This week the nation grieved the deadliest mass shooting in our history and Americans in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands continue to suffer without electricity from Hurricane Maria. As only he knows how, President Trump managed to add insult to injury. He visited both Las Vegas, which he inexplicably described as “wonderful,” and Puerto Rico, where he threw paper towels into the crowd as if the dire situation was a playful opportunity for him to enjoy his trip. Additionally, we learned more about Trump’s tax cut for the super rich and his Cabinet members wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to jet around on private planes.
Here’s what Americans read in their local newspapers this week:
Arizona Republic: By Now, Donald Trump Should Know His Border Wall Is A Loser
There is a national consensus on the border and immigration, in spite of the political gridlock. Consider the evidence. Consider public opinion.
Either way, Trump’s wall is – in the president’s own vernacular – a loser.
Denver Post: The Denver Broncos Show Class. Will Trump?
With little time to know how to react to Trump’s challenge last weekend, the Broncos stood strong against intolerance — not against the values of our nation or those who risk and even give their lives to protect it.
Confronted by their fans’ confusion, they’re now trying to make it right.
Thursday’s decision demonstrates real class among the Broncos players. We hope without expectation that the president will follow their lead.
Unfortunately, the U.S. is particularly vulnerable to such interference at this moment in its history because President Donald Trump is using the same divisive tactics as the Russian hackers. Rather than seeking to unite people around core American values, Mr. Trump has made turning Americans against each other into an art form based on “alternative facts” and outright lies. When the president of the United States knowingly says things that are patently untrue, then attacks anyone who dares point out the falsehood, the effect is the same as that of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by a foreign adversary. It undermines public confidence in our leaders and our institutions and ultimately destroys the credibility of government itself.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Short Takes On Paranoia, Pride, Bribery And Bluster
An injudicious appointment
President Donald Trump really outdid himself last week by appointing Jeff Mateer, a top assistant Texas attorney general, to a federal judgeship. CNN reports that in 2015, Mateer gave a speech calling transgender children a sign that “Satan’s plan is working.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trump’s Damaging New Caps On Immigrants, Refugees
As for refugees, Trump’s new cap is cruel. It makes no distinction between those with questionable backgrounds and those who desperately need the shelter this country can offer and who have much to contribute. The limit of 45,000 is the lowest in decades, at a time when the needs of those fleeing war and persecution have seldom been higher. Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, whose ward is home to thousands of Somali refugees, said the cap would prove “devastating” to families hoping to reunify. Trump has maintained that refugees are a net cost to the U.S., but a report by his own Department of Health and Human Services showed that refugees, over a decade, brought in $63 billion more in revenue than they cost. The White House quashed those findings, although they were leaked to the New York Times.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Trump’s Tax Plan Is A Self-Serving Rehash Of Trickle-Down Economics
The Trump tax plan would also eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, which would benefit him personally. His leaked 2005 tax returns showed he paid a tax rate of about 24 percent on $150 million of income. If the AMT had not been applied, he would have paid less than 4 percent.
As disingenuous as Trump is being about his tax plan favoring the wealthy, it is more disturbing that the document doesn’t include how he is going to replace the $2.2 trillion in revenue lost through his tax cuts. In addition to ending the AMT and reducing the number of tax rates from seven to three, he wants to cut the corporate tax rate, double the standard deduction for individuals and couples, and repeal the estate tax.
Albany Times Union: Not-So-Great Job, Mr. Trump
We can’t, of course, expect this image-obsessed president to explain why his attention to a disaster affecting more than 3.4 million American citizens has been more an afterthought than a priority. But we can’t help but wonder if a president who based so much of his election campaign on anti-Mexican rhetoric, and who went out of his way during this crisis to pick a fight with black athletes, is simply less interested in the problems of two U.S. territories of mostly people of color than he should be. The reality seems to be that in this president’s mind, far more separates millions of certain Americans than an ocean.
Kokomo Tribune: Tax Plan No ‘Miracle’
The next point to ponder would be exactly how much this plan would benefit Trump personally. We simply can’t know the exact figure. And, not just because the details of the plan itself are spare, but because the president has stubbornly refused to release his tax returns. What we do know would spell a huge windfall for him, and especially, his heirs. Thursday, The New York Times’ Jesse Drucker and Nadja Popovich used a partial 2005 tax return furnished in March by Trump biographer David Cay Johnston and Bloomberg Billionaires Index’s estimation of $2.86 billion in assets to calculate a total possible savings of $1.1 billion. Most of this would be taken up by a $1 billion benefit to Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, Barron and Donald Trump Jr. by the plan’s removal of the estate tax.
New London Day: Tax Plan Does Not Match Trump Promises
President Trump and Republican congressional leaders have presented a tax reform “framework” that would benefit the rich more than the middle class, explode the already imposing federal deficit and in the process help drive up interest rates and deter long-term economic growth.
That’s a poorly designed frame.
Asbury Park Press: Trump to Puerto Rico: Toughen Up A Little
If true, however, it hardly seems to matter; the toxic waste Trump shovels into the public discourse makes it all but impossible for anything worthwhile to grow. Ronald Reagan liked to invoke the image of America as the “shining city on a hill,” the light of the world. Trump’s vision is different. He is the man on the hill, to whom we should all gaze upward to show us the way. Puerto Ricans figure to be the latest to suffer from that inflated arrogance. They won’t be the last.
Provo Daily Herald: Issues Being Ignored In Anthem Protest
While Trump certainly has the right to interject, it’s unfortunate that he chose to highlight and fixate on the NFL, rather than far more pressing matters that face our nation. As the president railed against a handful of professional athletes, millions of Americans were suffering the aftereffects of a powerful hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico.
In his inaugural address, Trump called for an end to what he viewed as an “American carnage,” yet he has been slow to react to a carnage unfolding in the Caribbean. Compare Trump’s slow, muddled response to Hurricane Maria to his forthright and generally successful response to hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
San Francisco Mercury News: Should The Bay Area Expect The Puerto Rico Treatment When The Big One Hits?
There are two reasons to doubt federal support. One is that President Donald Trump clearly had more enthusiasm for helping Texas and Florida than Puerto Rico, an island with no oil industry and no wealth of Republican voters among its 3.4 million mostly Hispanic U.S. citizens. Like Puerto Rico, the Bay Area is not exactly Trump country.
But the more urgent danger lies in Trump’s budget proposal. It slashes FEMA and other programs to deal with disasters that will become more common as temperatures warm, causing sea levels to rise and storms to be more extreme. This Luddite, anti-science bent will cause massive and avoidable hardship and pain. It is unconscionable.
San Francisco Mercury News: What Was Missing From Donald Trump’s Response To Las Vegas Massacre?
Sadly, Congress made a decision to do nothing. And Obama’s successor apparently has no inclination to do anything either. Instead, Trump said, “we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.” Whatever that means, it sure isn’t leadership.
York Dispatch: York Shows Up; Trump Shows Off
The sight of a brave leader standing up for hundreds of thousands of destitute American citizens would move most leaders to respond with concern, conviction and considerable haste. But Trump isn’t most leaders. In fact, he isn’t any leader.
His response was to belittle Cruz in a series of weekend Twitter dispatches from the comfort of his New Jersey golf resort. He said the problems stem from her “poor leadership ability,” and that the news media and Democrats are to blame for mischaracterizing his administration’s successful response.
Dallas Morning News: Trump’s Puerto Rico Twitter Tantrum Was A Shameful Moment In His Presidency
President Donald Trump’s temper tantrum on Twitter Saturday against the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, goes beyond “Trump being Trump.” It revealed the mind-set of a person who cannot control his impulses and lashes out at people with the slightest provocation. And in the middle of an emergency, such behavior from a leader is chilling.
We grieve for those who lost their lives in Las Vegas, but we also grieve for a country that refuses to look at the circumstances the enable such mass shootings. Denouncing what happened in Vegas while ignoring the proliferation of powerful weapons is as foolish as claiming to be fighting the opioid crisis without actually restricting sales of oxycodone and meperidine. We need more than soothing words right now. We need to demand that President Trump and GOP leaders take real steps to make sure such shootings can be prevented.
Middletown Times Herald-Record: Promises, Promises … Just One Kept
This brings to mind one of Trump’s other, oft-repeated campaign promises – to fill his administration with “top, top people … only the best and most serious people.” In this regard, he has recently nominated Sam Clovis, a non-scientist, to be the Agriculture Department’s chief scientist and oversee the agency’s $3 billion research budget, and Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, a climate denying Republican congressman, to head NASA. Candidate Trump made another promise: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.″ He delivered on that one. We’re sick and tired of all this winning.
Springfield Republican: Cabinet Travel Shows Shameless Disregard For The People
Well, so much for draining the swamp.
Tom Price, President Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, resigned on Friday. The headlines, and the stories, regarding his excessive use of private charter and military aircraft at great taxpayer expense made it impossible for him to remain on the job. Especially given Trump’s repeated calls to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
Having the HHS chief jetting around the globe on the taxpayer dime was, well, priceless. And it made the administration look swampier than ever.
Newark Star-Ledger: Trump, The Huckster Populist, Lies About His Tax Plan
Trump promised a “middle class miracle,” but what he’s actually proposing would save himself and his uber-wealthy donors tens of millions in a single year – lost revenue that only makes it harder for America to invest in its middle class.
“It’s not good for me, believe me,” Trump said of his tax plan. That was a lie. And if he really wants America to believe him, let’s see those tax returns.
Somerville Courier News: Trump Tax Plan A No-Go In NJ
But we know this much: It stinks for New Jersey. Every lawmaker in the state, Democrat and Republican, should oppose it as it stands.
Trump wants to simplify the tax code, slash business taxes, eliminate most deductions and adopt other changes that collectively, supposedly, will help all Americans by reducing the tax burden. The wealthy certainly stand to benefit, as we can expect from any Trump initiative. Corporate America will like it.
Chicago Sun Times: President Donald Trump, Our Part-Time Grown-Up
On Tuesday, Trump was flippant on his visit to Puerto Rico, where the entire island is struggling to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Maria left it in ruins last month. You might have hoped the president would show up with his head hanging, embarrassed by his offensive Twitter attacks just days before, when he whined that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and others “want everything to be done for them.”
Instead, he sang the same old song, “I, Me, Mine.”
Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil: Puerto Rico In Need Of Assistance
On top of that, federal relief spending on Texas and Florida will also cost tens of billions of dollars. To suggest that Puerto Rico is breaking the Treasury borders on the absurd.
What these Americans need is our help, not condescension.
Among other things, during his brief trip to Puerto Rico on Tuesday (Oct. 3), President Trump joked that the disaster had “thrown our budget a little out of whack.” He also compared the number of confirmed deaths (16 at that moment, though emergency responders note that number is unreliable due to communication issues) to “a real catastrophe like [Hurricane] Katrina,” where thousands had perished.
Obviously, the president’s missteps did not stem the criticism that he’d been slow to react to the disaster.
Lompoc Record: Tax Plan From The Swamp
So, it came as something of a surprise last week when President Trump announced a sweeping tax-reform plan that essentially sweeps much of that middle class into the gutter.
To make matters worse, after several days of reviewing various takes on the Trump/Republican tax-reform proposal, it appears the biggest winners will be people like Trump himself, the rich, privileged upper-economic class of Americans who, despite being a minority, speak loudly and wield a big stick.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Fighting The Problem
No ifs, ands or buts. Don’t try excusing the behavior. Don’t apologize “if anybody was offended.” Just say, No Excuse, and move on. The best apology is a short but sincere one.
It would be a gracious move if this president offered one just about now. It would also be a most surprising one.
Boston Herald: Real Vs. Fake News
The committee has found ample evidence of Russia’s very real attempt to spread fake news, especially via social media — an attempt that continued right up through and in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings. Sowing social unrest with racially-inspired propaganda is simply their latest tool.
And it’s one Trump ought to be concerned about. But that would mean acknowledging the importance of the real news media — something he is congenitally ill-equipped to do.