Chances are, Tuesday night is as close as Ernest Moniz will ever get to the presidency.
Moniz, the current Energy secretary, was the administration’s “designated survivor” — the Cabinet member assigned to hide in an undisclosed location in case, heaven forbid, the worst were to occur while Congress and the rest of the administration assembled for the State of the Union address.
But what would the Moniz administration have looked like?
For one, it would have been the first captained by a physicist: Prior to joining the Obama administration in 2013, Moniz was a professor of physics and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a Stanford University doctorate in theoretical physics. And if past is prologue, Moniz wouldn’t shy away from talking science.
His latest post on the Energy Department blog is titled “Wide Bandgap Semiconductors: Essential to Our Technology Future.” Those looking for lighter fare can refer to his earlier work: “New Steps to Strengthen Our Energy Infrastructure.”
Moniz is not a politician, but he’s not a novice to governing either. He served as the Energy Department’s undersecretary during the second half of President Clinton’s tenure. And in his policy, he’s been the type of compromiser who makes just about everybody mad: Environmental groups have been wary of his embrace of natural gas, while he probably didn’t endear himself to the Right by declaring that he’s “not interested in debating what is not debatable” when it comes to human-induced climate change.
More than anything else, however, Moniz has drawn attention for his hair, which is a mix of President Washington, Back to the Future‘s Doc Brown, and Javier Bardem’s serial-killing character in No Country for Old Men.
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.