In a week where California is literally burning and Puerto Rico still needs help, President Trump decided to inject uncertainty into FEMA’s commitment to Puerto Rico, throw DACA recipients back into limbo, and recklessly sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Editorial boards across the country criticized him for all of these issues and more.
Here’s what Americans were reading in their local papers this week:
San Francisco Chronicle: Trump’s Cabinet Of Chaos
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee this week described Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as “those people that help separate our country from chaos.” While it might surprise some administration observers to learn that anything is separating the nation from chaos, Corker has a point about the thin gray line of generals and executives who constitute the embattled anti-entropy faction of President Trump’s Cabinet.
Syracuse Post Standard: President Trump’s View Of Puerto Rico Relief At Odds With Reality
President Donald Trump had the chance this week to show the nation he can comfort, support and lead in times of crisis. His actions in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico came up woefully short.
The president seemed more concerned with portraying the federal relief effort in a positive light and settling scores with his critics than he was with getting an unvarnished view of conditions on the ground.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trump’s Threats Undercut Diplomatic Efforts To Avoid War With North Korea
Trump’s impulsiveness and social media threats undermine diplomacy, making it imperative that Tillerson and other rational actors in Washington continue to pursue strategies that will prevent war with North Korea.
Newark Star Ledger: What New Jersey Can Learn From Trump-Grade Sleaze
The short version: The Manhattan District Attorney has received huge campaign contributions from Donald Trump’s lawyer – including $50,000 after he dropped a two-year criminal fraud investigation of the president’s son and daughter, to the astonishment of his confederates.
This extraordinary story – a collaboration from Pro Publica, the New Yorker, and WNYC – may not show evidence of crimes, but it has the kind of debauchery you’ve come to expect from Team Trump.
Raleigh News and Observer: Trump Comes To N.C., But Not Where Matthew Did
This weekend, Trump is headed for another awkward hurricane moment, this time in North Carolina. On Saturday, as North Carolina marks the anniversary of Hurricane Matthew, the president will make his first visit to the state since his inauguration in January. But he’s not coming in to see how the recovery is going in Eastern North Carolina. He’s coming to Greensboro for a fundraiser at at the home of Louis DeJoy, a Republican mega donor. DeJoy’s wife, Dr. Aldona Wos, led the state Department of Health and Human Services under former Gov. Pat McCrory.
There’s nothing wrong with wealthy Republicans raising funds for Trump and the Republican National Committee, but the scale and the timing of the lavish event hardly supports the president’s claim that he ran for president to help “the forgotten people.” The event costs $15,000 per couple for preferential seating at the dinner and a VIP reception before or after the president speaks. There are also donation levels at $100,000, $50,000 and $35,000 per couple, according to the invitation.
Concord Monitor: Trump Tax Plan A Boon For The Wealthy
The billionaire president says the plan won’t help him. “No, I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit. In fact, very very strongly, as you see, I think there’s very little benefit for people of wealth,” Trump told a reporter.
That’s false. From what’s known about the plan, he and his family would benefit enormously.
Boston Globe: Jim Mattis Is Right: Stay In The Iran Deal
President Trump’s problem is that during the campaign, he made irresponsible claims about the agreement and pandering promises to end it. He is now trying to save face by insisting on a larger review of Iranian conduct, even while administration sources say he will toss the issue to Congress to decide
Los Angeles Times: Just Admit It Mr. Trump, You’re Wrong About The Iran Nuclear Deal
Why would Iran consider negotiating a new agreement with representatives of the U.S. when this country is attempting to undermine an agreement it signed only two years ago? And why would U.S. allies go along with this gambit? They wouldn’t.
“Decertify and fix” isn’t a considered strategy; it’s an attempt to contain the damage from a president’s refusal to admit that he was wrong. If Trump really wants to be unpredictable, he’ll put the interest of the country first and certify again that Iran is in compliance.
Quad City Times: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
It would be the second time in as many weeks that the Trump administration took an action that would specifically damage Iowa. Late last month, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out proposed regulations that would gut the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Trump won Iowa. Republicans run Iowa. Iowa’s GOP royalty have remained loyal even as Trump’s administration has been mired in total chaos.
But Trump is loyal to no one but himself.
Delaware News Journal: Trump Administration Belittles Access To Contraception
Even so, the administration estimates – very roughly – that tens of thousands, and perhaps more than 100,000, women will now have to pay out of pocket for their birth control or look for help elsewhere. Others predict more. The administration argues that these women should seek out unrelated federal programs that provide discounted or free contraception. But this thinking violates the underlying logic of the mandate. Throughout the dispute over the law, the Obama administration argued that women’s access to an essential benefit must be seamlessly incorporated into the rest of their health plans. Creating gratuitous barriers to contraception will result in more unintended pregnancies. We doubt that is what the Trump administration wants. But that will be the consequence.
Chicago Sun Times: Trump Goes After ‘Dreamers.’ Seriously?
Yet President Donald Trump would deport them, all 800,000. He once promised he would resolve with “heart” the uncertainty of their legal status, but that was empty talk. In the view of this White House, the dreamers are not full human beings. They are pawns, easily sacrificed, in a bigoted anti-immigration crusade.
The only acceptable response is to resist. The only decent course for Democrats and moderate Republicans is to ignore Trump’s demand on Sundaythat the protection of dreamers from deportation be conditioned on far more controversial immigration reforms.
Somerville Courier News: Trump’s DACA Deal A Loser
It’s an exceedingly anti-immigration manifesto, which should hardly surprise any of us, especially Democratic leaders who might have deluded themselves into believing Trump was making an honest effort at compromise.
There’s an undeniable vein of racism running through much of Trump’s core support, and his attacks on immigrants that pervaded his campaign have continued into his presidency. While Trump has flailed away on many policy fronts, with goals that seem unclear beyond a desire to strike any sort of deal allowing him to declare victory, his animus toward immigrants has never wavered. A travel ban was among his first priorities as president, and while there have been legal stumbles along the way, those restrictions are taking hold and expanding.
Denver Post: Is Trump Actually Serious About A DACA Fix?
Saying that nearly every Republican senator also viewed Trump’s handling of the presidency as chaotic and unstable, the Tennessean lamented “the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around (Trump) to keep him in the middle of the road.”
We mention it, because while Trump’s Corker assaults weren’t the biggest news from the White House on Sunday, they get right at the nut of the problem of the Trump presidency.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Trump Sabotaging Obamacare With Birth Control Rule
Trump doesn’t seem to really care if Democrats come around to his way of thinking. His agenda isn’t about compromise. It’s about keeping this country as divided over social issues as it was when he won the White House. The formula worked for him then, and he believes it will again in a reelection bid. But what a price this country will pay if his cynical approach to government continues to prevail.
Arizona Republic: Want Another Vietnam In North Korea? Trump May Send Us There
A president of the United States who doesn’t read, cares nothing for what he doesn’t know, has no foreign-policy experience and an exaggerated view of his own abilities has put this nation in peril.
The North Koreans may turn from missile rattling to missile strikes and leave us no choice but war. But until then, we must try to resolve this peacefully.
Trump’s irreverent behavior that could sometimes amuse on the campaign trail is a threat to the nation when it frames policy in critical moments. We cannot allow him to continue conducting diplomacy by bombast and Twitter. This has to stop.
Raleigh News & Observer: Trump Goes Backward On LGBT And Women’s Rights
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had it right when she said: “This administration’s contempt for women reaches a new low with this appalling decision to enable employers and health plans to deny women basic coverage for contraception.”
Trump has accomplished virtually nothing of consequence in nine months, and even now he’s embroiled in a tussle with his own secretary of state. His staff has turned over; many important jobs remain unfilled; his lack of empathy for the victims of natural disasters – even when he “shows up” – can’t be covered up by towel-tossing or repeated boasting of how great he is at his job.
Baltimore Sun: Brat-In-Chief
Now, one can call the 65-year-old two-term senator a lot of things — successful businessman, former mayor of Chattanooga, deficit hawk and believer in climate change science — but what you can’t call him is wrong to be worried. An erratic presidential candidate has evolved into an even more erratic commander-in-chief. It’s one thing to insult your political enemies with labels like “crooked” or “little” or “nuts,” it’s quite another to put the Iran nuclear deal at risk or undercut your secretary of state’s attempt to negotiate with North Korea, also over nuclear weapons. These aren’t the brilliant machinations of a leader playing “bad cop” to his staff’s “good cop,” they are the petty dictates of a wanton, uncaring boy tearing wings from flies for sport, as William Shakespeare described in King Lear.
York Dispatch: Trump’s Tweets: From Benign To Dangerous
Other than fortifying the tweeter-in-chief’s unendingly fragile ego, Trump’s Twitter musings serve no palpable purpose. Indeed, they are more often counterproductive.
Whether the policy is foreign or domestic, the politician is Democratic or Republican, or the issue is mundane or momentous, the president is reliably consistent: spiteful, dishonest, irresponsible and self-congratulatory.
Newark Star-Ledger: North Korea V. The Chief Resident Of ‘Adult Day Care’
As Corker confirms, it’s not just Democrats who believe we are being held hostage by an erratic narcissist. So do many Republican senators and top Trump advisors, who see their ability to manage and talk him down as essential to our safety.
Consider Trump’s actions on North Korea. He has personally insulted an unstable man; undertaken no significant diplomatic push with China, Japan or South Korea; and publicly undermined his own secretary of state – leaving our adversaries wondering why they’re even wasting time speaking to him.
New Jersey Record: Trump Using ‘Dreamers’ As Pawns
It turns out, President Donald Trump’s supposed “grand bargain” in regard to saving the so-called “Dreamers” is no bargain at all, but merely a collection of bad ideas and false choices that will rip families apart, do nothing to make borders more secure, and keep the nation miles away from finding anything approaching common ground on sound immigration policy.
Poughkeepsie Journal: Trump’s Wall Idea Is Full Of Holes
New York relies heavily on migrant workers for farming in particular, and that’s why the New York Farm Bureau and many others support comprehensive immigration reform. Right now, though, sound proposals are being drowned out by the president’s bellowing of unworkable plans — ideas that are miles wide perhaps but also are an inch deep.
Tampa Bay Times: While Trump Tweets, Rights And Protections Are Being Eroded
President Donald Trump was at it again Tuesday, battling the NFL over players standing for the national anthem and continuing his Twitter war with an influential Republican senator. That diverts attention from his administration’s steady dismantling of protections for women, equal rights for the LGBT community and efforts to combat climate change. The president who as a candidate criticized President Barack Obama for changing policy by executive authority has adopted the same approach. The difference is Trump is turning back the clock to an era that was more discriminatory and less enlightened.
President Trump’s spiteful campaign to undo the accomplishments of his predecessor has ramped up on two fronts in recent days. On Sunday, the White House announced that it intends to hold the future of the so-called Dreamers hostage to Trump’s vision of an America with fewer immigrants. Then on Monday the Environmental Protection Agency said it would rescind the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a regulatory mechanism that forces power plants to reduce emissions of climate-changing gases.
Chicago Tribune: Trump And The Art Of Blowing Up The Iran Deal
That would take a masterful negotiator — a skill that Trump has not demonstrated in office so far.
The president thrives on creating chaos and disrupting the normal channels of geopolitics. His supporters see a leader who doesn’t mince words. We see a provocateur who takes risks with foreign policy and has a dubious strategy for revising this nuclear deal.
Baltimore Sun: The War On Coal Is Over. The War On Breathing Has Begun.
One last point. President Obama never declared war on coal. And the Clean Power Plan wasn’t costing the U.S. $33 billion, only a gross distortion of the numbers can possibly suggest that. All that President Trump has succeeded in doing is to put a greater burden on states and the federal courts to impose the protections through local laws and lawsuits that the American public deserves. That, and to signal to the rest of the world that as long as Mr. Trump is president, the U.S. is an unreliable partner in global efforts to mitigate an environmental disaster in the making.
Over the years, Congress has allowed the presidency to take many of its war-making powers. Such a momentous decision as a first strike should come after a sober debate by our elected representatives, not because of an angry tantrum by someone as inexperienced and unstable as Trump.
Even some fellow Republicans and top aides are reportedly relying on the former and current generals in Trump’s inner circle to stop him from going off a cliff – and taking the nation with him.
Salt Lake Tribune: Birth Control Is Basic Medicine
Despite the administration’s stated reason for the exemption, this is not a religious freedom issue. No person’s religious beliefs should be considered grounds to deny someone else such a basic component of medical care. Just as no pacifist can escape paying for the F-35, no vegan can avoid a role in federal meat inspection and no member of affected religions can skip responsibility for blood transfusions.
This move displays a serious ignorance of basic medicine. It forgets that birth control pills are a hormone treatment that, in addition to prevention of pregnancy, are useful in treating ovarian cysts, anemia, menstrual cramps, migraines and, odd as it may seem, infertility.
Good for Corker for speaking up. Now it’s time for the rest of his colleagues to do so as well. It is well-known — beyond question, in fact — that many Republicans in Congress and around the country and even in the president’s own Cabinet consider him a potential menace to the country: an under-qualified man of poor judgment, a bellicose hothead who returns small slights with disproportionate attacks. Even his own secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, reportedly called Trump a “moron” after a meeting in July.
Concerns about the president’s judgment are entirely reasonable. How could he have said last week that “only one thing” will solve the problem of North Korea’s nuclear threat, an apparent reference to war — or that Tillerson was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Kim Jong Un? Why did he warn in a speech at the United Nations that the U.S. would “have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if it was forced to defend itself or its allies? Why does he call Kim “Little Rocket Man” in repeated tweets? Such taunts and threats are irresponsible.
San Francisco Chronicle: Trump’s plan to dump Iran nuclear deal would be disaster
President Trump is about to make one of his most reckless moves yet on the global stage. He’s threatening to end a deal that has bottled up Iran’s nuclear program and break with his top advisers and party leaders who largely abide the agreement.
It’s Trump at his willful, irresponsible worst. He’s expected to void the 2-year-old pact that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange with verified curbs on that country’s nuclear weapons work. The White House action won’t fully shred the arrangement but hands formal withdrawal to Congress to decide.
Newark Star-Ledger: Proceed carefully, NFL: It’s Not Hard To Spot The Real Patriots
So as Donald Trump engages in demagogic piffle about respect for the flag, the NFL should celebrate Bennett for speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trump’s Newest Health Reform Based On Wishful Thinking, Not Reality
Legal challenges to the executive order are expected and merited. And it will take time for federal agencies to roll out.
Trump’s plan disingenuously suggests there are fast, easy solutions to lower coverage costs without sacrificing care. Americans are ill-served by presidential policy promoting this fantasy.
Chicago Sun Times: Get The Job Done, President Trump, In Puerto Rico
Once again, we are seeing an ugly side of the president. Just a week ago, in a visit to Puerto Rico, Trump did little more than pat himself on the back for doing his job and sending help to the island, albeit belatedly.
Trump gets up in the morning and looks for somebody to kick around.
Baltimore Sun: Alternative Fact Of The Week: No Más, Puerto Rico
Whatever one might think of Puerto Rico’s financial struggles prior to Hurricane Maria, the past is the past and unchanged since Mr. Pence’s visit. So who deserves Alternative Fact of the Week honors, the vice president for pledging federal presence “every step of the way” when that was never the intention or a president who just pulled the rug from under him without admitting it was all a lie? Here’s an idea. Let’s just call them codependents, and Americans can decide which is the abusive, emotionally manipulative one (Hint: President Trump) and which is the insecure enabler (Vice President Pence).
Albany Times Union: Mr. Trump’s Reckless Cure
Mr. Trump had no such plan, of course, nor did Republicans. So Mr. Trump has decided to just blow the whole system up like a petulant child who just messes up the game board rather than admit defeat.
Providence Journal: A Disturbing Suggestion
Even if Mr. Trump was speaking in jest — and we don’t know that he was — his words open a sad and dangerous chapter for a nation founded on the principles of freedom and individual liberty and government by the people. It’s possible that others, now or in the future, might echo his words and take them seriously. And that is why Mr. Trump’s words, in this instance, are dangerous.
Kansas City Star: Donald Trump Versus The First Amendment
The conservative writer Ramesh Ponnuru answered Trump’s comment that “it’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” with the tweeted rejoinder that “it is frankly disgusting that the president made this statement.” And Sen. Ben Sasse, the Nebraska Republican, asked if Trump was “recanting of the oath you took on January 20th to preserve, protect, and defend the First Amendment?” Unfortunately, we have every reason to suspect that the answer is yes.
Concord Monitor: Failing The People And The Planet
The sadistic Roman emperor Nero supposedly fiddled while Rome burned. While California burns, Trump tweets.
He threatened to pull the license of a television network, attacked a sports anchor who criticized him, insulted the Republican senator who heads the Foreign Relations Committee and undercut his secretary of state by threatening North Korea yet again. And that’s just a sample of his daily outbursts that help justify the description of the White House as “an adult daycare center.”
If there’s something wrong or stupid that could be done, this president and his administration will find it and do it.
Boston Globe: Donald Trump’s Health Care Order Creates Two Americas
An executive order signed by Trump on Thursday authorizes changes to Affordable Care Act regulations that are designed to create less expensive, less comprehensive health insurance plans. Health care experts predict that changing the ACA formula in that way drives younger people — who are typically healthier — to the cheaper products. That raises costs for those left behind in the ACA pool, making collapse probable, if not inevitable. Of course, collapse of the ACA is exactly what Trump wants. It fits the one clear goal of his administration: to obliterate progressive policies linked to his predecessor, from civil rights to immigration, from environmental laws to health care.
Trump already cut funding for advertising to promote the ACA’s next open enrollment period and rolled back the ACA mandate that requires employers to cover birth control. Describing Thursday’s ACA-neutering directive, Trump said, “This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for and they’re going to be very happy. This will be great health care.” At this point, there’s nothing to suggest Trump has any idea what it takes to deliver great health care for people who don’t have gold-plated bathroom fixtures, or that he cares to learn. From the national anthem to national health law, his mission is pure disruption. But health care is complex, so disrupting the ACA will take time. According to The New York Times, actual change to the health insurance market can’t happen until several federal agencies rewrite their regulations.
Springfield Republican: Trump Tells Puerto Rico To Just Drop Dead
Perhaps this tactic made good sense in New York real estate development or in the unreal world of reality TV, but it ought to be far beneath a president of the United States of America.
Puerto Rico needs help. It also needs reassurances that assistance will continue to be forthcoming . Nonetheless, Trump keeps on saying and tweeting exactly the wrong things.
Los Angeles Times: Trump Takes His Media-Bashing To A New Extreme
Still, calling for a news organization to be suppressed because you don’t like what it broadcasts is something we expect from foreign strongmen, not the president of the United States. As Alexandra Ellerbeck, the North America program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, noted in an interview with the New York Times, such authoritarian bastions as Russia, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all determine the fate of news outlets’ licenses .
Baltimore Sun: Trump Pushes Obamacare Over A cliff
President Donald Trump’s executive order to allow cheaper but less comprehensive health plans into the insurance marketplaces is bad. His decision to stop providing cost sharing subsidies to insurance companies is disastrous. The bipartisan group of senators who worked in the wake of the failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act now must urgently resurrect their efforts, and, failing that, Democrats must put the brakes on the rest of the Republican agenda until the stability of America’s insurance marketplaces is restored.
Boston Herald: Feud Over 1st Amendment
Nothing gives the president the right to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution he’ll defend — no matter how much he despises the press. The media are the first target of tyrants and autocrats around the globe, a club no U.S. president should seek to join.
Foster’s Daily Democrat: Using Dreamers As Bargaining Chip Is Immoral
It would be cruel to expel Dreamers now, and the president’s threat of deporting them if he doesn’t get his way with Congress is vicious and morally bankrupt. This isn’t a bargaining session about cutting aircraft carriers or agricultural subsidies. It’s about innocent people, who were brought to this country as children. They have taken nothing, given much, worked hard and excelled. These friends, neighbors and community members should not be used as bargaining chips in the wider debate about changing the nation’s immigration policies.
And, as Trump panders to his base with his increasingly xenophobic immigration policies, he is out of touch with much of the country.
Caledonian Record: Swamp Thing
Trump was elected on the twin pillars of “Drain the Swamp” and “Build that Wall.” Even in a town notorious for corruption, we’re not surprised that our pampered, bombastic waster-in-chief has found a way to sink to new lows. Did his supporters really think a crony billionaire, with a well-established history of graft and self-promotion, was really going to be a reformer?