Headlines: April 2, 2019
Listen to story:
Download: mp3 (Duration: 8:25 — 7.7MB)
In a series of tweets late Monday President Donald Trump revealed that his decision to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act in a legal case, would not be followed up with a Republican-led alternative healthcare plan until the 2020 elections, and that is only assuming the GOP wins back the House. The President made his social media declaration, saying, Republicans, “are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.” He added in a separate tweet, “The Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great HealtCare,” misspelling the word, “healthcare.” Democratic leaders reacted with skepticism with Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer saying that Trump’s announced plan means that he will, “hold Americans hostage through 2020,” and that Trump, “insists he has a magic plan that we can see if only the American people re-elect him.”
In other news, Trump’s plan to close the Southern border with Mexico is also as vague as his promise to repeal the ACA. On Monday several of his Republican allies were apparently bewildered at his threat. According to Politico, “some Hill Republicans warned that any dramatic disruption to regular traffic across the U.S.-Mexico border could bring Trump into a new confrontation with his own party, whose leaders warn that closing parts or all of the border would wreak economic havoc.” On Tuesday morning Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke to reporters, saying it was the fault of Democrats that Trump was forced to threaten the border closure.
A second woman has come forward and accused former Vice President Joe Biden of invading her personal space. Amy Lappos in an interview with the Hartford Courant described an incident that took place in 2009 at a fundraiser. According to Lappos, “It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head.” She added, “He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.” She explained that she didn’t complain then because he was the Vice President, but she explained, “There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.” Lappos’ allegation comes after former Nevada Congresswoman Lucy Flores made a similar accusation. On Tuesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commented on Biden’s inappropriate behavior toward women.
President Trump’s battles with Puerto Rico continued on Monday night as he tweeted erroneously that, “Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined, yet their government can’t do anything right, the place is a mess – nothing works.” He said, “Puerto Rico got 91 Billion Dollars for the hurricane, more money than has ever been gotten for a hurricane before,” and then he called San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, “crazed and incompetent,” and then said that, “The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump.” Multiple news outlets exposed his $91 billion figure and claims that Puerto Rico received more money than any other region for a hurricane as flat-out lies. The President’s unhinged comments come after the Senate voted down a bill to bolster the island’s food stamp program.
In other news, South Los Angeles is in mourning over the shooting death of Grammy nominated rapper and local entrepreneur and social justice activist Nipsey Hussle who was gunned down outside his store on Sunday. Police have identified a suspect named Eric Holder who remains at large. LA Police chief Michel Moore has said that he believes the shooting was related to a personal dispute and not gang-related violence. On Monday night, at a memorial for Hussle, a stampede broke out leaving 19 people injured and 2 people in critical condition. One mourner, Denise Francis Woods, an LA City Council candidate spoke with Associated Press about Nipsey Hussle’s legacy at a memorial on Monday held outside his store where he was shot.
In international news, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has narrowly lost an election to his opposition party – results that he is now disputing. The Republican People’s Party or CHP, which is a secular party rivaling Erdogan’s AKP party is ahead by a few tens of thousands of votes. Erdogan’s showing surprised everyone given that he has been working to ensure he remains President for the foreseeable future. The New York Times called the election, “the most momentous political earthquake to shake Mr. Erdogan in nearly two decades of basically uncontested control at the helm of Turkey, a NATO ally and critical linchpin of stability in the region.” The opposition party says they were highly disciplined in monitoring the election and one CHP party says, “We think they were not able to rig the election.”
In other electoral news, Slovakia has just elected its first female president, a woman named Zuzana Čaputová who is being dubbed the, “Erin Brockovich” of her nation. Her win is being seen as a strong rebuke to the spread of rightwing nationalism across Europe. Čaputová, a 45-year old lawyer and leader of the newly formed Progressive Slovakia party, beat her opponent Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice President, in a run-off election with 58% of the vote. In 2016 she won the prestigious Goldman Environmental prize for her environmental activism against a toxic waste dump.
And finally in the on-going Brexit saga British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Tuesday that she would be asking the European Union for another short delay of their April 12th deadline for a no-deal divorce between Britain and the EU. She also plans on talks with Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. On Monday the House of Commons voted down four bills that were alternatives to May’s Brexit deal.