This week brought NSFW interviews, horrifying speeches to Boy Scouts, calls for police violence and, yep, Reince Priebus got fired. While the White House was in chaos, a lot of other things happened. Here’s what you missed.
Remember how last week marked six months of this hellhole we call the Trump presidency and it felt like we couldn’t possibly have a week more dramatic than that one?
Yeah, about that.
The biggest news, of course, is that the latest attempt to repeal Obamacare crashed and burned. And Trump, the master negotiator, didn’t seem to have a lot to do with the whole enterprise. He threw a “go team go!” tweet out, but that seemed to be his sole involvement in the entire repeal discussion. Since Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Johnny-Come-Lately McCain flouted their party and voted against repeal, Trump has headed to Twitter again and again and again to complain, even though he couldn’t be bothered to actually stump for the bill. Most confusingly, he’s also tweeting about the unfairness of the supermajority rule for certain Senate actions, saying that everything has to be lowered to a simple 51-vote majority. Don’t anyone tell him that his party couldn’t even muster 50 votes for that steaming pile of nonsense they called a skinny repeal.
Remember how he told everyone during the election that he would be the biggest best dealmaker ever? My dude, after six months in office you’ve passed a bunch of ceremonial shit like naming a post office for failed presidential candidate and one-time Law and Order star Fred Thompson but you have no major legislation to your name.
Trump also pretended to be a religious conservative again, tweeting out in his familiar ALL CAPS style that IN AMERICA WE DON’T WORSHIP GOVERNMENT – WE WORSHIP GOD! Someone tell the orange buffoon that the country was literally founded on the principle that the government wouldn’t dictate who you should worship. It was likely pandering to religious conservatives that fueled his tweetstorm banning all trans people from the military. Who knows if that will actually happen, since Trump doesn’t seem to have consulted with anyone except his inner child about the decision.
Although all intelligence agencies (and all intelligent people) acknowledge that Russia intervened on behalf of Trump, Trump prefers to get his news on the matter from Fox and Friends and then tweet about it, and both Trump and Fox are certain that Russia didn’t help him, but hurt him instead. Sure, sure.
Normally, this is where we turn to talking about all the things that happened while Trump was tweeting, but this week, Trump wasn’t just tweeting. He was out on the road speaking and ohmygod it was as bad as you think.
First, there was the speech to the Boy Scouts. It’s been an unbearably depressing six months, but the Boy Scout appearance was really the nadir of this Trump era so far. Where normal presidents go talk to the Boy Scouts about building character and such, Trump was, well, Trump, and spent the time getting Boy Scouts—BOY SCOUTS—to cheer for repealing Obamacare.
Maybe Trump was too busy to help get Obamacare repealed, but he wasn’t too busy to go to Long Island and talk to a bunch of cops about how they should rough up suspects because the streets of Long Island basically are awash in blood. Good times.
Trump must have needed a re-up on unfettered adulation from the MAGA crowd, because he also went and held a 2020 election rally in Ohio, after which he tweeted that his crowd “broke all records.” No one has any idea what “record” could be broken, especially since there were only about 6,000 people there. At that speech, he also floated the idea of how he should be on Mount Rushmore.
Now, let’s chat about all the things you might have missed while Trump was bloviating on one platform or another.
Climate science continues to take body blow after body blow in this administration. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry went on CNBC to say that he doesn’t believe CO2 emissions from human activity is the primary cause of climate change, a statement which is, of course, the opposite of what actual scientists believe. Worse still, some creep wrote a guest post over at The Hill praising Perry for his “fight” against climate scientists and saying he was winning that fight—and the Department of Energy approvingly tweeted out the story.
Over the past several years, many students fell prey to sleazy for-profit colleges that used techniques ranging from merely scummy to downright illegal to get students to take out huge loans to get basically zero education. Under Obama, the Department of Education allowed students to apply for debt relief in those circumstances. Under Trump, you can still apply, but the DOE will just never get around to processing your request and you can stay drowning in debt forever.
Students aren’t the only ones getting screwed these days. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which, thanks to the way the enabling legislation was written, is mercifully still headed by Obama nominee Richard Cordray) announced a rule earlier this month that would allow consumers to file a class action lawsuit against their bank or credit card companies. The House of Representatives nixed that rule because the GOP isn’t even going to pretend it cares about people versus companies any longer.
Just as we had incredibly depressing news on the trans rights front this week, we had equally depressing news for gays and lesbians. Under the bigoted leadership of beleaguered Jeff Sessions, the DOJ filed a brief arguing that Title VII—a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex—doesn’t protect gay and lesbian workers from anti-gay discrimination. This reverses Obama’s DOJ position, because of course it does.
Speaking of the DOJ: Trump picked a new candidate to run the criminal division: Brian A. Benczkowski. Benczkowski’s most sterling qualification in Trump’s eyes is likely that he used to represent Alfa, a Russian bank that has ties to Putin. In fact, he reviewed the Steele dossier—which details Trump’s past Russian entanglements and introduced us to the possibility of a Trump piss tape—to see if Alfa should sue Buzzfeed for publishing the thing. We’re sure that is all of this is just a coincidence.
Oh god Kid Rock is running for Senate in 2018. Maybe a comet will just take out the Earth before then if we are lucky.
Finally, we’d be remiss to leave without noting that this week gave us Anthony Scaramucci aka The Mooch, who ascended to the White House Communications Director throne. He brought with him a possibly-even-more-unhinged-than-Trump vibe that would be hilarious if we weren’t watching the end of the American experiment play out right before our eyes. In just a week, he went on Twitter (just like his beloved boss!) to accuse Reince Priebus of felonious behavior in leaking his financial disclosure form…his public financial disclosure form. He then phoned the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza about the whole affair and dissed Reince again, bragged about how many people he was going to fire, complained about Steve Bannon’s desire to suck his own cock, and about 900 other truly weird things.
After Lizza wrote that up, the Mooch went on Twitter again, this time to complain about how he made a mistake and trusted a reporter, but he never would again. Did he really think all that shit would be off the record just because he wished it would after the fact?
News hit right at the end of the week that Scaramucci’s wife left him while she was 9 months pregnant because she couldn’t stand the Mooch’s all-consuming lust to have a place in the Trump White House. That’s gotta hurt. Scaramucci probably made himself feel better by orchestrating Reince getting shoved out of the White House Chief of Staff job. Of course, America found out about Trump’s new chief of staff, current Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, via Twitter. Come to think of it, that’s probably how Reince learned of his firing as well. Reince, we hardly knew you.
As always, there will be more, so much more, next week.
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