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The Week in White House Drama: Summit Cancelled and Constitution Issues

Who wants to buy some coins from the White House gift shop for an event that never happened? No one?

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This week’s White House drama was all about North Korea, and the President’s decision to call off the summit scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. Other dramatic moments include a ruling on the unconstitutionality of Trump’s Twitter activity and other first amendment concerns with Scott Pruitt and the EPA.

The Big Drama

The least surprising event of the Trump White House happened this week – the President called off the summit with North Korea. Last week, some were positing that Trump would be nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for the historic summit, as well as the circumstances surrounding the end of the Korean War. However, the world has righted again, as the President cancels what could have been the most legacy-building event of his presidency.

Although the President was the one to call the summit off, he cited “tremendous anger and open hostility” by North Korea and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the main cause for the cancellation. If anything, the dramatic nature of the summit was how anti-climactic the event has become. The only remaining point of contention is the celebratory coins made by the White House, which depict President Trump on one side and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the other, inscribed with the date the summit was supposed to be held. Many thought making the coins was celebrating too early, and they were proven correct when the event was called off. Now, the White House gift shop is selling the coins as the greatest event that never happened.

In other major drama, the head of the EPA Scott Pruitt is once again in the news. This time, for violating the freedom of the press by banning members of the press from attending an event on water pollution. For two days in a row, EPA staff members kept reporters out of the event, leading to a problematic incident where an EPA guard allegedly shoved AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer to keep her out of the event.

While the EPA apologized and declared that the press would never be banned from another event, they followed up this promise by banning reporters on a second consecutive day – prompting many to question what the EPA is trying to cover up. 

More Drama Bombs

In other unconstitutional news, a federal judge ruled this week that the President could not block users on Twitter without violating the First Amendment. The judge ruled that blocking someone based on their political views constitutes viewpoint discrimination, which is unconstitutional. The President’s response was somewhat disturbing, as he argued that the First Amendment does not apply in this case because the presidents First Amendment interests supersede that of the plaintiffs or any others not in his position.

While President Trump may run the Executive branch, he is still a citizen of this country – meaning the Constitution does, in fact, apply to him the same as it does to all of his constituents.

It looks like Scott Pruitt’s EPA are not the only ones that are going back on their word this week, as President Trump is moving forward with a deal to bail out Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE after his sanctions caused problems with the company. This deal would not only be detrimental to the United States as it would benefit the Chinese economy, but it also goes against a ruling by the Senate Banking Committee, which approved an amendment to keep the President from making such a deal.

As previously determined by Congress, ZTE is more than just an economic threat to the United States, as U.S. intelligence agencies have underlined the threat ZTE could bring to the United States’ security interests. Since the telecommunications company is directly connected to the Chinese government, our President could be giving away access to a company that would harm United States interests – against the explicit wishes of Congress. Following the news about the First Amendment case, it seems that President Trump is not willing to comply with anything or anyone that could control his powers.

Other Major Players

  • Education Secretary Betsy Devos made waves as she stated that individual schools should be able to decide whether or not to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on their students.
  • After President Trump claimed on Twitter that there is a “criminal deep state” within the government seeking to sabotage his presidency, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded that while there are always exceptions, he does not think there is a deep state within the State Department, nor the CIA.

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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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