While the chaos POTUS Trump was busy weaponizing his smartphone and 140 characters against Mika, Joe and the news media, actual stuff happened.
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By any new normal metric, it was a hell of a week for Trump’s Twitter feed. He went after Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski in deeply weird and disgusting terms because they had the temerity to mock his ridiculous fake TIME cover. He went after the Washington Post and its parent company, Amazon, for the same thing, bizarrely tweeting that Amazon dodges internet taxes which…are not a thing. He also called pretty much every major news outlet in America “fake news,” save for, of course, America’s favorite propaganda outlet, FOX News.
These things are all outrageous on their face, but while we’re all busy reacting to the nonsense and vitriol he spews, a number of significant moves in Washington and elsewhere were taking place. Here’s what happened while Trump was tweeting.
Perhaps the biggest and most nefarious news of the week is that Kris Kobach, who is helming Trump’s election integrity commission, sent a letter demanding that all 50 states provide complete voter rolls, including sensitive data like partial Social Security numbers and felony designations. The ACLU called Kobach “the king of voter suppression” and they’re not wrong. As Secretary of State in Kansas, Kobach oversaw voter purges and is one of the biggest proponents of the myth of widespread voter fraud. This commission is designed to suppress the vote, plain and simple. Fortunately, a whole bunch of states (24 at last count) are refusing to provide data to the commission.
Meanwhile, we actually have a real threat to election integrity in the United States in the form of Russian hacking of multiple states’ election data. There’s also the Wall Street Journal’s massive revelation that Peter Smith, a GOP operative, name-dropped Mike Flynn, Steve Bannon, and Kellyanne Conway, among others, to the Russians when he was hoping to get Hillary Clinton’s emails. Seriously, it’s almost impossible to mentally process that: An American asked Russian hackers to help hack a political opponent, and may have done it with the knowledge or blessing of Trump’s inner circle.
Over at the House of Representatives, they passed a pair of immigration bills, including one that would de-fund sanctuary cities—those cities that limit who they will turn over to immigration authorities. Another would strengthen penalties for undocumented individuals who re-enter the country after being deported. Both are designed to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment and will have awful consequences. At least the Senate hasn’t passed the bills yet.
June is LGBTQ Pride month, but you wouldn’t have known that from Trump, who declined to recognize Pride at all. Remember how just two short years ago under Obama, the White House went full-rainbow-flag in honor of same-sex marriage becoming legal? Instead of that, we now have Trump nominating an anti-trans activist to a gender equality post at the U.S. Agency for International Development. What a difference an election makes.
While Trump is busy stuffing gender equality posts with people that have a limited and distorted view of gender, there is one office he doesn’t feel like staffing: the State Department’s office that monitors and fights anti-Semitism is going to be vacant as of July 1, with no plans to change that. Sure, anti-Semitic incidents are massively on the rise, but why should that be Trump’s problem? He’s a very busy man.
Trump also appears to be preparing to let the White House Council on Women and Girls go dark as well. That’s what happens when you elect a raging misogynist, apparently.
The travel ban is back, thanks to the United States Supreme Court largely lifting the injunction against it while they ponder the case. People with a “bona fide relationship” to someone in the United States are exempt, but the Court forgot to define what that meant, so everything is going to be a mess.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a true friend of polluters if ever there was one, is setting up an initiative to challenge mainstream climate change science. You read that right. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is a climate change denier and he is able to muster a ton of resources to alter official United States policy over well-settled science, just so he can make sure his pals in the fossil fuel industry continue to thrive.
That’s all for this week. Tune in next week to find out about the actual news we miss while Trump is tweeting.
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