Donald Trump was called “reckless, outrageous and undignified” by a Republican senator in a searing indictment of the White House, while the president also continued an ongoing feud with the pregnant widow of U.S. soldier killed by Islamic militants.
“The alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters,” said Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, as he announced his retirement.
There were also more revelations about the salacious Trump dossier and a US$300-million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico was awarded to a company with ties to the White House.
Here’s what you missed in the world of Donald Trump this week.
Oct. 26: Trump declares opioid crisis a public health emergency but offers no cash
Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic on Thursday, but the step won’t offer any new money to help fight the scourge, which kills 140 Americans a day.
“We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history,” Trump said, adding, “It’s just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort.”
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue,” he said.
READ MORE: Donald Trump declares opioid epidemic a public health emergency
The move will expand access to medical services in rural areas, but Trump had previously promised to declare a national emergency, which would have triggered federal funding to help states battle the drug epidemic.
Health experts were quick to criticize the announcement.
“How can you say it’s an emergency if we’re not going to put a new nickel in it?” Dr. Joseph Parks, medical director of the non-profit National Council for Behavioral Health, told the Associated Press. “As far as moving the money around,” he added, “that’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Meanwhile, Trump teased the release of secret U.S. government files linked to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but kept hundreds of files secret. Over 2,800 other records related to Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 were still released.
Oct. 25: Clinton camp helped fund Trump dossier
Donald Trump seized on reports that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund a political research firm that produced a dossier of allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia.
The dossier was written by a former British spy Christopher Steele and contained several unverified claims including that Trump had been filmed with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.
“The victim here is the President,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
READ MORE: Hillary Clinton campaign, DNC funded research on Donald Trump ties to Russia
House Republicans say they’re going to investigate a nearly decade-old uranium deal with a Russian agency that took place when Clinton ran the State Department. They also announced an investigation into her emails. Accusations that Clinton benefited financially from the uranium deal have been proven mostly false.
Meanwhile, a small company, that’s just two years old, and has connections to the Trump administration was awarded a $300-million contract as part of Puerto Rico’s recovery effort, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Whitefish Energy is based in Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Mont. According to the report, its CEO, Andy Techmanski, knows Zinke as his son worked in construction for him.
The decision to award that large contract to a company which only had two full-time employees when Maria made landfall had many asking questions. Members of Congress from both parties called for an investigation into the contract.
Oct. 24: GOP Senators blast Trump’s ‘flagrant disregard of truth and decency’
Two Republican senators levelled blistering criticism against Trump on Tuesday, exposing deep fractions in the GOP.
“I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for and that’s regretful,” Bob Corker, of Tennessee, who is retiring told reporters.
READ MORE: Republican senators attacks on Donald Trump reveal major rifts within party
Jeff Flake of Arizona declared he would not be “complicit” with the current White House and announced his surprise retirement citing Trump’s “flagrant disregard of truth and decency” during an emotional speech from the Senate floor.
“Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behaviour has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified,” Flake said, addressing Trump. “And when such behaviour emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy.”
Trump responded angrily on Twitter saying, “Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee…”
Meanwhile, the president is relishing in a major contract landed by Boeing from Singapore Airlines and talking up the 70,000 U.S. jobs he claims will be created from the order.
READ MORE: Donald Trump to help White House staff pay legal bills related to Russia investigation
Two important notes, however: Boeing did not say they were new jobs, but that the order will “sustain” 70,000 direct and indirect U.S. jobs for the company, its suppliers and others. The order largely came together under the administration of Barack Obama and it’s unlikely any president had much to do with it, according to the Associated Press.
Oct. 23: Trump’s war with a U.S. soldier’s widow
The war of words between the Trump administration and the widow of a fallen soldier continued Monday when Myeshia Johnson, the wife of a U.S. Army sergeant who died in Niger earlier in October, contradicted Trump’s account of his phone call about Sgt. La David Johnson’s death.
Trump had previously attacked Florida Democrat Rep. Frederica Wilson’s account of the call — that Trump forgot Sgt. Johnson’s name, and said her husband “knew what he was signing up for.” Myeshia said Wilson was practically a member of their family and was listening when Trump called Myeshia.
READ MORE: Gold Star widow says Donald Trump’s phone call made her ‘cry even worse’
Johnson told Good Morning America on Monday that what Rep. Wilson said was “100 per cent correct.”
“The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyway,” Johnson said. “And it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn’t remember my husband’s name. The only way he could remember my husband’s name was he told me he had my husband’s report in front of him and that’s when he actually said, La David.”
READ MORE: Feud over Donald Trump’s condolence call to widow of American soldier rages on
Trump took to Twitter to deny Johnson’s characterization of the call, saying they had a “very respectful conversation.”
Sgt. Johnson and three other U.S. soldiers died on Oct. 4 in Africa when militants linked to the so-called Islamic State ambushed them.
Trump tweeted that Wilson “fabricated” his statement and the fight has been escalating since last Tuesday. Trump in other tweets called her “wacky” and accused her of “SECRETLY” listening to the phone call.
“The phone was on speakerphone. Why would we fabricate something like that?” Johnson said, adding that everyone in the car was listening to Trump’s call.
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