👋 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/ The impact of Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Trump called “the biggest reform of all time” to the tax code, has not generated an increase in overall economic growth, business investment, or worker pay. Half of corporate chief financial officers expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020 with two-thirds expecting a recession by the end of next year. Despite an uptick in the second quarter of 2018, growth declined the following two quarters to end up at 2.9% for the year – falling short of the promised 3% growth. (CNBC)
2/ Trump claimed that Americans – “whether you love me or hate me” – have “no choice” but to vote for him in 2020, because the stock market will collapse otherwise. Trump also baselessly accused the media of “doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.” Trump, meanwhile, recently attacked the Federal Reserve, forced Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to label China a “currency manipulator,” and delayed tariffs on Chinese imports over concerns they could depress holiday sales. (New York Times / Washington Post)
3/ Trump body shamed one of his supporters at a campaign rally, saying “That guy has got a serious weight problem. Go home, get some exercise!” Frank Dawson, who was wearing a “Trump 2020” shirt, was standing near a group of protesters holding two banners. Trump later called from Air Force One, and left a voice mail message for Dawson, but did not apologize for the insult. (Washington Post / New York Times / Daily Beast)
4/ The House Republican strategy on gun violence is to describe mass shootings as “violence from the left” while downplaying white nationalism, according to a talking points memo recently circulated. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 73% of extremist-related murders are committed by right-wing fanatics and white supremacists. No extremist-related murder in the United States last year was carried out by “the left.” (Tampa Bay Times
5/ The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rolled back a nationwide injunction that blocked the Trump administration from denying most asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border. The decision will now effectively block most Central Americans who cross into the U.S. – legally or illegally – in New Mexico or Texas from seeking asylum while allowing those who cross the border into California or Arizona to claim asylum. (ABC News / Axios)
6/ Trump and his national security advisers are considering a deal with the Taliban for a withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaeda and to prevent it from activities such as fundraising, recruiting, training and operational planning in areas under Taliban control. An initial withdrawal would include roughly 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and end America’s longest military engagement abroad. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
7/ Greenland to Trump: “We’re not for sale.” (Reuters)
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