Day 6

Health care vote, transgender military ban and Mooch: Week 27 in the Trump White House

It's been another action-filled week in Washington. On Monday, the President delivered a controversial speech at the Boy Scouts Jamboree. He went on to announce a divisive ban on transgender military personnel — and then there's the chaos surrounding the health care bill. Quartz White House correspondent Heather Timmons debriefs the week that was.
U.S. President Donald Trump waves after delivering remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia , U.S., July 24, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The week began with a bombastic, campaign-style speech by President Trump at the National Boy Scouts Jamboree.

Then, on Wednesday, the President surprised voters and Department of Defense officials alike by announcing a ban on transgender military personnel on Twitter. 

Senator John McCain—recently diagnosed with a brain tumour—returned to the Senate floor to cast his vote on the healthcare bill. Thursday night, that bill failed and it seems the Republican mission to repeal Obamacare has stalled indefinitely.

Meanwhile, discord among senior White House officials is growing. Attorney general Jeff Sessions' career is up in the air and newly minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci is threatening to fire any staff that leaks information to the press.

We turned to Quartz White House Correspondent, Heather Timmons, who shared the following insights on the noteworthy events of the week.   

Healthcare repeal effort flatlines

  "[John McCain's] call right now is for a bipartisan effort, for both sides to come together and fix the things that don't work in Obamacare and try to get something that everyone can agree on... That's the path forward that a lot of people in the insurance industry and the healthcare industry are hoping actually happens." 
It feels a little bit like the very last scene in that Clint Eastwood movie, The Good the Bad and the Ugly- Heather Timmons, Quartz White House Correspondent

  "The situation has unsettled everyone so much—it feels a little bit like the very last scene in that Clint Eastwood movie,  The Good the Bad and the Ugly where everyone's got a gun pointed at each other. Trump is mad at the Senate. The Senate is mad at Trump. The military is mad at Trump for the transgender situation. The entire U.S. government is in this state of turmoil right now." 
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a press conference about his resistance to the so-called "Skinny Repeal" of the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)


Scrappy communications director Anthony Scaramucci

  "Scaramucci has been in his new job for seven days. He's already managed to stir up a lot of trouble and turmoil inside the White House. People inside the communications staff are talking about whether it might be time for them finally to go because not only do they face the turmoil that this White House is in, but somebody who is always criticising them all the time. It's an unsettled situation at a time when everything is unsettled."
You never want to get more attention than the President does- Heather Timmons, Quartz White House Correspondent

  "The President likes to set up a sort of reality show situation where people that work for him fight with each other. But what is dangerous for Scaramucci... is you never want to get more attention than the President does."
New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington on Friday, praising his new boss and denying he had any conflict with outgoing press secretary Sean Spicer. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)


Transgender military ban born on Twitter

  "It was a surprise for the military chiefs. It was a surprise for a lot of other people. It is something that the most conservative parts of the Republican party have been wanting to do for a while."
It was a surprise for the military chiefs...and a lot of other people- Heather Timmons, Quartz White House Correspondent

  "The military... has come out and said, 'We are not going to take this seriously unless we get a actual, real policy statement from the White House. We're going to ignore it.' So you have the unusual situation where the military is ignoring the President's—what he thinks, at least, are—his direct orders."
A scout reacts as U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters )


Boy Scouts badge for stirring controversy

"Anybody who is going to have Trump speak at anything that isn't a political rally will think twice about it."

"That's an unprecented situation"- Heather Timmons, Quartz White House Correspondent

"That's an unprecedented situation we're in where if you're an American institution or corporation or organization you have to ask yourself: do I really want the President to speak in front of my crowd? Does he represent the values that we represent?"

Heather Timmons weighed in with her Impeach-O-Meter prediction. To hear it, download our podcast or click here.

For Heather Timmons' full Washington week in review, download our podcast or click Listen at the top of page.