Scandal In Trump’s White House

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Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was at the centre of a controversy that led to his resignation. Image: Defense Intelligence Agency
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was at the centre of a controversy that led to his resignation. Image: Defense Intelligence Agency

Did Donald Trump’s people talk to the Russian government about things they shouldn’t have, before the election?

That question has placed Trump and his government in the middle of a scandal. (Scandal, in this case, means a big problem that may involve wrong-doing.)

When one of Donald Trump’s advisors (National Security Advisor Michael Flynn) was asked if he had talked to the Russian government before the U.S. election, he said no. But that was a lie. He had to resign (quit his job) because of his lie.

In talking to the Russian government, Flynn may have told them some things he shouldn’t have told them. (It’s complicated but they involve “sanctions” by the US against Russia.)

Trump tried to find another person to fill Flynn’s job, but the first person he asked (Robert Harward) said no. Harward apparently told CNN, a news agency, that it was a big mess, so he didn’t want to take the job. At least one other person has also turned down the position.

After the scandal broke, Donald Trump held a press conference (also known as a presser). It was a long and highly unusual presser. Usually, presidential press conferences are a chance for a president to lay out the government’s plans, and then take questions from reporters.

But in this presser, Trump seemed more interested in complaining about the media and bragging about his own accomplishments. For more than a year, Trump has been saying that certain media tell lies. The news organizations he doesn’t like are usually the ones that are not saying good things about him.

At one point during the press conference, Trump said that when he won the election, “it was the biggest electoral college win since [former US president] Ronald Reagan.”

Later, a reporter pointed out that Trump’s statement was not true, since three other past US presidents had more electoral college votes than Trump. (“Electoral college voting” is a voting system that is used in the US.)

The long and strange media conference was just one more bizarre incident in a string of unusual things Donald Trump and his people have done since he took office. Now that Trump and his advisors are also in the middle of a serious scandal over Russia, the public will have to stay tuned to find out what will happen next.

UPDATE (9:12 a.m., Monday, Feb. 21, 2017): Trump announced that the new national security adviser in the US will be Army Lt. Gen. Hr. R. McMaster. One Democrat int he us (Adam Schiff), tweeted that he is a good choice, which indicates that McMaster may get bi-partisan approval. (In this case, bi-partisan means that people in both the Democratic and Republican parties think he’s a good choice.)

A note on TKN’s bias: It’s important to know that the people who publish and write for Teaching Kids News have a “bias” against Donald Trump. They don’t agree with many of the things he does. TKN is “biased” against Trump. Most news organizations don’t tell you their bias (they assume you will know it). 

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Donald Trump is not the first leader to have had scandals, strong opinions, and challenging views. However, his presidency has received a large amount of attention, each and every day, from all over the world. Why do you think he continues to be such a popular subject in the media? Do you think this will continue all the way until the next election in 2020? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Reading Unfamiliar Words
Today’s article includes several complex words, including “scandal,” “sanctions.” How do you solve the meaning of words that you don’t understand? Do you try to get the gist of the word by understanding the rest of the sentence? If so, you use semantic clues to help read unfamiliar words.

Junior & Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: prefixes, suffixes, base words, phrases, sentences, and visuals that activate existing knowledge of oral and written language (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Language Feature: [Square Brackets]

Today’s article includes several direct quotations. Take a look at the one below.

“It was the biggest electoral college win since [former US president] Ronald Reagan.”

Any guess why the author used square brackets to explain who Ronald Reagan was?

Read it again, but this time skip the section in the square brackets.

“It was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.”

Does that change your guess? Does it confirm your theory?

The answer is that square quotes are used by authors to add explanatory information, that the person never actually said, in a direct quote. As a result, there are two rules for using square brackets inside a quote: (1) Only explanatory information can be added, and (2) The meaning, intent, and purpose of the speech must remain unchanged.