Last week, while Congressional Republicans sided with banks and credit companies over their own constituents, and San Juan Mayor Cruz fought with Whitefish Energy, Donald Trump reiterated his support for Ed Gillespie, reversed his stance multiple times on 401(k)s, and tried to obstruct a teenager from obtaining an abortion.
Editorial boards across the country criticized Trump for his ACA sabotage, Trump’s Opioid epidemic response, echoed the criticisms of former Presidents and Republican Senators, and more. Here’s what Americans read this week in their local newspapers:
Burlington Free Press: For The President, It’s Donald Trump First
The real danger of Trump’s performance in office is that Americans become so numb to the president’s outrageous behavior that they are unable to recognize the erosion of democracy taking place in plain sight.
The president sucks the air out of the news cycle with erratic tweets, sudden position reversals and personal attacks, making a reasoned and nuanced public debate on complex issues nearly impossible.
In his nine months in office, Trump has presented his erratic behavior as a virtue while making lying from the presidential podium the norm. The president continues to travel down the path of deception and division that brought him success on the campaign trail.
Raleigh News & Observer: Health Compromise Would Block Trump’s Unraveling Of The ACA
What he does care about is undoing all that President Obama did, whether it was to install more reasonable immigration rules or to establish a health care system to serve all Americans. But he couldn’t care less about details, just as he has shown he also doesn’t worry about the effects of policies on people.
Raleigh News & Observer: Another Court Rightly Bans Trump’s Travel Ban
President Trump has been so busy lately messing around with health care and doing damage control over his insensitive characterizations about how other presidents handled condolence calls to the families of fallen military personnel that he’s probably forgotten about his “travel ban.” That was an order taking a gratuitous slap at Muslims to satisfy Trump’s political base, which responded enthusiastically to his xenophobic rhetoric about closing borders and banning Muslims on the 2016 campaign trail.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Picking A Drug Czar Shouldn’t Be This Difficult
Out of step with science and society as an advocate of failed marijuana prohibition, Marino had already withdrawn once in May, citing a “critical illness in my family.” This, after U.S. News & World Report brought up questionable aspects of his record as a district attorney and U.S. attorney.
Yet Mr. Trump still made Marino his pick Sept. 1.
Now, with headlines trumpeting Marino’s leading role in passing the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act at the behest of Big Pharma — from which he took nearly $100,000, according to The Post — he could not be a credible drug czar.
No question, U.S. tax code needs simplification and reform. Virtually everybody agrees about that — an amendment to the Senate budget bill calling for making the “American tax system simpler and fairer for all Americans” passed 98-0. But that’s not what this is about. Republicans recognize that their serial failures to accomplish anything of substance (besides the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice) during a period when they control the White House and both chambers of Congress is a recipe for electoral disaster in next year’s midterm elections. On issue after issue, President Trump has demonstrated that he doesn’t care about policy or principle so long as he can claim a win, and in this instance, Congressional Republicans are just the same.
Miami Herald: John F. Kelly Owes Wilson A Sincere Apology
Here’s what’s highly inappropriate:
For Kelly, according to Sanders, decry that his son Robert’s death while on a mission in Afghanistan became a political football last week — when Trump himself introduced the issue to score a field goal.
For the president to have manipulated Robert Kelly’s death for political gain in the first place.
For the president and his administration to wait almost two weeks before there was any mention from the White House on the Niger operation that went horribly wrong.
For the president and his administration to not seem to care one whit why it went horribly wrong, opting to engage in a needless distraction.
Worcester Sun: Powering Up To Help Puerto Rico
It’s worth remembering here, too, that despite President Trump’s callous treatment of this devastating natural disaster — as if sending relief is some sort of charity or goodwill, rather than his obligation — that Puerto Rico pays more than $3 billion annually in federal business, payroll and estate taxes.
Newark Star Ledger: Trump’s ‘Bailout’ Baloney
This means a separate set of subsidies given out by the government, to offset the higher cost of premiums. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that killing the cost-sharing subsidies, as Trump has done, would add $194 billion to the federal deficit over the next decade, because the government will pay more to subsidize premiums.
So Trump’s decision is actually costing taxpayers more. Which means calling it a “bailout” is not just dishonest, but dumb.
Seattle Times: Weakening Treaties Weakens U.S.
The biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s isolationist, disruptive behavior are not displaced factory workers in the Midwest or billionaires in his swamp.
No, the big winners are Russia and China, whose stock as superpowers rises as Trump snips the guy-wires supporting America’s pedestal.
Springfield Republican: Freedom Of The Press Keeps Everyone Honest
And what of Trump’s talk of changing libel law to make it easier to win suits against newspapers that publish pieces that are critical of him and his administration? It’s just more blather. More nonsense from a man who has never shown any sign of understanding the fundamental role a free press plays in an open society.
Tampa Bay Times: Trump Owes Apology To Fallen Soldier’s Miami Family
There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a classless, embarrassing defense of his failed effort to console the family of a Miami soldier who was killed in Niger. It’s particularly painful for thousands of Gold Star families to endure, and the president should apologize and stop engaging in this destructive behavior that is only causing more pain.
Imagine that — a president actually acting presidential.
We haven’t seen that much from the man currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who specializes in early-morning Twitter rants, vicious personal put-downs and claims of greatness that have no basis in fact.
Donald Trump’s predecessors in the White House, however, showed last week just how a president should act.
Springfield Republican: Passage Of Tax-Reform Plan Sure To Be A Struggle
But none of the yapping and hyperbole will matter, really. Because the president, in search of something he can call success, doesn’t much care about the specifics. If he were to hire someone to update his 1987 bestseller, it could be called “The art of the Deal, Any Deal.”
Charleston Gazette-Mail: Trump Still A Demagogue
She said Trump’s “agenda is not, fundamentally, about creating jobs and protecting programs that benefit everyone, including whites; it’s about creating purported enemies and then attacking them.”
There’s a word for appealing to majority racism against imaginary foes. It’s still called demagoguery. It often works — and often brings tragic results.
Raleigh News & Observer: Voter Fraud Commission Seems To Be Going Nowhere
The appointment of this group was a mistake from the beginning, a silly exercise designed by a president whose own ego and desire to aggrandize himself dominates his every statement, his every action, in public life. If Trump were politically savvy, which he is not, he would quietly disband the group and dismantle the windmills.
Boston Globe: Scandalous Treatment For A Gold Star Widow
It’s long past time for President Trump to stop the pettiness and use his power as commander in chief to put the focus where it belongs: On four US soldiers who were killed in Niger on Oct. 4 during a mission that went terribly wrong.
Virginian-Pilot: Trump Pushes ACA Toward Implosion
Step by step, Trump is pushing the Affordable Care Act toward the implosion he desires. A more caring and compassionate president would try to help Americans who need coverage while also continuing to work with Congress to fix the ACA. But Trump’s goal is to destroy the ACA, and he doesn’t appear to care about how many individuals and families are hurt in the process.
Lawrence Journal-World: Disappointing Farm Decision
It’s disappointing that the Trump administration and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts have sided with big agriculture over independent farmers by blocking rules that would have made it easier for independent farmers to challenge unfair trade practices by the major companies that dominate the industry.
The rules — the Final Farmer Fair Practice Rules — have been in the works for nearly a decade as part of the Grain, Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act. Implementation of the rules has been delayed several times, most recently in April, but they were scheduled to take effect last Thursday. Two days before the rules were to take effect, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it was withdrawing the rules.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A Condolence Call Backfires. And Trump Turns It Into A Fight He Can’t Win.
This is the kind of mess that only a compassion-challenged person like Trump could create. His attitude — that he can do no wrong and, therefore, never needs to apologize — might help him in some political contexts. In this one, it only makes him look pathetic.
Houston Chronicle: Trump Poses A Threat To Our National Ideals
What these men are saying goes deeper than an internecine feud between conservatism and radicalism within the Republican Party (though it is that). It is an existential moment that speaks to the direction of the party, to be sure, but also to the direction of this nation. As the traditional Republican Party devolves with Trump’s encouragement into the nationalistic, nativist party of Stephen K. Bannon, Stephen Miller and Roy Moore, we call on John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and other Texas Republicans to look to their consciences. Consider the good of the nation, not merely your own party. You and your fellow Republicans must not allow Trump’s behavior to be “the new normal,” to use Flake’s words.
Miami Sun Sentinel: Senate Should Act Now On Health Care
The other revokes critical cost-sharing payments to insurance companies for people of lesser means. It’s this money that Alexander and Murray would restore.
Trump blundered hugely with this step. Anticipating the loss of these payments, companies selling policies in Florida had already secured permission from insurance regulators to raise premiums an average of 45 percent for 2018.
Longview News-Journal: The Challenge We Face To Make America Great Again
If President Trump has any basic principles, we have not yet observed them. His only rule seems to be expediency for what is best for Donald Trump. All else appears to be secondary.
We have heard warnings like those from the former presidents before but, significantly, they are increasingly coming from members of Trump’s own party. They are likely concerned about what he is doing both to the GOP and the nation.
As Bush and Obama said, our challenge in the near future is to return America to the days before the current erosion. It will not be easy, but it must be done if we are, indeed, to make America great again.
Arizona Republic: Latest Obamacare Deal Is A Band-aid, But That’s What We Need
The bill will stabilize the health-care marketplace, which was plunged into uncertainty Oct. 12 when Donald Trump said his administration would stop paying billions in health-insurance subsidies for low-income households.
Albany Democrat-Herald: Let’s Shutter The Trump Electoral Commission
Well, maybe the meeting packets haven’t gotten to those commissioners yet through the U.S. mail.
Or maybe — and this strikes us as the more likely explanation — this train wreck finally is rolling off the rails.
Let’s be blunt: The main purpose of the commission is to create a smoke screen to make it easier for states (and, possibly, the federal government) to curtail voting rights. A state like Oregon, which has worked hard to expand the franchise, isn’t going to be particularly interested in embracing specious justifications for legislation that makes it harder for citizens to vote.
Palm Beach Post: Sheriff Links Arms With U.S. In Shameful Migrant Hunt
That said, we’d still prefer to see the sheriff and commissioners mimic their Chicago counterparts and push back against this arm-twisting maneuver. Again, it is shameful that the Trump administration seeks to tie funds for a bipartisan crime-reduction program that puts more cops on the street to a partisan illegal immigration program that takes law-abiding parents away from their children.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Scott Pruitt’s EPA Is Delivering, Except For Clean Air And Water
Whatever troubles President Donald Trump may be having, it must be said that in a perverse sort of way, his Environmental Protection Agency is a screaming success.
Trump has ping-ponged from one attention-grabbing controversy to another. He hasn’t passed a single substantial piece of legislation and continues to baffle Republican congressional leaders with his shifting positions and his penchant for personal attacks. Meanwhile, as public attention focuses elsewhere, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is quietly dismantling decades of work done under Republican and Democratic presidents alike to protect the environment.
If you voted for Trump because you wanted dirtier air and water, Pruitt is delivering. If you wanted industry insiders in charge of EPA divisions overseeing dangerous chemicals and pesticides, you’ve got ’em. If you agree with Trump that climate change is a “hoax” and “nonsense” and a “barnyard epithet,” then he and Pruitt deserve the credit.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Gop Senators Making The Case Against Trump
These are unequivocally conservative members of the president’s own party who are no longer willing to sit idly by as Trump feuds with Gold Star families, shreds international agreements, undercuts his own Cabinet and generally degrades the office and, by extension, the nation.
Lompoc Record: Finding, Reporting The Facts
Trump is fond of calling any story that criticizes him or that he simply doesn’t like “fake news,” when in fact it generally is just news, the stuff newspapers and TV do on a regular basis, and have been doing for generations to keep Americans informed about what’s going on in our world.
The president has suggested, numerous times, that it might be best if news media outlets were silenced. Apparently he has as little regard for the 1st Amendment as he does for much of the U.S. Constitution.
Central Jersey: Opioid Crisis Needs Funding Support
Trump’s assurances, we’ve learned, are meaningless, regardless of the issue. He could quickly move on with little interest in where the announcement will lead. He could change his mind, and change it back again. The declaration is good for 90 days, after which it can be repeatedly renewed, but Trump may take that first expiration to declare the greatest victory in the history of people and focus instead on something else that’s very bad.
Trump insisted on Thursday that his administration is “fighting the opioid epidemic on all fronts.” But the truth is he offered up a halfhearted solution with full-throated political fanfare. The result is certain to be hundreds of thousands of Americans, many of whom, because of overprescribing, got addicted to opioids, waiting in vain for treatment. Many more may die of overdoses, especially if Trump and his fellow Republicans succeed in undermining Obamacare.
Chicago Sun Times: Banks Win, 401(K) Investors Could Lose Under Trump
After tweeting earlier in the week that “there will be NO change to your 401(k),” Trump, ever the sellout, sounded Wednesday like he could come around to scaling back tax breaks for retirement accounts.
“Maybe we’ll use it as negotiating, but trust me … there are certain kinds of deals you don’t want to negotiate with,” Trump said.
He wants a legislative win, no matter the cost to millions of Americans who will pay dearly.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: The GOP Faces A Turning Point
On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake announced he would not seek re-election, and lit into Donald Trump once again for degrading public discourse and embarrassing his office. Flake’s colleagues, John McCain and Bob Corker, have stood up to Trump, and former president George W. Bush recently excoriated him as well.
The four Republicans are saying publicly what many other Republicans will admit only privately. They make the indisputable point that Trump’s antics — from juvenile taunts on Twitter to reckless saber-rattling in foreign affairs to quarreling with Gold Star families in the press — insult the dignity of the office and diminish America’s standing in the world.
Chico News and Review: Don’t Expect Real Courage
There will be a day of reckoning for those in Washington who have stood by one of the most corrupt and incompetent men to sit in the Oval Office. Indeed, President Trump’s sycophants eventually will get their comeuppance—whether it’s being turned out of office or being branded in a historical context as complicit in the recklessness stemming from the White House.
San Francisco Mercury News: Don’t Charge Outrageous Fees For Yosemite, Other Parks So That Only The Rich Can Visit
Many national parks are in areas that are already difficult for low-income Americans to access, especially as gas prices increase. Studies show that minorities represent less than a third of park visitors. It’s unconscionable to make parks less accessible by doubling entrance fees. Even the Trump administration should be embarrassed to suggest it.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why Won’t The Gop Fight For The Little Guy?
Trump organized his presidential campaign to appeal to the Regular Joes and Janes out there who feel no one in Washington is fighting for their interests. But when he signs this bill, it’s the Joes and Janes who will suffer. The Republicans have declared with this vote exactly who they’re fighting for: Wall Street fat cats.
Ocala Star Banner: Don’t Mess With Our 401(K) Plans
President Donald Trump’s Twitter account often is a scattershot of unbridled retorts to perceived personal sleights leavened with occasional half-baked policy ideas. Monday morning, though, he took clear aim at Congress when he tweeted: “There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!”
Caledonian Record: Good Comment By Senator Flake
The outcome of this is in our hands. We can no longer remain silent, merely observing this train wreck, passively, as if waiting for someone else to do something. The longer we wait, the greater the damage, the harsher the judgment of history.
Well said, Senator. Thank you.
Des Moines Register: Stop Blaming Obamacare And Focus On Helping Iowa
Former Gov. Terry Branstad was an avid Donald Trump supporter leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Gov. Kim Reynolds was glued to his side with an approving smile. Voters in this state ultimately helped send Trump to the White House.
What did this political support earn Iowans? Nothing, when it came to helping Iowa shore up its individual health insurance market. Perhaps worse than nothing.
Now Iowa’s elected officials must focus their energies on finding ways to ensure access to affordable health insurance. And they’ll need to do this on their own. The Trump administration is apparently not going to lend a hand.