Editorials Roundup: Nuclear Vacation Edition

While the President is in the middle of a 17-day taxpayer-funded vacation, editorial boards across the country haven’t taken a break. This week they took Trump to task for threatening to start a nuclear war in between rounds of golf, pushing a reckless and racist immigration plan, stifling new climate change findings, and more. Take a look at what Americans read in their hometown newspapers in our weekly roundup:


Dallas Morning News: How Trump’s plan to cut legal immigration could backfire

Regrettably, the president seems to have made legal immigration into a boogeyman to join illegal immigration as a reason for job losses and lower American wages. He’s so wrong to fan these flames. Most economists and businesses agree that legal immigration has been a net benefit to the nation and a reflection of the country’s values and diversity. But Trump — along with bill sponsors Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga. — wants to slash the number of people who annually receive permanent legal residency.

Asbury Park Press: Immigration plan anti-American

Trump’s nonsense permeates everyone defending the president’s boorish impulses. When a CNN reporter asked Trump adviser Stephen Miller if this anti-immigration plan violated American values embodied by the Statue of Liberty and the Emma Lazarus poem inscribed upon it — “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …” — Miller’s response was that the poem wasn’t part of the original statue and was only added later.

San Francisco Chronicle: Justice Department’s overzealous crackdown on leaks

Time and again, leaks that posed no threat to national security have revealed White House duplicity. The latest example came this week, when leaked transcripts of Trump’s late January conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were indeed every bit as contentious as news stories at the time characterized — articles the White House denounced as “fake news.” Stories based on anonymous sources also forced the White House to walk back its denial that the president helped craft a misleading statement about his son Donald Jr.’s meeting with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

Los Angeles Times: Don’t make the press collateral damage in a war on leaks

We are alarmed, however, by Sessions’ suggestion that, in investigating leaks, he might be willing to relax Justice Department restrictions on seeking information from reporters. The attorney general said that, at the suggestion of career investigators and prosecutors, he and his staff were reviewing policies affecting subpoenas of members of the news media.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Thumbs up: Is President Trump hearing imaginary phone calls?

We appreciate that the president has had a lot on his mind. But is he having a hard time distinguishing between real conversations and imaginary ones? This would seem to be the case given what he said during an interview he had with the Wall Street Journal. Donald Trump defended his politicized appearance at the National Scout Jamboree on July 24 by saying he “got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” Not so, says the Boy Scouts of America. The organization contends no such call ever occurred. In fact, following the president’s controversial remarks, during which he repeatedly made reference to his election victory and denigrated his political opponents, Michael Surbaugh, the chief executive for the Boy Scouts, issued an apology. “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program,” he said.


Boston Herald: Mueller’s fans grow

President Trump and members of his team have done their damnedest to tarnish Mueller and the team of veteran lawyers and prosecutors he has assembled, pointing to political contributions some have made to Democrats and/or Hillary Clinton in particular. Trump has also said in no uncertain terms that he thinks an inquiry into the Trump family finances would be out of bounds.

But none of that has had an impact on Capitol Hill, where Mueller remains enormously popular. And fresh off a successful bipartisan effort to tie the president’s hands on the issue of sanctions against Russia, members of Congress seem to have regained their footing — and their voice.

El Paso Times: An abominable immigration plan

An immigration plan backed by President Trump fails on two major counts: it ignores economic needs and it turns its back on values that the nation has long espoused.

Trump on Wednesday threw his support behind a plan pushed by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia. Their bill – called the RAISE Act – would cut the number of legal immigrants allowed in the United States by 50 percent over 10 years, limit the number of refugees offered permanent residency, and favor more affluent immigrants.

Savannah Morning News: Sessions too heavy-handed

While President Trump has all but declared war on journalists, accusing them of peddling “fake news” to undermine his agenda, his administration has no right to nullify the First Amendment or to impose a gag order on government employees who strongly believe that the public should be more fully informed about matters such as waste, fraud and abuse within the government and private sector.


Boston Herald: Immigration ‘fix’ misguided effort

So this week President Trump signed on to the RAISE Act — a proposal (we hesitate in this context to call it the “brainchild”) originally conceived by U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) designed to cut the number of legal immigrants to the United States and tilt the scales toward English-speaking, high-skilled immigrants.

It is, in short, a bumper-sticker version of an immigration proposal that not only fails to address the status of the current 11 million illegal immigrants now residing in the United States, but if actually implemented would devastate the nation’s economy.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Despite President Trump’s protests, Russia probe picks up speed

These bills are evidence of a growing lack of confidence of lawmakers in the president’s ability to show restraint in allowing the Russia investigations to proceed without interference. It also gives hope that Congress has found its backbone and may be more willing in the days to come to stand up to Trump in bipartisan fashion and persuade him that we are a nation governed by laws, not presidential whims and tweets.

Newark Star-Ledger: Christie’s farcical opioid panel meets Trump’s sabotage

Look what Trump did right after he created this panel: He released a budget that called for a 95 percent funding cut to the office that houses it. He only walked that back after lawmakers whose states are being ravaged by the opioid crisis screamed about it.

That tells us how much he really cares about drug treatment. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.) is on a separate congressional panel on opioids, and we’ve seen the same hypocrisy from him.

You can’t be serious about expanding access to treatment and wanting to destroy Obamacare.

Just think of all the parents with children up to age 26, now on their insurance thanks to this health law. If they can no longer afford it, their kids struggling with addiction get kicked off, too.

Raleigh News & Observer: Mueller’s grand jury an important step

What would happen if Trump did fire the special counsel? It’s likely several other Justice Department officials would resign, and a firestorm would descend on the White House. Two bills have been introduced in the U.S. Senate to protect Mueller from an unwarranted firing, one of them co-sponsored by North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis. This is a sign that the tolerance is diminishing for other elected Republicans of the president’s inclination to blast away at his perceived enemies on Twitter.

Phoenix Republic: Russian hacking investigations are about US, not Trump

Donald Trump’s supporters think this “Russia thing” is about their president.

It’s not.

It’s about their country.

It’s about preserving the integrity of our election system after a hostile foreign nation tried to exert influence in the United States.


Omaha World-Herald: Brutality is not a joke to law enforcement officers or the public

Society benefits when reasonable people trust those who are hired to enforce our laws. It’s never appropriate for a leader to encourage police officers to injure a subdued suspect. In fact, it’s counter-productive.

“We do deal with those who are in crisis,” Schmaderer said. “We do deal with those who are in the midst of criminal activity. But any force has to cease once an arrest is made.”

Most officers, fortunately, understand that.

Chicago Sun Times: Where’s the crime in wanting to work?

It is not true. There is no evidence that people living illegally in the United States are any more likely to commit crimes than anybody else, and there is strong evidence to the contrary. Yet that claim is at the heart of Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ eagerness to crank up deportations and punish sanctuary cities, counties and states, including Chicago, that refuse to go along.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Going after legal immigrants? Trump administration takes a mean turn.

Try as Miller might to blame immigrants, he’s off base. Restricting legal immigration won’t fix an economy that’s undergone massive structural change.

Meanwhile, the Republican attorney general of Texas is threatening to sue the Trump administration if it doesn’t revoke the protections afforded to undocumented immigrant youths under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Springfield Republican: Latest GOP immigration proposal would best be forgotten

The fact is, the Gang of Eight proposal was an effort to fix much of what’s wrong with our current immigration, but Republicans in the House just didn’t have the stomach for real change. Too many of them were unable to face reality, but instead insisted on focusing relentlessly on the border – “Until we control the border, any reform effort is a sham,” they’d fairly shout. As such, an opportunity to implement much-needed change was lost.

The latest talk on immigration is a whole lot of nothing. It’s based on fear, would limit economic growth, and completely ignores the situation at hand.

Grand Island Independent: Immigrants an important part of labor force

President Donald Trump has gone on record in support of legislation sponsored by Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas that would dramatically change immigration policy in the United States. The number of immigrants allowed into the United States would be reduced significantly and the new criteria would favor those who speak English, have high-paying jobs, can financially support themselves and offer skills that would help the U.S. economy.

Particularly since World War II the United States has been promoting individual rights and political and economic freedom around the world. As the world’s greatest military power with the most productive economy, it has been ready where possible to promote opportunity for poor and oppressed people around the world. It has accepted into the country people from around the globe wanting political freedom and economic opportunity.

Springfield Republican: Grand jury next logical step in probe of Russian meddling

There are two forces at work here: On the one side, there’s the Trump White House, which has been working to discredit the investigation, and on the other side, there are those hoping to learn the truth. The president and his allies continually term the probe a “witch hunt,” say the tale of Russian meddling is a fabrication, and endeavor to tarnish Mueller and his team. Worst of all, Trump has often appeared to be looking to find a way to oust the special counsel.

Thankfully, those who’d wish to see the facts ultimately uncovered — including some Republicans in Congress — have taken steps to ensure that Mueller remains on the job and is free to do his work.

Raleigh News & Observer: Look out, Mr. Pence, for the Trump Doghouse

Still, Pence shouldn’t be surprised by speculation about his prospects and intentions. Trump’s approval ratings are at record lows, and some GOP members of Congress appear to be looking at self-preservation more than supporting Trump’s erratic policies.

But no matter how much money he raises, Pence isn’t going to be able to separate himself from the circus that is the Trump administration. He is part of it.

Sacramento Bee: Donald Trump should check his facts before attacking the 9th Circuit

President Donald Trump’s call for dismantling the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is, like so many of his demands, based on a misunderstanding of reality.

The 9th Circuit is not the nation’s most reversed appellate court, as president implies. But such facts are beside the point. Courts make decisions based on their reading of the Constitution, statutes and precedent. As was reported by The Sacramento Bee Monday, 9th Circuit Court decisions are hardly outside the mainstream.


Seattle Times: Beyond threatening tweets, President Trump needs a cohesive Asia strategy

Tuesday during a press gathering at his golf club in New Jersey, Trump told reporters that continued threats from North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

This is not speaking softly and carrying a big stick. It’s the United States commander in chief responding in kind to the bombast of a deranged dictatorship smaller than the state of Mississippi.

San Francisco Chronicle: Cool the saber rattling, President Trump

Pyongyang is not likely to be swayed by rhetoric that sounds so similar to the bluster of its own dear leader. It is likely to test Trump’s ultimatum in the days ahead — and what if it does issue another threat to the United States? Will an unprecedented “fire and fury” rain on North Korea? If it doesn’t, Trump’s warning rings hollow. If it does, the war of words could turn into a global nightmare.

A superpower does not need to try to scare anyone with hyperbolic saber rattling. Trump should cool the insane rhetoric.

Boston Globe: Trump’s reckless rhetoric on North Korea

By explicitly threatening military action — and, implicitly, nuclear attack — Trump instead pushes US policy in an ominous direction. First, he has essentially set out a red line. If North Korea continues its nuclear program, as it almost certainly will, Trump will be faced with the choice of either starting a war or abandoning US credibility. Both options are bad; one is catastrophic. American foreign policy since World War II has included the unspoken threat of preemptive nuclear attack against adversaries. But for good reason, presidents have left America’s threshold ambiguous, a policy Trump seems to have discarded on a whim.

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump should accept not suppress a sweeping report on climate change

It will further isolate this country from a global push to work cooperatively to rein in harmful emissions. All the rallies in coal country, as Trump enjoyed last week, can’t make up the damage being done by his do-nothing team.

In dumping the Paris climate change pact, Trump criticized it as unfair and unworkable for American industry, passing over the challenge that rising temperatures pose. Now he can’t avoid that topic. Climate change is real, Mr, President, and it’s time to admit it and address it.

Chicago Sun Times: Dangerous climate change hits home

Climate change is costly. Since 1980, according to the report, extreme weather events have cost $1.1 trillion in damages. As temperatures continue to increase, surface soil will be drier, oceans will be warmer and more acidic, sea levels will rise and large forest fires will be more common. There is evidence we can expect more tornadoes, a particular scourge in the Midwest.

Destructive climate change is here. It is man-made. It is dangerous. It is costly. It cannot easily be slowed, yet alone reversed. And the world must act more boldly.

Even as Trump, who thinks climate change is about whether he’ll catch a sunny day for golf at Mar-a-Lago, shrugs off the truth.

Los Angeles Times: In leaking a federal climate change report, scientists send a message to Trump: Global warming is real

The changes are already real and the future risks potentially catastrophic. The whole world knows it, and the vast majority of the world is trying to address it. That Trump is not, and that government scientists feel the needs to join “deep state” actors in leaking their findings in fear of what the president might do against the nation’s best interests, is damning.

San Jose Mercury News: Trump’s immigration reform is an insult to our ancestors and a peril to America’s future

If the Raise Act had been in effect in 1885, Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf, would not have qualified to come here. He was 16 years old and didn’t speak English or have any particular skill. The bill also would have denied entry to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s grandmother, Stephen Bannon’s ancestors and Kellyanne Conway’s great-grandfather.

Immigration reform is overdue, and that could include tweaking some of the rules. But it’s immigrants who made this country great. The Raise Act is an insult to our forefathers and a peril to our future.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trump’s ill-timed plan to restrict immigration would hurt Minnesota

Trump’s plan, which fortunately faces long odds in Congress, bows a bit in that policy direction by holding steady the number of immigrants admitted on the basis of their job skills — now about 140,000 a year. But it would slam shut the nation’s door for would-be immigrants seeking to reunite with family members as it cuts the total number of newcomers in half. It would do nothing to move undocumented immigrants of long standing out of the nation’s shadows or make it easier for employers to hire immigrants. And it would cut in half the number of refugees admitted each year, disrupting the work of a number of Minnesota-based refugee resettlement organizations.

Trump justifies his proposal with a claim that American workers will do better with fewer immigrants. Minnesotans need to know that in this state, just the opposite is true. Reducing the number of immigrants would put a lot of jobs at risk.

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Leaks undermine Trump’s tales, not national security

No one is alleging that covert missions have been blown, undercover identities revealed or lives put at risk as a result of recent leaks. And so you know, editors of mainstream media outlets seriously weigh national security concerns before publishing sensitive information provided by leakers. On occasion, they’ve delayed — or even refused to publish — such information.

Rather, recent leaks reveal Trump’s countless missteps or provide evidence that contradicts what the president is saying.

Tuscaloosa News: President must follow through on promises to tackle opioid crisis

When campaigning for office Trump promised he would swiftly end the crisis by stopping the flow of heroin across the Mexican border, and that he would boost funding for recovery programs and approach the problem with a compassionate mindset.

The time for Trump to deliver on his promises is now.

Long Island Newsday: To fight opioid crisis, match words with federal funding

The actual policies drawn up by Trump’s appointees and the Republican-controlled Congress have sent another message. Health care plans pushed by the GOP in the House of Representatives and Senate would cut Medicaid by at least $600 billion a year, which would devastate addiction treatment. The budget put forward by the administration would slash money for treatment, prevention and research. And the Justice Department appears intent on filling federal prisons with addicts, instead of treating them, which isn’t what Trump promised on the campaign trail.

Norfolk Virginian-Pilot: Protecting the media to protect America

However one feels about the media in the United States, a White House that takes aim at the freedoms under which reporters operate should be viewed with suspicion. Erosion of the cherished protections contained in the First Amendment must be rigorously opposed as an attack on all Americans.

North Jersey Record: Don’t reverse sleep apnea testing rule

In a shortsighted move that places profits over safety, the Trump administration last week withdrew an Obama-era proposal that would require railroad and trucking companies to test employees for obstructive sleep apnea. The move is in keeping with the administration’s apparent obsession of rolling back or canceling any number of proposals associated with the Obama administration, up to and including those involving worker safety and environmental protections.

Given the heavy highway traffic congestion in North Jersey, not to mention the large volume of users of mass transit, this latest Trump rollback is alarming and irresponsible.


Buffalo News: Trump needs to stop the ‘fire and fury’ talk

Kim Jong Un has, at least to many a layman, demonstrated a high degree of insanity. Knowing that he would likely be dead and parts of his country would be a smoking cinder if it goes to war with the United States, Kim has chosen to taunt and tease. Trump should not allow himself to fall to the level of this man-child’s provocations.

Trump’s apocalyptic words make diplomacy more difficult because any effort at a peaceful resolution will now look like he’s backing down, something he is not accustomed to.

San Jose Mercury News: Who is crazier, Donald Trump or North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un?

Even if Korea’s nukes could not reach our West Coast, effects on America’s most important allies and trading partners in the region would be devastating. South Korea would be all but destroyed. Japan would be in grave peril.

In 2016, U.S. firms exported $63 billion in goods to Japan and $43 billion to South Korea. They are the third and 11th largest economies in the world. These are American interests at stake.

Where are the grownups in the White House?

Tampa Bay Times: The unvarnished truth about climate change

The findings contradict the talking points of the Trump administration, which has openly questioned the science behind climate change and the degree that humans contribute to it, and which has moved to reverse the clean-air initiatives of the Obama White House. The unpublished analysis was made available to the New York Times days before Sunday’s deadline for the 13 federal agencies to approve the report. Making the report public at least forces the Trump administration to explain why it does or does not stand behind the science.

North Jersey Record: Opioid addiction is a national emergency

So it was disturbing and disheartening to hear Trump return to old methods, rather than new ones to combat addiction. Trump wants more prosecutions, blaming the Obama administration for being lax on enforcement. “So they looked at this scourge and they let it go by, and we’re not letting it go by.”

Trump also said the best way to prevent drug addiction is to tell children that drugs are “no good, really bad for you in every way.”

Nancy Reagan was saying that back in the Eighties. It didn’t work.

Springfield Republican: Trump’s ‘working vacation’ isn’t real change of pace

But it’s not only the getaway (and the insistence of work time) that’s unsettling. It’s also the mystery of the whole thing. In the day-to-day, the White House press office doesn’t say if the president if playing golf or entertaining guests or doing this or that or the other thing. It says effectively nothing. All the people are told is that the president is on a working vacation, blah, blah, blah.

As a general rule, folks who are truly busy and hard at work don’t spend too much time gabbing about how busy they are. They are too busy getting the job done.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Trump’s calls to two allies offer worrying sign of incompetence.

As with Peña Nieto, Trump seemed overly concerned about how his own image would be affected if he acceded to Turnbull’s request. Before their conversation ended abruptly, Turnbull found himself awkwardly having to correct Trump about the nationality of the two men who carried out the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

We shudder to think how Trump’s introductory talks went with other foreign leaders. The attempted bullying and disrespect for two longtime allies is a harbinger of diplomatic problems should America need its allies to stand with it.

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump flunks the opioid test

Trump passed on the commission’s call for a national emergency. That step may be more symbolic than substantial, but it would give emphasis where it’s needed. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who was at the president’s side during remarks with reporters, said the declaration wasn’t necessary.

The president’s shallow advice and lack of leadership turns the problem back to states and cities to solve.

Newark Star-Ledger: Trump cuts red tape: let truckers and train engineers have sleep disorders

Perhaps it’s no surprise that many of the members of Trump’s task forces dismantling these regulations have deep ties to industry. Others, his administration refuses to even name. Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the White House on Monday, demanding that it release the names of its rule-busters and their potential conflicts of interest.

So far, 85 are known, including 34 with potential conflicts, according to an investigation by the New York Times and ProPublica. At least two may profit if certain regulations are dismantled, and at least four were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.

Los Angeles Daily News: Don’t weaken constitutional press freedom

We get that this administration, like others, struggles to keep a lid on its own employees and is embarrassed by leaks that turn into published reports.

But the founding fathers established a free press so that it could hold the people’s government accountable — revealing, at times, what the government is up to but doesn’t want the people to know about. Threatening journalists with subpoenas and search warrants diminishes their ability to inform the people about their government’s activities.


Santa Rosa Press Democrat: The dangerous bluster of Donald Trump

It’s one thing for the president to engage in a Twitter-based tit-for-tat with lawmakers over health care or an imaginary wall along the Mexico border. But it’s quite another to threaten a country, particularly one ruled by a reckless despot, with nuclear annihilation amid the most tense global-power standoff since the Cuban Missile Crisis. The world needs cool heads and firm diplomacy — not bluster.

Phoenix Republic: Donald Trump just let North Korea control his next move

North Korea’s leader has ambitions to build a nuclear arsenal that can menace the United States. This significant threat needs to be contained through planned, coordinated international efforts.

The United States should be leading that effort, not playing a game of chicken.

It’s unlikely that Trump will engage in some needed introspection and take a hard look at the fallout — so far — from his careless comments and tweets.

But he should. It’s long past time for him to treat the job of president with the seriousness it demands.

Newark Star-Ledger: Scientists right to force Trump’s hand on alarming climate report

The warning here is implicit. Withdrawing from the Paris accord, denying the role of human activity in climate change and doubling down on the dying coal industry – which produces some of the most harmful fossil fuels – is clearly not a good deal for America.

And in a White House where fact-checking is “fake news,” we salute the scientists who stand up against political spin to make sure we hear the straight truth.

Springfield Republican: Trump-Russia probe heats up with pre-dawn FBI raid

Where this tale of intrigue ultimately will lead is still anyone’s guess. But one thing is certain: The raid on Manafort’s house makes it plain that the story won’t be going away anytime soon. Anyone who’d still been harboring doubts about that, believing what the president had been selling, ought to be able to see that clearly now.