June, 2017

Brzezinski and Scarborough Respond to Trump

“Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzenzski blast President Trump in an op-ed in the Washington Post for his Twitter rant about them:

The president’s unhealthy obsession with our show has been in the public record for months, and we are seldom surprised by his posting nasty tweets about us. During the campaign, the Republican nominee called Mika “neurotic” and promised to attack us personally after the campaign ended. This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.

The president’s unhealthy obsession with “Morning Joe” does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs. Despite his constant claims that he no longer watches the show, the president’s closest advisers tell us otherwise. That is unfortunate. We believe it would be better for America and the rest of the world if he would keep his 60-inch-plus flat-screen TV tuned to “Fox & Friends.”

They conclude:

More significant is Mr. Trump’s continued mistreatment of women. It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women. From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children.

Anyone Else Would Have Been Fired

Associated Press: “If President Donald Trump were anyone else, he’d be fired, or at least reprimanded, for his latest tweets attacking a female TV host, social media and workplace experts say.”

“And if he were to look for a job, the experts say, these and past tweets would raise red flags for companies doing social media background checks, an increasingly common practice as tweets and Facebook posts become a daily, sometimes hourly part of our lives.”

Senate Leaders Still Have No Health Bill

Axios: “Senate Republicans didn’t get a health care deal nailed down before leaving town — but they don’t want to lose momentum, so they’re going to send the Congressional Budget Office some broad outlines of a new bill to look at over the recess. If that sounds like an anticlimax, and you expected more, you haven’t been watching Senate Republicans for the last two months.”

“Senators were still all over the map yesterday on a handful of key provisions…. But aides said they can send the broad strokes over to CBO now, and fill in the gaps later. They have to get the ball rolling today in order to have a score by the middle of July, and a vote before the August recess.”

GOP Senators Calls for Shortened August Recess

Politico: “A group of 10 senators is sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday morning asking for the GOP leader to shorten the August recess — or cancel it altogether — if the party does not make significant headway on its priorities in July… The letter comes right after Congress left Thursday and scattered across the country for a July 4 recess.”

Trump Picks Vote Suppressor to Probe ‘Election Integrity’

President Trump named Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, to his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate instances of voter fraud during the 2016 election, The Hill reports.

Rick Hasen: “I thought it could not get worse with the Pence-Kobach faux election integrity commission with the appointment of Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has trumped up claims of voter fraud to advance his career and to make it harder for people to register and vote, and former Ohio SOS Ken Blackwell, who once rejected voter registration forms based upon the weight of the sheet of paper.”

“But I was wrong… This appointment is a big middle finger from the President to those who are serious about fixing problems with our elections.”

GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers

“Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.”

“Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.”

GOP May Forgo Tax Cuts to Pass Health Bill

New York Times: “Hoping to revive their repeal bill, Senate Republicans said on Thursday that they were seriously considering proposals to keep one of the law’s taxes on high-income people while providing more money to combat the opioid epidemic and a new incentive for people to establish tax-free savings accounts for medical expenses. Ms. Collins said Republican leaders and the Trump administration had agreed to $45 billion for an opioid treatment fund.”

“Republicans also said they were considering a proposal that would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive health plans if they also offered at least one plan that complied with consumer protection standards like those in the Affordable Care Act.”

Administration Moves to Carry Out Partial Travel Ban

“The Trump administration moved aggressively on Thursday to fulfill one of the president’s most contentious campaign promises, banning entry into the United States by refugees from around the world and prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries,” the New York Times reports.

“Freed by the Supreme Court to partly revive President Trump’s travel ban, administration officials said the American border would be shut to those groups unless specific individuals can prove they have close family members living in the United States, or are coming to attend a university or accept a job offer.”

Pence to Replace His Chief of Staff

“Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff will depart the White House in the coming weeks and will be replaced by a long-serving aide, in the first major staff change of his office,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, Josh Pitcock, will be replaced by Nick Ayers, a veteran political operative from Georgia who has been working with the vice president for three years. Mr. Ayers was the chief political strategist for Mr. Pence, then the governor of Indiana, when President Trump chose the governor as his running mate.”

Big Majority of Americans Feel ‘Alarmed’ or ‘Uneasy’

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that 42% of of those surveyed when asked how they felt when they think about how things are going in Washington today said there were “alarmed.” Another 33% feel “uneasy.” Just 11% choose the positive “excited.”

“The air of angst is bipartisan. Nine of 10 Democrats feel uneasy or alarmed; so do a majority of Republicans.”

Trump Attacks Mika Brzezinski In Vulgar Terms

President Trump “assailed the television host Mika Brzezinski in unusually personal and vulgar terms, the latest of a string of escalating attacks by the president on the national news media,” the New York Times reports.

Here’s Trump’s two-part tweet:

I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…

to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

“The graphic nature of the president’s suggestion that Ms. Brzezinski had undergone plastic surgery was met with immediate criticism on social media.”

Brian Stelter: “Even by President Trump’s standards, these tweets were shocking.”

Are Democrats Really Willing to Negotiate on Health Care?

NBC News: “Once-unified Democrats are splintering into competing factions over how to best move forward, with progressive lawmakers and activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) telling NBC News Wednesday they see the problems in the GOP as an opportunity to double down on their preferred health care reforms, like single-payer health insurance…”

“On the other hand, several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have said they have in mind a variety of modest changes to Obamacare that they’d love to sit down and discuss with Republicans. Schumer even invited President Donald Trump to a bipartisan meeting with all senators.”

First Read: “The difference here with Republicans: It’s Democratic leaders who are up for compromise; it’s rank-and-file progressives who aren’t.”