‘I Love It’

Tuesday, July 11, 2017Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 8.10.24 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
Emails from Donald Trump Jr. revealed his glee at the prospect of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton from a lawyer tied to the Russian government.
The Trump administration’s teams charged with rolling back regulations appear to be riven with conflicts of interest.
  • A campaign to cut government regulations is being conducted largely out of public view, often by hires with potential conflicts, an investigation has found. The Times and ProPublica identified 71 appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts, through records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Republicans in the Senate plan to try again at repealing the Affordable Care Act.
  • Senate leaders said that a revised bill to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care law would be unveiled on Thursday, then debated and voted on next week.
  • A family making more than $200,000 a year would gain $5,420 on average by 2026, while a family making less than $10,000 a year would lose $2,550if the Senate Republican health care bill becomes law, according to a new analysis.
— The First Draft Team
From the Magazine

This Town Melts Down

In this illustration: Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Kid Rock, Pepe the Frog and others.

In this illustration: Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Kid Rock, Pepe the Frog and others. Illustration by Andrew Rae

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, was running late and ‘‘tied up in the Oval,’’ an assistant explained. It was late on a Thursday afternoon in June, and I had not seen Spicer since the election that would supposedly transform the accustomed reality of Washington and had unquestionably upended his.
In the political order of the pre-Trump era, Spicer represented a Washington ‘‘type’’ in good standing: an amiable plodder in his job as spokesman for the Republican National Committee and a stock character of the local ensemble. He was an eager shooter of the breeze, visible at cocktail parties and serviceable on TV. I once described the pre-Trump Spicer as being a ‘‘lower-wattage aide,’’ which he would often remind me of whenever I used to see him around the city. He never appeared overly bothered by this and spoke in a tone somewhere between stage-wincing and sarcastic pride that he even rated a mention at all.
After I had waited 45 minutes, Spicer stepped out and apologized. In the same way that a dog can take on a resemblance to its owner, Spicer has acquired a swollen, hopped-up and somewhat persecuted countenance, as if he were the physical embodiment of a news cycle on steroids. Wattage, for better or worse, was no longer an issue for Sean Spicer, who has a legitimate claim to being the most well-known White House spokesman of all time. I told him that I would come back the next day and that I wanted to interview him. ‘‘No, you’re not,’’ Spicer said quickly. ‘‘Not on the record, you’re not.’’ Then, softening, he said he would consider it but that any spotlight trained on him would not be helpful ‘‘to my current status.’’
This phrase — ‘‘current status’’ — struck me as a perfectly of-the-moment representation of the city from which Spicer had derived a creditable identity for himself until he (and it) had become otherwise occupied. To begin with, it was well known that Spicer’s ‘‘current status’’ had been a volatile predicament from pretty much the start of this volatile presidency. ‘‘Embattled’’ or ‘‘beleaguered’’ effectively became part of his job title. There was the recurring ‘‘Saturday Night Live’’ character (‘‘Spicey,’’ played by Melissa McCarthy), real-time chyron shaming (CNN: ‘‘President’s spokesman says he can’t speak for the president’’) and nonstop abuse and incredulity from much of the press corps. And yet in keeping with the Trump-era rule stipulating that ‘‘the enemy of the enemy of the people is my friend,’’ the mockery directed at this blandly ubiquitous greenroom denizen — just the kind of Washington political hack Trump ran against — propelled him to a golden status with ‘‘the base.’’ At Trump’s postelection rallies across the country, the press secretary was engulfed by squealing, selfie-seeking fans and drew a fuss meriting its own headlines (‘‘Spicer Treated Like a Rock Star at Trump’s Nashville Rally’’). His daily briefings became appointment cable viewing for groupies and hate-watchers alike, at least until the White House started disallowing cameras at many of them.
Read more »
A demonstration over the case of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British baby, in London. Legislation being proposed by two Republican congressmen to give Charlie permanent residency in the United States would apply only if an English court permits Charlie’s parents to travel for their son’s treatment.

Lawmakers Push to Give Terminally Ill British Baby U.S. Residency


Legislation by two Republicans would apply if a court allows the 11-month-old Charlie Gard and his parents to seek treatment in the United States.

U.S. Cities, States and Businesses Pledge to Measure Emissions

Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, in June in Paris. A coalition is moving to uphold the United States’ commitments under the Paris deal.By HIROKO TABUCHI AND LISA FRIEDMAN

The coalition, led by Gov. Jerry Brown of California and Michael Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York, said it would work with experts to try to meet the targets of the Paris climate deal.

Neil J. Welch outside his office in Federal Plaza in 1979 when he was the supervisor of the New York office.

Neil Welch, F.B.I. Mastermind in Abscam Sting Operation, Dies at 90


The political investigation ensnared a senator and seven congressmen. He also negotiated the surrender of the escaped killer of Kitty Genovese.

William F. Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts, in 2013.

Local Officials Tackle How to Govern in a Divided America


At a two-day conference sponsored by The New York Times, mayors and other panelists discussed immigration, climate and health policy in a deeply partisan age.

President Donald J. Trump during the Celebrate Freedom rally at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington on July 1, shortly after the choir performed “Make American Great Again.”

Trump Supporters Have a New Anthem, and It Came From Texas


A church choir and orchestra performed “Make America Great Again” earlier this month, and President Trump has spread it far and wide on Twitter.

President Trump last week. The Twitter users suing him argue that his account amounts to a public forum that he, as a government official, cannot bar people from.

Twitter Users Blocked by Trump File Lawsuit


The plaintiffs argued that his account amounts to a public forum that he, as a government official, cannot bar people from.

People displaced by fighting in South Sudan carrying bags of sorghum at a United Nations base there in 2014.

Is a More Prosperous World More Secure? Not as Trump Sees It


The president has abandoned a policy consensus that alleviating poverty around the world is a key to reducing the chances of instability and conflict.


How Do We Contend With Trump’s Defiance of ‘Norms’?


We know what’s supposed to happen when people break laws. But what should happen when a leader repeatedly violates the customs and principles that guide everyone else?

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Dr. Deane Waldman in The Hill:
“The big lie says health insurance is what we need. The bigger lie presumes that insurance leads to care. The biggest lie is that government-provided health insurance can provide timely medical care for all Americans.”
Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
Dr. Waldman, who is a retired pediatric cardiologist and director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, accuses both parties of accepting the notion that the government should be in charge of health care and that more insurance equals more care. Instead, he writes that the “cure” to these “lies” is to release health care from the control of the federal government. Read more »
From the Left
• Andrew Kahn in Slate:
“Sexual politics aside, our glee in calling Trump gay says more about us than it does about him.”
Mr. Kahn objects to liberal commentators who denigrate President Trump by imagining him as a gay man. In part a response to Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed column, “Donnie and Vlad: A Love Story,” Mr. Kahn’s view is that “the joke is not that old, but it feels ancient.” Regardless of the intentions of the person making the joke, it nevertheless reinforces a “visceral kind of homophobia” and “weaponizes an older, less contemporary, and therefore less taboo kind of bigotry.” Read more »
More selections »