Throw in a threat to shutdown the government over his border wall that Mexico will never pay for and a broken promise to Dreamers and you have another disastrous week for the Trump presidency. Here’s what Americans saw this week in their local newspapers:
Arizona Republic: Donald Trump Just Resurrected Joe Arpaio From Irrelevance
His pardon of Joe Arpaio elevated the disgraced former Maricopa County sheriff to monument status among the immigration hardliners and nationalists in Trump’s base.
The pardon was a sign of pure contempt for every American who believes in justice, human dignity and the rule of law.
By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal.
Albany Times Union: A New Course – To Where?
If we sound skeptical about Mr. Trump’s debut as commander in chief, we are. Here is a president who boasts he will lead America to victory in what’s been called “the graveyard of empires” with no clear idea of what winning means. Here is a president who declares himself “a problem solver” who can’t get his domestic priorities through a Congress that his own Republican Party controls. Here is a president who is notoriously inattentive to facts and details, yet claims he “studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle.” Here is a president who offers a vague plan to bring end this 16-year-long war while at home he feuds with members of his own party, some of whom question his stability, and who is being abandoned by business leaders over his incendiary remarks on white supremacists.
York Dispatch: Trump’s Pardon Is An Insult. Is It Also A Harbinger?
Not only are they ideological soulmates — Arpaio still has not abandoned the fiction that former President Barack Obama was not born in this country — but the erstwhile sheriff is an unabashed Trump supporter. And Trump rewards nothing so much as loyalty.
Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio is an insult to the victimized Latinos of Maricopa County; the investigators, prosecutors and judges who sought to instill justice; and all right-thinking Americans who believe lawbreakers should be held accountable.
San Francisco Chronicle: Arpaio Pardon Was An Affront To Justice
It tells the judiciary that Trump, once again, has displayed open contempt for its role in enforcing the law and protecting the rights of individuals. This is the same Trump who as a candidate questioned whether an Indiana-native judge could be impartial because of his Mexican heritage; this is the same Trump who castigated judges who blocked his overreaching Muslim ban.
It tells Trump loyalists that he will not hesitate to invoke his powers to excuse their criminal activities. That message no doubt was comforting to the Trump associates who are targets in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Galesburg Register-Mail: Journalists Not Dividing This Country
Discounting journalists as bad people is a lazy defense of what a politician has or hasn’t said or done. Attacking the source of news allows a politician to avoid addressing what’s being reported. If we, as readers and viewers, don’t believe the news reported, then we’ll be able to blindly support our party or politician.
The journalists of our nation will never be a threat to the functioning of our democracy. President Trump knows this. Please don’t consume this vapor.
Charleston Gazette-Mail: Who Cares If Some Coalfield Citizens Get Sick And Die?
Who cares if some babies in Southern West Virginia are born with birth defects, or an unusual number of people develop cancer? Not the Trump administration.
The U.S. Office of Surface Mining told the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to stop reviewing studies on health risks of Appalachian residents living near mountaintop removal coal mine sites.
Boston Globe: An Outrageous Pardon And A Hollow Congress
Arpaio never expressed remorse, and did not seek a pardon through normal Justice Department procedures. But those are minor quibbles compared to the grave constitutional implications of Trump’s action.
As constitutional law experts have argued, to pardon a law enforcement officer convicted of ignoring a federal court order undermines constitutional guarantees. If the president sends the message that court orders are unenforceable, he effectively nullifies them.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Trump Sends Worst Possible Message With The Pardoning of Joe Arpaio
The presidential pardon suggests to officers who respect the law that they’re just a bunch of chumps. It signals to those few who operate on the margins of the law that it’s safe to go overboard. Arpaio represents the most repugnant example of American law enforcement run amok. And Trump now wants to honor him as a hero.
Daily Hampshire Gazette: President Trump’s Assault On Anti-Discrimination Laws
As a catastrophic hurricane took aim at the Gulf Coast Friday night, president Donald Trump delivered a double-barreled assault on the nation’s anti-discrimination laws by pardoning controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and issuing an order banning new transgender recruits from joining the military.
San Jose Mercury News: How Does Trump’s Praise, Pardon Of Joe Arpaio Shift America’s Commitment To Civil Rights?
Violence in the streets, like Berkeley’s over the weekend — unthinkable just a few years ago — is becoming common less than a year after America elected a president who encouraged his own supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies.
By not only pardoning Joe Arpaio but also praising him and his anti-immigrant fervor — so what if some people’s rights are trampled along the way? — the president is doubling down.
Springfield Republican: Pardoning ‘Sheriff Joe’ Sends Dangerous Message
There’ll be those who support the president’s decision, and others who feel he clearly made the wrong call by pardoning the famed sheriff. Sadly, few will judge the case on its merits. Instead, Trump’s backers, who once claimed to stand tall for law and order, will somehow conveniently forget all about that as they vociferously support their man.
Instead of backing the rule of law, Trump, with his pardon of Arpaio, signaled that his ruling doctrine is a friends and family plan.
This is not how things are supposed to work in the United States. Rather, it’s what one would expect in a land ruled by a tinhorn dictator.
Springfield Republican: Trump’s Transgender Rule: Just More Needless Meddling
President Donald Trump created the whole mess late last month during one of his morning tweet storms, effectively making policy via Twitter. His announcement, such as it was, appeared to catch nearly everyone in the Pentagon completely off guard.
Friday’s move was an effort to clean things up as much as possible.
Since it bars new transgender recruits but doesn’t necessarily remove transgender individuals already in the military, the best that can be said of the rule is that it could have been even worse.
But it is still needless, destructive, foolhardy.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: As Houston Recovers, Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Will Figure Prominently
Trump’s visit will provide interesting contrasts. Last week, he threatened to shut down the government if funding for a border wall isn’t included in the spending package that Congress must approve by Sept. 30. Trump’s threat would mean the federal aid spigot for Houston could be turned off in the middle of the recovery effort. That would anger even hardline Texas Republicans.
Trump feels so strongly about his immigration crackdown that, just as Hurricane Harvey was making landfall last Friday, he pardoned former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio gained national infamy by defying federal court orders and rounding up Latinos simply because they looked like they might be undocumented migrants.
Los Angeles Daily News: Trump’s Infrastructure Council Crumbles; We Need A New Approach
“Infrastructure Week” wrapped up with President Donald Trump pulling the plug on his own Advisory Council on Infrastructure. It wasn’t even fully staffed. Construction stocks, expected to shoot up as Congress approved major outlays, are tanking.
For a president voted in on the apparent strength of his ability to broker workable deals with established players in business and industry, these are not just setbacks. They are indicators that Trump can’t deliver on what was, by any measure, one of his presidency’s core value propositions.
Charlotte Observer: Where Does Trump’s Arpaio Pardon Rank Among Bad Presidential Pardons?
Most tellingly, the pardon comes after Trump reportedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Arpaio case could be scuttled. It’s the second high-profile criminal case in which Trump might have tried to obstruct. The pardon, along with the Trump administration’s decision to scale back law enforcement oversight and Congress’s refusal to rein the president in, sends a clear message: that lawlessness, in service of well-connected men and to the detriment of already-vulnerable people, is quickly becoming the rule, not the exception.
Boston Herald: Trump Order Sidelines Troops
Yes, this is a classic case of the politics driving the policy — with the careers of those who have volunteered to serve their country on the line.
In response to Trump’s Friday night order two separate lawsuits were filed yesterday on behalf of transgender individuals who are currently serving or hoping to enlist, meaning the fate of yet another controversial directive from this president will be determined by the courts. Imagine, candidate Trump once frowned on executive orders . . .
Houston Chronicle: President Must Get To Know Houston, Offer Critical Federal Funding
Mr. President, our worry is that this attention from the White House will recede along with the floodwaters. Several of your tweets during the storm – promoting a friend’s book? – left us concerned that you’re easily distracted from the task at hand. And all too many of your speeches have revealed a startling gap between what appears on the teleprompter and what lies in your heart. Last week we saw a tempered address on Afghanistan erased by a hateful tirade in Phoenix. How long until reassuring rhetoric from Corpus Christi gives way to a less inspiring tone?
The Gainesville Sun: Harvey Shows Need For Climate Resilience
One action Trump did take, just days before Harvey hit, was issuing an executive order rolling back standards that required the federal government to account for climate change and sea-level rise when building infrastructure. President Barack Obama put the standards in place in 2015 to ensure roads, bridges and other infrastructure were designed for “climate resilience.”
Building resilient infrastructure is key to protecting against the impact of climate change, along with directing development away from flood-prone areas. Yet Trump and other Republican leaders refuse to acknowledge the reality of climate change much less prepare the country for its consequences.
Asbury Park Press: No Defense For Pardon Of ‘Sheriff Joe’
Trump’s pardon endorsed Arpaio’s thumbing his nose at the Constitution and the integrity of the judicial system. His pardon not only showed contempt for the judicial process, but for the majority of Americans who were outraged by his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, two weeks earlier.
Pardoning Arpaio was bad enough. The timing was even worse. The political divisions in this country — thanks in large part to Trump perpetually pouring gasoline on the fire — haven’t been this wide since the 1960s. A case could be made that they are even deeper than they were at any time since the Civil War.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Danforth Urges His Party To Stand For National Unity, Not Trump
Regardless of party preference, personal style, economic views, foreign policy or approach to statesmanship, no modern president has had such a divisive effect on the country as Trump. His predecessors didn’t mock the disabled, urge the FBI to arrest reporters or speak crudely about women. None in modern times has hinted a defense of Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis.
They didn’t jeer at immigrants or repeatedly send the message, as Danforth noted Trump does, that “you are not one of us.” The national motto on the presidential seal, “e pluribus unum,” means “out of many, one,” exactly the opposite of the language Trump trumpets.
Somerville Courier News: Keep Lid On Police Militarization
Obama subsequently reined in the surplus program, warning that police militarization can give the public — especially minority communities — the perception of an occupying rather than peace-keeping force, further eroding public trust. That was a practical response to human realities, but Trump ignores that, insisting police need all the help they can get to preserve public safety in the face of supposedly growing violence.
That’s to be expected from Trump, whose rationale for most anything rarely extends beyond the simplistic and superficial. It is difficult to imagine Trump giving more than a passing thought — if that — to the negative effects of militarizing community police.
Los Angeles Daily News: Remilitarizing Police Is Not The Way To Be Tough On Crime
Trump’s executive order speciously characterizes the move as merely “restoring state, tribal, and local law enforcement’s access to life-saving equipment and resources.” In reality, Trump’s action will primarily encourage and subsidize the trend of militarized law enforcement, which does more to undermine public trust than keep police or the public safe.
These reasonable restrictions have now been undone, for erroneous reasons.
If it wasn’t clear before, there can be no doubt now: You can’t govern by tweet. Or executive order, for that matter.
On the ground, Hurricane Harvey has engulfed an entire swath of Texas, and it’s not done yet. On the other side of the globe, North Korea fired a missile over Japan, a your-move kind of provocation.
For a president and an administration that has spent much of its first seven months dealing with self-inflicted problems, these are actual crises that require actual governing. Whether President Trump is up to the task remains to be seen, although for a change, it’s not about him. Or rather, it’s not only about him.
Boston Herald: The Harvey Effect
What Hurricane Harvey has made all too obvious is that in a crisis of this magnitude politicians at all levels and of all political stripes look to what the federal government can do — on the ground and in a hurry. In that context even those who have long disparaged federal bureaucrats realize that it is those very same bureaucrats who will be called on to throw a lifeline to the people whose lives have been turned upside down by Harvey.
And during his visit yesterday Trump, while noting it was too early for congratulations added, “We want to do it better than ever before. We want to be looked at in five years, in ten years from now as, this is the way to do it.”
Albuquerque Journal: Arpaio Pardon Wrong Way To Tackle Immigration Issue
Trump, having reportedly failed to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, took the only route available to help Arpaio once he was convicted – a presidential pardon. Making no reference whatsoever to the judge’s finding of contempt against Arpaio, all 162 pages of it, Trump praised the former lawman for “protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.”
In point of fact, you’re supposed to protect the public from within the confines of the law. Which Arpaio clearly did not.
Sadly it was an apropos gesture for Trump, who ignored the established pardon process and displayed disdain for the judiciary, to accommodate his buddy. While the president acted within this authority in granting the pardon, the haste reveals the true unsavory nature of the deal. It was a gesture to bullies, bigots and privileged law-breakers – all the kinds of characters that President Trump seems too comfortable around.
Neither the president nor the ex-sheriff – and certainly not the nation – have anything to celebrate over this shady pardon of convenience.
Madison Capital Times: With Stephen Miller On Staff, It’s Still An Alt-Right White House
Bannon and Gorka know that Trump agrees with them on a host of issues. The president did not bring them into the White House naively, and he has not sent them away naively. Trump said he came up with his viscerally divisive response to the Charlottesville violence — apportioning shared blame to racists and opponents of racism — on his own. And he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a crude bigot who was convicted of criminal contempt after he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos, after Bannon had departed and as Gorka was marching out.
Pocan is right. Miller’s removal (along with the exits of Bannon and Gorka) would represent an initial step in the right direction. To be clear, however, the work will not be done until the man who hired them is gone.
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Preserve National Monuments And Marine Sanctuaries
His executive order said protecting public land undermines efforts to achieve energy independence and harms the economy. The order also claimed that presidents designated monuments without consulting local governments and nearby residents.
But the record shows otherwise. The United States has never been closer to energy independence in the industrial era, per-capita income is higher in Western communities adjacent to protected public lands than it is in counties with no protected land, and past presidents heard from an array of interests before designating monuments.
Trump is wrong. This isn’t “a land grab,” and these unique places shouldn’t be exploited for oil, gas and coal. These monuments and marine sanctuaries are national treasures that should be preserved for generations to come.
Newark Star Ledger: Harvey Climate Deniers Take A Page From Big Tobacco
The pace and severity of global storms today is unnatural, as are the melting glaciers and rising sea levels.
And still, President Trump has called global warming a “hoax” and slashed crucial programs that help us reduce and adapt to the reality of climate change.
Springfield Republican: When A President’s Values Don’t Match Ours
Our president is our elected chief representative. He is not the conscience of each of us, a fact dramatized by Trump’s unprecedented ability to make statements unusually abhorrent to large chunks of the population.
Trump is taking truths we held to be “self-evident,” such as distinguishing neo-Nazis and white supremacists from those opposing them – as open to debate. Tillerson’s comment was meant to separate people like himself from those values.
We know the answer: a president and especially this president was elected by due process, but he does not speak for our souls.
Springfield Republican: Tale Of Trump-Russia Links May Soon Be Back – Big League
Put simply, those who’ve had concerns about the relationship between Trump the presidential candidate and Trump the businessman suddenly had even more evidence that those worries may well have a foundation as solid as the one beneath Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
A couple of key questions: What exactly did Trump know about the meeting when he helped compose the statement? Was he trying to help his son cover up the actual purpose of the gathering? If so, will that help Mueller in assembling a case for obstruction of justice?
San Jose Mercury News: Why Trump Should Leave National Monuments Alone
President Donald Trump has taken a monumentally bad idea and made it worse by shrouding it in secrecy.
The president should let go of his misguided notion that reducing the size of three or more national monuments would benefit the nation by opening them up to logging, grazing and oil and gas drilling.
The potential damage to national treasures is immense, while the economic gains are seen by a majority of economists as minimal, at best.
Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel: Trump Budget Cuts Threaten Florida’s Waters
And Trump’s campaign pledges to help businesses by cutting federal regulations shouldn’t mean sacrificing pollution protections that would put Florida’s drinking water and public health at risk.
Diminishing programs that guard Florida’s waterways will end up hurting — not helping — businesses in a state dependent on tourism.
The Baltimore Sun: Alternative Fact Of The Week: Supply Side Edition
The president didn’t just massage the numbers to make his case for an overhaul, he folded, spun and mutilated them even when it wasn’t necessary. You can make the case for simplifying the U.S. tax code without fibbing, but, alas, Mr. Trump doesn’t operate that way. He’s more like a hungry customer at the Burger King drive-through — he likes his whoppers with cheese.
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Few Details, But Lots Of Voodoo In Trump’s Tax Reform Speech
He offered no details, only stilted rhetoric about “pro-growth and pro-American” reforms that would “bring back Main Street.”
Trump is pretending that this largess will trickle down in the form of good middle-class American jobs — a Trumpian version of what then-presidential candidate George H.W. Bush in 1980 called “voodoo economics.”
The devil will be in the details, and the details will not be pretty.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: What Part Of ‘Illegal’ Doesn’t Trump Understand?
Arpaio was ordered by a court to stop racially profiling Latinos. He defied the court and continued to do so, for which he eventually was convicted of criminal contempt. He not only broke the law, he broke his solemn oath to uphold it.
Yet the president pardoned him even before he was sentenced — and received praise for it from some of the very same people who say illegal immigrants should be rounded up and deported, even if they were brought here as young children.
Immigration hawks rail against so-called amnesty for illegals. What is Trump’s pardon, but amnesty for Arpaio?
Kokomo Tribune: Disaster Relief, Not Wall, Needed
Most people affected by Hurricane Harvey don’t have flood insurance. Water could be in people’s living spaces for quite some time. The water itself is toxic and will cause additional health-related issues. We can’t ask for nearly $1 billion for a wall we weren’t even supposed to pay for right now. Harvey will certainly end up being more expensive. This has to take priority. We just got hit with a huge bill. Some estimates say 100,000 homes have damaged. A lot of Americans need help right now, not politics as usual.
Terra Haute Tribune Star: Transgendered Ban Unwise, Divisive
If President Donald Trump was truly doing what he says he wants to do in healing divisions and uniting the country, he would not be issuing foolish directives essentially aimed at banning transgendered individuals from serving in the military.
His short time in the presidency has already been marked by numerous instances of poor judgment, intemperate remarks, false claims and directives that have been reasonably questioned as unconstitutional and discriminatory. He is making it difficult for anyone to trust anything he does or says.