Quiet before/after the storm
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma got people asking: Is climate change, particularly of the human-caused variety, making bad storms worse?
But not only is this the wrong time for such a question, it’s downright rude, according to Donald Trump’s administration.
“To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to ... people in Florida,” EPA chief Scott Pruitt told CNN as Irma approached the Sunshine State.
“Causality is something outside of my ability to analyze right now,” Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said Monday. “We’ll have to do a larger trend analysis at a later date,” he said.
Trump’s skepticism about the role of greenhouse gases was behind his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and moves to roll back carbon emission regulations. The president in the past labeled the theory largely a “hoax.” Is he rethinking his view at all?
“I don’t think that it’s changed over the last several weeks,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The Bannon’s roar
Sanders got annoyed over questions about the “60 Minutes” interview with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who is taking shots not only at Republican leaders, but also at his adversaries still inside the Trump White House.
On Bannon’s prediction of a “civil war” among Republicans over the future of DACA, Sanders said: I think that Steve always likes to speak in, kind of, the most extreme measures. I’m not sure that I agree with that.”
She also swatted at Bannon’s remarks that Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey “was the biggest mistake in modern political history” because it led to the appointment of Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller.
“The president was right,” she said.
The take-away: Action awaited
That little has happened since Trump declared opioid addiction a national emergency isn’t unusual.
Newsday’s Dan Janison offers more examples of how what Trump proclaims as a matter of pressing urgency one month ends up on a back burner the next, due to practical, political or legal obstacles.
Why we fight
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, in separate 9/11 anniversary ceremonies, underscored the continuing war on terrorism as necessary to protect the homeland, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports.
“Though we can never erase your pain, or bring back those you lost, we can honor their sacrifice by pledging our resolve to do whatever we must to keep our people safe,” Trump said.
Travel ban’s latest twists
The Trump administration has given up for now trying to get grandparents and other extended family members included in its travel ban from six Muslim-majority countries.
But it’s asking the Supreme Court to let it block refugees. Written arguments are due to be presented to the court Tuesday.
Despite being ready and willing to work on a tax revision plan, members of Congress find they are unable to do so because details remain unavailable.
This comes as Trump continues to barnstorm in a general way for tax reform, which his treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, predicted will be enacted by the end of the year. One key question in New York State: Will deductions for state and local taxes be halted or curbed on the federal form?
What else is happening
- The Trump Organization said it is “still assessing” whether any of its South Florida properties, including Mar-a-Lago, incurred serious damage from Hurricane Irma.
- New York and four other states sued over the Trump administration’s move to delay tougher “gas-guzzler” penalties for automakers whose vehicles come up short of minimum fuel-economy standards.
- Mexico withdrew its offer of help for U.S. victims of Hurricane Harvey because it’s dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake and Hurricane Katia. Mexican media also noted that Trump never acknowledged the gesture, nor has he offered sympathy over the quake.
- White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired back at a prominent House Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who called the retired Marine general a “disgrace to the uniform” because of Trump’s plan to rescind DACA.
- Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the most prominent African-American Republican in Congress, will talk to Trump Wednesday about the president’s response to the violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, CNN reported.