The Trump Presidency - how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Hair

Mr. Nice

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Trump deems churches ‘essential,’ calls for them to reopen

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he has deemed churches and other houses of worship “essential” and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend despite the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

“Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said during a hastily arranged press conference at the White House, where he didn’t take questions. He said if governors don’t abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it’s unclear what authority he has to do so.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared a draft of reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago that included measures like maintaining distance between parishioners and limiting the size of gatherings.

But that guidance had been delayed for more than a month by the administration until Trump abruptly reversed course Thursday.

“I said, ‘You better put it out.’ And they’re doing it,” Trump said Thursday at a Ford Motor Co. plant repurposed to make ventilators in Michigan. “And they’re going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches. We’ve got to get our churches open.”

It is unclear what the final guidelines will say, but public health agencies have generally advised people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and encouraged Americans to remain 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others when possible.

Trump, who has been pushing for the economy to reopen even as the virus continues to spread, on Friday stressed the importance of churches in many communities and took issue with other businesses and services that have been allowed to continue to operate.

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Blind_Io

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Man, this guy is doing everything possible to kill off his own voters.
 

GRtak

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https://www.citizensforethics.org/t...ing-elaine-chao-mcconnell-vetted-replacement/

Trump Just Removed the IG Investigating Elaine Chao. Chao’s Husband, Mitch McConnell, Already Vetted the Replacement.

May 19, 2020



In yet another assault on checks and balances, President Trump abruptly removed the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) independent watchdog late Friday – the same night he announced plans to fire the State Department Inspector General (IG). At DOT, the acting IG was overseeing a high profile investigation of Secretary Chao’s alleged favoritism benefiting her husband Senator Mitch McConnell’s political prospects, but has now been replaced with a political appointee from within the agency. The acting IG’s ouster calls into question the future of the Chao-McConnell investigation, other critical oversight, and whether the watchdog was dismissed for unearthing damaging information.


This move is the latest salvo of Trump’s assault on oversight. And it looks like the President made sure to cover all his bases to block accountability, not only nominating an IG to succeed the experienced watchdog who held the post, but also demoting the acting IG who was investigating Chao, and installing a political appointee to serve in his place while the Senate considers a permanent replacement. To make matters worse, Trump’s pick to be the new acting IG, Howard “Skip” Elliott, already has a job overseeing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an office he will now also be in charge of policing.


Trump’s decision to sideline DOT acting IG Mitch Behm (who has 17 years of experience with OIG) was lost in the shuffle of outrage following the announcement that Trump planned to fire the State Department IG, but potential conflicts of interest abound. The most high profile is the DOT OIG’s review of allegations that Secretary Chao gave Senator McConnell’s constituents special treatment and helped steer millions of federal dollars to Kentucky as he is facing low approval ratings and a tough reelection bid.


As Senate Majority Leader, McConnell was integral to the Senate’s consideration of Howard Elliott’s nomination to lead PHMSA. Now McConnell will also be instrumental to Eric Soskin’s potential confirmation as permanent IG. Soskin is a Justice Department trial lawyer “involved in some hot-button immigration and civil rights cases.” These moves will leave oversight of the Chao-McConnell investigation in the hands of Trump administration officials who McConnell has effectively endorsed. In the case of Ellinott, as Secretary, Chao maintains authority to fire him from PHMSA. As CREW has pointed out before, this situation poses a huge conflict of interest. How can the American people expect transparency and accountability when the watchdogs must pass a loyalty test from the President and be approved by officials impacted by their investigations?


In addition to the role new acting IG Elliott will play overseeing the Chao-McConnell investigation, a DOT spokesperson explained that Elliott “will continue to serve as leader of the pipeline agency under a dual-hat arrangement.” As a result, Elliott will potentially oversee audits or investigations into PHMSA, and be responsible for ensuring that the administrator of PHMSA (him) complies with recommendations made by OIG (led by him). It’s hard to understate the significance of this conflict of interest. Even if Elliott recuses from OIG matters related to PHMSA, which he absolutely should do, he can still discipline or fire OIG officials working for him, if he doesn’t like or agree with their handling of the Chao-McConnell investigation or PHMSA.The new acting DOT IG will also play a critical role in overseeing the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has drawn significant scrutiny from the President.


Inspectors General are meant to be apolitical and independent, so they do not typically come from among an administration’s pool of political appointees. But Elliott’s appointment is not the first time the Trump administration has sought to install a political appointee as an acting IG amid high profile investigations. In 2018, the administration abruptly moved a political appointee from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to serve as the acting IG for the Interior Department, overseeing multiple investigations into then-Secretary Ryan Zinke’s conduct. The Washington Post called the move “an unusual choice for a role that is traditionally nonpartisan.” Thankfully, public pressure led the administration to reverse course on a number of controversial acting IG appointments.


The President’s attack on inspector general independence at DOT deserves just as much public scrutiny as all the rest. It is no coincidence that an experienced and independent watchdog was sidelined while carrying out an investigation into alleged political corruption involving the Transportation Secretary and Trump’s chief enabler in the Senate, Leader McConnell. The administration’s Friday night announcements appear to be designed to keep us from taking notice. It is incumbent upon Congress, the public, and the good government community not to let President Trump get away with it yet again.
 

jack_christie

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Trump showed up at Arlington

Trump Family Is Taking 12x More Protected Trips Than The Obama Family

Last fiscal year, the Trump family took more trips that required Secret Service protection than the Obama family took in seven, according to a budget document released by the Treasury Department. On average, Obama’s family took 133.3 protected trips per year, while the Trump family has taken an average of 1,625 annually. Much of the Trump family’s known travel has been to promote Trump Organization
https://www.citizensforethics.org/trump-family-travel-12x-obama-family/
 
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