TrumpWatch: Week 4 – Stuck in reverse

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Wilson Belshaw

In our regular TrumpWatch section, we look at another week of Donald Trump’s America. And how he has got himself stuck in reverse.

This is how his fourth week played out.

11 February – Enforcement

  • There were reports of raids which had immigrants bracing for an ‘enforcement surge’. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials still weren’t rounding up more people than the Obama Administration did. The Young Turks recorded a video on what actually changed, and what may change going forwards.
  • Army veterans returned to Standing Rock, to help protect Native American protesters from the police.

12 February – Ballistic

  • North Korea launched a ballistic missile during the Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to the US. Japan is within reach of these missiles, suggesting this was a political message. People criticised Trump for openly discussing the incident in the restaurant of his Mar-a-Lago hotel.
  • Several TV networks interviewed Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller. The 31-year-old has predictably far-right politics. Interviewers described him as “horrendous“, even by Trump Administration standards. His behaviour can be seen in the following video:

13 February – Man down

  • Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Adviser, resigned. It emerged that Flynn had spoken to the Russian Ambassador about Trump potentially lifting sanctions against Russia before he was elected. This was problematic, as Flynn denied such a conversation took place. It was doubly problematic as Flynn had told Vice President Mike Pence the same thing, and Pence had repeated these claims.
  • Meanwhile, a humorous (but misleading) image of Trump with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went viral.

14 February – Testing the water

  • It emerged that Trump had known about Flynn’s deception for weeks. Yet the US President claimed the exact opposite in an interview he gave on Air Force One.
  • Russia secretly deployed a cruise missile. American officials claimed this violated an arms control treaty. Commentators speculated on how the US-Russian relationship would develop in the absence of Russian-supporting Flynn.

15 February – May-day

  • Jim Mattis, the Defense Secretary, warned NATO that if member nations did not increase defence spending, the US would alter its relationship with them. This reflected badly on Theresa May, who had claimed that Trump was “100% behind NATO” on her US visit. The UK government had heralded this as an example of British influence.
  • It became apparent that Trump aides had had repeated contact with Russian intelligence agents during Trump’s presidential race.
  • Senators from both main US parties pledged [paywall] a deeper probe into Russia’s influence on the 2016 election.
  • Trump met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. The US president seemed to step back from the idea of a ‘two-state’ solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But his comments were at times hard to follow, as this video shows:

16 February – In review

  • A billionaire ally of Trump is to review the US intelligence agencies. Those agencies fear this could ultimately limit their independence.
  • Russia ordered its state media to cut back on positive portrayals of Trump in anticipation of the relationship souring.
  • Many workers across the US, meanwhile, took part in a “day without immigrants” protest against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

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Featured image via Wikimedia

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