WASHINGTON — President Trump has stepped back from declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall, under pressure from congressional Republicans, his own lawyers and advisers, who say using it as a way out of the government shutdown does not justify the precedent it would set and the legal questions it could raise.
“If today the national emergency is border security, tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change,” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the idea’s critics, said this week. Another Republican, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, told an interviewer that declaring a national emergency should be reserved for “the most extreme circumstances.”
.. “What we’re not looking to do right now is national emergency,” he told reporters gathered in the Cabinet Room as the shutdown approached its fourth week. Minutes later he contradicted himself, saying that he would declare a state of emergency if he had to.
.. Instead, Mr. Trump would use his authority to transfer funds to the wall that were appropriated by Congress for other purposes. Toward that end, the Army Corps of Engineers has been directed to study whether it can divert about $13.9 million in emergency aide set aside for Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas and California. And with the money secured, the president could drop his opposition to the appropriations bills whose passage would end the shutdown.
.. Former White House aides, who noted that Mr. Trump did not focus on the wall during the first two years of his presidency, said the optics of fighting for the wall were more important to the president than erecting it.
.. But opposition has come from many Republican quarters. Some conservatives see it as an unacceptable extension of executive power. Kellyanne Conway, a White House aide, has said it would essentially give Congress a pass. Representative Mike Simpson, Republican of Idaho and a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said it was not clear to him that an emergency declaration would even lead to the prompt reopening of the government.
Overall he presents the five types of bullshit jobs as flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters, but he spends too much time trying to lower the status of these jobs and not enough time investigating what happens when those jobs go away.
.. A simple experiment would vastly improve this book and make for a marvelous case study chapter: let him spend a year managing a mid-size organization, say 60-80 employees, but one which does not have an adequately staffed HR department, or perhaps does not have an HR department at all. Then let him report back to us.
At that point we’ll see who really has the bullshit job.
Ms. Hicks, 29 years old, told the president in recent weeks that she wanted to leave the White House to explore outside opportunities
..“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood,” Mr. Trump said. “I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
.. Ms. Hicks, who for the most part kept a low profile in the White House, has faced scrutiny in recent weeks over her personal relationship with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wives, which he denied. The White House faced widespread criticism for its response to the allegations and Mr. Trump privately placed some of the blame on Ms. Hicks, White House officials said—surprising people inside the West Wing because he has rarely criticized her.
.. Mr. Kelly in recent months had frequently asked others about what they thought of the performance of Ms. Hicks and other top communications officials.
.. Ms. Hicks said she had told certain “white lies” but hadn’t deceived anyone about anything related to the Russia probe.
.. As an example of the sorts of untruths she has told, she mentioned
- telling someone whom Mr. Trump didn’t wish to see that he was too busy to meet. Another example she discussed was
- spinning certain developments in the most favorable light possible.
Republicans on the panel defended her honesty and said the questioning from the Democratic side was a ploy to undercut her credibility.
.. Before joining the Trump campaign, Ms. Hicks worked at a public-relations firm in New York City, where she worked for Ivanka Trump’s brand and the Trump Organization.
its centerpiece was a gigantic corporate tax cut, lowering the statutory corporate rate from 35 percent down to 21 percent. This cut accounted for about $1 trillion of the bill’s total $1.5 trillion cost, but Republicans said it really wasn’t about helping corporations at all.
.. No, the real target was the workers: Corporations would take the money and use it to create new jobs and raise the wages of those working for them, as trickle-down economics did its magical work.
Democrats, on the other hand, said it was a scam. They charged that workers would see only a fraction of the benefits, and instead corporations would use most of their windfall for things like stock buybacks, which increase share prices and benefit the wealthy people who own the vast majority of stocks.
.. even before the tax cut, corporations were making near-record profits and sitting on mountains of cash; if they wanted to invest, create jobs and raise wages, they already had the means to do it.
.. even before the tax cut passed, corporations were saying publicly that they intended to use the money for stock buybacks.
.. It’s true that some companies did give workers one-time bonuses. But it was essentially a PR move.
.. Walmart, for instance. It made a splashy announcement that it would be giving bonuses of up to $1,000 to workers, which sounded great. But then it turned out that you’d only get that much if you’d been working there for 20 years, and the average worker would get around $190.
.. the total value of Walmart’s bonuses was $400 million, which seems like a lot until you learn that over 10 years the value of the tax cut to the corporation will be $18 billion. In other words, about 2 percent of its tax cut is going to workers
.. Republicans make absurd claims in the knowledge that even if they get debunked in the occasional “news analysis” piece, on the whole they’ll be treated with complete seriousness, no matter how ridiculous they are.
.. lies about the future — and that’s what they are when you know that what you’re saying is utterly bogus — will not be policed with nearly the same vigor as lies about the past.
.. When Republicans said that their tax cut wouldn’t increase the deficit because it would create so much economic growth that revenue would actually increase, it was treated as a questionable claim, not an assertion on par with “If I flap my arms, I can fly to the moon”
.. Sure, Democrats will squawk, and all their criticisms and predictions will turn out to be right. But it hasn’t stopped you in the past, and it won’t in the future.