In case you missed it (you probably didn’t), the President of the United States went on an early-morning retweeting spree, during which he retweeted 3 Islamophobic videos from the leader of a far-right, nationalist British group called Britain First. The leader of the group, in turn, responded with “GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!” British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned Trump’s retweets, but refused to cancel Trump’s upcoming visit to the United Kingdom. These retweets have yet to be removed from Trump’s Twitter page, and White House Press Secretary has defended the tweets, saying it does not matter if they are real or not. She told reporters, “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real. His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security.”
This is not the first time Trump has given racist actions and rhetoric a powerful national platform. Before his election, he promoted the Obama birther conspiracy theory – a theory he reportedly still holds to be true. He launched his campaign by calling Mexicans criminals, racists, and drug peddlers. Following the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville this past summer, he neglected to fully condemn the racism-fueled hatred that led to one Nazi sympathizer killing a counter-protester. Instead, he blamed “both sides.” Just this week, he held a press conference with prominent Native American leaders, during which he used a racial slur to mock a member of the Senate. To make matters worse, the meeting was held directly in front of a prominent portrait of Andrew Jackson, a president who was referred to as the “Indian killer” because his actions directly led to the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.
These actions are too numerous to be called accidental or coincidental. Trump has a history of stoking racial tensions between the white Nationalists who support him and minority groups in the United States who do not, most consistently by lambasting black NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. During his presidency, racism in this country has become more emboldened, resulting in a sharp rise in hate crimes. His words and actions have real, tangible consequences. Many minorities have more to fear now, but their president couldn’t care less.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#GOPTaxScam. Yesterday, the Senate Budget Committee voted to pass the Republican tax bill out of committee, meaning that it will now go to the Senate floor for a full vote. Some senators continue to express concerns about the bill, especially about a new addition to the bill called the “trigger,” which Senator Bob Corker says alleviates his concerns about the additions to the deficit. So we need to keep their phones ringing! We’ve narrowed down the list of senators who will cast deciding votes to just nine. It’s easy – just head to TrumpTaxToolkit.org and either tweet at or call these key senators today!
Another One, Two… In a shocking morning message, Savannah Guthrie, a host of the Today Show, announced that her co-host, Matt Lauer, had been fired due to “credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.” Guthrie was clearly emotional about the revelation, describing Lauer as her “dear friend,” but also expressing sorrow for the woman who came forward. And then, it was reported that Garrison Keillor has been fired after “inappropriate behavior.” Lauer and Keillor joins a long list of powerful men who are facing allegations of sexual harassment or assault, including Harvey Weinstein, Senator Al Franken, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and President Trump. But, as many women already know, these abuses are not limited to Hollywood or Congress. Women face harassment and abuse in all sectors, across the country. To read more about this national issue, check out the Center for American Progress’s report.
Azar’s Hearing. Trump’s nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, will have his Senate hearing today. One of the biggest questions he is likely to face is his career as a pharmaceutical executive at a company who raised prescription drug prices. This contradicts his claims that he will seek to lower drug prices, which continue to soar in this country. What else does his resume include? He had a stint at the Federalist Society, clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, and “provided legal support for vote recount efforts in Florida” after the 2000 presidential election, to name a few. Moreover, he seems aligned with Trump’s values, especially on the Affordable Care Act, which he has called a “fundamentally broken system.”
Bad For Consumers. Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that Trump’s choice for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, could continue to serve in that role. This ruling denied English’s claim that Mulvaney could not serve as the acting director; yet, it doesn’t signal the end of the fight, as English plans to seek an injunction. Why would Mulvaney be so devastating for American consumers as head of the CFPB? The CFPB is a critical financial watchdog for American consumers; in fact, it has returned $12 billion to 29 million Americans who have been the victims of financial wrongdoing by big banks and other corporations. It has specifically been a key protection for student borrowers and veterans. But Mulvaney just thinks the CFPB is a “sad, sick joke.”
UNDER THE RADAR
#DirtyDeputies. Today, Republicans in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance two of Trump’s nominees for environmental posts. The first is Kathleen Hartnett White, who has asserted that science should not dictate policy. During her Senate hearing, she challenged climate science, saying, “CO2 in the atmosphere has none of the characteristics of a pollutant that contaminates and fouls and all of that that has direct — can have direct impact on human health as an atmospheric gas.” The second is Andrew Wheeler, who has been a lobbyist for the coal industry for years. These two nominees fit the trend of Trump placing people in environmental jobs who have no concern for the environment, support polluters over people, and do not believe in climate change. Yesterday, over 300 scientists sent a letter to the Senate opposing Hartnett White’s nomination – whether that will have an impact on the final vote in the Senate is yet to be seen.