Another high-level Trump official has resigned, this time due to uncovered evidence of domestic abuse. Rob Porter, one of Trump’s senior aides, was a “rising star” in the White House, even though sources allege that the Trump administration knew of the accusations of domestic abuse for months. (Porter denies the accusations.) The charges had actually delayed Porter’s security clearance, and he had only been working with an interim clearance. As the news about Porter first broke, Chief of Staff John Kelly defended Porter, saying he was “a man of true integrity and honor.” Kelly was later forced to release a new, slightly harsher statement on Porter after a picture of Porter’s ex-wife with a black eye was published. One has to wonder why it took him three tries to get this right if he knew of the alleged abuse ahead of time from his FBI security clearance application.
An allegedly abusive senior aide in the White House is the natural next link in the chain of horrific White House personnel. Let’s not forget that Porter isn’t the first official forced out due to skeletons in the closet. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price wasted millions in taxpayers dollars taking private charter planes. One of Trump’s closest advisors who was forced out, Steve Bannon, is a well-known white nationalist whose views seeped into nearly every policy advanced by this administration. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as Trump’s national security adviser, lied to the FBI about his connections with Russia during the campaign and remains a central figure in the Russia investigation.
Trump says he hires “only the best,” but it’s evident that this is not true. In fact, the president is filling the highest levels of government with individuals who are unequipped to handle their jobs, in the pockets of major industries, or have committed crimes that make them unfit to serve.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DreamActNow. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a strong message yesterday on the House floor–so let’s join her! Head to ResistanceNearMe.org to find rallies and protests near you, and demand a Dream Act now!
Standing with Dreamers. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made history yesterday, speaking on the House floor for more than eight hours without breaks about her opposition to the new budget deal, which does not include a DACA fix for Dreamers. In her speech, she read heartbreaking stories from Dreamers and urged Speaker Paul Ryan to put the Dream Act up for a vote in the House–a move he has given no indication of making. The Senate, on the other hand, is set to begin debating an open amendment immigration bill likely in the next week, which would allow for the inclusion of provisions that would decimate legal migration in exchange for the Dream Act. The majority in Congress is likely to use this as a tool to blame the minority party for striking down a bill that includes both the Dream Act and President Trump’s laundry list of nativist policies.
Polluting Pruitt is At It Again. It’s no secret that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt does not believe there is a scientific consensus for climate change caused by humans. This week, however, Pruitt went a step further, suggesting in an interview that a warming climate might not be such a bad thing after all. Pruitt argued that “humans have flourished most during times of…warming trends.” President Trump is a self-proclaimed climate change skeptic, and he packed his cabinet with an unprecedented number of climate deniers. And now, the EPA Administrator is publicly attempting to sow doubt over the clear dangers and disasters presented by a rapidly warming climate. Pruitt’s words and actions are antithetical to the mission of the EPA: “protect human health and the environment.”
Black History Month. It may be the shortest month of the year, but it deserves all the attention we can offer it. The newest episode of the Thinking CAP podcast is devoted to Black History Month, and you won’t want to miss out on hearing from the special guests. The podcast’s hosts, Michele and Igor, speak with civil rights activist, DeRay McKesson, and professor and author Melissa Harris-Perry about the black historical experience of today: Dodge Ram using MLK’s voice in a now much-debated Super Bowl ad, Colin Kaepernick remaining un-signable for speaking out honestly for justice and equity, black women left out of the #MeToo movement, and another continuing resolution passed still with no deal for Dreamers.
UNDER THE RADAR
Disappearing Rivers. The Center for American Progress has released a new, first-of-its-kind analysis on the state of rivers in the West. This comprehensive project, which maps the damage from human activities to every river in the West, found that about half of all river miles in the West have been affected by dams, abandoned mines, development in floodplains, irrigation and other activities. The health of Western rivers has economic consequences as well. The analysis also finds that places in the West with the most rivers support a whopping 717 percent more outdoor recreation spending than those with the fewest rivers.