Another week of controversies with Trump

[This is summer time. You would think things would slow down. Nope. Like this past week, I may have to add a mid-week post as well.]

In the wacky world of this Trump administration, Trump has decided to remove Anthony Scaramucci from his position as communications director, relieving him just days after Scaramucci unloaded a crude verbal tirade against other senior members of the Trump’s senior staff. This came at chief of staff, John Kelly’s request. Scaramucci lasted 10 days.

Trump insisted there was “No WH chaos!” but in a day or so, he let go Scaramucci. Some are saying the Scaramucci was getting too much attention when he wants most of it. Scaramucci not only lost his job but he may not even be invited back to his chief strategy officer post at the Export-Import Bank.

Scaramucci and his wife are reportedly calling it quits as she has filed for divorce just days after Scaramucci took on his new role in Trump’s administration. Deidre Ball was tired of Scaramucci’s “naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end,” and that “Deidre is not a fan of Trump and she hasn’t exactly been on board and supportive of Anthony and his push to get back into the White House.” Married for 3 years and 2 kids.

Prior to the election, Scaramucci sold his own company thinking that he would get a posting in the administration. Well, he didn’t then. Seems another reason why Scaramucci was in his wife’s doghouse [filing for divorce] is because he supposedly missed the birth of his latest kid. But a divorce could be a windfall for her: his/there assets exceed $50 million. Still, low down on the asset scale compared to others in this administration.

Scaramucci had been blocked from joining the administration during the transition by Priebus, only to eventually be hired by Trump a week-and-half ago. That decision, over the objections of Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, led to the resignation of Spicer and fueled Scaramucci’s profane vows of vengeance against White House staffers who had opposed him or leaked to the press. Priebus was force out last week but it was obvious as he wanted to stay but was gone later on.

Kelly has stated that he is in charge of the White House and none will go around him to speak to Trump. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kelly “has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit” and that all White House staffers will report to him, including powerful aides such as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, her husband, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Wonder what Sean “Garlic” Spicer thinks of all this. Spicer was at the White House the day Scaramucci was fired and escorted off White house grounds but only for the “transition” phase of his ex-job.

Trump had tweeted in 2012 during President’s Obama’s first term the number of chiefs of staff that have changed [three in over 2.5 years]. Well, Trump is already on his third in not even 7 months – let alone the other senior staff members that left [supposedly] or were fired.

Trump unveiled a new immigration plan to move to a merit-based system, favoring green card applicants who speak English and can financially support their families. The over-arching goal for this bill is to install a system where immigrants are allowed into the US based on their skills and contributions, rather than familial connections or a lottery. But some of those who enter will have family connections that will allow them into the country. I would guess few current immigrants [who aren’t well off] have connections. These applicants won’t be allowed on welfare when they come into the country. No more of that “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” More like “Give me your filthy rich.”

Stephen Miller, an adviser to trump, claims at least part of the new immigration bill to bring in more Anglophones is based on the Canadian and Australian “points” system – where points are added or deducted according to the immigrant’s background. Extra points for example if fluent in English or advanced degrees or make 150% of the national average income. Deduct points if spouse is less skilled. Interesting – extra points for high achievers such as Olympic medals, Nobel prizes, etc. As it is, the bill won’t pass the senate.

There is some hints that lie detectors could be used to see who is doing the leaks in the administration, according to Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway.

Trump is planning to take a 17 day vacation. But will he still tweet?

While the US has gained about 1 million jobs in his tenure, the US dollar has hit a 15 month low. The biggest gains in jobs were from restaurants and bars – low wage earners.

Trump tweeted “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!” Only thing he may be right is the highest stock market ever and his billionaire friend thank him for that. Unemployment rate is lowest in 16 years. Border may be secure but they are still coming in from Mexico.

Trump claimed 33,000 mining jobs created since his inauguration but just 1,000 are coal mining related [and 100 less today than a month ago]. The others are for oil and metals. As well coal mining jobs “created” in a mine near Pittsburgh actually started 2 months prior to his inauguration. He had nothing to do with it.

The administration may subpoena media outlets but could have problems as the journalists don’t have to divulge their sources [first amendment] but the government could go to court to force them to reveal sources or go to jail.

Trump dictated the initial statement from his son, Don Jr., regarding a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer and publicist Rob Goldstone, who had promised the younger Trump dirt on Hillary Clinton’s campaign courtesy of the Russian government. Trump has claimed that he knew nothing of the meeting until the issue blew up and yet he was able to dictate the initial statement?

“I wasn’t involved in the statement drafting at all, nor was the President,” Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow said in July.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner offered an explanation to congressional interns why it was not possible for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia during the election: It was too disorganized for such a conspiracy.

Trump is upset because special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, will probably convene a grand jury aiming specifically at the Russian probe.

The White House worked with Fox News and a wealthy Republican donor to push a story about the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to a lawsuit. The story was pushed in an attempt to discredit the US intelligence community’s determination that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and obtained the emails released by Wikileaks, the lawsuit said. The plaintiff is Rod Wheeler, a Fox News contributor and former homicide detective hired to investigate Rich’s death, who alleges that he was misquoted as part of the effort to put the story together. At this time, Fox News website doesn’t mention it.

Trump has reluctantly signed a new sanctions bill from last week against Russia but Russia has already retaliated by telling hundreds of American government employees to leave the country. The bill also added sanctions to Iran and North Korea. Trump said he signed it so the country wouldn’t be so divided. He had no choice. Couldn’t veto and a total of 5 congressmen [House & Senate combined] voted against the bill.

According to a Wall Street Journal interview transcript obtained by Politico, Trump claimed the leader of the Boy Scouts called him to thank him for his Jamboree speech, telling him it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” Of course, this is Trump. An official with the Scouts said they were not aware of any phone calls between the group’s leadership and Trump. I don’t think the Boy Scout President has his number.

Then Trump said “Even the President of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment.” Except President Enrique Peña Nieto hasn’t called Trump recently.

The Trump administration announced it will waive 37 environmental and other laws and regulations that would impede the first phase of construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. The waiver applies to “a variety of environmental, natural resource, and land management laws” in the San Diego sector. The 15-mile stretch identified in the waiver also includes 14 miles of replacement secondary fencing. Despite the waiver, construction will not begin for at least several more months because federal officials are currently reviewing a protest by a company that competed for, but was not awarded, a building contract.

Trump, in a conversation with Mexican President Nieto, labeled New Hampshire saying “I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den” according to a transcript of Trump’s January 27 call that was published by The Washington Post. But Trump was again wrong as he narrowly lost the state to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election. Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan called Trump’s comments “disgusting.”

While North Korea tested an ICBM that could theoretically reach half of the United States, Trump was too busy sending out a bunch of tweets bashing the Republicans. [Can I really say his fellow Republicans?] But yes, he did mention North Korea.

After North Korea fired a ICBM, Trump said “We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything,” but he offered no specifics about what he plans to do. He didn’t do anything when the first ICBM was fired earlier this month. He’s putting the blame game on China for failing to do anything.

Trump threatened to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law. He tweeted that if “a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Except wheat the government is sending them is not a bailout but subsidies. Unsure if he knew that or used bailout so those with less knowledge would think the government is helping to keep insurance companies afloat.  The payments reduce deductibles and co-payments for consumers with modest incomes.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, it included a Republican amendment that forces members of Congress and their staff to purchase their health insurance on the law’s new online marketplaces. But unlike individuals purchasing their insurance on the exchanges, Capitol Hill customers would receive subsidies from their employer, the federal government.

Trump also told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reduce the number of votes in the senate to pass his healthcare bill to 51. Doesn’t he know that it was already set for 50 votes to pass and yet they still failed to pass?

Trump’s statement encouraging police officers to be “rough” with people they arrest has drawn criticism in law enforcement circles for sending the wrong message at a time of heightened tensions with the public. Trump praised the aggressive tactics of immigration officers and suggested that police shouldn’t protect the heads of handcuffed suspects being put in the back of a car.

The group Blue Lives Matter tweeted that Trump’s remarks were made in jest. “Trump didn’t tell police to go out & brutalize people as the media would have you believe,” the tweet said. “It was a joke.” Later Trump tweeted it was a joke but most police departments across the US didn’t think so.

Republican Sen. John McCain slammed Trump amid reports [including from NBC News] that Trump is weighing firing Gen. John Nicholson, the top US military commander in Afghanistan. “Our commanders-in-chief, not our commanders in the field, are responsible for this failure,” he added, referring to Trump and former President Barack Obama. Trump’s deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, said the President is confident in Nicholson’s military leadership in Afghanistan. That means Nicholson could be out very soon.

Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Afghanistan strategy would be decided upon by mid-July but the plan has been delayed for months amid sharp disagreements between national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who is arguing for an increase of several thousand troops, and the President’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is opposed to getting the US more deeply involved in the conflict. More of Trump’s “no chaos” here. Shouldn’t he make decision?

 

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