Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
The Georgia 6th election, North Korea, and Turkey’s recent referendum seem to be the stories of the day so far, but we’ve also got a thing about the Blackwater founder and a few other bits and bobs going on today.
NEWS: North Korean UN deputy representative, Kim In Ryong, said yesterday that the Trump administration’s tough talk and threats have “created a dangerous situation in which thermonuclear war may break out at any moment on the peninsula and poses a serious threat to world peace and security.” (CNN)
NEWS: Trump called Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday to congratulate him on the recent vote that passed in Turkey expanding Erdogan’s power considerably. This referendum is widely considered to be a devastating blow to democracy in Turkey. (Washington Post)
- ANALYSIS: Lawfare has a short bit about the Turkish referendum that covers some of the controversy surrounding the vote. Read it here.
- ANALYSIS: Politico has more information on the Turkish referendum and what it means. Read it here.
- UPDATE: The White House has responded, saying that Trump’s call congratulating Erdogan on the referendum vote wasn’t an endorsement or acceptance of the results. Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We want to encourage democracy. And again, the purpose of the president’s call yesterday was not to discourage that but simply to talk about some of the things, like Syria, where they can work together.” (Politico, Washington Post)
ANALYSIS: “Meanwhile, 52 percent of Americans say the GOP is ‘too extreme,’ a charge only 40 percent make against Democrats. Team Blue is also more widely seen as boasting ‘good policy ideas’ — 58 percent say the Democrats have some of those, only 49 say the same about the GOP.” (New York Magazine)
FACT CHECK: Nebraskan Senator Ben Sasse (R) claimed at a town hall that the “real number” of publicly held debt is $70-$75 trillion, not $19 trillion, because he added in Social Security spending and the like over the next 75 years, which is sort of a BS way to consider public debt. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker breaks down the claim. Read it here.
NEWS: So, we sent an aircraft carrier group and a “strike group” of ships to hang around menacing North Korea, right? Apparently not. Neither of the groups of ships we said we sent to keep an eye on things are actually there keeping an eye on things, and no one in the US government has anything to say about it. (Washington Post, NPR, Politico)
- NEWS: “Officials there described a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from an ill-timed announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that a flotilla was racing toward the waters off North Korea.” (New York Times)
NEWS: White House advisors were supposed to meet today to talk about whether or not we were sticking with the Paris climate agreement, but the meeting’s been postponed. (Politico)
NEWS: Trump said yesterday that North Korea has “outplayed” Presidents Clinton and Obama, and referred a couple of times to “this gentlemen” in North Korea, meaning the leader of NK, whom he seems to think was one person, not two: Kim Jong Il, followed by his son Kim Jong Un. Trump said, “I hope things work out well. I hope there’s going to be peace, but they’ve been talking with this gentleman for a long time. You read Clinton’s book and he said ‘Oh, we made such a great peace deal’ and it was a joke. You look at different things over the years with President Obama. Everybody has been outplayed. They’ve all been outplayed by this gentleman.” (Politico)
NEWS: Trump’s expected to sign his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order today, which will “probe government procurement practices and re-examine all programs under which workers enter the United States from abroad — including H-1B visas, a key priority for tech companies.” (Politico, Also: TPM)
- UPDATE: Trump has signed the order. It’ll have the government prioritize buying American goods and minimize any exceptions to buying American goods, plus it’ll affect how work visas are doled out. (Axios)
- EXPLAINER: Vox provides an explanation as to what exactly this executive order will do. Read it here.
NEWS: “‘We will not sign consent decrees for political expediency that will cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals,’ Sessions wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.” What are these consent decrees everyone’s talking about? Here: “Consent decrees seek to prioritize police-community relations and de-escalation tactics rather than excessive use of force, and are court-enforceable.” (TPM)
NEWS: Two more plaintiffs joined the federal lawsuit that says Trump is in breach of the Constitution by hosting foreign governments at his resorts while he’s president. So far, the Restaurant Opportunities Center, Jill Phaneuf (event coordinator in DC), and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are suing over this. (TPM)
NEWS: Ivanka had dinner with Chinese president Xi Jinping while he was visiting the US, and then – in a completely unrelated situation, I’m sure – she got several Chinese trademarks that will be beneficial to her businesses. (TPM)
AMUSING: Twitter’s been having a grand old time pouring over Donald Trump’s old tweets and digging up mountains of hypocrital statements. (Washington Post)
I swear if Trump randomly, like, tripped on a squirrel or something we'd find an old tweet of his saying only fat losers trip on squirrels https://t.co/8AA8ghczLV
— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) April 7, 2017
ANALYSIS: “Last week, the widely respected 2016 American National Election Study was released, sending political scientists into a flurry of data modeling and chart making.” Some takeaways: Poor white people disproportionately voted Trump, rich white people disproportionately did not; white Trump voters are somewhat less authoritarian than suspected; white Trump voters were influenced by racism; and racial attitudes made a huge difference in who white voters voted for in the 2016 election. (Washington Post)
NEWS: “An Obama-era cyber intrusion program could have been responsible for the failure of North Korea’s missile launch on Sunday, according to cyber, nuclear and North Korea experts.” (Axios)
NEWS: Blackwater founder Erik Prince is the guy who met with Putin in the Seychelles back in January, supposedly on behalf of the Trump team. The Trump team denied that, saying that Prince was not part of the transition team. New reporting indicates that Prince was, indeed, advising the Trump transition team, and was meeting with them during the transition at Trump Tower. (Bloomberg)
BACKGROUND: The Georgia 6 special election is much in the news today because a Democrat might unseat a Republican there. FiveThirtyEight has everything you need to know about the election. Read it here.
- ELECTION RESULTS: Lots of places are liveblogging the election results. Here’s two: Politico and TPM.
ANALYSIS: One of the big questions surrounding Trump is whether or not he can win elections for other Republicans. Historically, this has been part of the President’s job – lending his political weight to other candidates in his party to help them get elected. So far, there’s no real sign that Trump can help his party win elections. (Washington Post)
ANALYSIS: “Trump made it to the White House thanks in no small part to a group of voters who didn’t necessarily like him but were willing to give him a chance. Nearly 20 percent of voters in the 2016 presidential election had an unfavorable view of both Trump and Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls, and Trump won that group 47 percent to 30 percent. That made the difference.” (FiveThirtyEight)
NEWS: Sunday DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t seem like he cared too much about marijuana. Today his tune has changed: “And let me be clear about marijuana. It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs. Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books.” Does that sound a little Jeff-Sessionsy to you? It sounds a little Jeff-Sessionsy to me. (TPM)
- RELATED: In the same speech, Kelly got snippy about people bashing the DHS over deportations and border protection: “If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change those laws. Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.” (Politico)
NEWS: Trump promised he wouldn’t deport DREAMers. Juan Manuel Montes is the first DREAMer to be deported. (USA Today)
NEWS: “President Trump is preparing to overhaul the nation’s tax code, and at least some of the coming changes could benefit his own bottom line. Critics say voters should be able to see just how much help the president might get from a revised tax code, so they are stepping up efforts to force him to share his tax returns.” (NPR)
QUOTE: “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days. That includes on military, on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement — we love our law enforcement — and on government reform.” – Donald Trump. (Politico)
NEWS: Industry groups are trying to talk EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt into having private lawyers undo the Obama’s Waters of the U.S. regulation, a highly unusual move that would basically do an end-run around the EPA lawyers who wrote the regulation in the first place. (Politico)
NEWS: “Billionaire investor Steve Schwarzman’s newfound status as a trusted outside adviser for President Donald Trump has created blurred lines in which the Blackstone CEO is offering guidance on policies that could boost the fortunes of his company and his personal wealth.” (Politico)
NEWS: “President Donald Trump says that how much North Korea’s leader desires peace will be a deciding factor in easing tensions between it and the United States.” (AP)
NEWS: So I guess we’re having a trade war with Canada? Here: “U.S. President Donald Trump promised on Tuesday to defend American dairy farmers who have been hurt by Canada’s protectionist trade practices, during a visit to the cheese-making state of Wisconsin.” (Reuters)
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.