Quick Takes: Who Is Benefiting From Trump’s Disastrous Foreign Policy?

The answer to my question of who is benefiting from Trump’s disastrous foreign policy will come in three parts.

* First and foremost, China.

President Donald Trump’s tough stance against Mexico could make it easier for China to become the country’s — and Latin America’s — top trade partner…

Fearing that trade with the U.S. may be restricted by policies implemented by the Trump administration, Mexico has been looking to lessen its economic dependence on its big neighbor to the north. Chinese and Mexican officials met on Dec. 12, pledging to deepen ties between the two countries.

* Trump provided Iran with some fuel for one of their major talking points.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that he’s grateful to President Donald Trump for showing “the true face of the US.”…

Khamenei reportedly told the commanders: “We however thank this new guy in the White House, since he largely did the job we had been trying to do in the past decades: to divulge the true face of the US. We had been working to show the world the depth of corruption in US government and ranks and files of the ruling elite; Trump did it in few days after coming to the White House.”

He added: “Their claims to human rights are no longer tenable.”

* Apparently the botched raid in Yemen was an attempt to target Qassim al-Rimi.

Last week’s Navy SEAL raid where “almost everything went wrong” had a more ambitious goal than previously reported. According to NBC News, the aim was to capture or kill Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, who is considered the third most dangerous terrorist in the world. It’s unclear whether he was present during the raid, or how he avoided capture, but now he’s released an audio recording taunting President Trump.

“The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” al-Rimi says in a recording released Sunday.

Is it any wonder that a lot of us are feeling LESS safe and secure?

* Congressional Republicans are feeling the heat on their plans to repeal Obamacare.

House Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday discussed how to protect themselves and their staff from protesters storming town halls and offices in opposition to repealing Obamacare, sources in the room told POLITICO…

The conference discussion comes as Democratic activists around the nation ramp up protests against Republican to repeal Obamacare. Protesters have disrupted town halls and other public events, jeering and yelling at Republicans just as conservatives did to Democrats when they were writing the law eight years ago.

* I’m hoping that the ridiculousness of Rep. Sean Duffy’s claims in this interview are obvious (hearing him respond to the shooting in Charleston by saying, “Look at the good things that came from it” is the most appalling). I’d simply point out that as Alisyn Camerota slowly but surely throws out examples that undermine Duffy’s point, rather than stopping to take in what they suggest, he nearly hyperventilates trying to change the subject and talk over her. As I watched Duffy, I couldn’t help but think, “this white guy needs to slow down and listen.” For a lot of us, that’s not an uncommon experience.

* Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has written that “Neil Gorsuch needs 60 votes.”

Nominees to our nation’s highest court must demonstrate that they are mainstream and independent enough to earn the support of at least 60 senators from both parties. Both of President Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court exceeded that level of support. The simple question we are asking is: Can President Trump’s nominee meet that same test? If the nominee fails to meet 60 votes, the answer isn’t to change the rules; it’s to change the nominee.

This is not unfair or obstructionist—this is the Senate doing its job by critically evaluating a nominee who will have immense impact on the lives of Americans. The most important factor in assessing a Supreme Court nominee in the time of the Trump administration is whether or not the potential justice will be an independent check on an executive who may act outside our nation’s laws and the Constitution. It remains to be seen if Judge Gorsuch is able to fulfill that important constitutional role.

* Just in case there was even a glimmer of a doubt left about the fact that elections matter, take a look at this:

The Trump administration cleared the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be be completed, approving an easement for the oil project that had triggered months of protests from Native American tribes and environmentalists.

The Army Corps of Engineers said in a court filing today that it had completed the review of the 1,172-mile pipeline that will connect North Dakota’s oil fields to Illinois, a process that President Donald Trump had ordered the U.S. Army to finish quickly.

The Obama administration halted the pipeline after months of review. Under Trump, they reversed that decision after a 2 week review – which Trump ordered on January 24th.

* Here’s your daily dose of “what’s happening with the resistance.”

Hundreds of current and former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s pick to head the department.

About 300 people, including scores of EPA employees, rallied Monday across the street from the agency’s regional headquarters in downtown Chicago to oppose Scott Pruitt’s nomination.

Nearly 450 former EPA officials also signed a letter sent to the U.S. Senate saying that Pruitt is the wrong man for the job. It said Pruitt’s record “raises serious questions about whose interests he has served to date and whether he agrees with the longstanding tenets of U.S. environmental law.”

* Finally, in case you need something to lighten your mood, here’s what made me laugh out loud today:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .