Liveblogging the Trump presidency, one catastrophe at a time.
All of this weekend’s big news was about North Korea and Trump’s complete lack of any idea what to do about them other than to threaten them and have China deal with them. The Tax Day Marches seem to have gotten a nice turnout, though.
- North Korea had a big missile parade, which, notably, is not unusual for them. That’s like, Tuesday in North Korea. In theory these particular missiles, which the media very much enjoyed referring to as “frankenmissiles,” could possibly hit the US mainland, assuming they launched and flew successfully, a thing NK has not been particularly good at recently. Example: After their parade on Saturday, NK did another missile launch, and the missile exploded almost immediately after launch. Trump’s apparently looking at adding more sanctions if NK tries another missile launch.
- The Tax Day Marches seem to have gone well (except in Berkeley). I heard the one in DC had 25,000 attendees.
- Tourism is taking a huge hit thanks to Trump’s travel ban. This might not seem like a big deal, but tourism is big money for a lot of places, pumping millions into local economies.
- The death toll from the MOAB we dropped is up to 94 ISIS fighters.
- Rumor had it Trump was insisting on the gold coach ride and all the pomp and circumstance when he visited the queen in Britain in a few months, but then the Trump administration claimed that wasn’t true. There was a lot of PR backlash to the idea so maybe they just changed their minds?
- Vanity Fair had a long, dishy piece about backstabbing, betrayals and drama in the White House involving Ivanka and Jared Kushner vs. Steve Bannon and that sort of thing. Fun reading, but it’s hard to say how accurate it might all be.
- Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has raised 13.2 million so far.
- A new Pew Research poll showed that more than 60% of Americans are worried that the rich and corporations aren’t paying their fair share of taxes.
- Easter Sunday kicked off with a lot of big talk from Trump about whuppin’ North Korea. He said the US will take action to end any threat from NK, that NK needs to end its missile testing or the US will offer reprisals, and that China should take the lead in dealing with NK.
- VP Pence was in South Korea, so he got in on the action, calling NK’s missile testing a provocation.
- Meanwhile, the New York Times has been digging through all the financial disclosures for White House staff and says the staff is packed full of conflicts of interest, lobbyists, and people advocating for the industries they used to work for, which isn’t surprising, but it’s nice to have proof for it.
- U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is doing a study of the electrical grid to see if wind and solar initiatives are killing coal and nuclear power, claiming that coal and nuclear are “steady, reliable” sources of power, whereas wind and solar are not. Basically Perry just wants some numbers to point at for when he starts screwing clean energy initiatives.
- Trump got his knickers in a twist over the Tax Day Marches, tweeting that he couldn’t believe people were still talking about his taxes.
- Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) claimed at a town hall this weekend that the recent rollback of privacy protections for the Internet didn’t matter because “nobody’s got to go on the Internet.” Where’s my eye roll emoji? Here it is: 🙄
- DHS Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that weed isn’t a factor in the war on drugs and that his plan doesn’t involve arresting a lot of users: “Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war. It’s three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south. The solution is not arresting a lot of users. The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south,” Kelly said.
NEWS: Despite China telling them not to do it and slapping them with sanctions, South Korea has gone ahead and deployed the “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense,” a US missile defense system. (Washington Post)
NEWS: AG Jeff Sessions has been busy rolling the Justice Department back to the 50s. (The Hill)
- ANALYSIS: “The same day this story came out, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing very little buyer’s remorse among Trump voters. The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better.” (Washington Post)
NEWS: Filed under “There Might Be Hope Yet”: “Consumer brands and industrial giants have been supporting government action on climate change for years. In a shift that is changing the debate, the biggest and most important U.S. energy companies are now dropping their resistance to a global climate deal.” (Axios)
POLL: Only 45% of voters in the US think Trump keeps his promises, down from 62% in February. (Gallup)
GOOD READ: Parts of the US will end up on the wrong side of Trump’s proposed border wall, possibly costing folks access to the rest of their property, but one poor lady’s whole house is on the wrong side of the border wall. (NBC News)
NEWS: The Trump administration took in 168 suggestions from businesses about what government regulations to cut and so forth, and a lot of the suggestions recommend getting rid of EPA regulations. (Washington Post)
NEWS: Russian state TV, a propaganda outfit for the Kremlin, said that Donald Trump is more dangerous than North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and while I’m not sure I disagree, this is a pretty clear indication that the Putin/Trump bromance is over for awhile. (Bloomberg)
EXPLAINER: Confused about what the heck is going on with North Korea and how we got to the apparent brink of war with them? No worries, Vox has your back with an excellent explanation of the situation. Read it here.
NEWS: The Office of Government Ethics is asking the House Oversight Committee to get off their rears and help because their bitty little office is overwhelmed with requests to investigate the various goings on of the Trump Administration. (NPR)
NEWS: “White nationalist Matthew Heimbach, who allegedly assaulted a protester at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump in March 2016, on Monday filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump directed him and other rally attendees to remove protesters.” (TPM)
SEAN SPICER: The last time I paid this much attention to a White House press secretary it was C. J. Cregg. Seriously, Spicer is like my favorite train wreck. Today Spicer defended the White House’s refusal to release visitor logs by citing the privacy of visitors (Poynter, Politico, TPM). He went on to add that Trump wouldn’t be “drawing any red lines” on North Korea because “they haven’t worked in the past” (Politico, TPM). He also said Trump’s not releasing his 2016 taxes because he’s still under audit, which is an entirely BS excuse, as we all already know (Politico). He also got to read to the kids at the Easter Egg Roll today (Washington Post video).
EASTER EGG ROLL: Speaking of the Easter Egg Roll, it does appear that they managed to have one today without setting anything on fire, although Trump apparently signed some kids’ hat and then flung it into the crowd instead of giving it back to the kid. So, y’know, good job, there. (Politico Photo Gallery, Washington Post, Washington Post Video, Washington Post Video)
Looking for old Trumpster Fires? Look here.