Our president makes a lot of news — almost too much to keep up with. So we're launching a daily roundup of Trump-related news and opinions, from Philadelphia and around the country.
One of President Trump's first executive orders promised a crackdown on illegal immigration — and now his administration is laying out plans for how to go about it. Two memos released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans to hire 15,000 border patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, allow local police to enforce immigration law, and prioritize the deportation of criminals. (The memo's categorization of criminals is "broad and includes anyone convicted, arrested or suspected of a crime," the Associated Press reported. "That means anyone arrested for even a minor traffic violation or suspected of crossing the border illegally will now be a priority.") The New York Times editorial board blasted the memos, calling them an "assault on American values." Counterparts at the New York Post called the plan a promise for "vigorous but rationally targeted enforcement" that most Americans might support.
Speaking of immigration law: In the wake of several bills sponsored in the Assembly that specifically target some of Philadelphia's local policies — including its "sanctuary city" status — Philly politicos told WHYY Newsworks they just want the state legislature to leave them alone. "Philadelphia is the economic engine in the state, so I don't know why we continue to get treated as the stepchild," said Council President Darrell L. Clarke. Seth Grove, a state representative from York County, countered: "Philadelphia has overstepped its boundaries as a local government."
Yours truly wrote about the weird place Philly's labor leaders find themselves in these days, after Trump won a bigger share of the union-household vote than any other Republican since 1984. Left-leaning unions are working to reach out to Trump voters in their midst, while the head of the local Fraternal Order of Police, whose national board endorsed Trump, worries about losing dues and thinks the president's pro-police talk is "smoke and mirrors."
After repeated calls for Trump to address anti-Semitic threats directed at Jewish community centers around the country, the president, speaking at the National Musuem of African-American History and Culture, called the threats "horrible" and "a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil." Meanwhile, two Muslim Americans launched an online fund-raiser that raised tens of thousands to repair a Jewish cemetery vandalized in University City, Mo.
Over the course of a few days, one of the most visible figures of the alt-right, Milo Yiannopoulous, resigned from Breitbart News, got disinvited from a speaking engagement at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and lost his book deal after videos surfaced in which he appeared to defend pedophilia. (Yiannopoulous said his remarks shouldn't be characterized in that way). The Washington Post has a rundown of the provocateur's 96-hour downfall, which seems to have been triggered by his invitation to speak at CPAC. NPR took a look at the premiere conservative conference's uneasy relationship with the right's more controversial figures, including Trump himself.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, the target of weekly "Tuesdays With Toomey" protests outside his offices, said he met Tuesday with protesters at his Harrisburg office. No word, at least on the Republican's Twitter feed, of what was discussed.
And after angry constituents flooded several Republican lawmakers' town halls across the country, the president weighed in:
The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2017
Some commentators, citing the tea party, counter that coordinated protest at town halls is nothing new:
In contrast, in 2009 conservatives found themselves in town hall meetings after spontaneously responding to the sound of a bald eagle's cry. https://t.co/pkV5HpdPMo— Nicole Hemmer (@pastpunditry) February 21, 2017
In the age of alternative facts, the New Yorker explores how difficult it is to change people's minds on ... just about anything, even when the facts are not in their favor.
This guy tried to go a week without reading any news about the president (and picked probably the worst week for it).