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not the onion
June 21, 2018

First lady Melania Trump faced extraordinary backlash last year when she traveled to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas while wearing "black snakeskin stilettos." She's really outdone herself this time, though: On Thursday, the first lady was photographed traveling to visit immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border due to her husband's policies while apparently wearing a jacket that says "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"

The British tabloid the Daily Mail noticed the message on the back of the Zara jacket. The first lady apparently "removed the offending jacket, which bore the controversial phrase in white graffiti-style writing across the entire back section, before disembarking the plane upon her arrival," the Daily Mail notes. Jeva Lange

June 18, 2018

President Trump announced Monday that he is directing the Pentagon to "establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces." Trump, who floated the Space Force idea earlier this year, added Monday that it is "so important for our military" but "people don't talk about it."

The Air Force and Defense secretaries both reportedly oppose the creation of the Space Force; space-related missions are already overseen by the Air Force. "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force," Trump insisted in his comments Monday. "Separate but equal. It is going to be something."

Trump said that the Space Force will do more than "plant our flag and leave our footprints" on distant celestial bodies, with its objectives including building "a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars" and implementing "a state of the art framework for space traffic management." Watch the announcement below. Jeva Lange

March 23, 2018

In an idea that makes bringing knives to a gunfight sound like a prudent decision, the superintendent of the Blue Mountain School District in Pennsylvania has suggested equipping classrooms with "five-gallon bucket[s] of river stone" so that "if an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance into any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full [of] students armed with rocks and they will be stoned."

The idea, first reported by Pennsylvania's ABC 16, came to Dr. David Helsel, who announced it at the House Education Committee meeting in Harrisburg. He stressed that the rocks ought to be "the right size for hands" and that they need to be thrown "very hard" in order to fend off a potential attacker who could be armed with a semi-automatic rifle.

One student, a senior at Blue Mountain High School, said he liked the idea because "anything helps, rocks are better than books and pencils." A college student in Schuylkill Haven dismissed the idea as "rather comical."

President Trump has controversially suggested arming teachers, an idea that perhaps could be a little more effective than rocks, although it has widely been criticized by school officials.

Maybe everyone just needs to take a deep breath and go back to the drawing board. Has anyone considered sling shots? Spitballs? Jeva Lange

August 29, 2017

What's in a name, President Trump pondered Tuesday as he visited Texas in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Harvey. "Harvey. Sounds like such an innocent name, Ben, right?" Trump said to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. "But it's not innocent." Trump also called the deadly storm "no angel."

At another point, Trump noted that "probably there's never been something so expensive in our country's history" as the flooding in Texas, which has left an estimated 30,000 people displaced. "The sad thing is that this is long term. Nobody's ever seen anything this long and nobody's ever seen this much water," Trump said. Regarding the Harvey floodwaters, Trump reportedly remarked: "It's maybe someday going to disappear. We keep waiting."

Earlier in the day, Trump marveled at the "turnout" outside his briefing in Corpus Christi, Texas; remarked on how FEMA Administrator Brock Long "has become very famous on television in the last couple days"; and assured Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that they could "congratulate each other when it's all finished."

A White House pooler noted in a report that "reporters heard no mention of the dead, dying, or displaced Texans, and no expression of sympathy for them." Becca Stanek

June 15, 2017

On Thursday, President Trump questioned on Twitter why his "non-dealings" with Russia were being scrutinized when the Clinton family and Democrats' "dealings" weren't:

He followed that with a tweet containing a slew of allegations against "crooked" Hillary Clinton, ranging from her smashing phones with a "hammer" to a conveniently timed meeting between her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

"[And] they talk about obstruction?" Trump wrote, seemingly referring to the report that he's under investigation for possible obstruction of justice in relation to the Russia probe. Becca Stanek

May 15, 2017

President Trump is meeting face-to-face with NATO for the first time later this month, and the 28-country alliance is planning accordingly. Worried about how Trump's "notoriously short attention span" will mesh with the meetings that one NATO official described as "important but painfully dull," NATO is apparently restructuring its schedule, Foreign Policy reported:

The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to 2 to 4 minutes at a time during the discussion, several sources inside NATO and former senior U.S. officials tell FP. And the alliance scrapped plans to publish the traditional full post-meeting statement meant to crystallize NATO's latest strategic stance. [Foreign Policy]

NATO claimed the full statement is getting scrapped because it's "not a full summit," but a NATO official told Foreign Policy it's actually because "they're worried Trump won't like it." Trump repeatedly criticized NATO during his presidential campaign and has demanded since taking office that other NATO members pay their fair share toward defense.

The Pentagon's former NATO envoy Jim Townsend noted that it's "not so unusual that they strain to try to keep it interesting and short," but several people indicated to Foreign Policy that this is a whole new level of modification. "It's kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump," one person "briefed extensively on the meeting's preparations" told Foreign Policy. "It's like they're preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing." Becca Stanek

May 10, 2017

The day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he met with the Nixon administration's former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Trump's meeting Wednesday with Kissinger was apparently not on his official schedule, so the White House press pool was surprised to walk into the Oval Office to find Trump and Kissinger sitting side-by-side.

As Trump sat next to the 93-year-old, who Politico reported "has maintained close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin," he reportedly said that Comey, who was leading the FBI's investigation into Trump's ties to Russia, was "not doing a good job."

Already, some had been painting comparisons between Trump and former President Richard Nixon, the last U.S. president to fire a man who has heading up an investigation about him. Trump has maintained he axed Comey because of how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server.

If that weren't enough to push Trump critics over the edge, there was also this photo tweeted out by the Russian embassy of Trump and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak grinning and shaking hands in the Oval Office. Becca Stanek

March 8, 2017

If House Republicans' recently introduced American Health Care Act doesn't work out, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) has another proposal in the works that he seems pretty darn confident about. The bill, introduced March 1, is modestly titled, "World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017."

In case there was any confusion over whether Sessions, who introduced the bill, actually wanted such a braggadocious formal name, the bill's text clarifies that yes, "this Act may be cited as the 'World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017.'" Sessions noted he's been working on this plan with health care providers and business owners for the last 18 months, and promised on his website that it isn't "full of onerous regulations, unnecessary mandates, or discriminatory policies," and that it "empowers all Americans to make their own health care choices."

The bill would have to to pass through the House, the Senate, and President Trump before getting a chance to live up to its lofty title. Read the full text of the "World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017" here. Becca Stanek

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