Hello and welcome to the Top 5 by Sam Jenkins. The Top 5 consists of the top five things happening right now in politics. Be sure to click that like button, leave a comment, or let me know if I’m #FakeNews. Thank you for reading!
1 Big Thing: Trade War or nah?
The trade dispute between China and the U.S. began when President Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel because of the U.S. large trade deficit to China. China has also been accused of intellectual property theft in an area like manufacturing technology. Since then, China and the U.S. have gone back and forth with a variety of expensive and targeted fees.
- Opponents of the strategy claim farmers will be pinched as prices will rise and their buyers will find other suppliers. Additionally, the stock markets are declining as businesses and investors fear a trade war.
- Proponents of the strategy claim we aren’t in a trade war because these tariffs are “proposed” tariffs. Moreover, this reassessment of trade with China is long overdue.
- The goal for Trump is to negotiate a long-term deal with China with balanced trade and protections for intellectual property. The Administration is hoping to work with the international community to address these problems as well.
Pruitt and Corruption
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt was under fire this week because new reports of his unethical conduct emerged.
- Some reports include: 1) several employees (both political appointees and career officials) were demoted after they raised concerns about frivolous expenses, 2) a sketchy apartment deal between Pruitt and an energy lobbyist, 3) large raises to two employees and 4) expensive travel and security.
- Many Democrats, several Republicans and reportedly White House Chief of Staff John Kelly want Pruitt to resign or step down as EPA Administrator.
- At the moment, President Trump stands behind Pruitt because of his work to roll back environmental regulations and his commitment to Trump’s agenda. Also, Pruitt has many allies outside Washington, which former Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin did not have when he was forced out.
On Sunday, President Trump bemoaned of a caravan of migrants flooding across U.S.-Mexico border. Trump used this caravan as a symbol to point to the increase of activity along the border. While this increased activity is true, it is a historic trend that occurs around this time of the year.
- This event prompted him to send the National Guard to secure the border. Presidents Bush and Obama also sent troops to the border.
- Migrants travel in this large group for two purposes: 1) collective safety and 2) increased awareness for the migrants’ situation.
- Critics say these orders are political because one, the troops are not needed on the ground and two, Trump didn’t get the wall he promised so he needed to show some action.
Regarding Syria, Trump started the week by expressing, “I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home. It’s time.” However, the situation in Syria is still flux.
- Military officials were hesitant about the sudden exit for two reasons. First, a victory is close as the U.S. backed forces control almost the entire country. Second, many people want a post-conflict plan so the insurgents can’t return like ISIS did in Iraq.
- On Saturday, the situation in Syria took a terrible turn as chemical bombs were dropped in a city. President Trump held Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responsible for the attack.
(credit: [news videos/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/130164959@N04/21847416952/))
Women across the country are running for public office at a historic clip and they are doing it their own way. According to data from the Center for American Women and Politics, 480 women are competing for House and Senate seats. However, while campaigning, they aren’t abiding by the men’s rules of politics. For example, Krish Vignarajah, the only woman running for the Democratic nomination for governor in Maryland, breastfed her child in a campaign ad. Additionally, Martha McSally, a Republican congresswoman from Arizona and a fighter pilot, said, “Washington Republicans [need] to grow a pair of ovaries.”