Friday, August 18, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

For the second and third time this week, he got into a debate with people leaving his administration about who quit from or fired whom.

Earlier this morning, the 17 members of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned en masse, citing Trump's moral cowardice following the Charlottesville tragedy--and calling on Trump to resign as well. But the White House insisted that Trump had already decided, without having mentioned it before now, to end the PCAH, saying that it "merely redirects funding from the federal cultural agencies (NEA/NEH/IMLS) that answer directly to the President, Congress, and taxpayers. These cultural agencies do tremendous work and they will continue to engage in these important projects.”

Since the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities), and the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) would all be shut down completely if Trump's 2018 budget were adopted, it's unlikely that saving money for their "important projects" was actually on Trump's mind before this morning. 

There was also some ambiguity about whether Trump forced Bannon's resignation today, a characterization the White House did not dispute, or--as Bannon himself claimed--he resigned two weeks ago. Trump was reportedly furious over an "accidental" interview Bannon gave with the liberal American Prospect this Tuesday, in which he undercut Trump's position on North Korea. But Trump is also reportedly afraid--perhaps with some justification--that Bannon is more popular with Trump's white nationalist base than Trump himself.

Why does this matter?

  • It's wrong to lie.