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The Week in White House Drama – Damaging Reports and an Escalating Trade War

This week we’ve got 1,475 children unaccounted for, and Trump weighing in on the Rosanne fiasco.

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This week in White House drama the President escalates his trade war, questions arise about missing immigrant children, and Trump makes another controversial pardon. Other dramatic moments include celebrity backlash and the President changing his mind about the North Korea summit – again.

The Big Drama

The biggest story that emerged this week was the news that the Department of Health and Human Services were unaware of the whereabouts of 1,475 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) – or children that crossed the border on their own. Many falsely conflated the news with the Trump Administrations 100% prosecution policy, which would prosecute anyone crossing the border illegally, and would ultimately separate parents from their children, as children cannot accompany their parents into federal custody.

While this policy may be problematic on its own, it has no ties to the recent report, as these children were not separated from their parents, considering they entered the country on their own. The UAC’s are also inherently difficult to track, as family members in the United States can take custody of the children and verify their identity via a phone call and not an in-person visit. Some guardians of UAC’s are also undocumented, which would also make them more difficult to track – and could have led to the 1,475 “missing” children.

Nevertheless, this has been the story of the week and has put much pressure on the White House for their policies concerning undocumented immigrants and undocumented children.

While the Trump Administration is not as culpable for the “missing” children as it seems, the other point of contention this week is all due to the President – the escalation of a trade war, this time hurting some of the United States’ strongest allies. Tariffs of 25% were levied on imports of steel from Canada, the European Union, and Mexico, as well as tariffs of 10% on aluminum on the same countries.

Tariffs had already been implemented on some large economic competitors with the United States such as China, Russia, and Japan, but key allies had previously been exempt. Now, the President has moved to implement tariffs – risking important relationships that have been built over decades, for uncertain results.

There have already been negative reactions from Americans as well as said key allies, including an immediate negative response from the European Union (EU). The EU’s Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström called the new tariffs “illegal” and stated that the EU intends to take their case to the World Trade Organization. Such reactions indicate that the tariffs may not have the positive results the President promised.

More Drama Bombs

Other dramatic moments this week have everything to do with celebrities – a world the President cannot seem to leave.

The first example of this was Trump’s most recent pardon of Dinesh D’Souza, a former right-wing media pundit that was convicted for illegal campaign contributions, as well as his reported consideration of whether to pardon celebrity chef Martha Stewart. Along with Trump’s pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a trend emerges – the more high-profile, the better. Another plus: strong conservative leanings and being a Trump supporter. These pardons scream that the President wants media attention – and will settle for negative attention, especially if it means that he has accomplished something in his time in office, no matter how minimal.

Another scream for attention: Trump’s decision to weigh-in on this week’s Roseanne fiasco. While Trump has always been a supporter of Roseanne Barr – namely because her character is a Trump supporter – his support of Barr following racist comments on Twitter turned some heads. Barr targeted former Obama staffer Valerie Jarrett, saying that the “Muslim Brotherhood and planets of the apes had a baby” in a clearly racist tweet, which swiftly led to her show’s cancellation and a media firestorm. However, the President demanded an apology from ABC and sided with Roseanne in yet another tone-deaf moment in a frequently tone-deaf presidency.

Other Major Players

  • The summit with North Korea, set for 12 in Singapore, is once again back on after a North Korean official brought a letter from Kim Jong Un to President Trump. Will it actually happen? That remains to be seen.
  • After a Harvard report stating that the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is much higher than reported, the Puerto Rican government has announced that there were at least 1,400 additional deaths that were not included in the official report. This is still a substantially lower death toll than the estimated 5,740 deaths calculated by Harvard.

 

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Rachael Blandau is a senior political science major at Centre College, in Danville, Kentucky. She enjoys writing about the news and her favorite topic - politics.

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