Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

12 days after the National Day of Patriotic Devotion

“A half-dozen of Trump’s campaign aides have formed a nonprofit group called America First Policies to support and promote the president’s agenda, The Associated Press reported Monday. [I]nvolved are … Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital and data director … Katrina Pierson, who served on the campaign’s communications team, and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, who also headed the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, as well as Nick Ayers and Marty Obst, advisers to Vice President Pence.” NPR, 1 February 2017

“[T]here’s [a] level of resistance to the new president that is less visible and potentially more troublesome to the administration: a growing wave of opposition from the federal workers charged with implementing any new president’s agenda. Asked whether federal workers are dissenting in ways that go beyond previous party changes in the White House, Tom Malinow­ski, who was President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said, sarcastically: “Is it unusual? … There’s nothing unusual about the entire national security bureaucracy of the United States feeling like their commander in chief is a threat to U.S. national security. That happens all the time. It’s totally usual. Nothing to worry about.”” The Washington Post, 1 Feburary 2017

“President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win … “This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center. Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admissions of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”” The Washington Post, 1 February 2017

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt given to AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.” Associated Press, 1 February 2017

“The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism … The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” … and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.” Reuters, 1 February 2017

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he spoke with Vice President Pence about how the White House can implement on a federal level parts of the Republican governor’s contentious policy that all but eliminated collective bargaining for public sector unions in the state.” New York Daily News, 1 February 2017

“The Trump administration has said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” in reaction to an Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond. The threat was made on Wednesday by the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in his first public statement since taking office.” The Guardian, 1 February 2017

“Moving to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s legacy on the environment and other issues, House Republicans approved a measure Wednesday that scuttles a regulation aimed at preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams. Lawmakers also voted to rescind a separate rule requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to mining and drilling.” The Chicago Tribune, 1 February 2017

Republican lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee voted to suspend the rule that required the presence of at least one Democratic representative in order to move the nominations of Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price to the full Senate. CNN, 1 February 2017

“A leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination.  The four-page draft order, a copy of which is currently circulating among federal staff and advocacy organizations, construes religious organizations so broadly that it covers “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations,” and protects “religious freedom” in every walk of life: “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.” The draft order seeks to create wholesale exemptions for people and organizations who claim religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity, and it seeks to curtail women’s access to contraception and abortion through the Affordable Care Act.” The Nation, 1 February 2017

In his remarks reflecting on the beginning of Black History Month, Trump proved his conviction yet again that there is nothing in this world that is not about him:

Hello, everybody. These are a lot of my friends, but you have been so helpful. And we did well. The election, it came out really well. Next time we’ll triple it up or quadruple it, right? We want to get over 51, right? At least 51.

Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together … and just a few notes. During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African Americans throughout our country, throughout the world, if you really think about it, right? And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America.

I’ve gotten a real glimpse, during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben [Carson] to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with. They’re incredible people. And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s going to be heading up HUD. It’s a big job, and it’s a job that’s not only housing, it’s mind and spirit, right, Ben? And you understand that. Nobody is going to be better than Ben.

Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news. It was fake news. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things in the, and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have, but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office, and it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.

I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King. So many other things: Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.

I am proud to honor this heritage, and we’ll be honoring it more and more. The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters. And Darrell, I met Darrell when he was defending me on television. And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right? And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community. He’s all by himself, seven people and Paris. So I’ll take Paris over the seven. But I don’t watch CNN so I don’t get to see you as much as I want to. I don’t like watching fake news. But Fox has treated me very nice, wherever Fox is, thank you.

We’re going to need better schools, and we need them soon. We need more jobs, we need better wages, a lot better wages. We’re going to work very hard on the inner city. Ben is going to be doing that, big league. It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at. We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement. We’re going to make it safe. We’re going to make it much better than it is right now. Right now it’s terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really, you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show. I’m ready to do my part. It’s the only time I can see him. I’m ready to do my part, and I will say this: We’re going to work together.

This is a great group. This is a group that’s been so special to me. You really helped me a lot. If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting, I won’t go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years. And now, we’re going to take that to new levels.

I want to thank my television star over here. Omarosa is actually a very nice person. Nobody knows that, but I don’t want to destroy her reputation. She is a very good person and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign. And I appreciate it. I really do. Very special. And so I want to thank everybody for being here.

The New York Daily News, 1 February 2017

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