Facing backlash (and massive protests at airports across the United States) from a travel ban targeting travelers from "high risk" countries, Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructed colleagues not to enforce the executive order.
Dana Boente will keep the seat warm for (Trump hopes) Jeff Sessions, his pick for AG. But Senate confirmation hearings are going slowly with Democrats grilling many of Trump's picks and deliberately delaying the process.
Speaking of confirmation hearings, Trump announced his Supreme Court pick this week. Federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch has been nominated to don the black robe. Trump wants Gorsuch confirmed within six weeks and has pressed senators to use the "nuclear option
" to get that done.
The nuclear option, as it is called on Capitol Hill, would end the need for Supreme Court nominees to receive 60 votes to break a filibuster and proceed to an up-or-down vote on the nomination that only requires a majority to confirm.
"If we end up with that gridlock I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear," Trump said of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "That would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web."
Across the pond, UK Prime Minister Theresa May's trip to Washington to meet Trump drew the ire of many in the UK and she faced a grilling in Parliament about her response to the US travel ban, while a petition
to revoke the invitation for Trump's state visit -- and meeting with the Queen -- garnered millions of signatures.
Her US visit drew attention away from her main order of business -- pushing through Brexit. She announced a White Paper
-- a formal set of plans -- on Thursday. The paper suggests the UK will seek a "new strategic partnership" with Europe, and will seek to avoid a "cliff-edge" Brexit.
'This is our little breakfast'
Trump, at a breakfast with black supporters to mark the start of African-American History Month, described abolitionist Frederick Douglass as "an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more" -- 122 years after his death. The transcript of the speech, which welcomed the supporters to "our little breakfast," was run in full by satire magazine McSweeney
's as a humor column.
At another breakfast -- the National Prayer Breakfast, to be exact -- the President again had a hard time focusing on the event at hand, reigniting a feud with his "Apprentice" replacement, Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the long-running, bipartisan event, he asked attendees to pray for Arnie so that ratings of his show would go up. The former California Governor hit back
, suggesting the two switch jobs so that people could "sleep at night" again.
Trump's administration started talking tough with foes. After Iran test-fired a ballistic missile Sunday, Trump declared the Middle Eastern powerhouse was being placed "on notice
." He also refused to discount the nuclear option (literally this time) when dealing with the longtime foe. "Nothing's off the table," he said.
His UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, carried on the strutting language, declaring that the US was "taking names
" of the countries "who don't have our backs," and -- perhaps surprisingly -- took a tough stance
on Russia's annexation of Crimea. Meanwhile, new US Defense Secretary James Mattis said
from a South Korean military base that any nuclear attack by North Korea would be "met with a response that will be effective and overwhelming."
It wasn't just foes -- current and former -- that felt the full force of Trump's tough diplomacy this week. During call a with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday, Trump objected to an agreement
over the US receiving refugees, sources told CNN, angrily ending a the call over 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. All this a day after a call with Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto, where a transcript showed Trump complaining about Mexico's "handling" of "tough hombres."
A first in two decades
Buoyed by strong pro-Israel utterances -- most often from Trump's favorite platform,Twitter -- the Israeli government announced big plans for settlement expansion
-- 2,500 homes last week, another 3,000 this week, including the first completely new settlement in two decades. However, the White House said Thursday that new Israeli settlement activity could potentially hamper the peace process, a new stance for an administration that's remained adamant in its support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The announcements came as Israel evicted settlers from Amona, an illegal outpost near Hebron in the West Bank.
That's not all
While the world's attention was focused on Washington and the stories that emanated from the Trump White House, other stories struggled to get traction.
In any other week, these would've been the top stories:
- A gunman stormed a mosque in Quebec City on Monday, with shooter Alexandre Bissonnette -- a right-wing Trump supporter -- killing six worshipers and injuring eight more.
- The Republican-led Senate rolled back the Stream Protection Rule, an Obama administration regulation aimed at curbing waste from coal mines from entering waterways but that Republicans complained was an onerous job killer in coal country, and the House voted Thursday to repeal an Obama-era regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose to the national gun background check system information about people with mental illness.
- A joint US-UAE raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen resulted in the death of US Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens. Owens was fatally wounded in a firefight that saw three other US service members wounded and 14 al Qaeda fighters killed. Multiple US officials told CNN that an assessment of civilian casualties is still ongoing, which may include the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader.
It's not all that bad
After the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was devastated an act of kindness revived their spirits -- the leaders of the local Jewish congregation gave them the keys
to their synagogue so they could continue to worship.
The leader of the mosque said he wasn't surprised by the gesture.
"I never doubted the support that we were going to get" after the fire, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, a surgeon and president of Victoria Islamic Center, told CNN. "We've always had a good relationship with the community here."
Hashmi said Dr. Gary Branfman -- a member of Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria -- just came by his house and gave him the keys.