Wildlife Conservation Research –
HELP SAVE INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES
Now more than ever, it helps bookstores, communities, and all humanity to buy books through your independent retailer.
Click here for ways you can help.
July 10, 2020
The Complete Listing
To be read before the 2020 Presidential Election.
Register to vote here.
– – –
Early in President Trump’s term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of Trump’s cruelties, collusions, and crimes, and it felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten. This election year, amid a harrowing global health, civil rights, humanitarian, and economic crisis, we know it’s never been more critical to note these horrors, to remember them, and to do all in our power to reverse them. This list will be updated between now and the November 2020 Presidential election.
– – –
Various writers have compiled this list during the course of the Trump administration. Their work has been guided by invaluable journalistic resources, including WTFJHT, NPR, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other sources, to whom we are grateful.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – ATROCITY KEY
– Sexual Misconduct, Harassment, & Bullying
– White Supremacy, Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia, & Xenophobia
– Public Statements / Tweets
– Collusion with Russia & Obstruction of Justice
– Trump Staff & Administration
– Trump Family Business Dealings
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – Jump to June 2020
Wildlife Conservation Research – Jump to 2020
Wildlife Conservation Research – Jump to 2019
Wildlife Conservation Research – Jump to 2018
Wildlife Conservation Research – Jump to 2017
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – BEFORE JANUARY 2017
- – February 10, 2011 – In 2011, Donald Trump stoked false claims that Barack Obama had lied about his education. During a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, “Our current president came out of nowhere. Came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further: The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who he is. It’s crazy.” This is false. Numerous accounts from Obama’s college classmates refute Trump’s claim, including Obama’s Columbia roommate, Phil Doerner.
- – March 30, 2011 – Donald Trump was a vocal proponent of the “birther” myth, claiming Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In 2011, Trump told Bill O’Reilly, “If you are going to be president of the United States you have to be born in this country. And there is a doubt as to whether or not he was… He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the great scams of all time.” In response to the “birther” conspiracy theory, the State of Hawaii released Barack Obama’s short- and long-form birth certificate.
- – August 6, 2012 – Over a year after the White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate, Donald Trump again promoted the “birther” myth, tweeting, “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.” President Trump has publicly attacked media outlets for citing anonymous sources, but has himself cited anonymous sources numerous times to support the claim that Barack Obama lied about his biography.
- – December 12, 2013 – Years after first stirring controversy about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Donald Trump implied a conspiracy surrounding the death of the Hawaiian State Official who had released Obama’s long-form birth certificate in 2011. Trump tweeted, “How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived.”
- – May 27, 2015 – Continuing to build on the debunked “birther” conspiracy, Donald Trump said Barack Obama could have claimed Kenya as his birthplace for special treatment from colleges. Trump said, “There are three things that could happen. And one of them did happen. He was perhaps born in Kenya. Very simple, OK? He was perhaps born in this country. But said he was born in Kenya because if you say you were born in Kenya, you got aid and you got into colleges. People were doing that. So perhaps he was born in this country, and that has a very big chance. Or, you know, who knows?”
- – June 16, 2015 – In his speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, Donald Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
- – June 16, 2015 – In the same speech announcing his candidacy, Donald Trump said, “I will build a great wall—and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me—and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” Trump’s belief that Mexico should finance construction for the wall led Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a meeting with Trump in June 2017, and again in February 2018. Peña Nieto has repeatedly said that Mexico will not fund the border wall.
- – July 18, 2015 – Donald Trump insulted the military service of Senator John McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran who endured torture and solitary confinement as a POW in Hanoi. Trump said in a speech at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Trump’s comments drew boos from his audience in Iowa, as well as widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats alike. Donald Trump himself was exempted from military service after receiving four student deferments between 1964 and 1968, and a medical deferment for a “bone spur in his foot” after graduating from college.
- – August 7, 2015 – During the first Republican primary debate in 2015, Donald Trump clashed with moderator Megyn Kelly regarding his many controversial statements against women. In one exchange, Trump claimed his disparaging remarks about women were limited to comments about Rosie O’Donnell, to which Kelly responded, “Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” The next day, Trump told a CNN interviewer that Kelly had been “off-base” in the way she treated him. “She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said. “You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
- – August 19, 2015 – In August of 2015, just three months after Trump announced his candidacy for president, two of his supporters in Boston beat a homeless Latino man with a metal pipe, and then urinated on him. Asked by the arresting officer why they had done it, one of the attackers said, “Trump was right—all these illegals need to be deported.” During a press conference shortly thereafter, Trump said he hadn’t heard about the assault. “It would be a shame,” he told the crowd of reporters, before continuing, “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
- – July 30, 2016 – Donald Trump belittled Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim American soldier who had been killed while serving in the Army, for their speech at the Democratic National Convention. In his speech at the DNC, Khizr Khan had addressed Trump’s stringent anti-Muslim immigration policies, saying, “Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words liberty and equal protection of law.” In response to the speech, Trump suggested that Khan had “no right” to criticize him.
- – April, 2016 – Jill Harth accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. In a 1997 lawsuit, Harth stated in court documents that Trump harassed and groped her in 1993. She later dropped the suit but stood by her story.
- – May 5, 2016 – For the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump posted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl to Facebook and Twitter, captioned, “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”
- – May 31, 2016 – Donald Trump attacked Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who presided over the Trump University fraud case, saying that Curiel’s assignment to the case represented “an absolute conflict because the judge was “of Mexican heritage.” “I’m building a wall,” said Trump, “It’s an inherent conflict of interest.”
- – May 2016 – Temple Taggart, former Miss Utah in the 1997 Miss USA pageant, claimed Donald Trump sexually harassed her. Taggart said that Trump, on multiple occasions, had kissed her on the lips without her consent.
- – June, 2016 – Cassandra Searles, Miss Washington 2013, accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct at the Miss USA pageant. Searles posted a photo of contestants with Trump on Facebook, saying, “One guy treated us like cattle,” and “proceeded to have us lined up so he could get a closer look at his property.”
- – October 7, 2016 – In the 2005 Access Hollywood tape, Donald Trump bragged to Billy Bush about grabbing women by their genitals without consent. In the video published by the Washington Post, Trump said, “I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything… grab them by the pussy.” Trump said his statements were “locker room banter” and apologized “if anyone was offended.” He later issued a further response to the tape’s release, saying, “I’ve never said I’m a perfect person.”
- – October 7, 2016 – Donald Trump reiterated his false claim that the young men known as the “Central Park Five” were guilty of sexually assaulting a jogger in 1989, despite DNA evidence that exonerated them.
- – October 11, 2016 – Tasha Dixon, a former Miss Universe contestant, accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Dixon asserted that Trump walked into their changing room in 2001 while contestants were changing. On the Howard Stern Show in 2005, Trump said about the pageant, “I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else. And you know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it. You know they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
- – October 12, 2016 – Mariah Billado, a former Miss Teen USA contestant, claimed that Donald Trump behaved inappropriately during the pageant. Billado said that in 1997 Trump walked into the changing room when contestants were not fully clothed. She is one of four former Miss Teen U.S.A. contestants to tell the same story of Trump’s sexual misconduct.
- – October 12, 2016 – Rachel Crooks claimed Donald Trump sexually harassed her. Crooks said that when she met Trump for the first time in 2005 while working as a receptionist for a company in Trump Tower, Trump would not let go of her hand and inappropriately kissed her.
- – October 12, 2016 – Jessica Leeds alleged Donald Trump made inappropriate sexual advances towards her. Over 30 years ago Leeds sat next to Trump on a plane, where he lifted the armrest, grabbed her breasts, and put his hand up her skirt. She described him as an “octopus,” saying, “his hands were everywhere.”
- – October 12, 2016 – Mindy McGillivray accused Donald Trump of groping her. McGillivray alleged that Trump touched her without her consent while she was attending a concert at Mar-a-Lago in 2003.
- – October 12, 2016 – Jennifer Murphy, a former contestant on the television show “The Apprentice,” said that Donald Trump kissed her without her consent after a job interview in 2005. She claimed that he had made multiple inappropriate comments to her while she was on the show and when she met with him later about job opportunities.
- – October 12, 2016 – Natasha Stoynoff, a journalist, accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. Stoynoff said that Trump insisted on giving her a tour of his Palm Beach estate while she was interviewing him and his wife, Melania. Trump pinned her to a wall and kissed her. Trump called her a “liar” and responded to Stoynoff’s story, saying, “Look at her… I don’t think so.”
- – October 13, 2016 – Lisa Boyne accused Donald Trump of sexual misbehavior. Boyne asserted that at a dinner in 1996, Trump and modeling agent John Casablancas paraded women in front of their table, looking under their skirts to determine whether each woman was wearing underwear.
- – October 14, 2016 – Kristin Anderson claimed Donald Trump groped her in the early 1990s. Anderson was at a club in Manhattan with friends when, she asserted, Trump reached into her skirt and touched her without consent, leaving her and her friends “very grossed out.”
- – October 14, 2016 – Samantha Holvey described Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct at the 2006 Miss USA pageant. While participating in the competition, Holvey noted that Trump inspected each contestant before the event. She noted, “He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people.”
- – October 14, 2016 – Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, accused Donald Trump of sexual assault. Zervos claimed that Trump assaulted her on several occasions, kissing and grabbing her, and during one business meeting, “began thrusting his genitals.”
- – October 15, 2016 – Cathy Heller accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct. Heller said she was having Mother’s Day brunch in 1997 at Mar-a-Lago when Trump grabbed her, tried kissing her, and became angry when she twisted away.
- – October 21, 2016 – Karen Virginia accused Donald Trump of groping her. Virginia described how she’d seen Trump with a group of men at the U.S. Open in 1998, and overheard him say about her “Hey look at this one!” and “Look at those legs.” After his comments, Trump approached Virginia, grabbed her by the right arm, and touched her breast. The incident lingered with Virginia for years, and she came forward with her story alongside Gloria Allred: “I now understand that I was not to blame. Mr. Trump, perhaps you do not remember me or what you did to me so many years ago, but I can assure you that I remember you and what you did to me as though it was yesterday,” she said. “Your random moment of sexual pleasure came at my expense and affected me greatly.”
- – October 22, 2016 – Jessica Drake, an adult film actor and director, accused Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual contact. Drake said that Trump grabbed and kissed her without her consent at a charity golf tournament in 2006, then made further unwanted advances by inviting her to his suite. After Drake repeatedly declined his invitations, Trump asked her, “What do you want? How much?”
- – October 27, 2016 – Ninni Laaksonen, a former Miss Finland, alleged that Donald Trump had sexually harassed her. Laaksonen described an incident in which Trump groped her from behind in 2006.
- – November 13, 2016 – Ivanka Trump accompanied her father on his presidential interview with 60 Minutes. Ivanka’s upscale jewelry brand used her father’s political appearance to promote a $10,800 bracelet she had worn during the broadcast.
- – November 18, 2016 – One week after Trump’s election, 100 foreign diplomats gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to drink champagne and tour the building. One diplomat told the Washington Post, “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’ Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’” This indicated a conflict of interest that could have violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – November 18, 2016 – Even though he said he would not settle the case, Donald Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle his Trump University fraud lawsuits. The real estate seminar program was not an accredited university and used misleading marketing tactics to recruit students.
- – November 27, 2016 – Without citing evidence to support his claim, Donald Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. This claim has been repeatedly debunked.
- – End of December 2016 – In December of 2016, Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met at Trump Tower to establish a “line of connection.” The meeting occurred around the time that the Obama administration was placing sanctions on the Russian government for interfering in the 2016 election.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JANUARY 2017
- January 10, 2017 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Donald Trump approached him about leading an investigation into “Vaccine Safety.” The prospect that vaccination can lead to autism has been repeatedly debunked by long-running, peer-reviewed studies. Trump had supported the anti-vaccination theory on stage at the 2015 presidential debates. In September 2015 he publicly stated, “We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, two years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
- – January 11, 2017 – Donald Trump’s lawyer Sheri Dillon stated that Trump would “voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury.” Two months into his presidency, no evidence existed that Trump had followed through with this promise. If Trump did accept payments from foreign states through his businesses, as his lawyer claimed, he may have been in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This clause forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – January 11, 2017 – Donald Trump refused to divest from his real estate companies or place his assets in a blind trust, as encouraged by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. The United States Government designates a “Qualified Blind Trust:” for executive branch employees as one where the trustee has no relation whatsoever to the government official. Contrary to this, President Trump opted to entrust business operations of his companies to his sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. According to the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump’s arrangement “doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every President in the past four decades has met.” By continuing to maintain a direct connection with his businesses, Trump may have violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. This clause forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
- – January 17, 2017 – After accusing him of sexual misconduct, Summer Zervos also filed a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump. Zervos claimed Trump had tarnished her reputation when he issued false statements against her and others who had accused him of sexual harassment, calling them “liars” who were telling their stories for “ten minutes of fame.”
- – January 20, 2017 – During Inauguration Day, Melania Trump’s biography on the White House’s official website, whitehouse.gov, included a paragraph that promoted her jewelry line, “Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry.”
- – January 20, 2017 – Before his election, Donald Trump had promised to entrust management of his companies to his children. But on the day Trump took office as president, state officials still had not received paperwork demonstrating that Trump had relinquished ownership in his companies. In order to transfer his ownership stake, Trump would have needed to file documents with state offices in Florida, Delaware, and New York—the states where his holdings reside. State officials from all three states confirmed with ProPublica that they had not received the necessary documentation when Trump took office.
- – January 20, 2017 – Within hours of his inauguration, Donald Trump took aim at the Affordable Care Act in his first executive order as president. Following up on his campaign’s recurring promise to dismantle Obamacare, the order weakened the program by allowing states to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement” that would place a “fiscal burden” on the state.
- – January 21, 2016 – In his first conference as White House press secretary, Sean Spicer stated emphatically that the gathering on the National Mall for Trump’s inaugural address, “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” Photo evidence of Barack Obama’s first inauguration and subsequent crowd analyses of Trump’s crowd proved this was untrue.
- – January 22, 2017 – Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that Sean Spicer’s false statements about the crowd size at Donald Trump’s inauguration were not lies, but “alternative facts.”
- – January 22, 2017 – Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns to the public, both during the campaign and after his election. He is the first president in over 40 years to withhold his financial information from the American public. Upon Trump’s election, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway explained his refusal, saying, “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns… we litigated this all through the election. People didn’t care. They voted for him.” Donald Trump and his administration have justified his decision to break with historic precedent and keep his financial information from public scrutiny by saying that Trump is under a “routine audit” from the Internal Revenue Service. Officials from the IRS have clarified that an audit does not restrict a citizen from revealing their tax information.
- January 23, 2017 – Three days after Donald Trump took office, the Trump Organization filed paperwork confirming Trump’s resignation from over 400 companies. This suggests that, for his first three days as President of the United States, Trump was also an executive in over 400 private companies. When he did eventually file paperwork to relinquish his ownership, he still did not follow the advice of ethics experts by divesting from his assets—meaning Trump had visibility on his private business interests.
- – January 24, 2017 – Donald Trump signed executive memos to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, both of which had been blocked by Barack Obama. The Dakota Access inspired fervent protests from Native Americans and environmentalists, who asserted the proposed pipeline would taint drinking water and threaten sacred worshipping grounds. Speaking to a crowd of auto industry executives, Trump explained his decision to greenlight both pipelines, saying, “I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist… But it’s out of control, and we’re going to make it a very short process. And we’re going to either give you your permits, or we’re not going to give you your permits. But you’re going to know very quickly. And generally speaking, we’re going to be giving you your permits.”
- – January 24, 2017 – Donald Trump barred all employees of the Environmental Protection Agency from posting on social media or speaking with reporters about their work.
- – January 25, 2017 – Following up on his campaign promise to crack down on immigration, Donald Trump signed an executive order to both bolster the United States deportation force and direct construction of a wall along the Mexican border. The executive order also expanded the definition of “priority for deportation” to include anyone charged with a criminal offense. Rather than requiring a conviction by a court, “priority for deportation” would henceforth apply to any “acts that constitute a chargeable offense”—including minor offenses such as traffic violations and shoplifting.
- – January 25, 2017 – After Donald Trump won the presidential election, his Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, doubled its initiation fee to $200,000.
- – January 25, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold “federal funds, except as mandated by law” from so-called “sanctuary cities.” Sanctuary cities are municipalities where local police will not necessarily contact federal deportation officials if they find an arrestee is undocumented. Because they prevent reflexive deportation, these areas are considered shields against deportation for established undocumented immigrants. After Trump’s executive order to restrict federal funding, some sanctuary cities protested the order, saying they would not comply with deportation forces. Of the 168 counties where a majority of America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants live, 69 of them (including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York) said they would not comply federal requests to hold undocumented arrestees for ICE deportation forces.
- – January 26, 2017 In advance of a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Donald Trump tweeted that, If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting. Peña Nieto canceled the meeting.
- – January 27, 2017 – At a private dinner, Donald Trump allegedly demanded loyalty from FBI Director James Comey. Comey claimed Trump said to him, “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Comey had replied that he would always be honest with [Trump], but that he was not ‘reliable’ in the conventional political sense. Comey went on to explain why the Department of Justice and FBI should remain independent of each other. Director Comey was dismissed from office four months later.
- – January 27, 2017 – Donald Trump signed what would become known as the ”travel ban,” an executive order which imposed a 90-day ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, while also indefinitely halting incoming refugees from Syria. Trump’s travel ban still allowed travelers from other Muslim-majority countries where he held extensive business interests, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
- – January 29, 2017 – Amid vehement backlash, Donald Trump aggressively defended his travel ban. Trump claimed that limiting immigration and refugees would protect the country from terrorists. He argued, “This is not about religion—this is about terror.” In the fifteen years since 9/11, jihadists have killed a total of 94 people on American soil; none of these jihadists came from the countries banned by Trump.
- – January 29, 2017 – Donald Trump ordered a raid in Yemen during which one Navy SEAL was killed, five American soldiers were wounded, and nearly 30 civilians died. The U.S. Central Command acknowledged that the civilian casualties “may include children.” A month later, U.S. officials announced the raid had yielded no new intelligence.
- – January 30, 2017 – Donald Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend the travel ban. In a repudiation of the president, Yates had instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order from any legal challenges.
- – January 30, 2017 – Trump signed an executive order which instructed federal agencies to remove two regulations on private businesses for each new one added. The order also stipulated new rules should offset additional cost to businesses by eliminating regulations of equal or greater value to business bottom line.
- – January 31, 2017 – Almost a year after Antonin Scalia’s death left one seat vacant on the Supreme Court, Donald Trump nominated Colorado judge Neil Gorsuch to take Scalia’s place. Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland to the position in 2016, but Senate Republicans broke with historic precedent and refused to hold Garland’s confirmation hearings.
- – January 2017 – At least two foreign government-owned entities rented space in Trump Tower, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. Donald Trump has announced he would not sell his ownership stake in Trump Hotels, and has argued, through his lawyer Sheri Dillon, that they didn’t think “paying your hotel bill was an emolument”. The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” A lawsuit brought against Trump for maintaining his ownership stake rebutted Dillon’s argument, saying, “As the Framers were aware, private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders, and entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious threat to the Republic.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – FEBRUARY 2017
- – February 1, 2017 In a rollback of an Obama-era protection, Donald Trump’s White House withdrew the Mercury Effluent Rule, which regulated the safe use and disposal of mercury in American dental offices. The Natural Resource Defense Council estimated the repeal would discharge five tons of the neurotoxic substance into water supplies each year. Even trace amounts of mercury can harm brain function and damage the human nervous system, particularly in pregnant women and infants.
- – February 1, 2017 – Trump and House Republicans rolled back an Obama-era regulation that required oil companies to provide purchasing information! when buying minerals from foreign governments. Concerned that oil companies would purchase oil from corrupt and violent foreign administrations, the SEC had originally said Obama’s regulation would “combat government corruption through transparency and accountability.” The repeal had long been on the oil lobby’s wish list, and will save oil industry giants about half a billion dollars per year in compliance costs.
- – February 2, 2017 – Donald Trump vowed to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, a law which restricted churches and other religious institutions from taking a public political stance while retaining tax-exempt status. When following through on his promised repeal proved legislatively difficult, Trump signed an executive order encouraging leniency on enforcement of the amendment.
- – February 3, 2017 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai rolled back an agreement with nine internet service providers that had encouraged ISPs to provide affordable internet access to low-income communities. This reversed the decision of Pai’s Obama-era predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and will remove a $9.25 per month credit for low-income households to purchase internet service.
- – February 4, 2017 – Donald Trump posted a report to his Facebook page saying Kuwait would institute a travel ban on many Muslim-majority countries. The report was not truthful; Kuwait did no such thing. The Assistant Foreign Minister of Kuwait responded to Trump’s false Facebook post: “The State of Kuwait believes that granting of visa [sic] is a sovereign matter, and is not linked to terrorism or violence or nationality or faith.”
- – February 4, 2017 – Donald Trump questioned the legitimacy of the federal judge who had blocked his travel ban, calling Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” whose dissenting opinion had taken “law-enforcement away from our country.” Justice Robart had received a unanimous endorsement of “well-qualified” from the American Bar Association before his appointment to the bench by George W. Bush.
- – February 7, 2017 – The Republican-led House Administration Committee voted to eliminate the Elections Assistance Commission, which was the only federal agency charged with ensuring voting machines could not be hacked. Chairman of the committee Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Mississippi, stated the committee had “outlived” its usefulness to the nation. Only weeks prior to the EAC’s dissolution, Donald Trump claimed hacks of voting machines allowed 3 million of people to vote illegally in the 2016 election. No evidence exists to support this claim.
- – February 7, 2017 – In another rollback of Obama-era policies, the House voted to eliminate two regulations on American education: the Teacher-Preparation Rule, which ensured new teachers would enter classrooms fully qualified to teach; in addition to the School Accountability Act, which evaluated the quality of service American schools provided to their students and distributed funds accordingly. Civil rights advocates have explained that the latter rule was vital to providing education budget for low-income schools, and its removal could thereby harm funding for poorer areas of the country.
- – February 7, 2017 – Donald Trump stated the murder rate in America had reached a 47-year peak. This was not true. While there had been a slight increase in murders from 2014 to 2015, the murder rate for both years was still more than 40 percent lower than it had been 47 years ago. In 1970, there were nearly 8 murders per 100,000 people in America; in 2015, the latest year with full data collected by the FBI, that number had fallen to 4.9 murders per 100,000 people.
- – February 7, 2017 – Donald Trump told a sheriff in Rockwell County, Texas, to “destroy” the career of a state senator who had opposed civil asset forfeiture. This controversial law enforcement practice allows police officers to seize cash and assets they believe may be related to a crime, even if the property owners were never arrested or convicted of that crime.
- – February 7, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote to confirm Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary. At the time of her appointment to lead the Department of Education, DeVos had no government experience and no experience working in public schools.
- – February 8, 2017 – Despite extreme opposition, the Senate confirmed Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Throughout his career as a lawyer and Alabama Senator, Sessions had opposed assurances for the voting rights of minorities, favored heavy criminal punishments for low-level drug offenders, and routinely attacked civil rights.
- – February 8, 2017 – President Trump used Twitter to lash out at Nordstrom for its decision to stop carrying his daughter’s retail brand. He tweeted about the company, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly.”
- February 9, 2017 – Donald Trump attacked Senator John McCain on Twitter. McCain had raised objections to the Yemen raid wherein one American soldier was killed and five others were wounded. Trump tweeted about McCain, “Only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore.” McCain was a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War, enduring torture and solitary confinement after his plane was shot down in North Vietnam.
- – February 9, 2017 – When meeting with senators, Donald Trump addressed Democrats by saying that “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.” The racial epithet referenced Elizabeth Warren, who has claimed Native American ancestry.
- – February 9, 2017 – Three times in one week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to “recent terrorist attacks” in Atlanta which never actually happened. The City of Atlanta has not had a terrorist attack in 21 years, in 1997, when Christian extremist Eric Robert Rudolph bombed Centennial Olympic Park. After misspeaking for the third time, Sean Spicer acknowledged his mistake and explained that he meant to reference the nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida in June 2016.
- – February 9, 2017 – Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka Trump’s retail brand while speaking on television in her official capacity as an aide to President Trump. “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” Conway said, on Fox and Friends, “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody.” Sales for Ivanka’s brand skyrocketed that day, almost tripling after Conway’s appearance. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, joined ranking Democrats in jointly issuing a letter to the Office of Government Ethics calling for a review of Conway’s comments. In response to inquiries on disciplinary action for Conway, Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s stated she had been “counseled” on her behavior.
- – February 9 , 2017 – Before a day of golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Donald Trump tweeted that refugees were flooding in from the seven “suspect” countries his travel ban had outlawed, and that these refugees were “SO DANGEROUS.” In January, Fox News reported that no terrorist attacks had been perpetrated by refugees from countries on Trump’s list.
- – February 9, 2017 – Donald Trump knew about Michael Flynn’s contact with a Russian ambassador for weeks before Flynn’s resignation as a national security adviser. Reportedly, the Justice Department warned Trump about their concerns with Flynn on January 26, 2017; Michael Flynn’s forced resignation did not arrive until February 13, more than three weeks later.
- – February 11, 2017 – Donald Trump claimed without evidence that 3 million illegal votes went to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Politifact and Snopes have both debunked the claim—with Snopes saying “the ‘3 million non-citizens’ may just as well have been plucked out of thin air.” The number appeared to originate from an InfoWars article which sought to explain why Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million votes.
- – February 12, 2017 – In a televised interview with George Stephanopoulos, senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller reaffirmed Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated suspicion of voter fraud in the presidential election. When challenged for evidence by Stephanopoulos, Miller replied, “This morning on this show is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence. But I can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in this country.” Miller never subsequently offered any evidence for his claim.
- – February 12, 2017 – In a tweet from their official account, the Department of Education misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois. In a follow-up tweet apologizing for the error, the Department of Education misspelled the word “apologies.”
- – February 12, 2017 – In the wake of Donald Trump’s travel ban, some international travelers faced increased scrutiny at airports, and in some cases were asked to deliver digital information to Border Protection. Sidd Bikkannavar, a natural-born U.S. citizen and scientist at NASA, was detained at an airport in Texas upon his return from Chile and pressured into unlocking his cell phone for search. Haisam Elsharkawi, an American citizen and electronics salesman from Anaheim, California, surrendered his cell phone after persistent pressure from border control. He said in an interview that border control told him they would confiscate the phone if he did not comply. Elsharkawi said, “I opened the doors of hell when I asked for a lawyer. They just started attacking me verbally. ‘Why do you need a lawyer? Are you a criminal? What are you hiding?’”
- – February 12, 2017 – After receiving news that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile (the first during Donald Trump’s presidency), Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strategized during dinner in the main dining room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, in full view of other diners.
- – February 13, 2017 – Less than one month after Trump took office, Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser. His resignation followed the public revelation that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Russians. Contrary to what Michael Flynn had told Pence, Flynn had discussed Russian sanctions in a December meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
- – February 14, 2017 – Kellyanne Conway told the press that Michael Flynn’s resignation had been voluntary. Just hours later, Sean Spicer said, “Whether or not he actually misled the vice president was the issue, and that was ultimately what led to the president asking for and accepting the resignation of General Flynn.”
- – February 14, 2017 – The day after Michael Flynn resigned, FBI Director James Comey reported Donald Trump requested a private meeting] [BP2] to “talk about Mike Flynn.” Trump told Comey that Flynn had misled Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian representatives, but that Flynn was “a good guy.” Trump said he hoped Comey could “let this go.”
- – February 14, 2017 – In the wake of Michael Flynn’s resignation for lying to senior officials and interacting with Russian representatives after the election, Donald Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal with N.Korea etc?”
- – February 14, 2017 – The House Ways and Means Committee rejected a Democratic proposal requesting Donald Trump release his tax returns Under federal tax law, the chairman of the committee can request tax information from the treasury. Chairman of the committee, Republican Kevin Brady, declined to exercise that power in Trump’s case, citing invasion of taxpayers’ privacy rights.
- – February 15, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence falsely stated that no member of the Trump campaign, including national security adviser Michael Flynn, had contact with Russian officials. Pence publicly defended Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, claiming Flynn did not discuss sanctions against Russia (Flynn later confessed to the FBI that he had). Pence did not realize that Flynn had misled him until two weeks after he made his public assertion, well after Donald Trump had become aware of Flynn’s Russian contacts.
- – February 16, 2017 – Donald Trump asked April Ryan, an African American reporter and White House correspondent, if she would arrange a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. After Ryan asked a question about Trump meeting with the Caucus, he said, “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”
- – February 16, 2017 – Staff at the United States Department of Agriculture were given a list of “blacklisted” terms which the agency would no longer use in their scientific research. The memo instructed scientists to replace “climate change” with “weather extremes,” and “reduce greenhouse gases” with “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency.” Explaining the decision in an email, the Deputy Chief of Programs wrote, “It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration. Namely, that priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch.”
- – February 16, 2017 – Using the Congressional Review Act, Donald Trump repealed the so-called “stream protection rule,” which kept coal companies from dumping mining debris into rivers. Barack Obama first implemented the regulation after a growing body of evidence suggested the debris could contain toxic materials, such as selenium, mercury, and arsenic. Trump’s repeal has been on the wish list for the coal industry since the rule’s publication in December of 2016.
- – February 16, 2017 – In the first two months of 2017, Republican lawmakers scheduled only 88 town hall meetings with their constituents. In 2015, by comparison, Republicans held 222 town halls during the same two-month period.
- – February 17, 2017 – In what has become a regular attack on free press, Donald Trump tweeted, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
- – February 18, 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security drafted a proposal to mobilize the National Guard in an effort to arrest undocumented immigrants. While the DHS never implemented the proposal, and the White House denied it had existed in the first place (despite the 11-page memo leaking to the Associated Press), Washington lawmakers saw the draft as an indication that the Trump administration was willing to consider military force as a means of rounding up undocumented immigrants.
- – February 19, 2017 – The Trump administration asked the Council of Economic Advisers to predict a 3.5% surge in economic production over the next decade. Compared to the 1.8% projected by the Federal Reserve, this calculation could be dangerously optimistic. “The risk,” explained the president of the Committee Responsible for Federal Budget, “is that rosy economic scenarios allow us to borrow trillions of additional dollars in the next couple of years, doing real damage.”
- – February 20, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructed the Bureau of Land Management to lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases for federal land. A full 40 percent of the coal mined in America comes from federal property. In one such state-owned region, the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, private companies produced coal that accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The Obama administration introduced the original moratorium on new mining leases to curb the environmental consequences of coal. Without renewal, the current leases would have allowed mining to continue as is for another 20 years; now, with Trump’s decision to permit renewed leases, that timeframe may extend much further into the future.
- – February 22, 2017 – The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. received an estimated $40,000-$60,000 for hosting an event held by the Embassy of Kuwait. This violates the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Trump never divested from his companies, and thus has continued to benefit from payments to the Trump Organization.
- – Feburary 22, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order halting an Obama-era directive that allowed transgender students to use the school bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. Civil rights groups said the executive order would reinforce a culture of discrimination and could further endanger transgender students.
- – February 23, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would renew its contracts with for-profit prisons. This reversed an Obama-era decision to phase out federal use of private correctional facilities. In decades past, privately-run facilities were used to address the U.S.’s overflowing public prisons, which saw the number of incarcerated people skyrocket 800 percent between 1980 and 2013. After Barack Obama introduced a series of significant prison reforms in 2013 (most significantly a directive to lower sentences for non-violent offenders), the Justice Department anticipated less demand for corporate-run prisons as the number of prisoners was expected to dwindle significantly. Because the Trump administration announced a new “crackdown” on crime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department would need to renew contracts with the private institutions in order “to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.”
- – February 24, 2017 – After Donald Trump’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he declared certain media outlets to be “FAKE NEWS,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer temporarily barred the New York Times, CNN, and Politico from the daily White House press briefing. While reporters from these publications were not permitted into the briefing, the Trump administration allowed entrance for correspondents from Fox News and Breitbart News.
- – February 24, 2017 – After Donald Trump’s election, Republican lawmakers in 18 states proposed new legislation intended to curb mass protests. Among these were increased consequences for protests blocking roadways, new punishments for any demonstrators wearing a mask, and, in Arizona, a law which would allow the state to seize the assets of any person attending a protest which later turned violent.
- – February 25, 2017 – Donald Trump announced he would not attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Without further explanation, Trump tweeted, “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” The last president to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981, who, at the time, had been recovering from an assassination attempt.
- – February 26, 2017 – The Trump Organization claimed it had made good on its promise to donate all profits earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. However, it provided no evidence of how much it donated or how that amount was calculated. Since his company has accepted payments from foreign governments (see numbers 41, 42, 63, 102, 135, 210, 277, 319), Donald Trump may have violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits any U.S. official from receiving gifts or compensation from another nation’s government. By all recent evidence, Trump has neither divested from his companies nor set up a blind trust for his assets.
- – February 27, 2017 – In his first budget proposal, Donald Trump boosted defense and security spending by $54 billion. He proposed slashing the budget for non-defense spending in areas like education, science, poverty programs, and environmental protection by almost the same amount.
- – February 27, 2017 – The Justice Department dropped its long-standing claim that a Texas voter I.D. law discriminated against black and Latino voters. The announcement ended a 6-year period of opposition against the I.D. law, indicating the DoJ’s new priorities under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration. Sessions has a history of favoring controversial views surrounding voter identity, once going so far as to say the Voting Rights Act—the landmark piece of federal legislation which protected equal voting rights for minority Americans—was “an intrusive act.” The new Texas voter I.D. law has long garnered criticism for imposing hurdles which disproportionately affect minority voters. In August of 2017, a federal judge granted a permanent injunction against the I.D. law, ruling that lawmakers had created it with discriminatory intent.
- – February 28, 2017 – To stop a long string of press leaks, Donald Trump approved a rule allowing White House senior staff to examine the cell phones of anyone working in the White House. According to Politico, senior staffers invited aides to an “emergency meeting” wherein the junior staffers had to relinquish all mobile devices for search. Press Secretary Sean Spicer led the charge on the operation, informing junior staffers that apps such as Signal and Confide—encrypted messaging apps—would violate the Presidential Records Act. Spicer warned staffers against speaking to the press about the “emergency meetings”; the story was almost immediately leaked to the press.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MARCH 2017
- – March 1, 2017 – The Justice Department reported: Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office. Sessions did not mention the meetings during his confirmation hearings. Moreover, Sessions had claimed under oath that he was unaware of any contacts between Trump surrogates and Russia.
- – March 2, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department’s ongoing Russia investigation after reports surfaced that he had two undisclosed meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The New York Times reported Donald Trump tried to convince Sessions not to recuse himself, and that he expected Sessions to protect him in the investigation.
- – March 2, 2017 – The Senate confirmed Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, as the new Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department handles a budget of around $30 billion and supports public housing for about 2.1 million people. Carson had no prior experience overseeing an organization on the scale of HUD, nor had he ever worked, in any capacity, on urban development or housing policy.
- – March 3, 2017 – In 2016, Jeff Sessions used Trump campaign funds for plane travel in order to meet Russian diplomats. During his confirmation hearing, the attorney general had sworn he did not meet with Russian representatives. When the meetings were uncovered, Sessions said he was traveling in his capacity as a senator—despite having his travel booked and paid for by Donald Trump’s campaign.
- – March 3, 2017 – The White House hired three former lobbyists to internal staff positions in agencies they had lobbied against, an act that violated ethical rules Donald Trump himself had but in place. Rather than banning recent lobbyists from official office entirely, as Obama had done, Trump issued an ethics pledge, which allowed lobbyists to join the federal government on the precondition that they promise not to influence any “particular matter” they had lobbied for in the past. Among the three lobbyists hired was George Burr, who Trump named to chief of staff for the Department of Labor. During his career, Burr had lobbied on behalf of the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., opposing wage standards set by the Department of Labor and fighting Labor protections that would limit worker exposure to potentially deadly Silica dust.
- – March 3, 2017 – Trump eliminated an ethics course for incoming White House staff. The training would have instructed new staffers on ethical methods of interaction with Congress, private companies, and officials from the previous administration.
- – March 3, 2017 – It was revealed that as governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence used his personal email for state business. In March of 2017, Pence’s office announced the personal AOL email had been hacked, including information the State of Indiana deemed “confidential and too sensitive to release to the public.” Pence and the Trump campaign had previously attacked then-candidate Hillary Clinton for using a hacked private email address for confidential government work. In October of 2016, Pence tweeted, “@realDonaldTrump and I commend the FBI for reopening an investigation into Clinton’s personal email server because no one is above the law.”
- – March 3, 2017 – The Trump administration proposed significant budget cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Among the largest funding reductions were for the NOAA’s programs monitoring climate change’s progression. The biggest single budget cut was made to NOAA’s satellite division, which reports on the speed of climate change’s progression. The satellite program had drawn Republican criticism after publishing a study in Science magazine that contradicted a favorite argument of climate change deniers and concluded the pace of climate change was neither “pausing” nor slowing down. In Trump’s proposed budget, this satellite program would lose almost 40 percent of its funding.
- – March 4, 2017 – In March of 2017, President Donald Trump engaged in a Twitter-based squabble with Arnold Schwarzenegger over ratings of “The Apprentice,” the television show—on which Trump was still listed as a producer. Trump tweeted, “Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t voluntarily leaving the Apprentice, he was fired by his bad (pathetic) ratings, not by me. Sad end to great show.” Schwarzenegger responded to Trump’s insult with a video on Twitter chiding Trump for defunding inner-city school programs. “When you take away after school programs for children and meals on wheels for the poor people,” said Schwarzenegger, “that’s not what you call ‘making America great again’.” Schwarzenegger then invited Trump to tour a middle with him to see the benefits of the after-school programs the president planned to eliminate. Trump did not respond.
- – March 4, 2017 – Without evidence, Donald Trump falsely accused Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower before the election. Trump levied the accusation in a Twitter storm that began at 6:30am. President Trump’s own Department of Justice released a statement in September in 2017 rebuking Trump’s claim and confirming the Obama administration had not wiretapped the Trump campaign.
- – March 3, 2017 – The federal government spent $1,092 for an unnamed National Security Council official to stay at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for two nights.
- – March 6, 2017 – Six weeks after issuing his first failed executive order blocking citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Donald Trump issued a new travel ban. Trump’s first order met objections in several state courts, and was blocked on appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. To improve the second ban’s chances of passing, the Trump administration amended the executive order, excluding Iraq from the list of banned countries and altering the permanent ban on Syrian refugee admissions. About a week later, on March 15, a Hawaiian judge blocked this second draft of the ban.
- – March 7, 2017 – In order to fund Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, the Trump administration considered cutting budget from airport security and the Coast Guard.
- – March 7, 2017 – Donald Trump supported the House’s repeal-and-replace healthcare bill, in a potential violation of Trump’s campaign promise to provide “insurance for everybody” without raising insurance premiums or cutting Medicaid. A review by the Congressional Budget Office found the new bill would slash Medicaid, increase insurance premiums, and leave 21 million Americans uninsured by 2021.
- – March 9, 2017 – Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt said he did not believe carbon dioxide was a primary contributor to global warming. Pruitt’s statement contradicted a library of scientific evidence, including a 2009 study by his own agency which concluded carbon emissions were a leading cause of global warming.
- – March 9, 2017 – The Office of Government Ethics urged the White House to reprimand senior counselor Kellyanne Conway for publicly endorsing Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. The OGE called the White House’s view of ethics “incorrect.” In response, White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino said in a statement, “Many regulations promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics do not apply to employees of the Executive Office of the President.” Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings said Passantino’s argument was “troubling,” and wondered how it had been determined which ethical regulations were “inapplicable to employees of the Executive Office of the President.”
- – March 10, 2017 – Donald Trump abruptly ordered 46 Obama-era prosecutors to tender their resignations. Among the dismissed prosecutors was Preet Bharara, an attorney renowned for his work uprooting government corruption. Bharara served as the U.S. attorney in New York City and, at the time of his removal, had jurisdiction over Trump Tower in New York. When he was fired, Bharara was reportedly building a case against Rupert Murdoch and Fox News executives for a variety of indiscretions related to violations of privacy.
- – Match 11, 2017 – Before becoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn was paid close to a half a million dollars to lobby on behalf of the Turkish government. After stepping into his new role with the federal government, Flynn stopped formally accepting payments from Turkey but seemed to promote policy favored by the Turkish government. On the day of the U.S. presidential election, Flynn published an op-ed in The Hill supporting Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Not only was Flynn’s critique in line with Erdogan’s wishes, but it was also a major reversal for Flynn; in 2016, Michael Flynn gave a speech supporting the coup against Erdogan.
- – March 13, 2017 – Donald Trump expanded the CIA’s power to allow the agency to conduct drone strikes on suspected terrorists. Under Obama, the CIA’s directive was to gather intelligence on locations of potential terrorists and then allow the military to call the drone strike. With the new powers endowed by Trump, the CIA has expanded military abilities, further opening the door to unreviewed military action abroad. According to figures released in December 2017 by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes in numerous middle-eastern countries nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017.
- – March 14, 2017 – Donald Trump wrote off $100 million dollars in losses on his leaked 2005 return. He paid $38 million in taxes on a reported $150 million income. This is an effective tax rate of around 25%. This is the same rate as, or even less than, that of individuals making between $30,000 and $100,000 per year. During the 2016 debates, Trump had bragged about not paying taxes, saying, “That makes me smart.”
- – March 15, 2017 – After a Hawaiian federal judge blocked Donald Trump’s second travel ban, Donald Trump lashed out at the U.S. courts in a speech at a rally, calling the decision, “unprecedented judicial overreach.” U.S. District Judge Derek ruled that Trump’s Executive Order derived from “religious animus,” concluding, “a reasonable, objective observer—enlightened to the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion.” In the State of Hawaii’s argument against implementation of the ban, eleven instances wherein Trump publicly announced his intent to ban Muslims from entering America were cited as evidence supporting the ruling.
- – March 16, 2017 – Donald Trump’s budget proposal presented a 20 percent budget cut to the National Institutes of Health, the agency responsible for funding around one quarter of medical research in the United States. The dean of Baylor’s biomedical research school said the proposed budget, “would bring American biomedical science to a halt.”
- – March 17, 2017 – Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had been investigating potentially illegal investments from Tom Price, Donald Trump’s head of the Department of Health and Human Services, when Trump abruptly fired Bharara on March 10, 2017. The investigation reviewed Price’s investments in the healthcare industry over the past four years, when Price had purchased more than $300,000 in healthcare stock while holding a governmental position which could influence their performance.
- – March 16, 2017 – In southern Florida, 63 Russian investors have purchased about $100 million of Trump-branded real estate. According to a disclosure made in 2016, Trump reaped between $100,000 and $1 million during election year 2016 from property sales in southern Florida. Although the exact origin of the payments remains a mystery, the new owners’ identities are a matter of public record. One such buyer was Alexander Yuzvik, who purchased Unit 3901 in Trump’s Sunny Isles development for $1.3 million. In the three years leading up to the transaction, Yuzvik served as a senior executive for Spetsroi—a state-owned Russian construction company which has built new structures for the FSB (the modern descendant of Russia’s KGB). Trump dealt with Russian purchasers as recently as 2016, and has offered no record of full divestiture after his inauguration. Contrary to calls from the American public and ethics experts, Trump has declined to release comprehensive financial records.
- – March 22, 2017 – Rep. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, publicly suggested Donald Trump and his associates were swept up in “incidental collection” of foreign surveillance” by American intelligence agencies. The night before his revelation on foreign surveillance, Nunes paid a visit to the White House. According to three committee officials, Nunes had been sharing a car with a senior committee staffer when he received a phone call and switched cars without explanation. Rep. Nunes was then seen entering the White House grounds (though the White House later claimed they were unaware of his presence). The next day Rep. Nunes held his press conference to announce the incidental surveillance on Trump. Another ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Nunes would need to “decide if he’s the chairman of an independent investigation… or if he can act as a surrogate for the White House.”
- – March 22, 2017 – Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, accepted $10 million per year for consulting Oleg Deripaska—a Russian billionaire and one of Vladimir Putin’s closest allies. Manafort worked for Deripaska in 2005, and continued to do so “for years” after, before their relationship soured in 2014 when Deripaska alleged Manafort absconded with $18.9 million. At the time, Manafort was managing the presidential campaign in Ukraine for Putin associate Viktor Yanukovich, and Deripaska tried to invest in a television station owned by Yanukovich’s cronies. The money disappeared, or so alleged a filing from the Russian oligarch’s legal representation. Deripaska has since accused Manafort of fraud and pledged to recover the money. Manafort subsequently served as Trump’s campaign manager from May 19 through August 19, 2016.
- – March 22, 2017 – The Secret Service requested $60 million in additional funding to cover Donald Trump’s travel and the Trump family’s protection. Half of this budget would be allocated to protecting Trump’s private residence at Trump Tower. The reason the Tower required such stringent security, at a cost of $26.8 million per year, was Melania Trump’s preference to reside there rather than the White House.
- – March 23, 2017 – When pressed on his fraught relationship with the intelligence community, Donald Trump ended a Time magazine interview by saying to the interviewer, “Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody, OK?”
- – March 28, 2017 – Donald Trump sought to slash $18 billion of federal funding from support for mental health, foreign aid, public housing, and other categories of discretionary funding. Among the many eliminated programs would be the McGovern-Dole International Food program, which provides meals to 40 million impoverished school children abroad. Trump planned to funnel the funding toward military spending and his proposed border wall.
- – March 28, 2017 – In response to the defamation suit brought against Donald Trump by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, Trump’s lawyers invoked the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. This clause, argued the Trump’s personal legal team, prevented civil lawsuits against the president while he held office. In another case reminiscent of the Zervos accusations, President Bill Clinton tried to use the Supremacy Clausein 1997 to evade allegations of sexual assault from Paula Jones. The Supreme Court rejected Clinton’s claim, and the former president was forced to settle the lawsuit out of court.
- – March 28, 2017 – Donald Trump signed a bill that killed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces regulation. Signed by Barack Obama, the legislation protected workers against serious safety hazards and labor law violations in any government contract above $500,000.
- – March 29, 2017 – The Trump administration removed categories relating to sexual orientation and gender identity from the U.S. Census, preventing the government from collecting important data on LGBT populations. The Federal Policy Director at the William Institute said, “Without federal data on LGBT populations, the ability of federal, state, and local governments to make evidence-based public policy that also reflects the experiences and needs of LGBT Americans is significantly undermined.”
- – March 29, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Remember when the failing @nytimes apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong. Now worse!” Published the same month as the above tweet, the Times’s financial report announced the newspaper had just enjoyed its strongest quarter for subscriber growth in the publication’s 126-year history.
- – March 29, 2017 – Politico reported a supervisor at the Energy Department’s Climate Office banned the phrases “Climate Change,” “Emissions Reduction,” and “Paris Agreement” from all communications. Instead, workers were told to more frequently reference “jobs” and “infrastructure.”
- – March 30, 2017 – According to FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump called him to ask the director to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation. Trump said the investigation was impeding his ability to make deals for the country.
- – March 30, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of a bill that allowed states to withhold federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The Obama administration implemented the rule in December 2016 as a means of protecting Title X family planning grants, which support contraception and STD screening (but not abortion procedures). The law is another from the Obama era, among 15, repealed by Trump and congressional Republicans using the Congressional Review Act.
- – March 31, 2017 – One month before signing a bill that would allow drug companies to incentivize doctors, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price purchased $90,000 of pharmaceutical stocks affected by the decision.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – APRIL 2017
- – April 1, 2017 – Michael Flynn received $45,000 from Russia Today, a state-sponsored Russian news channel famous for pro-Russian propaganda, in exchange for his speech at their annual gala. Flynn then failed to disclose the payment on his financial disclosure form submitted to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in February.
- – April 2, 2017 – In regard to an ongoing lawsuit, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Donald Trump may have incited violence against protesters during his 2016 campaign rally in Kentucky. While the judge’s ruling did not constitute a formal conviction, it did reject arguments from Trump’s lawyers to throw out the suit, finding the protestors’ injuries were the “direct and proximate result” of Trump’s statements. Donald Trump yelled “Get ‘em out of here!” to his supporters, who subsequently shoved and punched the protesters.
- – April 3, 2017 – Donald Trump praised Egypt’s authoritarian leader President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, saying, “I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi.” Just before meeting with Trump, el-Sisi sentenced 17 Egyptians to jail for taking part in protests against his regime. Due to his human rights offenses, the Egyptian leader had been barred from the White House for four years prior to meeting Trump.
- – April 3, 2017 – Donald Trump signed a bill eliminating rules that would have required internet service providers to ask consumer permission before sharing or selling private information. Though the rule only applied to broadband companies—leaving out internet data giants like Facebook and Google—the privacy law had been a first step at protecting consumer information online. The protections originated from the Obama administration, but had yet to take full effect when Trump and House Republicans repealed them. The privacy law was one among 15 other Obama-era regulations dissolved using the Congressional Review Act.
- – April 3, 2017 – Donald Trump stopped all funding for the UN Family Planning Agency, which supported women’s health and family planning efforts across the globe. In 2016 alone, American funding for the UNFPA prevented 100,000 unsafe abortions and 800,000 women from going without access to contraception.
- – April 4, 2017 – Donald Trump’s lawyer revealed the president could withdraw money from the Trump Organization’s underlying trust at any time. The intent of the trust was to prevent Trump from having financial access to his 400 businesses after inauguration. However, the language of the trust certification did allow Trump’s lawyer to “distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request.”
- – April 4, 2017 – Using the Congressional Review Act, Donald Trump and members of the GOP rolled back an Obama-era law that required employers to keep accurate records of employee injuries. Worker advocates criticized the repeal, saying its absence would allow employers to manipulate injury numbers and conceal workplace hazards from regulators.
- – April 4, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered the Justice Department to review consent decrees, a legal tool which allows federal officials to institute criminal justice reform in cases of police misconduct. A consent decree represents a legally enforceable pact between police departments and the courts, both agreeing on the need for reform and the method of its implementation. Following the police shooting of 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Justice Department’s investigation resulted in a consent decree! that outlined the specific terms of reform for the Missouri city. Among the terms were required body cameras for police officers, new police training on racial bias, and establishment of a Civilian Review Board that could independently review claims of excessive force. As of April 2017, police misconduct investigations were underway in the cities of Baltimore and Chicago after the shootings of Freddie Gray and Laquan McDonald. In reviewing consent decrees, Jeff Sessions had the power to place these investigations—and any resultant police reforms—on a permanent hold.
- – April 4, 2017 -Donald Trump implied that Barack Obama’s administration was to blame for a gas attack in a rebel-controlled area of Syria, saying the attack had been a “consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”
- – April 5, 2017 – The EPA proposed budget cuts to a program that trained construction workers in removing toxic lead-based paints and educated the public on the dangers of lead exposure. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found blood levels above the danger threshold in 243,000 American children. Thirty-eight million American homes contained lead-based paints in need of removal, while only 14 states had programs to pick up the slack on lead removal after the federal budget cut.
- – April 6, 2017 – In order to break a filibuster from Senate Democrats, Republicans fundamentally altered Senate voting procedure in order to force confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Before the change, Senate rules required 60 votes to confirm a new Supreme Court justice. After enacting the so-called “nuclear option” to overcome Democratic objections, that threshold dropped to 51 votes.
- – April 6, 2017 – The House Ethics Committee revealed Representative Devin Nunes was under investigation for possibly disclosing classified information without authorization. This followed an event on March 11, when Nunes exercised his powers as chief of the House Intelligence Committee to release sensitive information favoring President Trump just one day after Nunes discreetly visited the White House. In response to the new investigation, Nunes announced he would recuse himself from the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing exploration of Russian intervention in the 2016 campaign. In his statement, he lashed out at the probe, saying it was “entirely false and politically motivated,” blaming, “several left-wing activist groups” for the investigation.
- – April 7, 2017 – Donald Trump ordered the firing of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian base in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack on his own people. Assad’s attack killed approximately 100 Syrians—including an estimated 25 children. Eric Trump said Trump’s decision to launch the assault was strongly influenced by Ivanka Trump’s heartbroken response to Assad’s initial airstrike.
- – April 7, 2017 – The United States Department of Homeland Security ordered Twitter to reveal the private information of a Twitter user, because the anonymous user had been critical of Donald Trump and may have worked for the U.S. government. Twitter refused to reveal the account’s identity, and then filed a lawsuit to counter the order. Following this, the DHS dropped their request for information.
- – April 7, 2017 – Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received an unprecedented level of personal security, including supervision by federal marshals, which cost taxpayers about $1 million dollars per month. The last cabinet member protected by a federal marshal was the director of National Drug Control Policy, a position which fought drug-related violence and the import of illicit narcotics.
- – April 7, 2017 –The Senate confirmed Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch took the seat left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch’s confirmation came after Republicans refused to consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for eleven months—a nearly unprecedented act in itself. Then Republicans made the historic decision to alter the Constitution’s rules regarding the number of votes needed for Supreme Court confirmation to block Democrats from using the same tactic.
- – April 8, 2017 – A U.S. Navy strike group moved in range of the Korean Peninsula as a show of military force. The gesture further escalated tensions bordering on brinkmanship between Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un.
- – April 11, 2017 – While discussing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon attack, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during World War II. When reporters reminded Spicer that Hitler used chemical weapons to gas millions of Jews, Spicer replied, “he brought them into the Holocaust centers, I understand that.”
- – April 11, 2017 – Donald Trump allegedly asked that FBI Director James Comey “get out”—that is, release publicly—the idea that the FBI was not investigating Trump. Trump added, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.”
- – April 12, 2017 – Education Secretary Betsy De Vos rolled back Obama-era protections put in place to help students with student loan payments. The Department of Education offered no immediate replacement of the protections against default. In the eight years before DeVos’s repeal, 8.7 million Americans had defaulted on their student loans.
- – April 12, 2017 – Budget director Mick Mulvaney said “letting people keep more of their money” is the most efficient way of allocating resources. According to Mulvaney, “wealth-transfers”—programs that redistribute money from rich to poor, such as food stamps and Medicaid—constitute “bad spending” and “misallocation of resources.”
- – April 13, 2017 – Donald Trump and congressional Republicans eliminated the rule that enrolled all newly hired federal employees in an Individual Retirement Account. The rule, implemented by Barack Obama, was rolled back using the Congressional Review Act.
- – April 14, 2017 – Donald Trump signed a bill that would allow states to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood.
- – April 14, 2017 – Donald Trump’s administration announced the White House would no longer disclose visitor logs. Without the logs, Trump and White House officials could hold private meetings without oversight on visitor identity or affiliation.
- – April 14, 2017 – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that he believes the United States should withdraw from the Paris Agreement!, a global initiative to address climate change. Nearly 200 countries have signed onto the Agreement. With the announcement, the United States and Syria became the only two countries to abstain from the agreement. (Nicaragua had initially held out for even stronger environmental protections.)
- – April 14, 2017 – Candice Jackson, the person responsible for investigating civil rights complaints for the Department of Education, once criticized Stanford University for “discriminatory programs” after finding the school had a tutoring program that offered study help to minorities. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos appointed Jackson to the role of acting head for the department’s Office of Civil Rights. In this position, Jackson was tasked with leading a team of 550 people to handle about 10,000 complaints per year.
- – April 14, 2017 – In the wake of Donald Trump’s travel ban and “extreme vetting” of certain foreign arrivals, demand for international travel to the United States plummeted. Tourism Economics, a travel analytics firm in Philadelphia, estimated 2017 would see 4.3 million fewer international visitors than the year before—resulting in lost revenue of $7.4 billion.
- – April 16, 2017 – In response to marches around the nation demanding Donald Trump release his tax returns, Trump tweeted, “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!” No evidence exists to suggest that protesters were paid to march.
- – April 17, 2017 – Donald Trump called and congratulated Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the Turkish leader’s victory in a public referendum that majorly expanded his executive powers. Contradicting Trump, the U.S. State Department released a statement questioning the democratic legitimacy of the referendum, pointing out irregularities in the election results and bias in media coverage.
- – April 18, 2017 – After a federal judge from Hawaii ruled against Donald Trump’s travel ban placed on several Muslim-majority countries, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was “amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific” could block the immigration ban.
- – April 18, 2017 – In the wake of controversy about Donald Trump’s travel ban, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the president’s critics in Congress should “shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”
- – April 20, 2017 – A full month after dismissing 93 U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not hired any to replace them. The vacancies in the federal prosecutors’ office came as a surprise, given that Sessions has prioritized a crack-down on crime.
- – April 20, 2017 – After his inauguration, Donald Trump announced that within 90 days of his election he would appoint a team to investigate election interference and protect against future hacking. At 90 days from his oath to take office, no such team existed, nor was a plan in place to build one.
- – April 20, 2017 – Donald Trump’s lawyers claimed in a court filing that protesters at Trump rallies had “no rights” to “express dissenting views” because doing so violated Trump’s First Amendment rights. Trump’s lawyers argued that the protesters’ right to free speech, which is protected by the First Amendment, actually did not apply “as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose.”
- – April 21, 2017 – The Trump administration hired 25 people who were originally brought into the administration as temporary seat-fillers. By skirting formal announcement, these individuals entered the administration with little or no public notice. Five of the 25 people hired had direct ties to outside lobbying interests before joining the federal government.
- – April 23, 2017 – Approaching the hundredth day of his presidency, Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame low approval ratings and the loss of the popular vote to Hillary Clinton on “fake news.” The president tweeted, “New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative. Would still beat Hillary in popular vote.” Trump was referring to new polls from ABC News/Washington Post and NBC/Wall Street Journal that showed he had the lowest approval rating of any president since 1945.
- – April 23, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions said DREAMers were subject to deportation, just like “everyone that entered the country unlawfully.”
- – April 24, 2017 – In a potential violation of federal law, Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a $33,000 payment from Russia on his financial statement for his federal security clearance. [SS4] The payment, originally from 2015, came for consulting work Flynn had done for Russia Today—a Russian television network with direct ties to the Kremlin.
- – April 24, 2017 – In the six months since Donald Trump’s election, the Anti-Defamation League reported anti-Semitic attacks had risen 86 percent. These attacks included grave desecrations, bomb threats, and assaults.
- – April 24, 2017 – Donald Trump ordered White House aides to draft a tax plan that slashed the corporate tax rate to 15 percent. Trump told his aides cutting taxes for businesses should take priority over decreasing the federal deficit.
- – April 25, 2017 – Ekim Alpetkin, a Turkish businessman and Michael Flynn’s former client, long carried ties with the Russian government and Vladimir Putin himself before working with General Flynn. Alpetkin paid Flynn $600,000 just before Donald Trump appointed Flynn to his post as national security adviser for the new administration.
- – April 26, 2017 – Donald Trump publicly slammed the 9th circuit court after they blocked his administration’s attempt to deny federal funding for “sanctuary cities.” In response to the ruling, Trump said he was considering proposals to break up the three-judge panel.
- – April 25, 2017 – At an event in Berlin, Ivanka Trump defended her father’s attitudes toward women. “I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy… He’s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” she said, to boos from the audience. She argued that the “thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”
- – April 28, 2017 – The Environmental Protection Agency removed or altered all information about climate change on its website. The EPA claimed that this update sought to “reflect the approach of new leadership.”
- – April 28, 2017 – Reflecting on his first 100 days in office, Donald Trump said, “I thought this would be easier.”
- – April 29, 2017 – In a televised interview after North Korea launched a missile test, Donald Trump left the possibility of taking military action against the country open. When asked about possible military response to another nuclear test, Trump said, “I don’t know, I mean, we’ll see.”!
- – April 29, 2017 – On Face the Nation, Donald Trump falsely suggested the new Republican healthcare bill, called the American Health Care Act, would protect health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. The most recent draft of the legislation contained no such stipulation.
- – April 30, 2017 – Donald Trump invited Rodrigo Duterte, the authoritarian leader of the Philippines, to visit the White House. Duterte’s regime had carried out extrajudicial killings of drug users and drug dealers, garnering global condemnation. As of January 2018, Human Rights Watch had counted over 12,000 such murders’. Two senior officials in the White House said they expected significant pushback internally, should Duterte accept Trump’s invitation. The two leaders met in November, during which time Trump reported the pair had a “great relationship.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – May 2017
- – May 1, 2017 – In an interview on Sirius Radio, Donald Trump praised Andrew Jackson as having “a big heart.” Andrew Jackson infamously enacted the Trail of Tears, which forced 17,000 Cherokees to walk across the country and resulted in thousands of deaths. Trump also claimed, “had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War.” He continued, “But why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
- – May 1, 2017 – The White House moved to end funding for Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative, which educated young women and girls in developing countries.
- – May 1, 2017 – The Department of Agriculture terminated Obama-era standards supporting healthy school lunches. Among initiatives eliminated were rules to lower sodium content in lunches and limit consumption of high-calorie chocolate milk. According to the most recent CDC statistics, 1 in 5 American children is obese. Commenting on the Trump administration’s changes, the Department of Agriculture’s Sonny Perdue said, “I would not be as big as I am today without chocolate milk.”
- – May 1, 2017 – Donald Trump ended an interview when pressed for evidence to support his claim that Obama had illegally ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the 2016 election. Responding to follow-ups from the reporter asking for proof, Trump said, “I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions. OK, it’s enough. Thank you.” Trump’s claim of illegal wiretaps has been widely discredited, rebutted by both the FBI and the National Security Division.
- – May 2, 2017 – Donald Trump referred to the system of checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches as an “archaic” system. He followed this statement by claiming, “Maybe at some point we’ll have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different.”
- – May 2, 2017 – Donald Trump appointed Teresa Manning, a former anti-abortion activist, to lead Title X for the Department of Human and Health Services—a program that allocates funding for family planning to America’s low-income citizens. Teresa Manning was a lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-life organization.
- – May 2, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted that the country “needs a good ‘shutdown’,” and argued that Senate rules should be change in order to lower the number of votes needed to break a filibuster.
- – May 2, 2017 – During a CNN interview at a Women for Women International event in New York, Hillary Clinton blamed her election loss on a Russian meddling, a flawed candidacy, and FBI Director James Comey’s surprise announcement that the Bureau would investigate her emails just days before the election. Donald Trump took to Twitter to respond to her interview, posting Comey was, “The best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” and the “phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”
- – May 1, 2017 – The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. received $30,000 from groups promoting Turkish-American relations as part of a convention at the Trump property. Among the attendees were the Turkish Ambassador and a high-level U.S. official. This could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Donald Trump has retained an ownership interest in his businesses, and thus could receive payments from foreign states.
- – May 4, 2017 – House Republicans narrowly passed a healthcare bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In response, Donald Trump held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate what had been his only major legislative victory to date. He said, “[I’ve] only been a politician for a short period of time. How am I doing? Am I doing okay? I’m president. Heh! Hey, I’m president!” The American Health Care Act eventually failed to earn enough votes in the Senate and did not pass into law.
- – May 6, 2017 – Nicole Kushner Meyer, the sister of White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, solicited investments from Chinese business owners by promising American visas in return. An ad for her event in China read, “Invest $500,000 and immigrate to the United States.”
- – May 8, 2017 – The EPA announced it would not renew terms of employment for half of the scientists on its advisory board. These academics consulted the federal government on the scientific foundations and implications of new legislation. Among the committees affected would be the Board of Scientific Counselors, which evaluated whether scientific studies conducted by the federal government have met a sufficient standard of rigor.
- – May 8, 2017 – White House advisers began drafting an executive order which would unilaterally withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement. In an attempt to rescue NAFTA, White House officials broke with custom and called the office of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly, requesting that he convince Donald Trump to reconsider. One Canadian official suggested the Americans’ unusual diplomatic move could have been “theater.” He followed up saying, “Maybe they’re just learning how to be a government.”
- – May 8, 2017 – In a legal brief defending Donald Trump’s travel ban, the Justice Department cited Palmer v. Thompson, a segregation-era court case which restricted judges from considering “government purpose” when assessing a law’s constitutionality. The “government purpose” in the original Palmer v. Thompson case referenced Jackson, Mississippi’s racially motivated decision to close five segregated pools rather than open them to African American citizens. The Supreme Court at the time ruled in favor of Jackson closing the pools, saying the city’s racial motive in doing so should not affect the court’s assessment of the action’s constitutionality. The Trump administration cited the case to justify its argument that religious bias ought not to affect the constitutionality of the travel ban.
- – May 9, 2017 – Dan Heyman, a West Virginian journalist, was arrested after questioning Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about how the proposed health care bill would affect victims of domestic violence. In the aftermath of the healthcare bill’s introduction, Secretary Price had barred press access whenever questions about health care might be raised. On the day in question, Heyman approached Price while the secretary walked toward the capital in the morning. After the reporter held out his phone to record Price, Heyman was arrested for “breaching Secret Service agents.” Heyman spent seven hours in jail before he was released with a charge of willful disruption of governmental processes. Almost three months later, a state prosecutor found Heyman had broken no laws and would not be prosecuted for his actions.
- – May 9, 2017 – Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in the midst of the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Before his dismissal, Comey had been leading the federal investigation into Trump’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. Comey was speaking to a crowd of Bureau agents when he heard the news and initially thought the announcement was a prank.
- – May 10, 2017 – In the Oval Office, Donald Trump told the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador to the United States, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job… I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
- – May 11, 2017 – In a televised interview, Donald Trump admitted that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he fired FBI Director Comey. He said, “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, said to myself, I said: This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”
- – May 11, 2017 – Donald Trump signed an executive order to form a task force that would review purported voter fraud. Despite not having evidence to prove his claim that millions of people voted illegally, he returned to the issues of voter registrations and “election integrity” repeatedly. Trump’s ongoing argument about illegal voting has been widely discredited.
- – May 12, 2017 – After Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer, and President Trump each gave conflicting explanations for Trump’s decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump tweeted, “As a very active President with many things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy.” Trump then added, “Maybe the best thing to do is cancel all future “press briefings” and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy????”
- – May 12, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” After the tweet, Comey was quoted saying, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
- – May 12, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed criminal charging policy, instructing federal prosecutors to pursue the “most serious, readily provable offense.”! This shift returned to prominence the mandatory minimum sentences that had been against policy during the Obama administration. The last time the Justice Department held prosecutors to this standard, the number of federal prisoners skyrocketed almost 30 percent in ten years—from 172,000 to 220,000.
- – May 12, 2017 – Morgan Lewis Tax Partners reviewed ten years of Donald Trump’s tax returns and reported that, with “a few exceptions,” he had no financial ties with Russia. After investigation of Morgan Lewis, the Guardian found the tax firm had been named Russia Law Firm of the Year by an industry publication which ranks law firms by region.
- – May 12, 2017 – The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would withdraw mining restrictions on Alaska’s headwaters, opening the door to a major mining facility in the area. This reversal came after an EPA study concluded the mine could decimate salmon populations in the area, and thereby harm native Alaskans whose culture depended heavily on salmon.
- May 12, 2017 – Donald Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador at a White House meeting. The disclosure jeopardized the identity of a source that has infiltrated the Islamic State—an extremely sensitive piece of information. One U.S. official was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Trump had, “revealed more information to the Russian Ambassador than we’ve shared with our own allies.”
- – May 16, 2017 – A company called Summerbreeze LLC took out a $3.5 million mortgage on Paul Manafort’s home in Bridgehampton, New York. The company never filed the paperwork with Suffolk County to indicate who was accountable for the multimillion-dollar mortgage, nor did the company pay the $36,000 in taxes incurred by the agreement.
- – May 17, 2017 – Speaking to graduating cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard, Donald Trump said about himself , “No politician—and I say this with great surety—has been treated worse or more unfairly.”
- – May 17, 2017 – Shortly before Donald Trump took office, Michael Flynn discouraged White House officials from pursuing a U.S. military operation against the Islamic State which would have paired the United States with Kurdish forces. In May of 2017, McClatchy reported that Michael Flynn had been paid over $500,000 by the Turkish government, which had long been opposed to the United States allying with the Kurds.
- – May 17, 2017 – Before Donald Trump hired Michael Flynn as national security adviser, Flynn had told President Trump that he was under investigation for remunerated lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government. Trump appointed him anyway.
- – May 18, 2017 – Calling the Russia investigation a “witch hunt,” Donald Trump denied former FBI Director James Comey’s claim that Trump had asked Comey to end the investigation. Trump asserted, “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign.”
- – May 18, 2017 – Reuters reported the Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russian state officials or individuals with Kremlin ties during the final months of the 2016 election. Six of these 18 unreported contacts were direct calls to Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.
- – May 18, 2017 – White House Communications Director Mike Dubke resigned after just three months at his post, citing personal reasons. At the time of Dubke’s exit, Donald Trump was reportedly considering a bigger staff shakeup in the midst of a growing number of staff exits.
- – May 19, 2017 – Four months after his inauguration, almost 700 positions still remained empty at the Center for Disease Control. The vacancies appeared at every level—from administrative roles to scientific advisers to director-level positions.
- – May 21, 2017 – In an effort to balance the budget after billions of dollars in new defense spending, Donald Trump proposed slashing $1.7 trillion over the next ten years from programs supporting low-income Americans. Among the social programs to lose substantial portions of their funding in the proposal were food stamps (losing $193 billion) and Medicaid ($800 billion). According to statistics from 2018, 42 million Americans depended on food stamps and 68 million Americans had their healthcare covered through Medicaid.
- – May 22, 2017 – Due to the Trump administration’s ambiguity on the future of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers raised premiums substantially — some by as much as 50% — to account for the possibility that federal support may change at any time.
- – May 24, 2017 – Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that poverty was “a state of mind.” The former neurosurgeon, now in charge of programs responsible for low-income housing, had previously said that low-income housing should not be a “comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here.’”
- – May 25, 2017 – During the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium, Donald Trump visibly pushed Montenegro’s Prime Minister out of the way so he could to stand in front for a picture with other world leaders.
- – May 28, 2017 – Despite releasing a budget that proposed cutting Medicaid by $800 billion only days earlier, Donald Trump tweeted, “I suggest that we add more dollars to Healthcare and make it the best anywhere!”
- – May 29, 2017 – CIA Director Mike Pompeo said top-secret daily briefings must be short and filled with “killer graphics” to hold the attention of President Trump.
- – May 31, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Despite the negative press covfefe.” He offered no follow-up and never explained the incomplete thought or potential misspelling.
- – May 31, 2017 – The Trump administration created a new questionnaire for all visa applicants that asked applicants for their social media handles. The administration announced their intention was to examine the last five years of an applicant’s internet activity.
- – May 31, 2017 – The White House granted ethics waivers to 17 senior officials, including Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon. The waivers allowed Bannon to interact with Breitbart News, and Conway to interact with lobbyists and private clients.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JUNE 2017
- – June 1, 2017 – Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, saying the global climate accord would “undermine our economy.” Signatories of the global pact promised to lower greenhouse gas emissions, in an international effort to keep global temperature below two degrees Celsius over the planet’s pre-industrial levels. Besides Nicaragua, which eventually signed, the United States and Syria were the only countries to reject the agreement.
- – June 1, 2017 – The Trump administration considered lifting Russian sanctions immediately after the inauguration, according to commentary from former State Department official Dan Fried.
- – June 1, 2017 – At the onset of hurricane season, leadership positions remained vacant for the NOAA and FEMA. These agencies are responsible for monitoring weather patterns incoming for natural disasters and addressing natural disaster recovery, respectively.
- – June 2, 2017 – White House lawyers met with the leaders of several federal agencies to order them not to comply with Democrats’ requests for oversight of agency activities. A White House spokesperson said the Trump administration’s policy regarding oversight is to “accommodate requests of the chairmen, regardless of political party.” At the time, there were no Democratic chairmen because Republicans controlled Congress.
- – June 5, 2017 – The U.S. Ambassador to China resigned from his position, citing Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement.
- – June 6, 2017 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt claimed 50,000 jobs had been added to the coal mining industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number was closer to 1,400.
- – June 6, 2017 – In more than 50 cases nationwide, children were heard bullying classmates with calls for deportation, references to Donald Trump’s name, and blatantly racist language. One eight-year-old girl in California said to a black classmate, “Now that Trump won, you’re going to have to go back to Africa, where you belong.”
- – June 6, 2017 – White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that Donald Trump’s tweets are official statements from the president.
- – June 11, 2017 – Breaking with a longstanding custom, Donald Trump tried to cultivate a personal relationship with a federal prosecutor, Preet Bharara, after the 2016 election. Months after his firing, Bharara reported a sense of déjà vu listening to James Comey’s testimony regarding Trump’s bizarre interactions. Trump’s final call to Bharara, on March 9, 2017, was ostensibly to “shoot the breeze,” which Bharara found unethical and immediately reported to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was fired the following day.
- – June 13, 2017 – Since the election, 70 percent of the properties purchased from the Trump Organization have reportedly sold to anonymous LLCs rather than identified people. Before the election, only 2% of Trump properties went to anonymous companies.
- – June 13, 2017 – On Twitter, Donald Trump’s account blocked a veterans group that had been critical of him. The group, VoteVets, represents 500,000 U.S. military veterans.
- – June 14, 2017 – Officials announced that Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller would investigate Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. This was part of Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
- – June 15, 2017 – Donald Trump selected the person who planned Eric Trump’s wedding to run federal housing for the city of New York. In her new position, Lynne Patton, who had also helped organize some of Trump’s celebrity golf events, would control a multibillion-dollar budget to manage housing for thousands of New Yorkers.
- – June 16, 2017 – In another rollback of a signature policy from the Obama administration, Donald Trump partially reversed Barack Obama’s effort to open diplomatic ties with the Cuba. Obama’s policy allowed American businesses and travelers to interact with Cuba for the first time in decades. Trump’s changes would “enforce the ban on tourism, enforce the embargo,” in response to what he called “the last administration’s completely one-sided deal with Cuba.”
- – June 16, 2017 – The White House sought to soften a bipartisan bill crafted to put new sanctions on Russia and limit Donald Trump’s power to alter sanctions in the future.
- – June 16, 2017 – Responding to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Donald Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt”. “The man” referenced here is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to lead the Russia investigation and also issued a memo recommending former FBI Director James Comey’s firing.
- – June 19, 2017 – Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced he did not believe carbon dioxide causes climate change. This view contradicts numerous studies conducted by agencies like NASA, the EPA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- – June 19, 2017 – During a security clearance renewal process, Michael Flynn failed to disclose a business trip to the Middle East during which he represented Russian and U.S. business interests as they planned to build a series of nuclear reactors. Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland said of Flynn’s omission, “General Flynn’s actions are part of a broader pattern of concealing his foreign contact, payments, travel and work on behalf of foreign interests.”
- – June 20, 2017 – The Trump administration planned to cut more than 1,200 jobs from the EPA, shrinking the workforce by 15 percent while slashing the EPA budget by 31 percent.
- – June 20, 2017 – Donald Trump’s budget cuts to address homelessness and low-income housing did not cut funding for one New York City housing development—the subsidized Starrett City housing complex. It happened that Trump held a stake in Starrett City, and made about $5 million dollars off the property in three months during 2016. (June 20, 2017) Trump Business Dealings Policy
- – June 21, 2017 – Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tapped the CEO of a private student loan company to lead the Federal Student Aid program. This program handles $1.3 trillion in federal student loans for American citizens.
- – June 22, 2017 – Two senior intelligence officials told Robert Mueller that Donald Trump had approached them separately and requested they use their position to publicly announce the Trump campaign had not colluded with Russian operatives.
- – June 22, 2017 – At a rally with supporters, Donald Trump asserted that a law should exist which requires all immigrants to support themselves financially for five years before receiving welfare aid. This exact law has existed since 1996. Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act restricting new immigrants to the U.S. from accessing federal benefits for a period of five years.
- – June 25, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Hillary Clinton colluded with the Democratic Party in order to beat Crazy Bernie Sanders. Is she allowed to so collude? Unfair to Bernie!” At the time, Trump was under investigation for colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
- – June 26, 2017 – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke flew on a charter plane from Las Vegas to his hometown in Montana, which cost taxpayers $12,375. Zinke and his staff used private and military aircraft multiple times.
- – June 27, 2017 – Scott Pruitt and the EPA rolled back Obama-era protections that ensured drinking water was clean and safe for consumption.
- – June 27, 2017 – The Trump Organization framed a March 1, 2009 cover of Time magazine and hung it on the walls of at least five Trump resorts. The cover features Trump with his arms crossed beside the headlines “Donald Trump: The Apprentice is a television smash!” and “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS…EVEN ON TV!” Time magazine has confirmed the cover is fake.
- – June 29, 2017 – Donald Trump attacked TV news host Mika Brzezinski on Twitter, saying he had once seen her when she was “badly bleeding from a face-lift.”
- – June 30, 2017 – MSNBC news anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski alleged the White House tried to blackmail them with an article about their relationship in the National Enquirer. The newly engaged co-anchors claimed they had texts and phone records from Trump advisers threatening to publish the Enquirer article if the pair did not contact Trump directly. The president apparently sought an apology for the couple’s unfavorable news coverage. Trump is a long-time friend and ally of David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, and had leveraged the relationship before. The Enquirer then published a hit piece on Scarborough and Brzezinski’s relationship.
- – June 30, 2017 – For the position of senior adviser in the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, Donald Trump appointed an activist who led a campaign to restrict transgender access to bathrooms. Under the Obama Administration, the Office of Gender Equality supported LGBT empowerment both domestically and abroad. Bethany Kozma, the activist and new senior adviser, has said in the past, “With Trump, we now have a president who is focused on remedying the lawlessness of the previous administration.”
- – June 30, 2017 – Referring to the House’s passage of a second repeal-and-replace bill, Donald Trump tweeted, “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” If Obamacare were repealed without an alternative to replace it, 32 million Americans would lose health care coverage.
- – June 2017 – Two anonymous White House officials told the New York Times that Donald Trump said Haitians “all have AIDS” and Nigerian immigrants wouldn’t ever “go back to their huts.” Newly released immigration statistics, which reported 15,000 Haitian immigrants had entered the U.S. since he took office, reportedly ignited President Trump’s tirade. While the White House subsequently denied Trump had used the words “AIDS” and “huts,” it did not deny the “overall description of the meeting.”
- – June 2017 – The Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. received $270,000 in payments from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for rooms, catering, and parking as part of a lobbying effort. This violates the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids government officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” Donald Trump has retained an ownership interest in his businesses and thus could receive payments from foreign states.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JULY 2017
- – July 1, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Crazy Joe Scarborough and dumb as a rock Mika are not bad people, but their low rated show is dominated by their NBC bosses. Too bad!”
- – July 1, 2017 – After Trump requested state officials forfeit private voter information in his quest to substantiate claims of illegal voting during the 2016 election, 44 states and the District of Columbia refused to divulge citizens’ records. He tweeted, “Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?” Trump has never offered credible evidence to support illegal votes swaying the 2016 popular vote, and the claims have been repeatedly debunked.
- – July 8, 2017 – After Donald Trump left his seat among other world leaders during the G20 summit in order to attend another meeting, Ivanka Trump took his place. Given that Ivanka is his daughter, a business owner, and an unelected figure in the White House, many questioned the propriety of her presence at the high-level diplomatic meeting.
- – July 9, 2017 – The New York Times reported Donald Trump Jr. “was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.” Trump Jr. admitted to the meeting, saying he went because the Russian “might have information helpful to the campaign.” Reportedly he left the meeting disappointed, and didn’t uncover any useful information on Clinton.
- – July 12, 2017 – In defending his son after news surfaced that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeated said again the Russia investigation is “”the greatest Witch Hunt in political history”:.”
- – July 13, 2017 – Donald Trump told Brigitte Macron, the first lady of France, that she was “in such good shape,” during his first state visit to France as president.
- – July 18, 2017 – The United States military rented space in Trump Tower, amounting to a $2.4 million yearly expense. The stated reason for the payment was to retain space in the hotel should Donald Trump decide to sleep there. As of July, Trump hadn’t spent a night in the Tower.
- – July 19, 2017 – In an interview with The New York Times, Donald Trump said he would not have chosen Jeff Sessions to be the attorney general if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. This admission underscored his expectation of loyalty from his administration, and further suggested a simmering conflict between Trump and Sessions.
- – July 21, 2017 – Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary after Donald Trump chose Anthony Scaramucci to serve as communications director. The Obama administration had three press secretaries in eight years, and each of them held their position for more than two years. Sean Spicer held the position for 182 days before quitting.
- – July 22, 2017 – In a call to The New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza, Donald Trump’s newly appointed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci ranted about White House staff in a stream of expletives and insults. Some of the highlights: Scaramucci called Chief of Staff Reince Priebus a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic;” he said of Steve Bannon, “I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own cock;” he threatened to fire the whole White House communications team; and he said of his federal financial disclosure, “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosure, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.” Scaramucci was asked to resign the following week.
- – July 24, 2017 – Donald Trump took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions again, calling him “beleaguered” in a tweet about the Russia investigation.
- – July 24, 2017 – Donald Trump insulted the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff, by calling him “sleazy” and “totally biased” on Twitter.
- – July 25, 2017 – Donald Trump targeted both Jeff Sessions, the U.S. attorney general and a member of his own administration, as well as his campaign opponent Hillary Clinton, by tweeting, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”
- – July 26, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow… Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming… victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” Two judges later blocked Trump’s discriminatory memorandum.
- – July 26, 2017 – The Trump administration began the process of rolling back an Obama-era rule that would have allowed 4.2 million more people to qualify for overtime pay. Obama’s legislation lowered the salary threshold at which employees would be eligible for overtime pay. Under the original proposal, any worker making $23,660 per year and working over 40 hours would either have to have their hours cut or their salary raised. The state of Texas awarded a temporary injunction, so Obama’s policy never took full effect. Trump eliminated that possibility.
- – July 27, 2017 – White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus resigned.
- – July 29, 2017 – Donald Trump blamed China for remaining neutral amidst growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. His tweet came the day after North Korea tested a ballistic missile it claimed could reach the United States.
- – July 31, 2017 – New White House Chief of Staff John Kelly fired Anthony Scaramucci ten days into Scaramucci’s tenure as communications director.
- – July 31, 2017 – Donald Trump dictated a public statement on behalf of his son, Donald Trump Jr., regarding a meeting between Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer. President Trump’s dictation stated the meeting “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” A subsequent release of Trump Jr.’s email thread on the topic indicated that the topic of the meeting was regarding Clinton and Russian support for Trump’s campaign.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – August 2017
- – August 1, 2017 – The Trump campaign chose a noted white nationalist, William Johnson, to serve among California’s delegates for the next presidential election. Johnson leads the American Freedom Party, which operates with the stated mission of upholding “the customs and the heritage of European American People.” Johnson said after his appointment to the delegation, “I can be a white nationalist and be a strong supporter of Donald Trump and be a good example to everybody.”
- – August 2, 2017 – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided not to spend the $60 million allocated to the State Department for the express purpose of battling foreign propaganda, including disinformation campaigns from countries like Russia and China. One of Tillerson’s aides, R.C. Hammond, suggested a major influence in Tillerson’s anomalous decision to decline funding for his own department was an internal concern for the Kremlin’s sensitivity about addressing Russia’s media influence.
- – August 2, 2017 – Sam Clovis, Donald Trump’s nominee to be the top scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture, once ran a blog where he called progressives “race traders and race ‘traitors.’” A USDA spokesperson justified the choice saying, “All of [Clovis’s] reporting either on the air or in writing over the course of his career has been based on solid research and data. He is, after all, an academic.”
- – August 2, 2017 – During a single two-hour session in the situation room, White House officials said Donald Trump complained openly about his NATO allies, wondered aloud about how the U.S. could get a piece of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, and then repeatedly argued the U.S.’s top general ought to be fired.
- – August 2, 2017 – Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted during her daily press briefing that the Boy Scouts of America never called the president to say his speech to their organization was the “greatest speech ever made to them.” This is contrary to claims Donald Trump had made to the Wall Street Journal.
- – August 7, 2017 – By August of his first year as president, Donald Trump had confirmed only 45 percent of his nominees to executive branch roles. This is a lower rate than his three immediate predecessors: at the same points in their presidencies, Barack Obama had confirmed 72 percent of nominees, George W. Bush had confirmed 71%, and Bill Clinton had confirmed 73%. Of the 577 executive branch positions deemed essential by the Partnership for Public Service, Trump had only successfully filled 20% of them.
- – August 8, 2017 – Donald Trump promised to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea threatened the United States with nuclear action. Trump delivered his warning of catastrophic nuclear action after Kim Jong-un’s regime successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range capable of reaching the continental United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to downplay Trump’s bellicosity, saying, “I think Americans should sleep well at night, and have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.”
- – August 9, 2017 – VICE News reported that White House officials, including Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer, twice daily would deliver a folder to President Trump filled with positive news coverage and supportive tweets.
- – August 10, 2017 – Frustrated by Congress’s failed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump doled out his critique in two tweets directed at the senator: “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!” and “Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”
- – August 12, 2017 – During the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, neo-Nazis and former Ku Klux Klan members carried tiki torches and shouted slogans including “The Jews Will Not Replace Us.” A white nationalist named James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others in the process. After the attack and Heyer’s death, Trump he refused to explicitly rebuke the white nationalists. The president placed partial blame for the attack on the counter-protesters, condemning, “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
- – August 14, 2017 – After Donald Trump hesitated to condemn the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, chose to resign from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. Frazier, an African American and one of the most powerful executives in the United States, explained his decision to leave in a public statement: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of public conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Trump took to Twitter, firing back, “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
- – August 14, 2017 – The Trump administration began rolling back emissions standards for America’s cars and light trucks. “We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards, consistent with the timeframe provided in our regulations,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. In 2012, Obama drafted a plan to raise fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The newly announced review was the first step to repealing these standards, and reopened “questions that have already been asked and answered,” according to the policy arm of Consumer Reports.
- – August 15, 2017 – At a news conference about the “Unite the Right” rally in Virginia, Donald Trump said, “There were very fine people on both sides” of the violence in Charlottesville.
- – August 15, 2017 – After more CEOs resigned from his American Manufacturing Council, Trump claimed he had a line of executives waiting to join in their place. He tweeted, “For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!”
- – August 16, 2017 – Donald Trump abruptly dissolved the American Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum, tweeting “thank you all!” without further explanation.
- – August 17, 2017 – Donald Trump lamented the removal of Confederate monuments, stating that such actions were “so foolish” and “sad.” He called these statues “beautiful” and spoke to the “history and culture of our great country being ripped apart.” He did not mention slavery in any of his tweets on the Confederacy.
- – August 18, 2017 – Donald Trump fired chief strategist Steve Bannon. Trump later claimed that Bannon had been a “staffer” and “had very little to do with our historic victory,” despite the fact that Bannon was a top aide through the presidential campaign and key influencer in the White House.
- – August 20, 2017 – The Trump administration ended a $400,000 federal grant for Life After Hate, an organization devoted to eradicating white nationalism and helping young people escape white supremacist gang membership. The grant money was awarded annually by the Countering Violent Extremism task force. Originally founded in 2011 by Barack Obama, the CVE task force sought to combat a wide range of violent ideologies—from white nationalism to Islamic extremism—and presented $10 million in grant money to nonprofits pursuing that mission. Among all the CVE grant recipients, Life After Hate was the only one addressing white supremacy. The Trump administration defunded the group at a particularly pivotal moment: Life After Hate has reported a 20-fold increase in requests to help young white nationalists since Trump’s election.
- – August 21, 2017 – Eight months into his presidency, the Secret Service exhausted the annual funding allocated to agents to protect the Trump family, mostly due to the frequency of the first family’s travels. By August 2017, more than 1,000 agents had already hit the federally mandated cap for salary and overtime allowances meant to last the entire year.
- – August 21, 2017 – In a nationally televised speech on strategy in Afghanistan, Donald Trump gave no indication of how many troops the U.S. would commit to war efforts, nor any criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of those operations. Trump warned that “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists,” but gave no indication of the Pentagon’s definition of success or failure. He concluded the address by saying simply, “in the end, we will win.”
- – August 21, 2017 – The U.S. Secret Service spent substantial sums with Donald Trump’s businesses, including at least $137,000 on golf cart rentals at Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster. Based on a Government Accountability Office report, each trip to Mar-a-Lago costs the taxpayer $3 million in total.
- – August 22, 2017 – During an Arizona rally, Donald Trump blamed American news media for the vehement public reactions after the white supremacist-led “Unite the Right” rally. He declared, “It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions… the only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.” Trump drew applause for trumpeting his upcoming pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who he said was “convicted for doing his job.” Arpaio had a reputation for illegally detaining Latinos on the suspicion that they were in the country without documentation. In July 2017, an Arizona judge convicted Sherriff Arpaio of criminal contempt for defying a court order to cease his practice of arresting Latinos based on their racial profile.
- – August 25, 2017 – Following up on tweets he wrote in July, Donald Trump signed a directive to prevent transgender individuals from joining the military. The order gave Defense Secretary James Mattis the ability to decide if transgender members currently in the military could continue to serve.
- –August 25, 2017 – Sebastian Gorka, White House Deputy Assistant to the President, was ousted from office. Trump gave no explicit reason for his departure, but one White House official wrote, “Sebastian Gorka did not resign, but I can confirm he no longer works in the White House.” Long seen as a controversial figure who was outspoken about his anti-Islamic views, Gorka had said publicly that white supremacists were “not the problem” in America. Gorka was a former editor at Breitbart News, aligning on many issues with fellow Breitbart leader Steve Bannon—who had been forced out of the White House one week earlier.
- – August 25, 2017 – Donald Trump pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. An Arizona judge had convicted Arpaio of criminal contempt-of-court for “flagrant disregard” of a court order to cease and desist his practice of racially profiling Latinos. U.S District Judge G. Murray Snow noted Arpaio made “multiple intentional misstatements of fact under oath,” and also told local news stations he would ignore the injunction and “continue ‘doing what he had always been doing.’”
- – August 30, 2017 – After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi and told a small crowd the recovery from the hurricane’s devastation would be “better than ever before.” His proposed budget slashed FEMA programs aimed at helping Americans get back on their feet after natural disasters.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – SEPTEMBER 2017
- – September 1, 2017 – Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, appointed by Donald Trump to lead investigations of voter fraud for the 2016 election, was a paid columnist for the alt-right website Breitbart while the voter fraud investigation was still underway.
- – September 4, 2017 – Donald Trump appointed Representative Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA, despite the fact that Bridenstine has said repeatedly he does not believe humans cause climate change. Among NASA’s many active projects are 27 missions= devoted to monitoring climate change.
- – September 5, 2017 – Donald Trump ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, inviting Congress to take the necessary actions to offer its replacement. One of Barack Obama’s signature pieces of legislation, DACA protects against the deportation of nearly 800,000 young people who arrived in the United States as children. Trump gave Congress six months to act on his order before he would begin phasing out the DACA protections. Among Trump’s most oft-repeated arguments against the program is that DACA beneficiaries would take jobs from natural-born American citizens. Many economists vehemently disagree with Trump on this point, citing the fact that a) immigrants are more likely than natural-born Americans to start companies (employing new workers in the process), and b) the number of individuals retiring from the workforce will outpace the number of young people entering it by 55 million in 2020.
- – September 6, 2017 – Among the members of Donald Trump’s private golf clubs are 21 lobbyists from prominent trade groups and 50 executives from companies with federal contracts. Citizen watchdog groups said club membership could influence Trump’s decision making, allowing certain individuals potentially lucrative access to the president. On his hundredth day in office, Trump visited The Ames Company’s factory in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to sign two new executive orders. Robert Mehmel, president of the Ames Company and a member of Trump’s New Jersey golf course, stood just behind the president’s shoulder as Trump signed the orders for the press. During another White House meeting with Trump, a lobbyist for North American airport companies was overheard on C-Span saying to the president, “I’m a member of your golf club by the way.”
- – September 7, 2017 – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called campus sexual assault enforcement a “failed system” and vowed to review the Title IX guidelines put in place by the Obama administration. DeVos claimed the current system “clearly pushed schools to overreach” by using “intimidation and coercion.”
- – September 12, 2017 – Donald Trump hosted Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, at the White House, despite the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation of a corruption scandal in Razak’s administration. Razak stood accused of funneling $3.5 billion dollars in public money from the Malaysian government to finance the purchase of jewelry, real estate, and Hollywood film rights. Razak has responded to accusations of corruption in his own country by firing investigators and referring to journalistic exposés on his spending as “Fake News.” Razak and his entourage stayed in the Trump International Hotel during his trip to D.C.
- – September 14, 2017 – The Trump administration made plans to cut 92 percent of federal funding for grassroots groups that help Americans sign up for healthcare.
- – September 15, 2017 – Following a terrorist attack on the London subway, Donald Trump responded to the event by propping up his travel ban. He also falsely suggested in a series of tweets that authorities had identified those responsible, and that those people had recruited others online. British Prime Minister Theresa May rebuked Trump’s speculative claims.
- – September 19, 2017 – During a speech at the UN General Assembly, Donald Trump called Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man” and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.”
- – September 20, 2017 – It was revealed in September of 2017 that Trump’s election campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had offered a “private briefing” to a Russian billionaire named Oleg Deripaska just two weeks before the election took place. Deripaska is one of the richest men in Russia, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, and a former client of Paul Manafort’s consultancy.
- – September 20, 2017 – Nicaragua announced it would soon sign the Paris Agreement to fight global climate change. After Nicaragua’s signature and Donald Trump’s withdrawal earlier in the year, only two countries in the world wouldn’t uphold the environmental accord—the United States and Syria.
- – September 21, 2017 – During a speech at the UN, Donald Trump cited the exemplary healthcare system of a place called Nambia. Trump applauded the nonexistent African nation, saying, “Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”
- – September 21, 2017 – Twenty-two of Donald Trump’s appointees to the Department of Agriculture had no prior experience with agriculture. Some even lacked a college degree. However, all 22 did work on the Trump campaign in 2016.
- – September 22, 2017 – Continuing to use aggressive language towards North Korea and Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump tweeted, “Kim Jong-un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”
- – September 22, 2017 – The Education Department formally rescinded legal instruction for universities that dictated how they should handle allegations of sexual assault. Six years earlier, in response to statistics that found 1 in 5 women were victims of sexual assault while in college, the Obama administration released the “Dear Colleague Letter,” which required federally funded schools to toughen their stance on sexual assault accusations. In practice, this meant victims of assault had more power during the legal process. Under the Dear Colleague Letter’s guidance, victims could appeal any not-guilty findings for further consideration, and schools were required to evaluate sexual assault reports according to a “preponderance of the evidence” (rather than the more burdensome “beyond a reasonable doubt”). Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claimed the letter had denied due process to accused individuals, choosing to scrap the instructions entirely, along with the new powers given to victims of sexual assault.
- – September 23, 2017 – Donald Trump suggested that team owners in the National Football League should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. He said owners should respond by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump also said that “when somebody disrespects the flag,” fans should leave in protest.
- – September 24, 2017 – Donald Trump repeated his rebuke of National Football League players who kneel during the national anthem. He tweeted, “Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!”
- – September 25, 2017 – Congressional investigators reported the White House and Justice Department had missed deadlines to submit documents requested for the ongoing Russia investigation, including information on Jared Kushner’s security clearance and Donald Trump’s conversations with James Comey. In an email, Representative Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee said, “The White House’s refusal to answer Congress in full and truthfully raises serious questions about the White House’s intent, including the potential that it is misleading Congress.”
- – September 26, 2017 – Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and previous chief of staff for former FBI Director James Comey, announced he would resign from his post because he did not believe Donald Trump had a moral grasp of justice. In an agency-wide memo he sent a month before his resignation, Rosenberg had said, “The President, in remarks delivered yesterday in New York, condoned police misconduct regarding the treatment of individuals placed under arrest by law enforcement. […] I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.” The rebuke came after Trump had said to an audience of police officers in New York, “When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said, please don’t be too nice.” He continued, “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody—don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, OK?” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the president’s statement had been a “joke.”
- – September 29, 2017 – Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned from his position after public outrage mounted about his inappropriate spending on private jets for travel. According to Politico, Price had spent over $300,000 on private flights before resigning from Trump’s cabinet.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – OCTOBER 2017
- – October 4, 2017 – The Trump administration denied endangered species protection for 25 highly imperiled species. Among them were seven animals—the Pacific walrus, Florida Keys mole skink, Bicknell’s thrush, Kirtland’s snake, the northern Rockies population of fisher, Nevada springsnail, and Big Blue Spring Cave crayfish—whose habitats were gravely threatened by climate change.
- – October 3, 2017 – EPA director Scott Pruitt’s schedule showed he held near-daily meetings with oil lobbyists, automobile company executives, and other industry leaders, while making almost no time for environmental advocates. The New York Times reported that, in the first half of May, “Mr. Pruitt met with the chief executive of the Chemours Company, a leading chemical maker, as well as three chemical lobbying groups; the egg producers lobby; the president of Shell Oil Company; the chief executive of Southern Company; lobbyists for the farm bureau, the toy association and a cement association; the president of a truck equipment manufacturer seeking to roll back emissions regulations for trucks; and the president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.”
- – October 4, 2017 – The House Homeland Security Committee approved a $15 billion dollar bill to fund Donald Trump’s border wall and employ border patrol. While most in Washington saw this as a publicity stunt—seeing as the bill had very little chance of garnering the 60 votes needed from the Senate in order to pass—the proposal was likely a negotiation tactic for the ongoing conversation about the Dreamers program.
- – October 4, 2017 – On October 4, 2017, four soldiers in the United States Armed Forces were killed in Niger by ISIS-affiliated combatants. When asked at a press conference on October 16 why he still hadn’t spoken about the fallen soldiers, Trump said he had written the families personal letters, which would “go out either today or tomorrow.” He also insinuated at the press conference that President Obama had not called the families of fallen soldiers. This was untrue. Obama had called Gold Star families throughout his presidency, as confirmed by both Obama’s staff and the families themselves. The night after the press conference, Donald Trump placed a condolence call to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of fallen serviceman Sgt. La David Johnson. The following week, Mrs. Johnson appeared on Good Morning America to discuss her husband’s life and her call with the president. Mrs. Johnson said Trump forgot her husband’s name during the call, and that she “heard him stumbling” as he tried to remember. Less than an hour after the interview aired, President Trump suggested the Gold Star widow had been lying, writing on Twitter, “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and
spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”
- – October 6, 2017 – On Wednesday, October 4, 201, the official FEMA website listed two statistics quantifying slow recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. According to FEMA, only 50 percent of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water nearly one month after Hurricane Maria had struck land, and 98% of Puerto Ricans were still without electricity. By the morning of Thursday, October 5, the statistics had been deleted from the website. When reached for comment amid uproar about the removal, a FEMA spokesperson offered no explanation for the change. By Friday afternoon, amid an uproar about the censorship, the figures had returned to the site.
- – October 5, 2017 – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent $811,797.81 to make seven trips using military aircraft. While the Office of the Inspector General said this did not break any laws explicitly, Mnuchin failed to provide justification for his spending. Earlier in the year, he had placed a formal request for a military plane to escort he and his new wife on their honeymoon. While his request was denied, he has had other lavish requests granted, including one flight to Miami which cost taxpayers $40,000. Typically, government employees are encouraged to book commercial travel and file for reimbursement. Had he followed protocol, that same flight to Miami would have cost taxpayers about $700.
- – October 5, 2017 – For the second most powerful position at the Environmental Protection Agency, Donald Trump nominated Andrew Wheeler, a long-time coal lobbyist who had served as legal counsel for some of the largest coal mining companies in America.
- – October 5, 2017 – In either a misunderstanding of the duties of the Senate Intelligence Committee or an attempt to deflect attention from the Russia investigation, Donald Trump tweeted, “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”
- – October 5, 2017 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo saying the Civil Rights Act would no longer protect transgender workers from employer discrimination.
- – October 6, 2017 – The Trump administration released a mandate reversing an Obama-era protection on employees’ right to employer-provided birth control. Under Trump’s new mandate, employers could cite religious objection as grounds to withhold free birth control from employee health care plans.
- – October 8, 2017 – In exchange for an extension to the Dreamers program:, Trump demanded funding for his border wall, a massive increase in border security personnel, more stringent qualifications for asylum-seekers, and a moratorium on federal grants for “sanctuary cities.”
- – October 9, 2017 – After more National Football League players began kneeling for the national anthem Donald Trump told Vice President Mike Pence to attend a Colts vs. 49ers game, specifically to leave the stadium as a public rebuke to the protests. Pence dutifully carried the plan to fruition, arriving at the stadium to great fanfare, and then conspicuously leaving the game before kickoff. After the stunt, the president tweeted, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.” Pence’s trip to Indiana in order to walk out of the stadium cost taxpayers around $250,000.
- – October 9, 2017 – Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt moved to repeal the Clean Power Act, introduced by Obama to lower carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Trump and Pruitt had long seen the act as an attack on coal mining jobs and reversed the environmental regulations as a gesture to the coal industry. In spite of the many well-publicized pieces of legislation Trump has influenced in order to create more jobs for coal miners, employment in the industry has grown just 4 percent since he was inaugurated. To put the size of the coal mining industry in perspective, the industry as a whole employs about 65,000 people nationally—about 1/5 the number of Americans employed in solar energy alone.
- – October 9, 2017 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a crowd at the Kentucky Farm Bureau that he would like to remove all tax credits given to wind and solar energy. “I’d let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources.” The subsidies for renewable energy were meant to stimulate development and use of new energy technologies. Thus far, the subsidies have already had a measurable impact. Berkeley National Laboratory found that oil and coal that we avoided burning between 2007 and 2015 equated to saving between 3,000 and 12,500 premature deaths in eight years. Beyond the health and environmental advantages of subsidizing new sources of energy, Pruitt also ignored the question of whether the oil and coal industries could ‘stand on their own’ without federal support. The fossil fuel industries have received about $20 billion dollars annually in federal tax subsidies.
- – October 10, 2017 – In response to the National Football League’s national anthem protests, Donald Trump threatened the NFL with re-evaluation of its tax-exempt status.
- – October 10, 2017 – According to fact-checkers at the Washington Post, Donald Trump made 1,318 false claims in his first 263 days as president. That equates to around 5 falsehoods per day since his inauguration.
- – October 10, 2017 – In response to rumors earlier in the month that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called the president a “moron,” Donald Trump said, “I think it’s fake news. But if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.”
- – October 11, 2017 – Donald Trump threatened the broadcasting licenses of NBC and other media stations, stating on Twitter, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”
- – October 11, 2017 – After Congress repeatedly blocked its efforts to overhaul immigration policy, the Department of Homeland Security began to explore smaller policy tweaks it could legally enact without the approval of Congress. Though smaller in scope than the more ambitious calls for border walls and billions spent on border security, the DHS looked into ways it could limit protections for unaccompanied minors, tighten visa restrictions, and accelerate pending deportations.
- – October 11, 2017 – Donald Trump told his military advisors he wanted a tenfold increase in nuclear firepower. Every president since Ronald Reagan has signed international disarmament agreements, which still legally restricts the U.S. from increasing nuclear stockpiles. Trump denied he had asked for the expansion, and some military officials said they did not believe he was speaking “literally” when discussing the United States nuclear arsenal.
- – October 11, 2017 – In the EPA’s four-year strategic plan covering Donald Trump’s tenure in office, the term “climate change” did not appear once in the document’s 33 pages.
- – October 12, 2017 – Donald Trump scrapped a healthcare subsidy that helped low-income Americans with out-of-pocket expenses at the time of treatment. In addition to endangering citizens who cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket, the elimination of subsidies could cause insurance premiums to rise even further, as insurance companies would need to cover the difference. Insurance premiums had already risen almost across the nation since Trump took office, spiking 27 percent for Californians, 30.6 percent for Pennsylvanians, and 44 percent for Idahoans.
- – October 12, 2017 – While Puerto Rico was still reeling a month after Hurricane Maria made landfall—with 90 percent of the island still without electricity and 40 percent without clean drinking water—Donald Trump responded to critics on Twitter by saying, “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” Five months after the hurricane, 400,000 Puerto Ricans still did not have power.
- – October 12, 2017 – White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was overheard in numerous shouting matches with Donald Trump, underscoring ongoing rumors of chaos within the White House. In a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing, Kelly responded to inquiries about his job status saying, “I’m not quitting today. I don’t believe, and I just talked to the president, I don’t think I’m being fired today. And I’m not so frustrated in this job that I’m thinking of leaving.” Kelly went on to add, “Unless things change, I’m not quitting, I’m not getting fired, and I don’t think they’ll fire anyone tomorrow.”
- – October 13, 2017 – Donald Trump nominated a climate change skeptic to chair the Council on Environmental Quality, which advises the White House on environmental policy. Before her position on the council, Kathleen Hartnett White worked on the Texas Public Policy Foundation where she authored a paper that included this sentence: “Whether emitted from the human use of fossil fuels or as a natural (and necessary) gas in the atmosphere surrounding the earth, carbon dioxide has none of the attributes of a pollutant.” She also wrote a 2014 paper that argued, “global warming alarmists are misleading the public about carbon dioxide emissions.”
- – October 13, 2017 – In the fallout from Hurricane Maria, the Pentagon accidentally sent emails to a Bloomberg reporter discussing how they would spin the natural disaster for media coverage. The emails to Bloomberg continued for five days despite the Bloomberg reporter “repeatedly alerting officials” to the mistake. Among the bits of strategy gleaned from the emails were agency-wide requests to ignore the mayor of San Juan, who had been critical of Trump, and to “avoid instructions about waiting for FEMA.”
- – October 13, 2017 – Donald Trump announced he would decertify the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program and instead consider new sanctions on Iran. Meanwhile, the UK, France, and Germany—other signatories on the initial agreement—all announced they would remain “committed” to the original pact.
- – October 16, 2017 – Donald Trump asserted Barack Obama did not call the families of fallen soldiers. This was untrue. Obama had long meetings with the families of fallen soldiers, as confirmed by both Obama’s staff and the families themselves.
- – October 16, 2017 – The EPA changed the rules on what constitutes a “dangerous” amount of radiation, multiplying by 10 the threshold set by Obama.
- – October 18, 2017 – Donald Trump thanked @TEN_GOP on Twitter when the account posted, “We love you, Mr. President.” The @TEN_GOP profile, which had 150,000 followers and described itself as “the Unofficial Twitter of Tennessee Republicans,” was the most influential Russian account on Twitter before its suspension.
- – October 18, 2017 – Donald Trump offered the father of a fallen soldier a gift of $25,000. At first, Trump did not keep his promise. Then three months later, on the publication day of the Washington Post’s article reporting Trump never sent his promised gift, a check for $25,000 was mailed to the grieving father.
- – October 19, 2017 – During a security conference, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said, “The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.” This was false. The report Pompeo referenced concluded that Russian meddling had occurred, but did not speculate on whether that interference had altered the course of the election or not.
- – October 20, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Just out report: ‘United Kingdom crime rises 13 percent annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror.’ not good, we must keep America safe!” The UK’s Office for National Statistics did report a 13 percent increase in police-reported crime in its quarterly report, but gave only one reference to terror attacks in the whole report and did not attribute the rise in crime to Islam in any way.
- – October 20, 2017 – The EPA deleted resources from its website that provided information to local governments on steps they could take to help address climate change. One example was an EPA site titled “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments” being renamed “Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments,” with 15 mentions of “climate change” being removed from the home page alone.
- – October 21, 2017 – The families of four fallen American soldiers received rush-delivered UPS messages from Donald Trump after he stated in a phone interview that he had contacted “virtually all” Gold Star families.
- – October 22, 2017 – The EPA canceled speaking engagements for three agency scientists who had been scheduled to present findings on the effects of climate change. An agency spokesperson offered no explanation for the abrupt cancellation.
- – October 23, 2017 – When asked about gay rights while in the company of Mike Pence, Donald Trump joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”
- – October 23, 2017 – To repair Puerto Rico’s electric power infrastructure, the Trump administration awarded a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy—a small Montana-based company with only two employees. When confusion spread over why Whitefish had earned the lucrative contract, it was revealed that Whitefish Energy’s CEO, Andy Techmanski, was from the same hometown as Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Both Zinke and Techmanski confirmed they knew each other before the $300 million deal; Zinke’s son had even worked a summer job for Whitefish. When Techmanski was asked about how had gotten the multimillion-dollar federal contract, he replied, “We called each other.” According to the contract itself, the US government could not “audit or review the cost and profit elements” of Whitefish’s work—allowing Whitefish to spend the $300 million with virtually no oversight. Days later, the governor of Puerto Rico canceled the contract.
- – October 23, 2017 – Myeshia Johnson, the widow of a fallen US soldier, said Donald Trump forgot her husband’s name when calling to console her. On Twitter, Trump denied the Gold Star widow’s allegations, saying he had said her husband’s name without hesitation.
- – October 24, 2017 – Vice President Mike Pence helped Republicans in the Senate win a tie-breaker to defeat a new piece of legislation that would have made Wall Street more accountable to consumers. The law itself would have enabled citizens to form class-action lawsuits against large financial institutions. The rule had been in the works for five years, and was born out of the 2008 financial crash as a means of giving consumers more leverage in legal battles against massive banks. In response to the Senate’s vote, the Director of the Consumer Bureau said, “Tonight’s vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country. As a result, companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax remain free to break the law without fear of legal blowback from their customers.”
- – October 25, 2017 – As part of an ongoing online feud, Donald Trump tweeted at Senators Jeff Flake and Bob Corker: “The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!”
- – October 26, 2017 – After Donald Trump gave the go-ahead for the Keystone XL pipeline project, he pledged that he would require the pipeline be made of American steel. He backtracked on that promise, allowing foreign steel as a primary material for the pipeline. The steel industry has suffered under Trump’s leadership, and total imports of foreign steel rose 24 percent in his first year as president.
- – October 26, 2017 – Instead of declaring the opioid crisis a “national emergency,” Donald Trump announced the he would officially label the epidemic a “national public health emergency.” The distinction is that a “national emergency” would trigger access to FEMA’s disaster relief funds, amounting to millions of dollars in aid. Instead, Trump’s decision to designate the American opioid epidemic a “national public health emergency” allowed access to only $57,000 in emergency funding.
- – October 26, 2017 – The Government Accountability Office announced it would investigate Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission after concerns that they may be misusing federal funds. The commission had met only twice since its inception, and had not released any information on its work—including its methodology for uncovering voter fraud or measures it had taken to prevent fraud in the future. The claim that illegal voting swayed the 2016 popular vote had been a talking point for Trump, despite having been widely discredited.
- – October 29, 2017 – According to analysis by The Daily Beast, 50 percent of Donald Trump’s nominees for Senate-confirmed positions held significant conflicts of interest. The review of Trump’s 341 nominations also found 63 had lobbied actively in the industries they were to oversee, and 11 received direct payments from companies in the industries they were nominated to regulate.
- – October 30, 2017 – Before the election in 2016, a college professor contacted Donald Trump aid George Papadopoulos to tell him the Russians had harmful information on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos eventually pled guilty to lying when FBI investigators asked him about the conversation in October of 2017. At the time, Papadopoulos’s proven contact was the most direct evidence that the Trump campaign had knowledge of Russia’s ability and intention to help them sabotage Clinton’s campaign.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – NOVEMBER 2017
- – November 2, 2017 – Donald Trump’s nomination for chief scientist at the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, announced he would bow out of consideration for the position due to concerns about “political climate inside Washington.” Clovis had recently been swept up in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which had turned its attention to Clovis’s contacts with Russia during his time as a Trump campaign aid. Clovis had hired George Papadopoulos to the Trump campaign, and was likely implicated when Papadopoulos admitted he had spoken with Russian entities about the Clinton campaign. Outside of the investigation into his relationship with Russia, Clovis almost no scientific experience. Prior to joining the Trump campaign as co-chair, Clovis had taught Business Administration and policy at Morningside College in Iowa.
- – November 2, 2017 – In a statement during the NBC television program Meet the Press, Energy Secretary Rick Perry seemed to suggest that fossil fuels could lower rates of sexual assault. Perry asserted that Africa lacked access to electric light, and said, “But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will on those types of acts. [sic]”
- – November 2, 2017 – When asked about the many vacant leadership positions in the State Department, Donald Trump replied, “I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be. You’ve seen that, you’ve seen it strongly.” By November of his first year, Trump had yet to hire 75 percent of the State Department positions that require Senate approval.
- – November 7, 2017 – Syria signed the Paris Agreement, an international accord to globally address climate change. This left the United States as the only country in the world to not agree to the environmental pact, after Donald Trump had withdrawn earlier in the year.
- – November 8, 2017 – Donald Trump appointed Eric Trump’s brother-in-law to be the chief of staff for the Department of Energy.
- – November 8, 2017 – Donald Trump marked the one-year anniversary of his election to the presidency by tweeting about his victory. Below a photo of himself giving a thumbs-up, Trump wrote, “Congratulations to all of the “DEPLORABLES” and the millions of people who gave us a MASSIVE (304-227) Electoral College landslide victory!”
- – November 9, 2017 – The US Foreign Service lost an unprecedented number of diplomats during Trump’s first year in office. Three of the Foreign Service’s five career diplomats—the highest rank for a diplomat in the U.S.—left their post during Donald Trump’s first year. On the level below career diplomat, career ministers, 14 of the active 33 submitted resignations. Beyond the mass departures at their highest levels, the Foreign Service has also reported a steep drop-off in the number of young people joining the diplomatic ranks. In 2015, over 17,000 people applied to enter the foreign service; in 2017, that number had been cut in half.
- – November 9, 2017 – While in Asia, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Elaine Duke, the acting head of the Department Homeland Security, to pressure her into denying residency permits for tens of thousands of Hondurans living in the U.S. Duke refused Kelly’s request and granted the permits anyway, making the decision based on her interpretation of what was in line with the United States law. One DHS official familiar with the situation said, “She was angry. To get a call like that from Asia, after she’d already made the decision, was a slap in the face.”
- – November 11, 2017 – Despite escalating tensions with North Korea, Donald Trump tweeted, “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!”
- – November 15, 2017 – After a mass shooting in northern California, Donald Trump appeared to copy-and-paste an earlier tweet from a different attack and forgot to change the city. Though the shooting occurred in Rancho Tehama, California, Trump tweeted, “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.”
The Sutherland shooting had occurred one week earlier. In his condolence tweet for the Sutherland attack, Trump tweeted, “May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene.”
- – November 16, 2017 – After the public revelation of former senator Al Franken’s sexual assault scandal, wherein Franken was photographed groping a female soldier, Trump tweeted, “The Al Frankenstien [sic] picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …..” Trump has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct and assault.
- – November 16, 2017 – The Trump administration denied a large number of applications from prospective Dreamers on the grounds that they were “late.” At least 20 of these applications arrived in time and were ignored as they sat in the mailbox for processing. After reporting by The New York Times and Vox on the issue, the Trump administration announced they would reverse their verdict and consider these applications.
- – November 17, 2017 – The FCC announced it would repeal 42-year-old regulations that limited media mergers and prevented media conglomerates from growing too powerful. The repeal came at a convenient time for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a conservative pro-Trump media group that is already the largest broadcasting company in America. Sinclair had been trying to buy Tribune Media for some time, but, in order to do so under FCC law, would need to divest a sizable share of its local news channels. With the FCC’s update to Ownership regulations, Sinclair’s hurdles disappeared. As of August, Sinclair’s television broadcasts already reached 72 percent of American homes.
- – November 17, 2017 – The Keystone Pipeline, which is the sister project of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline approved by President Trump, spilled 210,000 gallons of oil near the border of South Dakota and North Dakota. The oil spill resurrected concerns about the environmental impact of the new XL pipeline, which had been the subject of fervent protest before Trump decided to greenlight the project.
- – November 18, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” In the first year of his presidency, Trump tweeted about Hillary Clinton 77 times, an average of once every 4.7 days.
- – November 19, 2017 – Donald Trump publicly feuded with LaVar Ball, who is the father of a UCLA basketball player, after Ball’s son was arrested for shoplifting in China during a team trip. Trump reportedly called Chinese President Xi Jin Ping and requested LaVar Ball’s son’s release. Ball disparaged Trump’s role in freeing his son, saying, “Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.” Trump retaliated over Twitter, writing, “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!”
- – November 20, 2017 – The Trump administration chose to end the Temporary Protected Status program for 59,000 Haitians, forcing them to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. After the Haitian earthquake in 2010, millions of Haitians lost their homes. A massive outbreak of Cholera endangered hundreds of thousands more during recovery from the hurricane. In 2011, the Obama administration deemed the situation in Haiti precarious enough to grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians staying in the U.S., allowing these Haitian citizens to live in the U.S. while conditions remained dangerous in their homeland. Obama renewed their TPS status multiple times during his time in office, through his final year when Hurricane Matthew decimated the island again. After Trump decided to end the Temporary Protected Status program in his first year, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wrote over Twitter, “I traveled to #Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and after hurricane Matthew in 2016. So I can personally attest that #Haiti is not prepared to take back nearly 60,000 #TPS recipients under these difficult and harsh conditions.”
- – November 20, 2017 – “Donald Trump took steps to close his charitable organization one year after he had promised he would. The organization explained that they could not shut earlier because they were technically still under investigation for “self-dealing”—a prohibited practice where the owner of a charitable organization secretly funnel money from the charity into their own bank account. Trump violated this rule in 2015.
- – November 24, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “Time magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo-shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” Time magazine eventually awarded Person of the Year to the women of the #MeToo movement.
- – November 27, 2017 – At a speech to Native American veterans of World War II, Donald Trump digressed to reference Elizabeth Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry, saying to the veterans, “I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who, they say, was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’ But you know what, I like you because you are special. You are special people.”
- – November 27, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted, “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”
- – November 29, 2017 – Donald Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the ultranationalist hate group Britain First. Fransen, who has a long history of posting Islamophobic content on social media, was found guilty in 2016 for aggravated harassment of a Muslim woman. In response to one of the videos, “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches,” the Dutch embassy in Washington tweeted, “@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent acts was born and raised in the Netherlands.” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May joined worldwide condemnation of Trump’s retweets, saying, “It is wrong for the president to have done this” and explaining Britain First spreads “hate-filled narratives to peddle lies and stoke tensions.”
- – November 29, 2017 – Donald Trump tweeted about the Republican tax bill, saying, “The only people who don’t like the Tax Cut Bill are the people that don’t understand it or the Obstructionist Democrats that know how really good it is and do not want the credit and success to go to the Republicans!” He had cited the tax bill as a way to “RESTORE AMERICAN PROSPERITY – and RECLAIM AMERICA’S DESTINY” in another tweet on the same day. The Senate’s tax bill will not benefit the majority of Americans and provides massive tax cuts to the wealthy.
- – November, 2017 – As of November 2017, Donald Trump was confirmed to have played golf 35 times. During Barack Obama’s presidency, Trump repeatedly chastised Obama for playing golf. At the same point in his presidency, Barack Obama had played 11 times.
- – November, 2017 – After CNN published a report on the Libyan slave trade in November, media outlets in Libya doubted the authenticity of CNN’s reporting, calling on CNN’s reputation for reporting “fake news.” This marked a growing global trend whereupon one of Donald Trump’s frequent catchphrases has caught on and been used as a defense against negative press coverage elsewhere in the world.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – DECEMBER 2017
- – December 4, 2017 – Following allegations that Roy Moore, a candidate for Alabama senator, had sexually abused teenage girls, Donald Trump endorsed Moore’s campaign for Senate.
- – December 6, 2017 – Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to move the US Embassy to the holy city. Admonitions immediately sprung up from around the international diplomatic community. The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said peace in the region was extremely precarious, adding, “We believe that any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided.”
- – December 13, 2017 – White House adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman left her position in Donald Trump’s administration, amid a swirl of speculation about the cause for her departure. She later said, “It has been very, very challenging being the only African American woman in the senior staff.”
- – December 13, 2017 – Donald Trump retaliated over Twitter when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke out on behalf of the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment. Trump tweeted: “Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”
- – December 14, 2017 – Led by Donald Trump appointee and former Verizon Counsel Ajit Pai, the FCC voted to repeal net-neutrality regulations.
- – December 14, 2017 – For all official documents, staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were instructed not to use the terms “transgender,” “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” or “science-based.”
- – December 20, 2017 – As of December 20, 2017, Donald Trump had tweeted about “fake news” or “fake media” 176 times—roughly once every two days for a year.
- – December 22, 2017 – Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The legislation, which costs $1.5 trillion, cut the corporate tax rate to its lowest point since 1939, temporarily lowered tax rates for individuals, and repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. While economists were split, often along party lines, about the effect of the tax cut, Goldman Sachs’ chief United States political economist, Alec Phillips, said, “We note the effect in 2020 and beyond looks to be minimal and could actually be slightly negative.”
- – December 23, 2017 – Trump renewed leases for copper and nickel mining next to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, a protected wilderness area. The wilderness contains over 100 species of birds and an active fishery, and, in a finding last year, the Department of the Interior concluded mining could cause “serious and irreplaceable harm.” Various parties with interests in the mining leases had been actively lobbying Trump administration officials. Shortly after Trump took office, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with lobbyists from Twin City Metals—a subsidiary of the Chilean mining company Antofagasta PLC. Andronico Luksic, a lead executive at Antofagasta PLC, also rents a home in Washington D.C. to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
- – December 27, 2017 – On December 27, 2017, Donald Trump stated that he had signed more legislation than any president since Truman. Almost the opposite is true, according to public record. Through his inaugural year, Trump has signed the fewest pieces of legislation for any president since Eisenhower.
- – December 28, 2017 – With an uptick in cold temperatures on the east coast during December 2017, Donald Trump tweeted the U.S. could “use some good old global warming.” Trump has repeatedly misunderstood the difference between “weather” and “climate.”
- – December 28, 2017 – Trump rolled back offshore drilling regulations put in place after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill which, in 2010, had killed 11 people and released millions of barrels of oil into the ocean. It’s estimated Trump’s decision to eliminate the regulations will save drilling companies $288 million over the next decade.
- – December 29, 2017 – In 2017, Donald Trump spent nearly one-third of his time in office at a property that bears his name or that his company owns.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JANUARY 2018
- – January 1, 2018 – Representative Devin Nunes sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicating that the House Intelligence Committee would be expanding its investigation to include the Justice Department’s handling of the Russia investigation. Nunes’s announcement included a request for access to the documents of the ongoing investigation. This statement arrived about one month before the release of the infamous Nunes Memo, and was likely a precursor to its release.
- – January 2, 2018 – Donald Trump tweeted, “North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
- – January 2, 2018 – After months of lambasting journalists and attacking the press as “fake news,” Donald Trump tweeted to announce “THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR,” where “subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media.”
- – January 4, 2018 – The Trump administration drafted a proposal to open 94% of previously protected American shorelines to offshore drilling. The plan, entitled the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program, would distribute the first drilling leases for the California coast in 49 years, while also adding nearly a billion acres of new drilling area in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard. Trump’s plan would be the single largest expansion of offshore drilling in American history. The Obama administration had spent about five years and hundreds of millions of dollars to lay down protections for the Arctic and Atlantic Seaboards in 2015 and 2016. Of the 22 governors representing coastal states effected by the new proposal, 15 of them disagreed with the president’s plan to open drilling (1/3 of these dissenting governors were from the Republican party). In an article on the threat the new drilling would pose to the environment and marine wildlife, the Director for Federal Affairs at the National Resources Defense Council called Trump’s proposal, “the most extreme fossil fuel assault on our nation’s public oceans—ever.”
- – January 4, 2018 – Donald Trump dissolved his commission on voter fraud in the 2016 election. The commission found no verifiable evidence of voter fraud.
- – January 8, 2018 – A study by Factbase’s Bill Frischling found that Donald Trump speaks at a fourth-grade level. After evaluating Trump’s speech patterns and vocabulary on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale, Factbase determined Trump communicates at the lowest level of any president since Herbert Hoover. (Herbert Hoover actually spoke at an eleventh-grade level; Factbase’s study didn’t analyze any president from before 1929.) The fourth-grade competency discovered by Frischling resonated with another review nearly three years earlier conducted by the Boston Globe. The Globe had analyzed the verbal fluency of all presidential candidates based on their statements during presidential debates. Their review determined Trump’s language was the least sophisticated of all 19 candidates—including both Democrats and Republicans. Mirroring the results of the Factbase study in 2018, Trump’s verbal fluency during 2015 presidential debates equaled that of a fourth grader.
- – January 11, 2018 – According to an account of an immigration meeting with members of Congress, Donald Trump allegedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and nations in Africa as “shithole countries.” In regard to the 60,000 Haitian immigrants sheltered in America following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Trump purportedly said, “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” Trump followed this saying that the U.S. should admit more people from places like Norway, and that he would accept more Asian immigrants because he believed them to be beneficial to the economy.
- – January 14, 2018 – Taylor Weyeneth, a 24 year-old whose only professional experience after college was as a staffer for the Trump campaign, was assigned the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The agency helps lead anti-drug campaigns for the federal government, which include the herculean task of addressing the American opioid epidemic. After the chief of staff for the ONDCP left the agency, the director of the agency announced in a memo that the chief of staff’s duties would fall to Wyeneth and himself.
- – January 16, 2018 – The Daily Stormer, a virulent white supremacist website, wrote that they found Trump’s policies “encouraging and refreshing,” and “Trump is more or less on the same page as us with regard to race and immigration.”
- – January 17, 2018 – In January of 2018, the adult film actress Stormy Daniels announced that she had an affair with Donald Trump in July of 2006 after a celebrity golf tournament. Just four months before Trump’s infidelity with the porn star, President Trump’s wife Melania had given birth to Barron Trump. Daniels said she and Trump met several times after their first encounter. Then, a few weeks before the 2016 election, Donald Trump’s lawyer paid Daniels a sum of $130,000 to keep her affair with Trump from public knowledge.
- – January 18, 2018 – Donald Trump appointee Carl Higbie, Chief of External Affairs at the Corporation for National and Community Service, resigned after racist, sexist, anti-Muslim, and anti-LGBT comments he made on the radio surfaced due to reporting from CNN’s KFile. Higbie had said, “I’m not afraid of [Muslim people]. I don’t like them. Big difference,” and, “the black race” had “lax” morals.
- – January 18, 2018 – The Department of Health and Human Service opened the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which had the stated goal of protecting doctors who cited religious objections against providing their patients with medical care.
- – January 19, 2018 – Donald Trump’s administration’s turnover rate was setting records. In Trump’s first year in office, 34 percent of high-level White House aides either resigned, were fired, or moved into different positions, according to a report from the Brookings Institution.
- – January 20, 2018 – As of January 20, 2018, Donald Trump had spent 94 days as president at one of his golf properties.
- – January 25, 2018 – The New York Times reported that Donald Trump had ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller in June 2017. White House counsel Donald McGahn refused to carry out Trump’s order, threatening to step down if the president followed through on it. McGahn disagreed with Trump’s reasoning and worried that firing Mueller would suggest the White House was trying to derail the Russia investigation. After hearing McGahn’s threat to leave, Trump backed off.
- – January 29, 2018 – White Supremacist propaganda on college campuses tripled in 2017, according to research conducted by the Anti-Defamation League. These instances varied from hanging banners adorned with swastikas to a full-fledged private speaking event—held on the campus of UC San Diego—called “A Brighter Future” which distributed pamphlets regarding “The Color of Crime” and “Protecting Our Heritage.”
- – January 29, 2018 – Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee voted to disclose Representative Devin Nunes’s memo on the purported surveillance of Donald Trump’s campaign by the FBI and Department of Justice. Donald Trump Jr. and members of the Trump administration supported the Committee’s decision, while others suggested this was an attempt to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into the collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia (See entry 136 for more on the relationship between Nunes and Trump).
- – January/February 2018 – Responding to the pending release of the Republican-generated Nunes memo and its alleged revelations about surveillance of the Donald Trump campaign by the FBI, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “I think the people at the FBI, at the DOJ need to cleanse their own house if there are problems in their own house,” claiming that, “there’s a very legitimate issue here as to whether or not an American’s civil liberties were violated in the FISA process. Members of the Trump administration like Donald Trump Jr. also spoke to the memo’s allegations of FBI wrongdoing, later calling its release “sweet revenge” for the Trump family.
- – January 30, 2018 – Donald Trump’s appointee for Director of the CDC, Brenda Fitzgerald, was found to have personally profited from investments in the tobacco industry.
- – January 31, 2018 – Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address received public praise from known white supremacists like David Duke and Richard Spencer. Following the speech, Spencer tweeted, “Trump said that he wants to maintain the “nuclear family” by ending chain migration. Basically, he’s implying the superiority of the Prostestent [sic] “wife and kids” over the South American and African extended family. Interesting rhetoric.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – FEBRUARY 2018
- – February 2, 2018 – Donald Trump declassified and publicly released the Nunes memo, despite the FBI’s “grave concerns” over its contents. Members of Congress argued this was an effort on behalf of Trump to undermine the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
- – February 3, 2018 – Referring to the Nunes memo, Donald Trump tweeted, “This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their [sic] was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!” Republican and Democratic lawmakers disagreed.
- – February 5, 2018 – During a speech at a factory in Ohio, Trump wondered aloud whether Democrats had committed treason against the United States for withholding their applause during his State of the Union Address. “Can we call that treason? Why not? I mean, they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
- – February 6, 2018 – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt suggested climate change could be beneficial for humans.
- – February 6, 2018 – In response to Hurricane Maria, the Trump administration awarded a $156 million contract to Tribute Contracting LLC to provide 18.5 million emergency meals to victims of the hurricane. By the deadline, just 50,000 meals had been delivered to Puerto Rico.
- – February 8, 2018 – White House staff secretary Rob Porter was forced to resign amid credible allegations of domestic abuse. Both White House Counsel Donald McGahn and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly were reported to have known about the allegations for months.
- – February 8, 2018 – The Department of Homeland Security drafted rule changes to immigration statutes, allowing the DHS to review whether applicants for U.S. immigration may need support from federal benefits. These statutes protect new arrivals to the country that may need non-cash benefits like Head Start, which gives low-income children access to early education. These non-discrimination rules have been in place for nearly 20 years.
- – February 9, 2018 – Trump renewed a law that he himself had repealed one year earlier. In March of 2017, during a mad-dash to repeal as much Obama legislation as possible with the Congressional Review Act, the Trump administration eliminated a rule which allowed employers to randomly drug-test workers who received unemployment insurance. In 2018, almost exactly one year after the initial repeal, Trump renewed the law with even broader powers for employers to randomly drug-test their employees.
- – February 9, 2018 – The U.S. Government shut down for five hours amid disagreements on a spending bill that was proposed by Senate Republicans and backed by Donald Trump. The shutdown was so unexpected that the Department of Management and Budget didn’t start warning agencies to prepare for it until hours before it happened. This was the second time in two weeks that the government had shut down.
- – February 10, 2018 – Rachel L. Brand resigned from the Justice Department. Brand’s position was one step behind Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man overseeing Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Brand’s replacement—who may be appointed to the position for up to 210 days by Donald Trump (without direct Senate confirmation)—will take charge of the Russia investigation if Rod Rosenstein leaves his position.
- – February 12, 2018 – The Department of Education announced it would no longer investigate claims of discrimination from transgender students regarding bathrooms in schools.
- – February 12, 2018 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions called sheriffs a critical part of “Anglo-American heritage.” While speaking to the National Sheriff’s Association, Sessions reaffirmed his commitment to helping them remain strong. “We must never erode this historic office,” Sessions said, “I know this, you know this. We want to be partners, we don’t want to be bosses. We want to strengthen you and help you be more effective in your work.”
- – February 12, 2018 – In an interview for a Las Vegas local TV station, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt insinuated that global warming might benefit humanity. “Is it an existential threat? Is it something that is unsustainable, or what kind of effect or harm is this going to have? I mean, we know that humans have most flourished during times of what? Warming trends.” This runs contrary to a library’s worth of reports explaining the dangers of climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program said in their National Climate Assessment, “climate change presents a global public health problem, with serious health impacts predicted to manifest in varying ways in different parts of the world.”
- – February 18, 2018 – In a tweet after the massacre in Parkland, Florida, President Trump said the FBI couldn’t capture the school shooter because they were “spending too much time” on the Russia Investigation. The statement was widely criticized, by everyone from Republican senators to survivors of the massacre. One Parkland student tweeted, “17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!!”
- – February 21, 2018 – The Southern Poverty Law Center tracked a 4 percent increase in the number of hate groups during 2017. These groups represent a diverse set of ideologies, from anti-Muslim white supremacists to black nationalist organizations with hateful views toward LGBT and Jewish communities. The largest growth during Trump’s first year were in neo-Nazi circles; 22 new neo-Nazi chapters assembled across the nation during 2017.
- – February 22, 2018 – A Trump-appointed federal judge decided not to recuse himself from a case involving Fusion GPS, the research firm responsible for the controversial Trump dossier. With a line of reasoning that could have far-reaching effects for other Trump appointees, U.S. District Court Trevor McFadden explained his decision to hear the case: “Fusion’s argument that I should look beyond the traditional grounds of disqualification to consider President Trump’s alleged political interests proves too much,” McFadden wrote, “such an argument would lead to the disqualification of numerous judges appointed by the sitting president on a wide range of cases.” As of February 27, 2018, Trump has appointed 20 federal judges, with nominations pending for another 76.
- – February 23, 2018 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt justified his stance on coal by referencing the Bible. In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, he said, “The Biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind.”
- – February 27, 2018 – After special counsel Robert Mueller filed 24 charges of tax and bank fraud against him, Richard Gates, the former deputy chairman of Trump’s campaign, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy against the United States and one count of making a false statement to investigators.
- – February 27, 2018 – During a series of raids, Immigration officials arrested 150 people around California’s Bay Area. The arrests come just two days after Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf publicly warned her residents that the raids were imminent. “My statement on Saturday was meant to give all residents time to learn their rights and know their legal options,” said Schaaf, “It was my intention that one mother, or one father, would use the information to help keep their family together.” ICE leaders criticized Schaaf’s decision to alert her community to the raids. The conflict between federal immigration forces and local governments underscored an ongoing conflict between the Trump administration and sanctuary cities.
- – February 27, 2018 – The Department of Housing and Urban Development planned to spend $31,000 on a dining set for Ben Carson’s office, plus another $165,000 for lounge furniture in their Washington office. The spending came after Donald Trump cut HUD’s annual funding by $6.8 billion.
- – February 28, 2018 – Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s communications director and one of his longest-serving aides, resigned the day after she gave hours of testimony to Congress, and had been implicated in the Rob Porter scandal. She was reportedly dating Porter.
- – February 28, 2018 – One day after resigning from the White House, former communications director Hope Hicks testified for nine hours in a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee. While she insisted in her testimony that she knew nothing about collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, Hicks admitted to telling white lies on behalf of the president.
- – February 28, 2018 – Months after series of meetings held in the White House between Jared Kushner and the CEO of Apollo Global Management, a massive wealth management fund, Apollo lent Kushner Companies $184 million dollars to refinance their mortgage on a Chicago skyscraper. Earlier last year, Kushner’s firm received an even larger loan of $325 million from Citigroup shortly after Kushner met the CEO of Citigroup at the White House.
- – February 28, 2018 – An unidentified entity forged an official nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of Donald Trump. This wasn’t the first time such a fraud happened in Trump’s favor. In 2017, an unknown party submitted another forged nomination for the US president. A variety of different people qualify as nominators—from heads of state to political policy academics to previous prize winners—but when the nominator listed on Trump’s forms was contacted about the nomination, they said they had no knowledge of the submission. The police were immediately alerted to the forgeries.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MARCH 2018
- – March 1, 2018 – The FBI announced it was investigating a Russian oligarch, Alexander Torshin, for funneling money through the National Rifle Association to Donald Trump’s campaign. Torshin, who is the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, carries close interpersonal ties to the Kremlin.
- – March 2, 2018 – William G. Otis, Donald Trump’s appointee for the Sentencing Commission, which sets policy for punishing federal prisoners, has favored abolishing the agency. Otis has also written a variety of racially charged statements on subjects ranging from violence to family structure. In one post on the legal blog “Crime and Consequences,” Trump’s new pick for the commission wrote, “When Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones said at a University of Pennsylvania Law School talk that blacks and Hispanics are more violent than whites, a consortium of civil rights organizations filed a complaint. The complaint calls for stern discipline, on the grounds that the remarks were ‘discriminatory and biased.’ …So far as I have been able to discover, it makes no mention of the fact that they’re true.”
- – March 3, 2018 – Ignoring advice from his economic advisors, Donald Trump chose to create steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. White House officials said Trump’s decision, which could result in a trade war, was spur-of-the-moment—made without a strategy to alert trade partners, without a legislative plan submitted to Congress, and without any scheduled remarks beyond an email from the Commerce department drafted late at night on February 28th.
- – March 3, 2018 – After Chinese President Xi Jinping altered the Chinese constitution to abolish his term limits—allowing him to retain power indefinitely—Donald Trump was recorded in a closed-door meeting as he said, “[Xi’s] now president for life. President for life… I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”
- – March 4, 2018 – With midterm elections approaching, the State Department was issued $120 million to combat election meddling from Russia; as of March 2018, they hadn’t spent any of it.
- – March 5, 2018 – In a move that may violate federal law, the Trump Organization ordered new tee markers bearing the official presidential seal for one of their international golf courses. The law in question states the presidential seal, “or any facsimile thereof” may not be used for any commercial purpose.
- – As of March 2018 – Donald Trump and Republicans in the House and the Senate used the Congressional Review Act with an unprecedented frequency. The act allowed the House to remove any regulation within 60 days of its enactment, and has been the administration’s weapon of choice in rolling back Obama-era regulations. Before Trump, The Congressional Review Act had been used only one time; since Trump took office it has been exercised 15 times, with dozens more rules proposed for removal.
- – March 5, 2018 – The Trump administration announced it would allow hunters to import sport-hunted African elephant trophies on an “application-by-application” basis. The controversial hunting practice had been outlawed during the Obama administration. The U.S. Forest and Wildlife Service justified the decision by saying that findings on endangered species were “no longer effective for making individual permit determinations for imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies.” The findings referenced as “no longer effective” were published just the year before.
- – March 6, 2018 – The US Office Special Counsel announced Kellyanne Conway twice violated the Hatch Act, a regulation which prohibits federal employees from publicly endorsing or criticizing candidates running for high-level positions. Conway had been a vocal advocate for Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race last year, speaking on Moore’s behalf during two Fox News interviews last year.
- – March 6, 2018 – Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn resigned from the Trump Administration. Though no explicit reason was given for Cohn’s departure, Trump had ignored Cohn’s long-standing advice against raising steel and aluminum tariffs earlier in the week, causing many to speculate this was the impetus for Cohn’s exit.
- – March 7, 2018 – Trump’s chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Tony Tooke, resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct. PBS had released conversations with 34 women from the Forest Service discussing a culture of discrimination and sexual harassment. After the documentary aired, it appeared Tooke was among those accused of sexual misconduct. The chief resigned from his post in an email to the agency. Tooke’s appointment occurred in August 2017, at the direction of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
- – March 7, 2018 – Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto without the current US Ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson. Kushner had almost no experience in international diplomacy, while Jacobson served the US Government for 31 years as one of the nation’s leading experts on Latin America. Columbia University’s Christopher Sabatini told the New York Times, “The sending of the president’s son-in-law — someone with no experience in Mexican-U.S. relations — is another example of the de-professionalization and personalization of diplomacy that will hurt U.S. interests and leverage in the region.”
- – March 7, 2018 – During questioning, former Communications Director Hope Hicks revealed that two of her email accounts had been hacked, and she still could not access either account. One of the hacked email addresses served as her primary contact while campaigning for Trump, and the other was a personal address. Both the identity of the hackers and the sensitivity of the compromised information remained unknown.
- – March 8, 2018 – The AP reported that one-third of the 59 people appointed to the EPA by President Trump have direct ties to fossil fuel companies, either as registered lobbyists or as lawyers for chemical manufacturers.
- – March 8, 2018 – The Interior Department planned to spend $139,000 on six doors for Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office.
- – March 9, 2018 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wanted to hold a series of public debates on whether or not climate change was real. Chief of Staff John Kelly deemed the debates unwise and told Pruitt to drop the idea, according to White House officials. Those in the meeting with Kelly and Pruitt said Kelly considered the debates a distraction from the Trump administration’s rollbacks of Obama-era legislation on climate change.
- – March 10, 2018 – Donald Trump advocated for the execution of drug dealers as a means of addressing America’s drug problem. The previous year, Trump was complimentary of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte—going so far as to invite him to the White House—after Duterte had been condemned by human rights groups for his extrajudicial killing of Filipino drug dealers.
- – March 10, 2018 – Trump announced the US military would stage a military parade in Washington D.C. for veterans day in November 2018. After a trip to Paris for Bastille Day, which included a French military parade, Trump returned to the U.S. inspired to hold one himself. Criticism of the idea came from both sides of the aisle. At the very least, it was considered a waste of resources, as the parade will likely cost between $10 and $30 million.
- – March 12, 2018 – House Republicans declared the Mueller investigation had failed to find any collusion between Donald Trump and the Russian. The statement, released by the House Intelligence Committee, was not reviewed by any of the Democrats on the committee before its publication. Rep. Adam Schiff, one of the ranking Democrats on the committee, tweeted “BREAKING: GOP just shut down House Intel investigation, leaving questions unanswered, leads unexplored, countless witnesses uncalled, subpoenas unissued. If Russians have leverage over the President, GOP has decided that it would rather not know. The minority’s work continues:”
- – March 12, 2018 – Department of Education head Betsy DeVos was interviewed on 60 Minutes, and admitted she hadn’t visited any underperforming schools and did not know basic public school statistics in her home state of Michigan.
- – March 13, 2018 – Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Trump had clashed with Tillerson in the past on everything from the Iran nuclear deal to issues of “personal chemistry.” In October it was rumored that Tillerson had called Trump a “moron” to senior staff members. To replace Tillerson, Trump chose CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who the president described as having “a very similar thought process.”
- – March 20, 2018 – A citizen watchdog group named Public Citizen filed ethics complaints regarding significant conflicts of interest for 36 appointees in the Trump administration. These conflicts of interest in the administration violated Trump’s own rules for ethical standards. In Executive Order 13770, Trump declared all federal appointees should pledge the following: “If I was a registered lobbyist within the 2 years before the date of my appointment, in addition to abiding by the limitations of paragraph 6, I will not for a period of 2 years after the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter on which I lobbied within the 2 years before the date of my appointment or participate in the specific issue area in which that particular matter falls.” The Public Citizen attached a comprehensive report to each complaint which provided the full list of 36 individuals who were suspected to have violated Executive Order 13770. (
- – March 22, 2018 – Donald Trump may have stoked a trade war with China by imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion worth of Chinese goods. While China’s theft of American intellectual property has long struck economists as a serious problem in the economic relationship between the two world powers, many economists viewed Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese goods as a poor strategy for addressing the issue. Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said “Any good strategy has to include getting other countries on your side. If it’s the United States versus China, we’re similar sized economies. If it’s the United States and the world versus China, that’s not something China can win.”
- – March 22, 2018 – Trump fired national security adviser General H.R. McMaster, replacing him with former Fox News pundit John Bolton. McMaster and Trump had clashed frequently, with McMaster telling Secretary of Defense James Mattis, “He treats me like a three-star rather than a coequal” (McMaster is a four-star Marine Corps general). McMaster’s replacement, John Bolton, was in Trump’s original consideration for the position, but lost the spot because the president didn’t like his mustache. The new hire would likely affect U.S. strategy for the upcoming diplomatic talks between the United States and North Korea, as Bolton has long expressed hawkish views on North Korea. As recently as February 28, 2018, Bolton wrote about the futility of conversation with North Korea, favoring pre-emptive strike as the only viable option for the United States.
- – March 25, 2018 – Ever since Trump was $1.6 billion in funding for his proposed border wall, the president has privately argued for the construction funding to come from military budget. He then tweeted, “Because the $700 & $716 Billion gotten to rebuild our military, many jobs are created and our military is again rich. Building a great border wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about national defense. Build WALL through M!”
- – March 26, 2018 – The Census Bureau announced it would include a question regarding citizenship status on the 2020 U.S. Census. The question hasn’t been on the census since 1950. Critics of the move explained the question would discourage undocumented immigrants from responding to the census, and thereby skew the population data significantly. The information gathered in the census has a bearing on everything from government policy to funding to boundaries for voting districts. Almost immediately, the State of California sued the Trump administration over the constitutionality of the question. The Constitution states a census, or “actual enumeration,” must take place every 10 years, and the enumeration must include “the number of free persons.” The State of California alleged this would include citizens and non-citizens alike.
- – March 26, 2018 – Donald Trump kept in touch with Rob Porter after Porter left the White House amid credible allegations against him of domestic abuse from two of his ex-wives. In the final few weeks of March, Trump’s phone calls with Porter became increasingly frequent, with some speculating Trump would bring Porter back to the White House soon. (March 25, 2018)
- – March 28, 2018 – The EPA sent an internal memo to staff describing a list of “approved talking points” downplaying the certainty of climate change. These included statements like, “While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain in our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – APRIL 2018
- – April 2, 2018 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt rented a condo from a lobbying firm called William & Jensen, paying $50 per day for the space (well below market rate according to the New York Times). William & Jensen represented the Enbridge pipeline project, which had been awaiting approval from the EPA confirming the agency had no environmental objections. In March of 2017, Enbridge received the approval from Pruitt’s agency.
- – April 3, 2018 – Alex van der Zwaan plead guilty to charges filed by Robert Mueller that accused van der Zwaan of lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the Trump campaign and a Russian intelligence operative named Konstantin Kilimnik Van der Zwaan was the first individual sentenced in Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation, receiving a 30-day sentence and a $20,000 fine.
- – April 4, 2018 – Trump announced he would deploy the National Guard to the southern border of the United States. Trump said of the decision, “We’re going to be guarding our border with our military. That’s a big step.” Trump was not the first president to send National Guard troops to the border; both George W. Bush and Barack Obama also sent the National Guard to support border patrol.
- – April 6, 2018 – Sinclair broadcasters across the country read an identical script warning of biased and misleading news. A video by Deadspin stitched together the segments from dozens of local anchors, so they all said in chorus, “We’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country […] this is extremely dangerous for our democracy.” After the internet uproar over the hypocrisy evident in the video, Trump tweeted a defense of Sinclair, saying, “So funny to watch the Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased. Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more fake NBC, which is a total joke.” Sinclair was among the largest media organizations in America; if its purchase of Tribune Media gained approval from the FCC, Sinclair would broadcast local news for 72% of American households.
- – April 7, 2018 – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had a 20 person security detail, costing more than $3 million dollars with travel expenses included. Pruitt’s security escort was three times larger than the previous EPA Administrator under Obama. Unlike his predecessor, Pruitt also insisted on traveling first class with his detail, even going so far as to bring them on a family vacation to Disneyland.
- – April 9, 2018 – The FBI raided Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s office in New York City. While the likely impetus for the raid was an ongoing legal battle with adult film star Stormy Daniels, the raid was likely approved by Rod Rosenstein—who was also overseeing the Robert Mueller investigation. Trump was furious after the raid, saying, “It’s an attack on our country in a true sense.” For a while after the raid, rumors swirled that Trump was considering the dismissal of both Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein.
- – April 12, 2018 – Former FBI Director James Comey published a book on his time in the Trump administration, calling Trump “unethical” and “untethered to the truth and institutional values.” In response to Comey’s publication, Trump tweeted that Comey was “a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” in addition to “weak” and an “untruthful slime ball.”
- – April 18, 2018 – Donald Trump ended funding for NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, used to measure carbon dioxide and methane and verify the national emission cuts agreed to in the Paris climate accords.
- – April 18, 2018 – Donald Trump tweeted, “There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!” Though it was unclear what “breeding concept” referred to, the animalistic connotation of breeding, CNN commented, was clear: “Taken literally, the most likely explanation is that he’s talking about sanctuary cities as places where undocumented immigrants breed.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MAY 2018
- – May 8, 2018 – Donald Trump announced the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the 2015 agreement reached by seven countries after more than two years of negotiations. The deal granted billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for Iran’s agreement not to develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. The United States reimposed pre-deal sanctions on Iran.
- – May 16, 2018 – The Senate judiciary committee released 2,500 pages of testimony with Donald Trump Jr. and top aides who met with Russian delegates at Trump Tower in 2016, providing evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia) stated, “Our staff concluded that the … conclusions were accurate and on point. The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.”
- – May 25, 2018 – In three executive orders, Donald Trump made federal employees easier to fire while cutting back on union time. “President Trump’s executive orders do nothing to help federal workers do their jobs better. In fact, they do the opposite by depriving workers of their rights to address and resolve workplace issues such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers, improving workplace health and safety, enforcing reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities, and so much more,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JUNE 2018
- – June 9, 2018 – Donald Trump left the 44th G7 summit early and withdrew the United States’ endorsement of a joint communique. In the communique, Canada, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Japan and Germany magreed on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade” and the importance of fighting protectionism. Trump tweeted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was, “Very dishonest & meek.”
- – June 10, 2018 – Politico reported that Donald Trump routinely tore up papers he received, resulting in government officials taping them together for archiving to ensure that Trump did not violate the Presidential Records Act, which states the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails, and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records.
- – June 15, 2018 – Following the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy announced in April 2018, The Department of Homeland Security stated that between April 19 to May 31, 2018, at the Mexico–United States border, there were 1,995 migrant children separated from 1,940 adults being held for criminal prosecution for an illegal border crossing. Trump blamed the Democrats, tweeting, “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JULY 2018
- – July 5, 2018 – The Trump administration imposed a first round of tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products following failed negotiations in Beijing in May. China retaliated with similar tariffs on American goods. China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that the United States had “launched the biggest trade war in economic history so far.”
- – July 5, 2018 – Donald Trump appointed Andrew Wheeler as Deputy Administrator of the EPA, a lobbyist and critic of nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions who’s supported the continued use of fossil fuels. In March 2018, Wheeler commented to CNN that the EPA is “brainwashing our kids.”
- – July 15, 2018 – At a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Donald Trump sided with Putin over American intelligence. When asked about Russian collusion in the 2016 election, Trump said, “They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
- – July 21, 2018 – Echoing earlier threats to North Korea, Donald Trump tweeted a threat to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS.” The tweets followed Trump’s announcement in May that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and that the US would impose sanctions on all exporters of Iranian oil.
- – July 24, 2018 – Reversing his statements on Russia meddling in US elections, Donald Trump tweeted that Russia would help Democrats win in the 2018 midterm elections. “I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election,” Trump wrote. “Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.”
- – July 29, 2018 – Donald Trump raised the possibility of a government shutdown over the Wall, tweeting, “I would be willing to “shut down” government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – AUGUST 2018
- – August 13, 2018 – With the approaching publication of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s Unhinged, an account of working in the White House, Donald Trump went on a sexist, racist rant on Twitter, calling Omarosa “a dog” and “a crazed crying lowlife,” and claimed that she “begged [Trump] for a job, tears in her eyes.” Manigault Newman, a former Apprentice contestant and Trump aide who announced her resignation in December 2017 citing concerns with the administration, suggests in Unhinged that there are recordings of Trump using the N-word.
- – August 21, 2018 – The Trump administration announced plans to cut back Obama’s coal emissions standards for coal-fired power plants, calling them “overly prescriptive and burdensome.” The Trump plan increased the state authority to make decisions on coal emission standards, saying it “empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation.”
- – August 21, 2018 – Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account. The trial focused on the millions of dollars Manafort made advising a political party in Ukraine that backed pro-Russia policies and his “sumptuous lifestyle, including his $15,000 ostrich-skin jacket and $1,500 dress shirts, and the meticulously landscaped flower bed in the shape of a giant “M” at his 10-bedroom Hamptons estate in New York.”
- – August 21, 2018 – On the same day Manafort was convicted, Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, plead guilty in a federal court in New York to, among other charges, campaign finance violations for paying hush money to women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. The following day, Trump tweeted, “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!”
- – August 23, 2018 – The US and China implemented a second round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of imports on both sides. China filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization about the tariffs.
- – August 27, 2018 – In response to the death of Senator John McCain, Donald Trump issued no public statement and declined to answer questions about McCain, a veteran who spent 31 years in the Senate. Flags at the White House were lowered on Saturday night after McCain’s death and raised again Sunday, the bare minimum required by law. Trump issued a tweet “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
- – August 28, 2018 – Donald Trump accused Google of being biased against conservatives and hiding information. He tweeted, “Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”
- – August 30, 2018 – Despite his boasts of the country’s economic strength, Donald Trump announced the government was canceling an automatic 2.1 percent pay increase for federal workers scheduled for Jan. 1, citing budget constraints. Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) stated, “It is unacceptable that after last year signing a Republican tax bill that gave away tens of billions in corporate tax cuts and added more than $1 trillion to the national debt, President Trump cites the need for government belt-tightening in his decision to slash a planned pay increase.”
- – August 30, 2018 – During a speech in Evansville, Indiana, Donald Trump alleged that TV cameras were faking technical difficulties to deny him coverage. Trump said, “But when I start screaming ‘fake news,’ you see those red lights go off for a little while. You know, excuse me, we have technical difficulties, OK, then they go back.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – SEPTEMBER 2018
- – September 3, 2018 – Politico reported that health providers are receiving panicked phone calls from documented and undocumented immigrant families demanding to be dropped from the WIC program after news reports that the White House is planning to deny legal status to immigrants who’ve used public benefits. Agencies in 18 states reported drops of up to 20 percent in enrollment.
- – September 5, 2018 – An anonymous op-ed from a White House insider published in the New York Times described the chaos in the Oval Office and the resistance working within it to contain a “impetuous, adversarial, petty, and ineffective” president. “Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”
- – September 11, 2018 – Bob Woodward published Fear, giving an inside view of the instability of Trump’s White House. Woodward wrote, “The reality was that the United States in 2017 was tethered to the words and actions of an emotionally overwrought, mercurial and unpredictable leader. Members of his staff had joined to purposefully block some of what they believed were the president’s most dangerous impulses. It was a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful country in the world.”
- – September 12, 2018 – The existence of a letter from a constituent to Senator Dianne Feinstein leaked to The Intercept allegedly detailing sexual misconduct of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Dianne Feinstein confirmed the existence of the letter, but said she was honoring the anonymity of its author and handed the case to the FBI. California psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would come forward later that week identifying herself as the author of the letter, detailing how Kavanaugh had assaulted her at a party when they were in high school. In a statement sent by The White House, Kavanaugh responded, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”
- – September 19, 2018 – In an interview with The Hill, Donald Trump criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russian investigation. “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” Trump said. He’d previously called Sessions “weak” and “disloyal.”
- – September 23, 2018 – The US-China Trade War escalated to a third list of tariffs, encompassing a total of $250 billion worth of Chinese goods with virtually all Chinese goods coming to the U.S. levied with a 10% import tariff. The import tariff will rise to 25% at the beginning of 2019.
- – September 25, 2018 – Donald Trump addressed the United Nations address and was laughed at after stating, “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” As the audience laughed, Trump added, “So true.” Trump later claimed that that “They weren’t laughing at me, they were laughing with me.”
- – September 26, 2018 – In a news conference, Trump responded defensively to the allegations of sexual misconduct raised against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. “Look, if we brought George Washington here… the Democrats would vote against him, just so you understand,” the president said. “Didn’t he have a couple of things in his past? George Washington would be voted against 100 percent by Schumer and the con artists.” Trump also cited the women who have raised sexual misconduct allegations against him: “I was accused by four or five women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me.”
- – September 28, 2018 – In a 500-page environmental impact statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Trump administration announced that on its current course, the planet will warm seven degrees by 2100, but that there is nothing that can be done to avert it. The document outlined why freezing fuel-efficiency rules for cars and light trucks for six years will do little to stop a global temperature rise.
- – September 28, 2018 – A record number of migrant children — 13,000 — are reported to be held in a West Texas tent city without access to legal services or education. “The average length of time that migrant children spend in custody has nearly doubled [since last year], from 34 days to 59,” the New York Times reported.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – October 2018
- – October 2, 2018 – At a rally in Mississippi, Donald Trump mocked the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and extended his sympathies to Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Impersonating Dr. Ford’s testimony, Trump said, “What neighborhood was it? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it — I don’t know. But I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember.” He added, “And a man’s life is shattered.”
- – October 2, 2018 – A special tax fraud investigation in the New York Times, based on tax returns and financial records, revealed that Donald Trump received the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s real estate empire in tax schemes dating back to his childhood. The findings countered Trump’s narrative of how he built his multi-billion dollar empire through his own hardwork and deal-making.
- – October 6, 2018 – The Senate voted 50 to 48 to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual assault.
- – October 9, 2018 – As protestors rallied against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump continued to push a conspiracy theory that leftist protestors are paid by wealthy Democrats. “The paid D.C. protesters are now ready to REALLY protest because they haven’t gotten their checks — in other words, they weren’t paid! Screamers in Congress, and outside, were far too obvious — less professional than anticipated by those paying (or not paying) the bills!” Trump tweeted. “The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers”
- – October 15, 2018 – In an interview with Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes, Donald Trump defended mocking Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. Pressed by Stahl on whether he thought he had treated Dr. Ford with respect, Trump said, “It doesn’t matter — we won.”
- – October 16, 2018 – The Trump administration showed support for Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who had been linked to the disappearance and possible murder of a journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press: “Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent.” That same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the Saudi capital of Riyadh smiling and shaking hands with the crown prince.
- – October 16, 2018 – After a federal judge threw out Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against him, Trump tweeted, “’Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas. She will confirm the letter she signed! She knows nothing about me, a total con!”
- – October 18, 2018 – Donald Trump threatened to close the US-Mexico border by military force as a caravan of more than 3,000 migrants from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras traveled north. Trump tweeted, “In addition to stopping all payments to these countries, which seem to have almost no control over their population, I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught — and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
- – October 19, 2018 – At a campaign rally in Missoula, Montana, Donald Trump praised Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte, who plead guilty to assault for body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. To cheers from the crowd, Trump said, “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my kind of guy.”
- – October 21, 2018 – The Trump administration revealed its attempt to define gender as a binary that is determined at birth on the basis of genitalia, reversing recognition of over 1.4 Americans who identify as transgender. “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” a memo from the Department of Health and Human Services read. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
- – October 29, 2018 – The United States Government planned to send 5200 troops to the US-Mexico border to guard against what Trump called, “an invasion of our country” by a caravan of 3500 Central American migrants, many of whom were children.
- – October 30, 2018 – Days before the midterm elections, Trump stated that he would sign an executive order to end birthright citzenship in the United States.
- – October 31, 2018 – Donald Trump tweeted a racist political ad depicting an undocumented immigrant who had been convicted of murdering two police officers. The ad featured the tagline, “Democrats let him into our country. Democrats let him stay.” Luis Bracamontes, the convicted man, had a history of crime and was originlly released by a sheriff’s department that was headed by Republican Joe Arpaio. He later illegally re-entered the United States during the presidency of George W. Bush.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – NOVEMBER 2018
- – November 6, 2018 – A class-action lawsuit challenged the government’s detentions of migrants, including children kept in cages. Under Trump, more migrant children have been in government custody than at any time in American history.
- – November 7, 2018 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who refused to protect Trump from investigations into his presidential campaign — officially recusing himself — resigned under pressure from the president. Trump had publicly mocked Sessions for months.
- – November 7, 2018 – A White House intern tried to wrestle away a microphone from CNN’s Jim Acosta after he asked Trump challenging questions at a press conference. The White House later revoked Acosta’s press pass, releasing a video to justify its reprimand. A C-SPAN video of the incident differed from the video released by the White House, which appeared to have been altered to depict Acosta as the aggressor.
- – November 8, 2018 – Trump introduced new laws denying asylum to migrants who enter the U.S. illegally, despite declining border crossings in recent years. Immigration advocates challenged the ban with a lawsuit, saying the proclamation would deny protection to thousands of vulnerable individuals.
- – November 9, 2018 – In defending his appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who had criticized investigations into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Trump told reporters, “I don’t know Matt Whitaker.” In reality, the president had met his appointee at least a dozen times.
- – November 9, 2018 – In the aftermath of tight midterm elections, Trump backed Florida Governor Rick Scott’s claims that voter fraud occurred. He tweeted “Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud.” The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said that there were no allegations to investigate.
- – November 10, 2018 – Trump blamed the Camp Fire, the deadliest blaze in California’s history, on poor forest management. In a tweet, he threatened the state: “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” California regulators, however, came to a different conclusion, determining that Pacific Gas & Electric equipment caused the fire.
- – November 19, 2018 – Ivanka Trump used a personal email account for hundreds of government-related emails — “many of them in violation of federal records rules,” the Washington Post reported. When running for president, her father infamously lashed out at Hillary Clinton for using a private server for government business, leading chants of “lock her up.”
- – November 20, 2018 – Trump declared that the U.S. would remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia. His support of the totalitarian monarchy came despite the CIA’s assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The White House statement put the murder in an economic context. “The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.” The $450 billion figure was later determined to be incorrect.
- – November 25, 2018 – U.S. Border Patrol Agents sprayed tear gas at a group of migrants at the entry point between Tijuana and San Diego. Trump said, “First of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe.” The Chemical Weapons Convention banned tear gas in international war in 1993.
- – November 26, 2018 – Facing prison time for bank fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to federal investigators.
- – November 29, 2018 – Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress about negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen testified to Congress that discussions about the project ended in January 2016. Actually, they stretched well into Trump’s presidential campaign.
- – November 30, 2018 – The Trump administration authorized five companies to use seismic airguns to search for offshore oil and gas. In doing so, the administration disregarded the federal government’s estimate that airgun testing poses a threat to many marine mammals, including dolphins and whales.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – DECEMBER 2018
- – December 6, 2018 – A New York Times story revealed that Trump employed undocumented workers for years at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Immigrants worked as housekeepers, groundskeepers, waitstaff and stonemasons. Trump has frequently referred to illegal immigration a national crisis which, “hurts American workers; burdens American taxpayers; and undermines public safety; and places enormous strain on local schools, hospitals, and communities.”
- – December 7, 2018 – A seven-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. After the death of Jakelin Caal Maquin was made public, a White House spokesman said, “Does the administration take responsibility for a parent taking a child on a trek through Mexico to get to this country? No.”
- – December 11, 2018 – If Congress refused to provide funding for construction of his border wall, Trump told Democratic lawmakers that he would be “proud” to shut down the government. “I’ll be the one to shut it down,” he said. “I will take the mantle.”
- – December 22, 2018 – The government entered a partial shutdown as Trump stonewalled Congress over funding for his border wall. The shutdown lasted for thirty-four days — the longest in the nation’s history. Trump’s action left about 800,000 federal workers without pay.
- – December 25, 2018 – An eight-year-old from Guatemala died on Christmas Day in custody of Customs and Border Patrol. Felipe Gomez Alonso was the second child to die in a month while in U.S. custody. “So you have drugs, you have human trafficking,” Trump told reporters later in the day. “You have illegal people coming into our country. We can’t do that. We don’t know who they are.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JANUARY 2019
- – January 2, 2019 – In a cabinet meeting, Trump said that Russia invaded Afghanistan in the 1970s to stop terrorists from entering the country. “They were right to be there,” he said. In fact, the Soviet Union intervened in the Afghan War to support the Afghan communist government in its fight against anti-communist Muslim rebels — who were backed by the United States.
- – January 9, 2019 – Trump stormed out of a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer after the congressional Democrats said they would not back his proposed $5.7 billion border wall. “We saw a temper tantrum,” Schumer said. Trump tweeted, “Cryin Chuck told his favorite lie when he used his standard sound bite that I ‘slammed the table & walked out of the room. He had a temper tantrum.’ Because I knew he would say that, and after Nancy said no to proper Border Security, I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!”
- – January 10, 2019 – In an impromptu news conference, Trump denied ever saying Mexico would pay for his border wall. “I never meant they’re going to write out a check,” he said. While running for president, Trump vowed numerous times that Mexico would reimburse the U.S. for the wall via trade restrictions, foreign aid or other means, stating in February 2016, “Believe me, they’re going to pay for the wall.”
- – January 12, 2019 – Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin five times over the course of two years, but no detailed record of the conversations exist — even in classified files. The Washington Post reported that Trump went to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal what the two leaders discussed.
- – January 14, 2019 – The Clemson Tigers football team visited the White House after winning the national championship. Previous White House celebrations for sports teams have featured elegant meals that highlight the best of American cuisine. Trump served them a candlelit dinner of McDonald’s fast food, still in paper wrappers.
- – January 15, 2019 – A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to remove the question “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” from the 2020 census. The new question had been proposed by the Trump administration after prompting from then-presidential advisor Steve Bannon and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, appointed by Trump to lead a voter fraud commission.
- – January 17, 2019 – Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to rigging online polls during the 2016 campaign to make it appear as though the presidential candidate had more support than he did. Cohen said he acted “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump.
- – January 17, 2019 – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to visit troops in Afghanistan, but Trump canceled her use of a military aircraft. The retaliatory move came after she urged him to delay his State of the Union address because of the shutdown.
- – January 18, 2019 – A class-action lawsuit was brought against the Office of Refugee Resettlement. It accused them of working with the Trump administration’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use children as “bait to arrest immigrants who come forward to sponsor them.”
- – January 19, 2019 – A government watchdog report revealed that thousands more children were separated from their parents at the southern border than had been reported. The report also said that the Trump administration’s policy of separating children actually began months before it was announced.
- – January 22, 2019 – The conservative-dominated Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to reinstate Trump’s ban on transgender people from serving in the military.
- – January 25, 2019 – The Trump administration began enforcing a plan that forces migrants seeking asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.
- – January 25, 2019 – Roger Stone was indicted on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements, and one count of witness tampering in connection with Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Stone was an aide for Richard Nixon’s 1972 scandalous re-election campaign. He had advised Trump since the 1980s.
- – January 28, 2019 – Mocking climate change, Trump sarcastically tweeted, “What the hell is going on with Global Waming?” referencing cold temperatures in the Midwest with a misspelling. “Please come back fast, we need you!”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – FEBRUARY 2019
- – February 8, 2019 – In a tweet, Trump praised Kim Jong Un, saying that under Kim’s rule, North Korea would become an “economic powerhouse.” Trump’s tweet continued: “I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is. North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket – an Economic one!” Kim is one of several authoritarian leaders Trump has praised over the years.
- – February 15, 2019 – Trump declared a national emergency along the United States’ southern border in order to acquire his requested $5.7 billion for border wall funding.
- – February 22, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services introduced a new rule that cancels federal funding to cover contraceptive or STD services for any organization that provides or refers patients for abortions.
- – February 27, 2019 – In his testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, called the president a “conman,” a “cheat,” and a “racist.”
- – February 28, 2019 – When asked if he confronted Kim Jong Un about the 2017 death of Otto Warmbier — an American college student who was detained in North Korea — Trump chose to believe and to flatter one of the world’s foremost tyrants. Trump said of Kim, “He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MARCH 2019
- – March 2, 2019 – In a rambling speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference that lasted more than two hours, Trump hugged an American flag, called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation “bullshit” and mocked renewable energy. “When the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric,” he said. “Let’s hurry up. Darling—Darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch television, darling.”
- – March 8, 2019 – Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt to be Secretary of the Interior, a role responsible for the management and conservation of federal land and natural resources. A former oil lobbyist, Bernhardt played a key role in rolling back the protection of endangered species.
- – March 11, 2019 – Trump called for $8.6 billion for his border wall in his budget proposal for fiscal year 2020. The same budget called for increased spending for the Department of Homeland Security and a 31% spending cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- – March 15, 2019 – Trump vetoed a joint congressional resolution that would have overturned the national emergency he declared at the southern border. In a rare rebuke, Republicans in both the House and Senate voted in favor of ending the national emergency.
- – March 21, 2019 – In addition to Ivanka Trump using a personal account for government-related emails, a lawyer for her husband, Jared Kushner, said the senior adviser to the president used private communications to discuss official matters. When running for president, Trump said the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was “bigger than Watergate.”
- – March 22, 2019 – Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his 448-page report into Russian interference in the 2016 election to Attorney General William Barr. Barr gave the first formal remarks on the report and issued a 4-page summary before its release, downplaying and mischaracterizing Trump’s culpability. Mueller’s report did not exonerate Trump, and Barr’s statements seemed to absolve Trump of wrongdoing. Mueller and others condemned Barr’s summary of the report, and in a follow-up letter, Mueller stated, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”
- – March 29, 2019 – Trump said that if migrant families continue to enter the United States, he would close the southern border. “Mexico’s tough. They can stop them, but they chose not to,” he said. “And if they don’t stop them, we’re closing the border. … And we’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – APRIL 2019
- – April 5, 2019 – During a visit to Calexico, California, Trump lashed out at those attempting to cross the southern border. “We can’t take you,” he said. “Our country is full … Can’t happen. So turn around.” The United States has space for about 45 million more people.
- – April 9, 2019 – Trump repeated a false claim he made in 2018 that the Obama administration was responsible for child-separating policies at the border. Trump said his own administration put an end to them. It was Trump, however, who created the zero-tolerance policy.
- – April 10, 2019 – Trump signed executive orders that would make it easier for gas and oil companies to lay pipelines without being blocked by states citing the Clean Water Act.
- – April 12, 2019 – Trump said he was considering placing undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities to retaliate against the “Radical Left.” ICE’s legal department had rejected the proposal in February.
- – April 18, 2019 – The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the Mueller Report. At the time Trump was holding a Wounded Warrior event in the East Room of the White House. Interrupting the veterans event, Trump declared the investigation a “hoax” saying, “This type of abuse must never be permitted to occur again,” he said. He also noted that he was having a “good day.”
- – April 21, 2019 – In the wake of the Mueller Report’s release, Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, defended his client’s ties to Russia. “There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” he told CNN. On NBC, he was asked, “So, it is now OK for political campaigns to work with materials stolen by foreign adversaries?” Giuliani’s response: “Well, it depends on the stolen material.”
- – April 26, 2019 – More than 100 countries have ratified a treaty to promote peace and end illicit arms trade. Trump used a large gathering at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention to announce that the United States would withdraw from the Arms Trade Treaty.
- – April 29, 2019 – Looking to block congressional Democrats from obtaining his financial information, Trump filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Deutsche Bank, Trump’s largest creditor, has a history of working with Russians laundering money.
- – April 29, 2019 – Asylum-seekers should pay more money to pursue citizenship, Trump said in a presidential memorandum. Under the proposal, some application fees would be increased by 83 percent. People fleeing persecution would also be charged a fee for seeking protection. Never before in U.S. history has a fee existed for such applicants.
- – April 30, 2019 – A 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant died in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody, becoming the third child in five months to perish in the care of the U.S. immigration authorities. A video obtained by ProPublica showed that workers at the facility where Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez was held missed signs that the teenager was in grave condition.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MAY 2019
- – May 7, 2019 – The White House blocked former White House Counsel Don McGahn from disclosing records to the House Judiciary Committee. The documents contain information about Trump urging McGahn to fire Mueller. They also reference subsequent conversations in which the president told his former counsel to deny the exchanges.
- – May 9, 2019 – At a rally in Florida, Trump said, “How do you stop these people?” when referring to migrants at the border. An audience member yelled, “Shoot them!” The president then smirked and joked, “Only in the Panhandle!”
- – May 13, 2019 – Trump hosted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the White House. Orbán’s actions include installing a barbed-wire fence along the border to prevent impoverished migrants from the Middle East and Africa from entering the country. Trump said of the reactionary politician, “Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. … Probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK. … And I know he’s a tough man, but he’s a respected man. And he’s done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration.”
- – May 15, 2019 – The Federal Register published safety rule changes that loosened an Obama-era restriction on offshore drilling. The safety regulation was enacted after the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. The changes meant a savings of hundreds of millions of dollars for oil companies, which donated large amounts of money to Trump’s re-election campaign.
- – May 20, 2019 – At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump repeated a claim that the United States has no more room for immigrants. “Our country is full. We don’t want people coming up here,” he said. His words contradicted what he said a month earlier: “We have companies pouring in,” he said. “The problem is we need workers.”
- – May 21, 2019 – The Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that allowed health workers to opt out of providing medical care if the procedure violates their conscience. Examples cites include abortion, gender confirmation surgery, and assisted suicide.
- – May 24, 2019 – The Trump administration informed Congress that it would go ahead with $8 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates — despite congressional objections that it would lead to Saudis dropping bombs on civilians in Yemen.
- – May 29, 2019 – Special Counsel Robert Mueller finished his report and then resigned from his investigative position, transferring the responsibility of holding Trump accountable to Congress. “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
- – May 30, 2019 – Trump threatened to impose a five percent tariff on all goods coming into the United States from Mexico — “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP.”
- – May 30, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent an email to federal migrant shelters notifying them that the government would not pay for educational and recreational programs for unaccompanied minors, including English classes and legal aid.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JUNE 2019
- – June 5, 2019 – The Department of Health and Human Services announced new restrictions on human fetal tissue research. The new policy prohibits federal scientists from obtaining fetal tissue samples from elective abortions to conduct research projects. Fetal tissue research has been beneficial in developing vaccines, studying the transmission of HIV, and treating Parkinson’s, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- – June 12, 2019 – In an ABC News interview, the president said that if he was offered information about a 2020 political opponent, “It’s not an interference, they have information — I think I’d take it.”
- – June 13, 2019 – The U.S. Office of Special Counsel released a report to the White House recommending that presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway be removed from office for numerous violations of the Hatch Act, a law that ensures federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion. “She repeatedly continues to violate the law,” the report said, citing her endorsement of the president’s re-election campaign during media appearances and on Twitter. In 2017, Conway was reprimanded for another Hatch Act violation, touting Ivanka Trump’s clothing and jewelry products, telling Fox News viewers, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
- – June 19, 2019 – Former White House communications director Hope Hicks’ name showed up throughout Robert Mueller’s report. But when it came time for her to become the first confidante of Trump to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, she declined to answer any questions about her time in his administration.
- – June 19, 2019 – The Environmental Protection Agency issued the final Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which rolled back power-plant regulations established under President Obama.
- – June 21, 2019 – Journalist E. Jean Carroll accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s. Trump denied ever having met her, but Carroll provided a photo of herself with Trump from 1987. Carroll was the twenty-fifth woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct since the 1970s.
- – June 24, 2019 – When asked about E. Jean Carroll’s sexual assault accusations, Trump responded, “I’ll say it with great respect, number one, she’s not my type.”
- – June 25, 2019 – A day after the United States imposed sanctions against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Trump increased tensions by threatening Iran in a tweet. “Any attack by Iran on anything American,” he wrote, “will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”
- – June 27, 2019 – Customs and Border Protection officers detained eighteen-year-old American Francisco Erwin Galicia for twenty-six days. Under Trump, border officials can now fast-track deportations. Galicia was carrying a Texas ID, a Social Security card, and a copy of his birth certificate.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JULY 2019
- – July 1, 2019 – Roughly 9,500 current and former Border Patrol agents used a secret Facebook group for exchanging derogatory remarks about migrants and lawmakers, ProPublica revealed. Members of the group joked about migrants deaths, referred to Latina lawmakers as “scumbuckets” and “hoes,” and shared vulgar illustrations depicting U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
- – July 2, 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued a report calling for immediate action to alleviate “dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention” of migrants in the Rio Grande Valley. The report included photographs of migrants packed into cells and cages; in one photo, a man holds up a cardboard sign that reads “HELP.”
- – July 4, 2019 – Trump’s “Salute to America” Independence Day program included military flyovers and cost $1.2 million. The Trump administration would not say how the event was funded, but the Defense Department said the money came largely from budgets dedicated to military training.
- – July 8, 2019 – Trump delivered a speech on America’s environmental leadership in which he neglected to mention climate change. Despite his administration’s history of rolling back environmental regulations, Trump said, “From day one, my administration has made it a top priority to ensure that America has among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet.” Pollution has grown worse under Trump’s tenure.
- – July 12, 2019 – Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned, accused of violating victims’ rights in sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 case. Epstein was a convicted and registered sex offender, accused of sex trafficking and sexual abuse with dozens of victims, some as young as 14 years old. Acosta was the top federal prosecutor in the Florida case, which ended in a plea deal. Epstein and Trump frequently socialized together at Trump’s Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago resort.
- – July 14, 2019 – In a series of tweets, Trump attacked four congresswomen of color: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. He said they “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all).” Trump suggested that they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York, Tlaib in Detroit, and Pressley in Cincinnati.
- – July 15, 2019 – The Trump administration announced a new rule that migrants who pass through other countries on their way to the United States were ineligible to seek asylum. However, Congress — and not the President — has the authority to determine if such migrants have the right to enter the country.
- – July 17, 2019 – At a rally in North Carolina, Trump ridiculed U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s name. “No, no,” he said. “I don’t have time to go with three different names. We’ll call her Cortez.” Trump had made racist remarks about Ocasio-Cortez in the past. During the same rally, he criticized Representative Ilhan Omar and let the crowd chant “send her back” for thirteen seconds before continuing his speech.
- – July 24, 2019 – The Trump administration proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that would cancel food assistance for Americans. Trump said that a robust economy and low unemployment meant that the program was not needed by many people. Roughly 40 million Americans rely on the program’s free food.
- – July 25, 2019 – In early July, at Trump’s behest, Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland urged aides of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskey to investigate democratic candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Days later, Trump blocked planned U.S. military aid to Ukraine. On July 25, Trump spoke by phone with Zelenskey. The conversation, which Trump called “a perfect phone call,” became the focal point of a whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment. On the phone call, Zelenskey asked about increasing military aid, and Trump suggested the Bidens’ possible corruption. Trump prefaced his suggestion by saying, “I need you to do me a favor, though.”
- – July 27, 2019 – Trump attacked Representative Elijah Cummings, calling him a “brutal bully” and referring to Baltimore as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – AUGUST 2019
- – August 1, 2019 – Providing no evidence to support his claim, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Cincinnati that “We will be ending the AIDS epidemic shortly in America and curing childhood cancer very shortly.”
- – August 2, 2019 – The United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War-era agreement between the United States and Russia that limited the types of weapons the two nations could possess or pursue.
- – August 10, 2019 – Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead by apparent suicide in his jail cell. The FBI and the Department of Justice opened investigations into his death, which occurred after case documents naming several high-profile figures were unsealed. In 2002, Trump said that he had known Epstein for fifteen years and that he was a “terrific guy.” Trump added, “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
- – August 12, 2019 – The Trump administration significantly weakened the Endangered Species Act, signed in 1973 by Republican Richard Nixon. The adjustment allows economic assessment to factor into the protection of a species. It also removed the blanket rule that requires the same treatment for threatened species as endangered species.
- – August 12, 2019 – A federal whistleblower issued a complaint to Senator Richard Burr and Representative Adam Schiff that “the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” The bombshell report referred to a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and efforts to restrict access to call records.
- – August 13, 2019 – Speaking about a new regulation that denies government benefits to immigrants, Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli twisted the poem written on the Statue of Liberty. “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” he said.
- – August 14, 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security finalized a rule that limits benefits such as food stamps, housing support, and Medicaid to immigrants. The rule denies green cards to immigrants who are “likely at any time to become a public charge.”
- – August 20, 2019 – Trump suggested that the U.S. purchase Greenland, telling reporters, “Strategically, it’s interesting.” Greenland, which is part of Denmark, has a wealth of natural resources, including coal, zinc, and copper, that held an interest for Trump. The president posted an image on Twitter of a golden Trump Tower skyscraper on the island. When Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen responded to the suggestion by saying, “Greenland is not for sale,” Trump canceled his planned visit to Denmark, attacked NATO, and called Frederiksen “nasty” and her remarks “inappropriate.”
- – August 21, 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security introduced an updated policy that would allow the government to detain migrant families with children indefinitely. The American Psychological Association said, “The large majority of these children have already experienced trauma before arriving at immigration facilities, and the longer they are held in detention, the more likely their mental health will continue to suffer.” Trump, when asked about the policy, replied, “Very much I have the children on my mind. It bothers me very greatly.”
- – August 21, 2019 – After mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Trump blamed mental illness, not guns, for the violence. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said. The American Psychiatric Association, however, has said that mental illness is a factor in less than one percent of mass shootings in the United States. The National Rifle Association, which Trump supports, spent more than $30 million on his 2016 election campaign.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – SEPTEMBER 2019
- – September 1, 2019 – Engaged in a trade war with China, the Trump administration implemented 15% tariffs on $112 billion worth of Chinese imports. JPMorgan Chase estimated that the taxes on consumer goods would cost the average American household an additional $1,000 a year.
- – September 1, 2019 – Trump inaccurately tweeted that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama. The National Weather Service corrected the misinformation, but later in the day the president doubled down on his statement. The following day, he held up a map of the hurricane’s projected course that had been clearly altered with a Sharpie.
- – September 7, 2019 – Trump announced in a series of tweets that he planned to meet with Taliban leaders at Camp David to negotiate peace. But Trump had to cancel the meeting with the fundamentalist group after an attack of theirs in Kabul killed an American soldier and several civilians.
- – September 9, 2019 – House Democrats launched an investigation of Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Their goal: to look into his alleged scheme to “coerce the Ukrainian government into pursuing two politically motivated investigations under the guise of anti-corruption activity.”
- – September 14, 2019 – New sexual assault allegations were brought up against Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh a year after his confirmation hearing in which Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault.
- – September 24, 2019 – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump to determine if he pressured Ukraine to investigate the son of his political rival, Joe Biden. Trump immediately responded via Twitter, calling the inquiry “Witch Hunt garbage.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – OCTOBER 2019
- – October 1, 2019 – Trump congratulated China on the seventieth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, sparking backlash from conservatives for celebrating communism. Trump sent his congratulatory message as Chinese protesters were calling for democracy, and just hours after Hong Kong police shot a teenage demonstrator.
- – October 3, 2019 – Trump, already under investigation for applying political pressure on Ukraine, publicly called for China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. The remarks recalled when Trump urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email servers in 2016.
- – October 4, 2019 – Trump signed a proclamation barring immigrants without health care from entering the country. Only migrants with approved health insurance or the means to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs” would be allowed to immigrate.
- – October 7, 2019 – Trump threatened to punish Turkey if it mounted an offensive in Syria. His tweet read, “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!).”
- – October 15, 2019 – Rudy Giuliani, loyal to Trump since the 1980s, refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for documents related to his work in Ukraine; they were requested as part of an impeachment inquiry into Trump. Giuliani called the inquiry “illegitimate, unconstitutional, and baseless.”
- – October 17, 2019 – White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced that one of Trump’s golf resorts would host the annual G7 summit in June 2020. The move was swiftly condemned as an attempt on Trump’s part to profit from the presidency.
- – October 28, 2019 – Charles Kupperman, former deputy national security adviser with suspected information on Trump’s Ukraine policy, defied his subpoena to testify in Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – NOVEMBER 2019
- – November 4, 2019 – Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Of the world’s 197 countries, 189 have ratified the agreement. Among the other non-signatories are Iran, Iraq, Angola, and Libya
- – November 4, 2019 – Four witnesses in Trump’s impeachment inquiry defied their subpoenas to testify. The witnesses, all members of the Trump administration, were John Eisenberg, deputy counsel to the president for national security affairs; Robert Blair, assistant to the president; Michael Ellis, senior associate counsel to the president; and Brian McCormack of the Office of Management and Budget. All were under Trump’s orders not to cooperate with the inquiry.
- – November 7, 2019 – A New York judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million to settle claims that the Trump Foundation misused money raised for charitable donation during his 2016 campaign. Trump had raised the money during a televised fundraiser for veterans.
- – November 8, 2019 – At Trump’s direction, Mick Mulvaney defied his congressional subpoena to testify in Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
- – November 15, 2019 – Roger Stone, a political adviser of Trump’s, was found guilty on five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of a proceeding. Stone originally pleaded not guilty to charges of his involvement in collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
- – November 26, 2019 – The New York Times reported that Trump knew about the whistleblower’s complaint before unfreezing military aid to Ukraine. The new timeline undercut Trump’s argument that there was no ulterior motive for releasing the aid.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – DECEMBER 2019
- – December 4, 2019 – The Trump administration proposed new work requirements that could prevent almost 700,000 adults from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. In defending the cuts, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “We need to encourage people by giving them a helping hand, but not allowing it to become an infinitely giving hand.”
- – December 6, 2019 – The White House refused to cooperate with the impeachment trial, deciding not to send representative counsel to future hearings, instructing officials not to testify, and refusing to hand over documents.
- – December 12, 2019 – In response to TIME naming 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg person of the year, Trump tweeted: “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
- – December 17, 2019 – Trump sent Nancy Pelosi a scathing six-page letter denouncing the impeachment effort as “an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power.” Those accused in the Salem witch trials, he said, were afforded more due process than he was.
- – December 17, 2019 – Although Marie Yovanovitch’s colleagues praised her professionalism, Rudy Giuliani tweeted that the former U.S. envoy to Ukraine who testified against Trump was removed from her post because she “was OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE and that’s not the only thing she was doing. She at minimum enabled Ukranian collusion.”
- – December 18, 2019 – After weeks of hearings, Trump became only the third president to be impeached in U.S. history. He tweeted: “THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
- – December 20, 2019 – Mark Galli, editor in chief of Christianity Today, called for Trump’s removal from office based on the president’s “moral deficiencies.” In a harshly worded tweet, Trump slammed the conservative publication as a “far left magazine.”
- – December 21, 2019 – The White House incorrectly tweeted “the Obama Admin tried to limit Americans to buying more-expensive LED bulbs for their home.” In reality, the regulations date back to the George W. Bush administration.
- – December 23, 2019 – Rudy Giuliani confirmed his involvement in removing Ukranian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from office after she refused to cooperate in the smear campaign against Joe Biden. “I believed that I needed Yovanovitch out of the way,” Giuliani told The New Yorker. “She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”
- – December 28, 2019 – Trump retweeted a post that contained the name of the alleged whistleblower whose complaint sparked the president’s impeachment inquiry.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – JANUARY 2020
- – January 2, 2020 – Without notifying Congress ahead of time, Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassim Suleimani, prompting worry about war with Iran. Trump said that he believed that Suleimani had plans for “imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and American personnel,” but Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that Trump “didn’t cite a specific piece of evidence.”
- – January 4, 2020 – In a thread of tweets, Trump said that if Iran retaliated for the airstrike that killed Suleimani, the U.S. would target 52 sites “important to Iran & the Iranian culture” and “HIT [them] VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.” Targeting sites of cultural significance is in direct opposition to the 1954 Hague Convention and the Department of Defense’s Law of War manual.
- – January 9, 2020 – In another attempt to loosen environmental regulations, Trump proposed major changes to the National Environmental Protection Act. The new rules would allow federal agencies to bypass consideration of the environmental impact of proposed infrastructure projects.
- – January 9, 2020 – An appeals court allowed Trump to divert $3.6 billion from Defense spending to the construction of his border wall. Declaring a national emergency along the southern border in February 2019 allowed Trump to have the money reallocated.
- – January 21, 2020 – In an address to the World Economic Forum, Trump ridiculed climate change activists as “prophets of doom.” He added, “We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy.”
- – January 23, 2020 – The Environmental Protection Agency finalized its revised Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Under Trump, protections for many rivers, streams, and wetlands were now officially removed.
- – January 24, 2020 – Hours after the Office of Civil Rights issued California a formal notification that “it cannot impose universal abortion coverage mandates on health insurance plans and issuers,” Trump addressed the crowd at the March for Life in person. He was the first president to do so since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
- – January 24, 2020 – Trump’s State Department imposed a new rule that allowed consular officers to deny a woman who is pregnant or may become pregnant a tourist visa in order to deter “birth tourism.” The rule targeted countries, largely outside the West, that Trump has belittled.
- – January 31, 2020 – Breaking from more than 160 countries that agreed to the Mine Ban Treaty, Trump canceled a policy that prohibited the use of anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean peninsula. Most landmine casualties have been civilians.
- – January 31, 2020 – The Trump administration placed immigration restrictions on Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan. In 2018, Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – FEBRUARY 2020
- – February 6, 2020 – In retaliation for passing New York state’s “Green Light” law, which allows immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses and blocks New York’s DMV from giving information to immigration authorities, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security announced that New York residents would no longer be able to enroll in Trusted Traveler programs that expedite security screenings at ports of entry.
- – February 7, 2020 – Within 48 hours of the Senate acquitting the president, Trump fired European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman after they testified in the president’s impeachment trial.
- – February 10, 2020 – Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget included significant cuts to foreign aid and Medicare. Among the departments facing the biggest losses was the Environmental Protection Agency, which has issued numerous deregulatory policies since Trump took office.
- – February 18, 2020 – Trump commuted the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2010 — the same year he appeared on Trump’s TV show, The Celebrity Apprentice.
- – February 24, 2020 – “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,” Trump tweeted as the virus spread at an alarming rate. “We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Within a few days, the stock market suffered its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
- – February 24, 2020 – In rare remarks from a president, Trump lashed out at two Supreme Court justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, who had been critical of him in the past. While visiting India, he asserted in a news conference that they should “recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump related.”
- – February 26, 2020 – Even though Mike Pence had come under fire for health policy that worsened Indiana’s HIV outbreak during his time as the state’s governor, Trump appointed Pence to lead the United States’ response to the coronavirus outbreak. Pence has no medical background.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – MARCH 2020
- – March 4, 2020 – Despite dire warnings from the World Health Organization, Trump disputed the deadliness of Covid-19 on a “hunch.” In an upbeat tone, he added: “So, if we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work—some of them go to work, but they get better.” The following day, Trump tweeted, “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work. This is just more Fake News and disinformation put out by the Democrats.”
- – March 5, 2020 – Disregarding advice from the World Health Organization to avoid contact with people, Trump said in a town hall that he would continue to shake hands. “You can’t be a politician and not shake hands,” he said. “People come out—when I leave, I’ll be shaking hands with people. They want to shake your hand. They want to say hello. They want to hug you. They want to kiss you. I don’t care.”
- – March 9, 2020 – The Trump administration finalized a new rule that would allow law enforcement authorities to collect DNA from immigration detainees in federal custody. The information would be stored in the FBI’s CODIS database, which is used to search for matches to traces of DNA found at crime scenes. Under the rule, the privacy rights of migrants would no longer be protected.
- – March 13, 2020 – Trump said an Obama-era rule was to blame for the Trump administration not being able to provide coronavirus tests more expediently. However, no such rule exists.
- – March 15, 2020 – Officials from Germany’s Health Ministry said that Trump “offered large sums of money” to CureVac, a German company working on a coronavirus vaccine, in order to give the U.S. exclusive access to its information. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell claimed that the story was wrong, but CureVac’s CEO confirmed the meeting with the White House.
- – March 18, 2020 – Trump announced that the U.S.-Mexico border would be sealed off to combat the spread of the coronavirus. But as NPR reported, there were roughly 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Mexico—far less than the 8,000 cases in the United States. The measure, though, allowed the administration to deport migrants without due process.
- – March 18, 2020 – Even though the World Health Organization advised him not to, as his words could give rise to racial profiling, Trump defended his use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to COVID-19.
- – March 20, 2020 – Republican Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler were urged to resign following reports that they sold millions of dollars in stocks between late January and early February — ahead of the stock market’s decline due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned a small group of constituents to prepare for economic turmoil while publicly upholding Trump’s assertions that the virus was being blown out of proportion.
- – March 21, 2020 – Trump endorsed the combination of two drugs, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, to treat coronavirus—despite a lack of testing or backing by the FDA. In fact, respected medical professionals warned that taking the drugs together could be dangerous.
- – March 23, 2020 – Trump vowed that “America will again and soon be open for business — very soon.” At his daily press conference on the crisis, Trump equated the alarming increase in coronavirus deaths to automobile fatalities. “You look at automobile accidents, which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody no more driving of cars.”
- – March 24, 2020 – Trump told Fox News that he “would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter.” On Twitter, he wrote, “THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM!” In February, Trump said the number of coronavirus cases would soon be “down to close to zero.” By Easter, the number exceeded half a million.
- – March 26, 2020 – Although health experts around the world have been warning about a pandemic for years, Trump claimed that the coronavirus crisis caught the U.S. by surprise. “This was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country,” he said. “Nobody would have ever thought a thing like this could have happened.”
- – March 27, 2020 – Trump singled out the governors of Michigan and Washington for not being sufficiently grateful for federal government aid during the pandemic. “I want them to be appreciative,” he said. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call.”
- – March 27, 2020 – Trump boasted that “We’ve now established great testing. … We’ve tested now more than anybody.” The U.S. did test more people for the coronavirus than South Korea, but South Koreans were tested much earlier, conducted five times as many tests per capita than the U.S., and had a per capita death toll twenty-five times lower than the United States death toll per capita.
- – March 29, 2020 – Trump said that as many as 2.2 million Americans could have died “if we didn’t do what we’re doing.” He added that if the U.S. was able to limit COVID-19 deaths to between 100,000 and 200,000 people, “we altogether have done a very good job.”
- – March 30, 2020 – The New York Times noted that “President Trump is a ratings hit. Since reviving the daily White House briefing, Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of The Bachelor.” Trump quoted this in a tweet adding, “The numbers are continuing to rise…”
- – March 31, 2020 – Trump said his impeachment “probably” diverted his attention from dealing with the crisis more swiftly, a claim first made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Did it divert my attention?” Trump said. “I think I’m getting A-pluses for the way I handled myself during a phony impeachment. Okay? It was a hoax. But certainly, I guess, I thought of it.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – APRIL 2020
- – April 1, 2020 – In an interview on CNN, Mike Pence said Trump had never “belittled” the coronavirus threat. Trump made the same argument at his daily briefing. “I knew how bad it was,” he said. Both statements contradicted what Trump had said in the past, as when he claimed on Jan. 22 that “we’re not at all” worried about the virus. “And we have it totally under control.”
- – April 2, 2020 – Jared Kushner, a White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, asserted that the Strategic National Stockpile of ventilators and medical supplies was “supposed to be our stockpile — it’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.” Journalists at the Kushner news conference pointed out that what he said went against the program’s description on its website. The following day, the program website’s wording was altered to match what Kushner had said.
- – April 4, 2020 – After Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, confirmed there was no evidence that hydroxychloroquine could fight the coronavirus — or that it was safe — Trump said he was considering it for himself. “I may take it, OK? I may take it,” he said. “And I’ll have to ask my doctors about that, but I may take it.”
- – April 5, 2020 – The U.S. stockpiled 29 million hydroxychloroquine pills, even though health experts doubted its efficacy and warned about its dangerous side effects. Trump pushed for hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. “What do I know?” he said at a news briefing. “I’m not a doctor. But I have common sense.”
- – April 6, 2020 – Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro warned the White House as early as January that the coronavirus posed a great threat to the United States. Navarro said, “the lives of millions of Americans” could be imperiled by the pandemic. Trump continued to downplay the threat, saying a month later, “Now, this is just my hunch, and — but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it’s very mild. They will get better very rapidly.”
- – April 7, 2020 – Trump blamed the World Health Organization for what he called its slow response to the pandemic. The WHO, however, warned of a “public health emergency of international concern” weeks before Trump declared a national emergency. “They called it wrong,” he said. “They really, they missed the call.”
- – April 7, 2020 – Trump ousted the chairman of a watchdog panel that oversaw how the Trump administration managed $2 trillion in coronavirus relief. Glenn Fine, the acting Pentagon inspector general, was chosen in March to head the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. Fine was the second inspector general in a week to be fired by the president, after the April 3 firing of whistle-blower Michael Atkinson.
- – April 9, 2020 – Defying health experts, Trump rejected the notion that more people needed to be tested for the coronavirus before the U.S. economy could be restarted. “Do you need it?” he asked about testing. “No. Is it a nice thing to do? Yes.” He added, “We’re talking about 325 million people. And that’s not going to happen, as you can imagine.”
- – April 11, 2020 – Trump refused to help the U.S. Postal Service, arguing that it needed to raise its rates for Amazon and other private shippers. If the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill contained any money to help the USPS, Trump said that he would veto the act, according to an administration official. The pandemic, meanwhile, took a heavy toll on postal workers: Roughly 500 of them tested positive for Covid-19, and 19 died of the disease.
- – April 12, 2020 – “Time to #FireFauci” read a message that Trump retweeted after the nation’s top infectious disease expert said fewer Americans would have died had the country gone under lockdown earlier. Trump didn’t only go after Fauci; in a series of tweets, he condemned, China, the World Health Organization, and President Obama.
- – April 13, 2020 – Trump held a 2½-hour news conference in which he attacked the press. “You know you’re a fake,” he told one reporter. “Everything we did was right,” he said. He also incorrectly said that the power to reopen the country rested solely with him, not governors. “When somebody is the president of the United States,” he said, “the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s got to be.”
- – April 13 – The Treasury Department ordered that Trump’s name appear on the $1,200 stimulus checks that millions of Americans were to receive. Part of the government’s $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package, the checks were proposed by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah). No IRS disbursement had ever carried a president’s name. According to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, it was Trump’s idea to have his name printed on the checks.
- – April 14, 2020 – Trump said that he would cut off U.S. payments to the World Health Organization, claiming that the WHO engaged in a coverup of the outbreak in its early days in China. “We have not been treated properly,” he said of the organization.
- – April 15, 2020 – As a result of waiting for months to obtain N95 respirator masks, the Trump administration paid companies $5 per mask — almost eight times what the price was earlier in the year.
- – April 17, 2020 – Trump used Twitter to call on protesters to challenge governors’ stay-at-home orders. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he wrote about two states that mandated social-distancing restrictions. He also urged Virginians to resist stricter gun-control measures in that state, writing, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
- – April 18, 2020 – Trump faulted Democratic governors for not doing enough to test people for COVID-19. “They don’t want to use all of the capacity that we’ve created,” he said in a briefing. “We have tremendous capacity.”
- – April 20, 2020 – Trump announced that he planned to temporarily suspend immigration into the country. The extreme measure, revealed in a late-night tweet, could allow the president to close borders in a way he couldn’t before the pandemic. Trump said he wanted to block what he called an “attack from the Invisible Enemy.” The U.S. confirmed in March that it had more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world.
- – April 21 – Suffering from a sharp decline in business, like all hotels across the nation, Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., asked for a break on its lease payments — from the Trump administration. Trump’s business also asked Florida’s Palm Beach County if it was required to continue making $88,000 monthly lease payments for the Trump International Golf Club.
- – April 21, 2020 – Congress approved $6 billion to help college students affected by the pandemic pay for food, childcare and housing. The Trump administration worked in a restriction to prevent undocumented students from getting any of the aid.
- – April 22, 2020 – Dr. Rick Bright, who headed the agency to develop a coronavirus vaccine, cast doubts on whether hydroxychloroquine could prevent Covid-19. Questioning the drug touted by Trump cost him his position: Bright was ousted as director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
- – April 23, 2020 – Prompting widespread alarm, Trump speculated about ingesting or injecting disinfectants to fight the coronavirus. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” he said at his daily briefing. He also mused about the use of ultraviolet light. “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous—whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” he said. “And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but we’re going to test it?” Health officials and manufacturers of household cleaners urged Americans not to follow Trump’s proposed remedies. The next day, New York City’s poison control center reported more than twice the calls related to household disinfectants than it received for a comparable timeframe in 2019.
- – April 25, 2020 – “I never said the pandemic was a Hoax!” Trump tweeted. “Who would say such a thing?” Two months earlier, at a South Carolina rally he said, “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” he told the crowd on February 28. “And this is their new hoax.”
- – April 26, 2020 – In a series of tweets which misspelled both “Nobel Prize” and “hamburger,” Trump assailed reporters who “have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong” and complained about a New York Times story on his work ethic. “Then I read a phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me. I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamberger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned.”
- – April 27, 2020 – If Americans were ingesting or injecting disinfectants to fight the coronavirus, it wasn’t his fault, Trump said. States reported numerous cases of people drinking cleaning products after Trump’s comments. At his daily briefing, the president was asked if he accepted any responsibility for people improperly using cleaning products. “No, I don’t,” he said.
- – April 27, 2020 – Trump ignored at least a dozen classified briefings in January and February which called the coronavirus an imminent threat. Officials said, on the condition of anonymity, that Trump seldom reads or listens to an oral summary of the President’s Daily Brief.
- – April 29, 2020 – Trump berated his political advisers after they told him that his polling numbers were declining in key states due to his handling of the pandemic. According to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Trump repeatedly said, “I am not fucking losing to Joe Biden.”
- – April 29, 2020 – Although many states were still under lockdown, and despite increasing COVID-19 cases, Jared Kushner predicted that “a lot of the country should be back to normal” by June. “The hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again,” said Trump’s son-in-law.
- – April 30, 2020 – Trump administration officials put pressure on U.S. spy agencies to dig up evidence that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China — a theory that was widely discredited. The strategy was part of Trump’s attempt to blame China for what he continued to call the “Chinese virus.”
- – April 30, 2020 – Trump said of the coronavirus, “Nobody’s thinking about it more. Nobody has spent more time, late in the evening, thinking about what’s happened to this country in a short period of time.” The Washington Post noted at least 44 times in March, April and early May in which Trump downplayed the threat of the virus calling it “very well under control” again and again.
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – May 2020
- – May 3, 2020 – The coronavirus death toll could reach 100,000, Trump said during a Fox News town hall broadcast from the Lincoln Memorial. The figure was double the estimate he predicted only two weeks earlier. Nevertheless, he said the country should still reopen its economy. He called his predecessors “foolish” and “stupid” and boasted that he had “done more than any other president in the history of our country.” Pointing to the statue of the 16th president, who was assassinated, Trump said, “They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.”
- – May 4, 2020 – The White House issued new guidance that banned members of its pandemic task force from testifying before Congress. The decision was made shortly after infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose views often diverged from Trump’s, was prohibited from testifying before a House committee.
- – May 5, 2020 – Rick Bright, the scientist who lost his job as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. In the complaint, Bright said his warnings about the coronavirus were dismissed by the Trump administration and that he was punished by being moved to another post.
- – May 6, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put together a 17-page report advising Americans on when they could reopen the economy. According to a CDC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Trump administration prevented the release of the report, telling the CDC that it “would never see the light of day.”
- – May 7, 2020 – The criminal case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, was dropped by the Justice Department — even though Flynn had pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI in an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump called those who opposed him “dishonest, crooked people… They’re scum — and I say it a lot, they’re scum, they’re human scum.”
- – May 8, 2020 – Trump met with seven World War II veterans, all in their 90s, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. Even though he was close enough to speak with the men, he didn’t wear a mask in their presence. “The wind was blowing so hard and such a direction that if the plague ever reached them, I’d be very surprised,” Trump told reporters. “It could have reached me, too. You didn’t worry about me, you only worried about them, but that’s OK.”
- – May 11, 2020 – The Trump administration unveiled two large banners at a Rose Garden briefing that read, “AMERICA LEADS THE WORLD IN TESTING.” The event ended suddenly, however, after a testy exchange between Trump and journalists Weijia Jiang and Kaitlan Collins. “You’ve said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing,” Jiang said. Trump told Jiang, who is Chinese American, “Don’t ask me, ask China that question, OK?” He then tried to have Collins ask him a question, but she deferred back to Jiang. Frustrated, Trump abruptly turned around and left the briefing.
- – May 12, 2020 – Though U.S. law dictates that the election occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, White House adviser Jared Kushner suggested that the presidential election might have to be delayed because of the pandemic. “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other,” he said, though neither Kushner nor Trump has the authority to postpone an election.
- – May 12, 2020 – During a pandemic that had killed tens of thousands of Americans, Trump took the time to promote a conspiracy theory that suggested that Joe Scarborough of MSNBC committed murder. “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Did he get away with murder? Some people think so.”
- – May 13, 2020 – At a time when the coronavirus was spreading throughout American prisons, infecting thousands of inmates, Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from prison at his attorneys’ urging. Manafort, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruct justice, was allowed to complete his seven-year sentence under home confinement.
- – May 14, 2020 – Trump spoke of coronavirus testing in contradictory terms while visiting a medical equipment distribution center in Pennsylvania. “We have the best testing in the world,” he boasted, then added, “Could be that testing’s, frankly, overrated. Maybe it is overrated.”
- – May 14, 2020 – Perchlorate, a toxic chemical compound used in rocket fuel, has been found to contaminate water, causing fetal and infant brain damage. The Obama administration planned to regulate the chemical, but the Environmental Protection Agency, led by Trump’s appointee Andrew Wheeler, went against the decision, saying that the regulation was “not in the public interest.”
- – May 15, 2020 – The coronavirus stabilization law that Congress passed included money for public education institutions hurt by the pandemic, but Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos directed $180 million of it to private and religious schools.
- – May 16, 2020 – Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick. Appointed by President Obama, Linick was another government watchdog ousted late on a Friday night. He was replaced by an ambassador who is close to Mike Pence.
- – May 17, 2020 – After President Obama, addressing high school seniors, alluded to Trump’s lack of leadership during the pandemic, Trump attacked his predecessor as “grossly incompetent.”
- – May 18, 2020 – Trump confirmed that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug he had long praised even though medical experts warned that it could be dangerous and was not shown to combat Covid-19. “I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
- – May 21, 2020 – Unlike everyone around him who followed company policy and state law, Trump did not wear a mask when touring a Ford Motor Company factory in Michigan. “I had one on before,” he told reporters. “I wore one in this back area, but I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel called him a “petulant child who refuses to follow the rules.” Trump responded in a tweet: “Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor.”
- – May 21, 2020 – Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, was released from prison, a week after Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was released. Concerns about the coronavirus cut short Cohen’s three-year term for financial and political crimes. He was ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence in his multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartment.
- – May 22, 2020 – Calling houses of worship “essential,” Trump told governors to reopen them, despite the pandemic. It was not certain if Trump had that power. Nevertheless, he said of the governors, “If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they are not going to be successful in that call.”
- – May 22, 2020 – Trump, whose approval ratings dropped during the pandemic, expressed doubt that the nation’s coronavirus death toll was as high as health departments said it was. The official total was almost 95,000, but Trump said it could be “lower than” that. Experts averred that it was certainly higher than the confirmed count.
- – May 24, 2020 – As the nation marked a somber benchmark — 100,000 were killed by Covid-19 — Trump instead used the Memorial Day weekend to insult numerous people on Twitter. The president called Stacy Abrams “Shamu,” saying she “visited every buffet restaurant in the State.” He accused Nancy Pelosi of drinking “booze on the job.” And he referred to Hillary Clinton as a “skank.”
- – May 26, 2020 – Trump continued to spread a conspiracy theory that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had committed murder, this time addressing the allegation at a press conference in the Rose Garden. Police in Florida had ruled that there was no sign of foul play in the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, who died when hitting her head in a fall after a heart attack. That didn’t stop Trump from saying, “It’s certainly a very suspicious situation. Very sad, very sad and very suspicious.”
- – May 27, 2020 – Twitter added a fact-check label to two of Trump’s tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots were fraudulent. In response, he threatened to shut down his favored social media platform on which he’d issued more than 50,000 tweets. “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” he wrote on the very site that he said was silencing him.
- – May 28, 2020 – Following up on his threat to punish Twitter for tagging warning labels to two of his tweets, Trump signed an executive order to “defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.”
- – May 29, 2020 – Trump said he would end the country’s relationship with the World Health Organization. He had warned of the action since the early days of the pandemic. “Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” he said.
- – May 29, 2020 – Grief-stricken and angry, many people in Minneapolis took to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by a white police officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. On Twitter, Trump responded by calling protesters “THUGS,” a racially loaded term. For the second time in a week, Twitter attached a warning label to his tweet, in which the president seemed to condone violence, writing, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
- – May 30, 2020 – For the second day in a row, Trump condemned people across the country who protested the killing of George Floyd, threatening them with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.” In a tweet that seemed to welcome a confrontation, he wrote, “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” He later suggested he didn’t mean to incite any violence. “I was just asking,” he said. “By the way, they love African-American people. They love black people.”
- – May 31, 2020 – Following days of unrest and rioting, Trump stayed silent — except for tweets that he composed from within a White House bunker while fires raged outside. “Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors,” he wrote in one of them. “These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW.”
– – –
Wildlife Conservation Research – June 2020
- – June 1, 2020 – Declaring himself “your president of law and order,” Trump threatened to summon “all available federal resources — civilian and military” — to quell protesters who demanded justice after the killing of George Floyd. He referred to demonstrators as “an angry mob.”
- – June 1, 2020 – After spending time in a White House bunker, Trump arranged a photo-op for himself in front of nearby St. John’s church, holding up a Bible as a prop. “Is that your Bible?” a reporter asked him. “It’s a Bible,” Trump replied. Protesters in the area were sprayed with tear gas so that Trump and an entourage could walk unencumbered to the church.
- – June 2, 2020 – Trump continued to assail protesters, singling out demonstrators in New York City, where marches were largely peaceful. “NYC, CALL UP THE NATIONAL GUARD,” he wrote in a tweet. “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart. Act fast!”
- – June 3, 2020 – Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, denied that tear gas and rubber bullets were used to clear out protesters so that Trump could have his picture taken at St. John’s church. The Park Police, however, acknowledged firing “pepper ball” projectiles and “smoke canisters” into the crowd. Trump also denied going into a bunker while protesters gathered outside the White House. He later acknowledged that he had gone to the bunker, but only for an “inspection.” He said, “I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny little short period of time,” adding that he went to the bunker “two, two and a half” times.
- – June 4, 2020 – Trump signed an executive order that allowed him to expedite infrastructure projects by working around environmental reviews. He said the national emergency brought about by the pandemic made it necessary to override environmental regulations.
- – June 7, 2020 – Confronted with growing protests in Washington, D.C., Trump reportedly demanded that the military deploy 10,000 active-duty troops to the city. The demand led to a “contentious” exchange with Pentagon officials.
- – June 8, 2020 – Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old peace activist, had to be hospitalized after two police officers shoved him to the ground, fracturing his skull, at a protest in Buffalo, N.Y. In a tweet, Trump baselessly claimed that he “could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” adding, “he fell harder than was pushed. … Could be a set up?”
- – June 10, 2020 – Trump said he would hold a campaign rally, the first such event in three months, even though coronavirus cases were rising in many states. Trump’s campaign team scheduled the rally on Juneteenth, African-Americans’ Independence Day, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of a notorious race massacre in 1921.
- – June 10, 2020 – Amid renewed calls to rename Army bases honoring Confederate leaders, the Pentagon said it was “open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic.” Trump put an end to any discussion, tweeting, “my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”
- – June 10, 2020 – The topic of drilling for oil and gas off Florida’s coast has long been a third rail of politics for both parties in the state. Having relaxed regulations, though, Trump’s Interior Department planned to open up drilling off the state’s coast — but not until after the November election.
- – June 11, 2020 – Attendees of Trump’s rally had to sign a waiver that forbade them from suing the campaign if they contracted COVID-19 at the rally.
- – June 12, 2020 – The Trump administration eliminated health care protections for transgender patients. The rule was announced during Pride Month, on the anniversary of the 2016 massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
- – June 13, 2020 – Trump pushed back his Tulsa rally by a day after many assailed his decision to hold it on Juneteenth. He said he changed the day in response to “many of my African American friends and supporters.”
- – June 14, 2020 – Trump testily defended himself after videos shot at West Point showed him tentatively walking down a ramp and struggling to drink from a glass of water. Though the day was sunny and hot, Trump tweeted that the ramp was “very slippery.”
- – June 15, 2020 – Trump blamed an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on testing. In a tweet, he wrote, “Our testing is so much bigger and more advanced than any other country (we have done a great job on this!) that it shows more cases. Without testing, or weak testing, we would be showing almost no cases. Testing is a double-edged sword — Makes us look bad, but good to have!!!”
- – June 16, 2020 – Officials in Tulsa urged the Trump campaign to cancel his rally there, warning that it could be a coronavirus “super spreader.” Trump, though, blamed the media for fomenting opposition to his gatherings, “trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies.”
- – June 17, 2020 – Trump railed against John Bolton, his former national security adviser, over the publication of his new memoir, which painted the president as an ill-prepared leader who curried favor with dictators and schemed to stop criminal investigations. “Wacko John Bolton’s “exceedingly tedious” (New York Times) book is made up of lies & fake stories,” Trump tweeted. “Said all good about me, in print, until the day I fired him. A disgruntled boring fool who only wanted to go to war. Never had a clue, was ostracized & happily dumped. What a dope!”
- – June 18, 2020 – Too much testing for the coronavirus “made the US look bad,” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “I personally think testing is overrated, even though I created the greatest testing machine in history,” he said. Trump also said that in moving the date of his Tulsa rally to the day after Juneteenth — because of the uproar it caused — he “did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous.” The president, however, said that he hadn’t known about the holiday, nor had his staff, until a Secret Service agent informed him about it.
- – June 18, 2020 – In a tweet, Trump called two Supreme Court rulings — one protecting young immigrants from deportation, the other defending gay and transgender workers — “shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.” In another tweet, he added, “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”
- – June 18, 2020 – Trump campaign posts and advertisements that featured an inverted red triangle were removed by Facebook, which cited the company’s policies on hate-group symbols. The triangle was used by Nazis to single out political opponents. The Trump campaign dismissed the issue, saying, “This is an emoji.”
- – June 19, 2020 – Trump threatened those who planned to demonstrate at his rally in Tulsa. “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” he tweeted. “It will be a much different scene!”
- – June 19, 2020 – Twitter added a warning label to a doctored video that Trump tweeted, saying it went against the company’s policies. The heartwarming video, shared by many in 2019, showed a black and white child running to each other, then hugging. The manipulated version posted by Trump included a fake CNN headline that read, “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby. … Racist baby probably a Trump voter.”
- – June 20, 2020 – Trump said he ordered his administration to “slow down” coronavirus testing so that fewer cases of COVID-19 would be reported. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” he said at his first campaign rally in months, in Tulsa. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’ They test and they test.” In his speech, which drew far fewer people than the arena could hold, Trump also referred to the coronavirus as the “kung flu.”
- – June 20, 2020 – In his latest dismissal of a government official, Trump fired federal prosecutor Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. Berman’s office prosecuted Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who was sentenced to prison for financial crimes. He was also investigating Rudolph Giuliani, Trump’s attorney.
- – June 21, 2020 – Trump’s rally in Tulsa attracted only 6,600 people. Much of the 19,000-capacity venue was empty. Teenage TikTok users and K-Pop fans took credit for helping foil Trump’s plan to fill his Tulsa rally — by registering hundreds of thousands of tickets to the event, then not attending. But Trump’s campaign manager said the low attendance was the fault of “the fake news media,” which urged people not to go “because of Covid and protesters, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire.”
- – June 22, 2020 – Trump renewed his opposition to mail-in voting, which could prove useful during a pandemic. “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION,” he tweeted. “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” There has been no evidence of significant fraud aided by mail-in ballots.
- – June 23, 2020 – Trump’s family filed a petition to block the publication of a tell-all book by Mary L. Trump, the president’s niece. Trump said Mary Trump was “not allowed” to write the book because of a nondisclosure agreement she signed in 2001. The book’s subtitle calls her uncle “the world’s most dangerous man.”
- – June 23, 2020 – Trump aides said he was joking when he had told his administration to slow down coronavirus testing. But Trump said he was not being sarcastic. “I don’t kid,” he said.
- – June 24, 2020 – The criminal case against Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was ordered dropped by a federal appeals court. The ruling was handed down despite Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to the FBI during Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
- – June 24, 2020 – At least six advance staffers, including two Secret Service employees, tested positive for COVID-19 after helping staff Trump’s rally in Tulsa.
- – June 26, 2020 – Russia offered Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill American troops. According to the New York Times, Trump and his administration had known about the bounties for months, and in response, had done nothing to punish or confront Russia.
- – June 26, 2020 – Holding the first briefing of the coronavirus task force in almost two months, Vice President Mike Pence cited “remarkable progress” in its fight against the virus. COVID-19, however, was spreading at a record rate across the country.
- – June 26, 2020 – With an hour to spare before a midnight deadline, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The brief was submitted at a time when millions of Americans had lost their jobs and health care during the pandemic.
- – June 27, 2020 – Reports emerged that staffers of Tulsa’s BOK Center, which hosted Trump’s June 20th rally, affixed DO NOT SIT HERE, PLEASE! stickers to arena seats to create social distancing. Before the event, however, Trump’s campaign had thousands of the stickers removed.
- – June 28, 2020 – Trump tweeted, then deleted, a video that showed a supporter of his shouting “white power” at anti-Trump protesters at The Villages, a Florida retirement community. “Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” he wrote in his tweet.
- – June 29, 2020 – Trump retweeted a video of a white couple threatening peaceful protesters outside their St. Louis mansion. The man brandished a semi-automatic rifle, and the woman pointed a handgun at the crowd.
- – June 30, 2020 – Fireworks at Mount Rushmore were banned a decade ago over fears of wildfires, but the Trump administration announced that he would host a Fourth of July fireworks celebration at the park. South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, who organized the event with Trump and the Department of Interior, said, “we will not be social distancing.”
July 10, 2020
Lest We Forget the Horrors: A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes: The Complete Listing (So Far): Atrocities 1-796
by Ben Parker, Stephanie Steinbrecher, Kelsey Ronan, John McMurtrie, Sophia DuRose, Rachel Villa, and Amy Sumerton
The Most Powerful Sale & Affiliate Platform Available!
There's no credit card required! No fees ever.Create Your Free Account Now!
July 20, 2020
Another Dull Quarantine Weekend at Home, Target, Chipotle, Home Depot, and Our Niece’s Graduation Party
by Katherine Shonk
July 9, 2020
Foolproof Safety Tips for Teachers Returning to the Classroom
by Sue Granzella
July 5, 2011
What Your Favorite ’80s Band Says About You
by John Peck
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe