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Donald Trump Watch

Donald Trump Watch

Fifty-five percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably and only 44 percent think he’ll avoid major scandals during his presidency

A Compilation of Developments Involving POTUS

UPDATED JAN. 22

COMPILED BY ABQ FREE PRESS STAFF

Intimidator-in-chief

Gwenda Blair, one of Donald Trump’s biographers, told the website Salon, that Donald Trump’s bullying ways are not going to change. “There’s a fusion, I think, of his childhood, an emphasis on being combative, being ‘killers’ – as his dad famously instructed his boys to be – but also, I think, his own competitive nature, and then his grasp in early adulthood that being a bully and really putting it to other people and not backing down often works. He also had his church background telling him that being a success was the most important thing and that got fused with the sort of ‘You want a crowd to show up, start a fight,’ P.T. Barnum-type thing early on in his career. And then Roy Cohn as a mentor, a guy who stood for cold-eye calculus about how bullying people works. And you put all of those pieces together, that he’s been doing this his whole life, and I don’t see a single reason for him to back down. He’s going to go full blast ahead with that.”

All that debt

Donald Trump owes at least $1 billion to 150 Wall Street banks, which is a potential conflict of interest for a chief executive whose administration regulates the financial industry, the Wall Street Journal reported. The debt is represented by bonds sold to real estate investors.

Job one

Even as he was being sworn in, the White House website listed Donald Trump’s “America First Energy Plan,” which makes clear he intends to gut former President Obama’s plan to combat Climate Change. “For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule,” reads the top issue brief on the new president’s White House website. The Waters of the U.S. rule was an attempt by the Obama administration to bring all streams, rivers, lakes and marshes under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The White House’s website’s Climate Change page was also taken down.

Massive cuts

The Trump administration plans to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely, according to The Hill, a newspaper that covers the U.S. Capitol. The CPB funds 1,123 public radio stations and 366 public TV stations. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations. The Commerce and Energy departments would see cuts. In all, the Trump team plans $10.5 trillion in cuts over ten years, the newspaper reported, citing congressional staffers who were working with the incoming President’s team.

Peace through strength

The Trump administration plans to boost military spending. “Our Navy has shrunk from more than 500 ships in 1991 to 275 in 2016. Our Air Force is roughly one third smaller than in 1991. President Trump is committed to reversing this trend, because he knows that our military dominance must be unquestioned,” according to the White House website.

The border

“The Wall” Donald Trump promised hasn’t gone away, but his rhetoric on deporting millions of people has softened. According to the White House website: “President Trump is committed to building a border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. He is dedicated to enforcing our border laws, ending sanctuary cities, and stemming the tide of lawlessness associated with illegal immigration. Supporting law enforcement also means deporting illegal aliens with violent criminal records who have remained within our borders.”

The dossier

What is it? It’s a 35-page memo prepared by a former British MI6 spy at the behest of Trump’s political opponents, as yet unnamed. It alleges he paid Russian prostitutes to perform on the same bed at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton that President and Michelle Obama slept in. The spy is described by a one-time British ambassador to Russia as a “very competent professional operator” with strong connections inside Russia, who doesn’t make things up. The race is on in the news media to find what CIA officials have told other nations’ security agencies may be at least one copy of a tape of the aforementioned show.

‘Employee of the Month’

Humorist Andy Borowitz has joked that Donald Trump has been named the Kremlin’s “employee of the month,” which sounds harmless enough except that American intelligence officials harbor such grave doubts about the president-elect they’ve urged Israel not to share classified information with the Trump White House, lest it fall into Russian hands.

FEC beef

The Federal Election Commission has sent the Trump campaign a sternly worded letter citing contributions in excess of legal limits. OpenSecrets.org, a public records watchdog, said the campaign’s system of tracking excess donations served to inflate the totals and make it impossible to determine how much above legal limits was given.

Keep tweeting

A Gallup poll shows that Donald Trump is taking office with historically low approval ratings. Fifty-five percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably and only 44 percent think he’ll avoid major scandals during his presidency. Outgoing CIA Chief John Brennan said Trump’s tweeting is not in the nation’s security interests. “I think he has to be mindful that he does not have a full appreciation and understanding of what the implications are of going down that road,” Brennan told “Fox News Sunday,” a show Trump routinely watches. “Now that he’s going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security as opposed to talking and tweeting, he’s going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that U.S. and national security interests are protected,” Brennan added.

Trump’s reaction

In response to polls showing he is the most unpopular president-elect since at least 1977, Trump fired off a Twitter news release. His not-unexpected response: Polls were and are wrong and rigged. “The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before,” the president-elect tweeted.

Out media scum!

The Trump administration is considering evicting the news media from the White House press gallery and holding news conferences at some other building. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says the 49-seat White House briefing room is too small and he wants more space to accommodate journalists. Priebus isn’t discuss moving the White House press corps’ work spaces, but an anonymous senior official told Esquire magazine, “We want ‘em out of the building.”

Lawsuit filed

Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who was among a string of women to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct in the lead up to the election, announced that she is suing the president-elect for defamation, claiming Trump “maliciously” disparaged her and falsely claimed she was a liar, Mother Jones magazine reported. “On Nov. 11, 2016, I called on Mr. Trump to retract his statements about calling me a liar,” Zervos, who is being represented by high-powered celebrity lawyer attorney Gloria Allred, told a Los Angeles news conference. “I also called upon him to state that what I said about his behavior towards me was true. More than two months have gone by and he has not issued that retraction.” She said that she would be willing to dismiss her case without monetary compensation if Trump admitted she had been telling the truth, Mother Jones reported.

9-to-5 job

Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Friday, Jan. 20, but he’ll consider his first day on the job to be Monday, Jan. 23. That detail emerged after he sat down with British and German journalists over the weekend and offered up his thoughts on a wide range of topics, the Boston Globe reported.

The inauguration

Donald Trump will officially become the 45th president of the United States on Friday, Jan. 20. The ceremony, to be held on the west side of the Capitol, is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, with a musical prelude beforehand. Afterward, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are slated to participate in the traditional inaugural parade, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Expected to attend are former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as President Barack Obama and Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. As many as 25,000 people are expected to protest the event.

 

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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