HUFFPOST HILL - Nuclear Holocaust To Spare World A Full Trump Presidency

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Donald Trump tweeted about increasing America’s nuclear arsenal, presumably because he has some potassium options somewhere in his portfolio. Trump hates people with facial hair, which would explain all that late-night tweeting about Ambrose Burnside. And Trump won’t return Rick Snyder’s calls, because it’s not like the president-elect has any political incentive to be in touch with the most powerful guy in Michigan. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, December 22nd, 2016:

IMPORTANT NEWS FROM THE LAST PRESIDENT - It’s a real shame Kubrick died before Twitter. Melissa Fares, Lewis Krauskopf, Susan Heavey and Roberta Rampton: “U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called on Thursday for the country to expand its nuclear weapons capabilities until the world ‘comes to its senses’ ― a signal he may support costly efforts to modernize the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal. During the next decade, U.S. ballistic missile submarines, bombers, and land-based missiles ― the three legs of the nuclear triad ― are expected to reach the end of their useful lives. Maintaining and modernizing the arsenal is expected to cost at about $1 trillion dollars over 30 years, according to independent estimates. ‘The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,’ Trump said in a post on Twitter.” [Reuters]

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TRYING TO HINDER MUSLIM REGISTRY - It was this or leaving bags of dog poop in the ceiling on January 20th. Jessica Schulberg: “The Obama administration is dismantling an inactive national registry that was used to track foreign visitors from a designated list of countries, most of which have Muslim-majority populations. The move represents a last-minute effort by the outgoing president to delay his successor, Donald Trump, from reinstating what critics say would amount to a Muslim registry. The registry, known as National Security Entry-Exit Registration (NSEERS), was created shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. It required men 16 and older from certain countries to register in person with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and submit to questioning and fingerprinting when entering the U.S. By 2003, the list of designated countries had swelled from a handful to 25, with 24 of them majority-Arab or Muslim. The Department of Homeland Security is removing the regulatory structure behind NSEERS, effective immediately, the agency said in a statement on Thursday.” [HuffPost]

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SPICER OFFICIALLY GETS PRESS SECRETARY GIG - So does Josh Earnest leave a chewed piece of gum in the flak jacket? Michael Calderone: “[Sean] Spicer, who had been Republican National Committee communications director since 2011 and the party’s chief strategist since 2015, was a forceful defender of Trump in the media, even as some Republicans kept their distance or opposed his candidacy…. The move paid off for Spicer, a figure well known to Washington journalists who’ll be covering the Trump White House…. On stage at a Politico event, Spicer said there should be more ways for the public to communicate with the White House press office and suggested the media pecking order in the briefing room should be reassessed. ‘For too long, I think that we’ve had this very stale operation, which is all the mainstream media folks get front row seats, and it’s a question of, here are the broadcast networks, here’s The Washington Post, The New York Times,’ Spicer said. ‘What about some of the conservative media having some of the prized seats in there?’ he asked. ‘What about having some of the top bloggers being able to come in?’” [HuffPost]

KELLYANNE CONWAY TO NOT JUST CALL PRESS ‘RUDE’ - She will tell the president things! Hayley Miller: “Kellyanne Conway will be appointed counselor to the president, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced Thursday. The designation will make Conway the highest-ranking woman in Trump’s White House. As his campaign manager and strategist, Conway led Trump to his victory over Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election. She was one of his most visible surrogates and attempted to minimize damage from some of Trump’s biggest PR blunders. She became the first woman in U.S. history to lead a successful presidential campaign. Conway, 49, initially endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for president, but later rallied behind Trump when Cruz dropped out of the race. She took over as Trump’s campaign manager after he secured the Republican presidential nomination over the summer. She has served as adviser to several other Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich during his 2012 presidential race and Vice President-elect Mike Pence in his run for Indiana governor.” [HuffPost]

Oh: “Top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Thursday that people in need are going to ‘suffer’ because the sons of President-elect Donald Trump are pulling back from raising money for charity after coming under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest.’” [HuffPost’s Sam Levine]

GINGRICH APPLIES FRESH COAT OF BROWN TO HIS NOSE - The debasement of the Republican Party is endless. Igor Bobic: “Newt Gingrich said Thursday that he made a ‘big boo-boo’ when he claimed President-elect Donald Trump doesn’t intend to uphold his campaign promise to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington, D.C…. It appears he coordinated with Trump’s team before releasing the video. Just before Gingrich posted it to Twitter, Trump tweeted that he ‘will always be trying’ to get rid of lobbyists and influencers in the nation’s capital. Trump’s reprimand and Gingrich’s quick reversal on the matter suggest the president-elect and his team are sensitive to charges that they’re selling out their most enthusiastic supporters by dropping some of the campaign’s most popular rhetoric. The episode also suggests Gingrich may not be as close to Trump’s growing inner circle as he was during the campaign.” [HuffPost]

SENATE DEMS PREPPING FOR WAR ON TRUMP’S NOMINEES - Burgess Everett: “Lawmakers know they’re unlikely, at best, to stop any of Trump’s Cabinet picks from being installed. But they still see major opportunity in the confirmation hearings. The goal, according to lawmakers and aides: to depict Trump’s chosen inner circle of billionaires and conservative hard-liners as directly at odds with the working-class Americans he vowed to help…. Senate Democrats want to force Trump’s picks to lay down markers on specific policies that can be used to build a case against the incumbent as his administration unfolds and the next election approaches, insiders said. More immediately, they want to begin to make the case to Trump voters that what they voted for is a far cry from what they’ll be getting with the next president.” [Politico]


ENVIRONMENTALISM TRIGGER WARNING - Though they already know that the entire Earth is not a safe space. Alexander Kaufman: “President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, became one of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s fiercest defenders this year as the oil giant battled legal probes into its funding of climate science deniers. Exxon Mobil, meanwhile, served as a major donor to the Republican Attorneys General Association, of which the Oklahoma attorney general served as chairman in 2012 and ‘13 and remains a member. The company donated $50,000 to the group in April, a month earlier than usual, this year. The firm gave the same amount in May of last year, and $60,000 the same month in 2014, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Exxon Mobil has a long history of donating to Republican organizations, and Pruitt has deep ties to the fossil fuel industry.” [HuffPost]

ERIC TRUMP SHUTS DOWN PAY-TO-PLAY SCHEME - Sorry, we meant “charity.” David A. Fahrenthold: “Eric Trump is suspending the operations of his charitable foundation — ceasing all fundraising — after facing questions about whether the foundation donors might get special access to members of the first family…. The Eric Trump Foundation, founded in 2007, raises more than $1.5 million a year through a golf tournament, online auctions and other events. One recent auction, for instance, offered a 10-week paid internship at the Trump Organization, which came with the chance to sit down for 15 minutes each with Eric Trump and his siblings Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. In another auction, the foundation offered a chance to pitch a business idea to Eric Trump over lunch.” [WaPo]

A DEFENSE OF SWAMPS:  Donald Trump keeps talking about draining them. Where else are alligators supposed to go?” [HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery]

TRUMP TEAM DEMANDS ANSWERS ON LADY PROGRAMS - Mark Landler: “President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team this week asked employees at the State Department to submit details of programs aimed at promoting gender equality, including a list of the positions primarily focused on such issues, fanning fears within the agency that the incoming administration might roll back a cornerstone initiative of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The one-page memo, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times, asks for a summary ‘outlining existing programs and activities to promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.’ It also asks for information on positions dedicated to those activities, as well as how much funding was directed to these programs in 2016.” [NYT]

NORTH CAROLINA DEMS SEETHING AFTER HB2 DOUBLE CROSS - Amanda Terkel: “The Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP and a leading voice on civil rights, is calling for a national economic boycott of his state due in part to its General Assembly’s failure to repeal the anti-LGBTQ law known as HB2…. The General Assembly spent more than nine hours meeting in a special session on Wednesday to consider repealing HB2, which bars cities and localities from enacting anti-discrimination policies that protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It also prevents schools from allowing transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity rather than the gender assigned to them at birth. Although many people on both sides of the aisle were hopeful that the controversial law ― which has cost the state millions in lost revenue ― would finally be gone, it remains on the books. Democrats expected the Republican majority to present a clean repeal bill. Instead, however, Republicans added an extra provision barring localities from making changes to ordinances regarding employment and public accommodations for six months.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP NOT PLEASED WITH YOUR SOUP STRAINER - You know, coming from the psyche that has very odd thoughts about Diet Coke, this isn’t terribly surprising. Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty: “Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part. Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players…. Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. ‘Donald was not going to like that mustache,’ said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. ‘I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.’” [WaPo]

TRUMP’S WALL APPARENTLY HAS DOOR LEADING STRAIGHT TO HIS SON’S VINEYARD - Philip Bump: “Trump Winery, located in Charlottesville, Va., is run by Eric Trump, the middle son of Donald Trump. The president-elect himself has a stake in the enterprise though, according to his personal financial disclosure. Meaning that, with the winery’s recent request for temporary guest workers to fill six farmworker positions, businesses associated with Trump have offered at least 513 jobs reserved for migrant workers since mid-2013.” [WaPo]

INSIDE TOM PEREZ’S BID FOR DNC CHAIR - Zach Carter and Sam Stein: “Labor Secretary Thomas Perez made his case to be America’s Next Top Democrat in a recent interview with The Huffington Post, highlighting major structural shifts he wants to see the party make, along with smaller tactical changes he believes the committee must implement. The big problem for Democrats, Perez says, isn’t their policy platform, but management and organization. Like everyone else running for the post, Perez wants to empower state and local parties in red and blue states alike. It’s a pitch tailored for the party insiders who will ultimately decide the contest in two months.” [HuffPost]

The Washington Blade spoke with another DNC candidate, New Hampshire party chairman Raymond Buckley, who would be the first openly gay chair if elected.

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog who won’t let a Roomba ruin its day.

PRESIDENT-ELECT TOO BUSY TWEETING TO RESPOND TO GOVERNOR - [cue Charlie Brown sad piano] Paul Egan: “Gov. Rick Snyder says he’s reached out more than once to President-elect Donald Trump since the Nov. 8 election, but has yet to hear back from the incoming Republican president. ‘I’ve put in messages, but I know he’s very busy,’ said Snyder, a Republican who didn’t endorse or campaign for Trump, the first GOP presidential nominee to win Michigan since 1988. ‘I don’t envy his schedule at this point in time,’ Snyder said in a year-end interview with the Free Press. Snyder said he’s spoken with senior Trump officials about people in Michigan who could be positive additions to the Trump administration and is eager to share with Trump the report Snyder recently received from his commission on infrastructure, as well as discuss Michigan’s successes in job creation over the last six years.” [Detroit Free Press]


- Chewbacca sings “Silent Night,” because ‘tis the season.

- Tracking the demise of video game cheat codes.


@freedlander: “But what about her emails!” he shouted as the nuclear fallout shelter doors closed in front of him...

@SimonMaloy: update: I have been thrown off another plane (FedEx delivery) after angrily confronting a palette of Trump non-iron classic fit dress shirts

“Stop paying attention to Trump’s tweets!”

[Trump tweets that he wants to reescalate the nuclear arms race]

“OK well maybe that one.”

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