Bipartisan congressional negotiators have reached a critical agreement on a spending bill that if approved by the House and Senate would fund the government through the end of September, senior aides from both parties told CNN. The plan would add billions of dollars for the Pentagon and border security but would not provide any money for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico. Votes in both chambers are expected by the end of the week.
President Trump claimed on Face the Nation that the Republican health care bill has “evolved” and will now cover pre-existing conditions, which is the exact opposite of the truth. To the extent that the Trumpcare bill has evolved, it was to remove the guarantee of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. So either Trump is maliciously lying to the American people, or he is too dumb to know what is in his own bill. Nonetheless, Trump insisted pre-existing conditions were covered “beautifully.”
President Trump “invited the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to the White House, embracing an authoritarian leader who is accused of ordering extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and who crudely disparaged Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of several thousand people suspected of using or selling narcotics, as well as others who may have had no involvement with drugs. Human rights groups and many Western governments have condemned Mr. Duterte for the bloody campaign.”
New York Times: “As Washington pauses to evaluate the opening phase of the Trump presidency, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that, for better or worse, the capital has headed deep into uncharted territory. On almost every one of these first 100 days, Mr. Trump has done or said something that caused presidential historians and seasoned professionals inside the Beltway to use the phrase ‘never before.’”
“He has assumed even more power for the presidency, expanding President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders to offset the inability to pass major legislation and making it more independent of the Washington establishment. He has been more aggressive than any other president in using his authority to undo his predecessor’s legacy, particularly on trade, business regulation and the environment. And he has dominated the national conversation perhaps more thoroughly than any president in a generation.”
With his speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Hasan Minhaj provided the best WHCD speech since fellow “Daily Show” alum Stephen Colbert in 2006.
Stan Collender: “The three major failures of Donald Trump’s first one hundred days in office set him up for even more spectacular failures in the next significant period of his presidency: the approximately 150 days between now and the start of fiscal 2018 on October 1.”
“This five-month time frame is when Trump will be expected to make good on the biggest promises he made during his campaign. These include large domestic spending cuts and military budget increases, a $1 trillion infrastructure program, tax changes (“reform” is no longer appropriate given the outline the White House released last week), Affordable Care Act repeal and replace and, of course, the wall.”
“This will be more of a mandatory requirement than just an opportunity for Trump. He promised his supporters rapid action on most of these plans and the next 150 days may well be his last chance to get something done this year.”
Dan Balz: “Trump got no honeymoon after the contentious 2016 election. He started his presidency less popular than any president in the history of polling. At the 100-day mark, his approval rating is lower than any past president since polling began. He has governed in a way that has cost him little-to-nothing among the voters who put him in office, but in ways that have not allowed him to expand his support or his appeal. Republican elected officials should hope that something changes.”
“What’s particularly worrisome for Republicans is another pattern about presidential approval: Most presidents who have governed in the modern era have seen their approval ratings slide between the 100-day mark and the subsequent midterm election 18 months later.”
When asked for his opinion of North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un, President Trump told Face the Nation that, “I really, you know, have no comment on him.” Then he gave an extensive comment.
Said Trump: “People are saying, ‘Is he sane?’ I have no idea. I can tell you this, and a lot of people don’t like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others. And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I’m sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he’s a pretty smart cookie.”
Well, he is smarter than you, Donald.
When a wave is coming in a midterm election, you begin to see the party in trouble lose its members to retirement. The pace is picking up with more and more retirements. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), “the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first Cuban American elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year,” the Miami Herald reports.
“Her unexpected retirement marks the end of a storied career in which Ros-Lehtinen repeatedly broke political ground as a Cuban-American woman — and gives Democrats an opportunity to pick up a South Florida congressional seat in 2018.”
Politico: “The crisis of confidence they felt after Trump’s shocking win has faded and his record-low poll numbers have killed any incentive in their minds to suck it up and compromise with him.”
“As far as Democrats are concerned, the idea of a moderate, post-partisan staff rising to guide Trump into building bridges with them—even for the sake of building actual bridges as part of infrastructure investments Trump talks about and they agree are needed—has now entered the realm of complete fantasy.”
No shit. If I were Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, I would say to Trump that if he wants us (Democrats) to work for him, he first must go before the cameras and publicly apologize for lying to the American people when he falsely stated that Obama bugged him. He must then publicly apologize to President Obama and his family for the pain and trouble he has caused them. He must do so humbly with no excuses or qualifications.
Mind you, these are Canadians singing the American national anthem. We can’t return the favor.
“Joe Biden has been saying yes to nearly all the political invitations coming his way, with new ones arriving almost daily. Privately, the former vice president and his staff have started talking about how to begin planning a strategy with a roughly 18-month timeline so that if he decides on another presidential run, he’ll be best positioned to get it off the ground,” Politico reports. “Biden will be 77 by the time of the next Iowa caucuses, but Biden 2020 just might happen.”
John Ziegler argues that it is conservatives who should be the most ticked off about Fox News:
[I]t is my belief that Fox News has, on balance, been horrible for the cause of conservatism in nearly every way.
Since Fox News began in 1996, Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote exactly one time, and that was in the first election after 9/11 with an incumbent running for reelection against a terrible candidate. Even that win was by a small margin. That’s a popular vote record of 1-5. Conversely, in the six presidential elections before Fox News existed, Republican candidates went 4-2 with every victory being, by today’s standards, a complete blowout…
[Fox] not only created a dangerous bubble for conservatives, but it also facilitated a “star system” for conservative leaders which dramatically valued entertainment value over substance. When the goal of someone is to be popular, this inherently means that principles are arbitrary and, as we saw in 2016, at best, a nuisance.
Effectively, the Republican Party and the conservative movement outsourced its communication arm to an entity whose goal was to create a small, cult-like following for their economic benefit rather than a governing majority.