Posted on January 12, 2018 in Countdown
Click here to subscribe to Countdown, AAI's weekly take on news from Washington, around the country, and abroad.DREAMers Countdown: It’s been 129 days since President Trump moved to end DACA, and Congress has yet to save it. TWEET THIS
Since we kick off each Countdown with our frustration with DACA’s troubles, there was a glimmer of hope being reported yesterday that a bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal to save DACA, and protect those who are American in every way, except on paper. The deal was set to go to the White House to see if the administration is on board. But a few more “thoughts” oozed out of Trump’s Twitter feed this morning, affirming his (surprise, surprise!) opposition to the bipartisan deal. But there is also movement on the legal front, with California judge William Alsup temporarily blocking Trump’s plan to do away with DACA. But since SCOTUS already overturned a DACA-related order by judge Alsup last month, it’s not clear how far this legal obstacle to Trump’s efforts will go.TWEET THIS
President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, reportedly said some things at a White House meeting yesterday that we won’t repeat here in this G-rated publication, but all you need to know is he is still a racist. That is all.TWEET THIS
Like, Really Smart. And a Very Stable Genius.
The biggest news we missed while we were away is this new book, Fire and Fury, which basically says the president is an ill-informed, unstable, egotistical man-child (paraphrasing, apparently just like the book’s author too!). If you’re like us, the first thought is: And this is news why? Well, the news bit is that pretty much everyone around Trump, including his closest advisers, think this of him. This may strike you as a very worrying sign, but don’t worry! President Trump reassured us all on Twitter that he’s “like, really smart,” only to take it back instantly in a second tweet, saying he’s “not smart, but genius....and a very stable genius at that!” Phew, thank you Mr. President for that assurance, we were worried there for a second. But while we don’t doubt you one bit, we know some people out there might, so we’d like to offer our thoughts on how to silence the doubters: How about you get rid of all your administration’s lawyers and personally step in as counsel in all Mueller interviews with your team about the Russia investigation? Once people see you can do it all by yourself, no one will doubt what super stable, super genius you are. Like, really!TWEET THIS
Plan B: Go After the Refugees
Trump is full of great ideas for Middle East peace. First, he thought he’d revive the dead peace process by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Oh wait, you can’t bring a dead horse back to life by cutting off its head? Weird! Well, when that didn’t work, Trump decided another way to restart the peace process is to insult the Palestinians on Twitter, accusing them of showing no respect or appreciation for the US, and even threatening to cut off US funding for UNRWA, the UN agency providing basic services to Palestinian refugees. Compelling stuff, but it’s hard to imagine how further mutilation will bring that horse back. Here’s a thought: Since Palestinians only need aid because their economy is strangled by the illegal Israeli occupation, why doesn’t the orange president just stop supporting that occupation? You know, maybe not paying Israel that $4 billion in military aid a year to keep the Palestinians hostage might spare us the burden of feeding these ungrateful hostages who stubbornly refuse to play this peace process game while the deck is stacked against them. Or maybe keep hacking away at the dead horse, who knows.TWEET THIS
Some Running, Others Running Away
Election years tend to bring out some crazy, and boy do we have some crazy overload. Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama did not discourage all of America’s unsavoury characters from running for office, as evident by the fact that Jan Morgan is running for Arkansas governor. Who is Jan Morgan, you ask? A gun-range owner who declared her establishment of a “Muslim-free zone” because Muslims can’t be trusted with guns. But believe it or not, she may not be the most outrageous person running. Remember Sheriff Arpaio, the guy who oversaw abusive practices against detainees and who was later pardoned by President Trump after being convicted of criminal contempt? He’s running for a US Senate seat in Arizona. But almost as interesting as the new faces this election season are the old faces that won’t stick around. We already told you about Republicans Jeff Flake and Bob Corker abandoning their bids for re-election, and now you can add a whole lot of prominent Republicans, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Darrell Issa to them. Republican Joe Barton isn’t running for reelection either, over that nude photo that leaked online (nope, we’re not gonna link to it). On the Democratic side, we’re saying bye bye to John Conyers, Al Franken and Ruben Kihuen over sexual harassment scandals, and a whole bunch of other Democrats for a wide variety of reasons. Is this an unpredictable election season or what? Countdown is where we’ll get you the most consequential, and occasionally the juiciest, updates, so stay tuned.TWEET THIS
No Free Pass on Anti-Muslim Baiting
If you thought Trump’s anti-Muslim baiting was strictly a domestic issue, think again. This administration’s choice for US Ambassador to the Netherlands was none other than former Michigan member of congress Peter Hoekstra, a man who made false and incendiary claims about “no-go zones” in the Netherlands where non-Muslims would be set on fire if they ventured. When Hoekstra was confronted by Dutch journalists about his false remarks, he claimed that this was “fake news” and that he never made those remarks. This basically means that Hoekstra had lied about his lies. But the Dutch journalists were prepared with video evidence of his original remarks, and upon showing those to him, he claimed that he never claimed that claims of those remarks was fake news (yes, he lied about lying about lying). This whole madenning exchange was summed up beautifully by Chris Hayes. But while Hoekstra offered a vague apology about that dishonest exchange, Dutch journalists weren’t satisfied, and they continue to grill him on being clear about whether he takes back his original lies. Weeks after that initial exchange, Hoekstra still refuses to speak candidly about the matter. But as frustrating as his conduct has been, we have to pause for a moment and say kudos to the Dutch and American journalists holding him accountable.