At the end of week nineteen, it’s hard to know where to begin. So much has happened during the past couple weeks that it’s as if years have passed. But grab a stiff drink, and let’s get into it.
Recently, President Trump:
- Pulls the US out of the Paris Climate Change Pact, a voluntary non-binding agreement, saying that he’s open to re-negotiating. Global leaders put the kibosh on this: there’s no way the US could get a better deal than a non-binding agreement. Trump says he’s sworn to represent the best interests of Pittsburgh, not Paris. Pittsburgh mayor denies this and says his city will adhere to the pact’s terms. Trump’s move is widely interpreted as a middle-finger to the global community, not to mention the earth.
- Announces details of his proposed budget, which contains at $2 trillion math error and projects vastly unrealistic growth. Its foolishness and cruelty is remarkable: it would affect every part of government, while heavily or entirely cutting Medicaid, food stamps, State Department programs, refugee assistance, the arts and humanities, the CDC (!), the FDA, environmental protection, and a ton of other essential, strategic services and programs.
- Embarks upon and concludes his first international tour, in which he:
- Visits Saudi Arabia and eats steak, dances awkwardly with men and swords, ignores Steve Bannon’s nervousness, and sells over $110 billion in US arms to the Saudis. (As Samantha Bee said, “Sorry, Yemen!”)
- Visits Israel and says in a meeting that he “just got back from the Middle East;” signs in the Holocaust museum guestbook “SO AMAZING + WILL NEVER FORGET;” and announces in a press briefing with Netanyahu that he definitely didn’t mention that Israel was the source of the highly sensitive intelligence he shared with the Russians, to the jaw-drop of Netanyahu and the global press corps.
- Visits Belgium to eat chocolates, complain about the E.U., and insult NATO allies.
- Visits the Vatican, without Sean Spicer (who is Catholic), and chats with the Pope, who clearly hates every minute. Family photos with the Pope go viral, with the hashtags #dresswhatyouwanttobecome #widow captioning Melania’s new Godfather-inspired fashion line.
- Shoves the Prime Minister of Montenegro so that he can be at the front of a group photo; is snubbed by France’s new president Macron in favor of Merkel.
- Attends the G7, offends his colleagues, and erodes American soft power.
- Is repeatedly and hilariously spurned by Melania in public.
- Mostly ignores the increasing scrutiny of his campaign’s involvement with Russia. After claiming that it’s a witch-hunt, and that he’s the most victimized politician in history, he goes abroad, only to find that when he returns home, the kettle’s still boiling over. And James Comey’s set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week–if Trump doesn’t block his appearance.
- A bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan kills at least 90 people and injures over 400 on a busy shopping street near the presidential palace and Indian and German embassies. It is one of the largest blasts in the history of this conflict. A Pakistani group linked to the Taliban is suspected. When asked who suffers in such attacks, Layma Tabibi, an Afghan-American working in Kabul, replies: “Afghans. It’s always Afghans. It’s always Afghans that are harmed and get killed, rather than who the attacker wants to target.”
- A suicide bomber in Manchester, UK kills 22 people and injures scores more at an Ariana Grande pop concert. British leaders briefly stop campaigning for their forthcoming election, and Britons overwhelm the survivors and victims’ families with their support.
- In Portland, Oregon (Weekly Index’s hometown), a white supremacist verbally abuses two teenage girls on a light-rail train for being black and Muslim respectively, and then stabs three men who intervene. Two of these heroes die–Rick John Best, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche–and the third, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, is seriously injured. In the police car, the killer says that he hopes all of his victims died. President Trump eventually issues a perfunctory “this is unacceptable” from his official Twitter account.
In other news,
- The Congressional Budget Office confirms that the GOP’s American Health Care Act would deprive 23 million Americans of health insurance.
- HUD Secretary Ben Carson says that poverty is “a state of mind.”
- Montana’s Republic candidate to fill now-Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s House seat attacks Guardian reporter Ben Porter and is later charged with assault. The next day he wins the election. (To be fair to Montanans, most votes were already in when this incident occurred. But still.)
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that, after disastrous meetings with Trump, Europeans must seek to take care of themselves and strengthen their internal relationships as they can no longer rely on traditional allies.
- The “secret” international Bilderberg group is convening a rare meeting in a not-so-secret Marriott in Virginia to discuss Trump’s progress.
- The new series of Twin Peaks launches after 25 years, delighting fans of Lynch, gothic forests, Kyle McLachlan, surrealism, and coffee (or covfefe).
- Two nooses have been found within four days placed in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C.
- To the relief of all, former FBI director Robert Mueller is named Special Counsel for the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
- Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and consigliere, is now under investigation. And Michael Flynn’s business records have been subpoenaed.
So there you go. And for the weekend, a little apocalyptic cheese to see you out: