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Fantasy Politics: A Week in the Life of the Trump Administration

Since I began this venture, President Donald Trump’s Twitter has been underwhelming.

The days of him igniting a news cycle with pre-dawn ravings are over, or at the very least on hold. It’s unclear whether Trump finally recognized the inevitable fallout from his tweetstorms, or his advisers finally convinced him of the consequences.

Whatever the reason, basing columns on his Twitter feed is no longer a viable option.

So, we’ll be looking for new betting lines, while retaining who had the worst week on the Beltway.

But first, what a week it was for an administration still in its first 100 days. Given the never-ending reporting on all things Trump, it feels like he’s been in office for years not a couple of months.

Rewind to the end of the last week, when the biggest news coming out of the White House was the release of financial disclosure forms for some of the administration’s top leaders. The release adhered to the time-honored political tradition of the Friday night news dump. For the uninitiated, the practice is a way for politicians to blunt the impact of a potentially negative story. The logic being the public has better things to do than pay heed to the headlines at 5 p.m. on a Friday. And, it’s hard to argue against that.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has amassed at least $580 million in assets, according to The New York Times, the most of any top official. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in law, have assets worth as much as $740 million.

Why would Trump want to give this information the Friday-news-dump treatment, you might ask. Well, for a president who claims to represent the “forgotten men and women,” the optics aren’t great having the equivalent of a gold-plated White House.

Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, handled it about as well as you could. The officials have enjoyed great success, he said, and sacrificed so much to leave behind their sprawling empires and devote themselves to the betterment of our nation.

But that news feels like months ago given all the developments this week.

Most importantly, Trump ordered a missile attack that was executed at a Syrian airbase linked to its government’s  apparent chemical that left scores dead, including children, in a rebel-held area.

Many have praised the military action as a measure, necessary response to deter the Syrian regime from launching any further chemical attacks. Others worry this could entangle our military in another Middle Eastern country ravaged by war.

The move could also fray the budding U.S.-Russian relationship, given the Kremlin is the most important ally of the Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad.

In other news, Trump said Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly should have contested allegations of unwanted sexual advances and stalling the careers of women who denied. Instead, O’Reilly settled with five of his accusers for a total of $13 million, claiming he wanted to save his family from the embarrassment and attention of trials.

The Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, only after Republicans changed the rules to appoint on a simple majority of 50 votes, rather than the traditional 60 votes needed. When it became clear, the GOP didn’t have 60 senators on board and a filibuster was imminent, they altered the rules.

Let the griping commence once the next Democratic president appoints a justice and does so with only 51 votes.

Finally, and I never thought we’d see the day, but Stephen Bannon, ex-mastermind of Breitbart News, be on the outs. But it appears it’s happening.

He lost his seat on the National Security Council, and the New York Times has reported that Bannon and Kushner have clashed.

Bannon, the ultra-nationalist and mastermind of the travel ban, believes Kushner is pushing Trump away from his campaign promises toward more-moderate stances.

I’ll be ruminating on new betting lines this week and will roll them out in the coming days.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this photo of Kushner, looking ever-so J. Crew in Iraq this past week.

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