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April 10, 2014

There was a big to-do earlier this week when The New York Times reported that despite President Obama's condemnation of the gender wage gap, the White House had its own such problem. According to the Times, female staffers on average make 88 cents for every dollar male staffers do.

Yet a subsequent investigation by Susan Crabtree at The Washington Examiner determined that almost half of the 150 highest-paid White House staffers were women. Moreover, those senior women made on average about $8,000 more than men in the same tier.

The nuance in the White House numbers perfectly encapsulates why a conversation about the gender pay gap should not be reduced to single, quotable percentages. As our John Aziz explained this week, that removes important context and allows for significant misinformation. Jon Terbush

7:15 a.m. ET

On Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told House Democrats that some of President Trump's hardline immigration policies on the campaign were "uninformed" or "not fully informed" and that Trump had especially "evolved" in his understanding of what kind of Mexico border wall was plausible, according to Democrats in the meeting. Kelly added that the White House was seeking $20 billion for 700 miles of "physical barrier," a "50-foot wall from sea to shining sea isn't what we're going to build," attendees said, and the Mexican government won't pay for it.

"He has evolved in the way he looks at things," Kelly told Fox News on Wednesday night. "Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president has been very flexible in terms of what's in the realm of the possible." On Thursday morning, Trump disputed a number of Kelly's characterizations.

During the campaign, Trump had promised a "big, beautiful wall" along the 2,100-mile U.S.-Mexico border, most of it defined by the Rio Grande River, and vowed that Mexico would pay for it. On Thursday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo and Spectrum News anchor Errol Louis noted that Trump's tweets certainly sound like an "evolved" version of Trump's original wall plan. Watch below. Peter Weber

6:13 a.m. ET
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Republicans won three out of four special elections on Tuesday in strongly Republican areas, but in each case the Democrat outperformed President Trump's 2016 numbers by at least a dozen percentage points and in one — a state Senate seat in western Wisconsin that Republicans have held for 17 years — Democrat Patty Schachtner won by 11 points, a 28-point swing from Trump's 2016 numbers. "This special election hit the Wisconsin GOP like an electric shock," said former conservative radio host Charlie Sykes. On Thursday, President Trump is heading to Pennsylvania to head off another upset in a U.S. House district Republicans have easily held for 16 years.

Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, 59, and Democrat Conor Lamb, 33, are facing each other in a March 13 election to fill the seat former Rep. Tim Murphy (R) vacated amid a sex and abortion scandal. The gerrymandered district in western Pennsylvania voted for Trump by 19 percentage points, but "internal polls from both parties now reveal a single-digit race," The New York Times reports. Saccone has proved to be a lackluster campaigner and poor fundraiser, and so Trump is visiting Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence is campaigning with Saccone Feb. 2, and both men could return if needed, GOP officials tell the Times.

House Republicans in Washington have already contributed about half of Saccone's $200,000 war chest, and they have more fundraisers scheduled for him in Washington. Two conservative organizations have already spent $700,000 to broadcast ads against Lamb, a former prosecutor and Marine, and the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC is going to jump in with attack ads next week. Lamb, meanwhile, has said he wants to keep the race local; the House Democratic campaign arm is unlikely to put much money in the race, and other than Vice President Joe Biden, the Times says, "few high-profile Democrats would help Mr. Lamb by dipping into the district." Lamb has raised more than $550,000. Peter Weber

4:52 a.m. ET

A day after the White House doctor revealed the results of President Trump's physical, "the nation is still reeling from the shocking news that our president is perfectly healthy," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "Good news, 7th graders! Instead of 25 pushups and a mile run, from now on the presidential physical fitness test is going to be 25 Filet-O-Fishes and 3 hours of Fox & Friends."

According to the presidential physician, Trump is 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, "but some people don't believe that — for instance, people," Colbert said. "Many of these people have started the 'girther' movement." Now, listen, he said. "I don't say this often, but we're being unfair to Donald Trump. I mean, no one looks good pictured next to one of the world's greatest athletes. For instance, I'm 5' 11" and 185 pounds, and I'm going to show you a picture of me next to an NFL player of that same height and weight — in hell. You're never going to see it."

The doctor also said Trump is mentally fit, but The Daily Show's Trevor Noah had some doubts about the cognition test Trump aced. "I can't believe part of the test for your president's mental health is to see if he can identify animals," he said. "Really, you're going to give him a rhino test? That sounds like a joke about African presidents. 'This is a lion, this is a rhino, and this is a camel.' 'Congratulations, sir, you're now the president of Uganda!'"

At The Opposition, Jordan Klepper and Tim Baltz were totally convinced of Trump's excellent health, and Baltz said he knew Trump's secret to staying fit without exercise or a healthy diet. "The truth is, bazillions of Americans like the president and me get their workouts from raging out while hate-watching mainstream cable news," he said. You can learn about his regimen below. Peter Weber

3:37 a.m. ET

"Yes, the inevitable backlash to the #MeToo movement has arrived — or as I like to call it, the #YouTooLoud movement," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. Her examples were heavy on the Fox News but broader than that, and she focused on the reaction to the "Sh--ty Media Men" list for a bit. "Here's the number of people who were putting rape and sexual harassment and bad dates into one bucket," she said. "Literally nobody is saying they're the same. What many fail to understand is that it doesn't have to be rape to ruin your life, and it doesn't have to ruin your life to be worth speaking out about. Any type of sexual harassment or coercion is unacceptable."

"What men literally cannot understand is this isn't about them," Bee said. "Unfortunately, though, not all the backlash is from willfully blind men; some of it is from women who have seen way too much, especially in the wake of an article about Aziz Ansari and the horrible night an anonymous woman said she had with him. The conversation about this article has been tentative and difficult, largely because a lot of women disagree about it," including Ashleigh Banfield. "It's not just Ashleigh," she added. "A lot of people are worried about Aziz's career — which no one is trying to end, because again, we know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harasser, and an Aziz Ansari. That doesn't mean we have to be happy about any of them."

The last part is pretty NSFW, with Bee explaining her views on a higher standard for sex and advising men to find other outlets if they can't be bothered to respect their partners — especially men who call themselves feminist and sport "Times Up" insignia. "And if you don't want to do that," she said, "take off your f---ing pin, because we are not your accessories." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:44 a.m. ET

President Trump's "America First" presidency has pulled the image of American leadership to new lows, according to the new Gallup World Poll report released Thursday. America's median leadership approval rating across 134 countries in 2017 was 30 percent, 4 points below the previous low of 34 percent in 2008 and significantly lower than the 48 percent approval in 2016, the last year of Barack Obama's presidency. Disapproval of U.S. leadership also hit a new high, 43 percent, greater than the disapproval number for any global power over the past decade, Gallup said.

Views of American leadership actually rose by more than 10 percentage points in four countries — Liberia, Macedonia, Israel, and Belarus — Gallup found, but fell by more than 10 points in 65 nations, including drops of more than 40 points in Portugal, Belgium, Canada, and, ironically, Norway. The 25 percent U.S. approval number in Europe isn't a record low — it was lower during the final two years of the George W. Bush presidency — but Trump's America tied the previous nadir in Asia (30 percent) and hit a new low in the Americas (24 percent). Africa remains a bright spot at 51 percent. Among world powers, Germany is now on top, at 41 percent, while Russia lags at 27 percent and China just beats out the U.S. at 31 percent.

"It is too early in Trump's presidency to deem his 'America First' foreign policy a success or failure," writes Gallup's Julie Ray. "However, it is clear that based on the trajectory of what the world thinks of the U.S., many of the U.S. alliances and partnerships that the Trump administration considers a 'great strength' are potentially at risk." Read more at Gallup. Peter Weber

1:59 a.m. ET
iStock

Before she was assassinated in 2016, British lawmaker Jo Cox established a commission on loneliness and pushed the government to appoint a minister to tackle the problem affecting an estimated 9 million Britons, from the very young to the elderly.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Tracey Couch is the new Minister for Loneliness, serving as an advocate for those who "have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with." Many people in the U.K. are distressed by "the sad reality of modern life," May said, and government research has found that about 200,000 elderly people haven't spoken with a friend or relative in more than a month, Time reports.

Researchers say isolation can lead to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as mental and emotional issues. You don't have to be the Minister of Loneliness to do your part — pick up the phone and offer to drive an elderly relative or friend to an appointment or lunch, drop by with a hot meal, or ask if they'd like to join you in a group activity. Catherine Garcia

1:12 a.m. ET

President Trump changes his mind constantly — he's ready to sign a bipartisan immigration bill he doesn't agree with one minute, then decrying it the next — so much so that Seth Meyers can't help but see similarities between Trump and fictional teens on television dramas who will do anything to fit in. Hear him out.

On Wednesday's Late Night, Meyers noted that while Republicans control all three branches of government, there's still the possibility of a government shutdown as the two parties try to carve out a DACA deal before Friday. Trump's "shithole" comments definitely complicated things, Meyers said, as well as his inability to stick to one plan. Last week, Trump suggested he'd go along with a bipartisan immigration bill, even if he didn't love it, but hardliners like Stephen Miller got to him, and he decided he was not interested in the bipartisan deal after all. "Trump's position is literally, 'I'll think whatever you want me to think,'" Meyers said. "He's like the bad boy from every teen drama."

The easiest way to sway Trump is by showering him with gifts, specifically candy, Meyers said. He related a story Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shared about discovering Trump loves red and pink Starbursts, and then ensuring he gave him a giant jar (clearly marked as a gift from McCarthy) filled with only those two flavors. "I'll bet Putin is so pissed," Meyers said. "He spent millions of dollars and years of effort hacking into our election when he could have just stopped off at CVS and won Trump over for $2.99. Seriously, you can get Trump to do anything as long as you offer him candy. People think Robert Mueller is going to be the end of Trump, but it might just as likely be a weirdo in a van." Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

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