By Danny Emerman (Online Editor-in-Chief), Yanay Rosen (Online Editor-in-Chief) and Eli Hearne (Op-Ed Editor).
After his first week was dominated by mostly harmless scandals, Trump’s second week in office featured more significant controversies.
IMMIGRATION EXECUTIVE ACTION INCITES NATIONAL PROTESTS
On Friday January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning entry and immigration from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
As a result, U.S airport customs detained individuals coming from any of these seven countries, ultimately denying them entry for hours.
Individuals flooded to international terminals at airports, all around the country, to protest the POTUS’ executive order.
A federal judge from New York stated that the individuals being denied entry must be released and allowed to enter the United States.
Although many see these orders as the Muslim ban that Trump mentioned in his campaign, President Trump and his administration declared that it is “not a muslim ban.”
“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” Trump stated.
Many colleges have published statements on the ban, saying how they respect and will protect all of their students and staff who may be from any of these seven nations.
“The order is stranding students who have been approved to study here and are trying to get back to campus, and threatens to disrupt the education and research of many others,” The Association of American Universities said in a statement released in response to the executive order.
Most recently federal judge Andre Birotte issued what is the largest blow yet to Trump’s travel ban ruling that that immigrants who had already been cleared for legal residency in the US should be allowed into the country.
‘BLACK MONDAY’–SALLY YATES REF– USES TO ENFORCE BAN, TRUMP SAYS “YOU’RE FIRED”
Attorney General Sally Yates refused to enforce President Trump’s travel ban on Monday. The Attorney General is in charge of the enforcement of US laws. President Trump responded to Yates by replacing her with interim Attorney General Dana Boente.
In a statement announcing Yates’ firing the White House attacked her “betrayal” of the Department of Justice. “The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” the report said.
President Trump has selected Alabama senator Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General. Interestingly, Sessions questioned Yates during her hearings on refusing a President’s orders.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to have to confront the stark question of how long can we remain effectively silent in the face of presidential overreach. We’re going to regret the day if we remain silent on this issue,” Sessions said in 2015. Sessions is expected to be confirmed next week.
SCOTUS PICK GORSUCH FACES DEMOCRAT FILIBUSTER
On Tuesday Trump announced conservative Neil Gorsuch as his choice to fill the ninth Supreme court position. The ninth justice has remained unfilled since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016, leaving the court split 4-4 between conservatives and liberals.
Democratic House leaders have promised to filibuster the nomination. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley says Democrats will try to stop Gorsuch’s confirmation at all costs.
“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat. We will use every lever in our power to stop this,” he said.
Merrick Garland, President Obama’s confirmation, was filibustered by Republicans through the election, angering Democrats.
President Trump says that Republicans should eliminate the filibuster rule and invoke the ‘nuclear option’ which would only require a simple majority to confirm a justice. “If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, ‘If you can, Mitch, go nuclear,’” he said.
CONTROVERSY DOWN UNDER
Earlier this week, Trump made his “worst call by far” with Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia.
The call, which was scheduled to last an hour, was abruptly ended when President Trump hung up.
According to senior U.S. officials, Trump “blasted” Turnbull over a previous refugee agreement and “boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win.”
Australia has been one of America’s most loyal allies for over 70 years. They fought alongside America in World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
WHITE HO– USE PUTS IRAN ‘ON NOTICE’
On Wednesday Iran confirmed that it had conducted ballistic missile tests. Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan says that the tests do not violate the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal with the United States. “We had announced before that we will carry out those programs that we have planned in the field of the production of defense items in line with national interests and goals. No other [power] can influence our decisions,” he said.
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn says “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”
TRUMP PROMISES TO ‘DESTROY’ JOHNSON AMENDMENT
At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning President Trump pledged to ‘destroy’ the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment prohibits 501c(3) non profit organizations, such as churches, charities and universities from endorsing or opposing political candidates.
“I will get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely and without fear of retribution,” Trump said.
UC BERKELEY RIOTS
On Wednesday, violent riots erupted in Berkeley as Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak on campus.
The riots were reportedly organized by 150 “masked agitators” and two republican students were attacked.
President Trump took to Twitter to address the first amendment rights at the traditionally liberal university.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” Trump wrote on Twitter early Thursday morning.
There was an estimated $100,000 in damages on the UC campus and surrounding Berkeley area.