January 21, 2017
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham appear on Fox News to discuss “widespread reports” that the Russian government attempted to interfere in the U.S. election process in favor of Trump. Media Matters’ David Brock calls the charge “a fringe conspiracy theory advanced by a bunch of sore losers who have now lost three elections in a row.” Time magazine mocks the charge with a cover showing Russian President Vladimir Putin on horseback waving a hammer and sickle and the headline, “THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING: Inside the Next Vast Right-wing Conspiracy.”
January 25, 2017
Trump signs an executive order to build a LEED-certified wall between the United States and Mexico, complete with solar panels and micro-housing units made of recycled shipping containers. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi tells reporters that while she personally has concerns about the cost of the plan, “the American people have spoken on this subject relatively recently” and that she hopes it will raise wages for struggling farmworkers. The New York Daily News editorializes that “the wall may well keep America safer.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, already a front-runner to challenge Trump in 2020, denounces the plan as “too expensive, nonsensical, and it just plain won’t work.”
July 6, 2017
Trump holds his first one-on-one meeting with Putin. Democrats praise the president for “trying to reset the reset” in U.S.-Russian relations after some tense years under Obama. Republicans, led by McCain and Graham, urge Trump to confront Putin over Russia’s alleged interference in the elections. The 2016 Republican nominee, Jeb Bush, declines to comment. “I’m just trying to get the Marlins in fighting shape for next year,” he says, stroking a lengthy beard.