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With Secretary Betsy DeVos rolling up her sleeves at the Education Department and, at one point this week, joining Donald Trump at the White House to talk with educators and parents, Washington, D.C., is making a lot of education news these days.

For those of you struggling to keep up, the NPR Ed Team is trying something new: a weekly recap of the latest national education news.

Editor's Note: This story was updated Saturday afternoon to reflect DeVos' interview with Townhall and the subsequent response by Jefferson Academy in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence told European allies Saturday that the U.S. remains committed to NATO, despite President Trump's praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated interest in pursuing better relations with Russia.

In a speech during his first overseas trip since taking office, Pence told leaders at the Munich Security Conference in Germany that the U.S. "strongly supports" NATO and that "the United States is now and will always be your greatest ally."

Friday night, President Trump took to Twitter to deliver one of his favorite insults to journalists: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy

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At his White House news conference this week, President Trump painted a grim picture of the challenges facing the country.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess.

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Now it's time to talk more about the week in politics. And as we just heard, it was quite a week. This week, we're joined by Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal. He's also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Welcome to you.

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As immigrant communities across the U.S. watch the battle over President Trump's administration ban, there is also concern among some scientists and medical groups.

They say there should be a welcoming atmosphere for the thousands of international researchers and students who attend conferences every year in the U.S. and help shape medical and technical advances.

Many scientific, academic and medical groups signed onto a letter urging the president to rescind his original immigration executive order.

Although President Trump has stepped back from daily management of the Trump Organization, his businesses continue to expand, often in foreign countries.

On Saturday, Trump's sons Eric and Donald Jr. will be in the United Arab Emirates, helping cut the ribbon for the new Trump International Golf Club, according to Kim Benza, a spokesperson for the Trump Organization.

For the third week in a row, President Trump is spending the weekend in Florida at Mar-a-Lago.

It seems Trump enjoys spending time at the club he owns in Palm Beach, but since the election, his stays there have raised issues not seen when he was a private citizen. They involve security and the impact his visits are having on people and businesses in Palm Beach.

The GOP put out a survey Thursday night that's enough to make a social scientist cringe.

It's called the "Mainstream Media Accountability Survey," but this "survey" commits a variety of polling sins.

It contains:

-- Leading questions ("Do you believe that the mainstream media does not do their due diligence fact-checking before publishing stories on the Trump administration?"),

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized.

The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no.

Americans have complained for years about presidential campaigns that start too early and last too long.

Now, they are confronted with one that refuses to end — even after reaching the White House.

There may never be a "last word" written or spoken about President Trump's 77-minute barrage in the East Room Thursday, but the first word from many was: "Wow."

The Environmental Protection Agency has a pretty simple mission in principle: to protect human health and the environment. It's a popular purpose too. Nearly three out of four U.S. adults believe the country "should do whatever it takes to protect the environment," according to a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center.

Political support for the EPA, though, is less effusive.

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Congressman Elijah Cummings has questions, questions about President Trump's administration.

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It is Cummings' job to ask. He is the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Republicans know the scene well: angry constituents flood local town halls, upset over health care and other congressional issues.

It's that energy that exploded eight years ago, birthing the Tea Party movement and helping the GOP take back Congress in the 2010 election. But now, they're finding themselves on the receiving end instead of the giving end.

The action in the U.S. school system is overwhelmingly local. But the federal government, and the courts, have an important hand in many issues that touch classrooms — from civil rights to international programs of study. We looked at the records of some of President Trump's key appointees to see how they might affect education in the years to come.

Jeff Sessions, attorney general (confirmed)

Do voter ID laws hurt minority turnout? Study says: Absolutely

In a series of recent interviews, President Donald Trump's longtime personal physician Dr. Harold N. Bornstein told The New York Times that our new commander in chief has what amounts to a pretty unremarkable medical chart.

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It was Donald Trump's first solo press conference as president yesterday, and it was pretty extraordinary. He took questions for more than an hour. But this is really the message he was trying to get across.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward has turned down the position of national security adviser to President Trump, a White House official tells NPR's Mara Liasson.

Harward was offered the job after Michael T. Flynn, the former general, resigned Monday after just 24 days on the job. Trump said his confidence in Flynn had eroded after Flynn misled then-Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

The economy in southwestern Pennsylvania has been hit twice, once by the collapse of big mining and steel employers, and again by the environmental destruction that accompanied those industries.

It's a part of the country that voted heavily for Donald Trump.

Ashley Funk grew up an hour outside Pittsburgh. The area feels kind of left behind with buildings named after mining companies and polluted ponds turned fluorescent, alarming colors.

House Republicans are debating a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that would give consumers tax credits to buy insurance, cut back on Medicaid and allow people to save their own money to pay for health care costs.

The outline plan is likely to take away some of the financial help low-income families get through Obamacare subsidies, and also result in fewer people being covered under the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

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