Democrats Are Preparing to Run Against Pence In 2020

BuzzFeed: “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by Vice President Mike Pence, with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run.”

“The vice president has denied having intentions to run, but he has been meeting with top donors and has set up a leadership PAC that has already raised $540,000, as President Trump continues to make comments on race and other issues that are making Republicans increasingly uncomfortable.”

For members: Trump’s Re-Election May Depend Upon Leaving the GOP

Bannon Won’t Go Quietly

BuzzFeed reports that White House adviser Stephen Bannon “has now made the calculus that he’s on thin ice regardless, and won’t go down quietly.”

Said one supporter: “He’s saying, ‘I’m going to force you to fire me in a public way or we’re going to follow the agenda we were elected for.'”

“Those in the orbit of Trump mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, longtime Bannon allies who invested in Breitbart, are said to be worried about Bannon and the White House his departure would leave behind. The removal of Bannon, people in that world have said this week, would signal that the White House they worked to elect as the harbinger of political revolution was instead becoming ‘another Bush administration.'”

Corker Says Trump Lacks Stability and Competence

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that President Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” NPR reports.

Said Corker: “He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today.”

Corker also warned that without that, “our nation is going to go through great peril” and called for “radical change” at the White House.

Scott Says Trump’s Moral Authority Is In Question

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told Vice News that he questioned President Trump’s moral authority following the tragedy in Charlottesville.

Said Scott: “I’m not going to defend the indefensible… Trump’s comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.””

Trump Abandons Council on Infrastructure

President Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, Bloomberg reports.

“The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works.”

“The action follows Trump announcing on Wednesday that he was disbanding two other business advisory councils. Corporate chief executive officers had started to quit the panels in protest over Trump’s remarks that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists following a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.”

No One’s Laughing on Late Night TV

CNN: “For six months, late-night hosts have pilloried the President for a long litany of incidents ripe for satire, from shoving a prime minister out of the way to attacking his own attorney general. The past weekend’s events in Charlottesville sparked an unmistakable outpouring of comedic rage, because the President was so late and, to many observers (including most of the roster of late-night hosts) so wishy-washy in expressing his disapproval of groups promoting things as egregiously and indisputably wrong as racism, anti-Semitism, and neo-Nazism.”

“It was the nadir, according to Seth Meyers of NBC, who has been probably the most ferocious critic of the President in late night.”

Winning Is Survival for Trump

Howard Fineman: “Trump seems perfectly willing to destroy the country to maintain his own power… The goal, as always with Trump, is to win amid the chaos he sows, to be the last man standing in rubble. And ‘winning’ is rapidly being reduced to the raw, basic terms he prefers: brute survival. With a record-setting low approval rating, world crises everywhere and a special counsel on his tail, the main victory he can hope for is staying in office. It’s not only an emotional imperative for Trump, it’s a deliberate ― and thus far successful ― strategy.”

The Breitbart Presidency

Rich Lowry: “Over the past few days, Trump hasn’t spoken as the leader of the country, or even leader of one party, but as a leader of an inflamed faction. In general, Trump’s news conference was a tour de force of whataboutism, one of the most important rhetorical tools of the pro-Trump internet. The ‘alt-right’ marched on Charlottesville? Well, what about the ‘alt-left’? Robert E. Lee’s statue is coming down. Well, what about George Washington?”

“They were used, as whataboutism so often is, as cover for Trump’s failings and to obscure rather than sharpen distinctions. Charlottesville highlights how the problem with Trump is not the crudity of his expression. This, at times, can be part of his charm and makes him a distinctively powerful communicator. It’s the crudity of thought and feeling.”

The Opposite Came True

Michael Brendan Dougherty: “The whole theory behind a successful Trump presidency was that he could unite conservative populists with mainstream, business-oriented Republicans, somehow managing to make the worst aspects of each group cancel each other out. The populists would check the greedy self-dealing of the business types, and the desire for respectability would prevent the populists from acting on their darkest animosities.”

“This was always a pipe dream. It would have been impossible even if the man at the top was a political genius of great cunning and self-control. Instead, we have Trump, and almost the opposite case obtains: Our head of state is trying to micromanage the social opprobrium falling on neo-Nazis and all Republicans can think to do with their power on the Hill is cut taxes and social benefits.”

What Should Republicans Do?

The Economist: “Those in the administration face a hard choice. Some will feel tempted to resign. But his advisers, particularly the three generals sitting at the top of the Pentagon, the National Security Council and as Mr Trump’s chief of staff, are better placed than anyone to curb the worst instincts of their commander-in-chief.”

“For Republicans in Congress the choice should be clearer. Many held their noses and backed Mr Trump because they thought he would advance their agenda. That deal has not paid off. Mr Trump is not a Republican, but the solo star of his own drama. By tying their fate to his, they are harming their country and their party. His boorish attempts at plain speaking serve only to poison national life. Any gains from economic reform—and the booming stockmarket and low unemployment owe more to the global economy, tech firms and dollar weakness than to him—will come at an unacceptable price.”

“Republicans can curb Mr Trump if they choose to. Rather than indulging his outrages in the hope that something good will come of it, they must condemn them. The best of them did so this week. Others should follow.”

GOP Lawmakers Are Apparently In Hiding

The Washington Post reports that Republicans want nothing to do with defending President Trump’s remarks on the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville.

“We invited every single Republican senator on this program tonight — all 52,” Chuck Todd said on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” on Wednesday. “We asked roughly a dozen House Republicans, including a bunch of committee chairs, and we asked roughly a half dozen former Republican elected officials, and none of them agreed to discuss this issue with us today.”

That’s about 70 rejections altogether, and other news anchors had the same experience on Wednesday — even on Fox News.

“Our booking team — and they’re good — reached out to Republicans of all stripes across the country today,” Shepard Smith told his viewers. “Let’s be honest: Republicans often don’t really mind coming on Fox News Channel. We couldn’t get anyone to come and defend him here. Because we thought, in balance, someone should do that. We worked very hard at it throughout the day, and we were unsuccessful.”

Trump Defends Confederate Statues

President Trump doubled-down on Twitter and defended the “beautiful” Confederate statues:

Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You… can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also… the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!