RTHK's English-language current affairs programme that takes "The Pulse" of Hong Kong ... and the world around it.
The United States midterm elections were widely considered to be a referendum on President Donald Trump. And the numbers suggest feelings were running high. This week saw the highest voter turnout for midterm elections in 50 years. As a result Republicans extended their control in the Senate, but Democrats’ took control of the House of Representatives, where they can now provide a legislative check on Trump’s presidency. On election day, our producer, Liz Yuen was in Texas, where the hard fought senate battle between Republican Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, a potential Democratic candidate for president, drew national attention. With me to talk about the US midterm elections results are Nicholas Gordon, Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad HK, Kym Kettler-Paddock, Communications Director for Republicans Overseas, and Tara Joseph who is the President of AmCham HK.
The Democrats won’t actually take control of the House until it reconvenes in January, but President barely blinked before launching a fusillade of actions to punish people he saw as opponents. On Wednesday, a day after the midterm elections, he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist and critic of the Mueller investigation into meddling during the 2106 presidential election. That same morning, Trump let off steam at a press conference when he somewhat petulantly read out a list of Republicans who didn’t “embrace” him and lost their election bids, he accused an African-American reporter of asking a “racist question”, and – arguably - finest moment of all – yelled at, and ultimately barred from the White House, a CNN reporter.
It’s more than a week since the United States midterm elections, and it still isn’t over. There are still a number of seats in the House of Representatives, and two Senate seats too close to call. Recounts and run-offs are still underway. As the late results tend to favour the Democrats, it’s looking more and more as if the “blue wave” that many initially said hadn’t happened is actually developing. As one example, in Arizona Kyrsten Sinema is not only the state’s first female senator but also its first Democratic senator in decades. Possibly annoying the president even more, she’s also the first openly bisexual Senator. And Donald Trump is far from happy. He’s called for an end to the recounts in Florida saying, on the basis of no evidence, that people voted illegally. Members of staff in the White House have said he’s in a pretty foul and furious mood since the midterms. In our second report on those elections, we look at one of the many historical firsts in this election: the record number of women voted into Congress.
With me in the studio are Leta Hong Fincher, author of “Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China”, and Puja Kapai of the Women's Studies Research Centre to talk about feminism in China and the USA.
On Wednesday, veteran politician Chung Sze-yuen passed away at the age of 101. He was known for his key role in, and his efforts during, the Sino-British negotiation on the future of Hong Kong. His public service included setting up the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Hospital Authority. He was also one of the few people to have served in both Legco and Exco before and after the Handover, and he was the SAR’s first Exco convener.