This week’s big drama ranged from the bizarre – a social media storm about jokes at the White House Correspondent’s dinner – to a big slip by Trump’s new lawyer and former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. In other news, the drama surrounding EPA chief Scott Pruitt continues, Trump’s personal doctor admits what we all knew already, and Cambridge Analytica closes its doors.
The Big Drama
The most bizarre drama of the week and honestly the most ridiculous is the backlash that comedian Michelle Wolf faced following her hosting gig at the White House Correspondent’s dinner. This year’s “nerd prom” once again saw the President sitting out of the festivities, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders taking his place at the seat of (dis)honor. Of course, as it usually goes, there was a joke directed at the White House, as well as a myriad of jokes aimed at media outlets and other prominent names in Washington. Wolf, however, faced a media firestorm following a joke about Sanders, quipping, “I actually really like Sarah…She burns facts and then uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye.”
What followed were debates about how the event is used to “bully” Washington’s power players, and how Wolf should not have made fun of Sanders’ appearance. Yet, the purpose of the event is actually to make just enough jokes to keep people honest and to promote free speech in the process. Unfortunately, instead of being lighthearted and full of self-deprecating humor, the event seems to once again be the cause of drama.
In another awkward turn of events, Trump’s newly hired lawyer and former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani possibly landed his client in some trouble. Giuliani stated in an interview on Fox News that the President did, in fact, pay Michael Cohen back the $130,000 Cohen paid as hush money to Stormy Daniels. This is in direct opposition to the statements made by the President and Cohen himself, who have said that Trump did not pay Cohen back or have anything to do with the payment.
Although Giuliani has since walked back his statement, his solid place as Trump’s attorney has quickly been thrown into jeopardy.
More Drama Bombs
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt once again got into some trouble this week, on two fronts. Pruitt had previously faced scrutiny for refusing to leave a condo he rented from a top lobbyist couple, and giving them favors that were unethical considering his role. Now, the situation has gotten worse as the couple has been fined $2,034 for illegally renting the property to Pruitt.
Speaking of money, Pruitt was also found to have – possibly illegally- paid himself $65,000 in reimbursements for his two campaigns for Oklahoma attorney general. While state-by-state campaign finance laws are somewhat difficult to understand, ethics watchdogs have found that his reports of the reimbursements may violate campaign finance rules. This comes at a bad time for Pruitt, who is also being investigated for his actions as head of the EPA, with over a dozen inquiries into his actions currently in play.
Scott Pruitt’s most recent actions are not the only unsurprising story to emerge this week, as President Trump’s personal physician Dr. Harold Bornstein admits that a letter released during the campaign which attested to Trump’s good health was dictated by Trump himself. At the time, many felt that the glowing language of the letter seemed to have been directed by Trump himself rather than his doctor – and it seems they were right.
In the same interview, Bornstein also admitted that Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard and two others stormed his office in February 2017 and took the President’s medical records. While it may not be unusual for the President’s medical records to be taken for safekeeping, in concert with the phony letter this “raid” becomes much more suspect.
Other Major Players
- Vice President Mike Pence hails former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a “tireless champion…of the rule of law.” This statement is rather controversial considering Arpaio’ is a convicted criminal who was pardoned by President Trump. Pence’s praise only exacerbates the outrage expressed following the pardon, as many still remember Arpaio for the unethical prison conditions he created.
- Cambridge Analytica, the Trump-affiliated firm that stole information from over 50 million Facebook users, filed for bankruptcy and announced it was shutting down this week. Something tells me that Mark Zuckerberg is breathing a sigh of relief.
- The New York Times released questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller prepared for the President, including ones about former national security advisor Michael Flynn, former FBI Director James Comey, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Any of these questions could be a minefield for President Trump, who never fails to speak his mind.
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