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Staffers ignore Trump’s outrageous demands until he forgets about them: report

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- Commentary

The attitude among many Republicans in Washington, D.C. is that while President Donald Trump can be a loose cannon, he’s their loose cannon. But managing a loose cannon who is prone to making unreasonable demands via Twitter can be challenging, and a report by The Atlantic’s Elaina Plott details the tendency among Trump associates to ignore some of those unreasonable demands in the hopes that he will forget about them.

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“Since assuming office, Trump has issued many private demands to aides that have either been slow-walked or altogether ignored,” Plott observes. “But when the president dictates those spontaneous orders publicly, officials are suddenly accountable to a much broader audience — at least in theory — to make them a reality.”

Plott cites some examples. In July 2017, for instance, Trump tweeted that he was banning transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. And a former White House official, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity, told Plott that previously, Trump had brought up the subject but agreed to hold off on a decision until discussing it with officials in the U.S. Department of Defense such as former Defense Secretary James Mattis or former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

“We had literally just spoken to him about holding off on a decision and having a conversation later that day, maybe even bringing in Mattis and McMaster for it,” the former White House Official told Plott. “But then he tweeted it, and there wasn’t really any easy or effective way to walk it back.”

Plott also notes that on March 29, Trump announced that he would be cutting off all aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador—a move he wasn’t authorized to make unilaterally without consulting others. Because of Trump’s announcement, Plott explains, “stunned State Department officials hurried to put together a statement that evening.”

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This has been a pattern throughout Trump’s presidency, according to Plott: the president jumps the gun, and those around him hope that the mess he is creating will go away — or at least be manageable.

Interviewed anonymously, a senior official for the Senate Appropriations Committee said of the Central America aid fiasco, “whether Trump even cares about this in six months, who knows. But we’re the ones that have to try and fix it.”

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Republicans are sending out a ‘cry for help’ as Trump’s public impeachment hearings loom

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House Republicans’ request for witnesses in the impeachment inquiry reads more like a “cry for help” than an actual contribution to the investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct, argued MSNBC’s Steve Benen.

He’s not wrong. The list includes:

The whistleblower“All individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her secondhand complaint”Hunter BidenDevon Archer, a business associate of Hunter BidenNellie Ohr of Fusion GPS, which directed the work behind the Steele DossierAlexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee employee who reportedly conducted research on Paul Manafort’s work in Ukraine

Not one of these people will have information that could exonerate Trump from the mountain of evidence indicating he oversaw a vast bribery scheme aimed at pressuring the Ukrainian government into smearing and opening up investigations into his political rivals. At best, they could serve to distract from that central narrative, which documents and comments from the White House and Trump himself confirm. Creating a distraction is, of course, exactly what Republicans intend to do since they have no substantive defense of the president’s actions.

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There are only 5 ways to become a billionaire — and none of them involve being successful in free market capitalism

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Billionaires are wailing that Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’s wealth tax proposals are attacks on free market capitalism.

Warren “vilifies successful people,” says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Rubbish. There are basically only five ways to accumulate a billion dollars, and none of them has to do with being successful in free market capitalism.

The first way is to exploit a monopoly.

Jamie Dimon is worth $1.6 billion. That’s not because he succeeded in the free market. In 2008 the government bailed out JPMorgan and four other giant Wall Street banks because it considered them “too big to fail.”

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David Cay Johnston explains how Trump’s trade tariffs are really a tax on his base

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Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president.

So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch.

The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.

In 2016, under President Barak Obama, America imported $502.9 billion more in goods and services than it sold in exports.

In 2018, under Trump, that ballooned to $627.7 billion, an increase of $124.7 billion, and the deficit is on pace to run even deeper in 2019. For the nine months ending in September, the overall trade deficit was $481.3 billion, up $24.8 billion for the same period of 2018.

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