TRUMP’S POLL NUMBERS PLUMMET. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds President Trump’s “standing with the American people has deteriorated since the spring, buffeted by perceptions of a decline in U.S. leadership abroad, a stalled presidential agenda at home and an unpopular Republican health-care bill.” “Approaching six months in office, Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36% from 42% in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58%. Overall, 48% say they “disapprove strongly” of Trump’s performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only in the second term of George W. Bush.
Bloomberg: “Just 40% of Americans approve of the job he is doing in the White House, and 55% now view him unfavorably, up 12 points since December. Worse, even more — 61% — say the nation is headed down the wrong path, also up 12 points since December.”
“And despite his assurances that he and congressional Republicans will repeal Obamacare and replace it with a ‘beautiful’ new health care bill, 64% of Americans say they disapprove of his handling of the issue. That’s especially significant because health care topped unemployment, terrorism and immigration as the issue poll respondents chose as the most important challenge facing the nation right now.”
USA Today: “The first six months of Trump’s presidency were brutal. The next six months could well be worse.”
IRONY: MCCAIN’S EXCELLENT HEALTHCARE DERAILS TRUMPCARE. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “put off plans late Saturday to vote on a bill to overhaul the nation’s health-care system next week, after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced he would be at home recovering from surgery, leaving Republicans short of the votes they needed to advance the legislation,” the Washington Post reports.
“McCain underwent surgery in Phoenix on Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye.”
Politico: “A half-dozen key senators, including McCain, were undecided on whether to go ahead with a procedural vote, putting the bill’s future in serious jeopardy before McConnell punted.” “The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two,” the New York Times reports.
“But many questions have been left unanswered, including whether Mr. McCain had symptoms that prompted doctors to look for the clot. In June, his somewhat confused questioning of James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, led to concerns about his mental status, which he later jokingly dismissed by saying he had stayed up too late watching baseball the night before.”
Politico: “Privately, Republicans said the delay could be as little as a week as McCain recovers in Arizona, though others worried it could stretch for several weeks and jeopardize the entire repeal effort… Whether the bill would advance even if McCain were in Washington is another question altogether, as the Arizona senator is one of more than half a dozen undecided Republicans, any one of whom could tank the bill.”
Jonathan Swan: “Top White House officials and McConnell World sources share a mantra: Every day that passes without a third Republican senator coming out against the health care bill is a victory. That’s why the surprise vote delay for McCain’s surgery recovery is so perilous: It gives the bill’s opponents another week to hold protests, run TV ads, and remind squirmish purple-state Republicans that the ACA has twice as much support as the Republican’s alternative (50% to 24%, according to today’s ABC/WaPo poll).”
Key takeaway: “Everything hinges on getting the bill to the floor by finding 50 Republicans who will vote for a ‘motion to proceed.’ If McConnell can’t do that, it’s over.”
Was Trump campaign doing privately what candidate Trump called for publicly? They wanted dirt on HRC and these were efforts to obtain it. pic.twitter.com/ufxdwbOFs9
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 16, 2017
CBO SCORE COULD BE DELAYED TOO. David Nather: “There won’t be a Congressional Budget Office score of the revised bill today after all. In fact, a senior Senate GOP aide tells us it’s ‘highly unlikely’ we’ll see a score this week at all.”
“Every day heightens the risk that one more Senate Republican will come out against the bill — or that an influential political leader like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will, increasing the odds that Nevada Sen. Dean Heller will, too.”
“Despite speculation that the delay will buy time for CBO to analyze Cruz’s proposal, we’re told that’s unlikely too — because it could take weeks for the budget office to figure out its effects.”
TRUMP IS BACKING A PRIMARY CHALLENGER TO FLAKE. THAT COULD BACKFIRE: Politico: “The White House has met with at least three actual or prospective primary challengers to Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in recent weeks, a reflection of Donald Trump’s strained relations with the senator and the latest sign of the president’s willingness to play hardball with lawmakers who cross him — even Republican incumbents.”
“Flake, a longtime Trump critic who refused to endorse the president during the 2016 campaign, is one of a handful of undecided Republican votes on the Obamacare repeal effort. He’s also one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2018.”
Playbook: “If Trump backs a challenger to Flake, it will be a big, big deal. The White House merely meeting with candidates is certain to raise ire in the Senate Republican Conference. Loyalty is a big deal in the Senate.”
This is some answer from Susan Collins on the GOP health bill's Medicaid cutspic.twitter.com/QijjjjuL8l
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 16, 2017
TRUMP IS KILLING THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, SO SAYS THE REPUBLICAN WHO DID THE MOST TO SUPPORT HIM. Joe Scarborough: “I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. The political movement that once stood athwart history resisting bloated government and military adventurism has been reduced to an amalgam of talk-radio resentments. President Trump’s Republicans have devolved into a party without a cause, dominated by a leader hopelessly ill-informed about the basics of conservatism, U.S. history and the Constitution.”
SECRET SERVICE CONTRADICTS THE LYING TRUMP CRIME FAMILY. “The U.S. Secret Service said Donald Trump Jr. was not under protection during his meeting with a Russian attorney in June 2016, adding that they would not have screened any of his meetings,” Politico reports.
“On Sunday morning, Jay Sekulow, a member of Trump’s legal team, questioned on ABC News’ This Weekwhy the Secret Service allowed Trump Jr. to meet Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.” Said Sekulow: “Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me.”
The only way the Secret Service was in the meeting is if Donald Trump, SENIOR, was in the meeting. Did Sekulow just admit to that?
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) July 15, 2017
PETTY MANCHILD TRUMP HASN’T FORGIVEN SESSIONS’ BETRAYAL. Jonathan Swan: “Trump keeps top-line associations for many of the people around him, and White House sources say it’s important to know when you walk into a room with Trump what his top-line association is about you. For instance, Sebastian Gorka is the guy on TV who shreds ‘fake news’ hosts, and Wilbur Ross is ‘a killer’ who knows how to make money.”
“Trump’s top-line association for Sessions: The guy who showed tremendous weakness and caused tremendous problems by needlessly recusing himself from the Russia investigation. In Trump’s mind, Sessions bowed to political pressure and gave an opening to his enemies (Democrats and the media). Trump blames Sessions, in part, for his Russia headaches.”
THE TRUMP CRIME FAMILY IS ROTTEN TO THE CORE. Edward Luce: “While Mr Trump is president, Washington is Bourbon city. For Mr Trump, no less than Louis XIV, it is ‘L’Etat, c’est moi’. The deeper the probes, the more the Trump family interests will infect every decision. The biggest distortion is in US-Russia relations.”
“No other western democracy operates like this. Until recently, the US did not either. It will only become more pronounced as the Russia investigations gather pace. As the crisis deepens, the family will circle the wagons. Those who are not inside the circle are doing what it takes to protect themselves.”
“If your goal is to disable the US government, now is the time to strike. Whether you are president of Russia, emir of some oil-rich kingdom or a nihilist working from the inside, Mr Trump offers an unparalleled opportunity. Trump is America and America is Trump. While he is president, the US republic is highly vulnerable.”
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 15, 2017
WHY WE AMERICANS TEND TO SHUN HEREDITARY RULE: The Economist: “Defenders of nepotism—for they do exist—argue that close relatives are able to offer presidents more candid advice than any outsider. They note that by some counts 16 presidential children have worked in the White House, variously as private secretaries (a tradition begun by the 6th president, John Quincy Adams, himself a president’s son), as unpaid gatekeepers (cf, Anna Roosevelt, daughter of Franklin), or as formal advisers (Dwight Eisenhower’s son John served as a national security aide). But such a defense of nepotism breaks down when America has a bad president.”
“When ordinary aides find themselves in that unhappy situation, a sense of duty to their country, to their office or to the rule of law may prompt them to question furtive actions and poor decisions, or to resign. Other aides may be more strongly moved by self-interest, and a desire to keep their good name from being soiled by an unfit boss. But when a child wields power at the pleasure of a parent, fidelity to country or to the law must vie with deeper, more visceral loyalties. That tug of loyalties is more painful still when a parent is like Mr Trump, a clannish, vengeful man who, by his own son’s account, would send him to school with the growled warning: ‘Don’t trust anyone.’ As for trying to preserve a free-standing good name, that is tricky if you are called Donald Trump junior.”
TRUMP WANTS GOOD PRESS COVERAGE IN THE UK BEFORE HE VISITS. President Trump urged British prime minister Theresa May to “fix it” for him to get a warm welcome in Britain, The Sun reports. “The US President made his shameless plea in a private conversation with Theresa May to plan his state visit — now postponed until next year. Two million people signed a petition calling for Mr Trump’s proposed trip to be axed.” A transcript of the chat, seen by senior diplomats, reveals his touchiness. Mr Trump says: “I haven’t had great coverage out there lately, Theresa.”
As Jared's Russia scandal worsens, Breitbart turns on him:https://t.co/62R17JqRGF
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) July 15, 2017