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The Week in White House Drama – Pruitt Exits, Shine Enters

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This week in White House Drama we saw a resignation, a controversial hiring, and a formerly loyal Trump lawyer switch sides. President Trump also had a very quotable rally where he insulted Elizabeth Warren and the Me Too movement.

The Big Drama

Finally, after weeks of reporting on his scandals and corruption, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt finally resigned from his post. Pruitt lived up to his former actions this week, once again landing in the news for an ethics scandal for asking young staffers to charge their own credit cards for his hotel bookings. Pruitt also sent staffers to pick up a used mattress, charged the EPA for many large and unnecessary purchases, and was implicated in many more scandals than I can mention. Yet, there was silence from the Trump White House, as the President refused to fire the most obviously inept staff member after firing so many competent administration officials. In the end, it seems that even if President Trump could not fire Pruitt because of his connections, he could pressure him to resign. The nightmare is now over.

The same week Trump saw the end of one PR nightmare, another began as his former lawyer Michael Cohen is reportedly deciding to switch loyalties and aid in the Russia investigation. Cohen is currently under federal investigation for his criminal ties and shady business empire and claimed that he would be aiding officials for the sake of his family. Cohen has connections to Ukrainian and Russian business associates and holds a stake in his uncle’s catering hall, which has Russian and Italian mobsters as clients. While many of Cohen’s personal business interests could be enough to implicate him, Mueller raided his office for connections to the Russia investigation – and they believe Cohen is a vital piece in the investigation.

The final straw for Cohen? Friends state that Cohen does not believe Trump would pardon him if he was prosecuted. Without the possibility of a pardon, and with some loyalty to his family and country, Cohen is now a possible inside man that could aid the Russia investigation.

 

More Drama Bombs

Much of Trump’s Montana rally was the same old rhetoric – attendees shouted for the President to ‘build the wall’ and wore MAGA hats while Trump claimed to be making great progress in everything. However, as always there was a controversial moment, and this one acted as a double-insult for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Me Too movement.

Trump has long attacked Senator Warren, a part Native American Democrat that he has called “Pocahontas” to derisively mock her heritage. In his most controversial quote, Trump sarcastically apologized to the real Pocahontas before threatening to toss an ancestry test at Warren – “gently because we are in the Me Too generation.” This not only makes light of a movement intended to expose sexual assault, which the President has been charged with in the past, but it also attempts to discredit a prominent Senator who has been one of his main opponents since the election. The President then went on to claim that he would donate a million dollars to a charity if Warren was proven to be “an Indian,” insulting a third group in one quote.

Speaking of making enemies, the long-feared trade war is now upon us. The United States and China traded $34 billion in tariffs, with the Chinese promising that the U.S. has begun the “largest trade war in history.” If the United States chooses to levy more tariffs on China, they promised they would retaliate in kind, increasing the risk of another recession. This is not only worrisome for our economic relations with China, but could also hurt attempts to reconcile with North Korea, China’s ally, and lead the U.S. into long-term economic issues not long after we have recovered from the last recession.

 

Other Major Players

  • President Trump hired former Fox News executive Bill Shine as the new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was forced to resign last year from Fox News after sexual harassment allegations, and his wife had a very racist Twitter feed up until her husband was hired – featuring islamophobia rants, and complaints about not being able to use the n-word. Nice to see some “class” in the White House.
  • A Senate Intelligence Panel supported intelligence agencies’ claims that Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. This bipartisan panel contradicts the findings of the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee, which found no conclusive evidence that Russia was involved.

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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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