Hours after Trump’s “fire and fury” comments yesterday, North Korea said it was preparing to send intermediate-range missiles near Guam, which is home to more than 160,000 U.S. citizens. Trump’s comments, it turns out, were improvised and surprised White House staffers; the single sheet of paper in front of him was a fact sheet about the opioid crisis. In response, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attempted to both stand behind Trump’s remarks while also altering their substance in an important way. While Trump twice stated that the US will respond to any further North Korean threats, Tillerson moved the red line in his comments to a more reasonable place, saying that the US will respond to any attack by North Korea on the US or its allies. Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter this morning to tout the power of the US nuclear arsenal, which he said is “far stronger and more powerful than ever before.”
Five active duty transgender service members filed the first lawsuit against Trump's directive to prohibit transgender individuals from serving in the armed forces, announced at the end of July on Twitter but not yet implemented. The service members all say they have relied on the Defense Department's current policy permitting open service by transgender service members and argue Trump's ban, which may result in early termination or failure to renew their contracts, is unconstitutional.
The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell traded barbs about the GOP’s legislative failures in the first 7 months of the year. McConnell said yesterday that Trump had unrealistic expectations regarding legislative progress; today, Trump and some of his aides tweeted their own criticisms of McConnell and Republicans in Congress, who they charge haven’t been able to accomplish any of their promises.