In Case You Missed It: The Top 3 Stories in Politics

Here are the top 3 biggest stories and politics in case you missed them over the holidays:

Trump sends Mattis packing early, names temporary replacement; Sanders’ supporters take aim on Beto O’Rourke; and in one of the best reads of the day: Senator Rand Paul takes the government to task in massive tweet-storm.

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1. Mattis to leave early, Shanahan will replace him

Apparently the publishing of the resignation letter of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who announced he would be departing on February 28, didn’t sit well with the president. Trump announced that the General will be leaving on January 1. The President named Patrick Shanahan, Deputy Defense Secretary, as acting Secretary of Defense. Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White made the announcement on Sunday.

Trump defended his decision to remove Mattis in a tweet on Sunday: “When President Obama ingloriously fired Jim Mattis, I gave him a second chance. Some thought I shouldn’t, I thought I should. Interesting relationship-but I also gave all of the resources that he never really had. Allies are very important-but not when they take advantage of U.S.”

2. Paul takes government to task in annual ‘festivus’ tweet-storm

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went on a tweet-storm over the weekend in a celebration of the Jerry Seinfeld’s fictional ‘festivus’ holiday, where the Kentucky legislator took both comical and serious jabs at the government.

Paul on government waste: Senator Paul took the government to task on a number of wasteful spending programs, starting with China saying: “I discovered something — we give foreign aid to China. So government is so dumb, it is literally borrowing money from China, to give it back to China, while paying interest on it.”

Next he listed the following:

  • The National Science Foundation spent $75,691 to below leaf blowers at lizards.
  • The NIH’s spending $2,408,153 to study daydreaming.
  • The USAID is spending as much as $18 million to support Egyptian tourism.
  • The National Institutes of Health gave $874,503 over six years to researcher studying the sexual habits of quails that are high on cocaine.

Paul on Trump: Paul wrapped up his waste report by saying “for the first time in forever we have a president that is strong enough to say how about America first let’s spend that money at home.”

Paul on the wall: “Right now we’re spending $50 billion a year in Afghanistan. We could easily find $5 billion for a wall if we weren’t so busy building and rebuilding Afghanistan.”

“For the first time in forever we have a president that cares about our borders more than the borders of some misbegotten land thousands of miles away from America,” Paul added.

Paul on troop withdrawal: Paul said he was “very proud” of Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and keep a campaign promise to do so. Paul said Trump was right in saying that “it’s not America’s job to replace regimes around the world” and that “the generals still don’t get the mistake,” which may have been referring to General Mattis.

Paul slams Bolton: Paul then took a swipe at John Bolton, implying that he is a warmonger and said that he “really would have liked to have been in the room when the POTUS told him to END a war. How many times do you think you may the President repeat it because he didn’t even know what the words meant?”

Paul does comedy: On a more comical note, Paul referred to Jared Kushner as “the kid from the omen movie all grown up.” Paul also appeared next to sticks on the beach stacked in the shape of a teepee, saying: “I came to say ‘happy festivus’ to my friend Elizabeth Warren. Can’t find her.” Lastly, Paul posted a photoshopped picture of Ted Cruz with a crazy beard in a joke about the government shutdown.

3. Sanders’ supporters take aim on Beto O’Rourke

The supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) seem to have declared war on Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) with the aim of proving he’s not the progressive darling many Democrats believe he is. Both men are weighing the possibility of a 2020 presidential bid.

Sanders’ supporters, online and in print, are pointing out that O’Rourke has been too close to Republicans in Congress, as well as, corporate donors. Many feel that O’Rourke could challenge Sanders in attracting younger and progressive white voters, a core strength Bernie had over Clinton in 2016.

Sanders supporters seem intent on taking away O’Rourke’s fire in the eyes of progressives before he can gain momentum toward a 2020 run.