Politics

Donald Trump Signs First Bills Into Law Moments Into Presidency

 Just minutes after taking the Oath of Office, President Trump took action to begin work repealing Obamacare. Vice President looks on as the Executive Orders are being signed.

Just minutes after taking the Oath of Office, President Trump took action to begin work repealing Obamacare. Vice President looks on as the Executive Orders are being signed.

Shortly after today's inauguration, President Donald Trump signed a few Executive Orders into law. Keeping true to one of his campaign promises, repealing Obamacare aka the Affordable Care Act. 

One of Obama's first priorities when taking office in 2009 was Obamacare and making healthcare available for all. 20 millions Americans are currently insured under the health care law. Now President Trump is taking immediate action to get rid of it, with no clear indication of what he will replace it with.

Steve Harvey Talk Urban Development With Donald Trump

Today's order had multiple parts but it essentially said Trump's administration will work to "promptly repeal" the Affordable Care Act. However, until then they must continue to follow the law until a change is made. It also provided more flexibility for states to reduce some of the requirements and allowed more authority for them to make health care decisions. In short, it allowed more states to have control over their health care markets.

Also today, the new laws cleared the way for his defense secretary to become official which is standard. Regarding the other laws signed today White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "the other papers Trump was signing included formal nominations for his Cabinet and a proclamation for a national day of patriotism."

Watch: What's The Word Crew 2016 Cultural Impacts Countdown

More of Trump's nominees still need to be confirmed through the Senate. Today only two of Trump's nominees for his Cabinet were confirmed: retired General John Kelly for Homeland Security and retired General James Mattis to serve as Defense Secretary.

Stay with What's The Word TV for the latest on your political news.

Read Next: see why Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back In 1986

During Final Hours, Pres. Obama Frees 300 More Inmates, The Most In A Single Day

 In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

In his last act, Pres. Obama, shortened more sentences in a single day in U.S. history

On his last day in office, President Obama granted 330 commutations. This will allow many drug offenders a lesser sentence. During the last eight years, Obama shortened 1,715 sentences, including 568 of whom were sentenced to life.

Read Obama's Tweet About Thursdays Move 

In a letter to the recipients the outgoing President said he believed they had the opportunity right now to do what is right. 

"I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around. Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change... remember that you have the capacity to make good decisions."

Watch: What's The Word at Obama's Farewell Speech in Chicago

According to officials at the White House, this was the most commutations done in a single day by a sitting President. White House counsel Neil Eggleston said this comes as Obama worked on lessening harsh sentences.

"The vast majority of these men and women are serving unduly long sentences for drug crimes... He has a strong view that people deserve a second chance." For an inmate to be considered under Obama, they needed to demonstrate good behavior, already served 10 years, have a nonviolent offense. However, some exceptions were made for the 10-year-rule and there were some firearm violations in relation to the drug crimes.

 President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

President Obama made history when his was the first sitting President to visit a Federal Prison

During his final press conference Wednesday afternoon, Obama discussed the role of voting  and how the United States should make it easier to vote. He blames the Jim Crow era, saying the reason for the low turnout is because many Americans are eligible to vote who don't go to the polls. "It became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise... The idea that we put in place a whole bunch of barriers to people voting doesn't make sense."

You can read his entire last speech here.

President-Elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated at noon on Friday, January 20th. Close to 60 Democrats will be boycotting the event for Trump's word to Civil Rights Icon and Representative John Lewis. 

Trump has been having close door meetings with a number of people ahead of his inauguration including Steve Harvey and Martin Luther King III. 

What do you take away from Obama's final gesture in office? Comment below and tell us.

Rep. John Lewis, A Leading Civil Right Activist, Told He Needs History Lesson

Maine's Republican Governor, Paul LePage told a radio station that Representative John Lewis should be "grateful for all Republicans have done for black people." LePage said Lewis needs to be brushed up on how Abraham Lincoln freed slaves and how Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes fought against Jim Crow laws.

The comment comes as words were exchanged between Rep. Lewis and President-Elect Donald Trump over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The Democrat congressman from Georgia said he doesn't think Trump is a legit president. Trump fired back on Twitter saying Lewis was "all talk, talk, talk - no action or results." Trump also described Lewis' district i.e. the Atlanta metro area as "crime-infested."

Read the President-Elect's tweets here.

Of course Lewis is not completely all talk, he along with 24 other Democratic congressmen and women are boycotting the President-Elect's Inauguration. Lewis, the son of sharecroppers, attended segregated public schools in Alabama. He went on to attend Fisk University, was a Freedom Rider, the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), received over 50 honorary degrees and was the architect and keynote speaker at the March in Washington in 1963 at just 23. 

(Rep. Lewis isn't the only who is anti the Trump Administration. Read: Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back in 1986)

However according to history, Jim Crows laws were not around during the Grant Administration. Trump begins his term as President when he is inaugurated on Friday, January 20th.

Watch: Chance The Rapper Parade To The Polls Concert

Steve Harvey Talks Urban Development With Donald Trump

Steve Harvey became the latest celebrity invited to meet with President Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, Friday, Jan 13th. The comedian was asked by Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s transition teams to meet with the President-Elect. In a lobby appearance, Trump and Harvey told Press that important issues around housing and urban development were discussed in the days meeting. Harvey also discussed with the President-Elect ways he could help Dr. Ben Carson. May I remind you that Dr. Ben Carson is Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is just me following orders from my friend President Obama who said, Steve, you gotta. Just as he told everybody in his Farewell Address, stop tweeting and texting, and get out and sit down and talk.” - Steve Harvey

Remember the comedian was an advocate for Hillary Clinton during an interview with her on his morning show “ The Steve Harvey Morning Show”.   “She’s a mother, she’s a grandmother and we’re going to put her back in the White House, just flat out. Simply put.” - Steve Harvey, The Steve Harvey Morning Show

Responses from the meeting resulted in the entertainer saying that President- Elect Donald Trump is “genuine” and a “great guy”.  Advocating that the president-elect really wants to do something.  

However,  media backlash has ridiculed the entertainer as a result of the meeting. This was seen especially on social media. “They’re kinda beating me up on the internet right now for no reason. But you know that’s life ain’t it.” - Steve Harvey.  After the meeting, the entertainer went to twitter and tweeted that he found the President - Elect “congenial and sincere” and that he would “sit w/ him anytime.”

In a recent development,  a friend of Steve Harvey, comedian DL Hughley goes to social media to express his thoughts on the meeting with a clip going viral. In the video, the talk show host and comedian criticize Donald trump for his seemingly fake attempt at communicating with the African American community through the use of black celebrity figures.

“It amazes me that to convince Black people that Donald Trump cares about them, he takes pictures with celebrities. If Donald Trump cared about Black people, he would not have denigrated the President with those claims of ‘birthism.’ He would not have stoked fears and racist fears, saying that this man is less than, or not one of us to become President.”  - DL Hughley

Social Media:

T.I. - Backlash at Steve and Trump meeting via IG :

Ok so this how it all breaks down guys.... Be aware Be alert or Be bamboozled. #USorELSE pt.2

A video posted by TIP (@troubleman31) on

#SteveHarvey #Trump

A photo posted by King Me (@goldenrulemack) on

Chicago Police Accused of Patterns Of Excessive Force By U.S. Justice Department

The Chicago Police Department has a pattern of excessive force, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Friday, wrapping up a 13-month federal probe of a department that has been under heavy scrutiny over officer-involved shootings.

The city and the Justice Department have agreed to negotiate a reform plan that would be overseen by a federal judge, Lynch said in Chicago.

    The Justice Department, which began its investigation after the  uproar over the fatal shooting by Chicago police of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald back in 2014, they found numerous incidents of unjustified force, including:

    • Shooting at fleeing suspects who presented no immediate threat;
    • Using force to retaliate against and punish people.
    • Using Tasers on people who posed no threat;
    • Shooting at vehicles without justification;

    Read the full Justice Department report

    Watch Video Below:

    Coretta Scott King Criticized Trump's Attorney General Pick Back In 1986

    Heard the name Jeff Sessions recently? The U.S. Senator from Alabama is up for Attorney General, hand-picked by President-Elect Donald Trump. The Republican has served for 20 years in Congress. However in the mid-1980's he was close to becoming a federal Judge, that was until a group of Senators denied him the opportunity saying they were a bit skeptical about his time as an attorney.

    Those close to Sessions during this time said he often used the N-word, even joking that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "okay" that was at least until he learned they smoked marijuana. Talks of Sessions being racist in the past came up again as the Senate (20 years later) is now considering his appointment for the U.S. Attorney General position.

    One of the people who was not on the Sessions' bandwagon back the 1986; Coretta Scott King. She wrote an 8-page letter to lawmakers condemning Sessions saying if he would become a federal Judge he would "irreparably damage the work" of Martin Luther King Jr. 

    She would go on to say,

    "the irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriff accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods."

    Pretty serious words. The letter was unreleased until recently. King was also concerned about Sessions' respect for the Voting Rights Act, a movement MLK spent a great time to pass.

    She accused Sessions of questionable behavior when he attempted to prosecute 3 African-American civil rights activists (known as the Marion Three) with voter fraud. The activists were volunteers whose jobs was to deliver absentee ballots to the post office to be counted. Sessions lost the case and the activists were released because they ultimately committed no crime.

    Amidst the racism and raised eyebrows surrounding Sessions, he was denied the judge position, which is a lifetime appointment. This letter from King was allegedly hidden by the Republic Party and was never entered into the record during the 1986 hearing.

    President Obama Gives His Farewell Address In Chicago

    In front of a crowd thousands at McCormick Place, President Barack Obama gave his final farewell speech. He began by highlighting some of his top accomplishments like successfully finding and killing Osama Bin Laden and providing healthcare to 20 million more Americans who otherwise would have been covered. He says the unemployment level is at the lowest it's been in years but says still some blue collar middle-class workers feel left behind and that the government only helps the powerful. 

    One message he spent time on was climate change saying we can't ignore science. Taking a obvious job at President-Elect Donald Trump who once said on Twitter climate change was a hoax spurred up by the Chinese government. Obama says the next generation and the ones after will suffer if immediate action is not taken. 

    The crowd was in tears as the outgoing president wrapped up his speech. He acknowledged First Lady Michelle Obama for their 25 years of marriage and for her support along the way. He says she helped a nation get healthier through her Let's Move campaign. He mentioned to his daughters Malia and Sasha that through his hard word as president, the best job he owned was being their father. 

    President Obama ended his 8 years in office back home in Illinois, the same state where he announced he was running for president 9 years ago in Springfield. He encouraged everyone to go out and make a difference themselves in their community instead of relying on others. He says if you have a problem with your local lawmakers, grab your clipboard and collect signatures. 

    On January 20th at noon, President Obama becomes Barack Obama, everyday citizen, once Trump takes office. To end his speech he said, "Yes we can and yes we can."

    Check Out More Clips:

    Mr. President | Thank You! #obamafarewell #chicago #USA #OBAMA #MyPresident | Thanks You Mary Datcher !!! 🇺🇸

    A photo posted by Tito G. 📷️️️️ Photographer (@gotit_lens) on

    Because #MichelleObama ❤️ A moment I captured when President #BarackObama mentioned our #Flotus

    A photo posted by ACThePlug 🔌 (@actheplug) on

    @ryanhenrytattoo from #BlackInkChicago have his Favorite #PresidentObama moment!!! #FarewellSpeech #History

    A video posted by Power 92 Chicago (@power92chicago) on

    Trump tweets Chicago might need federal help on violence

    President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday where he drew attention to Chicago's struggles with surging violent crime, this time suggesting that perhaps Mayor Rahm Emanuel should seek help from the federal government. Homicides rose nearly 60 percent from 2015 to the highest levels in 20 years.

    Chicago Prepares Farewell Party For Obama Before Leaving Office

    One of the coolest first families to ever grace our presence will make their final exit from the exit in January. But, what better to say goodbye than a celebration right here in Chicago to thank those who’ve supported the Commander in Chief over the last eight years.

    According to Politico, Chicago Officials are planning a thank-you to supporters who helped launch his career as a state senator, U.S. senator and President. The event is said to feature a “farewell speech” from Obama, Politico said.

    The farewell event will take place Jan. 10 at  The McCormick Center.

    President Obama will officially end his presidency on Jan. 20.

    Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Asks President Obama for Help to Appeal Prison Sentence

    On Friday, the ex-governor petitioned President Obama to commute his 14-year sentence. This comes the same week he appealed his sentence once again. 

    Over 100 of his fellow inmates wrote letters of recommendation to Blagojevich’s judge telling of his good behavior and leadership skills while behind bars. Blagojevich, 60, is spending his days as a history tutor while serving time on corruption charges. He was found guilty of selling Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate seat once it became vacated in 2008 among other charges, including lying to the FBI.

    In August, during a re-sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge James Zagel refused to lower his sentence saying there was enough evidence of serious wrongdoing and the 14-year sentence does indeed match the crime. Especially since five of his 18 counts were already tossed out on a technicality. His attorneys were asking for nine years off the sentence, which began in 2012.

    Seeing how his previous appeals were a no-go, if this request is denied again, it will leave Blagojevich and his team with only one last option: petitioning the United States Supreme Court. It’ll be a Hail Mary move considering this past March, the Supreme Court already agreed with the lower courts’ initial ruling. They said he crossed the line once he considered accepting money in exchange for naming a person to fill the position.

    At this rate, Blagojevich will not be released from the low-security, federal Colorado prison until May 2024. In the letters to the judge, the inmates portray the former governor as humble, a natural leader and self-effacing. He’s apparently helping those close to getting out land a job and study for their GED.

    Another fun fact about Blago’s life behind bars, according to the Associated Press, he’s also performing in an Elvis-inspired rock band.

    Side note: Pres. Obama made history this week when he issued 78 pardons and commuted sentences of 153 prisoners. This was the most in a single day. During the last 8 years, over 1,320 people have received reduced sentences or pardons.

    If a person is having their sentence commuted, it means their time is shorten but does not change the conviction. A pardon is the president’s forgiving the person’s crime if the prisoner can prove they will lead a productive, law-abiding once they get out. With Obama’s term ending, any remaining petitions will be decided by Donald Trump once he takes office.

    Dylann Roof found guilty of racially motivated massacre at historically black Charleston church that killed nine

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    A jury found Dylann Roof guilty of the Charleston church massacre Thursday, rejecting the twisted 22-year-old’s repulsive racism.

    Roof was found guilty on all counts after just two hours of deliberations. Roof stood with his arms by his sides, staring straight ahead as the 33 guilty verdicts were read. He will face the death penalty. 

    No Money for Illinois Lawmakers This Holiday

    2017 is a year of many promises for people looking to achieve a new year’s resolution. Or some who are ready for the “New Year, New Me” mantra.

    However for those who run the state of Illinois, 2017 is already not looking to begin well since they are ending 2016 with no money in their pockets.

    To catch you up: In 2015, Governor Rauner took office, he issued a Turnaround Agenda, which is a pro-business fixer-up plan to overcome a few problems corporations face in Illinois. Gov. Rauner being a business-man himself gave demands to lawmakers, but dropped a few for the sake of compromising.

    We’re talking a permanent freeze on property taxes, giving term limits to politicians and changing the way employees are able to sue their companies if they are injured or hurt on the job. Since the lawmakers won’t agree to pass his reforms, he doesn’t want to pass the budget.

    Those against passing these reforms say they can focus on what he wants but his changes have nothing to do with the actual budget and everyone needs to focus on that first before moving on to other business.

    Sidenote: Gov. Rauner also wants the budget to be completely balanced before gives his seal of approval. The budget has not be balanced since the 1990’s and the only way to break even at this point is to cut back, drastically. Illinois was operating close to $4 Billion in the hole and borrowing money to make ends meet. (Think, the money given to schools to operate, money for after school programs, some salaries; anywhere, any person or any organization which receives some type of funding from the state).

    In an effort to cut back on spending, Comptroller Leslie Munger (a.k.a. the person who actually signs the checks) halted lawmakers’ paychecks over the summer.

    Munger, like Rauner, is a Republican. The Democrats control both the Illinois House & Senate so there’s plenty of back of forth is Springfield.

    In one last peace out to Munger; on Friday (her last day in office) Democrat lawmakers filed a lawsuit in Cook County demanding their paychecks back, saying ‘oh by the way keeping our checks is against the Illinois Constitution’.

    Susan Mendoza, a Democrat, beat Munger during the election and was just sworn in to take control of the Comptroller’s office this past Monday. However, Mendoza agrees with Munger on holding the checks until a budget is formulated.

    Lawmakers get paid once a month at the end of the month. The decision is now in at the hands of a judge to decide.

    Senate Approves $170M To Fix Flint Water System

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    Monday December 5,2016, the US Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act 95-3, which approved $170 million to help address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

    “Today’s passage is an important reminder to the nation that the crisis in Flint is far from over. Today families still cannot drink the unfiltered water that comes out of their faucets! Now, our colleagues in the House need to act as quickly as possible. It’s also essential that the State of Michigan fully meet their responsibilities to solve the water crisis,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a statement.

    –Judge rules Flint residents can sue Michigan over water crisis–

    The bill sets aside $100 million to fix the broken water system that has left Flint in crisis $50 million for healthcare for children who suffered lead poisoning and $20 million to forgive Flint’s old drinking water loans. $70 million will also go to activate a $1 billion fund for low-interest loans to finance upgrades to water infrastructure.

    It's up to the House to pass the bill as well in order for this bill to take affect. As part of a continuing resolution needed to keep the government funded for the rest of the year. The current resolution expires Friday.

    Trump Call To Action: Announces List of Day-1 Executive Actions

    President-Elect Donald Trump announced on Monday November 21st that the has ordered his transition team to create a draft list of all executive actions he could take on day one in office. This announcement was in fact his 100 Day Transition plan based on his simple core principal “Putting America First”.

    The 2 min YouTube video was posted resulting in the first time the President-Elect has directly communicated with the public since winning the election. Interesting enough, this announcement may come as somewhat of shock to some politicians seeing how past presidents, like Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barrack Obama, have both updated the country in press conferences almost daily. The President – Elect has yet to inform us on a future press conference.

    In the video, The President-Elect males 6 calls for action on Energy, Trade, Immigration, The amount of policies we have, and national security. Another interesting fact one could point out is how he did not once talk about any core topics he preached about in his election. You know, his plans of action towards the Affordable Care Act, the tax code, plans on Iran Nuclear Deal and Building his proposed wall along the southern boarder of the country.

    Nevertheless, an important aspect that is addressed is what the effects of these changes will be that are proposed by the President- Elect. These changes may force governmental agencies to rewrite and ultimately change the way they operate while considering that change effect on their business.

    donald trump 2.jpg

    “On Regulation, I will formulate a rule that says for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated, its so important.” – President-Elect Donald Trump.”

    Mr. Trump has continued back –to- back interviews and meetings with white house representatives along with prospective candidates taking the seat in the president’s cabinet.

    American Music Awards Jabs At The New First Family

    The America Music Awards made great tv last night with stellar performances and memorable moments such as Drake's comment as he accepted his favorite rap album award. Green Day really stole the show with message on stage.

    The band performed their new single, Bang Bang, and lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, modified the lyrics to express his opinion about controversial president-elect Donald Trump.

    “No Trump. No KKK. No fascist USA,” the band’s frontman repeatedly chanted.

    This isn’t the first time Armstrong has spoken about against Trump. Through social media he communicated his disappointment with the outcome of the election.

    “Our social progress got punched in the face. Hard,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “It's hard to tell if we made any progress at all.. the dark side of our better angels have spoken.. they gloat.. they cheer.. I pity them.”

    Trump has yet to take to Twitter to express his feeling about the performance or of his wife, as Gigi Hadid mocks how she plagiarized Michele Obama speech early this.  

    Rep. Danny Davis grandson killed over shoes in Chicago

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    The 15-year-old grandson of Congressman Danny Davis was shot to death in his Englewood, Illinois home Friday evening. The shooting was initially thought to believe was a home invasion but according to Chicago police it rooted from an argument of some gym shoes

    Jovan Wilson, 15, was inside his home about 6:45pm CDT when a 15 year old boy and 17 year girl arrived at his home An argument ensued and he was shot in the head, according to police.

    Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office..

    “Unfortunately, this is another example of a 15-year-old with a gun that he never should have had,” said Davis.