The president on Tuesday announced his intention to seek reelection, and 44% of all Likely U.S. Voters say they would be more likely to vote for him if they had to vote now. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that slightly more (47%) are more likely to opt for the Democratic nominee who opposes him, while nine percent (9%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
In April 2018, Trump enacted a "zero tolerance" immigration policy that took adults irregularly entering the U.S. into custody for criminal prosecution and forcibly separated children from parents, eliminating the policy of previous administrations that made exceptions for families with children. By mid-June, more than 2,300 children had been placed in shelters, including "tender age" shelters for babies and toddlers, culminating in demands from Democrats, Republicans, Trump allies, and religious groups that the policy be rescinded. Trump falsely asserted that his administration was merely following the law. On June 20, Trump signed an executive order to end family separations at the U.S. border. On June 26 a federal judge in San Diego issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Trump administration to stop detaining immigrants parents separately from their minor children, and to reunite family groups that had been separated at the border.
Trump’s own data guys have a slightly different interpretation. “The best way to win in 2020 is to win in 2018,” said Bill Stepien, with a straight face. It was a swampy Washington Friday in mid-June, and I was sitting with Stepien, the White House political director, in his office turned war room on the first floor of the Executive Office Building. Virtually every inch of wall space was covered with maps of states with races that Republicans have targeted to win to keep control of the Senate.
George W. Bush attempted to put Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court and pushed comprehensive immigration reform, “No Child Left Behind,” the General Motors Bailout, etc. I opposed all those, but never doubted President Bush’s integrity, character, or faith. Frankly, Trump does not have the character or strong Christian faith I prefer in a President. But he is positively angelic compared to his political opponents and the press. Between Trump and his opposition, I would rather vote for him, despite his flaws, than his opponents who want a flawless progressive utopia. Trump is neither an ambassador for my values nor the articulate champion of my principles I would prefer. But he is a safe harbor in a progressive storm that seeks to both destroy my values and upend our constitutional republic.
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. His comments were strongly criticized by many congressional Republicans and most media commentators, even those who normally support him.
The political press has behaved as co-conspirators with the Democrats in the Kavanaugh matter. They have clearly been fully co-opted. Reporters are planting their flags with the so-called Resistance and donning pink hats instead of defending truth and reporting facts. There is much in this present political age about which I am uncertain. But there is one thing about which I am absolutely certain. President Trump is not my enemy and too many progressives view me as theirs.
Despite these trips, by the end of June Trump still lagged severely behind the number of states that his immediate two predecessors had visited during the first six months of their presidencies. Both Obama and George W. Bush visited every time zone in the continental United States, but Trump had visited only the Eastern and Central time zones. Obama and Bush took both overnight and multiple-day trips throughout the country. In contrast, Trump's domestic travels had largely been limited to a two-hour flight radius of Washington, D.C., and his only overnight stays were at Camp David, Mar-a-Lago and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. One of the benefits that Trump is speculated to obtain from such trips is more favorable coverage from local news outlets in the areas visited. Most of Trump's trips to Wisconsin were focused on the Milwaukee area in the southeast part of the state, which Trump won in 2016 by a significantly smaller margin than Mitt Romney had in 2012.
On September 26, 2016, Trump and Clinton faced off in their first presidential debate, which was held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and moderated by NBC News anchor Lester Holt. The TV broadcast was the most watched presidential debate in United States history. The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. The beginning of that debate was dominated by references to a recently leaked tape of Trump making sexually explicit comments, which Trump countered by referring to alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton. Prior to the debate, Trump had invited four women who had accused Clinton of impropriety to a press conference. The final presidential debate was held on October 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Trump's refusal to say whether he would accept the result of the election, regardless of the outcome, drew particular attention, with some saying it undermined democracy.
Trump's predecessors merged their campaign committees into their party's committee following their election victories. Following his 2016 election victory, Trump eschewed this presidential tradition and retained a separate campaign committee. Trump's campaign committee continued raising funds. In December 2016, the campaign raised $11 million. These moves indicated that Trump was already eying a 2020 run.