Like what you read below? Sign up for HUFFPOST HILL and get a cheeky dose of political news every evening!
We just registered to vote in 5 contiguous states, yet Arby’s refuses to redeem our free Loaded Italian. Pfffft. Mexico’s president canceled his meeting with President Trump, this despite the fact that our commander-in-chief undoubtedly would’ve rolled out his finest taco bowls. And Donald Trump appeared at the GOP’s policy retreat, the kind of place you can safely share racist stories your golf buddies told you without people getting all bent out of shape. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, January 26th, 2017:
STEVE BANNON: PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR - We’ve seen 1997 Tripod web pages with more cohesion than this administration. Michael M. Grynbaum: “Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief White House strategist, laced into the American press during an interview on Wednesday evening, arguing that news organizations had been ‘humiliated’ by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as ‘the opposition party’ of the current administration. ‘The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,’ Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call. ‘I want you to quote this,’ Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.’” [NYT]
Maybe he’s trying to distract us from this (well, a lot of things, but let’s go with this for now): “President Donald Trump begins his term with a negative 36 - 44 percent job approval rating from American voters, including a negative 33 - 50 percent rating from women, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Another 19 percent are undecided. President Barack Obama scored a positive 59 - 25 percent approval rating in his first post- inaugural poll by the independent Quinnipiac University on March 4, 2009.” [Quinnipiac University]
WE’RE GOING TO PAY FOR THE WALL - Look at it this way, it’ll keep all of us out of Mexico when the president nukes L.A. after D.L Hughley makes a swipe at him during the People’s Choice Awards Laura Barron-Lopez and Igor Bobic: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that Congress will pay $12 billion to $15 billion for a border wall upfront, dodging questions about whether they will offset the cost with spending cuts. The estimate comes one day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order calling for the construction of a wall along the approximately 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico. It remains unclear what the wall would actually look like, or if it would simply expand upon fencing that is already on the southwestern border. ‘We intend to address the wall issue ourselves, and the president can deal with his relations with other countries,’ McConnell told reporters at the GOP’s annual retreat. Journalists asked the Republican leaders three times if Congress would offset the cost of the wall, but they would not provide a direct answer.” [HuffPost]
@jbendery: POTUS plans to pay for the border wall by imposing a 20% tax on all imports from Mexico, Sean Spicer said in press gaggle (via pool).
MEXICAN PRESIDENT CANCELS TRIP - But, LOL, remember when Obama bowed to that guy? Roque Planas: “Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Thursday that he canceled a meeting with President Donald Trump that had been scheduled to take place on Jan. 31 in Washington. Peña Nieto had faced intense pressure from legislators to take a firmer stand against Trump by passing on the meeting, after Trump signed an executive order Wednesday moving forward on the construction of a wall along the Mexican border ― while continuing to insist that Mexico will somehow pay the multibillion-dollar cost. In a series of tweets, Peña Nieto said he lamented the Trump administration’s decision to insist on Mexico paying for the proposed border wall, a condition the Mexican president has long said he would not accept. ‘This morning, we have informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with @POTUS,’ Peña Nieto wrote.” [HuffPost]
THE VOTER FRAUD WAS COMING FROM *INSIDE THE HOUSE*! These people, man. Matea Gold and Alice Crites: “Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and one of his closest White House advisers, is registered to vote in both New Jersey and New York, while White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is on the rolls both in Virginia and his home state of Rhode Island, according to elections officials and voting registration records. Their dual registrations offer two more high-profile examples of how common it is for voters to be on the rolls in multiple states ― something Trump has claimed is evidence of voter fraud. Along with Kushner and Spicer, The Washington Post has now identified five Trump family members or top administration appointees who were registered in two states during the fall election. The others are chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon; Tiffany Trump, the president’s youngest daughter; and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, as first reported by CNN.” [WaPo]
TRUMP HAS THE DUMA UNDER HIS THUMB - Hey, did you know Congress is full of cowards? Matt Flegenheimer: “For months, the strategies have been tested and recalibrated — the senatorial speed-walk, the bemused deflection, the jittery laughter — honed through a presidential campaign season of refutable claims, racially charged rhetoric and tape-recorded boasts of sexual assault. So when President Trump and his team began their White House tenure with two whoppers, doubling down on false claims about his inauguration crowd and illegal voting in the election, Republicans on Capitol Hill this week assumed their positions.” [NYT]
CITI OFFICIAL HELPED STAFF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, BACK AT CITI - Thank goodness those globalists aren’t in charge anymore. Ben Walsh: “Before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, Julie Lindsay, a top lawyer at Citigroup, was working for the president-elect to fill key posts at agencies that are supposed to oversee banks — including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency that’s the brainchild of bank foe Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Now, Lindsay is back at work at Citigroup, a spokeswoman for the bank told The Huffington Post on Wednesday. Lindsay, a managing director at Citi, had been working on the Trump transition, gathering information about the policy direction and potentially drawing up lists of political appointees to serve at the governing body of the Federal Reserve, at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and on the Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council. The FSOC is made up of regulators from various agencies and monitors the financial system and has broad powers to take action to ensure its stability — such as breaking up big banks like Citigroup if they become too risky.” [HuffPost]
Like HuffPost Hill? Then order Eliot’s new book, The Beltway Bible: A Totally Serious A-Z Guide To Our No-Good, Corrupt, Incompetent, Terrible, Depressing, and Sometimes Hilarious Government
Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It’s free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill
TOP OFFICIALS OUT AT STATE - We’re guessing there will be major changes on the Russian desk, too. Josh Rogin: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era. Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land.... [T]he Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy…. Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.” [WaPo]
The head of the U.S. Border Patrol also quit today.
TRUMP’S FCC FILLING THE SWAMP - Dana Liebelson: “President Donald Trump ran a populist campaign, but his vision for the Federal Communications Commission, an agency that protects people from predatory telecom and cable companies, is shaping into the opposite, advocates fear. This week, Trump appointed Republican Ajit Pai — a former Verizon lawyer who opposed many consumer protection regulations as an FCC commissioner — as FCC chairman. (Verizon owns AOL, The Huffington Post’s parent company.) ... [A]dvocates point to the many other consumer protection regulations he opposed as commissioner, including open Internet rules, a proposal to help poor people buy broadband and a plan to make prison phone calls more affordable.” [HuffPost]
LOVELY - Laura Barron-Lopez: “A staffer on Donald Trump’s campaign who posted racist material on social media during the election cycle will now be joining the Department of Education, according to an internal email obtained by The Huffington Post…. A week before the Republican National Convention, UnRue drew attention for posting a video on her Facebook account showing a black man eating fried chicken, according to an Associated Press report. In the video, the man asks why fellow African-Americans are mad about slavery and says, ‘Y’all weren’t no damn slaves.’ When she shared the clip, UnRue wrote, ‘Had me crack’n up!! Thank you! Please share this with people.’” [HuffPost]
HATCH FEELING PRIMARY PRESSURE - Great opening for whomever sells Mike Lee his survival seeds. Thomas Burr: “Nearly eight out of 10 Utahns say Sen. Orrin Hatch shouldn’t run for an eighth term and that if the GOP primary were held now, a solid majority would pick former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman over Hatch, a new poll shows. While just more than half of Utah voters approve of Hatch’s job performance, the poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics shows the state isn’t ready to support the senator should he reverse a promise in his last campaign and seek re-election. Some 78 percent opposed another bid by Hatch, with 58 percent of them saying he should ‘definitely not’ run...Asked whether they would support Hatch or Huntsman if the 2018 Republican primary were held now, some 62 percent of voters picked Huntsman and 21 percent chose Hatch.” [Salt Lake Tribune]
TRUMP FETED BUSINESS PARTNERS AT INAUGURATION - Russ Choma: “Donald Trump vowed to wall himself off from his business interests when he became president—but at least two of his wealthy foreign business partners attended his inauguration as VIPs, where they watched the swearing-in from prime seats, partied with Trump insiders, and posed for pictures with Trump’s children and grandchildren. Here’s just one example of their incredible access during the inaugural festivities: The wife of one of Trump’s partners, Indonesian billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, posted a video from inside a vehicle driving the locked-down parade route after the ceremony, as police officers stood at attention and spectators waited behind barricades for a glimpse of the new first family.” [Mother Jones]
GOVERNMENT GRANT FREEZES HAVE REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES - Who needs scientists when you have a really, really good drapes guy for your Pennsylvania Avenue hotel? Kate Sheppard: “Tom Bytnerowicz, a doctoral student at Columbia University, is part of a small group of scholars who were awarded grants from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results, or STAR, program…. He was also one of the many people who became very worried when the EPA, under the new Trump administration, froze its grant program on Monday. The agency now says its review of the grants will be done by Friday, and that the freeze is simply to ‘make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen.’ Bytnerowicz said he got a vague note from his primary point of contact at the EPA on Tuesday that suggested she didn’t know what was going on with the grants, either. She said she would let the fellows know when she had more information. This is a major concern for Bytnerowicz and his wife, who is currently staying home to care for their 13-month-old who has a disability. The whole family relies on his living stipend.” [HuffPost]
GOVERNING BY GASLIGHT - Trump does this because it works. Amanda Terkel and J.M. Rieger: “In its short time in office, the new administration has consistently complained that people keep trying to undermine and delegitimize President Donald Trump…. Spicer and Priebus work for a man who spent years trying to delegitimize and undercut President Barack Obama, pushing the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore wasn’t even constitutionally eligible to be president.” [HuffPost]
AND THE BATTERY-THROWING RATE IS NEARLY ZERO - Chris Palmer: “President Trump said Thursday that Philadelphia’s murder rate has been ‘steady, I mean, just, terribly increasing.’ By almost any interpretation, he’s wrong…. [I]n 2015, the murder rate was about 17.86 per 100,000 residents, according to a calculation using police statistics and census data. In 2016, it was about 17.41 per 100,000 residents. But after saying ‘steady’ Trump then added ‘I mean just, terribly increasing,’ which is incorrect. It’s true that 2015 and 2016 had higher murder rates than 2013 and 2014. But both of those years had the lowest murder rates the city had seen in decades.” [Philly.com]
CABLE NEWS RUINING AMERICA IN A BRAND-NEW WAY NOW - Michael Calderone: “The cable news chyron operator is a midlevel job, usually staffed by a production assistant in his or her mid-20s. A segment producer is higher up on the food chain, but still labors behind the scenes. In the era of Donald Trump, however, both of these posts have taken on monumental importance, wielding as much influence as your run-of-the-mill House member. The president of the United States is an obsessive cable news watcher, that much is known. But the extent to which his viewing habits are affecting his governing priorities during his first week in office has been shocking to observers.” [HuffPost]
BLRAAAAAAAARHGHHHHHH! - That title was our impression of Alex Jones, who this story is about. Charlie Warzel: “Alex Jones likely won’t be attending any upcoming White House press briefings, according to the Trump administration’s press office. Yesterday Alex Jones told viewers on his popular YouTube channel that his conspiracy news site, Infowars has been offered White House press credentials by the new administration to cover the Trump White House. But on Thursday White House press officials tell BuzzFeed News that Jones and Infowars have not been offered a spot in the briefing room. ‘He is not credentialed for the White House,’ White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. ‘The White House Press office has not offered him credentials.’” [BuzzFeed]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s the greatest video of all time.
BRING IT ON - Sweet, sweet relief is a little bit nearer. Matt Ferner: “Humankind is now just 2 and a half minutes from doomsday. That’s the somber conclusion of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group of scientists who maintain the ‘Doomsday Clock,’ a symbolic representation of humanity’s proximity to apocalyptic destruction. On Thursday, they moved the clock’s minute hand 30 seconds closer to midnight ― the hour symbolizing global catastrophe. The minute hand is now closer to the hour representing humanity’s doom than it has been since 1953, when it hit 2 minutes, the closest it has ever been to midnight, following the testing of hydrogen bombs by both the U.S. and Soviet Union.” [HuffPost]
Free lard: “As millions of people around the world demonstrated on Saturday in solidarity with attendees of the Women’s March on Washington, North Carolina state Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R) decided to insult them on Twitter. ‘Message to crazies @ Women’s March - If Brains were lard, you couldn’t grease a small skillet. You know who you are,’ she wrote in a now-deleted tweet. By Thursday morning, that tweet had earned Krawiec a lifetime supply of lard. The Raleigh News & Observer reported that at least 10 boxes of pig fat had been sent to her office in an apparent protest at her remarks. Most of them were still stacked in their Amazon packaging.” [HuffPost’s Nick Wing]
- This is what it looks like when you ski off a cliff.
- Robot conquers CAPTCHA.
- Why cinnamon sticks are so expensive.
@daveweigel: My new favorite liberal fantasy is that Republicans will impeach Trump bc he’s acting exactly like he did when they campaigned for him.
@JohnDingell: So taxpayers have to foot the bill for his crazy wall? Maybe that’s what he meant by America First.
@pourmecoffee :If you’ve ever wondered how it would be to conduct foreign policy like you negotiate towel prices for a hotel I have some really good news.
Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (email@example.com)