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Vox Sentences: Banning refugees — just another Friday night in Trump’s America

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In which President Trump's apparent affinity for Friday night news dumps delays your regularly scheduled newsletter.

The ban

A Muslim woman and her child Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images
  • On Friday afternoon, President Trump signed an executive order that bans all entrances to the US by residents of seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, bans nearly all refugee entries for four months, and severely restricts the refugees that can be allowed into the US in the future. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • This is probably the closest thing you're going to see to a "Muslim ban" from President Trump — because it's much more solidly legal. But the extent to which it operates, in practice, as a ban on Muslim immigrants is going to depend on how the federal government issues regulations pursuant to the order.
  • Even without the "Muslim ban" label, the order is sweeping. It bars the entry of all "aliens" from seven countries — a category that includes as many as 500,000 permanent residents of the US, who now won't be able to leave the country for months. [ProPublica / Marcelo Rochabrun]
  • And the fact that Trump issued a refugee ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day is, shall we say, not unironic. [Vox / Dara Lind]
  • President Trump also issued an executive order directing the Defense Department to improve its military readiness, and to hit ISIS harder than it already is. [Washington Post / Dan Lamothe]
  • If you think that sounds vague, you are correct! [BuzzFeed News / Nancy A. Youssef]
  • The work of implementing these orders will fall to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is already being seen — within the armed forces and abroad — as the establishment's best hope against the vicissitudes of a Trump presidency. [NYT / Michael R. Gordon, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt]

The special relationship gets a little more special

Theresa May and Donald Trump Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
  • President Trump met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, showing off a new phase in the "special relationship" in which both nations' governments are allied by, paradoxically, turning inward. [CNN / Steve Almasy]
  • May was eager to reassure critics about Trump — she's crowing that she persuaded him to reaffirm the US's commitment to NATO, for example. [The Guardian / Heather Stewart]
  • But there are still ... issues. May urged Trump not to trust Vladimir Putin... [Washington Post / Carol Morello and Griff White]
  • ...which is a little awkward, as Trump has confirmed he's mulling the lifting of sanctions against Russia. [NYT / Peter Baker]
  • May, for her part, has already gotten criticized by members of her own party for her fulsome praise for Trump, due to Trump's apparent enthusiasm for bringing back waterboarding "and worse." [The Independent (UK) / Rob Merrick]
  • It's okay, though. The two leaders have an inside joke now: Remember that time when we misspelled your name, three times, in the press release? [The Independent (UK) / Jon Sharman]

Congressional Republicans! What do they think? Do they think things? Let's find out!

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • Thanks to a leaked secret recording of congressional Republicans at their retreat in Philadelphia, we have an inside look at how their efforts to formulate an Obamacare replacement are going. Not well, it turns out! [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The tape, leaked to the Washington Post's Mike DeBonis, suggests that the party agrees on basically nothing regarding Obamacare. Not whether to continue Medicaid expansion, not whether to act via the budget process to avoid a filibuster, not whether to defund Planned Parenthood in the process — nothing. [Washington Post / Mike DeBonis]
  • While during the passage of Obamacare in 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress took pains to stop Democrats from proposing different plans and undermining the main effort, the opposite is happening this time around. Plans abound, with a particularly skimpy one from Rand Paul just released. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
  • None of the plans Republicans in Congress are weighing help with the two main problems Donald Trump has identified in Obamacare: that it doesn't cover enough people, and that it leaves deductible too high. If anything, they'd make those problems worse. [Vox / Ezra Klein]
  • The one that comes closest is a bill that Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have devised, which lets states decide for themselves whether they want to keep Obamacare. That is, naturally, already being attacked by conservatives who see it as a sellout. [Washington Examiner / Philip Klein]
  • It's not even clear how the Trump administration will continue implementing Obamacare before a repeal bill passes. Trump's team at first canceled Obamacare outreach plans meant to boost enrollment before it closes at the end of the month, then reversed course after pressure from the public and health insurers. [Politico / Rachana Pradhan and Paul Demko]
  • So no one really knows (a) if Republicans will be able to actually repeal Obamacare, (b) what they'll replace it with if they do, or, (c) how they'll run the program now that they're in charge. It's a great situation all around.


  • You probably know the story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. Now a Duke researcher has discovered that the white woman recanted her testimony and says he didn't whistle at all. [Vanity Fair / Sheila Weller]
  • Russia's parliament has overwhelmingly passed a law decriminalizing domestic violence. [FT / Max Seddon]
  • Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was captured near Yemen under suspicion of supporting al-Qaeda. Instead of trying him in Guantanamo, the Obama administration tried him through normal courts. That enabled him to become one of the most valuable informants in the history of the war on terror. [NYT / Adam Goldman and Benjamin Weiser]
  • Only 14 percent of Clinton voters agree with the statement, "The government should only try to help the people who deserve it." 51 percent of Trump voters do. [Huffington Post / Ariel Edwards-Levy]
  • Punching Nazis in the face: a history. [Mother Jones / Wes Enzinna]


  • "Chocolate is in danger from sinister-sounding fungi like black pod rot, witches' broom, and frosty pod rot." [Mother Jones / Kiera Butler]
  • "That little nugget of information might lead you to think that Apple is building some sort of iVape, but we wouldn’t be quick to jump to that conclusion." [The Verge / Natt Garun]
  • "Multiple regression shows that mental illness is not highly correlated with poverty or unemployment, and that it contributes more to explaining the presence of misery than is explained by either poverty or unemployment." [Sarah Flèche and Richard Layard]
  • "Most addiction memoirs end with the end of the addiction. Cat Marnell, however, remains what she’s best known for being: a pillhead, a doctor-shopper, and a beauty expert whose own stunning looks are under constant assault by her lifestyle, which even at its least druggy is basically nonstop self-harm." [NY Mag / Cat Marnell]
  • "Orwell was amused at those of his colleagues on the left who lived in terror of being termed bourgeois. But somewhere among his own terrors may have lurked the possibility that, like Galsworthy, he might one day lose his political anger, and end up as one more apologist for Things As They Are." [Thomas Pynchon]

Watch this: Democrats won the most votes. Why aren’t they acting like it?

Just because they're out of power doesn't mean they represent a minority. [YouTube / Ezra Klein, Nicholas Garbaty, and Liz Scheltens]

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