Drama (in) Queens
After Queens Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley lost his Congressional seat in a stunning primary upset Tuesday, President Donald Trump crowed on Twitter: "Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"
This of course ignores the fact that democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won, did so amid fierce anti-Trump sentiment in the Queens-Bronx district.
But Trump did side with a local winner, in a Republican primary on Staten Island, when incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan crushed an implausible comeback attempt from the convicted Michael Grimm, who was ousted from the House seat.
The order sticks
A year ago, Donald Trump vented frustration and pointed fingers at his own team as a second version of his travel ban was getting hammered in the courts.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” he tweeted on June 5, 2017.
But the administration’s lawyers came up with yet another version in September, and it turns out the third time was the charm. It didn’t matter to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority that Trump had repeatedly called for a “Muslim ban.”
The ban now included North Korea and Venezuela, not just Muslim-majority countries. Trump administration lawyers argued “this is not a so-called ‘Muslim ban.’ ” The court agreed.
The ban “is squarely within the scope of presidential authority,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts, and that authority isn’t undermined by “this President’s words.” Dissenting, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the ruling “blindly accepts the government’s invitation to sanction an openly discriminatory policy.”
Trump takes a bow
Trump’s first reaction was simply “Wow!” but soon he drew a connection to the current battle over migrants crossing the Mexican border.
“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” a statement from the president said.
Trump has been testing his powers in the border crackdown and betting on its potency as an issue in the midterm elections, calling on voters to give him a Congress with bigger Republican majorities that he can bend to his will.
“We’re going to run on border security,” Trump said. The Democrats, he added, are “going to run on open borders and nobody wants open borders.”
Inside the lines
The court’s approval of the ban doesn’t mean lawyers on the losing side will just pack their briefcases and go home. Immigration attorneys called for greater scrutiny of how the Trump administration enforces it, writes Newsday’s Tom Brune.
Jeremy McKinney of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said his group will be looking for unlawful discrimination in the administration’s review of countries and its handling of visa waivers.
For its part, the administration will continue reviews of countries’ willingness and ability to give U.S. authorities sufficient security information about their citizens who want to travel to the United States. Visa waivers may still be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Not in hog heaven
Trump went through several stages of tweet-grief after Harley-Davidson revealed it will build motorcycles for European markets abroad to escape retaliatory trade-war tariffs from the EU.
There was shock: “Surprised ... Harley ... of all companies ... would be the first to wave the White Flag.”
Right after that, denial: (“Ultimately they will not pay tariffs selling into the E.U. ... be patient!”
Next, anger: “They were just using Tariffs/Trade War as an excuse.”
And finally, angry threats: “A Harley-Davidson should never be built in another country — never! Their employees and customers are already very angry at them. If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end — they surrendered, they quit! The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”
See Figueroa’s story for Newsday.
It’s going tariff-ic
While Trump proclaims confidence he will win the trade battles, Wall Street’s not so sure. Analysts there are now ramping up their warnings of a potential recession given Trump’s aggressive trade moves, Politico reports.
Among those worried: Gary Cohn, formerly Trump’s top economic adviser. Trump’s moves on deregulation and tax cuts helped the economy, he said, but “anything else that derails or confuses the economic agenda is confusing for the system.”
State of the reunions
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told senators at a hearing Tuesday that his agency currently is overseeing custody of 2,047 children who were separated from detained migrant parents — just six fewer than the total HHS count last week.
Azar said the agency won’t bring the children back to parents who remain in detention unless federal law is changed first. Without that, the parents’ only recourse is to drop their claims for asylum and agree to be deported.
The chief executive of the nation’s largest shelters for the children — nonprofit Southwest Key Programs — said he fears a lack of urgency by the U.S. government could mean it will take months to reunite the kids and parents.
New York, along with 16 other states and the District of Columbia, sued the administration Tuesday, contending its family-separation policy aimed at migrants violated the parents’ and children’s constitutional rights to due process.
AG’s punchline: Separating families
In a Los Angeles speech, Attorney General Jeff Sessions portrayed foes of the administration’s immigration policies as overprivileged coastal elites.
“From coast to coast — perhaps especially on this coast — there are politicians who think that having any border at all is mean-spirited, unkind or even bigoted,” Sessions said.
He said the “lunatic fringe” attacking the administration’s actions on TV “live in gated communities. ... And if you try to scale their fence, believe me, they’ll be only too happy to have you arrested and separated from your family.”
What else is happening
- Melania Trump’s “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket has inspired a knockoff, Glamour magazine reports. The Democratic National Committee says it has sold 3,200 olive-drab T-shirts with the message “We Care, We Vote. Do U?”
- The first lady will make a second trip to visit immigration facilities in the coming days, her spokeswoman said.
- Vice President Mike Pence thanked Brazil for welcoming Venezuelans fleeing their country’s collapse, while warning Central Americans running from violence in their homelands not to enter the United States illegally. On Thursday, Pence will meet with leaders from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
- A congressional intern who shouted a profanity at Trump when the president visited the Capitol last week has been suspended for one week. The office of Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) announced the disciplinary move for the “breach of office policies regarding respectful and appropriate conduct.”
- A federal judge in Virginia refused to dismiss charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, clearing the way for a trial next month. The judge — who previously questioned whether Russia probe special counsel Robert Mueller exceeded his jurisdiction — decided he hadn’t.
- Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is getting temporary Secret Service protection.
- Once again, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is letting it be known that he's "considering" running for president, this time theoretically as a Democrat against Trump.