Weekly Review — September 22, 2017, 3:05 pm

Weekly Review

Fatal misunderstandings

U.S. president Donald Trump, who has called the United Nations one of the world’s “most valuable institutions,” arrived at U.N. headquarters in New York to deliver his first speech to the General Assembly, then praised the international body for having increased the value of his nearby Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential building whose construction the United Nations had opposed. The U.N. secretary-general told Trump that “fiery talk” could lead to “fatal misunderstandings”; Trump said that Venezuela is “collapsing,” that Iran is a “murderous regime,” and that North Korea is on a “suicide mission” that might require him to “totally destroy” the country of 25 million people; and North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, went apple picking. Trump warned that parts of the world are “going to hell,” then nominated for federal judgeship a man who once said transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan.” Four Republican senators introduced their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a bill that would take away insurance from 32 million people and raise the cost of annual health care for the average senior citizen by $16,000; a senator from Kansas, which would lose an estimated 16 percent of its health care funding by 2036, said voting for the repeal was necessary so Republicans could “maintain control” of Congress; a senator from Iowa, which would lose an estimated 27 percent of funding by 2036, said he could think of “ten reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered” but would vote for it anyway; Vice President Mike Pence, who once exacerbated an H.I.V. epidemic in Indiana when as governor he forced the state’s Planned Parenthood facilities to close, defended the bill by saying that the “government that governs least governs best,” a quote he attributed to Thomas Jefferson, who never said it; Trump said he would sign the health care bill, which would allow states to waive protections for people with preexisting conditions, because it included “coverage of preexisting conditions”; and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced plans to build a fence on the George Washington Bridge to stop people from killing themselves. Trump praised African leaders for the “increasingly self-sufficient” health system of the nonexistent country of Nambia and told the group that “so many friends” of his were “trying to get rich” on their continent; a senior Trump Administration official said the White House was working to give more “leeway” to U.S. arms dealers selling assault rifles to buyers in other countries; and the secretary of the interior installed the video game Big Game Hunter Pro in the employee cafeteria. U.S. first lady Melania Trump called for an end to cyberbullying, Trump retweeted a video edited by a white supremacist that appeared to depict Trump hitting and knocking down his former Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, with a golf ball, the G.O.P. majority whip in the South Dakota House of Representatives shared an illustration of a car running over protesters with the words “All Lives Splatter,” and the Twitter account of a Florida state representative who once declared pornography a “public health crisis” liked a porn video, days after a porn video was liked by the Twitter account of a senator from Texas who once called Trump a “rat” with whom he had “no desire” to have sex. “Outstanding,” said former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, whom Trump reportedly passed over for secretary of state because he didn’t like Bolton’s bushy white mustache.

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