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While He Was Tweeting: Mother Nature's Revenge Edition, Week 33

This week the Climate Denier-in-Chief trashed DACA and told us Ivanka calls him "daddy". Here's the important news you missed while he was using too many exclamation points.
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As we wait out the landfall of yet another superstorm, it’s time to review all the awful things that Trump and Trump-affiliated people did this week.

It was a relatively low-key week for Trump himself, all things considered. Sure, he trashed DACA. Well, more accurately, he had Jeff Sessions go out there and make the announcement. People speculated that he made Sessions do it because he didn’t have enough mettle to do it himself, but remember this: Jeff Sessions is probably the biggest racist in a cabinet chock full of racists, so letting him be the one to end DACA was a reward, not a punishment.

Aside from ripping the hearts out of DREAMers, Trump largely kept busy by tweeting a lot of things that shouldn’t end in exclamation points, but did anyway, such as his weird glee at how big Hurricane Irma is. He also bragged about how much he loves Made in America gear while his wife wore a dress made by an Italian designer. He also brought his daughter/inexplicable senior adviser Ivanka along to his tax speech and said these words about her, a completely grown woman: “Ivanka actually said to me, ‘Daddy, can I go with you?' I like that. Everyone loves Ivanka. Come on up here, honey.”

Oh, and after North Korea tested another nuclear weapon, he basically tried to get South Korea to maybe fight them? It’s terrifying to realize that this is what passes for an only semi-dramatic week these days.

Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, announced she would be gutting the TItle IX protections that Obama had put in place to help combat the campus sexual assault epidemic. In both Trump and DeVos’ world, the real victims of sexual assault are the accused, of course, so nothing about this move was surprising. It’s still depressing though.

This week, Trump finally tapped someone—Oklahoma Republican Representative Jim Bridenstine—to be head of NASA. His qualifications seem to be that he likes space and is a Republican. Oh, and he doesn’t believe in climate change, which is really great given that we apparently have once-in-a-lifetime storms every week now.  His resume is so thin that even the baby-faced and spineless Marco Rubio is concerned about him leading NASA.

In another installment of “Incredibly Terrible Trump Picks” Trump named Stephen S. Schwartz to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Schwartz is a whopping 34 years old and graduated from law school only 9 years ago, which is generally considered much much too young to be a federal judge. But Schwartz has one very important qualification that is proving to be a must-have in this administration: he really really hates LGBT people. His most recent service? Working for the law firm that North Carolina legislators hired to defend their HB2, the anti-trans “bathroom bill.” Oh, he also hates abortion and birth control having helped with an amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby decision, so he’s a very well-rounded young man. Trump also nominated two anti-LGBT activists to serve on the federal bench in Texas, in case you were thinking that the awfulness of Schwartz might be an outlier.

Congress is going after people with disabilities, because of course they are. The House is considering a bill that would radically change how the Americans with Disabilities Act deals with public accommodations such as stores, theaters, and restaurants. Under current law, businesses have to affirmatively remove physical barriers that would hinder people with disabilities from accessing any building that is generally open to the public. Under the GOP House’s version, a person with a disability who was in some way denied access would have to formally notify the business and detail how their civil rights had been violated, and then the business would get six months to make substantial progress before they could be taken to court. As the ACLU explains, this means that businesses “can spend years out of compliance and face no penalty even after they receive notice, so long as the owners claim ‘substantial progress.’”

We know very little facts about Trump’s tax plan, although there is no doubt it will be a huge giveaway to the ultra-rich. One thing we did learn this week is that Trump and the GOP are kicking around a plan that would tax your 401K contributions up front, rather than when you retire, so that Trump could cover the cost of the huge corporate tax giveaways he wants. Real hero to the working class that guy is.

In case you wanted to relitigate the 2016 election, which is a thing we are going to do until the end of time, we learned this week that Facebook sold a cool $100K of ads during election season to a Russian troll farm that wanted to target voters and spew Kremlin propaganda. Remember when Mark Zuckerberg explained how Facebook—one of the largest media companies in existence—didn’t really have any negative effect on the election or run any appreciable amount of fake news? Good times.

Remember how we also spent what seemed like all of 2015 and 2016 talking about Hillary’s private email server and how it was the greatest threat to the free world? And Trump got people to chant “lock her up!” over it—and still does, 9 months after the election? Yeah, about that. Turns out that members of Trump’s election integrity commission (aka voter suppression commission) have probably been using their personal email addresses for official government communication.

One tiny bright spot this week: a portion of the Senate grew a spine and blasted Trump for having decided to just go it alone and distance himself from any multilateral assistance from other countries.  They pointed out that just amassing more firepower isn't actually a coherent foreign policy, which basically everyone but Trump knows.

Everyone is going to spend the next day worrying about whether Hurricane Irma will wipe out Florida, and the rest of the week worrying about the damage to Florida. Trump will not be worrying about any of that, because he seems incapable of doing so, having told Houston Hurricane Harvey victims to “have a good time”—which is not a thing that a normal human says to people that have lost everything. He also, inevitably, bragged about the size of the crowd that came to see him when he got to Texas, because that seems to be the only thing he actually cares about. Expect another weird spate of excited Trump tweets over how mammoth the disaster from Irma will be, while the rest of us just try to hang on for another week.

 

Lisa Needham is an attorney who has worked in the areas of First Amendment, education, and labor law. She is the deputy editor of Lawyerist, where she writes about access to justice and diversity in the law, and a contributor to Rewire, where she writes about LGBTQ and reproductive-health legal issues. She is ride or die for Dionne Warwick, Doris Day, and the Oxford comma. Follow her: @snipy
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