Quick Takes: Trump Takes Personal Credit For ISIS Defeat

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* Here is my number one Trump outrage-of-the-day:

“I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job,” Trump said on “The Chris Plante Show.” “ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”

When Plante asked why that hadn’t happened before, Trump took the bait.

“Because you didn’t have Trump as your president,” he said. “It was a big difference, there was a big, big difference if you look at the military now.”

We can point out that Trump merely continued the policy initiated by Obama. But the real outrage is that he took personal credit – not mentioning the contributions made by our military, the foreign forces who have actually been on the ground fighting, or the coordination with our allies that cut off both funds and recruitment for ISIS. In the mind of this incredibly infantile man, he did it all himself.

* When it comes to China, Trump vacillates between being deferential and threatening. Meanwhile, Anja Manuel gives us a good rundown on how “China Is Quietly Reshaping the World” via their Belt and Road initiative.

China is quickly growing into the world’s most extensive commercial empire. By way of comparison, after World War II, the Marshall Plan provided the equivalent of $800 billion in reconstruction funds to Europe (if calculated as a percentage of today’s GDP). In the decades after the war the United States was also the world’s largest trading nation, and its largest bilateral lender to others.

Now it’s China’s turn. The scale and scope of the Belt and Road initiative is staggering. Estimates vary, but over $300 billion have already been spent, and China plans to spend $1 trillion more in the next decade or so. According to the CIA, 92 countries counted China as their largest exports or imports partner in 2015, far more than the United States at 57. What’s most astounding is the speed with which China achieved this. While the country was the world’s largest recipient of World Bank and Asian Development Bank loans in the 1980s and 90s, in recent years, China alone loaned more to developing countries than did the World Bank.

* Before you “deport ’em all” you have to “detain ’em all.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to build more jails in the United States to house additional undocumented migrants, a federal government website shows.

The agency is seeking new privately run jail sites in Chicago, Detroit, St. Paul, Salt Lake City and southern Texas to house 4,000 more detainees. Requests for information were published on a federal contracting website last week.

ICE now houses between 31,000 and 41,000 detainees each day in federal prisons, privately operated facilities and local jails, according to a Department of Homeland Security report.

The agency has arrested nearly 100,000 suspected migrants since President Donald Trump took office and ordered a crackdown on unlawful immigration, according to ICE statistics — a 43 percent increase over the same time period in 2016.

* This will be just one of the results of Trump’s failure to address the needs of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

At a news conference last week, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló warned that without significant help, “millions” could leave for the U.S. mainland. Those leaving are most likely to end up in Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania, which have been the most popular destinations for Puerto Ricans in recent years.

* Here’s a bit of good news to balance out the day:

An elementary school in Mississippi is changing its name, scrapping former Confederacy President Jefferson Davis and replacing it with former President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black commander in chief. As of last school year, the school’s student population was 96 percent black. The school-board policy in Jackson, Mississippi, says schools must be named for “persons of good character and prominence who have made outstanding contributions to the school system,” and a “facility named to honor a person shall not be renamed except for compelling reasons.”

* Finally, I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but at the Values Voter Summit, Trump kicked off the annual “war on Christmas” by saying that because he is president, we can now say “Merry Christmas.” That might come as news to #44.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.