Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Here and Ready

Are we really here? Is all this happening? Don't be surprised. What we're seeing now is frankly everything we should have expected. If there's one thing we can say in Donald Trump's favor, there was no bait and switch. They told us they would do all of this and more. Not everyone believed them. But everyone had fair warning. And here we are.

I've told you we are investing big in expanded investigative reporting in TPM's signature iterative style. We are deep into putting together the different building blocks of our new team and operation. I hope to have some announcements soon.

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Bannon's Deathly Hand

The White House announced today that the decision not to mention Jews or anti-Semitism in its announcement commemorating Holocaust remembrance day was intentional. According to White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks, the statement made no mentions of Jews out of respect for the non-Jews who died in Nazi labor camps and death camps during World War II. Hicks told CNN: "Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered."

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Off The Rails

President Trump's executive order reorganizing the National Security Council removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence as regular members of the principals committee and added former Breitbart News Executive Chairman and now Presidential Counseler Steve Bannon.

BREAKING on Immigrant/Refugee Ban

Federal Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York has issued a temporary stay on President Trump's immigration executive order. The ruling is in response to a petition by the ACLU on behalf of two individuals at JFK airport. The ruling does not overturn or even stop all aspects of the Executive Order. It applies to people who have already arrived in the United States and prevents them from being deported under the Executive Order. My understanding is that the stay has effect nationwide.

This is a breaking story. This post will be updated.

The Republican Congress is Responsible

For political and moral reasons, it is important to remember that very little of what the President is now doing is possible without a compliant Congress. Executive orders in most cases fill in the blanks that legislation leaves to the President's discretion. So this isn't just a matter of the sway a Congress of the President's party can exercise over him, which is substantial. In many or most cases, Executive Orders and Actions can literally be overruled with new legislation.

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Trump Signs Orders with Pens from Company that Makes Most Pens in China

I collect pens, particularly fountain pens, and so I always watch closely when a President signs something with a pen. As far as I could tell, Donald Trump was using a A.T. Cross rollerball at his first signing ceremony. I couldn't tell whether it was a Townsend or Century II. CNN has now confirmed that it was the latter. Trump's pens may have been specially made for him in the United States, but most Cross pens, and as far as I know the Century II, are made in China.

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Overarching Realities

Some day soon Republicans will realize they face an election in two years as the standardbearers and enablers of extremely unpopular president. (I also hope Democrats will realize this. Jury is still out.) Recent polls show President Trump's approval rating in the mid- to high 30s. That's just the first week. He's barely started. But this is almost always the high point. And the President's party almost always faces losses in the first mid-term in any case.