President Donald Trump demonstrated a unique ability during his first year: He can bend time.
Never before have more twists and turns been packed into each day of a presidency. Stories that would be GIANT news for weeks in another administration wind up being eclipsed by a tweet or an offhanded comment from the President. Every day is 50 pounds of news stuffed into a five-pound bag. And every day feels like a week – or longer.
Need proof? With the help of the terrific Brenna Williams, I’ve cataloged the major news headlines of Trump’s first 31 days of 2018. I’ve added a few thoughts and bits of context where it makes sense. This is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that happened this past month. But even an impartial list like this one speaks to just how much news is being created by this White House every damn day.
Let’s do it!
He’s not wrong!
The first of a LOT of wild days in January. The Hatch retirement – after he was being urged to run for an eighth term – would normally be a huge story. But Trump’s tweet suggesting that the FBI was part of a “deep state” conspiracy aimed at undermining his presidency dominated the day. Also, Sheriff Clarke somehow got suspended from Twitter because, well, why not.
How can you possibly top Trump calling his former top adviser insane? By taunting an unstable dictator, that’s how!
Drilling! Mental state! Suing Bannon! Cell phone ban! Ivanka for prez!
This all happened in a single 24-hour period.
Also, the Ivanka for president – apparently she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have talked about it and decided she should be the one who runs – was the most ridiculous/best.
The Rexit is off. I repeat, no Rexit. For now. Like, right this minute.
Sure, it was only one big news story. But the President referring to himself in a tweet as a “very stable genius” is the mathematical equivalent of 100 news stories. Also, “Very Stable Genius” is going to be a hot costume for Halloween 2018.
Oprah 2020! Will she? Won’t she? Should she? Would she? Could she?
So, wait. You are telling me Bannon was more of an opportunist than a Trump loyalist from the jump? Whaaaaaa.
So. Much. News. The big headline of the day was Trump’s kumbayah meeting with a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers – and his pledge to sign a “bill of love.” (Spoiler alert: He didn’t!) But the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee releasing the transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony? BIG deal. Bannon pushed out of Breitbart after his anti-Trump comments to author Michael Wolff? BIG deal.
The Issa retirement was the latest sign that House Republicans in swing seats – Hillary Clinton won Issa’s district in 2016 – were heading for the exits rather than run the risk of losing in November.
On a totally unrelated note: No collusion No collusion No collusion No collusion No collusion No collusion No collusion
The “shithole” day. A massive moment and proof positive that Trump’s pledges of bipartisanship from two days earlier were totally meaningless. Also, a sex scandal in Missouri!
Even as the fight over “shithole” vs “shithouse” started to truly heat up, the Journal introduced Stormy Daniels into our lives. I mean, wow.
This did not, um, put this controversy to bed.
The fight over what Trump actually said in that Oval Office immigration meeting on January 11 raged into its fourth day. Also, two of the most prominent anti-Trump voices within the GOP spoke out against him.
Day 5 of the “shithole” fight – and an important one as the second ranking Senate Democrat went on the record to make clear that Trump made the derogatory comments about certain African nations. Even Graham, a supporter of Trump, urged the the President to put the controversy behind him.
Eric Trump: Not helping things. Jeff Flake: Not a Trump fan. Steve Bannon: Still making headlines.
The Journal takes the Stormy story even further – reporting that Trump’s personal lawyer sent the six-figure donation to Daniels from an LLC he established for the purpose. The Supreme Court holds up a plan to re-craft North Carolina’s congressional districts before the 2018 election. And the House reauthorizes domestic surveillance just days after Trump seemed to, accidentally, suggest they shouldn’t.
The meeting that was supposed to avert a shutdown! (Spoiler: It didn’t.)
And, shutdown! Also, another sexual harassment scandal – this one involving a Pennsylvania Republican House member in a suburban Philadelphia district.
Shutdown, Day 2. No end in sight!
The day that we learned that special counsel Bob Mueller wants to interview Trump regarding the 2016 election and Russia’s attempted interference. We also found out that Mueller and his team had already interviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
This was also the day that the saga over why Sen. Rand Paul was mysteriously attacked by a neighbor – it was a disagreement over landscaping! – was resolved. (I remain skeptical.)
Twin developments in the Russia investigation: Trump insists he would be happy to talk to Mueller under oath even as reports emerge that the President had asked then-acting Director Andrew McCabe whom he voted for in the 2016 election shortly after James Comey was fired.
Also, “sucks” enters our political vernacular. Thanks, Senator Manchin!
HUGE news that Trump actually told White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller as special counsel about a month after jettisoning Comey. McGahn refused and Trump never pulled the trigger. The White House didn’t deny the report in The New York Times but instead chose to emphasize the fact that the President didn’t actually fire Mueller.
Only news that big could push the Guggenheim golden toilet story to second best. (Related: No one puts the Guggenheim golden toilet in the corner.)
The UN ambassador is forced to publicly deny she is having an affair with the President! But that’s not all: Clinton didn’t act on reports of sexual harassment by a staffer on her 2008 presidential campaign. And, in other sexual harassment news, Meehan bowed to the inevitable and announced he won’t run again in 2018.
This came after a Wall Street Journal story that detailed a number of sexual harassment claims against the casino magnate and longtime Trump friend.
So, what Trump is saying here is that he might not be a feminist eh? Interesting.
The McCabe resignation was stunning – even though he had been expected to leave in a few months’ time anyway. That overshadowed the vetoing of Russia sanctions by the White House – a huge story on any other day.
SOTU! Hillary Clinton uses the attention being paid to Trump’s first State of the Union to dump out her apology for not firing the aide accused of sexual harassment. And – the deputy attorney general asks the President not to release the Nunes memo, which allegedly exposes a series of wrongdoing by the FBI.
The Trump-Rosenstein story is, um, wow. (Remember that Trump reportedly asked McCabe who he voted for in a meeting back in May 2017.) The resignation of the CDC director amid controversy and the clearing of Menendez are also giant stories. And a train carrying dozens of House and Senate Republicans crashed into a truck.
Correction: It was then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe who Trump asked about his 2016 vote, not Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.