Sherrod Brown, an Ohio senator, hails from a crucial swing state and has strong labor backing. He’s never seemed interested in a presidential run — until now. A finalist in the 2016 Democratic veepstakes, he would be formidable in Rust Belt states. His politics match the mood, and while he might not have the raw talent of Senator Warren, he’d be a strong Plan B.
Kaitlin joined CRP as a fall reporting intern in August 2018. She is in her senior year at the Missouri School of Journalism where she studies investigative journalism. For over two years, she's worked at Investigative Reporters and Editors. This summer, Kaitlin was the watchdog intern for The Oregonian, a newspaper in Portland, Ore. Previously, she covered state government in Missouri for the Columbia Missourian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] or Twitter: @kwashy12
Trump and Putin met in a 2018 Russia–United States summit in Helsinki on July 16, 2018. Trump drew harsh bipartisan criticism in the United States for appearing to side with Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, rather than accepting the findings of the United States intelligence community.[675][676] His comments were strongly criticized by many congressional Republicans and most media commentators, even those who normally support him.[677][678]
In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump responded that while New York had problems and its taxes were too high, he was not interested in the governorship.[373] A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the more popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election.[374] In February 2015, Trump told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice, as he mulled his political future.[375]

In 1987 Trump spent almost $100,000 (equivalent to $215,407 in 2017) to place full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming that "America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves."[350] The advertisements also advocated for "reducing the budget deficit, working for peace in Central America, and speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union."[351] After rumors of a presidential run, Trump was invited by Democratic senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, and Arkansas congressman Beryl Anthony Jr., to host a fundraising dinner for Democratic Congressional candidates and to switch parties. Anthony told The New York Times that "the message Trump has been preaching is a Democratic message." Asked whether the rumors were true, Trump denied being a candidate, but said, "I believe that if I did run for President, I'd win."[351] According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America.[352][353]
In October 2013, New York Republicans circulated a memo suggesting Trump should run for governor of the state in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo. Trump responded that while New York had problems and its taxes were too high, he was not interested in the governorship.[373] A February 2014 Quinnipiac poll had shown Trump losing to the more popular Cuomo by 37 points in a hypothetical election.[374] In February 2015, Trump told NBC that he was not prepared to sign on for another season of The Apprentice, as he mulled his political future.[375]
“The Most Important Election of Our Lives.” That's my new column, and you hear it every time, but this year really is the most important contest in decades (or at least since 2016). Truth and accountability are on the ballot, and since that's the driving force for all of us at MoJo, I am going to make an ask: Will you pitch in $5 a month to support our kick-ass and uncompromising journalism today?
Trump has published numerous books. His first published book in 1987 was Trump: The Art of the Deal, in which Trump is credited as co-author with Tony Schwartz, who has stated that he did all the writing for the book.[238][239][240] It reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, stayed there for 13 weeks, and altogether held a position on the list for 48 weeks.[239] According to The New Yorker, "The book expanded Trump's renown far beyond New York City, promoting an image of himself as a successful dealmaker and tycoon."[239] Trump's published writings shifted post-2000 from stylized memoirs to financial tips and political opinion.[241]
I asked Stepien what the White House learned from the special elections in 2017, in which Democrats won decisively in Virginia, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. “The special elections were elections in a vacuum,” he said. He contended that the candidates in those races ran as centrists, while the party’s midterm candidates, and likely 2020 candidates, will be far to the left of the mainstream. “[Bernie] Sanders, [Kamala] Harris, [Elizabeth] Warren. They’re all going to out-left each other,” Stepien said. “That is a very good thing for this Republican president.”
Sherrod Brown, an Ohio senator, hails from a crucial swing state and has strong labor backing. He’s never seemed interested in a presidential run — until now. A finalist in the 2016 Democratic veepstakes, he would be formidable in Rust Belt states. His politics match the mood, and while he might not have the raw talent of Senator Warren, he’d be a strong Plan B.
Trump's campaign platform emphasized renegotiating U.S.–China relations and free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, strongly enforcing immigration laws, and building a new wall along the U.S.–Mexico border. His other campaign positions included pursuing energy independence while opposing climate change regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and the Paris Agreement, modernizing and expediting services for veterans, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, abolishing Common Core education standards, investing in infrastructure, simplifying the tax code while reducing taxes for all economic classes, and imposing tariffs on imports by companies that offshore jobs. During the campaign, he also advocated a largely non-interventionist approach to foreign policy while increasing military spending, extreme vetting or banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries[397] to pre-empt domestic Islamic terrorism, and aggressive military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
I asked Stepien what the White House learned from the special elections in 2017, in which Democrats won decisively in Virginia, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. “The special elections were elections in a vacuum,” he said. He contended that the candidates in those races ran as centrists, while the party’s midterm candidates, and likely 2020 candidates, will be far to the left of the mainstream. “[Bernie] Sanders, [Kamala] Harris, [Elizabeth] Warren. They’re all going to out-left each other,” Stepien said. “That is a very good thing for this Republican president.”

On September 16, 2011, Roger Stone, Trump's longtime political advisor and a veteran of Reagan's 1980 campaign, tweeted the slogan: "Make America Great Again --TRUMP HUCKABEE 2012 #nomormons".[12] Two months later, in December 2011, Trump made a statement in which he said he was unwilling to rule out running as a presidential candidate in the future, explaining "I must leave all of my options open because, above all else, we must make America great again".[13] Also in December 2011, he published a book using as a subtitle the similar phrase "Making America #1 Again" — which in a 2015 reissue would be changed to "Make America Great Again!"[14]
Trump’s electoral base wouldn’t mind a handful of ideological betrayals since rank-and-file Republicans are really here for the culture war stuff and not for the concrete policy anyway. So Trump would enter the 2020 campaign with his base intact but also with the brand as a freethinking moderate who’s at odds with the right wing of congressional Republicans. Democrats would end up nominating someone with a relatively extreme rejectionist profile, and Trump would be in a good position to improve his approval ratings and get reelected.

On November 8, 2016, Trump received 306 pledged electoral votes versus 232 for Clinton. The official counts were 304 and 227 respectively, after defections on both sides.[473] Trump received a smaller share of the popular vote than Clinton, which made him the fifth person to be elected president while losing the popular vote.[474][nb 3] Clinton was ahead nationwide by 2.1 percentage points, with 65,853,514 votes (48.18%) to 62,984,828 votes (46.09%); neither candidate reached a majority.[477]
One problem for Democrats going into 2020 is that Trump makes it almost impossible not to respond to his daily outrages. “He’s sucked all the oxygen out of the room,” Bannon says. “They’re in a Kafka-esque nightmare right now. There’s no exit. I just love it.” Democrats have yet to develop a cohesive message and a consensus about whether the best way to defeat Trump is from the left or the middle. Doug Jones and Conor Lamb ran as moderates in deep red Alabama and Pennsylvania. But Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win in New York over Speaker-in-waiting Joe Crowley gives progressives an argument that the Bernie Sanders wing of the party is ascendant. Dan Pfeiffer told me the problem for Democrats is how to balance the need to drive the base while trying to win back working-class voters Trump peeled off in places like Michigan and Wisconsin. “We’re going to have to figure out how to get the Obama coalition that did not turn out, plus win back midwestern states while improving performance in rural states,” he said.
Certainly not for women, or Americans of color, or children, or gay men, or religious minorities. In the bygone days that Trump harkens back to, it wasn't so great to be anything but a straight white Christian male. Trump, of course, doesn't specify when, exactly, America was "great," but at no point in history was this country a better place to live as a female citizen, or a black one, or a very young one, than now. The establishment of the republic? We have "Founding Fathers" for a reason: Men (white ones) were the only ones in charge. Women couldn't vote or own property, and they lost their individual rights when they married, since they were legally absorbed into their husbands. Women couldn't enter into contracts on their own but were still automatically liable for their husbands' debts. White landowners, including many of the Founders, owned and enslaved blacks, who were not only ripped from their homes and forced into servitude, but routinely beaten, raped, and resold away from their families. There's also the small detail that American land was stolen from Native Americans, many of whom were murdered directly or killed off by new germs early on in the European settlement of the United States, and who saw their communities torn apart not just by early American wars but by centuries of colonization and land-grabs.
Trump has been described as a protectionist[502][503][504] because he criticized NAFTA,[505][506] cancelled negotiations towards the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),[507] imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum,[508][509] and proposed to significantly raise tariffs on Chinese and Mexican exports to the United States.[510][511] He has also been critical of the World Trade Organization, threatening to leave unless his proposed tariffs are accepted.[512][513]
Vice President Mike Pence attended Joni Ernst's 3rd Annual Roast and Ride fundraiser, held on June 3 at the Central Iowa Expo near Boone, Iowa.[119][120][125][126] The previous editions of this event have included presidential campaign appearances. Trump himself had previously attended Ernst's fundraiser in 2016 while campaigning in Iowa, and seven Republican presidential contenders attended the event in 2015.[125]
Since then, a cottage industry of spreadsheet-diving journalists has worked itself into a lather trying to peg his real net worth. But without tax returns to go on, it’s really anybody’s guess. Despite the all-caps figures Trump has dispensed, most estimates from the established financial-media outlets have been lower, FAR LOWER. Forbes put his net worth at $4.5 billion. Fortune postulated $3.7 billion, and later upped it to $3.9 billion. Bloomberg guessed it was “closer to $2.9 billion.”
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Trump's connections to Russia have been widely reported by the press.[701][702] One of Trump's campaign managers, Paul Manafort, had worked for several years to help pro-Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich win the Ukrainian presidency.[703] Other Trump associates, including former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and political consultant Roger Stone, have been connected to Russian officials.[704][705] Russian agents were overheard during the campaign saying they could use Manafort and Flynn to influence Trump.[706] Members of Trump's campaign and later his White House staff, particularly Flynn, were in contact with Russian officials both before and after the November election.[707] On December 29, 2016, Flynn talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about sanctions that had been imposed the same day; Trump later fired Flynn for falsely claiming he had not discussed the sanctions.[708]
For days, Trump had claimed that only Congress could nullify the policy. Shortly before boarding Air Force One for Duluth, however, the president had signed a hastily drafted executive order that effectively ended the family separations. “He was very unhappy,” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. “He was perturbed the immigration issue had gotten out of hand. He’s feeling that being president isn’t as fun as it should be. He thinks he’s not getting the credit he deserves about the economy and North Korea. He said, ‘These people around me don’t know how to sell.’ It’s why he’s going bananas on Twitter. His state of mind is frustration.”
In Duluth, as he stood in front of a sea of red hats, white faces, and blue signs filling the local hockey arena, the frustration melted away. Trump demanded credit for his nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un. (“We had a great meeting, great chemistry.”) He whined that the media would downplay the crowd size. (“Did you see the thousands and thousands of people outside? That will never be reported by the fake news.”) He griped about not being considered a member of the country’s elite. “I have a much better apartment than they do,” he said to the audience. “I’m smarter than they are. I’m richer than they are. I became president and they didn’t.”
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On May 9, 2017, Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey. He first attributed this action to recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein,[709] which criticized Comey's conduct in the investigation about Hillary Clinton's emails.[710] On May 11, Trump stated that he was concerned with the ongoing "Russia thing"[711] and that he had intended to fire Comey earlier, regardless of DoJ advice.[712]
Trump may have criticized Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, in a way I found inappropriate for a President to do, but his opponents have thrown out the millennia-old principle that a man is to be presumed innocent. The President may have enacted tariffs I find harmful to the economy, but his opponents are willfully destroying a good, innocent man so they can keep destroying children.
U.S. troop numbers in Afghanistan increased from 8,500 to 14,000, as of January 2017.[633] reversing Trump's pre-election position critical of further involvement in Afghanistan.[634] U.S. officials said then that they aimed to "force the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement"; in January 2018, however, Trump spoke against talks with the Taliban.[635]
The foundation's tax returns show that it has given to health care and sports-related charities, as well as conservative groups.[222] In 2009, for example, the foundation gave $926,750 to about 40 groups, with the biggest donations going to the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation ($100,000), the New York–Presbyterian Hospital ($125,000), the Police Athletic League ($156,000), and the Clinton Foundation ($100,000).[223][224] From 2004 to 2014, the top donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon of WWE, who donated $5 million to the foundation after Trump appeared at WrestleMania in 2007.[221] Trump later named Linda McMahon as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.[225]
The idea gaining currency on the right is that Trump can be Bill Clinton, not Richard Nixon. It depends on a delicate political calculation — that a Republican-held Senate would never follow a Democratic House and vote to remove Trump, and that voters tired of the long-running Russia scandal will, as they did in the late 1990s with Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, want to move on.
According to a Comey memo of a private conversation on February 14, 2017, Trump said he "hoped" Comey would drop the investigation into Michael Flynn.[713] In March and April, Trump had told Comey that the ongoing suspicions formed a "cloud" impairing his presidency,[714] and asked him to publicly state that he was not personally under investigation.[715] He also asked intelligence chiefs Dan Coats and Michael Rogers to issue statements saying there was no evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.[716] Both refused, considering this an inappropriate request, although not illegal.[717] Comey eventually testified on June 8 that while he was director, the FBI investigations did not target Trump himself.[714][718] In a statement on Twitter Trump implied that he had "tapes" of conversations with Comey, before later stating that he did not in fact have such tapes.[719]
Seeking other counsel, Trump has increasingly turned to a shadow political operation, composed of a few very familiar faces. The outside group was put together by, of all people, Trump’s former campaign chairman Steve Bannon. Members include 2016-campaign veterans like Lewandowski, Bossie, and communications director Jason Miller; former national-security aide Sebastian Gorka; Breitbart Washington editor Matthew Boyle; and former Trump aide Sam Nunberg. Throughout the day, Bannon checks in by phone with his allies to hash out talking points that Trump surrogates can deploy in the media. For much of the past year, John Kelly banned Bossie and Lewandowski from the West Wing. But after Trump sidelined Kelly this spring, the pair have been welcomed back. In mid-June, Bossie and Lewandowski flew with Trump aboard Air Force One to a fund-raiser in Las Vegas.
Once upon a time, in a distant America, the words “greatest,” “exceptional,” and “indispensable” weren’t even part of the political vocabulary. American presidents didn’t bother to claim any of them for this country, largely because American wealth and global preeminence were so indisputable. We’re talking about the 1950s and early 1960s, the post-World War II and pre-Vietnam “golden” years of American power. Despite a certain hysteria about the supposed dangers of domestic communists, few Americans then doubted the singularly unchallengeable power and greatness of the country. It was such a given, in fact, that it was simply too self-evident for presidents to cite, hail, or praise.
Trump's political party affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987,[348] switched to Independent in 1999, Democrat in 2001, and back to Republican in 2009.[348] He made donations to both the Democratic and the Republican party, party committees, and candidates until 2010 when he stopped donating to Democrats and increased his donations to Republicans considerably.[349]
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For days, Trump had claimed that only Congress could nullify the policy. Shortly before boarding Air Force One for Duluth, however, the president had signed a hastily drafted executive order that effectively ended the family separations. “He was very unhappy,” the Republican who spoke with him recalled. “He was perturbed the immigration issue had gotten out of hand. He’s feeling that being president isn’t as fun as it should be. He thinks he’s not getting the credit he deserves about the economy and North Korea. He said, ‘These people around me don’t know how to sell.’ It’s why he’s going bananas on Twitter. His state of mind is frustration.”
On October 25, the president traveled to Texas for a fundraiser hosted by the Dallas County Republican Party for both the RNC and his reelection campaign.[218][217][220] The event was closed to the media. Mark Knoller noted, "By my count, this will be Pres Trump's 10th political fundraiser since taking office. 9 of 10 were closed to press coverage including today."[221]
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