We haven’t been following the Trump beat as much as usual this week because we keep getting distracted, but also because there’s just not that much going on. Or rather, a lot is going on, but there’s been no progress.
The government is still shut down. Trump still wants a wall. The Democrats still aren’t going to give it to him, and meanwhile, everyone else is suffering. TSA agents are calling in sick (and others are being relocated to busier airports), the FBI has had to open food banks for itself, and 800,000 employees still haven’t been paid. Meanwhile, the shutdown — as things are wont to do — is hurting those most in need disproportionately — some retailers can’t even accept food stamps anymore, while Native American tribes aren’t receiving necessary federal funds that provide for their basic needs owed to them under treaties with the federal government.
Trump ain’t care. He just wants his goddamn wall, which remains as pointless now as it did when the shutdown began. Meanwhile, the longer this drags on, the more it hurts Trump and the Republicans, especially as we are apparently looking at 0 percent GDP growth in the first quarter if this continues.
This matters.— Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) January 23, 2019
Chair of WH Council of Economic Advisors @WhiteHouseCEA just told me if #shutdown lasts until end of Q1 — “Yes” the U.S. economy could see zero growth. Zero. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Gt4yNzU7xo
It’s also taking a toll on Trump’s approval ratings, which continue to fall.
Meanwhile, Trump says that — despite Pelosi threatening to withdraw the invitation — he still plans to give the State of the Union address on Tuesday, although I’m not sure how that will work, or if Pelosi will even follow through on her threat.
There is other news. The new House Oversight Committee, which now includes several members of the progressive caucus, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ro Khanna, is getting started on its investigations, and one of the first is to look into how the hell Jared Kushner managed to gain security clearance.
Elsewhere, Trump and several of his aides are reportedly annoyed with Rudy Giuliani, because he keeps going on television at night while sauced.
Some of Trump’s allies have suggested that Giuliani be barred from evening interviews because of concerns that he was going on TV after drinking, according to three Republicans close to the White House.
Giuliani has, indeed, been making an even bigger jackass of himself of late than usual. I say, give him another highball and send him on Anderson Cooper.
Finally, Pete Buttigieg has announced he plans to run for President in 2020. This guy is phenomenal — he’s young (37), a veteran, very popular in South Bend where he is mayor (in fact, after he married his partner, he won re-election with 80 percent of the vote IN INDIANA), and would be the first gay nominee of a major political party. I don’t think he has much of a chance —- the field is already too crowded with people with far more national exposure — but the run should raise his profile.