The U.S. at a glance ...
No Cinco de Mayo: Organizers of Philadelphia’s Cinco de Mayo festival have canceled this year’s celebrations amid fears that federal immigration officials might target the event’s undocumented attendees. El Carnaval de Puebla usually attracts as many as 15,000 revelers, many of whom travel from other American cities. But event organizer Edgar Ramirez said many immigrants are worried they could be swept up by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who have adopted a more aggressive attitude under President Trump. ICE agents detained 700 people in one week during nationwide raids in February, after Trump broadened deportation guidelines to include those with minor offenses. “There’s a little bit of fear in the community,” Ramirez said. ICE said its enforcement was “lead driven” and that “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
Tweet charge: A Twitter troll was charged with assault with a deadly weapon this week after allegedly sending a seizureinducing GIF to a journalist with epilepsy. The incident occurred in December, shortly after crusading journalist Kurt Eichenwald appeared on Fox News. Eichenwald has been one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics, and clashed with host Tucker Carlson during the segment. Afterward, John Rayne Rivello, 29, allegedly sent a tweet containing flashing images to Eichenwald under the username @jew_goldstein, along with the message “You deserve a seizure for your post.” The tweet induced an eightminute fit; Eichenwald’s wife eased him to the floor of their Dallas home and then alerted police. When authorities searched through @jew_goldstein’s account, they allegedly found direct messages about Eichenwald, reading, “I know he has epilepsy,” and “Let’s see if he dies.”
New York City
Saudi lawsuit: The families of 2,350 people killed or injured in the 9/11 attacks sued Saudi Arabia in Manhattan court this week, accusing the country of “knowingly providing material support and resources to the al Qaida terror organization and facilitating the September 11 attacks.” The lawsuit came months after Congress overwhelmingly overrode a veto by President Obama, and allowed Americans to take legal action against countries that support terrorism. Obama argued the law could lead to retaliatory lawsuits by other nations against American citizens and corporations. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., were Saudi Arabian. A section of the 9/11 Commission Report declassified last year outlines ties between the hijackers and associates of Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar. The families are seeking unspecified monetary damages.
Ryancare vote: House Speaker Paul Ryan made several last-minute changes to his bill to repeal Obamacare this week as he and President Trump scrambled to woo reluctant Republicans ahead of a looming vote, scheduled to take place after The Week went to press. During a summit on Capitol Hill, Trump warned GOP lawmakers to back the legislation or face defeat in the 2018 midterms— telling them, “a loss is not acceptable, folks.” The vote would fail with just 22 Republican defections in the House. Ryan and Trump faced resistance from bot h House conservatives who said the bill didn’t go far enough, and more moderate senators concerned about constituents losing their insurance or paying much more for it. Ryan’s revisions beefed up tax credits for people over 50, and gave states greater flexibility in cutting Medicaid.
Gorka’s Hungarian past: Three Democratic senators called for an investigation into White House national security adviser Sebastian Gorka last week after a newspaper reported that the intelligence analyst had taken a “lifelong oath of loyalty” to a far-right Hungarian organization linked to the Nazis. The article, published in the Jewish newspaper Forward, claims Gorka was a “sworn member” of the Historical Vitezi Rend, which honors Admiral Miklos Horthy. Horthy cooperated with the Nazis during World War II in deporting hundreds of thousands of Jews. Gorka, who was born in London to Hungarian parents, was seen at President Trump’s inaugural ball wearing a medal linked to Vitezi Rend. Sens. Richard Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, and Ben Cardin urged the government to investigate whether Gorka lied about his membership on his 2012 application for American citizenship. Gorka, who professes to be an expert on radical Islam, said he never belonged to Vitezi Rend, and that he wore the medal as a tribute to his father’s “struggle against totalitarianism.”
Ivanka’s role grows: Ivanka Trump acknowledged this week that there was “no modern precedent” for her role in the White House after she was given her own West Wing office and top security clearance. Trump, 35, has no formal White House job and so is not officially bound by the usual ethics rules placed on government employees. But she said she would voluntarily follow those guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest with her businesses. President Trump’s eldest daughter has already sat in on White House meetings with several other world leaders. Her husband, Jared Kushner, holds an official role as a senior White House adviser. Federal anti-nepotism law prohibits the president from hiring relatives, but cannot stop him from bringing them into unpaid roles. President Obama’s former ethics czar, Norman Eisen, said Trump’s assurances weren’t enough. “If she can voluntarily subject herself to the rules, she can voluntarily un-subject herself to the rules.”