How Donny T Spent His Summer Vacation
With September comes the eternal refrain of education beginning anew, and it is no different at Queen’s Law. Whether it be a fresh-faced 1L, an OCI inundated 2L, or world weary 3L, each of us come back to school after a summer well spent. For some, this included working in a court room or office building, while others enjoyed travelling to far off places. Few, if any of us, may claim to have the type of summer enjoyed by Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States. Here are some of the highlights:
Enter the Mooch
Trump, notorious for internal chaos within his White House team, ruffled feathers by bringing in slick Republican operative Anthony Scaramucci to be his communications director. The move infuriated embattled press secretary Sean Spicer, he of the Melissa McCarthy SNL fame, who quit in protest. While Scaramucci received early raves for his smooth-talking points on television, his short tenure went up in smoke after giving an unhinged interview to New Yorker magazine where he obscenely suggested that Trump adviser Steve Bannon enjoyed partaking in certain solo flexible activities.
Good Night, Sweet Reince
With Scaramucci in a place of power, his sights were set on White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former Chair of the Republican National Convention. Priebus had been critical of Trump during the campaign, going as far as suggesting he drop out after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape in October. Nonetheless, he was still given one of the most important jobs in the new administration when Trump was sworn in. Scaramucci, who believed Priebus was also responsible for a bevy of leaks about infighting in the White House, pushed for his ouster, and on July 27th was fired while sitting in a car at Andrews Air Force Base before the rest of the administration drove away, leaving him there. He was replaced by then Homeland Security Secretary General John Kelly.
Exit the Mooch
Despite Scarmucci’s early conquests removing Spicer and Priebus from positions, the combative figure flew too close to the sun with his New Yorker comments, and was booted from his position by the newly appointed Kelly, only ten days after being hired. He was replaced by Hope Hicks, a long-time surrogate for Trump on various news shows.
The Revenge of the Maverick
In one of the most dramatic legislative showdowns in American history, a Republican effort to pass a repeal of Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation was derailed by Arizona Senator John McCain, who voted against it in the wee hours of the morning, citing a lack of transparency, clarity, and effectiveness in the drafting process by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier that summer, defied the President, who had once critiqued him for being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, stating “I like war heroes who weren’t captured”.
During the summer, Trump engaged in Twitter tirades against many in his own party, including Senators McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins for voting against healthcare repeal, Senator Jeff Flake for critiquing Trump in a book, Mitch McConnell for failing to get enough votes for healthcare, and his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the ongoing Russian investigation against Trump associates, after it was revealed that Sessions lied about meeting with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Trump implored Sessions to resign multiple times, with many assuming that Trump would then hire an AG who he would order to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Slips of the Tongue
In now reliable Trumpian fashion, the President found himself in hot water for various declarations during the summer. First, he claimed that he received a phone call from the head of the Boy Scouts of America praising his speech to their jamboree as the “Greatest Ever”, then declared that President Nieto of Mexico called him to congratulate him on his tough border policies. Both statements were found to be fabricated, with the White House unable to explain the reasoning, but denying the President was lying. Trump advocated for police violence in a speech, then pulled back and said it was a joke, before threatening North Korea with “fire, fury, and power the world has never seen”, leading to Kim Jong-Un threatening to bomb the U.S. territory of Guam.
Everything is not all-white
In what many consider the lowest point of his Presidency, Trump shocked politicians, pundits, and citizens alike when he refused to initially condemn the violent protests in Charlottesville, where white nationalist demonstrators descended upon the town to object to the removal of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Countless people were injured and one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of counter protestors. With a majority of these protesters being Trump voters, the President refused to single them out, saying that there was violence “on both sides” of the demonstration. After pressure from some in his cabinet, Trump initially recanted this statement, calling out neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan and other hate groups, before switching back to his default position after becoming angry at having to amend an earlier statement. The President criticized anti-fascist protesters because the White Nationalists “had a permit to be there”, calling many who marched “fine people” while mentioning that he had the “largest vineyard in Virginia” (a false statement) when asked if he would visit the town. The backlash to his comments included statements from former Republican Presidents, members of his own party, the Pope, and a majority of business executives on his Presidential business committees, which led to many of them quitting and Trump disbanding the programs. He capped off this saga by offering a pardon to disgraced Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who ignored judicial orders to stop treating prisoners in unconstitutional ways as part of his desired crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Last Days of Summer
In the final days leading to the end of this eventful summer, Trump fired Steve Bannon, was faced with his first natural disaster in Hurricane Harvey, and most recently spurned his own
party in making a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to raise the debt ceiling and grant path to citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. With all of this, it would seem unlikely that the President had time to himself, but he managed to fit in more golf time this summer than Barack Obama had in his eight years as President, yet another achievement he can hang over his predecessor.
Ethan Gordon (3L) is Co-Editor-in-Chief for Juris Diction