TrumpWatch: Week 3 – Trump flounders, fumbles, and rages

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John Shafthauer

In our regular TrumpWatch section, we look back at another week of Donald Trump’s America.

So here’s how his third week went.

4 February – The judiciary strikes back

  • Homeland security suspended Trump’s travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, after a federal judge halted the policy. Trump would send numerous tweets throughout the week denouncing this judge and the judiciary in general.

  • The New York Times reported that Trump still has ties to his business empire. Which is a massive conflict of interest.

5 February – Putin up a fight

  • An appeals court rejected Trump’s attempt to restore his travel ban.
  • Many people criticised Trump for an interview in which he essentially defended Vladimir Putin.

  • Senator Bernie Sanders called out the supposedly ‘anti-establishment’ Trump for surrounding himself with billionaires. He said: “It is hard not to laugh, to see President Trump alongside these Wall Street guys… this guy is a fraud.”
  • An advert at the Super Bowl contained a blatantly pro-multicultural message, which many saw as a direct criticism of Trump and his policies. A player on the winning side of the game, meanwhile, shouted: “Tear down the wall!”

6 February – ‘Trump ban’

  • The Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, John Bercow, expressed his opposition to Trump speaking in parliament. Nigel Farage wasn’t happy.
  • As Team Trump continued to adjust to the White House, several sources reported that Trump was not fully aware of the power he’d handed to chief strategist Steve Bannon. Amid claims that Bannon was the real ‘power behind the throne’, Trump insisted “I call my own shots”.
  • CNN published a poll claiming Trump has the worst early approval ratings of any president. Trump accused ALL negative polls of being “fake news”. Then, on 8 February, he shared a poll which suggested support for his travel ban.
  • Trump accused the media of covering up terrorist attacks. He said: “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” The Trump Administration published a list of supposedly ‘under-reported’ terror attacks the following day. And the media duly showed Trump’s claim to be another of his team’s ‘alternative facts‘, demonstrating how widely reported the attacks actually were.

7 February – Suffer the little children

  • The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as Trump’s Education Secretary. DeVos is a wealthy Republican donor. Opponents have criticised her lack of experience and her alleged opposition to the traditional American value of separating church and state. Critics see her appointment as a blow for public schools and a boost for religious institutions.
  • Melania Trump filed a lawsuit against The Daily Mail which implied that she intended to profit from being First Lady. The lawsuit claimed Melania: “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multi-million dollar business relationships”.
  • Trump’s push to proceed with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) saw [paywall] its last hurdle removed.
  • Team Trump allegedly began looking for a second Communications Director. Trump is allegedly unhappy with Sean Spicer’s performance. Spicer has found himself having to defend things Trump has said. As much of what Trump has said has been widely discredited, this has made Spicer’s job unenviable.

8 February – Alarm

  • The Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as Trump’s Attorney General. Trump had fired the previous Attorney General for refusing to defend his travel ban. Critics have accused Sessions of racism and bigotry throughout his career.
  • The House Administration Committee voted to terminate the agency charged with making sure voting machines are secure from hacking.
  • Trump spoke of ‘destroying‘ a State Senator’s career because of his opposition to asset forfeiture. This practice allows police to seize money and property from suspects even if they haven’t been found guilty of a crime. One Twitter user pointed out “Trump doesn’t smile after this. Everybody laughs like he’s joking. He’s not.”
  • The Huffington Post reported that some of Trump’s staff members are alarmed by his conduct.
  • Trump claimed: “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? Did you know that? 47 years.” This was not true.

  • Trump tweeted about his daughter Ivanka’s business troubles with luxury department store chain Nordstrom. The official presidential account retweeted this. Nordstrom’s stock rose in response.

9 February – From Russia with gov.

  • It emerged that a National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, had discussed [paywall] sanctions with Russia’s US ambassador. Flynn had previously denied doing so. Vice President Mike Pence had also denied that such a conversation took place.
  • Courts once more refused to reinstate Trump’s travel ban.
  • Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway may have broken ethics rules by promoting Ivanka Trump’s products. She said on national TV: “I’m going to give it a free commercial here. Go buy it today.” A bipartisan letter urged an ethics investigation. The White House later rebuked her.
  • Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, described Trump’s criticism of the judiciary as “disheartening” and “demoralising”. Trump attempted to discredit the senator who leaked the comments, but others reported that Gorsuch had told them the same thing.
  • The internet roundly mocked Trump for perhaps his most misjudged tweet yet.

10 February – Surprised and angry

  • Politico published an article based on nearly two dozen people who had spent time with Trump since his inauguration. Trump is apparently surprised and angry by the workings of government, according to the interviews. The article reads: “The interviews paint a picture of a powder-keg of a workplace where job duties are unclear, morale among some is low, factionalism is rampant and exhaustion is running high. Two visitors to the White House last week said they were struck by how tired the staff looks.”
  • Trump agreed to support the ‘One China’ policy in a telephone call with President Xi Jinping. China had been concerned that Trump may support Taiwanese independence after Trump called their President. The ‘One China’ policy views Taiwan as a breakaway region of China.

So there we go. Trump’s third week as President. Full of more clashes with the law, more ‘alternative facts’, and more misjudged moves. Yet another very exhausting week!

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Featured image via Wikimedia

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