President Trump Just Became the 1st Sitting President to Address This Controversial Conference
It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the onslaught of national news that President Trump seems to constantly generate. From trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something that millions more people might not be able to afford, to lambasting Puerto Rico, which is going through a humanitarian crisis after hurricane Maria, this week was no different. And of course, that’s not all that happened in the White House this week.
Here are a few of the news items to come from the president this week that are worth a closer look.
more moves to dismantle the affordable care act
Trump hates Obamacare; that much is clear. Republicans in Congress also aren’t big fans, and have been ardently working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act for years, though they ultimately have been unsuccessful. Congressional GOPers have tried and failed to pass new health care legislation several times since Trump took office in January, and now, the president is taking matters into his own hands.
On Friday, Trump tweeted, “The Democrats ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped. Dems should call me to fix!”
This tweet sounds like more of the president’s typical blustering, but the middle sentence about subsidy payments is important. Last night, a leaked executive order revealed that Trump has ended government subsidies to insurers who offer coverage through the ACA. What does this mean, exactly? In brief: Premiums will go way up for people with marketplace insurance plans, making it even harder for working class and poor people to afford health insurance at all. Without the subsidies, premiums are expected to rise 20 percent, The Hill reports.
The Attorneys General of California and New York, Xavier Becerra and Eric Schneiderman, have both already said they will sue Trump if he stops subsidies for the ACA. This story is definitely one to keep an eye on as the Trump Administration continues its efforts to make health care less accessible to those who most need it.
the first sitting president to address “radical right” summit
The Trump presidency has sure been full of a lot of “first”s. The first reality TV host president is now also the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit (as the keynote speaker, no less!), an annual gathering of groups and speakers hosted by the Family Research Council. The Family Research Council has been pushing an anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-abortion agenda for more than 30 years, has a history of Islamophobia, and has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Who else is on the agenda for the three-day summit that commences today? Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House Chief Strategist and executive chair of the white nationalist so-called “alt-right” website Breitbart, will be giving a talk, for one. As will a few different leaders of the Family Research Council. It should come as no shock that most of the speakers at the summit are white men, but White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway and former Minnesota congressperson Michelle Bachmann spoke today as well.
more controversial tweets about puerto rico
Most of Puerto Rico is still without power, and CBS reports that the FBI is investigating possible fraud in relation to the distribution of food and supplies in the US territory. It seems that necessities are being diverted away from those who need them the most. Further, drinkable water is still barely available in some parts of the island; 85 percent of the island remains without power. The president reacted by sending out three tweets on Thursday suggesting that the crisis is the fault of Puerto Rico — which, as any middle schooler could tell you, is part of, and controlled by, the United States.
New York Congressperson Nydia Velazquez, who is also Puerto Rican-American, responded to Trump’s tweets by calling them offensive, insulting, and un-presidential. Velazquez also noted that the US invaded Puerto Rico, and was never invited to the island in the first place. Puerto Ricans “don’t need this kind of insult,” Velazquez said, calling out the president for treating the disaster response to Puerto Rico differently and more harshly than he did with Texas and Florida, which were also recently hit by major hurricanes.
the free press is “bad for country?”
Trump has an excruciatingly long track record of bashing any press reports that make him look bad (which, some might argue, is most reporting on him). This week, after railing on NBC for reporting on a request Trump made earlier this year to massively increase the US’ nuclear arsenal, which he called “fiction,” and protesting negative reporting on his controversial response to the humanitarian crisis Puerto Rico, Trump basically suggested we shouldn’t have a free press at all.
In an apparent threat to NBC and “the Networks,” Trump asked: “at what point is it appropriate to challenge their license?” Attacks on the free press are one of the several signs of authoritarianism, so it’s important to keep tabs on his anti-press agenda.
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(Photos via Chip Somodevilla + Alex Wong / Getty)