With so much happening right now I thought I’d just do a roundup of the news under different headings.
Here’s what’s making news in Washington:
Daily leaks from the administration
- ONE DAY INTO HIS ADMINISTRATION, Trump reportedly called the director of the National Park Service to pressure him into finding pictures to back up his claims about the size of the inauguration crowd.
More unconfirmed rogue accounts
(Again, these are unconfirmed so be skeptical, but it’s still interesting!)
- Potus Staff (Updating this–there have been warnings this is a misinformation account. Be cautious.)
By the way, Press Secretary Sean Spicer allegedly tweeted out his password twice and had his account set to a private Gmail account. This is troubling both from a public records and security standpoint.
With every administration, high-level career civil service members usually submit their resignation when a new administration takes over. In most cases, the administration does not accept those resignations, or at least waits to accept them once they’ve found a new person to take the job.
However, apparently the entire senior staff of the State Department resigned yesterday. The Trump administration says they were fired, however, some of my connections say they indeed resigned. If you think of all the policies they would need to defend (Muslim ban, the wall, Russian sanctions lifted) you can understand why someone might want to resign.
The union representing foreign service officers issued a statement pouring some cold water on this and has asked the administration to work quickly to fill those positions.
At the same time, the director of the U.S. Border Patrol (who is from Kansas City originally) was dismissed from his post six months into the job on the same day that the president announced building a wall.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will hold a joint press conference with the president today. Sadly, the press office misspelled her name on the schedule.
The information officer of Jordan’s embassy in the U.S. announced by Twitter (how else?) that King Abdullah will arrive in the U.S. to visit with Trump on Monday. The two are likely to discuss Syria and refugees, which Jordan has been stretched to handle as of late. (I encourage you to watch the 60 Minutes interview with King Abdullah from September.)
Speaking of refugees, despite the executive order, you can still help to make sure the United States continues its commitment to international law and human rights by accepting refugees. The International Rescue Committee posted this page yesterday on how to help.
Meanwhile, the White House petitions are up and there is one concerning Trump’s tax returns. It is well past the amount requiring a response and one of the most signed petitions ever on the site, but feel free to add your name.
How to save news
Loved this Op-Ed in The New York Times from former White House correspondent Jessica Yellin about how to save CNN. I honestly believe we need to go to a non-profit/socially-responsible model instead of a business model and this articulates my thoughts well.
Speaking of which, you’ve probably heard about Trump threatening to take money from NPR and PBS. You should know that the government money doesn’t go to the national networks but rather pays to subsidize local radio/television stations in rural areas. There is such an information gap in rural areas that this service is desperately needed. Along with donating to your local station, consider picking a random small market and donating to their station as well!
Finally, from the files of things that should be bigger news:
The country of Gambia is going through quite a presidential transition. The people finally voted in a new president to replace a rather corrupt one who has ruled for more than 20 years. At first, he accepted defeat. Then, he did not and a regional military force finally had to push the human rights abuser out of the country. He made off with much of the country’s GDP ($11.4 million) by flying to Equatorial Guinea in a cargo plane with his Rolls Royce. (Equatorial Guinea is another quite corrupt country.) Anyhow, I thought the story of the women protestors wearing t-shirts in this New York Times article was worth reading. (Their story is toward the end of the piece.)