If you follow the news at all, in even the most haphazard way, you're probably aware we just closed one doozy of a week for Washington. With so many jaw-dropping stories crowding the headlines this week, last Monday easily feels like a lifetime ago. While the Donald Trump news cycle often feels chaotic, this last week seemed especially turbulent as one shocking news story gave way to another. In case you didn't catch everything during what may have been one of the Trump administration's worst weeks, know that there are a few notable stories from the week Trump likely hopes you missed.
In the span of just a few short days, we watched the Trump administration struggle to handle a series of calamities, controversies, and surprise shake-ups at the White House. Along with watching Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare go down in flames once again, we've seen Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's new White House communications director, make some intense phone calls and chase off Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions was publicly attacked by Trump multiple times. Indeed, much of the week's chaos can be attributed to President Trump, who appeared to stir up controversy with almost every speech, tweet, and interview he gave.
Without further ado, here's nine stories President Trump is probably hoping you didn't see this last week:
After tweeting up a storm earlier in the day, Trump gave a heavily political and controversial speech to the Boy Scouts in West Virginia on Monday. Many, including parents of current scouts and scout alums, derided the speech as having crossing a line into what appeared to be indoctrination.
The speech is indeed more reminiscent of those Trump gave on the campaign trail with attacks on the media, President Barack Obama, and even subtle jabs about those within his administration. At one point the president threatened to fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price if the Obamacare repeal didn't pass the Senate later in the week.
The State Department announced Tuesday that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "taking a little time off" this week after just six months on the job. Although Tillerson returned to work mid week, there are rumors, which the State Department denies, that he has been thinking of resigning.
When publicly berating Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Twitter for her opposition to the GOP's healthcare reform didn't cause her to change her mind, Trump reportedly dispatched Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who told both Murkowski and fellow Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan that their state's future with the administration was now in jeopardy.
It was later reported that a Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva planned to ask federal officials to investigate the incident, which he described as "political blackmail."
Also On Wednesday
But Murkoswki wasn't the only one on in Washington on Trump's naughty list. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller have also been publicly attacked by the president this week, much to the chagrin of Republican legislators.
On Wednesday, however, Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Trump his committee would not confirm a new attorney general anytime this year should the president move to fire Sessions.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham later chimed in to say he planned to introduce legislation aimed at protecting Mueller's job, warning it "could be the beginning of the end" for Trump if he attempted to fire him.
Trump's tweet announcing a ban on transgender people in the military became especially embarrassing later in the day when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed the administration did not yet have plans for implementation and had not presented a formal policy change request to military leaders. Oops.
Recently, Trump has talked quite a bit about pushing back on gangs, including a speech he gave Tuesday in Ohio during which he referred to immigrant gang members as "animals."
On Thursday, the New York Civil Liberties Union claimed "the recklessness of the Trump deportation machine" was targeting teens. According to the NYCLU, at least nine children have been placed in "restrictive detention" after the by the Suffolk County Police Department made "unconfirmed allegations of gang affiliation" based on things like a t-shirt or who the child played soccer with.
In a speech at an America's Voice Education Fund event in Washington on Friday, former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Sandweg claimed the Trump administration was targeting undocumented immigrants who complete voluntary check-ins and no criminal record in an effort to boost deportation numbers. He said:
We are seeing daily raids, but they're silent. Mom and dads with no record are coming in for check-ins and getting deported. It's very abundantly clear that this is not about public safety, not about border security. It's clearly about setting a record amount of deportations.
While speaking before law enforcement officials in Long Island, Trump encouraged officers to use extra force when handling suspects. "When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough. I said, 'Please don't be too nice,'" Trump said.
Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head — you know, the way you put their hand over — like, 'Don't hit their head' and they've just killed somebody. 'Don't hit their head.' I said, 'You can take the hand away, OK?'
It didn't take long for law enforcement officials to begin distancing themselves from the president's remarks. By the end of the day Saturday statements condemning Trump's encouragement of excessive force had been released by the Suffolk County Police Department, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Gainesville Police Department, and the New Orleans Police Department to name a few.
In closing out what had to have been one of the president's worst weeks since taking office, America is quickly learning that following the Trump news cycle can sometimes leave one with whiplash as one major news development follows another and another and another.
In truth, these stories are only the tip of the week's news-cycle iceberg. And as nice as it might be to tune out or take a break from the tempest of news coming out of the Trump administration, the risk is too great that we'll miss something, like say a major staffing or policy change announced casually and with little promotion via Twitter. Meaning, if we take one thing away from the past week's insane news cycle, let it be this: vigilance is key.