An Executive Order and Pending Hurricane

Trump issued an executive order today regarding interference with campaign, election infrastructure and propaganda efforts. At a press briefing today, the order was described as an intended to be “a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process.” Specifics of the order require Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, to conduct regular assessments about potential foreign interference in elections. The order sets up a high-level process for the U.S. intelligence community and other law enforcement officials to investigate and evaluate possible election meddling. According to Coats, the order requires first, it requires the Director of National Intelligence to conduct regular assessments of possible election interference. And after each election, the intelligence community will have 45 days to investigate whether there was an attempt at interference, followed by a Justice Department review. If that review leads to a consensus is reached, among the Justice Department, that a foreign country or other entity tried to meddle in the election, automatic sanctions would be triggered. The sanctions are not limited directly to the actors for hacking but any efforts for election interference and or the distribution of propaganda and disinformation. This executive Order comes about after lawmakers in Congress have begun  pushing various proposals to deter foreign election meddling. White House has said they welcome efforts being made by legislators but the president needed to act immediately in case those legislative proposals stalled. The two lawmakers spearheading the legislative push, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md..

If there is one thing Trump tried to keep out if his talking points, it is climate change, and weather as a whole. Trump is on record denying climate change and has even had it stricken from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. There is a consistent down play in humans’ role in increasing the risks the environment is facing. This passed Tuesday, the Trump administration announced their plans to roll back federal rules on methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is the main component in natural gas. This new roll back marks the third and final attack the Trump administration has made on the three pillars of President Barack Obama’s climate-change plan. The Washington Post published an editorial slamming Trump and his dismantlement of Obama era climate protections. Conservative strategist Chris Barron responded to the piece; “This column is so absurd it should be coming from The Onion not the Washington Post. To the extent that climate change is happening, it is a global phenomenon that has been occurring for decades and decades,” Barron said. “The media won’t give Trump credit for the economy but they will blame him for a hurricane. You can’t make this stuff up.” A more pressing concern to pile on to Trump's denial of climate change, is the looming hurricane, Florence. The storm has fluctuated between a category 2 and 4 storm all week but what meteorologists are sure of, the storm is going to hit land hard. Trump spoke today from the oval office alongside a map of Florence's projected path "We are as ready as anybody has ever been.” he went on to say that the storm heading towards the East Coast of the United States would be "tremendously big and tremendously wet" and that the government was sparing "no expense" and was "totally prepared." If Trump’s track record of responses to natural disasters is an indicator of his future behavior, the Carolina’s have even more cause for concern. Last year after hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico Trump was seen throwing rolls of paper towels to the crowd at a photo-op at a distribution center outside San Juan. The island was without power for months and the island's governor formally raised the death toll from 64 to an estimated 2,975. Yet Trump is still in denial about the fatal impact Maria had on the island. "I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful. Puerto Rico was actually our toughest one of all because it's an island. You can't truck things onto it. Everything is by boat...The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did, working along with the governor in Puerto Rico, I think, was tremendous. I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success,"  Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday.