The dustup strained relations between Trump and Pence advisers. “Nick really fucked up,” a Republican close to the White House told me. “He got way out over his skis,” said a former West Wing official. Seeking to mend fences, Pence invited Corey Lewandowski to join his PAC, knowing that Trump sees Lewandowski as supremely loyal. “Corey was sent there to keep eyes on Pence,” the former official said. “Pence is politically adept. But at the end of the day, he’s still not good at faking sincerity,” former Trump aide Sam Nunberg said. “Trump’s not an idiot. He knows it.”
In every move President Trump has made in terms of foreign policy, wildly, he has kept consistent on two levels. He has kept his campaign promises. He has also delivered an America First policy without apology. I use the word apology purposefully. The previous administration apologized for America endlessly. The lack of appreciation for the country that gave Barack Obama everything he ever deemed of value in his life took a psychological toll on our people. But decades of policies allowing trade, security, and immigration imbalances took tolls on our welfare. From NATO to the G7, Saudi Arabia, to Israel, North Korea to Iran, from Russia to China, Trump’s unapologetic stance of advocating for his nation’s best standing is reversing that psychological effect. And he now lives rent free in the minds of all who believed America was weak.
On May 8, shortly after reporter Cecilia Vega asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer about statements that Trump's 2016 campaign had issued in regards to temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States, Trump's campaign website purged itself of all campaign statements from the 2016 campaign. Campaign chairman Michael Glassner later announced that the website was being redesigned. The redesign of Trump's campaign website was seen by media sources as laying the groundwork for a full-bodied reelection campaign. After the deletion of press releases, the URL http://www.donald.trump.com/myplantofuckthepoor (my plan to fuck the poor) was redirected to a page about Trump's healthcare plan, and it was pointed out that the campaign's redesigned homepage originally featured a typo. The Washington Examiner's David Druckert pointed out on Twitter that the redesigned website featured an image of Trump with a uniformed military officer on its 'Donate' page, which violated the Department of Defense's regulation that prevented uniformed military officers from engaging in any political activity.
Even in the so-called golden age of TV, Mr. Trump hasn’t just dominated water-cooler conversation; he’s sucked the water right out, making all other entertainment from N.F.L. games to awards shows pale in comparison. “The Russia probe, Kavanaugh, Avenatti, Rosenstein, Cohen, Flynn, Papadopoulos — we’re a wildly creative community, but this is peak TV,” said Warren Littlefield, who oversaw NBC Entertainment in the era of “Friends” and “The West Wing.” (He says “The Apprentice,” a ratings juggernaut, killed quality scripted TV in 2004, when it got the coveted 9 p.m. slot on Thursdays, a move made by his successor, Jeff Zucker, now president of CNN.)
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has alleged that she and Trump had an affair in 2006, which Trump denied. In January 2018, it was reported that just before the 2016 presidential election Daniels was paid $130,000 by Trump's attorney Michael Cohen as part of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA); Cohen later said he paid her with his own money. In February 2018, Daniels sued Cohen's company asking to be released from the NDA and be allowed to tell her story. Cohen obtained a restraining order to keep her from discussing the case. In March, Daniels claimed in court that the NDA never came into effect because Trump did not sign it personally. In April, Trump said that he did not know about Cohen paying Daniels, why Cohen had made the payment or where Cohen got the money from. In May, Trump's annual financial disclosure revealed that he reimbursed Cohen in 2017 for payments related to Daniels. In August 2018, in a case brought by the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court to breaking campaign finance laws, admitting to paying hush money of $130,000 to Daniels and $150,000 indirectly to Playboy model Karen McDougal, and said that he did it at the direction of Trump, with the aim of influencing the presidential election. In response, Trump said that he only knew about the payments "later on", and that he paid back Cohen personally, not out of campaign funds. Cohen also said he would cooperate fully with the Special Counsel investigation into collusion with Russia.
Although Democrats are united in their opposition to President Trump, the fundamental party cleavage runs between populists and centrists. The Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 will be the person who either finds a way to appeal to both wings or, just as likely, divines which wings represent the greater number of primary voters. Following is a guide to some of the potential candidates — and the political bets they’ll be making.
Stoking Trump’s interest is the gathering momentum on the Democratic side. Warren told a town hall this weekend that she plans to “take a hard look” at running for president after the midterm elections, Biden has conspicuously raised his public profile of late, and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey is making high-profile appearances in key primary states, along with using his Senate Judiciary Committee post to jab at Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
In September 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program would be repealed after six months. Trump argued that "top legal experts" believed that DACA was unconstitutional, and called on Congress to use the six-month delay to pass legislation solving the "Dreamers" issue permanently. As of March 2018, when the delay expired, no legislation had been agreed on DACA. Several states immediately challenged the DACA rescission in court. Two injunctions in January and February 2018 allowed renewals of applications and stopped the rolling back of DACA, and in April 2018 a federal judge ordered the acceptance of new applications; this would go into effect in 90 days.
Some experts have also expressed concerns about his cognitive health, as described in a lengthy investigation by Stat, a respected health and science site, earlier this year. Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can act to remove an incapacitated president. Given the current cast, this isn't going to happen, especially since Trump would contest it.
On September 26, Trump also attended a campaign fundraising dinner hosted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) in New York City. The event was reported to have raised nearly $5 million, with major donors spending up to $250,000 to dine with President Trump. Since Trump scheduled for a quick meeting with Nikki Haley and other U.N. officials immediately prior the fundraiser, he was able to file the travel expenses related to that visit to New York as "government business", thus making them the expense of the American taxpayer, and not his campaign. Trump's pattern of mixing travel for fundraising activities with travel for government business has drawn criticism from government watchdog organizations.
The disproportionately large amounts of time that presidents have spent visiting key electoral states (and comparatively small amount of they have spent visiting states that pose little electoral importance to them) has been pointed to as evidence of ulterior electoral motives influencing presidential governance, emblematic of the blurred lines between campaigning and governance in the White House. For instance, George W. Bush embarked on 416 domestic trips during his first three years in office. This was 114 more than his predecessor Bill Clinton made in his first three years. In his first year, 36% of Bush's domestic trips were to the 16 states that were considered swing states after having been decided the closest margins during the 2000 election. In his second year, 45% of his domestic travel was to these states, and his third year 39% of his domestic travel was to these states.