Donald Trump’s Tumultuous Month

With tweets and public pronouncements, he sparks demonstrations, chaos on Capitol Hill, and a torrent of leaks to the news media.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
George E. Condon Jr.
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George E. Condon Jr.
Feb. 15, 2017, 8 p.m.

Wed­nes­day was Don­ald Trump’s 27th day in of­fice. He sent out tweets every day, total­ing 167, hit­ting highs of 12 on two days and only one day with a lone tweet. He sparked demon­stra­tions around the coun­try, caused dis­may in Con­gress and the news me­dia, and, to his frus­tra­tion, watched as the White House and gov­ern­ment bur­eau­cracy leaked em­bar­rass­ing in­form­a­tion.

Jan. 21—Miffed at re­ports that his in­aug­ur­a­tion drew smal­ler crowds than Pres­id­ent Obama’s, he lashed out at the “dis­hon­est” me­dia dur­ing a vis­it to the CIA. An es­tim­ated 500,000 pro­test­ers, a ma­jor­ity of them wo­men, marched in Wash­ing­ton, and thou­sands more hit the street in cit­ies around the coun­try.

Jan. 22—Cit­ing “al­tern­at­ive facts,” Kel­ly­anne Con­way de­fen­ded the pres­id­ent’s per­cep­tion of the in­aug­ur­al crowd. Con­way also used her ap­pear­ance on Meet the Press to de­clare that Trump will not re­lease his tax re­turns. Trump tweeted about his crowd size.

Jan. 23—On his first of­fi­cial day at work, Trump with­drew from the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship. Press sec­ret­ary Sean Spicer said Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Ad­viser Mi­chael Flynn and Rus­si­an Am­bas­sad­or Sergey Kislyak had not dis­cussed sanc­tions dur­ing their tele­phone calls in Decem­ber.

Jan. 24—Key­stone XL and Dakota Ac­cess came back from the dead as Trump signed ac­tions to undo Pres­id­ent Obama’s ef­forts to kill the con­tro­ver­sial pipelines.

Jan. 25—Trump de­man­ded an in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to his claims that there was massive vote fraud in the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. He and his top aides bristled at the wide­spread mock­ing of his fraud claims. Trump also told ABC News that he still be­lieves that tor­ture works.

Jan. 26—Trump tweeted that Mex­ico had “taken ad­vant­age” of the United States and sug­ges­ted that his up­com­ing sum­mit with the Mex­ic­an pres­id­ent should be can­celed if Mex­ico would not pay for the wall. It was then can­celed by Mex­ico. Spicer then caused con­fu­sion when he mis­takenly sug­ges­ted that the pres­id­ent wanted to slap a 20 per­cent tax on all im­ports com­ing from Mex­ico. The Justice De­part­ment warned the White House that Flynn might be vul­ner­able to Rus­si­an black­mail.

Jan. 27—Trump signed an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der au­thor­iz­ing “ex­treme vet­ting” to “keep rad­ic­al Is­lam­ic ter­ror­ists out of the United States.” What fol­lowed was a night of con­fu­sion, chaos, and demon­stra­tions at air­ports across the coun­try as the gov­ern­ment tried to fig­ure out how to im­ple­ment the or­der.

Jan. 28—Chief strategist Steph­en Ban­non was ad­ded to the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil amid more con­fu­sion over the ban. Trump spent an hour on the phone with Vladi­mir Putin.

Jan. 29—While the pres­id­ent watched Find­ing Dory at the White House, protests against the ban in­tens­i­fied.

Jan. 30—Dam­age con­trol on the ban con­tin­ued. Trump fired act­ing At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Sally Yates, an Obama hol­d­over, for fail­ing to fully de­fend the ban.

Jan. 31—Neil Gor­such was named by the pres­id­ent to fill the va­cancy on the Su­preme Court. Spicer tangled with re­port­ers who called the or­der a “ban.”

Feb. 1—Trump un­der­cut Spicer on the ban, tweet­ing, “Call it what you want.” He also praised ab­ol­i­tion­ist Fre­d­er­ick Dou­glass as if he were still alive. Dou­glass died in 1895. Trump again at­tacked “fake news.” The Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted that Trump’s call with the Aus­trali­an prime min­is­ter was con­ten­tious and ended ab­ruptly.

Feb. 2—At the Na­tion­al Pray­er Break­fast, Trump talked about the low rat­ings from The Ap­pren­tice and dis­missed the flap over the Aus­sie call without dis­put­ing that it was “the worst call by far.”

Feb. 3—Trump in­creased sanc­tions on Ir­an and began to un­wind Dodd-Frank. But the spot­light went—again—to Con­way on MS­N­BC when she in­ven­ted the “Bowl­ing Green Mas­sacre” and lamen­ted its scant cov­er­age. Trump headed to his first week­end at Mar-a-Lago. A judge in Seattle blocked the Muslim ban.

Feb. 4—Trump at­tacked the “so-called judge” who is­sued the or­der. The Justice De­part­ment ap­pealed. Sat­urday Night Live un­veils Melissa Mc­Carthy play­ing Sean Spicer.

Feb. 5—Trump privately grumbles about SNL us­ing a wo­man to play Spicer and pub­licly de­rided the judge for mak­ing the coun­try less safe.

Feb. 6—Trump went to Mac­Dill Air Force Base to com­plain about the me­dia. The White House re­acted to a New York Times story by in­sist­ing that the pres­id­ent does not own a bath­robe.

Feb. 7—Trump heard about a Texas state sen­at­or who op­posed one of his po­s­i­tions and mused, “We’ll des­troy his ca­reer.” Trump com­plained “the haters are go­ing crazy” try­ing to link him with Rus­sia.

Feb. 8—Trump went after Nord­strom, angry that the store dropped his daugh­ter’s line of clothes. Gor­such told sen­at­ors that he was ap­palled by Trump’s at­tack on the ju­di­ciary. The White House went on the de­fens­ive about a raid in Ye­men that killed an Amer­ic­an SEAL.

Feb. 9—Con­way raised eye­brows when she used an ap­pear­ance on Fox News to openly pro­mote Ivanka Trump’s line of clothes. A three-judge pan­el at the 9th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals un­an­im­ously ruled against re­in­stat­ing Trump’s im­mig­ra­tion ban. The Wash­ing­ton Post cited nine sources say­ing that Flynn dis­cussed sanc­tions with the Rus­si­ans. That was the first time that Vice Pres­id­ent Mike Pence learned that Flynn lied to him.

Feb. 10—Trump at­tacked the court rul­ing and vowed to pre­vail. The Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted that Flynn did, in­deed, speak to the Rus­si­an am­bas­sad­or about U.S. sanc­tions, des­pite his earli­er deni­als. Trump heads again to Mar-a-Lago, this time for golf with the Ja­pan­ese prime min­is­ter.

Feb. 11Alec Bald­win and Mc­Carthy again tar­geted Trump and Spicer on SNL. Oth­er diners at Mar-a-Lago were amazed when Trump and the Ja­pan­ese prime min­is­ter stayed at their table in the middle of the res­taur­ant to plot an al­lied re­sponse to a North Korea mis­sile test.

Feb. 12—White House aide Steph­en Miller made tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances sug­gest­ing Trump’s au­thor­ity “will not be ques­tioned.” He also re­peated un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims of voter fraud and in­sisted the courts had no right to over­rule Trump. One view­er, at least, was pleased—the pres­id­ent, who tweeted, “Great job!”

Feb. 13—Con­way went on CN­BC at noon to de­clare the pres­id­ent’s “full con­fid­ence” in Flynn. Hours later, he was gone, forced to resign be­cause of mount­ing evid­ence that he talked about sanc­tions with the Rus­si­ans and then lied to Pence.

Feb. 14—Con­way and Spicer offered com­pet­ing takes on the cir­cum­stances of Flynn’s de­par­ture. Con­way said he went on his own; Spicer said Trump asked for his resig­na­tion after los­ing trust in him.

Feb. 15—At a press con­fer­ence with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu, Trump said, “I can live with either one” when asked if he favored a one-state or two-state solu­tion for the Middle East. The lat­ter has been the long-stand­ing po­s­i­tion of the U.S.

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