Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that President Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” NPR reports. Said Corker: “He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today.”
Corker also warned that without that, “our nation is going to go through great peril” and called for “radical change” at the White House. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told Vice News that he questioned President Trump’s moral authority following the tragedy in Charlottesville.
Said Scott: “I’m not going to defend the indefensible… Trump’s comments on Monday were strong. His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened. There’s no question about that.””
A new Survey Monkey poll finds most Republicans support President Trump’s view of the violence in Charlottesville. When presented with a verbatim quote from President Trump on Tuesday — “You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent” — more disagree than agree, 53% to 43%.
However, Republicans agreed, 87% to 11%.
Mike Allen: “These findings reflect the fact that, because of the nation’s partisan divide and fractured media, we no longer agree on basic facts. That makes civil debate impossible.”
The covers of Time Magazine, The New Yorker, and the Economist. Take a second to study the artwork of each cover…something else… pic.twitter.com/RNQtQoTIa6
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) August 17, 2017
“James Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox CEO and son of Rupert Murdoch, one of President Trump’s close informal advisers, has written a scathing email denouncing the president’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville,” CNN reports. Murdoch explained that the violence in Charlottesville, and the president’s response, inspired him to donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League:
Said Murdoch: “What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people… I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.”
Carl Bernstein on CNN: “I think there’s considerable evidence that there is a consensus developing in the military; at the highest levels in the intelligence community; among Republicans in Congress; including the leaders in the business community that President Trump is unfit to be the President of the United States.”
He added: “I’ve talked to some of the military leaders and what they are saying is extraordinary… They have given up on this president.”
Finally: “I think all reporters need to be checking their sources and finding out what people on the Hill and in the military and in the intelligence community are saying… about the stability and the mental condition of the president of the United States. This is something we haven’t dealt with before.”
— ATTN: (@attn) August 17, 2017
BuzzFeed: “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by Vice President Mike Pence, with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run.”
“The vice president has denied having intentions to run, but he has been meeting with top donors and has set up a leadership PAC that has already raised $540,000, as President Trump continues to make comments on race and other issues that are making Republicans increasingly uncomfortable.”
The Economist: “Those in the administration face a hard choice. Some will feel tempted to resign. But his advisers, particularly the three generals sitting at the top of the Pentagon, the National Security Council and as Mr Trump’s chief of staff, are better placed than anyone to curb the worst instincts of their commander-in-chief.”
“For Republicans in Congress the choice should be clearer. Many held their noses and backed Mr Trump because they thought he would advance their agenda. That deal has not paid off. Mr Trump is not a Republican, but the solo star of his own drama. By tying their fate to his, they are harming their country and their party. His boorish attempts at plain speaking serve only to poison national life. Any gains from economic reform—and the booming stockmarket and low unemployment owe more to the global economy, tech firms and dollar weakness than to him—will come at an unacceptable price.”
“Republicans can curb Mr Trump if they choose to. Rather than indulging his outrages in the hope that something good will come of it, they must condemn them. The best of them did so this week. Others should follow.”
Amy McGrath (D), the Marine veteran running against Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), has a new ad which ties the congressman to President Trump.
“There are times when politicians might have to make a difficult choice: do you stand with the president, or do you stand with the country? Right now is one of those times. Every Republican congressman and senator has to make a choice. Standing up to the president may not be what they signed up for, but when the president is in solidarity with white supremacists and Nazis, those members of Congress have to stand up and tell him he’s wrong.”
“That’s why I’m running for Congress against Andy Barr in Kentucky. He has yet to condemn the president on anything.”
Michael Brendan Dougherty: “The whole theory behind a successful Trump presidency was that he could unite conservative populists with mainstream, business-oriented Republicans, somehow managing to make the worst aspects of each group cancel each other out. The populists would check the greedy self-dealing of the business types, and the desire for respectability would prevent the populists from acting on their darkest animosities.”
“This was always a pipe dream. It would have been impossible even if the man at the top was a political genius of great cunning and self-control. Instead, we have Trump, and almost the opposite case obtains: Our head of state is trying to micromanage the social opprobrium falling on neo-Nazis and all Republicans can think to do with their power on the Hill is cut taxes and social benefits.”
Rich Lowry: “Over the past few days, Trump hasn’t spoken as the leader of the country, or even leader of one party, but as a leader of an inflamed faction. In general, Trump’s news conference was a tour de force of whataboutism, one of the most important rhetorical tools of the pro-Trump internet. The ‘alt-right’ marched on Charlottesville? Well, what about the ‘alt-left’? Robert E. Lee’s statue is coming down. Well, what about George Washington?”
“They were used, as whataboutism so often is, as cover for Trump’s failings and to obscure rather than sharpen distinctions. Charlottesville highlights how the problem with Trump is not the crudity of his expression. This, at times, can be part of his charm and makes him a distinctively powerful communicator. It’s the crudity of thought and feeling.”
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) August 17, 2017
Howard Fineman: “Trump seems perfectly willing to destroy the country to maintain his own power… The goal, as always with Trump, is to win amid the chaos he sows, to be the last man standing in rubble. And ‘winning’ is rapidly being reduced to the raw, basic terms he prefers: brute survival. With a record-setting low approval rating, world crises everywhere and a special counsel on his tail, the main victory he can hope for is staying in office. It’s not only an emotional imperative for Trump, it’s a deliberate ― and thus far successful ― strategy.”
A familiar genre of Trump leak: He's not happy with a top aide (Bannon, in this case) getting credit for election https://t.co/0Pyw01IoJA
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) August 17, 2017
BuzzFeed reports that White House adviser Stephen Bannon “has now made the calculus that he’s on thin ice regardless, and won’t go down quietly.”
Said one supporter: “He’s saying, ‘I’m going to force you to fire me in a public way or we’re going to follow the agenda we were elected for.’”
“Those in the orbit of Trump mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, longtime Bannon allies who invested in Breitbart, are said to be worried about Bannon and the White House his departure would leave behind. The removal of Bannon, people in that world have said this week, would signal that the White House they worked to elect as the harbinger of political revolution was instead becoming ‘another Bush administration.’”
A new Pew Research survey finds that respondents in 22 out of 36 countries trusted Russian President Vladimir Putin more than President Trump when it comes to handling global affairs. And that includes American allies like Germany, France and Japan.
First Read: “We have no idea how this all plays out for President Trump and his administration. We’ve seen Trump survive past controversies (Khizr Khan, Access Hollywood), but he no longer has an opponent/foil like Hillary Clinton. We’ve seen past presidents (LBJ, Nixon, Clinton) endure their share of turbulent times, but it’s never come this early in a presidency. And we’ve never seen so many members of the president’s own political party openly criticize him, but still vote for his agenda most of the time.”
“Using the words ‘uncharted waters’ has become a bit cliché during the Trump Era — everything has been so different. But there also are no better words to use right now. And the turmoil comes at a pressing time: escalating tensions with North Korea, a debt ceiling that needs to be raised, and midterm elections that are right around the corner.”
The president of the United States cites fake anti-Muslim mass execution as example of how to fight terror: https://t.co/KcdeZrkuYh
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 17, 2017
“President Trump found himself increasingly isolated in a racial crisis of his own making on Wednesday, abandoned by the nation’s top business executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans outraged by his defense of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville,” the New York Timesreports.
“The breach with the business community was the most striking. Titans of American industry and finance revolted against a man they had seen as one of their own, concluding Wednesday morning they could no longer serve on two of Mr. Trump’s advisory panels.”
“Five armed services chiefs — of the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines and the National Guard Bureau — posted statements on social media condemning neo-Nazis and racism in uncompromising terms. They did not mention Mr. Trump by name, but their messages were a highly unusual counter to the commander in chief.”
Politico: “White House officials and informal advisers say the triggers for his temper are if he thinks someone is lying to him, if he’s caught by surprise, if someone criticizes him, or if someone stops him from trying to do something or seeks to control him.”
“That latter trigger — of attempting to corral him — set in motion the past five tense days surrounding Charlottesville.”
President Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, Bloombergreports.
“The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works.”
“The action follows Trump announcing on Wednesday that he was disbanding two other business advisory councils. Corporate chief executive officers had started to quit the panels in protest over Trump’s remarks that appeared to confer legitimacy on white supremacists following a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.”