Donald Trump this week: transgender ban, Kushner says he didn’t do it and the Mooch
Chaos reigned in the White House of Donald Trump this week as two of his top advisors warred over leaking accusations, a ban on transgender people in the military surprised even Pentagon officials, and GOP senators failed once again to repeal Obamacare.
WATCH: Trump speaks at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree
With the Trump presidency now past the six-month mark, here is everything that happened this week in the world of the 45th president.
July 24: ‘Who the hell wants to speak about politics’
“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?” Trump said, before launching into a rambling partisan speech at National Scout Jamboree in Washington on Monday night.
Speaking to a crowd of 40,000 scouts – many of whom are children– Trump attacked “fake news,” told a bizarre anecdote about a real estate developer, attacked election rival Hillary Clinton and former president Barack Obama.
“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp and it’s not a good place. In fact today I said, ‘We ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or perhaps to the word sewer.’ But it’s not good. Not good.”
The speech led to the U.S. Scouts’ Facebook page being swamped with thousands of outraged comments from people involved with the movement. In a statement Tuesday, the organization distanced itself from the president’s speech before issuing an apology later in the week.
Elsewhere, Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner denied Monday that he colluded with Russians in the course of Trump’s White House campaign.
“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” Kushner said in the prepared remarks.
WATCH: Jared Kushner: I did not collude with Russia, nor did anyone else in the Trump campaign
Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign manager Paul Manafort have faced questions about their relationships with Russian officials, including a meeting last year with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.
Meanwhile, both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster are reportedly frustrated at the “disorganization” inside the White House and are upset it’s affecting their jobs.
Tillerson reportedly told friends he will be “lucky to last a year in his job,” according to multiple reports.
July 25: Trump attacks his own attorney general, and shields himself against Chrissy Teigen
The president continued to publicly criticize a “beleaguered” Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, telling reporters at the White House’s Rose Garden that only “time will tell” if he fires his attorney general.
“I am disappointed in the attorney general,” Trump said.
“He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else.”
This came after an early morning tweet in which he called Sessions’ position on Hillary Clinton’s emails “very weak.”
Trump has been furious with Sessions — an early political ally of the president — ever since he recused himself from the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
American model Chrissy Teigen, and husband of singer John Legend, joined the likes of famed writer Stephen King after becoming the latest celebrity to be blocked by Trump on Twitter.
July 26: Trump wants to ban transgender people from military over medical costs — even if Viagra costs more
Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people in the military appeared to surprise everyone Wednesday, including the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The announcement led to a fiery bipartisan backlash.
In a series of early morning tweets on Wednesday, Trump justified the ban by blaming high health care costs associated with transgender people, saying the military must be “focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.”
This was quickly debunked, with a report from the Rand corporation noting that additional health care costs for transgender people would increase the military’s health care bill by approximately 0.13 per cent, or a maximum of $8.1 million. The military spends five times that amount – $41.6 million – on Viagra every year, according to the report.
Democrats and some Republicans quickly condemned Trump’s tweets, as did LGBTQ groups, celebrities, civil rights organizations and the Canadian Forces.
According to a report from Politico, the president’s hasty announcement may have been part of an effort to save a House bill that partly funds a border wall.
Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a statement Thursday: “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance.”
Also on Wednesday, Trump announced that electronics giant Foxconn will build a US$10-billion factory in Wisconsin that’s expected to create 3,000 jobs initially.
With his promises on health care and tax reform still up in the air, the announcement is seen as a big win for the Trump administration, which had pledged to generate manufacturing jobs but struggled to deliver results.
July 27: The Mooch vows to crack down on leakers
Newly-minted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci lobbed a bombshell on Twitter, tagging Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a tweet saying that he would contact the FBI and the Justice Department over the alleged leak of his financial disclosure info.
Scaramucci’s info was the subject of a Politico story on Wednesday. The information wasn’t leaked, but obtained through a public records request.
WATCH: Scaramucci lashes out at Priebus as White House power struggle becomes public
Nevertheless, Scaramucci told CNN on Thursday that “The fish stinks from the head down.”
He also challenged Priebus to come forward and say publicly that he’s not a leaker, before referencing Cain and Abel – the biblical story in which one brother murders the other.
Scaramucci struck a conciliatory tone with the media when he was announced as the new communications director, after the resignation of Sean Spicer last week.
But the man nicknamed “The Mooch” later warned leakers that he will “fire everybody,”
Scaramucci denied that he wanted the FBI to investigate Priebus.
WATCH: Scaramucci accuses Trump’s chief of staff of being a ‘leaker’
But on Thursday, New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza tweeted, “I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.”
Later in an, expletive-laden interview with Lizza published late Thursday, a furious Scaramucci accused Priebus of being a “f—— paranoid schizophrenic.” He also used graphic language discussing White House chief strategist Steve Bannon: “I’m not Steve Bannon. I’m not trying to suck my own c—.”
Meanwhile, U.S. senators began preparing a bill to prevent the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller — the former FBI director appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday there would be “holy hell” to pay if Trump fired Sessions.
Elsewhere, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee called on Sessions to appoint a second special counsel, in addition to Mueller, to look at the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
It was also announced that Melania Trump would be heading to Canada in September for the Invictus Games.
*With files from the Associated Press
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