The more holidays, the merrier
A statement from President Donald Trump Tuesday hailed the start of the festival of Kwanzaa as “a weeklong celebration of African American heritage and culture.”
Not all that remarkable, except that Trump hasn’t always been respectful of Kwanzaa. In 2011, he retweeted a story from a right-wing website that called it a “fake holiday” and added his own accusation against President Barack Obama:
“What a convenient mistake: @BarackObama issued a statement for Kwanza” — that’s Trump’s misspelling — “but failed to issue one for Christmas.”
As president, Trump has decided he can honor both occasions.
“Together, let us celebrate during this joyous time the richness of the past and look with hope toward a brighter future,” the statement said. “ ... Melania and I extend our warmest wishes for a joyful holiday season and a prosperous year to come.”
Another try on health care
First, he said Obamacare was dead. Then it was “essentially repealed.” Now, according to a Trump tweet Tuesday, the tax bill passed week “essentially Repeals (over time) ObamaCare.”
There’s enough life left in the Affordable Care Act for 8.8 million sign-ups for 2018 — more than 4 of 5 of them from the red states Trump won, such as Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia, according to The Associated Press.
After the failed, go-it-alone Republican attempt to pass a broad repeal-and-replace bill, Trump’s tweet predicted “the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler of Manhattan, the new top-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, has been a Trump nemesis since a fight over West Side development in the 1990s. If Democrats win the House in 2018, Nadler could become the committee’s chairman and lead a charge for impeachment.
But Nadler suggested in a Politico interview that removing Trump from office through that means may not turn out be a good move, even if deserved.
Said Nadler: “If we were in the majority and if we decide that the evidence isn’t there for impeachment — or even if the evidence is there, we decide it would tear the country apart too much, there’s no buy-in, there’s no bipartisanship and we shouldn’t do it for whatever reason — if we decide that, then it’s our duty to educate the country why we decided it.”
Trump has a lot of beefs with Attorney General Jeff Sessions — the foremost being recusing himself from the Russia investigation because of his role in the campaign.
But Trump also assigns part of the blame to Sessions for the loss of his old Alabama Senate seat to Democrat Doug Jones, The Associated Press reports. What did Sessions do wrong? He let Trump choose him for attorney general.
Harm, but no foul
Siding with the nursing home industry, the Trump administration is scaling back the use of fines to punish those found to have harmed residents or placed them in grave risk of injury, The New York Times reported.
Advocates for nursing-home residents say the downsized penalties are weakening a valuable patient-safety tool. A Trump health official said nursing homes were “spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients.”
What else is happening
- Trump on Tuesday marked his 111th presidential day on Trump properties, and ventured from the Mar-a-Lago resort to play at the Trump International Golf Club. Filling out the foursome were Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), PGA tour player Bryson DeChambeau and former PGA golfer Dana Quigley.
- Andrew Jackson is one of Trump’s favorite past presidents, but a large portion of a majestic magnolia tree that “Old Hickory” planted on the south grounds of the White House in 1835 has got to go. In failing health, the tree is in danger of falling.
- New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s suit to save net neutrality is his 100th legal or administrative challenge to the Trump administration, The New York Times reports. He is seen as a potential backstop to pursue Trump investigations if the president moves to thwart efforts on the federal side.
- Trump resumed his Twitter trashing of the Russia investigation Tuesday, calling the FBI “tainted” and repeating claims by Fox News commentators about the “bogus” dossier.