Bill Owens, the father of Navy SEAL William ‘Ryan’ Owens, who was killed in a Yemen raid just six days into President Trump’s term, refused to meet with the president when his son’s body was brought home to Dover Air Force Base, the Miami Herald reports.
Said Owens: “I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
“Owens, also a military veteran, was troubled by Trump’s harsh treatment of a Gold Star family during his presidential campaign. Now Owens was a Gold Star parent, and he said he had deep reservations about the way the decision was made to launch what would be his son’s last mission.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) told CBS News that congressional Republicans probably won’t be able to repeal and replace Obamacare without Democratic votes to “get this thing right.”
David Nather: “Democrats have zero incentive to help the Republicans with a repeal-and-replacement vote. Why? Because if they don’t help the Republicans make up the votes they’ll lose from the Freedom Caucus, the result won’t be a repeal with no replacement. The result will be that repeal doesn’t pass — and Obamacare stays in place.”
“Republicans may have to go through the repeal exercise to satisfy their voters, but if it fails, they’ll have to turn it into a ‘fix and repair’ exercise. That’s the only way to get the other side to help.”
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that GOP leaders “are betting that the only way for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act is to set a bill in motion and gamble that fellow GOP lawmakers won’t dare to block it.”
“President Donald Trump’s choice to be secretary of the Navy, businessman Philip Bilden, said Sunday he was withdrawing from consideration for the post, citing concerns about privacy and separating himself from his business interests,” the AP reports.
“Bilden’s withdrawal raises similar issues to that of Vincent Viola, Trump’s nominee for Army secretary who stepped aside earlier this month. Just last week, the Pentagon sought to tamp down reports that Bilden might pull out.”
President Trump “will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that would include sharp increases in Defense Department spending; major cuts to other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency; and no reductions to the largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare,” the New York Times reports.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that 44% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while 48% disapprove, “making him the first president of the post-World War II era with a net negative approval rating in his first gauge of public opinion.”
Very interesting: “Mr. Trump’s approval rating may have been worse were it not for support from a surprising corner of the electorate. His job performance won positive reviews from 55% of respondents who had voted for a third-party candidate in November, who didn’t vote at all or said they supported Mr. Trump mostly to oppose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”
This doesn’t surprise me at all. The BernieorBuster and JillStein Left loves Trump.
David Nather: “The warning signs are becoming inescapable for Republicans: Their most likely Obamacare replacement plans are getting terrible estimates on how many people they’ll cover. Republicans have been pretty open that they’re not trying to compete with Democrats on enrollment numbers — they just want to make sure everyone has access to coverage if they want it. But now the consequences are becoming more real.”
“The danger isn’t just that Democrats will tear them apart if they don’t get better coverage numbers. Republican governors are also starting to sound the alarm… Not the best setup for Trump’s meetings with the governors this morning and health insurance executives later today.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer “is cracking down on leaks coming out of the West Wing, with increased security measures including phone checks for White House staffers overseen by White House attorneys,” Politico reports.
“The push to snuff out leaks to the press comes after a week in which President Trump expressed growing frustration with the media and the unauthorized sharing of information by individuals in his administration.”
New York Times: “Attacking the news media, which has an abysmal approval rating among Republican voters, is sound politics in the short term. But Mr. Trump’s fury is less strategic than heartfelt… “
“His anger is compounded by his belief that he should still be able to plant and steer stories. That was a lot easier to do when he was running a close-knit real estate and branding business with an aggressive legal team that demanded that nearly everyone in his orbit sign nondisclosure agreements.”
“For the first time in his life, Mr. Trump is on the public payroll and subject to a tangle of laws and rules no businessman — especially one accustomed to overseeing every aspect of a relatively small family business — would tolerate.”
New York Times: “To help us get our bearings, we asked experts across the ideological spectrum — people who have served in government or studied the way governments work — to rate 20 news events for importance and abnormality. More often than not, the administration’s actions have been both highly unusual and highly consequential.”
I disagree on the firing of Yates. That was Saturday Night Massacre-ish. It is important and abnormal.