It’s been a fascinating afternoon. Here’s a roundup:
- Hurricane Harvey will be hitting the Texas coast tomorrow morning. “This is right up President Trump’s alley,” said Tom Bossert, a Homeland Security adviser. “Not only has he showed leadership here, but his entire focus has been on making America great again. He is focused on the Americans who voted him into office, he’s focused on the Americans who didn’t vote him into office.” That’s good to hear, I guess.
- Trump is also focused on undocumented immigrants. He’s urging everyone to evacuate the coastal areas, but he’s also decided to keep all Border Patrol checkpoints open as long as possible. So you have your choice: you can either stay put and risk dying, or you can evacuate and risk being picked up by the Border Patrol. Quite a guy, our president.
- While everyone was focused on the hurricane, Trump also decided to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio. A court ordered Arpaio to stop racial profiling, and then held him in contempt when he refused. Trump’s white base should be thrilled by the pardon.
With this action, Trump is basically saying that courts have no authority to enforce the law on agents of the state. I wonder if it will be challenged in court? Everyone always says the pardon power is absolute, but I don’t think that’s ever been tested. After all, the language of the First Amendment is also absolute, but the Supreme Court has carved out all kinds of exceptions. (But who would have standing to sue?)
- Sebastian Gorka has resigned from his White House position doing… something. No one has ever figured out what. “Given recent events,” he wrote in his resignation letter, “it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House. As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”
But did Gorka resign or was he fired? Here’s the New York Times: “One of the officials said that the president’s chief of staff, John F. Kelly, had telegraphed his lack of interest in keeping Mr. Gorka over the last week in internal discussions. Mr. Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president, had been on vacation for at least the last two weeks, with no clear assigned duties to hand to others, that official said.”
- And just to finish off the day, Trump signed an executive order officially banning transgender people from serving in the military. What a dick.
That was Trump O’Clock on Friday, the 25th of August. Join us tomorrow for another edition.