What Had Happened Was... (Sept. 2nd-8th, 2019)

A lightning fast weekly recap so you don't feel like an idiot on Monday

Here’s a catch-up of the major events of the week of September 2, 2019. You can check in with a minimal time commitment, read about the big stuff and stay in the know before we’re on to the next. This week we saw Parliament step-up to defeat Boris Johnson, an ongoing attempt by Trump to defend altering a map with a Sharpie, four states canceling GOP primaries and the Taliban at Camp David… on the week of September 11th…supposedly. There’s a lot to cover, let’s dig right in.

Parliament Handles Business

On Monday, Parliament took up the task of stopping Prime Minister Boris Johnson from executing a “No-Deal” exit from the European Union after he made a move to suspend Parliament entirely at the end of September. I recommend you read my piece What the Chaos in the UK Means, a Primer for Americans for the major background leading up to this week.

Many current and former Conservative leaders spoke out publicly against the actions of Johnson last week. Dr. Phillip Lee, the MP for Bracknell, abandoned his seat with the Conservative party to join the Labour Party as Boris Johnson was speaking to the House of Commons.

On Thursday, Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother and a lawmaker for the Conservative party since 2010, announced that he was standing down as an M.P. and a minister in his brother’s government because he was "torn between family loyalty and the national interest."

“It’s been an honour to represent Orpington for nine years and to serve as a minister under three prime ministers. In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest—it’s an unresolvable tension and [it’s] time for others to take on my roles and MP and minister.” — Bo Johnson, former Conservative M.P.

With a new majority to stop Johnson, the House of Commons was able to present a bill to keep the U.K. from a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday that passed on Friday. The bill then passed through the House of Lords, creating another blow for the embattled Prime Minister who lost his majority, failed to call a snap election, expelled 21 of his MPs and watched his own brother walk out of his government all within a few days. The legislation is now headed to the Queen for royal assent to become law before parliamentary sittings are suspended next week.

Sharpiegate

Trump continued to try and defend his tweets that inaccurately listed Alabama in the strike zone for Hurricane Dorian. Last Sunday, Trump erroneously tweeted that Hurricane Dorian was set to hit Alabama, in addition to much of the east coast after turning into a Category 5 level storm. Trump’s tweet caused so much concern that the National Weather Service had to issue a correction in response to his mistake to clarify that Alabama was not in Dorian’s immediate path. He then spent the entire week trying to back pedal and find any source that would rehabilitate his statement and make him right. Turns out the NOAA was willing to be the fall guy.

On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) issued a statement that publicly backed Trump over its own scientists and made room for the possibility that Alabama was in play so that the president could save face. By Saturday, an agency-wide directive email had been leaked to the press that showed that staff was directed to “only stick with official National Hurricane Center forecasts if questions arise from some national level social media posts which hit the news this afternoon” and not to “provide any opinion” on Trump’s false information. According to a NOAA meteorologist who spoke to the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, it was understood that the email was in reference to Trump and it was sent after the National Weather Service office in Birmingham had contradicted Trump by tweeting Alabama would not be hit. Expect this saga to continue all next week. 

Four States Kill Primary Elections to Help Trump

Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize a plan to cancel statewide primary elections for the GOP in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who spoke to Politico. The organizers of this plan all seem intent on destroying any chance of disruption for Trump securing the nomination and appear to be motivated by denying any Republican critic a platform to embarrass him.

“Trump and his allies and the Republican National Committee are doing whatever they can do to eliminate primaries in certain states and make it very difficult for primary challengers to get on the ballot in a number of states. It’s wrong, the RNC should be ashamed of itself, and I think it does show that Trump is afraid of a serious primary challenge because he knows his support is very soft. Primary elections are important, competition within parties is good, and we intend to be on the ballot in every single state no matter what the RNC and Trump allies try to do. We also intend to loudly call out this undemocratic bull on a regular basis.” — former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Republican candidate for president

Although the Republican National Committee (R.N.C) publicly claims they had no role in canceling statewide primary elections, the Trump campaign has been quite active behind the scenes to ensure total control of the party by installing loyalists and eliminating any opposition. The collective goal seems to create a seamless path to re-nomination for Trump and avoid the internal opposition that former President George H.W. Bush faced in his failed 1992 reelection campaign.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick was quick to emphasize that this same tactic was used previously for Reagan in 1984 and Bush in 2004. He also noted that Democrats did the same thing in 1996 and 2012. Trump’s team and the R.N.C. have both announced they agree with the plans, but deny any role in the state’s decisions, which gives them deniability. After seeing how Trump and his team operate for several years, it’s clear that this is the result his campaign expected and there will likely be rewards for those who assisted to divert the democratic process in favor of bolstering Trump’s image leading into 2020.

Trump Wanted to Bring the Taliban to Camp David on the week of 9/11

On Saturday night, Trump tweeted that he had just canceled a “secret meeting” with the Taliban and the president of Afghanistan, who were to come to Camp David this weekend for negotiations. The reason he cited for cancelation was the recent knowledge that the Taliban had been involved in a suicide bombing in Kabul that resulted in the death of a U.S. solider.

Where to start. The idea that the president would invite the Taliban to Camp David on the week of September 11th is almost too absurd to discuss. Add to that Trump’s propensity to lie on average 13 times a day and none of this seems remotely plausible. The timing of this strange announcement of a secret meeting is very suspicious. Considering that we have recent reports from Deutsche Bank that they have the Trump records Congress is seeking and a recent Politico scoop about how Trump may be violating the Emoluments Clause, the idea of a lie like this from Trump to deflect seems plausible. Only one thing is certain — I will be providing updates on all of the critical news as it comes in here at Shero, so be sure and subscribe so that you never miss a post.

For more detail on the events of the week, see the following articles listed below:

What the Chaos in the UK Means, a Primer for Americans

A Map, a Sharpie and Trump Walk Into a Bar...

Eric Trump Is Confused Again

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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero” Newsletter and is an attorney, contributor to Playboy Magazine, analyst for BBC radio and Director of The Inanna Project. She can be reached at avanderpool@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.