“Here is an estimate of just the air costs (which does not include costs of advance personnel, Secret Service or support on the ground): According to the Air Force, flying a C-32, the model of plane used for Air Force 2, for one hour costs about $30,000. Pence’s flight from Las Vegas to Indianapolis Saturday took about three hours and 20 minutes, so it cost about $100,000. Pence then flew from Indianapolis to Los Angeles on Sunday, which took about four hours and 45 minutes, costing about $142,500.”
“The grand total: about $242,500.”
David Frum: “Among other insights, Corker’s Sunday interview forces Americans to confront some tough questions: By what methods is the president being contained? Is he, for example, being denied sensitive information by agencies that remember how he blurted a closely guarded secret to the Russian foreign minister and the location of U.S. nuclear submarines to the president of the Philippines? Are allies and potential adversaries being signaled that presidential statements do not actually represent the policy of the United States government? That was how National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster dealt with Trump’s refusal to read aloud the endorsement of NATO’s Article 5 in the speech written for Trump to deliver at NATO headquarters in May. ‘He did not make a decision not to say it.’”
“To what extent does the president remain in the military chain of command?”
A new Economist/YouGov poll finds that just 30% of the public approves of President Trump’s handling of the NFL protests. In addition, NFL fans (44% of the public) are more negative than the public at large about the President on this issue.
First lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman assailed Ivana Trump, the president’s first wife, “as a bitter ex following a television interview in which the first Mrs. Trump quipped she was the real First Lady since she was the president’s first wife,” NBC News reports.
Said Ivana: “I have the direct number to White House. But I’m not really going to call him there because Melania is there, and I don’t want to cause any kind of jealousy or something like that, because I’m basically first Trump wife, OK? I’m first lady, OK?”
“Melania Trump’s aide took Ivana to task for the quip, calling her an attention-seeking ‘ex’ trying to sell books.”
New York Times editorial board: “Republicans used to care a whole lot about how a president comported himself, and whether he acted at all times with the dignity his station demands.”
“But hey, that was then! In 2017, there’s a whole new bar for tolerable conduct by the commander in chief. Our original guide cataloged several dozen examples. Almost five months later, it’s clear that an update is necessary. This expanded list is meant to ensure that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans never forget what they now condone in a president.”
Reuters poll: Trump has lost support in rural areas among men, whites and people who never went to college. https://t.co/5n3zL9gzub
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 9, 2017
The Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll finds President Trump’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country’s population lives. In September, 47% of people in non-metro areas approved of Trump while 47% disapproved. That is down from Trump’s first four weeks in office, when 55% said they approved of the president while 39% disapproved.
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said “he opposes repealing the estate tax, a long-sought goal of his party,” Bloomberg reports. “The South Dakota senator’s position could imperil prospects of ending the tax given the GOP’s narrow, 52-vote majority in the Senate.”
Said Rounds: “I think we do the most good by preserving the estate tax in some form… The larger ones and the most wealthy — they’ve already figured out a way to bypass the taxes anyway.”
Mike Allen: “The biggest threat to the Trump presidency, the markets and our ability to deal with future crises is the coming staff exodus. We cannot stress enough how many essential staff and officials want out — if not this quarter, then soon after the new year:”
Watch for Gary Cohn to bolt after tax reform, which we think slips into Q1 of 2018.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s situation is untenable: We hear he’s likely to leave by the new year…
Chief of Staff John Kelly is the one to watch closest. He doesn’t get enough credit for the discipline he has enforced inside the White House. He bristles at the boss’s loose, erratic ways, though. The average tenure of a COS who likes his job is roughly a year.”
I fear for what is coming in this great humanitarian crisis in America while Trump golfs and manufactures crises. https://t.co/NsXmA6Tl4Y
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) October 9, 2017
“The Trump administration announced that it would take formal steps to repeal President Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming,” the New York Times reports.
“At an event in eastern Kentucky, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in crafting the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions.”
Said Pruitt: “The war on coal is over.”
The war on all life on Earth is just beginning.
A new Wason Center poll in Virginia finds Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the race for governor by seven points, 49% to 42%.
An incomplete list of the topics Trump wants Pence to distract us from:
September job losses
Tax cuts for the rich
Tom Price (remember him?)
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) October 9, 2017
“The Trump administration, one of the wealthiest in modern U.S. history, is facing widening criticism over travel expenditures among some of the billionaires, budget hawks and business executives who head federal agencies,” the Washington Post reports.
“Inspectors general have opened at least five investigations into charter or military flights by Cabinet officials amounting to millions in federal spending. Their decisions to veer away from cheaper commercial flights have led to criticism from Democrats in Congress and government accountability groups about a culture of entitlement in Trump’s administration.”
David Leonhardt: “Within the administration, there are real differences among how top officials have behaved and how they are perceived. Several — Tom Price, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and Rex Tillerson — have badly sullied their standing with virtually everyone outside the administration. After long careers, they have turned themselves into punch lines.”
“The clearest exception is Jim Mattis, the defense secretary. Mattis has done so partly by avoiding scandal and minimizing conflicts with Trump. But he has also been careful to set his own ethical boundaries. Can you recall a single time when Mattis has said something outright untrue? I can’t. That’s how he has retained his dignity in the eyes of so many people.”
“Cohn and Mnuchin have started to risk theirs. This column is a plea to them: Please stop, for everyone’s sake, including yours.”
How Stephen Miller rocketed to the upper reaches of White House influence https://t.co/d5OYivxkmC
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 9, 2017
A profile on the C+ Santa Monica Fascist, who is so insecure about his inferiority to women that he jumped a fence and tried to race a girls track team.
“For the first time, rank-and-file Republicans are acknowledging Obamacare may never be repealed,” Politico reports.
“After multiple failures to repeal the law, the White House and many GOP lawmakers are publicly promising to try again in early 2018. But privately, both House and Senate Republicans acknowledge they may never be able to deliver on their seven-year vow to scrap the law.”
“Even if Republicans try again next year, few House Republicans are confident the Senate would be successful without a change in the GOP lineup or someone flipping their vote.”
“Old Blue Eyes was due to perform at the opening of Mr Trump’s Atlantic City casino in 1990 when the magnate was said to have told him his costs were ‘a little rich.’ On hearing the news, Sinatra gave his manager Elliot Weisman – who has written the new book – two options, either to pass his message to Mr Trump or give him his number and he would do it himself.”