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Nov 18 2016
by Karly Matthews

What Happened This Week in Politics: Continued Protests, Presidential Appointments & Controversy

By Karly Matthews - Nov 18 2016
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As the presidential transition period begins, controversy has erupted already. Questionable appointments made by Trump have only exacerbated tensions in the country. Meanwhile, the DNC and congressional Republicans are choosing leadership, and President Obama is beginning to formally wrap up his term as America's 44th president.

1. Controversial figure Steve Bannon is added to Trump's team.

When Trump named former Breitbart editor Steve Bannon his senior counselor, many Americans were outraged. Bannon has been known to be anti-semitic, and Breitbart, of course, is an "alt-right" publication. In the past, Bannon has made anti-women and anti-LGBTQ+ statements, so his appointment causes alarm in multiple American communities. Americans across the country are calling their representatives to address this concern, and some public officials — like former Senator Harry Reid — are calling for Bannon to be fired.

2. Huffington Post plays a prank on its readers.

In a post by Matt Masur, the Huffington Post taught its readers a bit of a lesson in this post-election atmosphere. With the headline, "Bernie Sanders Could Replace President Trump With Little-Known Loophole," the article actually described how Americans are only listening to what they want to hear when instead, they should be fact-checking information and actively consuming news.

3. Nationwide, #NotMyPresident and other protests continue.

From #NotMyPresident marches to #SanctuaryCampus walk-outs, campuses across the country are continuing political activism against president-elect Trump and his policies. Fresh U covered protests at Rochester and USC, but these are only a couple of the many movements happening. After all, on Wednesday, over 80 colleges staged walk-outs against Trump's immigration policies. Fresh U constructed a video regarding the protests, which can be seen below.

4. Vice President-elect Mike Pence takes over Trump transition team.

A week ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was ousted from the Trump transition team due to revelations made in the ongoing Bridge-gate scandal, and instead vice-president elect Mike Pence will lead the charge. Pence immediately removed all lobbyists from the transition team, which was met with support from congressional Republicans. Prominent Republicans Frank Gaffney, Pete Hoekstra and Devin Nunes also joined the transition team.

5. President Obama will award Presidential Medals of Freedom.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is considered the "highest civilian honor," and this week, President Obama announced the recipients of the medals for his final time in office. Twenty-one different people will receive the medal in 2016 including Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Diana Ross. The official ceremony will be held on November 22 and can be streamed here on that date.

6. Minnesota police officer is charged with manslaughter in the death of Philando Castile.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two felonies. The officer from St. Antonio, Jeromino Yanez, will appear in court for the first time today. In a press conference, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi remarked that "no reasonable officer" would have used that much force.

7. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is once again appointed by congressional Republicans.

The current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, a congressman from Wisconsin, was unanimously renominated for his current seat by fellow GOP congressmen. According to NPR, Ryan is willing to work with president-elect Trump despite their differences during his campaign. There will be an official election in January with both House Republicans and Democrats to affirm his seat.

8. Joe Biden memes have taken over the Internet.

On a lighter note, political humor revolving around Vice President Joe Biden has taken over the Internet this week. Joe Biden memes appeared in a Twitter Moment and all up and down timelines of basically all social media sites. To see the best of the best, check out Vogue's coverage of the Internet creativity.

9. President Obama travels abroad one last time as the leader of the United States.

In a trip to Greece, Germany and Peru, President Obama performed his final foreign relations trip in office. The White House Snapchat account is following the president's every move throughout the trip. The purpose of the trip, as CRF reports below, was to assure America's allies that NATO will continue even after Obama leaves office in January. Yahoo reported the president's trip in photos here.

10. The DNC chair seat is up for grabs.

The DNC chair seat is open and incredibly important for the party after Hillary Clinton's presidential election loss on November 8. On Monday, Representative Keith Ellison announced his candidacy for the position, and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have notably backed him for the seat. Other candidates include Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, South Carolina Party Chair Jaime Harrison, New Hampshire Chair Ray Buckley, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and former DNC Chair Howard Dean.

This is a tumultuous time in American politics without a doubt, and many Americans are making their concerns heard. As the presidential transition continues, Americans have the responsibility to hold their government responsible and ensure that the people are holding the power in the country. 

Lead Image Credit: Don Irvine via Flickr Creative Commons

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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