On January 17, the Agriculture Department announced that it would roll back nutritional standards for school lunches that were championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. (In what the government insisted was a coincidence, January 17 is her birthday.) The changes will likely mean less healthy lunches, but repealing the old rules had become a rallying cry among some conservatives.
That was just a warm-up for this week. Yesterday, while hobnobbing with the world’s wealthiest elites at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Trump told CNBC that he would consider cutting entitlements in a second term. That’s notable because Trump campaigned as a populist and told voters that, unlike his Republican rivals, he would not cut Medicare or Social Security. Since taking office, however, he has proposed budgets that would do so, and once again committed to cuts in the interview, if vaguely.
While in Davos, he also dismissed injuries sustained by American personnel in Iraq during Iranian strikes earlier this month. In his first comments after those attacks, Trump said “no Americans were harmed … We suffered no casualties.” Then the military announced that some Americans had suffered traumatic brain injuries, but that neither the president nor anyone else had been aware of this at the time of his January 8 remarks. Fair enough—yet Trump yesterday brushed off the injuries sustained by service members in the line of duty as “headaches.”
He also said he’d expand his controversial travel ban to Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania, with different restrictions on people from different countries. The original ban went through three versions before one passed muster in the Supreme Court, and the latest expansion is likely to draw lawsuits as well.
Meanwhile, the administration also disclosed plans to make it harder for pregnant women to get visas to travel to the United States, a move intended to prevent women from giving birth stateside and thus earning American citizenship for their children. The phenomenon of “anchor babies” or “birth tourism” has been, like Michelle Obama’s lunch rules, a conservative obsession for years, though it’s unclear how many people actually come to the U.S. to give birth.
Finally, the Justice Department told CNN that FBI forms from interviews with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, would not be released this week, even though a judge had ordered them to be handed over as part of a lawsuit, because redactions are needed. The department didn’t say when the forms might be released. The forms pertain to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which has been part of this week’s impeachment proceedings.
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