Week Four – Index

This week, President Trump:

  • continues attacking the “so political,” “so-called” judiciary in response to court hearings on his immigration ban, prompting fears that he will not abide by court rulings and will instead trigger a Constitutional crisis (fears exacerbated by tweets like: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”). Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch calls Trump’s comments “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
  • furiously vows to appeal the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision to uphold the block on Trump’s immigration ban, tweeting “SEE YOU IN COURT!” to which nation replies, “DUH.”
  • moves to end the Fiduciary Rule and Dodd Frank regulations.
  • meets with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe for epic weekend of sycophancy, mutual incomprehension, and golf.
  • meets with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and to exchange stilted platitudes.
  • issues uncharacteristically restrained response to North Korean mid-range missile test.
  • after hearing a complaint from a Texas sheriff, ask for the name of and threatens to “destroy [a Texas state senator’s] career” because he proposed a state bill forbidding the practice unless the suspect was actually convicted of a crime. In response, Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach tweets, “Hey! I oppose civil asset forfeiture too. Why don’t you come after me you fascist, loofa-faced shit-gibbon!!”
  • announces three new executive orders against gangs and criminal violence, despite low national crime rate; the third announces a task force “to prevent crimes and crimes of violence against our law enforcement officers.” With AG Jeff Sessions standing behind him during this announcement, the orders could open the door to increased racial profiling (the wrong kind of commemoration of #blackhistorymonth).

In other news,

  • Democratic senators hold the floor over night in resistance to Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, whose family has contributed c. $200m to the Republican party and who is a proponent of school vouchers and religious education. She is confirmed on Tuesday in an historically close vote: VP Pence is called in as tie-breaker. Says Senator Al Franken after the vote, “Last night, I urged my Republican colleagues to oppose her nomination, because if we cannot set party loyalty aside long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the President’s nominees, then I don’t know what we are even doing here. Betsy DeVos has demonstrated that she is fundamentally unqualified to lead the Education Department, and it’s a shame that Republicans voted to confirm one of their major donors instead of looking out for our children.”
  • Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ken) introduces House bill to “terminate” the Department of Education in December 2018.
  • Andrew Puzder, Trump pick for Labor Secretary, admits to hiring undocumented domestic worker; he may not even receive enough Republican votes to be confirmed.
  • The White House releases a list of 78 international terrorist incidents they claim the media underreported. In fact, the events on the list were thoroughly reported by national and international media. Noticeably underrepresented or absent from the list: terrorist incidents directed against Muslims (the majority of international incidents) and right-wing domestic terrorist incidents (such as Dylann Roof’s attack on the Emanuel AME church in Charleston).
  • Like Conway’s Bowling Green Massacre last week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer references in three different news broadcasts a recent non-existent terrorist attack in Atlanta–“just think of the victim’s families!”–as justification for the immigration ban. He later claims that by citing Atlanta, he “clearly meant Orlando.”
  • In confirmation proceedings for Attorney General nominee Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, the Senate votes to censure Senator Elizabeth Warren for reading aloud Coretta Scott King’s statement protesting Sessions’ selection in 1986 for a Federal judgeship. Then, King’s testimony helped ensure Sessions was not confirmed. Now, during Black History Month, the Senate silences Warren for invoking King’s stance. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says of Warren: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
  • #shepersisted, and #letLizspeak explode as hashtags of resistance.
  • Orrin Hatch declares Sessions to be a gentleman, and finds criticism of him “offensive… Think of his wife!”
  • Nordstrom drops Ivanka Trump brand products, citing poor sales. Their stock goes up 4.1% and celebrities compete to purchase their products fastest. #grabyourwallet campaign gains more economic traction.
  • Trump tweets that Ivanka was treated “so unfairly… Terrible!” by Nordstrom, and mentions his criticism (and her brand) several more times, thus blatantly highlighting his conflicts of interest.
  • Press secretary Sean Spicer and Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway both repeat the President’s criticisms of Nordstrom and sales pitch for Ivanka’s brand; Conway said in a live Fox News interview, “I’ll give her a free commercial right here. Go buy it today.” Conway’s remarks were so outrageous that even chair of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) denounced her and co-penned a letter with Democratic counterpart Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) asking the Office of Government Ethics to review Conway’s violation.
  • Melissa McCarthy plays White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a second Saturday Night Live sketch, while rumors swirl that Trump is furious that one of his team could be lampooned by a woman. Rosie O’Donnell volunteers to play Steve Bannon, and the internet briefly breaks with pleasure at the suggestion.
  • National security advisor Michael J. Flynn may have discussed lifting sanctions with Russia before he had the official power to do so; he may also have misled VP Pence about the subject of the conversation. Both are grave protocol breaches, and his position hangs in limbo at present.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conduct sweeps across the nation, arresting over 600 people and catalyzing further fears among immigrant and refugee communities.
  • A federal judge denies a request from the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to halt the construction of the final link in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • This list sure as hell isn’t exhaustive. If you’ve got an addition, email weeklyindex at gmail.