At many different points in his presidency, Donald Trump has appeared to have no idea what was actually happening in the administration he is supposed to run. And on Friday, Trump made that fact vividly clear yet again with a stunning — even for him — post on Twitter.
After the Treasury Department announced it would be levying new sanctions on shipping companies for working with North Korea, the president abruptly reversed that decision:
It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2019
(In fact, the announcement was made on Thursday, not Friday.)
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, trying to explain this decision, said simply, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”
Though he’s in charge of the executive branch, this is a completely unorthodox and reckless approach to sanctions policy. If Trump had a strong opinion in the Treasury Department’s coming sanctions decision, he could have intervened earlier and avoided sending such conflicting messages. Instead, he made clear that he had no idea what was going on right under his nose in the Treasury Department through the formal sanctions process, making himself look inept and weak. Perhaps more importantly, however, he sends the message to the rest of the world that nothing the executive branch does has any authority unless he has personally weighed in — a move which undermines the government’s ability to accomplish, well, almost anything, as well as the undercutting the rule of law.
“What?” said national security lawyer Bradley Moss in response to the tweet. “Treasury goes through their sanctions process and then at the drop of a hat you reverse it?”
CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins noted that the turnabout was “Big.”
“The sanctions were on Chinese shipping companies that the Trump administration said helped North Korea evade international sanctions,” she said. “Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the ‘full implementation’ of those UN sanctions is “crucial” to the success of North Korea denuclearizing.”
“The United States and our like-minded partners remain committed to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and believe that the full implementation of North Korea-related UN Security Council resolutions is crucial to a successful outcome,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release. “Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions, and we are making it explicitly clear that shipping companies employing deceptive tactics to mask illicit trade with North Korea expose themselves to great risk.”
John Bolton, the president’s national security adviser, had said Thursday that the sanctions were “important” and that “the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices.”
Chuck Todd goes ballistic on AOC for using ‘concentration camps’ – and Dems for not condemning her
MSNBC's Chuck Todd says "you can't call" the concentration camps at our southern border "concentration camps."
"Be careful," Todd warned – comparing the Trump administration's camps, where we are keeping migrants, including many children, against their will, in horrific conditions – "comparing them to Nazi concentration camps. Because they're not at all comparable in the slightest.His tone was one of anger and personal outrage.
He is extraordinarily wrong.
Todd, who hosts NBC's "Meet the Press" and MSNBC's "Meet the Press Daily," also serves as the network's political director. Perhaps he should reach out to a few historians and a few experts on authoritarianism, maybe experts in Nazi concentration camps, before opining in such a degrading and condescending manner (watch the video below.)
A number of Democrats running for president are kind of weird about food
The New York Times has posted a series of short videos of the Democratic candidates for president answering important questions, like what they propose to do about our broken health care system and just how crooked Donald Trump is. Because campaign coverage demands candidates be allowed “human” (debatable!) moments, the Times also asked the participating candidates about their go-to comfort foods on the campaign trail.
Reparations, concentration camps and racial slurs: Republicans want to turn all discussion of race into pointless culture war debates
It wasn’t slavery. They are concentration camps. Racial slurs are not a youthful indiscretion.
This week has seen a series of culture-war debates dominate the discourse only to be derailed by bad faith arguments about semantics.
First, on Monday, nearly all of the right-wing ecosystem was engaged to defend the honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and gun rights activists Kyle Kashuv after he revealed that his admission to Harvard had been rescinded. At least one of Kashuv’s classmates in Parkland, Florida, released a number of text messages from him which included racist and misogynistic attacks on fellow students, including the description of black athletes as “niggerjocks.”