The day, as they say, was no joke. President Donald J. Trump, for better or worse (more worse, in my humble opinion) hit the ground running with a flurry of executive orders, proclamations, a fluffed up, if convoluted, press conference by administration “mini-me” Sean Spicer, key cabinet appointments, a federal government hiring freeze and, the most troubling of them all; the unilateral withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP).
- The Press Conference:  To his credit, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lighted to the podium today in a substantially less combative and confrontational tone. He was contrite yet assertive when asked about his claims of the Trump Inauguration being the “most watched inauguration ever”. I know this is splitting hairs a little but understand it has far less to do with the inauguration numbers than it does with Spicer’s credibility with the press. While Spicer did admit that the in-person attendance numbers weren’t the largest ever, he stated that if one were to account online and television views, it was in fact the largest ever. Not likely given the fact that Nielsen has reported that the rating for the Trump inauguration paled in comparison to Obama’s ’08 inaugural ceremony.  When asked why Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP was right for America, Spicer rattled familiar talking points and basically driveled on about getting better deals for the American worker but never stated how withdrawing from the TPP would accomplish that. What is clear, however, is that Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP will leave the door open for China to make some serious moves on the world stage. US Allies like Japan and Australia are talking now about aligning themselves with China on the trade front.  Spicer actually stated that it was a possibility that the US would partner up with Russia to beat ISIS. This is complicated because Russia is aligned with Syria, home to genocidal maniac Bashir Al-Asad who, is at war against our ally, Turkey. When asked if the US may partner up with Al-Asad to beat ISIS, Spicer essentially said, “let’s not take this too far. Right, because aligning ourselves with Russia isn’t taking things to far?
- The Cabinet Appointments: With the confirmations of former Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson and Representative Mike Pompeo to Secretary of State and CIA Director respectively, Trump’s cabinet has begun to take shape.  Because of his well-documented ties to Russia in general and its leader and dictator Vladimir Putin personally, there was some debate regarding conflicts of interests in terms of Tillerson’s ties to Russia. I actually thought he handled himself well during the confirmation hearings but it remains to be seen how he will handle the role of top diplomat and whether those potential conflicts are cause for concern or not.  Pompeo was confirmed with 66 votes for and 32 against with all opposition coming from democrats. Many senators felt that Pompeo had not stated clearly enough that he would not deviate from the Army Field Manual, as is required by law, when it comes to interrogation techniques and not revert back to waterboarding, also known as an “enhanced interrogation technique”. To his credit, Pompeo did not hesitate to for a second to call the hacking of the 2016 elections the work of Russia and its heads of state.
- Federal Government Hiring Freeze: Now, I actually don’t think this is a bad idea. I mean, you have to give credit where credit is due. In a nutshell, Trump’s thinking here is that there is so much “pork”, or spending excess, in terms of the government’s payroll, that a freeze of hiring new personnel or creating new positions is necessary to assess payroll spending in an effort to save taxpayer money. I consider this a win for the American people.
- White House Site Eliminates Spanish Language: Now this just makes no sense, none whatsoever. As reported by the LA Times and a host of other new outlets, The Trump Administration took over the White House official site Friday and eliminated the option for Spanish translation. This is wholly offensive, reprehensible and repugnant. Mexican Americans and Mexican Immigrants have been a vital and viable part of this country for centuries. To exclude them in this manner, to prevent them from having communicative access to the highest office in the land is detestable in the highest, most putrid order. This hails back to when Trump first announced his candidacy, stating that Mexicans were, “rapists, murderers and drug dealers”. He is obviously biased to this segment of our society and this move is almost criminal in the degree of both its arrogance and blatant level of racism.
Let’s stay vigilant, my friends!
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
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