Trump's White House: Five takeaways from Tuesday

Trump's White House: Five takeaways from Tuesday
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch (L) after nominating him to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, D.C., US, January 31, 2017.
PHOTO: Reuters

President Donald Trump on Tuesday won a victory in Congress with the confirmation of his fiercely-contested education secretary – and earned tongue-in-cheek praise from Iran’s supreme leader for his travel ban.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department rolled out its legal arguments in a push for the controversial immigration order to be reinstated by the courts.

Here are five takeaways from Trump’s day:

The Justice Department faced tough questioning as it urged a federal court of appeals in San Francisco to reinstate Trump’s travel ban targeting citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries – put on hold by the courts last week.

In an hour-long hearing, an attorney for the government argued that the immigration restrictions were motivated by national security concerns and that a federal judge had overstepped his authority in suspending them.

“This is a traditional national security judgment that is assigned to the political branches and the president,” said the Justice Department lawyer, August Flentje.

The three-judge panel often appeared skeptical, with one saying the government’s argument was “pretty abstract.” The ruling is expected later this week.

When the White House published a list of several dozen terror attacks – including those in Paris and Orlando – as evidence that the media were underreporting the global jihadist threat, it laid itself open to some feisty pushback.

Sure enough, the next morning some of the world’s leading media set methodically about the task of illustrating – attack by attack, story by story – just how flawed that assertion was.

The Guardian, the BBC, CNN and The New York Times were just a few of the news outfits that rolled out annotated lists of the often exhaustive coverage most of the 78 attacks cited by the White House had received.

Many of the atrocities listed held global headlines for days, if not weeks, and were so well known they are short-handed by the cities where they occurred: Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando.

Donald Trump may be facing a wall of opposition over his travel ban, but at least one person is grateful to him: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“We are thankful to this gentleman... he showed the real face of America,” Iran’s supreme leader said in a speech to military officers in Tehran.

“What we have said for more than 30 years – that there is political, economic, moral and social corruption in the ruling system of the US – this gentleman came and brought it out into the open in the election and after the election.” Referring to the case of a young Iranian boy pictured in handcuffs at a US airport following Trump’s travel ban, he said: “By what he does – handcuffing a five-year-old child – he shows the true meaning of American human rights.” .

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Trump’s administration claimed a victory with the Senate’s confirmation of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, after Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote.

The chamber had deadlocked at 50-50, with two Republicans breaking ranks to oppose Trump’s hotly-contested nominee, a Michigan billionaire who champions using taxpayer monies to help fund privately-run schools.

Pence was needed to break the tie, the first time a sitting vice president has ever cast a deciding vote for a cabinet pick.

The 59-year-old DeVos has triggered an outpouring of frustration and anger from critics, as someone who never attended a public school or worked in the public school system, and displayed no apparent grasp of basic educational issues.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, left, during the inauguration parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2016Photo: Reuters

America’s first lady Melania Trump has relaunched a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Daily Mail Online – which makes the eyebrow-raising claims that the publication prevented her from reaping the “once-in-a-lifetime” windfall to be had as a business lady married to the president.

Trump’s wife, a former Slovenian model, is seeking $150 million in damages from Mail Media, Inc., which publishes the Daily Mail Online, for reporting rumors that she worked as an escort in the 1990s.

In court documents filed Monday, the first lady said that she and her brand had missed out on “multiple millions of dollars” in licensing, marketing and endorsement opportunities that would otherwise have been available to someone spending time as “one of the most photographed women in the world.

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