Congress

Trump opens big week by scolding Streep

Donald Trump just kicked off one of the most critical weeks of his coming presidency by launching another Twitter feud with a high-profile celebrity critic.

The president-elect’s Cabinet nominees face Senate confirmation hearings and lengthy inquiries over potential conflicts and Trump’s policy agenda. And Trump himself is preparing for a press conference on how he will put distance between his business interests and the White House.

But, as Washington tuned into the political talk show circuit to open the week on Monday, Trump directed his attention to far lesser affairs – actress Meryl Streep’s critique of the Republican during the annual Golden Globes awards.

“Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big,” Trump said in one of three tweets dismissing the outspoken actress as a “Hillary lover” and declaring himself under attack by “liberal movie people.”

During the awards ceremony, Streep denounced the future president of the United States for his portrayal of a reporter with a disability at a rally last year.

“There was one performance this year that stunned me,” she said, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award. “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart.”

Trump denied he was making fun of the reporter. (The video of Trump imitating the reporter is here.)

“I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s Cabinet nominees are preparing for confirmation hearings starting Tuesday morning with Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, tapped to be the next Attorney General, followed by General John F. Kelly for Secretary of Homeland Security later that day. On Wednesday, Rex Tillerson will be up for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo will face confirmation for CIA Director, Elaine Chao will be questioned for Secretary of Transporation and Betsy DeVos will have a hearing for Secretary of Education.

Collectively, the Trump team will face a series of questions into their business dealings, political ideologies and approaches to a number of high-profile policy decisions – including terrorism, health care, and Russia.

Republican currently have a small majority in the Senate and most nominees are expected to face little opposition. But already Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain are warning of a rift in the GOP if Trump’s views toward Russia in particular don’t change.

“I don’t know what drives him on Russia, but I do know this: That if our policies don’t change vis-a-vis Russia, the worst is yet to come,” Senator Graham said. “And the Congress is going to have a different view on Russia than the President-elect does.”

Trump is likely to face a number of questions at his Wednesday press conference as well. The President-elect has already faced significant criticism for not making himself open to press inquiries since the election and he last held a press conference in July. As a result, he’s likely to field outstanding questions on how he’ll respond to allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections and his many business conflicts.

Eric Wuestewald, @eric_wuest

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