👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Trump vaguely denied calling Haiti a “shithole country,” tweeting that “the language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough.” Trump then blamed Democrats for the “outlandish proposal,” which he called “a big setback for DACA!” He did not, however, deny that he called El Salvador or African countries “shitholes.” (NBC News / Washington Post)
2/ Senator Richard Durbin contradicted Trump, saying the comments were “hate-filled, vile and racist” and that he repeatedly referred to African countries as “shitholes” during the private immigration meeting. Durbin said, “The most disheartening thing to me is my belief that that was the first time words that hateful had been spoken in the Oval Office of the White House.” (New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
3/ The United Nations human rights office called Trump’s comments “shocking,” “shameful,” and “no other word for this but racist.” Haiti, the African Union, Mexico, and France all rejected Trump’s comments. (Reuters / USA Today)
4/ Don Lemon: “The president of the United States is racist.” The CNN Tonight host added that “A lot of us already knew that,” and that Trump’s comments were “disgusting,” but not shocking. “They’re not even really surprising.” (Washington Post)
5/ Anderson Cooper: “The sentiment the President expressed today is a racist sentiment.” Cooper also said that Trump’s remarks about American immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations were “Not racial. Not racially charged. Racist.” (CNN)
6/ At an event to honor Martin Luther King Jr, Trump decried racism, saying: “No matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal.” He then signed a proclamation on Friday declaring Monday Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which every president since Ronald Reagan has signed. (The Guardian / USA Today / CNN)
poll/ 55% of Americans think Trump’s mental fitness is an issue. Republicans called the question “unfair and politically motivated.” (Axios)
poll/ 50% of Americans would vote for Oprah over Trump, but 54% voters don’t want her to run. (CNN)
Trump canceled his visit to London to avoid mass protests. He was originally scheduled to open a new U.S. embassy, but will send Rex Tillerson to do it instead. Trump tweeted that the “reason” he canceled his “trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration” and their decision to sell the previous embassy. (The Guardian)
The US ambassador to Panama resigned over differences with the Trump administration. (CNN)
Jeff Bezos donated $33 million to a scholarship fund for young “dreamers,” which will help fund 1,000 college scholarships. (Washington Post)
Corey Lewandowski is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week. Lewandowski said he won’t plead the fifth as other witnesses have done. (The Daily Beast)
Trump extended the Iran nuclear deal, but said he will “terminate” the agreement unless Congress and European allies agree to improve it. (Politico)
The Education Department awarded a debt-collection contract to a company Betsy DeVos invested in before becoming education secretary. (Washington Post)
Trump paid a former porn star $130,000 one month before the 2016 election so she wouldn’t publicly discuss an alleged sexual encounter from 2006. Michael Cohen, the top attorney at the Trump Organization, arranged the payment to Stephanie Clifford. (Wall Street Journal)
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