👋 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 told four liberal congresswomen of color to “go back” and “fix” their “broken and crime infested” countries. All four are American citizens and born in the United States, except for one, who became a refugee at age 10 when a civil war devastated Somalia. While he did not mention them by name, Trump’s tweets were directed at the members of the so-called “squad,” who were elected to Congress in 2018: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley. Republicans remained largely silent after Trump’s attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, called the tweets “xenophobic” and accused Trump of reaffirming his plan to make “America white again.” (New York Times / Associated Press / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Yahoo News / CNN)
- Trump racists tweets, explained. (Vox)
2/ Trump denied that his racist tweets were racist, insisting that “If you’re not happy here, then you can leave.” Earlier, Trump accused the four congresswomen of “spewing” “racist hatred” and that “many people” agree with his view that they “hate our country.” (CNN / The Guardian / BuzzFeed News / New York Times / Washington Post)
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he doesn’t believe Trump’s racist tweets were racist. “I understand what the President’s comment is,” Mnuchin said. “ I’m not concerned about the President’s comment.” (CNN)
3/ The four congresswomen condemned Trump’s racist tweets, calling them “the agenda of white nationalists” and “a continuation of his racist and xenophobic playbook.” During a press conference, Rep. Pressley responded to Trump’s comments, saying: “Our squad is big. Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world, and that is the work that we want to get back to and given the size of this squad and this great nation, we cannot, we will not be silenced.” Trump – again – attacked the four congresswomen in a series of tweets, saying, “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE.” (Washington Post / CNN / CNN / CBS News)
4/ House Democrats are drafting a resolution to condemn Trump’s racist tweets. Pelosi said Trump “went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language” and implored House Republicans to vote with Democrats to condemn Trump’s language. (Politico)
5/ Trump’s threats of mass ICE raids and deportations failed to materialize on Sunday, marking the second time Trump has threatened large-scale ICE enforcement actions that never came to fruition. ICE would not confirm any arrests. Trump, however, claimed that “The ICE raids were very successful — people came into our country illegally, illegally. Many, many were taken out on Sunday, you just didn’t know about it.” (NPR / Washington Post / Politico)
- Mike Pence visited two detention facilities in Texas, including a Border Patrol station where hundreds of men were crowded in sweltering cages without cots. Agents wore face masks while Pence described the facility as smelling “horrendous” and called the experience “tough stuff.” A group of detained men chanted: “No shower, no shower!” (Chicago Tribune / NBC News / The Guardian / CNN)
6/ The Trump administration moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants. The new rule would require asylum-seeking immigrants who pass through a third country on their way to the U.S. to first apply for refugee status in that country rather than at the U.S. border. The rule is expected to go into effect on Tuesday, and would also apply to children who have crossed the border by themselves. The only exceptions are for people who were trafficked, people who pass through a country that isn’t a party to one of the major international refugee treaties, and people who sought asylum in a country on the way to the U.S. but were denied. (NPR / Associated Press)
7/ Trump is considering firing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after the attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census failed. Trump has expressed frustration with Ross in the past over failed trade negotiations, but Ross’ personal friendship with Trump has saved him. Ross may still be in the clear now that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned last week, but some White House officials expect Ross to be gone as soon as this summer. Trump is reportedly making calls to allies outside the White House and musing about replacing Ross. (CNBC / NBC News)
8/ At Trump’s request, Kellyanne Conway will ignore a House Oversight Committee subpoena and refuse to testify about a government watchdog’s findings that she violated the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work. (Washington Post / Politico)
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