March, 2017

Trumpism Doesn’t Make Much Sense

Rich Lowry: “In light of all this, the product of the Ryan-Trump partnership on health care was a bill bizarrely at odds with a national election Republicans had just won on the strength of working-class voters. Under the GOP replacement, fewer people would have had coverage, and workers further down the income scale would have been particularly hard hit. For whatever reason, neither of these facts seemed to exercise the White House, at least not enough to try to do anything to fix them.”

“His energies were taken up trying to placate the conservative House Freedom Caucus. The supposed affinity between Trump and the Freedom Caucus is one of the great ideological misunderstandings of our time. Just because Trump and the conservative caucus are both ‘anti-establishment’ doesn’t mean they have anything else in common. Trump is more naturally an ally of the moderate Tuesday Group, except with a flame-throwing Twitter feed.”

“A President Trump acting more in keeping with his free-floating reflex to take care of people, as expressed in speeches and interviews, would have pushed the health bill to the left. But Trump so far hasn’t followed the logic of his own politics in dealing with Congress.”

Republicans Will Need Democrats to Prevent Shutdown

“Congressional Republicans are working aggressively to craft an agreement intended to keep the government open past April 28, but their bid to avert a shutdown hinges on courting Democrats wary of President Trump and skirting the wrath of both hardline conservatives and Trump himself,” the Washington Post reports.

“The murky path forward on government funding sparked widespread unease Wednesday within the business community and at the Capitol, where Republicans speculated that Trump’s request for money to build a wall along the border with Mexico and $30 billion in new defense spending may need to be delayed to avoid a shutdown.”

Ivanka Trump Will Take Formal White House Job

Ivanka Trump “is becoming an official government employee, joining her husband in serving as an unpaid adviser to her father in the White House,” the New York Times reports.

“Ms. Trump already has an office in the West Wing, and she said last week that she would serve as an informal adviser to her father. But that plan prompted criticism from ethics experts, who said it would allow her to avoid some rules and disclosures.”

House GOP Mulls Another Try at Obamacare Repeal

“House Republicans are considering making another run next week at passing the health-care bill they abruptly pulled from the floor in an embarrassing setback to their efforts to repeal Obamacare,” Bloomberg reports.

“Two Republican lawmakers say that leaders are discussing holding a vote, even staying into the weekend if necessary, but it’s unclear what changes would be made to the GOP’s health bill.”

“Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who helped derail the bill, have been talking with some Republican moderate holdouts in an effort to identify changes that could bring them on board with the measure.”

Chelsea Clinton Says She’s Not Running for Anything

Chelsea Clinton told Variety there is no truth to rumors that she is mulling a political bid: “I am not running for public office.”

Said Clinton: “I am really constantly surprised by the stories of me running for, fill-in-the-blank: Congress, Senate, City Council, the presidency. I really find this all rather hysterical, because I’ve been asked this question a lot throughout my life, and the answer has never changed.”

Senate May Interview Author of Trump Dossier

The Senate Intelligence Committee “is in talks to interview Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who compiled the dossier that alleges a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” three sources with direct knowledge told NBC News.

“Steele, however, remains concerned about his safety and is not inclined to leave London.  He is also concerned about how he might be treated by the Trump administration.”

Ex-Christie Aides Get Prison Time for Bridgegate

“Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority who became caught up in the bizarre scheme of political retribution that became known as Bridgegate, was sentenced Wednesday to 24 months in prison,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.

Said Baroni: “I regret, more than anything, that I allowed myself to get caught up in this.”

“Bridget Anne Kelly, a former top aide to the governor whose “time for some traffic problems” email became a focal point of the Bridgegate investigation, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.”

Trump Less Trusted Than the News Media

A new Monmouth poll finds 81% of the public believes President Trump has a worse relationship with the media than past presidents had. Just 4% say his relationship is better and 12% say it is about the same.

Trump is also trusted less than three television news sources that received the highest and lowest credibility ratings in a recent Morning Consult poll.

“Only 28% of Americans are more likely trust Trump as an information source compared to ABC news while most (53%) say they would tend to trust ABC more, with 15% saying they would trust both sides equally. When pitted against MSNBC, 33% trust Trump more while 47% trust the liberal leaning cable channel more, with 15% trusting both about equally. When pitted against Fox News, only 17% trust Trump more while 37% trust the politically conservative news outlet more, with 36% trusting both about equally.”