The Open Thread for August 17, 2017

CNN: “Trump himself has remained largely silent on the matter. But inside the glassed-in confines of Trump Tower — where he remained inside for nearly two days straight — the President was defiant in the wake of the ensuing backlash, according to two people who visited the building.”

“He’s plunging forward ‘without regret,’ one of those people said, firmly believing the media and East Coast elites are unfairly hyperventilating about the Charlottesville remarks. The two people said it is similar to the posture he took during challenging moments of his winning presidential campaign.”

A West Wing confidant tells Jonathan Swan: “The danger for Trump now is that one senior resignation will start a run on the bank” — as soon as one top staffer quits, several others could follow.

A majority of Americans think President Donald Trump’s response to violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was not strong enough, according to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. 52 percent of respondents said Trump’s response was not strong enough, while 27 percent thought it was sufficient. Just 19 percent of Republicans thought Trump should have taken a stronger position, while 59 percent thought his response was strong enough. Among Democrats, on the other hand, 79 percent of respondents thought Trump’s response wasn’t strong enough, while 10 percent thought it was sufficient.

“On Tuesday night, while Gary Cohn was fuming about President Trump’s latest comments, Steve Bannon was excitedly telling friends and associates that the ‘globalists’ were in mass freakout mode,” Jonathan Swanreports.

“Today, Bannon reveled in the disbanding of the president’s business council, seeing this as yet more evidence that the Trump administration is at odds with the ‘Davos crowd,’ as Bannon often calls these corporate elites, in a voice dripping with contempt.”

“Bannon saw Trump’s now-infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a ‘defining moment,’ where Trump decided to fully abandon the ‘globalists’ and side with ‘his people.’ Sources who’ve spoken with Bannon since Charlottesville say he views this moment as analogous to the campaign moment when Hillary Clinton condemned half of Trump’s supporters to a ‘basket of deplorables.’”

Meanwhile, ThinkProgress notes that just 16 of 292 Republicans in Congress have released statements that call out Trump directly by name or title for his comments.

Sources close to Gov. John Kasich (R) tell NBC News that after the Charlottesville violence there is growing sense of “moral imperative” to primary President Trump in 2020. Interestingly, a new Marist poll finds that Republicans and Republican leaning independents overwhelmingly support President Trump over a hypothetical challenge from Kasich, 64% to 23%.

But the same poll finds President Trump’s job approval rating is at its lowest point since taking office with only 35% of Americans giving him a positive score, while 55% disapprove of the job he is doing. Key findings: “Although still popular among his key constituency, notably, his job performance rating has dropped among strong Republicans from 91% in June to 79% now. In addition, by more than two to one, Americans who strongly disapprove of his job performance, 42%, outnumber those who strongly approve, 20%.”

Meanwhile, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds Republican voters are taking President Trump’s side in his war with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The poll shows more GOP voters think Trump is looking out for the party’s best interests than think McConnell is. By a more than three-to-one margin, they say that Trump is more in touch with Republican voters and that Trump is more honest. More evidence Trump has the upper hand, at least among Republicans: McConnell’s favorability rating among GOP voters is down over the past three weeks, and half of Republicans say Trump’s attacks against him were appropriate.”

Former President Obama’s response to the Charlottesville violence is now the most liked tweet in Twitter’s history. He quoted Nelson Mandela, saying: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” That must chaffe at Trump.

Playbook: “Remember all the bluster that recently named chief of staff John Kelly was going to install order and help get Trump’s presidency back on track so Republicans could make good on their promises to pass tax reform and an infrastructure package, not to mention fund the government and raise the country’s borrowing limit? No dice. White House aides we talk to were surprised this happened, but have grown immune to the president’s unpredictability. Many are dispirited.”

“This was a news conference aimed at boosting an infrastructure bill — Trump’s best chance of bipartisan legislating for the year. Instead, he did this. Remember that there are just four-and-a-half months left in this year, and there’s a lot the president wants to get done.”

“How much sway is the president going to have with lawmakers as he is saddled with a 34-percent approval rating coming off playing footsie with neo-Nazi and white-supremacist groups?”

Fox News and the Daily Caller deleted posts that encouraged people to drive through protests with their cars, CNN reports.

“Originally published by The Daily Caller and later syndicated or aggregated by several other websites, including Fox Nation, an offshoot of Fox News’ website, it carried an unsubtle headline: ‘Here’s A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road.’ Embedded in the article was a minute-and-a-half long video showing one vehicle after another driving through demonstrations. The footage was set to a cover of Ludacris’ Move Bitch.”

Mike Allen: “It started with the dog-whistle presidential campaign: constant plays — some subtle, some blaring — on racial fears.”

“But it wasn’t until the past five days — fittingly, in a fight over a Southern statue narrowly, and the stain of slavery broadly — that President Trump officially and indelibly divided the nation over race: setting us back decades, at least for now, in our common purpose of healing old, awful wounds.”

“Let’s be honest with ourselves: A huge chunk of Trump’s base lapped it up, too. That’s what Steve Bannon thought would unfold, and what the president knows instinctively. It was a green light for more hatred, and probably more violence — because now the president has put white supremacy on the same level as angry people reacting harshly to it.”

USA Today: “Divisions escalate between red states and blue cities.”

“Members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private,” the New York Times reports.

Jonathan Chait: “This raises the question once again of why they are working for Trump at all. A legitimate public rationale can be made for serving the administration in certain roles. The federal government plays a vital role in domestic and global security, Trump is a dangerous and erratic figure, and somebody needs to try to steer him away from decisions that would provoke unalterable tragedy. That justification covers serving Trump as a foreign-policy adviser, or as homeland security and disaster-response officials.”

“Preventing Trump from doing something damaging is a legitimate and even noble calling. But that admirable motivation can easily mutate into rationalization. Are Trump aides really working to protect the country from him? Or are they working to keep the country from seeing his real nature?”

Matt Latimer: “It is all so surreal—the most apt and yet overused word of the Trump presidency. Can this all really be happening? Is it all a dream? Of course, the most important question, speaking as a Republican for many years, was this: Where is everybody?”

“In the hours that passed since the president’s remarks—in which he seemed to alternately take to task and defend the motives of “both sides” of last weekend’s march in Charlottesville— numerous outlets cited the ensuing bipartisan outrage. The suggestion is that Republicans, too, have taken the president to task.”

“No, they haven’t. Not most of them. The most prominent GOP officeholders in this country—many of whom I personally know to be good people—have made oblique criticisms of the president on social media or, more often than not, said nothing. That’s not true of everyone—Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner are standouts, for example—but it is depressingly true in general.”

“President Trump’s relationship with the American business community suffered a major setback on Wednesday as the president was forced to shut down his major business advisory councils after corporate leaders repudiated his comments on the violence in Charlottesville this weekend,” the Washington Post reports.

“A slew of corporate chieftans announced they were resigning from the councils in recent days after they said Trump was slow to condemn white supremacy groups.”

Mike Allen reports the group itself disbanded and the decision was made quickly, according to one executive: “Given the comments of the last several days, no one could continue to be seen as supporting this kind of divisiveness.”

It is all connected.

President Trump’s new campaign trip to Arizona next week has state Republicans speculating that he is going to endorse Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R), who is expected to challenge Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in a Republican primary, the Washington Times reports.

When asked about President Trump’s equivocating response to the racist rallies and violence in Charlottesville last weekend, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that there is “no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them” and that “ it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

3 comments on “The Open Thread for August 17, 2017

  1. cassandram

    SMH at Mike Allen. This fool told us he was a stone cold racist from the jump. His entire campaign was an appeal to white identity politics AND grievance. These last 200+ days should be proof that the breathless coverage of HRC’s largely non-existent email while treating Trump as a ratings circus that the media needs a serious rethink.

  2. cassandram

    And how about that Steve Bannon! He’s got the knack for telling the Self-Pitying White Guy In Chief that he is right about all of the “coloreds” down pat.

  3. Never for one moment did I think I would see an American president who soft pedaled Nazis , the KKK and assorted racists of all stripes. They took it as a victory with hearty approval from David Duke. Perhaps the ultimate no brainer and Trump not only failed but doubled down with attitude. As for Steve Bannon suspect we only know a tiny bit about his true inner evil, supposedly he’s in pig heaven right now and celebrating. And then there’s Russiagate.

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