President Trump will be at the United Nations General Assembly this week, participating in a series of conversations and giving speeches. In typical Trump style, he opened his remarks this morning by praising his own real estate across the street, the Trump World Tower. Trump has criticized the UN numerous times in the past, including saying that the UN is “not a friend of freedom” and calling it a club for people “to have a good time.” This morning, Trump continued to push his “America First” agenda, saying that “no state should bear a disproportionate share of costs.” He also said, “[The UN] has not reached its potential because of the bureaucracy and mismanagement.”
His trip comes on the heels of yet another North Korean missile test, with world leaders attempting to answer the question of what is to be done. Despite numerous sanctions renewals against the state, Kim Jong Un continues to test his arsenal, demonstrating that UN sanctions have been insufficient to deter further tests. Trump–instead of promoting improvements to insufficient sanctions, strengthening coordination with allies in the region, or holding China and Russia accountable for abetting the Kim regime–has alluded to the possibility of military action on numerous occasions, while continuing to taunt Kim and North Korea on Twitter. These irresponsible tactics are ill-advised and could lead to a costly war. He is expected to suggest solutions to the problem that align with his “America First” policy of isolationism and proxy conflicts.
North Korea is not the only global challenge that awaits Trump and the UN this week. The Iran Deal is expected to feature prominently in the conversations this week, especially as Trump has threatened to pull out of the deal. Senator Ben Cardin has said that dropping out of the deal would be “setting up a situation where the United States would be walking away and be the violator of an agreement isolating the U.S. from Europe and giving Iran much stronger platform in the international community.” Another issue up for debate this week is the Paris Climate Agreement, and Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. Expect to hear climate change mentioned at the UN frequently—but not from climate denier Trump’s mouth.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ProtectOurCare. Trumpcare is back and worse than ever. The Graham-Cassidy bill would take away healthcare from millions, eliminate Medicaid as we know it, and eliminate key protections for those with pre-existing conditions. We must make our voices loud to let Congress know that this is unacceptable. Use our toolkit today to reach out to key members of Congress! Then, share the graphic below.
Climate Change. Over the weekend, reports emerged that Trump was reversing his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate pact that nearly every other country supports. The White House quickly quashed the rumors and assured that Trump and his climate denying cabinet were steadfast in their opposition to global climate action. It’s yet another reminder that this administration has no intention to address climate change and is moving forward with plans to dismantle programs and policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But even if Trump refuses to act, we still will—add your name to say “I am still in” to support climate action.
St. Louis. Jason Stockley, a former police officer, was acquitted Friday, six years after he fatally shot a black motorist in St. Louis. While protests following the verdict have largely been peaceful, St. Louis police have violently clashed with protestors. On Sunday, police arrested more than 80 people while the officers reportedly chanted “whose streets, our streets.” This is not the first time Missouri has seen protests following the fatal shooting of a black man by a police officer, as this latest round of marches comes three years after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Police brutality is not a new issue in America; there have already been 703 fatal police shootings across the country in 2017 alone. Meanwhile, Attorney General Sessions disbanded another DOJ police reform tool, and President Trump has been conspicuously silent on the recent events, which is unsurprising given his recent speech to police officers encouraging them to be “rough” with “thugs.”
Trans Ban. A new bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that would block President Trump’s ban on transgender military service members. While Senator Susan Collins had already provided bipartisan support to the bill, which was not likely to go anywhere in a Republican-held Senate, Senator John McCain renewed hope in the measure on Friday by voicing his support. Senator McCain rightfully claimed that the United States should “welcome all those who are willing and able to serve our country,” as less than one percent of all Americans are volunteering to join the military. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain’s support serves as a significant boost for the bipartisan effort. This is not the first time Senator McCain has defied Trump, as he continues to serve as a thorn in the embattled President’s side.
Dreamers. Six Dreamers are suing the Trump administration over the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. One of the Dreamers, Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn, said, “I have all these big ideas about how I want to change the world and change systems around health care. The fact I might not be able to get there is troubling and frustrating.” To join these Dreamers in the fight, head to DreamActToolkit.org.
Progress Short-Lived? According to the US Census Bureau’s annual snapshot of poverty, health insurance, and income, poverty is finally back to pre-recession levels. But this progress could all be erased with new conservative efforts to cut benefits to give tax breaks to the wealthy and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Read more about it, and listen to the Off-Kilter podcast here.
UNDER THE RADAR
National Monuments. Last night, a copy of Interior Secretary Zinke’s secret national monuments report was leaked, revealing that Zinke has suggested removing protections of nearly a dozen monuments on public lands and in the ocean. The Trump Administration’s proposal means that an area several times the size of Yosemite National Park could soon be be turned over to mining, drilling, and logging companies. Native American sacred sites, natural wonders, and places that are currently open for hunting, fishing, hiking and outdoor recreation are at risk of being permanently lost to energy extraction, mining, and private development. Not only would shrinking these public lands be illegal, but it would also be severely damaging to local businesses. Go to SaveOurOutdoors.com for more information and ways to show your support for America’s lands.