The Slatest

Today Was a Bad Day

Mick Mulvaney answers questions from reporters.
White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney answers questions from reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Thursday. Jim Watson/Getty Images

Thursday was not a good day. In fact, it was a very bad day. Here is a short list of things that happened and a brief explanation of why they were bad.

• Elijah Cummings, a civil rights icon and the congressional leader who came closest to exposing President Donald Trump’s potentially corrupt financial dealings, died.

• Citing Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that his platform, with its stranglehold on the global flow of information, would provide an open forum for disinformation campaigns during the U.S. presidential election. Again.

• The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of a 37-year-old Brett Kavanaugh defender who was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association to be a judge. If confirmed, Justin Walker would be the fourth “not qualified” judge the president has elevated to a lifetime federal court seat amid an avalanche of appointments that will radically alter the makeup and jurisprudence of American courts for decades.

• The president declared that a newly announced five-day pause in fighting by Turkey was tantamount to a peace deal and pledged to backtrack on sanctions against Turkey for its ongoing invasion of Kurdish territory, which has been acknowledged even by Trump’s staunchest supporters as a betrayal of the former ally and fighting force that helped defeat ISIS.

• White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced that the president’s regular act of enriching himself on the public coffers in violation of the Constitution would now include the hosting of June’s G-7 summit at one of the president’s golf resorts, the most dramatic and brazen display of self-dealing yet.

• Mulvaney also announced that the president had sought to leverage $391 million in military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the country announcing that it would open an investigation of the president’s political enemies. “Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy,” the chief of staff said of the confession of a quid pro quo deal that the president has been denying for weeks, adding that “elections have consequences.” Not a single Republican senator—who will decide Trump’s fate in any impeachment trial for charges that might now include “bribery,” literally the second item listed when the founders came up with impeachable offenses—has yet to respond. If Trump is not removed from office, as still seems likely the case, Republicans will have OK’d efforts to use the power of the White House to cheat in the 2020 election, with virtually no safeguards in place to stop the president from trying again. (At the end of the day, Mulvaney denied that he had said what he said, attempting to walk back the confession, which you can still watch with your own eyes and listen to with your own ears here.)

So, yeah. Things are not great!