Trump Watch: Day 222 Wrap-Up

Good evening, Trump watchers! I am back from the last of my summer vacations and will be back on my regular Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule now. Here’s what I’ve caught up on since I returned from my trip:

— As you all know, Hurricane Harvey has devastated parts of Texas. What you may not know, though, is that two weeks before the hurricane hit, Trump rolled back an Obama-era order that “would have made it easier for storm-ravaged communities to use federal emergency aid to rebuild bridges, roads and other structures so they can better withstand future disasters” according to the Associated Press. Also from the AP, “The order Trump revoked would have permitted the rebuilding to take into account climate scientists’ predictions of stronger storms and more frequent flooding.” Now, because of Trump rolling back the Obama executive order, Houston will likely have to rebuild its hospitals and highways in the same way they were built before, and in the same flood-prone areas.

— Yesterday Trump and his wife Melania visited Texas, though they did not visit Houston. Trump addressed a crowd in Corpus Christi, wearing a hat that he is currently selling for $40 online as part of his reelection campaign, and instead of acknowledging the victims of the hurricane, he instead bragged about the size of the crowd of people who were there as he spoke. With regard to the hat, a watchdog group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) spoke out, saying, “The White House should be dedicated to the people’s business, not Trump’s business. It is wholly inappropriate for them to promote Trump products, of any kind, at any time.”

— Get this: the Trump administration has tapped Julian Schmoke Jr., the former dean of FOR-PROFIT DeVry University, to lead the Education Department unit that polices fraud in higher education. The Student Aid Enforcement Unit was put into place during President Obama’s time in office, and was designed to “more aggressively combat fraud and deceptive practices at colleges and universities” according to Politico. The ironic part about all of this? Aside from for-profit universities just generally being terrible and misleading students, Politico reports that DeVry’s parent company “last year agreed to pay $100 million to resolve allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that the for-profit college company misled students about their job and salary prospects.” And this guy is going to be leading our nation in policing higher education fraud? I have no words.

— Today Trump spoke at a manufacturing company in Springfield, Missouri, where he called for “pro-American” business tax cuts as a way to create jobs, and he urged members of Congress to join his efforts for a tax overhaul. He offered few specifics on how he would plan to actually accomplish such tax reform.

— Today U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Washington “tore into President Trump’s voter commission for reneging on a promise to fully disclose public documents before a July 19 meeting, ordering the government to meet new transparency requirements and eliciting an apology from administration lawyers” according to the Washington Post. The voter commission was put in place by Trump after he claimed there were millions of cases of voter fraud after losing the popular election to Hillary Clinton. According to the Washington Post, “Studies and state officials of both parties have found no evidence of widespread voting fraud.” In response to Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s scolding, Justice Department civil division attorney Elizabeth J. Shapiro apologized and said the commission’s failure to disclose the documents was a misunderstanding.

— A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that 58% of Americans who disapprove of Trump’s job performance do not agree with even one thing that he has done as President. According to CNN, these respondents “named specific things they didn’t like instead, or, getting a little snarky, said they liked that his presidency has been ineffective so far.” Of those who were able to name at least one positive thing about him, “7% named something related to Trump’s approach to politics or personality and another 7% named something about his policy or agenda.” Of those people who approve of Trump, their biggest concern is his use of Twitter, with 17% naming that as a concern.

That’s all for tonight! Stay tuned for the next update on Friday evening.