In an attempt to save your sanity in a Trump World gone mad, I will summarize the news for you every couple of days. You can click on the links for more detail on any story that interests you, or you can skim the news and call it a day. We will, of course, still bring you commentary and deep dives into the most important events that happen.
- HHS was unable, at the Trump team’s request, to pull all the Obamacare ads set to run until the end of the month. The Trump administration was only able to cancel about $4-5 million in ads.
- Secretary of Defense James Mattis was sworn in. Then Trump signed a measure for “extreme vetting” of immigrants. This also temporarily halted the issuing of visas to those from Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, for three months.
- All refugee admissions have been suspended for four months.
- A cap of 50,000 refugees in 2017.
- Priority will be given to Christians.
- The Presidents of Mexico and the US have agreed not to discuss payment for the border wall publicly at this time. They spoke on the phone for over an hour Friday morning trying to ease the tensions between the two countries.
The reclusive billionaire Carlos Slim, who rarely addresses the media, held a news conference for more than an hour to discuss the “civilizational changes” underway and to warn that a proposal to impose punitive tariffs or a tax on Mexican goods would come back to bite American consumers and make the U.S. economy less competitive.“The best wall is investment, which generates employment in Mexico,” Slim said. “Mexico is the best partner the U.S. has and also the most complementary.” (WaPo)
- The Trump team released a statement Friday, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, without mentioning Jews at all, bringing swift backlash from multiple groups including the Anti-Defamation League.
- Kellyanne Conway confirmed the administration is considering lifting sanctions on Russia.
- Trump reiterated he believes waterboarding is a step below torture and is effective, but he will leave the final decision to General Mattis.
- The GOP is still clueless on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
But market experts and industry officials warn that Trump’s moves over the past week threaten to unravel insurance markets, driving away customers and insurers and leaving millions of Americans without heath insurance, even as Republicans struggle to come up with a replacement for the current law. (LA Times)
- Pence announced the administration would continue to investigate the voting rolls for the false allegations that millions of people voted illegally in the presidential election. “What I can tell you is that I would anticipate that the administration is going to initiate a full evaluation of voting rolls in the country, the overall integrity of our voting system in the wake of this past election,” Pence told Republican lawmakers during a question-and-answer session at their annual policy retreat in Philadelphia this week.
- Trump had his first meeting with a foreign leader, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister. He maintained the America First position. They have noticeable differences on Russia and NATO.
- Pence was the first Vice President to participate in the March for Life. The 44th Annual event was held in Washington D.C.
- The EPA and the Department of Agriculture were told not to communicate with outside sources via social media or regular channels this week. This led many groups to create alt or rogue accounts to fight the administration on climate change.
Trump Approval Rating Watch: 36%
Webb Household Approval Rating of Brussel Sprouts: 33%
Trump only has 3 points to fall before he is less popular than brussel sprouts in my house.