White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "we're looking into it" in response to questions on the EPA media blackout. (Jan. 24, 2017)
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by the Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning news releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.
The Trump administration has also ordered a "temporary suspension" of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney, picked to be President Trump's budget chief, came under expected fire for failing to pay more than $15,000 in taxes for his children's nanny, but it didn't appear that would torpedo his nomination, as has happened with past Cabinet selections.
At a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, most of the discussion instead focused on the South Carolina Republican's views on the nation's deficits and budget, particularly his past statements indicating the need to "end Medicare as we know it" and to fix Social Security, which Mulvaney at one time called a Ponzi scheme.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the budget committee's ranking Democratic member, described Mulvaney's remarks as "way out of touch" with the American public and Trump's own campaign promise to maintain federal retirement programs without cuts.
Americans remain most worried about terror and the economy as President Trump’s term begins, but in part because of his successful campaign, citizens have grown more concerned about environmental protections and global trade than in past years, according to a new Pew Research poll.
More than half of the Americans surveyed — 55% — said protecting the environment should be among the top priorities of the new president. Trump campaigned on loosening such protections, and on Tuesday, he reversed some Obama administration policies to potentially restart the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. He also has made clear his intent to weaken environmental regulations that he says harm the economy.
The desire to place the environment at the top of the new president’s concerns has risen by 14 points since the start of President Obama’s first term. Similarly, concern about climate change has risen 8 points, to 38%.
Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, a highly regarded conservative jurist best known for upholding religious liberty rights in the legal battles over Obamacare, has emerged as a leading contender for President Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination.
Gorsuch, 49, was among 21 potential high court candidates circulated by Trump’s team during the campaign, but his stock has been rising lately as several admirers and supporters have been named to positions in the Trump administration.
In Gorsuch, supporters see a jurist who has strong academic credentials, a gift for clear writing and a devotion to deciding cases based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the text of statutes, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
President Trump said Tuesday he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee next week, his first and most significant step to reshape the federal judiciary.
The fate of the high court seat left vacant after the February 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia was a major issue in the presidential race. The Senate’s Republican majority refused to consider President Obama’s choice, Judge Merrick Garland.
Trump said at a news conference earlier this month that the choice would likely be announced within his first two weeks in office. He told reporters in the Oval Office Tuesday he would make a final decision this week — and promised it would be a “truly great” nominee.
An aide to President Trump promised Tuesday that the White House will soon restore a Spanish-language website, which went dark after inauguration day.
"We're just building up," said Helen Aguirre Ferre, director of media affairs. "It's just day two on the job.”
Aguirre Ferre, a former bilingual media personality who headed Spanish-language communications for the Republican National Committee before joining Trump's White House, said the new administration is building out more content in both English and Spanish.
After a shaky few days, the rituals of the presidency worked on Monday to bolster President Trump, establishing a sense of normalcy rarely seen since he announced his unorthodox campaign for the White House in 2015.
Trump began his first full weekday in office by meeting with business leaders in the White House about manufacturing as television cameras recorded the moment. He signed an order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, keeping a campaign promise even if the action was mostly symbolic since the agreement was already effectively dead in Congress.
He gathered labor leaders to his side, reaching out to a group that has been a bulwark of Democratic politics; later he met with congressional leaders — including some in his own party for whom he was not the first option as president.
The nation’s top consumer financial watchdog, whom some Republicans want President Trump to fire, said Tuesday that the new Republican administration won’t change his approach to aggressively hold banks and other financial firms accountable.
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wouldn’t comment on what he would do if Trump asked for his resignation but said it was important that independent federal agencies not get “mired in partisan politics.”
The new administration “really shouldn’t change the job at all,” Cordray said in his first public comments since Trump’s inauguration,
With a stroke of his new presidential pen, he buried the massive Pacific free-trade agreement that the Obama administration had painstakingly negotiated, even though the 12-nation accord had been moribund for the last year after losing political support. It had little chance of being ratified by Congress.
The real questions are: What will Trump replace it with? And when and how will he remake America’s economic relations with the rest of the world?