👋 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 called the Federal Reserve chairman an “enemy” of the United States after Jerome Powell said Trump’s trade war is a “complex, turbulent” situation. Powell, whom Trump picked for the role, suggested the trade wars were contributing to a possible global slowdown and that the central bank was facing a “new challenge” as a result. Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that the Fed “did NOTHING” and questioned who “our bigger enemy” is: Powell or China’s President Xi Jinping. Trump also tweeted that he’ll continue to “work ‘brilliantly.’” [Editor’s note: It’s unclear why Trump quoted the word brilliantly in his tweet.] (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / The Guardian / CNBC)
2/ China will retaliate with tariffs on $75 billion more of U.S. goods in two batches effective Sept. 1st and Dec. 15th, which match with 10% tariff the Trump administration said would go into effect on $300 billion worth of imports from China. Beijing will also impose 25% tariffs on U.S. cars and a 5% on auto parts and components, which will go into effect on Dec. 15th. China paused the tariffs in April. (ABC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / Axios)
3/ Trump “hereby ordered” U.S. companies via Twitter to leave China “immediately” after Beijing said it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of additional U.S. products. In a series of tweets, Trump demanded that U.S. companies “start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing our companies HOME and making your products in the USA,” because “Our Country has lost, stupidly, Trillions of Dollars with China over many years.” Trump also “ordered” the United States Postal Service and private American companies like FedEx, Amazon, and UPS to search packages from China for Fentanyl and refuse delivery. The White House does not have the authority to force companies to follow these “orders.” Trump also promised to escalate the trade war, saying he would be “responding to China’s Tariffs this afternoon” because “This is a GREAT opportunity for the United States.” (Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / Bloomberg)
4/ The Dow dropped more than 600 points after Trump ordered U.S. manufacturers to find alternatives to China. The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year Treasury yield also inverted following Trump’s tweets. A yield curve inversion is considered one of the most reliable leading indicators that recession is coming. (CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times)
- Trump joked that the stock market dropped because Rep. Seth Moulton dropped out of the presidential race. Moulton, meanwhile, reacted to Trump’s tweet, saying “I’m glad he thinks I have more influence on the Dow than he does.” (The Hill / Politico / New York Times)
5/ Trump tweeted that he’ll raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 25% to 30% on Oct. 1. Trump also announced that the 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods set to go into effect on Sept. 1st would be raised to 15%. Trump capped off his tweetstorm with: “Thank you for your attention to this matter!” (CNBC / Politico / Bloomberg / Axios / New York Times)
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to allow private companies to fire workers based only on their sexual orientation. An amicus brief filed by the Justice Department weighed in on two cases involving gay workers and what is meant by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans discrimination “because of sex.” The administration argued that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination only prohibits unequal treatment between “biological sexes.” (BuzzFeed News)
The Trump administration promoted six judges to the immigration appeals court who all have high rates of denying immigrants’ asylum claims. All six were named by Attorney General William Barr. The immigration appeals court is responsible for setting binding policy for deportation cases. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Trump claimed that 94% of Republicans approve of the way he is handling his job. Trump’s job approval among Republicans in recent nationally representative polls, however, found that his approval stands at 84% (Monmouth University), 79% (AP-NORC), and 88% (Fox News). (Washington Post)
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