(Written 2/3 but published late)
Wow, can you believe it has only been 14 days since Inauguration Day?! It feels as though these two weeks have taken months. So much has happened every single day that it has made it hard to catch one’s breath and take stock of anything.
There were so many moments in the news this week that I can’t comment on them all, but here were a few that caught my eye:
The Travel Ban
I think we have to start here. One week ago, President Trump issued an executive order that barred entry of refugees for 120 days (4 months) and immigrants attempting to enter the United States from seven key countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – for 90 days. The country rose up very quickly to denounce what many called a “Muslim ban”, particularly as it related to seven countries on the list from which immigrants would not be accepted. Questions arose as to whether Trump had left those countries out because of business ties.
Protesters rallied at airports, politicians spoke out against the ban, a federal court ordered a temporary stay, and the Acting Attorney General Sallie Yates refused to enforce the order, stating “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful“. Very shortly after that, she was fired. Protests have continued and are still ongoing.
Bannon Given a Seat on the National Security Council
Really, this one is exhausting to think about so just read more here: Bannon is Given a Security Role Usually Held for Generals.
Neil M. Gorsuch Chosen to be Next Supreme Court Justice
Weirdest thing about this was Trump’s Bachelor-style announcement where he wanted to have both finalists in Washington to make the announcement that much more interesting. It seemed too much like a play for ratings. I did not watch the live-stream on Facebook but I kept up with the announcement in real-time on Twitter. Gorsuch is known to be a very conservative Justice with rulings in favor of corporations having similar rights to people (the Hobby Lobby decision) and is likely not a friend to the Roe Vs. Wade crowd, although his exact position on abortion is not perfectly clear.
Democrats Slow Down Confirmation Hearings
Every little bit of resistance helps. In most cases, the Republicans suspended committee rules and moved candidates ahead. However, it showed the clear displeasure Dems feel toward some of the nominees, most whom they think would be detrimental if appointed to their chosen offices. (You all know how I feel about Betsy DeVos, and that’s been the focus on my activism and many of my tweets this week. More on that, most likely, in a separate post).
Trump Has Less-than-Perfect Phone Calls with Australia and Mexico
My favorite response to this bit of news was this, as it expresses what most of us felt:
More could be said on all fronts, including updates on the environmental protections Trump wants to get rid of, the latest with plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (with no clear replacement plan), the quiet activities to suppress voter rights across the country, etc., etc., but if all this hasn’t left you needing a glass of wine and a Friday night of unplugging, I don’t know what will.
Keep on keepin’ on! Keep on resisting! Keep writing and calling your Senators! (The DeVos vote will likely happen on Monday, so there’s still time to make your voice heard!) #VoteNoDevos #resist #persist
Update 2/6: Democratic Senators took to the floor to speak against DeVos. We will see if another Republican Senator does the right thing. If not, Pence will break tie with his vote, and we’ll be stuck with her.