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The government has been shut down, so legislators have even more time to point fingers at each other than usual.
Republicans are blaming Democrats, Democrats are blaming Republicans, and Trump — the leader of the party controlling both houses of Congress — says it's because they need even more control:
In fact, this is the first time since Jimmy Carter that a government shutdown has occurred while one party controls all three branches of government, not that facts have ever gotten in the way of Trump's pronouncements before. But it was just the cap of a terrible week for Trump, culminating in the government shutting down on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.
He did, however, manage to find a silver lining.
Here's everything else that happened this week:
“A wonderful relationship with the Haitians” Day 357 — January 12
A day after Trump let slip his true feelings about immigration from several places (calling Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries “shithole” countries) during a meeting with legislators at the White House, the president simply denied he ever said it.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings — unfortunately, no trust!” Trump tweeted.
Democrats and Republicans alike had condemned the president’s remarks. The U.N. even chimed in that it was impossible to call them anything but racist. Meanwhile, the countries at the receiving end of the insult embraced their new title.
Amid the stressful day, the president underwent his first physical since taking office, which revealed he weighs 239 pounds, has normal blood pressure, and shows no signs of dementia — though some were skeptical about the results’ accuracy.
The Trump administration rounded out its Friday with another scandal: a $130,000 cash payment to a former porn star “Stormy Daniels” a few weeks before the election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, people familiar with the payment told the Wall Street Journal. Daniels, however, denied the payoff in a signed email that one of Trump’s longtime lawyers sent to the Journal.
Another day on the green Day 358 — January 13
As a false nuclear missile alarm swept over Hawaii — scaring residents so badly they stopped watching pornting — Trump spent a quiet Saturday golfing and avoiding his press pool at Mar-a-Lago. According to the White House, he also met with Ambassador Lighthizer “and received an in-depth update on trade with China and their economy, pending enforcement actions, and also had a discussion on NAFTA negotiations,” which we’ll just have to take their word for.
“The least racist person” Day 359 — January 14
Still reeling from the “shithole” scandal, Trump denied being racist to reporters while arriving for dinner at his Florida golf club with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
"No, no. I am not a racist,” the president said. Trump then went hyperbolic, telling reporters he’s the “least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
Trump later tweeted another denial: He never said he “probably [has] a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un,” as the Journal reported last week.
“Obviously I didn’t say that,” the president tweeted. ”I said, ‘I’d have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un,’ a big difference.” He added that he now records all conversations he has with reporters.
Trump spends MLK Day on the golf course Day 360 — January 15
Though he encouraged Americans to observe MLK Day “with appropriate civic, community, and service activities in honor of Dr. King's life and legacy,” Trump spent his long weekend, including the holiday, at Mar-a-Lago. While past presidents have observed MLK Day by serving in soup kitchens or volunteering in schools, Trump played golf. He left Mar-a-Lago that day for Washington.
Trump also found time to once again deny calling El Salvador, Haiti, and African countries “shitholes” and deride Democrats in one tweet. “I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action. This is the time, but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!” he wrote.
BFFs 4 Lyfe Day 361 — January 16
Trump’s North Korean nemesis, who he either does or would have a “great relationship” with, depending on who you believe, does not seem to agree with either interpretation. The country’s state-run paper wrote an op-ed on Tuesday that called Trump’s Twitter communiques “a spasm of a lunatic frightened by the might of Juche Korea and a bark of a rabid dog.”
Just as North Korea doesn’t care what Trump tweets, Trump reportedly doesn’t care what the Congressional Black Caucus thinks and won’t sit down with its leaders. A meeting with the influential group, however, could enable a deal for DACA, which is at the heart of the government’s shutdown battle. Democrats said they won’t agree to a spending bill without DACA, but Trump has insisted he won't support those protections without funding for his border wall.
“The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever. We need a merit based system of immigration, and we need it now! No more dangerous Lottery,” Trump tweeted.
Aside from the Democrats, the DOJ and DHS are also blaming 73 percent of terrorism incidents since 9/11 on foreign-born individuals, according to a new report. Experts say that’s misleading — and so, it turns out, does the report, which acknowledges that the “DHS and DOJ do not yet have complete, final information about these individuals at the time of this report’s publication.”
It’s unclear if anyone told Trump that, though. “New report from DOJ & DHS shows that nearly 3 in 4 individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign-born. We have submitted to Congress a list of resources and reforms....” the president tweeted.
In another move that could further damage the U.S. relationship with the Middle East, the Trump administration more than halved its aid money to Palestinian refugees. The move is largely viewed as a bid to rein in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been a vocal critic of Trump’s decision to upend decades of foreign policy precedent by officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Sloppy Steve” testifies Day 362 — January 17
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon — now known as “Sloppy Steve” by Trump — appeared before the House Intelligence Committee in a closed-doors meeting to testify about his time in the White House. While in the meeting, news broke that Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, had subpoenaed Bannon to testify before a grand jury. Bannon will reportedly avoid the grand jury by testifying to special counsel in private.
The event we were all waiting for (or forgot all about) also finally went live: The Trump administration’s “Fake News Awards.” Trump tweeted out a link to the big winners, and taking the top — and apparently only — prize: a largely unknown outlet referred to as “404 Error.”
Once the site recovered, the New York Times, ABC, and CNN — just a few of Trump’s favorite punching bags — were honored.
On the road again Day 363 — January 18
Despite efforts by the White House to frame the trip as an official White House visit, Trump traveled to Pennsylvania to campaign for Rick Saccone. We know that because the president tweeted: "Will be going to Pennsylvania today in order to give my total support to RICK SACCONE, running for Congress in a Special Election (March 13). Rick is a great guy. We need more Republicans to continue our already successful agenda!"
That should mean taxpayers aren’t paying for the trip, but then again, lots of things shouldn’t be happening.
Trump’s chief of staff also tried to convince everyone who watches Fox News that Trump’s position on the border wall had “evolved.” But then the president tweeted.
“The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see-through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water.....” he wrote.
Trump’s erratic statements on the border wall and DACA have left Republicans scratching their heads over how to make a deal with Democrats. “He’s [Trump’s] not yet indicated what measure he’s willing to sign,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had told reporters. “As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I will be convinced that we would not just be spinning our wheels going to this issue on the floor.”