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Editor's Blog

Updated: 2017-01-21T14:23:00Z


Enough About Andrew Jackson


Trump's apocalyptic inaugural address was pure Steve Bannon, and a White House official now confirms that it was written by Bannon and Stephen Miller. In another of those weird recent attempts to draw historic parallels between Trump and Andrew Jackson, Bannon is quoted as saying, “I don’t think we’ve had a speech like that since Andrew Jackson came to the White House. It’s got a deep, deep root of patriotism.”

But if you read Jackson's first inaugural address, it is full of the modesty, humility, self-deprecation and traditional appeals to our better nature that are historically associated with presidential inaugural addresses. There is nothing in it on par with Trump's "American carnage."

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Trump Takes First Whack At Obamacare


In one of his first official acts as President, Donald Trump issued an executive order taking his first swing at Obamacare. The order, signed in the Oval Office this evening, directs the federal government "to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens" of the Affordable Care Act. But beyond its general emphasis on easing the burden and giving the states more flexibility, it doesn't offer specific guidance or direction.

The full text of the executive order:

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My thoughts on entering the Trump era.


It Was Unanimous


This is from President Trump's new official White House bio ...

Mr. Trump won the election on November 8 of 2016 in the largest electoral college landslide for a Republican in 28 years. He won over 2,600 counties nationwide, the most since President Reagan in 1984. Additionally, he won over 62 million votes in the popular vote, the highest all-time for a Republican nominee. He also won 306 electoral votes, the most for a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988.


He Xeroxed the Convention Speech


"America First" has now be spoken in an inaugural address. This was quite similar to Trump's convention speech: dark, defiant, filled with talk of "American carnage", a landscape dotted with tombstones. This was vintage campaign Trump. "Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."

If you didn't hear it, that's about all you need to know. This speech was about grievance and reclamation, reclaiming power, wealth from those who've stolen it. These themes can make sense and be salutary for countries which are weak, battered and poor. When they become the rallying cry for the strongest and wealthiest of countries, that is always dangerous. Our work is cut out for us.


A Few Thoughts on Entering the Trump Era


Let me share a few thoughts on this moment and what it portends in the days and years ahead. Optimism is not primarily a prediction but an ethic, a philosophy, a way of confronting the world. I know many people are not simply disappointed about today's events but gripped by a deep apprehension and worry. This is natural, logical. What we are seeing transpire, because of the person and character of the man who is about to become President, is unlike anything any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Trump is a bully. He is not just ignorant but militantly ignorant. He is palpably driven by a need to dominate in every case. He has the most fragile of egos. His vision of leadership is one we find from strongmen in pseudo-democracies and soft dictatorships. His most driving needs are to be praised, loved and to dominate. All of these qualities, not simply in the abstract but in how we have seen them manifest in recent months, are wholly at odds with democratic leadership and the rule of law.

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Obama's Posts Farewell Video And Discusses Future


President Obama just announced a new site and posted a video with thanks and request for comments and suggestions about his new center and organization. Video after the jump.

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And There We Have it



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Crowd Baselines


Here are a couple photos that will help put crowd size today in context, after the jump.

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Feds Investigating Money Transfers & Communications Between Russia And Trump Associates


The New York Times is out with a story tonight which is little short of astonishing on the eve of a presidential inauguration. From the Times article ...

"American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said."

Just to state this clearly, that means that on the eve of Trump's inauguration the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence agencies are pursuing a counter-intelligence probe of contacts and payments between key members of his campaign and Russia. We have not been here before.

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Another Approval Number


If you don't like Donald Trump and don't approve of what he's doing, rejoice. You've got a lot of company. We have another approval number out tonight, this one from Fox News of all places. Donald Trump's approval number is 37%. 54% disapprove.

With Fox added, we now have a poll from each of the major TV networks. What is most notable is the level of unanimity. Fox (37%) ABC (40%), CBS (37%), CNN (40%), NBC (44%). Add in Quinnipiac (37%) and Gallup (44%) and you've got a simple average of about 40% approval, with the most recent polls both coming in at 37%.


Trump Wanted Soviet Style Inaugural Parade with Tanks and Missiles


We're now learning that President-Elect Trump wanted a full Soviet-style inaugural parade, with tanks, missiles and missile launchers. The Pentagon nixed that idea but agreed to a jet fighter flyover. In an interview published Wednesday morning Trump had spoken about his desire to hold military parades during his presidency. But this is the first sign he had tried to hold a Soviet style military parade for his inauguration.

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Trump plans to kill the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities and sell off the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Expansion Update


Over the years one of the great pleasures of running TPM for David Kurtz and me is how many great young journalists have come through the organization, how we've been able to have some role in bringing their talents to the fore and the great careers they've gone on to at a whole slew of great news organizations like The Washington Post, Salon, The New Republic, The New York Times, NBC, CNN, ABC, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Propublica, Politico, Huffington Post, NowThisNews and just a slew of other pubs. What is a particular pleasure is being able to welcome one of our greats home.

Yesterday, I announced we were adding a new editor to our team as part of our expansion. David Taintor first joined TPM just out of college as an intern in the fall of 2010. We hired him as a full time staffer right out of his internship. And he worked his way up to reporter before leaving in 2013. We are now really excited, happy and lucky to be bringing him back as our new News Editor. David rejoins us from NBC News. He'll join Catherine Thompson, David Kurtz and me as our team of editors going into this new phase of the organizations history.

David will be rejoining TPM in early February.


Really, Really Unpopular


On the last full day of the Obama presidency and on the eve of President-Elect Trump's inauguration, let's look at where the new President starts in the public's estimation. The answer is, Trump is really unpopular and has gotten more unpopular as the transition has gone on.

We have some new numbers.

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If You Want To Keep Your Plan ...


If you're comfortably ensconced in a health insurance plan through your job and don't think the Obamacare repeal and replace debate will directly affect you, give a close look at the plan that HHS nominee Tom Price has been pushing for years to dismantle the employer-based health insurance system. It would end employer-based insurance as we know it, but it barely came up in Price's first round of Senate hearings yesterday. Super important. Worth a read.


Palestinians Ask Putin to Use Influence Over Trump


One of the key developments in a new administration comes when people come to understand who the key power players and influencers are in that administration. Who has the President's ear? Who can get things done?

With that in mind, the Palestinian political leadership is making every effort to get President-Elect Trump to reconsider his plan to move the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. To achieve this critical goal they have reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence over Trump to rescind the decision.

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An Important Message for TPM Readers and Fans


On Monday I wrote that the answer to attacks on journalism is always more journalism. I want to share some concrete steps in that direction. Today we are announcing our first editorial expansion in more than four years. We are beginning by adding a new editor to our team and a planned three additional reporters to build out our investigative reporting team.

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What Is This Obamacare of Which You Speak?


I get a kick sometimes about just how shameless and ridiculous members of Congress can be. TPM Reader LB is represented by newly elected Rep. Tom Garrett Jr. in Virginia's 5th district. Here's what she heard ...

I am a physician, really worried about the effect of the repeal of the ACA on my patients. I have been calling Garrett, my Republican Rep from Charlottesville area of VA to see what his position is. His staff tell me that “We have not discussed this with the representative yet” – which of course is the same thing as saying he is running away from having a position.

Obamacare hasn't come up in staff meetings?


Amazing Interchange


Here's an amazing exchange between Sen. Warren and Rep Price, the nominee to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Warren asks Price to commit to fulfilling President-Elect Trump's promise not to cut Medicare or Medicaid.

Price repeatedly insists that dollars are the "wrong metric" when it comes to cuts. Transcript after the jump.

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