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July 23, 2019

The Trump administration struck a deal with House Democrats on Monday that has drawn the ire of conservatives analysts.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), outlets like The National Review and The Washington Examiner, and think tanks like the Heritage Foundation have all lambasted the agreement because it would increase spending levels by $320 billion. Yet there is a sense that it represents the fall of a deficit-slashing Republican party.

The deal is a far cry from when the Tea Party dominated Republican budget rhetoric, writes Philip Klein of the Examiner. Klein argues that while Trump once vowed to drain the swamp, "he has merely drained it of the Tea Party," and, in the process, has "restored Washington to a much more conventional place in which both parties agree to ignore warnings of fiscal disaster."

National Review's Brian Riedl agrees, writing that the deal would essentially repeal the final two years of the 2011 Budget Control Act, the "crown jewel" of the "tea-party Congress." He argues the move "mirrors the shredding of the Republican credibility on fiscal responsibility." Klein echoed that sentiment, writing that Republicans, who have voted several times to "blow past" spending limits, decided "to stop pretending to care about the debt" and that the Freedom Caucus has "devolved into a PR shop for Trump."

It's worth noting that several members of the caucus have announced their opposition to the spending package. Of course, in this day and age, things can always change. Tim O'Donnell

July 26, 2017

President Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that he would ban all transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military "in any capacity." The military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he wrote.

But back in June 2016, shortly after then-candidate Donald Trump had clinched enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination, Trump sang a decidedly different tune. Knowing he would face Hillary Clinton in the general election, Trump positioned himself to Clinton's left on certain issues — like, for example, LGBT rights:

In hindsight, it may have been helpful for a member of Trump's staff to inform him that the "T" in "LGBT" stands for "transgender." Kimberly Alters

May 16, 2017

Fox News host Shep Smith took a moment Tuesday to remember a time just months ago when President Trump wasn't sharing classified information with the Russians, but rather just bashing Hillary Clinton for "leaking." "You may remember, candidate Trump repeatedly bashed Hillary Clinton during the campaign while accusing her of leaking classified information," Smith said, pointing to Trump's tweet accusing Clinton of being "extremely careless" in handling "very sensitive, highly classified information" by using a private email server while she was secretary of state. Smith also noted Trump later tweeted that Clinton "should not be given national security briefings" because she's "a loose cannon with extraordinarily bad judgment and instincts."

Smith argued Tuesday that Trump — who last week apparently divulged classified information from Israel to Russian officials in a meeting during which only Russian media was present — has one-upped Clinton. "Now the sitting president is accused of actions that are potentially far more dangerous," Smith said. "In fact our own Judge Andrew Napolitano says these are the most serious accusations leveled against a sitting president in the modern era."

Watch the segment below. Becca Stanek

May 8, 2017

President Trump congratulated centrist Emmanuel Macron on his "big win" over far-right leader Marine Le Pen in Sunday's French presidential election, claiming: "I look very much forward to working with him!" There could already be tension between the two major world leaders, though, seeing as Macron recently invited American scientists to flee to France.

In the February video, Macron addressed U.S. scientists in English: "Please come to France, you are welcome," he urged. "It is your nation." Trump has notably threatened to withdraw America from the Paris agreement on curbing global climate change.

"I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives, as he is extremely skeptical about climate change," Macron added in the clip. "I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue."

On Sunday, Macron reinforced the leadership role he intends for France to take. "Europe is waiting for us to defend the enlightenment," he said in his victory speech. "They are waiting for a new hope, a new humanism, for a safer world … Europe and the world are waiting for us. They are waiting for France to surprise them."

Approximately 80 percent of French voters hold negative views of President Trump, Politico reports. On Friday, Trump's Environmental Protection Agency dismissed at least five scientists on the agency's Board of Science Counselors, including an expert on handling hazardous waste, a natural resource sociologist who studies how communities deal with environmental shocks, and an environmental economist. Jeva Lange

March 20, 2017

Two years ago, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — the same man asking tough questions about leaks during the House Intelligence Committee's hearing Monday on Russian election meddling — inadvertently leaked some classified information himself. Back in 2015, when Gowdy was the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Gowdy accidentally revealed the name of a CIA source during a discussion with Democrats, Politico reported.

Gowdy's reveal was inadvertent, and occurred due to the State Department's failure to omit the CIA source's name from the email being discussed. But on Monday, while talking about the leaked phone transcripts that led to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation, Gowdy suggested anyone who leaks classified information ought to be prosecuted. "Some of that may rise to a crime, some of it may not," Gowdy said. "The felonious release of classified material is definitely a crime." Becca Stanek

February 17, 2017

Just a month before The Associated Press reported Friday that the Department of Homeland Security had written a draft memo suggesting mobilizing members of the National Guard to "round up" undocumented immigrants, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was assuring Americans nothing like this would ever happen. During a town hall meeting Jan. 12, Ryan vehemently denied the possibility of deportation forces evicting unauthorized immigrants from the U.S., an idea President Trump had floated during his campaign. "That's not happening," Ryan said. "That's not true."

When a woman at the town hall with her daughter asked Ryan if he thought she should be deported, he was quick to say no. "I can see that you love your daughter, that you're a nice person that has a great future ahead of you, and I hope your future's here," Ryan told the woman.

The draft memo has reportedly been circulating among DHS staff for the last two weeks, but a DHS official said Friday the proposal was "never seriously considered." The Associated Press reported the document "calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana." Becca Stanek

February 16, 2017

President Trump's press conference Thursday may have been billed as an announcement about new labor secretary nominee Alex Acosta, but it was so much more than that. After mentioning Acosta twice during his opening remarks, Trump veered into his campaign promises and, of course, his campaign competitor, Hillary Clinton.

In the course of a 76-minute press conference, Trump managed to utter the name of the woman who lost the presidential election in November a grand total of 11 times. That's not even including the more implicit mentions, like when Trump falsely claimed he won the election with 306 electoral votes (he won 304) and landed more Electoral College votes than anyone since former President Ronald Reagan (former President Barack Obama won 332 in 2012).

Trump's first Clinton call-out was a reference to Clinton allegedly receiving a presidential debate question in advance, which happened months ago when Trump and Clinton were still vying for the White House. "Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine — seriously — can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair," Trump said.

He then turned to how Clinton tried to "do a reset with Russia" while she was secretary of state and gave Russia "20 percent of the uranium in the country." "Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember?" Trump said. "With the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks." At another point, Trump asked the audience if anybody really thought Clinton "would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump."

You may recall: Trump defeated Clinton to win the White House three months ago. To be fair, Acosta's name did come up a third time towards the end of the press conference when Trump jokingly asked CNN reporter Jim Acosta — with whom he has publicly sparred — if he was related to his new pick for secretary of labor. Becca Stanek

December 5, 2016

What a difference a year can make. On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump tapped the man he criticized in November 2015 for "wanting to hit his mother on the head with a hammer" to serve as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Trump's criticism of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson wasn't confined to a single tweet either. Shortly after that, Trump claimed Carson, then a competitor in the Republican presidential primary, had a "pathological temper" that could not be cured. "You don't cure these people. You don't cure a child molester. There's no cure for it. Pathological, there's no cure for that," Trump said, likening Carson to a pedophile.

While Trump apparently thought Carson's self-reported attempt to stab a friend when he was a teenager and theory that the Egyptian pyramids were actually built to store grain made him a questionable pick for GOP presidential candidate, he seems to be letting bygones be bygones.

Carson, who previously expressed concerns he wasn't experienced enough to run a government agency, will be tasked with enforcing fair housing laws, overseeing federal public housing programs, and assisting with financing for homeownership. Becca Stanek

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