POLITICS
02/07/2017 05:40 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2017

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Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the next secretary of education after Vice President Mike Pence Broke broke a tie by bursting through a tired Falcons secondary. Departing from centuries of democratic tradition, Donald Trump handed government transparency activists a victory by publicly saying which foe he wants to ruin. And Kellyanne Conway said the Trump administration has “a high regard for facts,” recalling Trump’s recent statement that, “Facts is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, February 7th, 2017:

GOOD LUCK FINDING DOCTORS TO LIVE IN RURAL REPUBLICAN DISTRICTS - A+ gaslighting on the Orwell quote. Seung Min Kim: “Overlooked in Donald Trump’s campaign crusade against illegal immigration was his vow to crack down on legal immigration, too. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a reliable Trump ally, is taking steps to execute that part of the president’s immigration vision — and it could provoke a showdown between two competing ends of the GOP: the working-class populists led by Trump and the establishment Chamber of Commerce wing. The outspoken, 39-year-old Cotton has written the first in what may be a series of bills to revamp the nation’s immigration system. Cotton will start off with legislation being unveiled Tuesday that will dramatically slash the number of immigrants who can obtain green cards and other visas every year.” [Politico]

ANOTHER TRUMP NOMINEE DID HYPOCRITICAL THING THAT DOESN’T MATTER TO ANYONE ANYMORE - Parents, how are you talking to your kids about the collapse of our institutions? Ryan Grim: “President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Labor, Andrew Puzder, employed an undocumented immigrant as household help, Puzder has informed members of the administration and officials in the Senate involved in his confirmation process. Hiring undocumented workers has sunk nominees in the past, particularly when it reflects directly on the scope of the Cabinet position. But Trump transition officials told Puzder that the previous rules for vetting and strict ethics no longer applied. ‘The view in the transition was that’s the old model,’ said one GOP official involved with Puzder’s nomination. Asked for comment, a White House official forwarded the request to a spokesman for Puzder, who provided a statement on his behalf:  ‘My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S. When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the State of California and submitted all required paperwork.’” [HuffPost]

THE WHITE HOUSE IS A LOUSY OMBUDSMAN - And here we thought Liz Spayd was a disappointment. Adam Peck: “Late Monday night, [Sean Spicer] shared a typo-riddled list of 78 terrorist attacks the administration claims went uncovered since 2015. A cursory investigation by ThinkProgress into the list found a minimum of 17,467 stories written by U.S.-based publications about the 78 unreported attacks…. It is certainly true that some attacks garnered more attention than others. Several of the attacks included on the White House’s list ― the nightclub shooting in Orlando, the coordinated attacks in Paris, the airport bombing in Istanbul ― were major international stories that dominated the news cycle for days.” [ThinkProgress]

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DEVOS-EST WITH THE MOSTEST - Great news for people hoping to incorporate “you can’t divide by zero…unless you’re Jesus” into our math curriculums. Rebecca Klein: “Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote Tuesday for President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary ― the first time a vice president’s tie-breaking vote has been used for a Cabinet confirmation. Betsy DeVos garnered a 50-50 tie from senators, with all 48 Democrats in the chamber and two Republicans voting against her. The vote came after Democrats held the Senate floor for 24 hours straight, in hopes of pressuring another Republican to join their side.  DeVos has weathered a particularly controversial confirmation hearing. Her nomination inspired intense backlash from parents and teachers on both sides of the political aisle. After Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) announced last week that they would be voting against DeVos, other Republican senators faced a barrage of calls from constituents urging them to similarly flip. Protests sprung up around the nation, also taking issue with DeVos’ seeming lack of qualifications for the job.” [HuffPost]z

The Andrew Carnegie for people who think Jesus wrote pterodactyls: “Betsy DeVos has personally donated $115,000 to the current crop of Republican senators since 1980. Those lawmakers received more than $950,000 from the full DeVos family over the same period. The family has further donated $8.3 million to Republican Party super PACs in the past two election cycles. And those numbers only scratch the surface. During her confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked DeVos whether it is true that her family had donated $200 million to support the Republican Party going back over the years. ‘That’s possible,” she answered.” [HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal]

HAR HAR HAR POLITICAL VENGEANCE HAR HAR HAR - We’re so screwed. Sam Levine: “President Donald Trump threatened to ‘destroy’ the career of a Texas state senator after a Texas sheriff accused the lawmaker of getting in his way by promoting asset forfeiture reform. ‘Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career,’ Trump told Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwall County, Texas. Trump’s comment was met with laughter and Eavenson declined to give the official’s name. Trump made the remark during a listening session with county sheriffs at the White House. Eavenson is in line to become president of the National Sheriffs’ Association in June, the Dallas Morning News reported.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP’S DISAPPROVAL EDGES UP - Between being sheltered away in a mansion while wearing a bathrobe and his widespread unpopularity, our president is fast becoming a Dr. Seuss antagonist. Matt Shuham: “Disapproval of Donald Trump’s performance as President reached a new high on Monday in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. The tracking poll, which averages results over the previous three days, found that 54 percent of respondents disapproved of Trump’s performance in office, while only 42 percent approved. On Jan. 22, two days after his inauguration, respondents were split 45-45 percent on Trump’s performance. Trump’s net approval rating in the Gallup poll dropped 8 points during his first week in office, though the gap between approval and disapproval has never been higher for Trump than what the poll currently reflects, a 12-point spread.” [TPM]

Two middle-aged rich guys went kitesurfing, and one of them was Barack Hussein Obama. There’s video, thank God. [HuffPost’s Alana Horowitz Satlin]

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GREEN PARTY ON ALL ITS SUCCESS - It’s a good thing Trump and Clinton are so similar. It makes the buyer’s remorse easier. Michael McLaughlin:  “The Army said Tuesday it will abandon an environmental study of the Dakota Access Pipeline and grant a permit that allows its completion, according to Reuters and CNBC.  Army Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Cramer revealed in a letter to Congress dated Tuesday that the service planned to grant an easement allowing Energy Transfer Partners to build a section of pipeline in a bitterly disputed federal waterway. The decision follows an executive action from President Donald Trump that sought to resume construction on the 1,172-mile oil pipeline despite objections from a Native American tribe living near its path in North Dakota and a halt ordered by former President Barack Obama last year.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP SAYS ONE THING, DOES ANOTHER, PT. 235,119,451 - Aaron Blake: “The list of 78 allegedly underreported terrorist attacks released by the White House late Monday includes 14 references to attackers either belonging to or pledging allegiance to ‘ISIL.’ If ‘ISIL’ doesn’t sound so familiar, it’s because the terrorist group is most often referred to as ‘ISIS’ or the ‘Islamic State.’ While all three refer to the same group, there are differences in terminology — especially between ‘ISIS’ and ‘ISIL’ — which we’ll get into. What’s most notable here, though, is that President Trump actually prefers ‘ISIS.’ And what’s more, he regularly attacked former president Barack Obama for using ‘ISIL’ — the same acronym his White House is now apparently okay with using.” [WaPo]

IT’S ALMOST AS THOUGH TRUMP WANTS MORE MURDERS - It’s weird that he keeps saying this stuff. Tom Jackman: “Trump told the sheriffs, ‘the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.’ He blamed the news media for not publicizing this development, then added, ‘But the murder rate is the highest it’s been in, I guess, 45 to 47 years.’ The country’s murder rate is not the highest it’s been in 47 years. It is almost at its lowest point, actually, according to the FBI, which gathers statistics every year from police departments around the country.” [WaPo]

MELANIA AND DONALD TRUMP ARE MADE FOR EACH OTHER - This recalls the time Michelle Obama launched a billion-dollar line of designer carrots. Tom Hamburger: “An attorney for first lady Melania Trump argued in a lawsuit filed Monday that an article falsely alleging that she once worked for an escort service hurt her chance to establish ‘multimillion dollar business relationships’ during the years in which she would be ‘one of the most photographed women in the world.’ The suit — filed Monday in New York Supreme Court, a state trial court, in Manhattan — against Mail Media, the owner of the Daily Mail, said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump’s brand, Melania, to lose ‘significant value’ as well as ‘major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.’ The suit said the article had damaged her ‘unique, once in a lifetime opportunity’ to ‘launch a broad-based commercial brand.’” [WaPo]

Thank goodness we’re growing closer with the Assad regime: “The Syrian prison was known to detainees as ‘the slaughterhouse.’ Behind its closed doors, the military police hanged as many of 13,000 people over the course of four years before carting out their bodies by the truckload for burial in mass graves, according to a new report issued by Amnesty International.” [AP’s Sarah El Deeb]

IT’LL BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME, BABY. YOU’LL SEE - Paul Ryan wants you to forget the seven years of broken promises about an Obamacare “replacement” and believe the newest one. Susan Cornwell: “The U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican leader said on Tuesday that legislation to replace former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law would be completed this year, trying to dispel the idea that the party is retreating from its campaign promise to dismantle Obamacare quickly…. Trump and congressional Republicans campaigned on a promise to scrap the 2010 healthcare law. But they are struggling to agree on a replacement for the law, which has enabled up to 20 million previously uninsured Americans to obtain health coverage.” [Reuters]

Thirty-five percent of Americans don’t understand that the Affordable Care Act and “Obamacare” are the same law, because nothing matters anyway.

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a bison being set free.

SEAN DUFFY IS SUCH A GOOBER - LOL, good thing Dylann Roof never posted on the internet or anything and was just “one off” in his mass murder. Amanda Terkel: “Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) vehemently defended President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers Tuesday, arguing that terrorists who come from the Middle East are an existential threat to the United States and totally different from white domestic terrorists, who just commit ‘one-off’ incidents that the government can’t do anything about…. Duffy claimed that people on the left were manufacturing outrage, saying there was plenty of blame to go around. ‘Look at Gabby Giffords. The Marxist, who took her life, a leftist guy, and now you see violence and terror in the streets all across America, burning and beating people with Donald Trump hats. The violence you have to look in, you’re trying to use examples on the right,’ he said.” [HuffPost]

Also, we’re going to start referring to Kevin McCarthy as “The thinking man’s Sean Duffy,” for reasons that we could articulate but would rather just keep visceral.

COMFORT FOOD

- A visual history of presidents wearing bathrobes.

- An interactive map of local linguistics.

TWITTERAMA

@LukewSavage:  [Donna Brazile eats printout of Sanders email list] “There...we have added his power to our own.”

@CassieGrimaldi: Betsy DeVos is a great lesson to young women that if you work hard, someone’s rich dad will pay to confirm Betsy DeVos as sec of education

@blakehounshell: So the weird thing about CNN’s jihad against Kellyanne Conway is that Jeffrey Lord, Corey Lewandowski, etc. were literally on their payroll.

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