This Week on Planet Trump: Outwitted Abroad He Fails America, At Home His Tax Plans Fail Voters
Monday: “The Punisher” Duterte Serenades Blossoming Friendship
President Trump, in Manila on the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations, only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead.
Duterte's brash demeanor and untempered language have earned him the nickname "Trump of the East." Trump, in turn, has praised Duterte — telling him in an April phone call that he was doing an "unbelievable job on the drug problem."
Duterte took the stage for an impromptu duet with local pop star Pilitia Corrales, which he later said he had done "upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States."
The song's title which translates from Tagalog as "You" and contains the verse: "You are the light in my world, a half of this heart of mine."
In remarks to the media at a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, Duterte joked about reporters being "spies," a remark that elicited a chuckle from Trump.
Scott Neuman, NPR
Tuesday: Pageant for Trump Masks Xi’s Global Power Agenda
In response to a more interdependent world, China is deepening its trade ties to all the fast-growing Asian markets around it through its “One Belt, One Road” project and its Asian Development Bank, while tightly controlling its own market. I call it “globalization for me but not for you.”
So the Chinese are focused on the giant winds of change, and Trump is betting on his gut and a grab bag of tax cuts based on no take on the world, other than dubious trickle-down economics. No surprise. When you don’t know where you’re going any tax cut will get you there, any replacement for Obamacare will get you there, any wall will get you there, any trade concession will get you there.
Now you know why the Chinese were so happy to throw a bash for Trump in Beijing.
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times
Wednesday: Silence on Roy Moore Speaks Volumes
President Donald Trump dodged questions about the turmoil in the Alabama Senate race on Wednesday, declining to join national Republicans who've called for Roy Moore to abandon the race amid allegations of sexual impropriety with teenage girls. Far from surrendering, Moore's camp challenged the credibility of one of the accusers.
Trump, who withstood allegations of sexual assault weeks before his own election, was uncharacteristically silent when faced with questions about the scandal, which has rattled the party and left Moore's would-be colleagues threatening to expel him should he win. Republicans had looked to Trump as one of the few remaining hopes for pushing a fellow political rebel from the race.
Trump backed Moore's unsuccessful rival, Sen. Luther Strange, in the Republican primary. Moore has the backing of Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. And Bannon's conservative news site, Breitbart, has led the charge in trying to discredit the allegations against the candidate.
Zeke Miller and Steve Peoples, Chicago Tribune
Thursday: Tax Bill is a Billion Dollar Boon for Trumps
In fact, Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal that the House of Representatives passed Thursday, with most of that amount coming from a repeal of the estate tax, according to an analysis NBC News commissioned of Trump’s one known 2005 tax return and his estimated net worth.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has said that while taxes would be reduced, on average, by nearly $1,000 by 2027, the Top 1 percent of all taxpayers would get a cut of more than $62,000, while the Top 0.1 percent would get an average cut of $320,000.
Mark Murray, NBC News
Friday: Oil Pipeline Causes Environmental Disaster
An estimated 210,000 gallons of oil leaked out of the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota on Thursday, and sparking another debate about the use of pipelines and the threat they pose to the environment.
"We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us," Kelly Martin, the Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director said in a statement on Thursday. "This is not the first time TransCanada’s pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last."
President Donald Trump has touted pipeline projects and gave the green light for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline construction just days after taking office in January, and expedited the environmental review processes.
Charlie May, Salon
Saturday: Clinton Comments Rekindle Trump Attacks
President Donald Trump on Saturday slammed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling his Democratic former opponent the "worst and biggest loser of all time" and urging her to run again in 2020.
"She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party," the president wrote on Twitter. "Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!"
Clinton on Friday told liberal magazine Mother Jones she thinks Russian interference in the campaign creates questions about the "legitimacy" of Trump's victory, further lamenting that there is no avenue for a candidate to contest the results of the election.
Also Friday, Clinton blasted Trump and Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore for refusing to apologize to the women who have accused them of sexual assault and harassment
The former Democratic standard bearer contrasted the two Republicans' responses with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who has asked for a Senate ethics investigation into allegations he groped a female broadcaster in 2006 while on a USO tour. Franken has apologized to Leeann Tweeden, the broadcaster.
Brent T. Griffiths, Politico
Sunday: President Can Start a Nuclear War at Will
"If President Trump were to decide that it's time to put (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un in his place once and for all, he would choose a plan that already exists. And it would be almost impossible in my view to override a decision to implement that option," Bruce G. Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and co-founder of the Global Zero group that advocates eliminating nuclear weapons, told USA TODAY on Sunday.
The exact procedure that would be followed has come under scrutiny amid congressional testimony about Trump's experience and authority to wage war at a time of elevated tensions with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions.
"We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said at a hearing last week into presidential authority to use nuclear weapons.
Kim Hjelmgaard, USA Toda
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