It will also slash the number of refugee admissions for this year from 110,000 to 50,000.
The new ban comes as a response to legal criticism of the first version, which argued that Trump’s ban amounted to little more than religious discrimination. It also opens the door to adding more countries. Trump will ask the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to determine whether any other countries should be included in future travel bans, the Daily Beast reported.
Donald Trump and a Russian official’s rejection of the Jeff Sessions allegations are weirdly similar.
Trump went off on Twitter on Thursday night. In his tweet-storm, the POTUS attacked Democrats for what he called their “witch hunt” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The tweets came several hours after Sessions held a news conference recusing himself from any investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.
Then, Friday morning, a Russian official seemed to agree with Trump’s assessment. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov borrowed a phrase from Trump and told a Russian state media outlet that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” Reuters reported.
Trump is pretty much ignoring Sessions allegations
UPDATE (4:52 PM EST): Jeff Sessions held a news conference Thiursday afternoon where he announced that he would recuse himself from any investigation into Russia’s actions during election season. In the conference, Sessions said “that since [he] had involvement with the campaign, [he] should not be involved in any campaign investigation.”
UPDATE (2:38 PM EST): The president has spoken out. On Thursday, Trump reportedly said he has “total confidence” in Jeff Sessions and that he “doesn’t think” the attorney general should recuse himself from the investigation into possible Russian activity.
ORIGINAL STORY: On Wednesday night, reports broke claiming that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with the Russian ambassador twice before the November election, despite saying he didn’t during his confirmation hearing. Democrats are up in arms, demanding Sessions’ resignation from his post. Even some Republicans are saying Sessions must, at a minimum, recuse himself from investigations into whether Russia attempted to interfere in the election.
One person not demanding answers, however, appears to be the president. In a statement Thursday morning, the White House denounced the allegations, saying “This is the latest attack against the Trump Administration by partisan Democrats. General Sessions met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony.”
And Trump hasn’t spoken out on Twitter, either. His only tweet (so far) since the news broke was an early-morning message about the stock market.
The president signed two bills Tuesday to “empower women.” The bills are H.R. 321, which “directs NASA to encourage women and girls to study science technology engineering, mathematics, and aerospace” and H.R. 255, which “authorizes the National Science Foundation to use existing entrepreneurial programs to recruit and support women.”
Trump’s daughter Ivanka reportedly has been pushing for women-focused legislation. She released a statement about the bills, saying she “[looks] forward to working alongside [her] father to champion the economic empowerment of women and girls and encouraging gender diversity in STEM fields is critical to that mission.”
Trump gives a presidential speech
Donald Trump gave a speech Tuesday night in front of a joint session of Congress, where he took a much more conciliatory tone than any speech to date. In his speech, Trump discussed a healthcare overhaul, rebuilding the military and asked both sides of the aisle to put aside their fights and work together.
One of the most emotional parts of his speech came as he addressed Carryn Owens, the wife of Ryan Owens, who died in a raid in Yemen shortly after Trump took office.
But the speech was not devoid of his usual rhetoric: Trump also made some of his frequent claims, suggesting immigration enforcement makes us safer (studies show it drives crime up), saying 94 million people are unemployed (a misleading statistic), and claiming most terrorists are foreign-born (that’s false).
White House will no longer contest Texas voter ID law
A lawyer for a voting rights group said Monday that the Justice Department told them it will no longer challenge Texas’ voter ID law in court, the Associated Press reported. The move represents an about-face from the Obama administration’s stance; in 2013, former President Obama’s government joined a lawsuit challenging the statute.
Last summer, a federal appeals court found that the law discriminates against minorities and the poor and ordered changes before the presidential election. The Trump administration’s position under new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not necessarily surprising. Voter ID laws generally are divided on strict party lines.
Another one bites the dust
The president lost yet another one of his Cabinet appointees Sunday when Philip Bildren, his nominee for Secretary of the Navy, withdrew from consideration. Bilden cited difficulties meeting the government’s ethics guidelines and the financial sacrifice he would have to make as his reason for withdrawing. Bilden isn’t the first Trump nominee to remove themself from the running; Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army, Vincent Viola, also dropped out over business interests earlier this month.
Rumors that Bilden would quit were first reported February 18 by CBS, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed on Twitter at the time that the report was false.
Trump breaks up with the Correspondent’s Dinner
Donald Trump is following in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps by becoming the first president since to skip the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Of course, when Reagan bailed on the press, he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Trump announced his plans via Twitter on Saturday, writing “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
The White House tries to literally stop the presses
The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the news outlets banned from attending today’s White House press briefing-an escalation of the already historically poor relations between the media and the Trump administration. Press secretary Sean Spicer handpicked which outlets would be allowed to attend an off-camera media huddle. NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News were allowed to attend, along with conservative outlets like the Washington Times and Breitbart, but other outlets chose to boycott the event.
The White House Correspondents Association released a statement condemning the action, saying “We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff.”
Trump’s CPAC speech, in a nutshell
The president spoke today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, and repeated some of his favorite talking points.
Trump used a large chunk of his speech to continue his attacks on the “mainstream media,” to criticize NAFTA, suggest that Sweden’s crime rate is going up (it’s not), and claim that intelligence agency leaks are made up.
He also discussed the Affordable Care Act, saying that “Obamacare covers very few people” and claiming that many Americans had their healthcare taken away from them. In reality, roughly 20 million Americans became insured under the Affordable Care Act, and there are no reliable studies suggesting that “many” people lost their healthcare plans.
Trump also spoke about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, once again claiming that the agency endorsed him for president. Numerous outlets have debunked that claim; federal agencies cannot endorse political candidates. A union representing ICE employees did endorse Trump, but not the agency itself.
White House wants the FBI to help them handle the press… Sad!
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is in hot water after asking a top FBI official to dispute reports that Trump’s campaign advisers were talking to Russian intelligence agents during the election. A White House official reportedly said Priebus made the request after hearing from the FBI that it believed a New York Times report detailing the allegations was inaccurate. The FBI has not taken a public stance on this issue.
Democrats are angry about the request, arguing that the contact was inappropriate. “The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, the AP reported.
Trump makes it one whole (work) day without Twitter
Stop the presses. For the first time since taking office, Donald Trump made it a whole day without tweeting… sort of. The president was noticeably absent from Twitter until 5:53 PM on Thursday, when he broke his nearly 34-hour silence to tweet out a link to a Fox Business report about the stock market.
Spicer says Trump will lift transgender bathroom protections
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today that Donald Trump will rescind federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. This would be a major reversal of an Obama administration policy that trans advocates say is necessary to protect transgender students. In a press conference, Spicer said “The president has made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos reportedly resisted the idea at first, until Trump sided with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and asked her to drop her objection. In addition to its impact on schools throughout the country, the new guidance could affect future Supreme Court cases, particularly one scheduled to be heard next month that involves a transgender student from Virginia who was denied bathroom access.
The White House released expanded immigration guidelines today that will dramatically increase the number of people targeted for deportation. Under former President Obama, immigration officials focused their efforts of undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of violent crimes. The new directives target people who have been convicted of any crime, including those who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” reported The New York Times.
Bizarrely, administration officials reportedly confirmed that the U.S. plans to deport anyone who enters the country illegally from Mexico back there, even if they are not actually from Mexico. The new guidelines will not affect people under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but the new policy is likely to result in a major increase in deportations.
One month down
Monday marked the end of the chaotic first month of Donald Trump’s presidency. In his first month in office, Trump has signed 23 executive orders, the most notable being his Muslim travel ban, which is currently mired in court proceedings. He faced his first staff shakeup just 24 days in when his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned over controversial dealings with Russia. So far, he has spent one-quarter of his presidency in Florida, where he raised eyebrows for receiving a classified security briefing at a public dinner table at his Mar-a-Lago resort, and his campaign is under investigation by intelligence agencies for alleged collusion with Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee and influence the outcome of last year’s election.
The Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C. is asking the State Department for an explanation over comments Donald Trump made yesterday suggesting there was a terror attack in Sweden. During his rally in Florida, Trump discussed national security and said, “You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”
The only problem is that nothing happened Thursday night in Sweden. After the rally, the hashtag “#LastNightInSweden” went viral, and former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted: “Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound.”
The White House has not yet clarified Trump’s remarks.
Trump begins campaigning for 2020, because that’s a good use of his time
Although Donald Trump has been in office for less than a month, he’s already kicked off his re-election campaign. Despite a difficult week in the White House, Trump held a campaign-style rally in Florida on Saturday, where he doubled down on his feud with the media-at-large and reiterated his campaign promises. The rally drew roughly 9,000 to see Trump speak but garnered criticism for taking precious time away from his duties when the White House is in flux. Trump has not yet nominated a replacement for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The event was hosted by his campaign group rather than the White House, which is highly unusual this early in a presidency. Trump filed paperwork for his re-election bid shortly after taking office. In contrast, it took former President Obama more than two years to file for his own re-election campaign.
Trump tried to appoint Bob Harward, but he said no, no, no
Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward turned down an offer Thursday from the Trump administration to become the new national security adviser. Harward was considered a top pick for Michael Flynn’s vacated post, and had previously served as Defense Secretary Mattis’ deputy when Mattis was in charge of U.S. Central Command. The White House said Friday that Harward turned down the offer because of the time commitment, but severalnews outlets are reporting that Harward was concerned about not being allowed to form his own team. The national security adviser role is often a highly sought-after position, so Harward’s rejection is notable.
Today’s news conference was… interesting
Donald Trump held a news conference this afternoon where he attacked the media (again), falsely claimed that he won the election in a landslide (again), asked a veteran black reporter if she was friends with the Congressional Black Caucus and criticized intelligence agencies for their “absolutely real [leaks]” of fake news.
He also made bizarre comments about uranium, asking reporters: “You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.”
Trump’s conference was impromptu and puzzling, perhaps a harbinger of new media practices from the White House.
Trump set to announce new labor secretary pick
Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump’s labor secretary pick Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination, Trump is set to name a new one. He is expected to nominate Alexander Acosta, dean of Florida International University Law School. Acosta served as assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush, where he worked in the civil rights division. If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet.
Trump picks the option “both parties like” to solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Donald Trump threw away decades of diplomatic policy on Wednesday when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint conference, Trump said he was “looking at two-state and one-state” options to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before adding “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like.”
Of course, there is not really an option that “both parties like,” which is part of the reason the conflict has lasted more than 50 years. The Palestinians are unlikely to accept any deal that doesn’t give them a sovereign state, and Netanyahu is facing pressure from far-right members of his government to annex parts of the West Bank. Trump, for his part, did tell Netanyahu during the conference that he wants Israel to stop expanding settlements while they work on a deal and emphasized that both sides will need to compromise. But this message is somewhat undercut by Trump’s refusal to commit to a two-state solution.
Intelligence agencies reportedly withholding intel from Trump
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that U.S. intelligence officials have withheld information from Donald Trump because “they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.” The report cites anonymous current and former officials and underscores that none of the sources know of an instance where information about security threats was withheld. This is not unheard of; intelligence agencies have withheld information from past presidents when they deemed it necessary to protect sources. What makes this instance different is the officials citing the president’s discretion as their reason for withholding.
Andrew Puzder withdraws his labor secretary nomination
Puzder’s withdrawal is the latest blow to the Trump administration, after a chaotic week that saw the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn less than one month into his tenure.
It wasn’t just Michael Flynn
Several of Donald Trump’s allies, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, were speaking with Russian officials during the election season, the New York Times reports. The “repeated contacts” between Trump allies and Russia were leaked by four current and former American officials, who intercepted the communications last year. Intelligence agencies have not yet found anything to suggest that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to interfere with the election, but the agencies were reportedly worried because of the amount of contact that came while Trump was speaking highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail.
Manafort strongly rejected these claims. “I have no idea what this is referring to” he said in a statement. “I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.” He then added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.'”
PSA: Do not shine cell phones at classified documents
Donald Trump is facing criticism from Democrats and security analysts after reports broke that he read sensitive documents in public at his Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend. A member of the resort, Richard Agazio (who has since deleted his Facebook), posted photos online of Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviewing the documents at a dinner table while staff shined cell phones lights on them. As many have pointed out, aiming an internet-connected cell phone at classified documents is extremely inappropriate, as these devices’ cameras and audio can be hacked. Furthermore, it’s troublesome that Trump chose to receive classified information in a room full of his resort guests, most of whom likely do not have security clearances.
UPDATE (11:21 PM EST): National security adviser Michael Flynn abruptly resigned from office Monday night after the Justice Department told the White House it believed he could be subject to blackmail by Russian entities. Flynn was in office for less than a month when reports began to circulate that he had deliberately misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador prior to Trump’s inauguration. Keith Kellogg will reportedly serve as the interim national security adviser until President Trump selects a new nominee.
Trump loves Flynn, loves him not
No one really knows where President Trump stands on his national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Late last week, reports surfaced suggesting Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with Russia’s ambassador about lifting sanctions. Since then, Trump’s response-and the responses from his administration-have been mixed. Trump first suggested Friday that he was unaware of the controversy. Since then, several prominent members of his Cabinet have hedged, refusing to give a direct answer on whether Trump is considering replacing Flynn. Such an early staff shakeup would be very unusual, particularly because Trump has left the National Security Council with an unprecedentedamount of vacant positions.
Hundreds arrested in immigration raids around the U.S.
Hundreds of undocumented immigrants were arrested this week in raids across the country, marking the first major move toward enforcing President Trump’s campaign promise to deport the 11 million people living in the U.S. without visas. The raids, which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) called “routine,” targeted people living in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and the Carolinas.
Similar raids during the Obama administration targeted undocumented immigrants with criminal records. The new raids are different, because ICE officials also rounded up immigrants with no convictions. In January, Trump broadened the criteria the Department of Homeland Security can use to target undocumented immigrants, allowing them to include people with minor or no criminal records.
The 9th Circuit Court is not here for Donald Trump’s travel ban. In a unanimous decision released Thursday evening, the appeals court ruled againstthe government, meaning Trump’s ban will remain suspended. The court’s decision said that the government “had not shown a likelihood of success on its merits,” or, in other words, the appeals court doesn’t believe the law will be upheld in court. Although this is a setback for Trump’s travel ban, it is not expected to be the end of the legal battle over the executive order. The government is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s legal battle with Washington State continues
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday night over Donald Trump’s immigration ban. The government is appealing a decision handed down by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who ruled last Friday that the ban was temporarily suspended nationwide. The three-judge appeals court panel is expected to rule in the next few days on whether the ban should be “immediately” reinstated or if the lower court’s suspension should remain in place. If they choose not to reinstate the ban, then it’s possible that the case would move forward with Robart. However, it’s more likely that the government will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Trump gives out fake news to the National Sheriffs Association
Donald Trump was criticized by media Tuesday for once again citing inaccurate murder rate statistics-this time, during a speech at the National Sheriffs Association. During his speech, Trump said “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” This is patently wrong; the murder rate in the U.S. is actually at its lowest, according to FBI crime data. Trump has been repeatedlycritiqued in the past for claiming the murder rate is up but appears to be sticking with his claim.
In the afternoon, Trump gave a speech at United States Central Command, where he suggested the media is refusing to report on terrorism in Europe. He did not specify what attacks he is referring to and offered no evidence to support this claim, but said “In many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” It’s troubling that Trump continues to attack the legitimacy of any news company that publishes negative coverage about him; earlier in the day, he called “any” negative polls about his immigration ban illegitimate.
Russia wants an apology over Putin being called a “killer”
Russia is asking for an apology over comments Fox News host Bill O’Reilly made in an interview with Donald Trump that aired Sunday. In the interview, O’Reilly called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer,” and Trump did not disagree. He instead responded that “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized Trump for his refusal to condemn Putin and his authoritarian style of governing.
Trump says Obamacare replacement could take a year
Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that a replacement for Obamacare could take “till sometime into next year,” a notable walk-back from his earlier promises to have the Affordable Care Act repealed quickly. As recently as January 11th, Trump was suggesting that former President Obama’s landmark healthcare act would be overturned as soon as his pick for secretary of health and human services was confirmed. The walk-back suggests that the protests from Americans nationwide-as well as some members of Congress-who argue that repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan would be disastrous are having an effect.
Appeals court delivers a blow to Trump’s immigration ban
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused early Sunday morning to immediately reinstate Donald Trump’s immigration and travel ban, delivering a blow to the administration. Instead, the appeals court asked both sides-the Department of Justice and the State of Washington-to file legal briefs by Monday afternoon before the court makes its final decision. What this means is that the ban will remain suspended until at least Monday, and anyone affected by it can continue to enter the country. But regardless of how the appellate court rules, it is likely this case will quickly make its way to the Supreme Court.
Federal judge puts a stop to Trump’s immigration ban
The Department of Homeland Security announced this morning that they are suspending “any and all actions implementing…the Executive Order” after a Republican-appointed federal judge suspended the ban nationwide. The State Department also announced this morning that they have begun re-issuing visas to travelers from the seven countries affected by Trump’s ban, and have notified Customs & Border Protection that approved refugees, travelers with valid visas, and green card holders are to be admitted. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has already announced that the Department of Justice will appeal the court’s order.
Trump rolls back financial regulations because his friends “can’t borrow money”
President Trump signed an executive order Friday that scales back large portions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which were designed after the recession to prevent banks from speculating with consumers’ money. Trump-and the financial industry-have been critical of Dodd-Frank for a long time, with Trump promising on the campaign trail to overturn it.
At a meeting with business leaders Friday, Trump said, “We expect to be cutting a lot out of Dodd-Frank, because frankly, I have so many people, friends of mine that had nice businesses, they can’t borrow money.” Though people commonly disagree over how much the financial industry should be regulated, it is noteworthy that the president has openly stated that he’s making policy to help his friends.
States plan to sue the president over the immigration ban
Hawaii has reportedly joined the growing number of states suing Donald Trump over his immigration ban. The state’s attorney general, Doug Chin, announced at a press conference that they would file paperwork in court today to challenge the ban. Several other states-Washington, New York, Virginia and Massachusetts-have already filed a suit, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Current legal challenges against the ban surround everything from due process to the establishment clause, which prohibits laws that favor specific religions. If these challenges are successful in district court, it is likely they will be appealed and potentially make their way up to the Supreme Court.
House Republicans repeal a ban on mentally ill people buying guns
The House GOP has overturned an Obama-era gun control regulation that would have helped prevent people with documented mental illnesses from buying guns. The policy meant that people who can’t manage their finances because of a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder would be reported to the FBI so their names would appear during background checks. The National Rifle Association, as well as some disability advocacy groups, opposed the measure for being discriminatory-and now it’s off the table.
Kellyanne Conway makes up a massacre on MSNBC
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump’s immigration in a TV interview Thursday by saying that people didn’t know “that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. It didn’t get covered.” That’s true; it didn’t get covered-because it didn’t happen.
First of all, former President Obama never banned Iraqi refugees. Instead, he ordered a re-vetting of more than 57,000 Iraqi refugees, which caused a temporary delay in admitting new ones.
Second, there was no massacre at Bowling Green. Conway later clarified that she meant “Bowling Green terrorists,” but the two men she’s referring to-Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, who settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky-never carried out (or even planned) an attack on U.S. soil. They were arrested for trying to get weapons to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Spicer uses attack Iran didn’t carry out to justify putting them “on notice”
At a press conference Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that Iran attacked a U.S. naval ship, which would be an act of war. In reality, the attack was carried out by Houthi rebels on a Saudi Arabian ship, the Intercept reported. Spicer’s comments were an attempt to justify the White House putting Iran “on notice” several days before, and he has not yet addressed his false statement that Iran was behind the attack.
Trump wants to build a bridge between church and state
Donald Trump said at this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast that he wants to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, a federal law that prevents tax-exempt churches from engaging in political activity. Trump had promised evangelical voters that he would overturn the amendment during his campaign, but to do so as president would require approval from Congress. It also would mark a serious move away from the separation of church and state that has been a traditional hallmark of American democracy.
Trump prays for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s TV ratings
Trump is now feuding with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, the president referenced leaving The Apprentice and how “the ratings went right down the tubes.” He then said he wanted to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger, “for those ratings.” Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, fired back on Twitter, saying “Hey Donald. I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, cause you’re such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job, so that people can finally sleep comfortably again.” Trump’s comments may have been a joke, but they represent a departure from how former presidents have addressed the breakfast.
Republicans suddenly care about having a full Supreme Court
The New York Times reported yesterday that President Trump is encouraging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “go nuclear” with the Supreme Court vote if Democrats try to stall his pick. The so-called nuclear option would allow Republicans to approve Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch by simple majority, rather than with the traditional 60 votes. This would be an expansion of an action Democrats took in November 2013, when they used the nuclear option to eliminate filibusters on executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments other than the Supreme Court. But Democrats are furious that Republicans are asking for a smooth confirmation process after stalling action on Obama nominee Merrick Garland for almost a full year.
U.S.-Australia relations go down under
On Wednesday, Donald Trump threatened to break an international deal on Twitter.
The tweet was the latest in a new dispute between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after Trump shouted at Turnbull during a scheduled call, told Turnbull it was “the worst call by far” that he’d had with a foreign leader, and then hung up 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hourlong talk. Australia is one of the United States’ staunchest allies, so Trump’s treatment of Turnbull raised some eyebrows, and some worry this could cause a rift in the countries’ relationship.
Republicans push Trump nominees through without Democrats present
The Republican-run Senate Finance Committee approved two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks-Steve Mnuchin for the treasury and Tom Price for the department of health and human services-by overriding a rule that requires at least one Democrat to be present. (Democrats were boycotting the committee meeting for a second straight day.) The move is an unusual about-face from normal procedures-and will likely increase tensions between the parties.
Trump’s Black History Month speech is about everything but black history
Donald Trump gave a speech today in honor of Black History Month, but spent most of it talking about himself, how he did with black voters in the election, and why CNN is “fake news.” Although Trump referenced several African-American heroes, most mentions were brief. He also seemed to claim during his speech that he got “substantially more [black votes] than other candidates who had run in the past years.” This is false; exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton won around 88 percent of the black vote.
Trump nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
In a primetime livestream, Trump announced Neil Gorsuch as his nominee to fill Antonin Scalia’s nearly year-long vacant seat on the Supreme Court. He’s very much in the mold of Scalia, a “textualist” conservative who many believe-based in part on his famous decision to allow Hobby Lobby to deny employees contraception coverage for religious reasons-could put women’s reproductive rights in jeopardy if confirmed. (Read 10 key takeaways about Gorusch here.)
Now, the confirmation process begins in the Senate, where Gorsuch needs 60 votes-eight of which must come from Democrats-to be confirmed.
Trump meets with his potential Supreme Court nominees ahead of announcement
The New York Times reports that Trump is meeting with his top two choices for Supreme Court nominee today ahead of his official announcement, which will take place at 8 p.m. The two judges are Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman.
Just over two hours after she told the DOJ not to defend Trump’s immigration ban, he fired her. In a press release, he claimed that Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enact the order. His administration swore in Dana Boente, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, as her replacement.
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tells Department of Justice not to defend the immigration ban
In a tweet, the president referred to the mainstream media as “the opposition party,” an idea introduced by Steve Bannon last week in an interview with the New York Times. Trump’s ongoing feud with the media is unusual; though most presidents conflict with media outlets at some point, Trump’s statements about what the press’ role is, comments about holding reporters “accountable” for treating him “unfairly” (which is to say reporting on his actions), and repeated attacks on the legitimacy of certain legacy news outlets are a notable escalation.
Trump announces that he’ll announce his Supreme Court nominee tomorrow
In a bit of reality-TV flair, President Trump teased that he will announce his Supreme Court pick tomorrow at 8 p.m. (two days earlier than originally planned, which may be an attempt to shift the news narrative away from the immigration ban). Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley also announced today that Democrats will filibuster any pick other than Merrick Garland, who was Obama’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago, and who Republicans have actively resisted confirming so Trump could make the pick instead.
Trump institutes new federal regulation swap
Trump signed an executive order this morning that for every new federal regulation, two must be revoked.
The White House softens the immigration ban-but only for green card holders and permanent residents
Senior White House official Reince Priebus appeared to reverse the administration’s position on green card holders Sunday. In an interview, Priebus said that the immigration and travel ban would not apply to permanent residents “moving forward.” But he also added that people traveling to and from the listed countries-potentially including U.S. citizens-could be subject to extra questioning if Customs officials deem them “suspicious.
People continue to be detained at airports
Customs and Border Protection is reportedly ignoring the court order and continuing to detain people with valid visas at airports across the country.
A federal judge assists detained refugees and requests further legal review of the ban
Steve Bannon gets unprecedented power on the National Security Council
The Trump administration downgraded the national director of intelligence and joint chiefs of staff from their permanent positions on the National Security Council and replaced them with White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, the former publisher of alt-right white nationalist news hub Breitbart. Restructuring the National Security Council this way puts the controversial Bannon-whose appointment to Trump’s administration did not require Senate confirmation-in a key decision-making position about war and other critical threats to the country.
Protests erupt amid refugee ban outrage
Thousands of protesters demonstrated across the country in reaction to what Democrats-and Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani-are referring to as the “Muslim ban,” the implementation of which has resulted in the detention of refugees and green card and visa holders at airports across the U.S. Because the executive order was drafted without the input of various government agencies, it took officials by surprise, and they’re struggling to determine who can enter the country and who, now, cannot.
Trump signs a monumental executive order preventing citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States
President Trump signed a controversial refugee ban that, under the auspices of preventing radical Islamic terrorists from committing crimes against our citizens, bars all Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely, halts the remaining refugee program for 120 days, and blocks any entry by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for 90 days, regardless of visa status. It’s worth noting that the ban excludes countries where Trump has business ties.
The White House shows unprecedented support for the March For Life demonstration
President Trump tweeted out his support for the anti-abortion March For Life, saying their demonstration is “so important.” Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the rally, making him the highest ranked public official to ever speak at the annual March For Life event.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancels his meeting with President Trump
President Trump tweeted Thursday that if Mexico is unwilling to pay for his proposed border wall-one of his campaign promises-that they should cancel the planned meeting between the two countries. Following this announcement, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto did cancel the meeting, saying “This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS.”
Trump does his first White House interview
The president’s first interview-with ABC’s David Muir-aired tonight. He doubled down on false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd and the amount of voter fraud in the United States. See the interview’s five most talked-about moments here.
Trump orders the construction of the wall
He’s making good on what is perhaps his most notorious campaign promise: to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Today he signed an executive order that directs the government to “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control…”
What remains to be seen-but is hotly contested-is who will pay for it.
Trump orders an immigrations and customs enforcement hiring increase
Trump orders large-scale investigation into voter fraud
Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Trump remains convinced that millions of Americans voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election-and maintains that none of these alleged illegal voters cast ballots for him. After reporters point out that if it were true, it would be a massive blow to democracy (and suggest that he put his money where his mouth is and investigate if he truly believes it), he announced that he will, in fact, order an investigation.
Trump orders approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline construction project
Trump released a memorandum restarting construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the Obama administration had effectively squashed. The Dakota Access Pipeline has faced significant opposition from environmentalists and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe because the pipeline crosses through the Tribe’s sacred land and could impact the quality of their drinking water.
Trump signals that the Keystone XL pipeline will resume construction again
President Trump released a memorandum allowing TransCanada to re-submit its petition to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which has faced serious opposition from environmental activists.
Trump signs a federal hiring freeze
Donald Trump signed a presidential memo freezing hiring on all federal government roles, excluding military and national security positions.
Trump reinstates an international abortion gag order
The president has implemented a Reagan-era policy preventing foreign NGOs from receiving U.S. funds if they perform or promote abortions. This policy has flip-flopped with every recent president-Bill Clinton revoked the rule during his time in office, George W. Bush reinstated it, and Barack Obama revoked it again in 2009.
Kellyanne Conway says the White House’s crowd size claims are “alternative facts”
Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Pressand told Chuck Todd that President Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s false claims about the size of President Trump’s inaugural crowd are “alternative facts.” Shortly afterward, #alternativefacts went viral online.
Trump speaks about his crowd size and the media at the CIA
President Trump visited the CIA and, in front of the Memorial Wall commemorating fallen agents, gave a seemingly unscripted and wide-ranging speech. He said the media is to blame for making it sound like he “had a feud” with the agencies, although Trump personally criticized the intelligence community several times prior to the meeting.
Press secretary Sean Spicer rails against the media in first briefing
At his first press briefing after the inauguration, in his first official capacity as journalists’ liaison to the White House, press secretary Sean Spicer lambasted the media for what he claims is unfair reporting about the inauguration crowd size. Watch here.
Trump waives rules that would prevent cabinet members from serving
Donald Trump’s first executive order suspends a planned decrease in mortgage rates for first-time home buyers that was announced in the final weeks of former President Obama’s term. While Republicans say the move is an effort to prevent another taxpayer bailout of Wall Street, Democrats argue that it only raises costs for low-income and middle-class home buyers.
The administration also releases an executive order directing federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of any part of the Affordable Care Act that creates an “economic burden” for states.
Has Agent Orange finally destroyed his brain? Re: Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, McCain says: “Anyone claiming the nuclear option is good for the Senate is a stupid idiot.” Actually, anyone claiming that John McCain is good for anything is a stupid idiot. Time for the final dirt nap, John.
Instead of joining an established law firm, Gorsuch decided to join the two-year-old boutique firm Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel. Eschewing appellate briefs, he focused on trial work. After winning his first trial as lead attorney, a jury member told Gorsuch he was like Perry Mason. He was an associate in the Washington, D.C., law firm from 1995–97 and a partner from 1998 to 2005. Gorsuch’s clients included Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz.
In 2005, at Kellogg Huber, Gorsuch wrote a brief denouncing class action lawsuits by shareholders. In the case of Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Broudo, Gorsuch opined that “The free ride to fast riches enjoyed by securities class action attorneys in recent years appeared to hit a speed bump” and that “the problem is that securities fraud litigation imposes an enormous toll on the economy, affecting virtually every public corporation in America at one time or another and costing businesses billions of dollars in settlements every year”.
Since taking office, Gorsuch has sent ten of his law clerks on to become Supreme Court clerks, and he is sometimes regarded as a “feeder judge“.
During his time on the Circuit Court, since 2008, Gorsuch has been a Thomson Visiting Professor at the University of Colorado Law School, teaching one course per semester, either ethics or antitrust law.
In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2007), he joined Judge Michael W. McConnell‘s dissent from the denial of rehearing en banc, taking the view that the government’s display of a donated Ten Commandments monument in a public park did not obligate the government to display other offered monuments. Most of the dissent’s view was subsequently adopted by the Supreme Court, which reversed the judgment of the Tenth Circuit.
Gorsuch has written that “the law […] doesn’t just apply to protect popular religious beliefs: it does perhaps its most important work in protecting unpopular religious beliefs, vindicating this nation’s long-held aspiration to serve as a refuge of religious tolerance”.
Gorsuch has called for reconsideration of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (1984), in which the Supreme Court instructed courts to grant deference to federal agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws and regulations. In Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch (2016), Gorsuch wrote for a unanimous panel finding that court review was required before an executive agency could reject the circuit court’s interpretation of an immigration law.
In 2013, Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel finding that federal courts could not hear a challenge to Colorado’s internet sales tax. That ruling was reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court in Direct Marketing Ass’n v. Brohl (2015). In 2016, the Tenth Circuit panel rejected the challenger’s dormant commerce clause claim, with Gorsuch writing a concurrence.
In Energy and Environmental Legal Institute v. Joshua Epel (2015), Gorsuch held that Colorado’s mandates for renewable energy did not violate the commerce clause by putting out-of-state coal companies at a disadvantage. Gorsuch wrote that the Colorado renewable energy law “isn’t a price-control statute, it doesn’t link prices paid in Colorado with those paid out of state, and it does not discriminate against out-of-staters”.
In Riddle v. Hickenlooper (2014), Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel of the Tenth Circuit in finding that it was unconstitutional for a Colorado law to set the limit on donations for write-in candidates at half the amount for major party candidates. Gorsuch added a concurrence where he noted that although the standard of review of campaign finance in the United States is unclear, the Colorado law would fail even under intermediate scrutiny.
In Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert (2016), Gorsuch wrote for the four dissenting judges when the Tenth Circuit denied a rehearing en banc of a divided panel opinion that had ordered the Utah Governor to resume the organization’s funding, which Herbert had blocked in response to a video controversy.
In A.M., on behalf of her minor child, F.M. v. Ann Holmes (2016), the Tenth Circuit considered a case in which a 13-year-old child was arrested for burping and laughing in gym class. The child was handcuffed and arrested based on a New Mexico statute that makes it a misdemeanor to disrupt school activities. The child’s family brought a federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (civil rights) action against school officials and the school resource officer who made the arrest, arguing that it was a false arrest that violated the child’s constitutional rights. In a 94-page majority opinion, the Tenth Circuit held that the defendants enjoyed qualified immunity from suit.
Gorsuch wrote a four-page dissent, arguing that the New Mexico Court of Appeals had “long ago alerted law enforcement” that the statute that the officer relied upon for the child’s arrest does not criminalize noises or diversions that merely disturb order in a classroom.
In 2009, Gorsuch wrote for a unanimous panel finding that a court may still order criminals to pay restitution even after it missed a statutory deadline. That ruling was affirmed 5–4 by the Supreme Court in Dolan v. United States (2010).
In United States of America v. Miguel Games-Perez (2012), Gorsuch ruled on a case where a felon owned a gun in a jurisdiction where gun ownership by felons is illegal; however, the felon did not know that he was a felon at the time. Gorsuch concurred with the opinion that “The only statutory element separating innocent (even constitutionally protected) gun possession from criminal conduct in §§ 922(g) and 924(a) is a prior felony conviction. So the presumption that the government must prove mens rea here applies with full force.”
In 2013, Gorsuch joined a unanimous panel finding that intent does not need to be proven under a bank fraud statute. That ruling was affirmed by a Supreme Court unanimous in judgment in Loughrin v. United States (2014).
In 2015, Gorsuch wrote a dissent to the denial of rehearing en banc when the Tenth Circuit found that a convicted sex offender had to register with Kansas after he moved to the Philippines. The Tenth Circuit was then reversed by a unanimous Supreme Court in Nichols v. United States (2016).
McClendon v. City of Albuquerque, 630 F. 3d 1288 (2011) dismissing class action lawsuit over inhumane jail conditions
Public Service Co. of New Mexico v. NLRB, 692 F. 3d 1068 (2012) dismissing a union’s claim that the NLRB was wrong to not find an unfair labor practice, when an employer dismissed a worker for deliberately disconnecting a customer’s gas supply (no evidence that it treated this employee differently)
United States v. Games-Perez, 695 F. 3d 1104 (2012) on imprisonment without trial
Niemi v. Lasshofer, 728 F. 3d 1252 (2013) fugitive disentitlement doctrine
Riddle v. Hickenlooper, 742 F. 3d 922 (2014) stating: “No one before us disputes that the act of contributing to political campaigns implicates a ‘basic constitutional freedom,’ one lying ‘at the foundation of a free society’ and enjoying a significant relationship to the right to speak and associate—both expressly protected First Amendment activities. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 26 (1976)”
Yellowbear v. Lampert, 741 F. 3d 48 (2014) freedom to practice religion in prison
United States v. Mitchell (2016) evidence, tracking without a warrant
NLRB v. Community Health Services, 812 F.3d 768 (2016) dissenting, arguing against an NLRB decision that interim earnings should not be disregarded when calculating back pay for employees whose hours were unlawfully reduced
TransAm Trucking v. Administrative Review Board, 833 F. 3d 1206 (2016)dissenting against the majority’s judgment that an employee was unjustly dismissed.
On January 31, 2017, PresidentDonald Trump announced his selection of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the vacant position of Associate Justice, and the nomination was transmitted to the Senate on the following day. After hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the nomination was sent to full Senate on April 4, 2017. When nominated, Gorsuch was an active judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, to which he had been appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate without opposition. Democrats filibustered the confirmation vote, after which Republicans invoked the “nuclear option“, removing the option to filibuster Supreme Court nominees. On April 7, 2017, the Senate confirmed Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court with a bipartisan 54–45 vote, with three Democrats joining all the Republicans in attendance. Gorsuch took office in a private ceremony on April 10.
On February 13, 2016, Justice Scalia was found dead on a Texas ranch. Scalia’s death marked only the second time in sixty years that a Supreme Court justice had died in office, the other being Chief Justice Rehnquist in 2005. Scalia’s death was the seventh occasion since 1900 in which a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States was vacant during a year in which a presidential election was set to occur.
One hour after Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would not consider any replacement nominated by President Barack Obama.
When Scalia died, President Barack Obama was a member of the Democratic Party, while the Republican Party held a 54–46 seat majority in the Senate. Because of the composition of the Supreme Court at the time of Scalia’s death, and the belief that President Obama could replace Scalia with a much more liberal successor, some believed that an Obama appointee could potentially swing the Court in a liberal direction for many years to come, with potentially far-reaching political consequences. President Obama ultimately nominatedMerrick Garland on March 16, 2016. The Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider Garland’s nomination for 293 days, until it expired when the 114th Congress adjourned in January 2017. The defeat of Garland’s nomination left Scalia’s seat vacant when President Trump took office in January 2017. Many Democrats reacted angrily to the Senate’s refusal to consider Garland, with Senator Jeff Merkley (Democrat from Oregon) describing the vacant seat as a “stolen seat.” However, Republicans such as Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley argued that the Senate was within its rights to refuse to consider a nominee until the inauguration of a new president.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, while Garland remained before the Senate, Trump released two lists of potential nominees. On May 18, 2016, Trump released a short list of eleven judges for nomination to the Scalia vacancy.
In September 2016, Trump released a second list of ten possible nominees, this time including three minorities. Both lists were assembled by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society played a major role in the creation of the second list, which included Gorsuch. After winning the presidential election, Trump and White House Counsel Don McGahn interviewed four individuals for the Supreme Court opening, all of whom had appeared on one of the two previously-released lists. The four individuals were federal appellate judges Thomas Hardiman, William H. Pryor Jr., and Neil Gorsuch, as well as federal district judge Amul Thapar. All four had been appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush. While Pryor had been seen by many as the early front-runner due to the backing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, many evangelicals expressed resistance to him, and the final decision ultimately came down to Gorsuch or Hardiman. Hardiman had the support of Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, but Trump instead chose to nominate Gorsuch.
President Trump announced the nomination of Gorsuch on January 31, 2017. The nomination was formally transmitted to the Senate on February 1, 2017. His nomination is now pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At age 49, Gorsuch would be the youngest sitting Supreme Court justice since Clarence Thomas. Having clerked for Anthony Kennedy, Gorsuch would also be the first Supreme Court Justice to have previously clerked for a Justice still sitting on the court.
In July 2006, Gorsuch’s nomination to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit had been confirmed in the Senate by a unanimous voice vote. At the time of his nomination to the Supreme Court, Gorsuch was described as solidly conservative, but likely to be confirmed without much difficulty. Richard Primus of Politico described Gorsuch as “Scalia 2.0” due to ideological similarities, and a report prepared by Lee Epstein, Andrew Martin, and Kevin Quinn predicted that Gorsuch would be a “reliable conservative” similar to Scalia.
Gorsuch’s nomination was first considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds hearings on all federal judicial nominations and decides whether or not to send nominations to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. The committee consists of 11 Republican Senators and 9 Democratic Senators, and is chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley (R-IA). In February 2017, the committee requested the Justice Department to send all documents they had regarding Gorsuch’s work in the George W. Bush administration. As of March 9, 2017, the Justice Department had turned over more than 144,000 pages of documents and, according to a White House spokesman, more than 220,000 pages of documents in total had been sent to the committee. Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings started on March 20, 2017, and lasted four days. On April 3, the Judiciary Committee approved Gorsuch by in an 11–9 in a party-line vote.
On the first day of hearings, Senators largely used their opening statements to criticize each other, with Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) complaining of the “unprecedented treatment” of Judge Merrick Garland, while Colorado Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) felt “two wrongs don’t make a right”, and Senator Ted Cruz insisted President Trump’s nomination now carried “super-legitimacy”.
Democratic Senators repeatedly criticized Gorsuch for a case where the Tenth Circuit ruled in favor of a truck driver who had abandoned his trailer in inclement conditions, with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) telling Gorsuch the weather was “not as cold as your dissent”. In his own 16-minute opening statement, Gorsuch repeated his belief that a judge who likes all his rulings is “probably a pretty bad judge”, and noted that his large record included many examples where he ruled both for and against disadvantaged groups.
On the second day of hearings Gorsuch responded to questions by committee members. When Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Gorsuch if he would “have any trouble ruling against the president who appointed you”, Gorsuch replied, no, and “that’s a softball”. Senator Cruz used his time to ask Gorsuch about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, basketball, and mutton busting. When asked by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) how he would have reacted if during his interview at Trump Tower the President had asked him to vote against Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch replied “I would have walked out the door”.
Democratic Senators continued to criticize Gorsuch on his dissent in the case involving a truck driver, with Ranking Member Feinstein asking him “will you be for the little men” and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) telling the judge his position was “absurd”, going on to say “I had a career in identifying absurdity” (in reference to his former career as a comedian).Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) used his time to praise Judge Garland, criticize those policies of President George W. Bush that Gorsuch had defended at the Justice Department, and to ask Gorsuch how he would rule in Washington v. Trump. He refused to comment on active litigation, explained that Justice Department lawyers must defend their client, but did say that Garland is “an outstanding judge” and that Gorsuch always reads his opinions with “special care”.
On the third day of hearings Gorsuch continued to answer questions by committee members. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) asked Gorsuch if “you think your writings reflect a knee-jerk attitude against common-sense regulations”, to which the judge replied “no”. In response to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)’s question of if the judge would be subject to agency capture by big business, Gorsuch replied “nobody will capture me”. Franken laughed out loud after Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked Gorsuch if he had ever served on a jury; Gorsuch said he had. Flake then asked Gorsuch if he would rather fight “100 duck-sized horses or one horse-size duck”, to which Gorsuch avoided giving a firm answer.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) told Gorsuch he employed only “selective originalism”.[clarification needed] He replied to a question by Ranking Member Feinstein on the Equal Protection Clause by saying, “no one is looking to return us to horse and buggy days” and that “it matters not a whit that some of the drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment were racists. Because they were. Or sexists, because they were. The law they drafted promises equal protection of the laws to all persons. That’s what they wrote.”
During Wednesday’s hearings, the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Tenth Circuit in an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act case Gorsuch had not been involved in, although in 2008 he had written for a unanimous panel applying the same circuit precedent. Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said this demonstrated “a continued, troubling pattern of Judge Gorsuch deciding against everyday Americans – even children who require special assistance at school”.
[hide]Confirmation Hearing Witnesses for Neil Gorsuch
Gorsuch needed to win a simple majority vote of the full Senate to be confirmed, but the opposition could prevent a vote through a filibuster, which required a 60-vote super-majority to be defeated. At the time of the Gorsuch nomination, Republicans held 52 seats in the 100-seat chamber, as well as the potential tie-breaking vote in Vice President Pence. After nominating Gorsuch, President Trump called on the Senate to use the “nuclear option” and abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments if its continued existence would prevent Gorsuch’s confirmation.(The nuclear option was used in 2013 to abolish filibusters for all presidential appointments except nominations to the Supreme Court.)
While some Republican Senators such as John McCain (R-AZ) expressed reluctance about abolishing the filibuster for executive appointments, others such as John Cornyn (R-TX) argued that the GOP majority should reserve all options necessary to confirm Gorsuch. Other political commentators have proposed that GOP Senate leadership adopt a strategic use of Standing Rule XIX to avoid the elimination of the filibuster.
During the last day of committee hearings, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced from the Senate floor that he would filibuster the nomination. Democratic opposition focused on complaints saying that Scalia’s seat should have been filled by President Obama. In addition, Democratic Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (D/I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) criticized aspects of Gorsuch’s record. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said he would do “anything in his power”—including the power of filibustering—to oppose Gorsuch’s nomination. Other Democratic Senators including Joe Manchin (D-WV),Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) support Gorsuch.
On April 6, 2017, Democrats filibustered (prevented cloture of) the confirmation vote of Gorsuch. The Senate Republicans invoked the so-called “nuclear option” and changed the Senate rules to end fillibusters for Supreme Court nominees. After the change to Senate rules the Senate in a bipartisan vote (Senate Republicans along with Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO)) agreed to cloture. After the change, Gorsuch was confirmed on April 7.
The Senate confirmed Gorsuch on April 7, 2017, by a bipartisan vote of 54–45. All Senate Republicans present, along with Democratic Senators in states that voted heavily for Trump, Manchin (D-WV), Heitkamp (D-ND), and Donnelly (D-IN), voted to confirm Gorsuch. Republican Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson was absent for the vote because he was recovering from back surgery.
On April 4, 2017, Politico reported that Rebecca Moore Howard, a Syracuse University professor, accused Gorsuch of plagiarism.Oxford University Emeritus Professor John Finnis, who supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation at Oxford disagreed and stated, “The allegation is entirely without foundation. The book is meticulous in its citation of primary sources. The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is, frankly, absurd.” Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, the supposed victim of the plagiarism and who is Indiana‘s deputy attorney general, has supported Gorsuch by saying, “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the ‘Baby/Infant Doe‘ case that occurred in 1982.”
Gorsuch is a proponent of originalism, the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted as perceived at the time of enactment, and of textualism, the idea that statutes should be interpreted literally, without considering the legislative history and underlying purpose of the law. An editorial in the National Catholic Register opined that Gorsuch’s judicial decisions lean more toward the natural law philosophy.
to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be—not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.
In a 2005 article published by National Review, Gorsuch argued that “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom, relying on judges and lawyers rather than elected leaders and the ballot box, as the primary means of effecting their social agenda” and that they are “failing to reach out and persuade the public”. Gorsuch wrote that, in doing so, American liberals are circumventing the democratic process on issues like gay marriage, school vouchers, and assisted suicide, and this has led to a compromised judiciary, which is no longer independent. Gorsuch wrote that American liberals’ “overweening addiction” to using the courts for social debate is “bad for the nation and bad for the judiciary”.
States’ rights and federalism
Gorsuch was described by Justin Marceau, a professor at the University of Denver‘s Sturm College of Law, as “a predictably socially conservative judge who tends to favor state power over federal power”. Marceau added that the issue of states’ rights is important since federal laws have been used to reel in “rogue” state laws in civil rights cases.
In the book, Gorsuch makes clear his personal opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, arguing that America should “retain existing law [banning assisted suicide and euthanasia] on the basis that human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”
On April 4, 2017, Politico reported that Rebecca Moore Howard, a Syracuse University professor, accused Gorsuch of plagiarism.Oxford University Emeritus Professor John Finnis, who supervised Gorsuch’s dissertation at Oxford disagreed and stated, “The allegation is entirely without foundation. The book is meticulous in its citation of primary sources. The allegation that the book is guilty of plagiarism because it does not cite secondary sources which draw on those same primary sources is, frankly, absurd.” Abigail Lawlis Kuzma, the supposed victim of the plagiarism and who is Indiana‘s deputy attorney general, has supported Gorsuch by saying, “I have reviewed both passages and do not see an issue here, even though the language is similar. These passages are factual, not analytical in nature, framing both the technical legal and medical circumstances of the ‘Baby/Infant Doe’ case that occurred in 1982.”
He is the author of two books. His first book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, was published by Princeton University Press in July 2006. He is a co-author of The Law of Judicial Precedent, published by Thomson West in 2016.
Gorsuch’s wife, Louise, is British-born and the two met while Neil was studying at Oxford. When the couple returned to the United States they started attending an Episcopal parish in Vienna, Virginia. Gorsuch currently attends St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder. If Gorsuch considers himself Protestant, his confirmation would make him the first Protestant to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court since the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. Gorsuch has not publicly stated if he considers himself a Catholic who attends a Protestant church, or if he has fully converted to Protestantism, but “according to church records, the Gorsuches were members of Holy Comforter”, an Episcopal church.
Awards and honors
Gorsuch is the recipient of the Edward J. Randolph Award for outstanding service to the Department of Justice, and of the Harry S. Truman Foundation’s Stevens Award for outstanding public service in the field of law.