Through The Smog: December 26, 2016
Trump Calls For A Nuclear Arms Race
This week, just as people began to wind down and relax in celebration of the holidays, President-elect Donald Trump decided to disrupt that calm. He sent out a tweet suggesting plans to escalate nuclear proliferation, shocking nuclear experts.
The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes
When asked to clarify his tweet, Trump told “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”
Trump’s tweet came after Putin made the following statement regarding nuclear weapons:
“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”
The US has not increased their nuclear stockpile since 1967. US policy for the past several decades has been non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. This has been a bipartisan approach to nuclear policy.
In 1970, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was enacted. 190 nations have since signed on, including the five “nuclear states” that were defined in the treaty (the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China). The nations of India, Israel, and Pakistan, and North Korea, who are known to possess nuclear weapons, are not partipating parties in this treaty. The treaty, which has the objective of global disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, is heavily dependent on Russia and the U.S. agreeing to collaborate on achieving these objectives.
Trump Kids Caught Offering Pay-To-Play
This week, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were caught attempting to sell access to President-elect Donald Trump.
Eric Trump and his brother Donald Trump Jr. were listed as “honorary co-chairmen” of a post-Inauguration fundraiser. According to a draft invitation, donors could pay $500,000 to go on a multiday hunting trip with one or both of the Trump sons, or pay $1,000,000 for a private reception with the president.
The event was being organized by the Opening Day Foundation, a new charity that was registered a few days earlier in Texas. The Center for Public Integrity reported that this charity listed both Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. as directors.
Eric Trump’s charitable organization, the Eric Trump Foundation, also came under fire earlier this month after a New York Times report revealed that an auction for a coffee meeting with Ivanka Trump had reached $72,000, and the top bidders were hoping to gain political influence over the President-elect’s policies. The auction has since been canceled.
After these reports surfaced, Eric Trump announced he was suspending operations of the Eric Trump Foundation. Eric Trump says the foundation has raised $15 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to speak his mind on the developments.
My wonderful son, Eric, will no longer be allowed to raise money for children with cancer because of a possible conflict of interest with…
my presidency. Isn't this a ridiculous shame? He loves these kids, has raised millions of dollars for them, and now must stop. Wrong answer!
Trump Foundation Shutting Down: A Saga of Conflict
On Christmas Eve it was announced that the Trump Foundation would be dissolving in an effort to decrease the conflicts of interest plaguing Donald Trump in his ascent to the Oval Office.
Soon after the Trump transition team announced their plans to dissolve the beleaguered foundation, a representative of the New York State Attorney General’s Office tweeted:
The Trump Foundation is under investigation for violating the 501c3 laws which preside over not-for-profit organizations, specifically for their mishandling of foundation funds and failure to register as a charitable organization in many of the states in solicits donations. In October, New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, slapped the foundation with a “notice of violation,” forcing them to cease their solicitation for donations in New York. The AG office’s investigation remains ongoing with no indication of when it will be completed.
In a transition labored with conflict of interest after conflict of interest, we have spent most of the past 7 weeks since the election watching the Trump family scrambling to tie up loose ends and cut cords where necessary. Now the Trump Foundation will be one less thing to worry about.
Putin Sends Trump A Christmas Love Letter
On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump shared a letter he recieved from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin sent his “warmest Christmas and New Year greetings” and also urged Trump “to take real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation” between Russia and the US.
Trump released a statement praising the letter, “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct. I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”
Since the CIA and FBI have concluded that Russia interfered in the U.S. election to help put Trump in the White House, Trump has not acknowledged these assertions as valid, nor has he backed away from his embrace of Vladimir Putin. These developments, coupled with his appointment of the Russia-friendly Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and Trump’s own pro-Russia rhetoric, paint the picture of a softer US approach to Russia. What exactly Trump’s approach to Russia will be is yet to be seen, but for now the Trump-Putin bromance still appears to be going strong.