Holding steady in the approval polls with a gentleman's 37 percent, the President of the United States had a long long weekend that included prayer mandates, manual labor and some tough news out of New York. This week's power rankings have a lot of new faces. Which despot kicks us off? The answer might surprise you..
1. Kim Jong Un (Last Week: NA)
It’s amazing how all Trump’s generic tough talk about fire and fury against North Korea doesn’t seem to be deterring Kim from continuing the country’s maniacal march toward full nuclear capability. The DPRK this weekend detonated a hydrogen bomb many times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima, and Trump has squandered what little leverage the U.S. had in the matter with Twitter trade threats and meaningless posturing.
2. Dreamers (NA)
The 800,000 undocumented immigrants granted work permits under President Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. Trump is expected to pull the talk cord on Jeff Sessions’s back on Tuesday afternoon and send him out to tell America that he’s rescinding the order with a six-month delay for Congress to take action. In the meantime, Trump and immigration hawks have up to six months to convince Americans that these productive young members of American society, who were brought here illegally as children, are horrible monsters who should be sent back to countries they have no connection to.
3. Robert Mueller (3)
Last Friday brought news from the New York Times that the special investigator has obtained a letter drafted by Trump detailing his reasons for wanting to fire James Comey written before that firing was executed. The Paper of Record describes the letter as having an “angry, meandering tone.” Doesn’t sound much like the Trump we know, but okay. In addition, Mueller has made an important new friend…
4. Eric Schneiderman (NA)
The attorney general of New York is apparently trading notes and grand jury testimony with Mueller regarding potential crimes by Paul Manafort, and could potentially be working together on investigations of numerous other campaign members who may have committed crimes in the state. Why is this significant? Because while Trump could conceivably have pardoned the federal crimes of anyone who could potentially testify against him on any charges Mueller eventually recommends, Trump has no power to pardon state crimes, meaning anyone having committed a crime in New York could still be compelled to roll on people up the chain.
5. Donald Trump (5)
America’s most visible anti-immigration crusader sure doesn’t look too strong on the issue by punting the fate of DACA back to Congress. There’s no popular support for rescinding DACA, with a large chunk of GOPers having previously expressed support for legislation codifying the order, and Trump reportedly asked aids for “a way out” of having to eliminate it altogether, without alienating his base by extending it himself. Meanwhile, an enemy nuclear power is rising, no one seems too eager to help out and the Russia investigation continues unabated.
6. Gen. John Kelly (NA)
Kelly has reportedly been restricting Trump’s access to certain people and to much of Trump’s preferred “news” sources, presumably with the greater hope of restricting Trump’s influence on the world. Tensions between Trump and Kelly have already led to one temper tantrum and a lot less Omarosa.
7. Jim Mattis (NA)
Defense Secretary Mattis, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, seem to be fresh out of fucks to give. While Tillerson may be on his way out, Mattis has taken every opportunity to reshape Trump’s words on North Korea, and essentially told the military last week to ignore Trump’s transgender military ban.
8. Congressional Leadership (NA)
Before the month is out, Congress is charged with funding the government for the rest of the year, raising the debt ceiling limit, providing for Hurricane Harvey aid, overhauling the tax code and, unbelievably, taking one last stab at repealing Obamacare. Oh, and now they have DACA to deal with. Among past supporters of DACA are House Speaker Paul Ryan (who urged Trump not to do away with it just last week) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Given the immediacy of the funding, debt ceiling and Harvey relief issues, it seems unlikely that a massive undertaking like tax reform can be successfully navigated through the legislative branch any time soon, thus denying Trump, once again, a signature legislative victory.
9. The Senate Parliamentarian (NA)
You read that right before; the Senate could still repeal/repeal and replace Obamacare. There’s no double, or triple, or quadruple jeopardy in Congress. The Senate parliamentarian however has studied the issue and determined that, if the current bill isn’t put up for vote and passed by the end of the month, the simple majority threshold Republicans have been working with disappears, and it will once again take 60 votes to pass healthcare reform.
10. Barack Obama (NA)
Trump’s apparently been proudly flaunting to White House guests the letter of advice the 44th president left him, which is curious given…that he once had two prostitutes urinate on a bed the Obamas slept on. For those who have read the letter or a summary of its contents, it really just serves to highlight how little the two men have in common and how little of the sage wisdom has been absorbed. For those who haven’t read it, just don’t. It’ll only depress you.