Flights, fights and tweets that disappeared in the night

Flights, fights and tweets that disappeared in the night

Greetings from Puerto Rico, where the fuel lines are six hours (and several kilometres) long, the power is off (for as long as six months), food and water are short and there's no cash available.

Sound like a version of hell? It is, for almost 3.5 million Puerto Ricans who have had limited help since Hurricane Maria hit more than a week ago.

The Trump administration has been sharply criticised for its seemingly slow response to the unfolding crisis in Puerto Rico.

Some suggest that Puerto Rico's lack of statehood has compounded the situation. Food for thought:

And you know why it's been hard? Well, it's on an island. Right, POTUS?


I'll be writing more about Puerto Rico elsewhere, but rest assured it's hot, dirty and highly frustrating for the millions whose houses are full of mud, and yet most of them are still smiling.

People are amazing sometimes, and the poorest people are usually the most inspiring I find.

Not so amazing: Using government money for private flights

In this week's edition of who's using taxpayers' money to take extravagant trips, we have a new contestant.

Yes, that's right. Move over Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price, who the White House has blocked from taking private flights and who now says he'll reimburse the taxpayers and fly commercial going forward.

No lessons have been learned in the Trump administration. Next in the firing line is Scott Pruitt.

According to The Washington Post, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator took multiple non-commercial trips costing taxpayers more than $58,000.

Apparently, Mr Pruitt is also having a soundproof communications booth built into his office.

Trump is in a war of words with pro sports

US President Donald Trump decided to go on the front foot against pro sports this week, in particular, the NFL and athletes who have decided to take a knee to protest police brutality against African Americans.

The protest has been ongoing for around a year now, triggered by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who decided to sit down during the national anthem.

Kaepernick is no longer on an NFL team and his protest gained some, but not a lot of traction over the past 12 months (culminating in his purported "black listing" by NFL teams).

Mr Trump brought that all back to the fore at a rally in Alabama last Friday night.

He then followed it up with this the next morning, going after NBA superstar Stephen Curry:

To which LeBron James replied:

Meanwhile, the NFL geared up for a show of solidarity:

And triggered emotional responses from players like Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas.

Hundreds of players took a knee, causing outrage from the President, who kept on tweeting:

And fans, in some cases, reacted badly — burning jerseys and demanding refunds from ESPN.

Even Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and long-time friend of Mr Trump, said he was "disappointed in the tone" of the President.

Then we got LeBron on camera. And if you haven't watched the clip below. Do it.

A nation divided. Sports united.

Republicans remain divided on health care

Their third attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare failed once more this week.

It was scenes like these on Capitol Hill that greeted lawmakers Monday as the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the repeal bill.

So the question is … who killed the bill?

Was it John McCain, who again refused to vote for it? Or Susan Collins? Democrats? Mitch McConnell? Who's to blame?

Well, according to the President they didn't fail, and they will pass the bill next year. It's just that there's a sick senator who can't vote.

The senator Mr Trump is referring to is Senator Thad Cochran.

However, Senator Cochran isn't actually in hospital. And put out a tweet saying as much.

Moreover, even if Senator Cochran was in the Senate … they still wouldn't have the votes.

It hasn't been a great week for establishment Republicans

Not good at all.

Not only did their healthcare bill fail again, but their efforts to get one of their own across the line in a Republican primary battle in Alabama failed.

Luther Strange, who Mr Trump endorsed, went down to "firebrand" Roy Moore. Who?

In short:

Yep. But did Mr Trump really support Mr Strange to begin with? If the tweets are deleted in the dead of night did you really tweet them at all?

Because after the vote, the President's tweets supporting Mr Strange vanished from the internet.


And some experts say it's against the law.

Want to learn more about quite possibly the next Republican senator from Alabama? Esquire has this revealing piece.

Who's behind the uprising against establishment Republicans? You guessed it. Steve Bannon. The former chief strategist for Mr Trump warned Republicans "your day of reckoning is coming". Watch this space.

So how do Republicans think things are going?

Everything's fine, according to Speaker Paul Ryan.

Right, but did you know they're expanding the Twitter character limit to 280?

Too true. And on that note, I'll leave you with this:

See? I told you, everything is fine.

(Covers eyes.)