It’s hard to tune out President Donald Trump, what with the 24/7 social media, mainstream media and alternative media spotlight on him.
But … if you haven’t been tuned in since the president went into off-season hibernation from Palm Beach, here are the Top 5 issues to get caught up on.
1. The Little Rocket Man: The rhetorical face-off with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un overheated at various times, especially on Twitter. At times, the president seemed to undermine his own administration’s diplomatic efforts, such as a tweet telling Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he was wasting his time on diplomacy. The president, though, got a big international win in September when the United Nations United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution to impose new sanctions.
2. The Culture War: This issue took center stage in different arenas. Trump demanded the National Football League force players to stand for the national anthem. In August, after white nationalists and neo-Nazis marched in Virginia, the president took the occasion to defend the continuity of public monuments to Confederate soldiers and leaders. And speaking to evangelical Christians in October, he promised that America would be saying “Merry Christmas” again this, uh, holiday season.
3. The Legislative Record: The president frequently expressed frustration on Twitter with the Republican-led Congress’ inability to repeal and replace Obamacare. Ultimately, he took unilateral via an executive order to defund Obamacare by eliminating federal subsidies. The Trump administration also shifted gears, along with Congress, by turning to tax reform. Which has morphed into a predominantly tax cut package that the GOP wants to pass by the end of the year.
4. Internal GOP Battles: The frustration with the non-action on Obamacare flared into various tweet storms in which Trump castigated congressional Republicans, in particular Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and singled out U.S. Sen. John McCain’s no vote. McConnell and McCain had plenty of other company, as Trump also took Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other administration officials to task.
5. The Russia Probe: A summer’s worth of investigations resulted in two indictments and a guilty plea this fall. Former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates were charged with money laundering in October. The two pleaded not guilty. Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty, however, to lying to investigators and is said to be cooperating with the probe. In the last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sought documents from Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.