Donald Trump: The chaotic disrupter in the White House
Never say never, but it seems the stream of executive orders from the desk of President Donald Trump will wane as the administration's first full week comes to a close. Trump's trip to Philadelphia will include giving congressional Republicans his vision for implementing the policies of his first 100 days. But Trump's White House has quickly become recognized more for its chaos than for laying out tenable policy proposals.
Confidants of the president are leaking like a sieve — there are embarrassing details being reported everywhere you look. It is now widely accepted there is a connection between a Trump tweet or policy proposal and the statistics the president sees on cable news. On Thursday morning, Fox News called Chelsea Manning an "ungrateful traitor." Guess what Trump tweeted 15 minutes later. He is in love with the White House — it's got "the most beautiful phones." Executive orders are announced and signed before consulting with basically anyone, making their impact questionable and destabilizing.
And the consequences of Trump's scattershot strategy go further than administrative confusion. The Republican Congress was laser-focused on repealing the Affordable Care Act in its first week. Now, senators and representatives have found it impossible to build a message around anything other than responding to questions about Trump's latest missive. In fact, the GOP retreat Trump will attend Thursday was meant to be an opportunity for Republicans to plot a strategy. Instead, it has become another extension of the 2016 campaign.
This is Mic's daily read on Donald Trump's America. Welcome to the political newsletter that won't be in the room in Philly — but will find out what happens anyway.Want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox? Subscribe here.
• Today: Donald Trump seemed to free associate his way through the campaign. Now he's doing it in the White House, and it's getting chaotic.
• More: Trump will meet with Republican members of the House today in Philadelphia. Will they do trust falls?
• Even more: Theresa May, prime minister of the United Kingdom, will visit with Trump in Philly as she looks to maintain the "special relationship" between her nation and the United States.
• Where's Trump? I just told you twice: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is scheduled to give a speech around noon.
The latest on executive orders
This week saw a host of executive action from the White House, with such major moves on Wednesday that Trump is giving them a day or more to stew. The announcement of these orders was leaked ahead of time, but the specifics revealed Wednesday are worth noting.
• Trump will pursue the wall with or without Congress. His executive order charges the administration with "the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border." That project could cost tens of billions of dollars. But Trump failed to, as promised, secure funding from the Mexican government, so he's going to need Congress.
• The order also moved to elevate state and local law enforcement officials to the status of immigration officers, stating that law enforcement should aid in the "investigation, apprehension or detention of aliens in the United States." Local law enforcement officials have said they cannot function effectively as federal immigration officials and also community protectors. (BuzzFeed)
• The president also moved aggressively to shut down sanctuary cities. The problems with this approach are myriad. Trump is asking cities to pick between violating the Constitution's Fourth Amendment and losing federal grants. However, Trump may not have the authority to pull that funding. Across the country, mayors said they will not change their policies — pushing leaders of largely Democratic, urban areas toward a showdown with Trump. (Mic)
• Trump also ordered the creation of the "Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens." Trump highlighted the victims of violence committed by undocumented immigrants — who he referred to with the outdated term "aliens" — as he announced the orders. That order also included a call to publish a weekly report on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. (Mic)
• Another order (maybe) coming down the pipeline: Trump may be set to issue another order calling for an investigation into his false claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. (Mic) He doubled down on the promise in an interview Wednesday night, saying "many people" agree with his belief that millions of votes were illegally cast against him. (Mic)
• And then there's a proto-Muslim ban in the works: Several leaked drafts, as they stand now, will bar refugees from and visa-issuance to people hailing from several Muslim-majority countries. But, as a national security policy, the historical record shows it's mostly bunk.
• Yet another executive order being considered would create safe zones in Syria for civilians fleeing fighting there, upping American military involvement in the country. (Wall Street Journal)
The British are coming
The prime minister of the United Kingdom will visit Trump and GOP members of Congress on Thursday before heading to Washington on Friday for Trump's first state visit. Theresa May is expected to say in a speech to Republicans that the two countries "made the modern world" and can continue to lead. (CNN)
May, a conservative who replaced David Cameron, faces a right-wing wave of her own in the U.K. The Brexit vote to leave the European Union is considered part of a global wave of nationalism that helped sweep Trump to power. But just as the transition from campaign statement to policymaking is becoming murky for Trump, the British leader's push for a "hard Brexit" is under intense criticism — drawing the ire of markets, traders and many more who worry about the economic impact of cutting ties to a global market. Sound familiar?
News and insight you cannot miss:
• The headline we've all been waiting for: "Trump White House Senior Staff Have Private RNC Email Accounts." Where else have I heard about a private email controversy... (Newsweek)
• Remember how Republicans complained about the number of executive orders Barack Obama signed? Turns out, he took fewer executive actions per year than any president in the past 120 years. (Pew Research Center)
• Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has (again) said his country will not pay for Trump's wall along the southern U.S. border. (Mic) That comes after former Mexican President Vicente Fox (again) tweeted that one of America's largest trading partners will not pay for that "#FuckingWall." (Guardian)
• If Trump were to somehow make Mexico pay for the wall, this is how he could do it.
• Did you catch this? Trump's daughter, a top adviser and his nominee for treasury secretary are all reportedly registered to vote in two states. Not a good look for a president promising to crack down on what he says is widespread voter fraud — including by people who are registered in two states. (Mic)
• Contractors who worked on Trump's Washington hotel are suing him for $2 million. The conflict-of-interest potential? Massive, considering Trump now oversees the federal agency that worked with the Trump Organization to turn the federally owned building into a hotel. (NBC News)
• Fees to join Mar-a-Lago Club — "the winter White House," as Trump calls it — have doubled due to increased interest. Ethics watchdogs have expressed concern Trump's family is profiting off an opportunity to buy access to the president. (Mic)
• The Women's March may not be the only gathering in Washington to voice opposition to some of Trump's policies. Scientists are considering a march on the capital in the wake of reports the White House has stifled communications at the Environmental Protection Agency and other research-based government bureaus. (Daily Dot)
• Some Democrats have found their new mantra: Resist. Across the country, party leaders are citing the last few days of Trump's policy pushes to justify outright opposition to the new president. (Politico)
• But not everyone is on board. So far, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has voted for all of Trump's Cabinet nominees that have been confirmed. Even progressives like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown supported Ben Carson, a nominee with no government experience, to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Chicago Tribune)