Happy fall, everyone, and welcome back to “What’s the Haps?” For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome, and thank you for reading this. This blog originated as a requirement for my journalism class but has evolved into something that I genuinely enjoy doing. Throughout the school year, I’ll be posting new entries regarding the current events and political issues which are hot topics at that point in time. My blog’s goal is to not only inform and educate you all as readers, but also serve as a way to hold me accountable on keeping up with the latest news.
Because SO MUCH has happened since my last blog post in April, I’ve decided that the best way to catch you all up is with a few short timelines. Then, I’ll give you an update on what I’ve been up to as well.
First, let’s address who is in and who is out of government jobs throughout the course of Trump’s presidency so far:
My AP United States History teacher sent my class this tweet over the summer, and I just thought it was fitting.
- May 9 – James Comey is removed from his position as FBI Director. Trump explains that he was advised by the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General to fire Comey, citing Comey’s statements regarding Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as his reasoning.
- May 18 – White House Director of Communications, Michael Dubke, resigns.
- July 21 – Trump appoints Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House Communications Director. The same day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigns. Sarah Huckabee Sanders takes his place as Press Secretary.
- July 28 – Trump appoints John F. Kelly as Chief of Staff — replacing Reince Priebus.
- July 31 – Scaramucci is removed as White House Communications Director.
- August 16 – Trump appoints Hope Hicks as interim White House Communications Director.
- August 18 – Chief Strategist Steve Bannon leaves his position. 17 members of the White House arts and humanities advisory panel resign, citing Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attacks as their reasoning.
- September 29 – Tom Price, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, resigns after receiving criticism over his extensive use of private jets, funded by U.S. taxpayers.
- October 12 – Trump nominates Kirstjen Nielsen as the next Secretary of Homeland Security — replacing John F. Kelly, who is now Chief of Staff.
President Trump’s relationship with the press:
- May 12 – Trump suggests via tweet and interview the possibility of ending White House press briefings — substituted by written statements.
- May 28 – Trump sends a series of tweets questioning the use of anonymous sources by mainstream media groups.
- July 2 – Trump retweets a GIF of himself body slamming a wrestler with the CNN logo covering his head.
Because the progress made in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is complicated and lengthy, here’s a link for you all to follow to read up on all of the progress made in the investigation so far:
Attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare:
- June 27 – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postpones a vote on Trump’s initiative to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
- July 28 – Senator John McCain votes ‘no’ in a dramatic and late night vote on the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.
- July 29 – Trump describes Republican Senators as “fools” after a 49-51 vote against the attempt to repeal Obamacare.
- September 26 – A third attempt at a Senate vote to repeal Obamacare is abandoned.
Other controversial actions:
- July 24 – Trump speaks at the National Scout Jamboree with strong political rhetoric. The Boy Scout’s chief executive later issues a formal apology to all those who attended.
- July 26 – Trump states that the United States will not accept transgender individuals to serve in the military.
- August 12 – Trump condemns the violence “on all sides” at the Neo Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of one woman.
- September 5 – Attorney General Sessions announces that Trump has instructed the Dept. of Homeland Security to stop accepting applications for the DACA program and has placed the responsibility of fixing or replacing the program on Congress. (The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, allowed applicants who, as minors, had entered or remained in the country illegally to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and access to employment.)
- October 8 – Vice President Mike Pence walks out of an Indianapolis Colts’ games after 15 San Francisco players knelt during the national anthem.
Natural Disasters, Shootings, and Terrorist Attacks:
- May 22 – A suicide bomber kills 22 and injures 116 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
- June 3 – A van hits pedestrians on the London Bridge, and the driver and the other occupants of the car stab people nearby, injuring 48 and killing 8.
- August 17- A van runs over pedestrians in Barcelona — injuring 152 and killing 16.
- August 25-29 – Hurricane Harvey makes landfall in Texas.
- August 30-September 16 – Hurricane Irma travels through the Caribbean islands and makes landfall in Florida.
- September 16-October 3 – Hurricane Maria causes great destruction on the island of Puerto Rico.
- October 1 – A shooter kills 59 and injures another 500 concert goers in Las Vegas, marking the largest mass shooting in United States’ history.
- October 14 – A truck bomb in Somalia kills almost 400 people and injures another 400 as well.
And finally, here is an explanation of major actions made in terms of international relations between the United States and other countries:
- June 1 – Trump announces his intent to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
- July 6 – Trump attends the G20 Summit in Germany.
- August 4 – The Trump administration delivers an official notice to the United Nations on the intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
- August 8 – Trump warns North Korea of “fire and fury” after threats of retaliation against new sanctions.
- September 19 – Trump states that if Kim Jong-un forces the United States to defend itself or its allies, the United States will “totally destroy” North Korea.
Whew! And that was just a “short” summary of what went down only during the summer! Feel free to follow the links below if you would like a more in-depth summary of the events I listed or would like to see more events that also occurred during that time. (I know Wikipedia isn’t always the most trustworthy source, but these timelines that I found were very detailed and accurate.)
I’ve recently noticed how helpful this blog post is in ensuring that I am informed and aware of the current events happening in the world around me, and I hope that it will serve the same purpose for you all as well.
And now, for a quick update about my summer. I attended a National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) camp in Washington, D.C. on political action and public policy, and because of my research and blog posts on particular topics last year, I was able to have educated debates with my peers on pressing issues of the time.
Side note: if you are ever considering attending an NSLC camp, I highly recommend it! No matter what program you are interested in, I can guarantee you that the places you visit, the classes you take, and the bonds you form with your peers are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I even got to attend a speech by the Vice President and shake his hand! — that’s definitely something you wouldn’t experience at any other camp.
Below is a picture of me with Vice President Pence (sorry it’s blurry — it was screenshotted from a video, but you can kinda make out his head), and the other is with some friends I met there, who I still keep in touch with to this day.
By meeting all of these politically active people at the NSLC camp, I became inspired to become more active in politics myself. When I came home from D.C., I began my project on political journalism with a lead journalist at the Asheville Citizen-Times. I am also actively volunteering on Vijay Kapoor’s Asheville City Council Campaign this fall.
This blog has been extremely helpful in both cases by simply keeping me informed on important issues that I need to be educated on to fully participate in these various projects.
Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading! See you on the next edition of “What’s the Haps?” Feel free to email me with suggestions on what you would like me to write about next time via firstname.lastname@example.org