I find myself in an odd position where, for the first time, I see myself, one of the original so-called “Never Trump conservatives,” voting for President Trump in 2020. I have inevitably concluded at times that Trump would do something to push me away from him. He has not disappointed on that front from tariffs to character issues. But now I do not see how anyone else can offer a more compelling alternative to the President. Each time the President does something I do not like, his opponents play a game of “hold my beer.”
During the campaign and the early months of his presidency, Trump said he hoped that China would help to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions and missile tests. However, North Korea accelerated their missile and nuclear tests leading to increased tension. In July, the country tested two long-range missiles identified by Western observers as intercontinental ballistic missiles, potentially capable of reaching Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. In August, Trump dramatically escalated his rhetoric against North Korea, warning that further provocation against the U.S. would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un then threatened to direct the country's next missile test toward Guam.
In the spring of 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would be imposing tariffs on more than 1,300 types of products imported from China. The move brought significant scrutiny, including claims that clothing had been excluded from the list of taxed products in order to benefit the president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, whose clothing line has in the past sold products manufactured in China. (A few months later, Ivanka Trump said she would be closing down her clothing company.)
Both the Reuters and Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agencies reported on a fourth factory, this one in China’s Anhui province, which had been pumping out Trump 2020 flags and banners at a higher rate than usual, with Reuters quoting a factory manager as stating that her “buyers are located in both China and abroad” and that “she doesn’t know if they are affiliated with Trump’s official campaign or the Republican Party”:
On January 23, 2017, Trump ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze, except for those working in certain areas. The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office told a House committee that hiring freezes have not proven to be effective in reducing costs. Unlike some past freezes, the current freeze bars agencies from adding contractors to make up for employees leaving. A week later Trump signed Executive Order 13771, which directed administrative agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation they issue. Agency defenders expressed opposition to Trump's criticisms, saying that the bureaucracy exists to protect people against well-organized, well-funded interest groups.
On June 27, the president held a rally in Fargo, North Dakota, supporting Representative Kevin Cramer in his challenge to sitting Senator Heidi Heitkamp. President Trump also addressed, at the rally, the just-announced news of the retirement from the Supreme Court of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Cramer addressed the issue of abortion and Heitkamp's position on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act as his reason for entering the race. "'On behalf of the most forgotten people,' Mr. Cramer said to the president as both men took the stage to deafening applause, 'the unborn babies, thank you for standing for life.'"
Or what about Oprah Winfrey? She’s dipped her toe into politics before, backing Mr. Obama during the 2008 Democratic primaries. And after the conservative columnist John Podhoretz recently called her the Democrats’ best hope in 2020 (“If you need to set a thief to catch a thief, you need a star — a grand, outsized, fearless star whom Trump can neither intimidate nor outshine — to catch a star”), Ms. Winfrey seemed open to the idea. She tweeted the article with the message to Mr. Podhoretz: “Thanks for your vote of confidence!”
Normally, a sitting vice president would be considered a party’s front-runner. But in the case of Pence, that may not be so. Prior to Trump putting him on the ticket, Pence was headed toward oblivion. Unpopular in his home state of Indiana, Pence appeared likely to lose his re-election bid in 2016. He owes everything to Trump, which sharpens his predicament. “Pence is walking a fine line. With the slightest hint of Donald’s blood on the knife, I have a candidate standing by who will trounce his ass,” Roger Stone told me. There’s also the problem of Pence’s vanilla personality at a moment when voters, especially the Republican base, want red meat.
Trump rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and his former Environmental Protection Agency chief, Scott Pruitt, does not believe that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming. While admitting that the climate is warming, Pruitt believes that warming is not necessarily harmful and could be beneficial. Based on numerous studies, climate experts disagree with his position. On June 1, 2017, Trump announced the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, making the U.S. the only nation in the world to not ratify the agreement.
But what about the revolt of suburban white voters, especially women? Suburban moms, always a vulnerability for Trump, are especially likely to be swayed by the family-separation policy. Stepien, however, minimized the challenge. “Good policy is good politics. I’ve seen good policy come out of this White House,” he said. “Bottom line is Americans want security. They want to feel safe in the realm of national security and they want to feel economically secure. And on each front he’s delivered.” The White House sees Trump as an asset to mobilize the base. According to Stepien, Trump intends to spend more than 20 days on the campaign trail during the fall election, around the same number that George W. Bush spent in 2002 at the height of his post-9/11 popularity.
"Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd," she said. "And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents."
On January 30, Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General, directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, which she deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional; Trump immediately dismissed her. Multiple legal challenges were filed against the order, and on February 5 a federal judge in Seattle blocked its implementation. On March 6, Trump issued a revised order, which excluded Iraq, gave specific exemptions for permanent residents, and removed priorities for Christian minorities. Again federal judges in three states blocked its implementation. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that the ban could be enforced on visitors who lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."
To get more of a quantitative sense of the phrase’s evolution, I analyzed the Republican Party platform. All party platforms typically emphasize faith in American greatness, but between 1856 and 2008, the GOP never used the expression “American exceptionalism” or even the adjective “exceptional” to describe the country. By contrast, the final section of the 2012 Republican platform lambasting the Obama presidency was titled “American exceptionalism.” The 2016 platform put the phrase into the first line of its preamble: “We believe in American exceptionalism.” The evolution of “American exceptionalism” into an anti-Obama rallying cry with nativist overtones evoked earlier appeals to “states’ rights” to rouse whites resenting the end of segregation.
On June 16, 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States at Trump Tower in Manhattan. In the speech, Trump discussed illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the U.S. national debt, and Islamic terrorism, which all remained large priorities during the campaign. He also announced his campaign slogan: "Make America Great Again". Trump said his wealth would make him immune to pressure from campaign donors. He declared that he was funding his own campaign, but according to The Atlantic, "Trump's claims of self-funding have always been dubious at best and actively misleading at worst."
Democrats might get started on honing an economic message that will resonate. That means exposing the weaknesses of the Trump economy now and highlighting the fact that corporations and those in the top 1 percent have been its main beneficiaries, not average workers. In other words, Democrats have to adopt the full-throated progressive critiques of the economy expressed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, whether or not either ends up as the party's standard bearer in 2020, and reject the whimpering compromises of Chuck Schumer.
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." 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." 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." According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America.
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.
Trump's proposed immigration policies were a topic of bitter and contentious debate during the campaign. He promised to build a more substantial wall on the Mexico–United States border to keep out illegal immigrants and vowed that Mexico would pay for it. He pledged to massively deport illegal immigrants residing in the United States, and criticized birthright citizenship for creating "anchor babies". He said that deportation would focus on criminals, visa overstays, and security threats.
Shortly after taking office, Trump put Iran 'on notice' following their ballistic missile tests on January 29, 2017. In February 2018, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran's 25 individuals and entities, which it said were but "initial steps", with Trump's National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn adding that "the days of turning a blind eye to Iran's hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over."
For Democrats, the saying is, it could happen again. In between appeasing Putin and castigating NATO and tweeting out his unhappiness with the Mueller probe, Trump is doing what he loves most: running for president. His re-election effort is typically Trumpian: sprawling, disjointed, and bursting with confidence. In February, Trump announced that Brad Parscale, the digital guru with the Billy Gibbons beard who led his 2016 online strategy, would be his 2020 campaign manager. Meanwhile, Trump has been crisscrossing the country holding fund-raisers, building up a war chest of $88 million in his first 18 months. Many cast members from the original campaign are expected to reprise their starring roles, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, as well as Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie, and Kellyanne Conway. Even Bannon is starting to find his way back into Trump’s orbit after a bitter falling-out. This fall, Trump plans to deliver slashing stump speeches that stoke his base while defining his likely Democratic challengers long before they launch campaigns of their own. He’s already rolled out his campaign slogan: “Keep America Great.”
In response to these wanton guesstimates, Trump instinctually fired back at the guesstimators. “Forbes is a bankrupt magazine, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” “Fortune has no idea what my assets are” and “has totally lost its way.” But the real sulfuric acid was reserved for the lowballers over at Bloomberg. As usual, Trump made it personal, even suggesting his “friend,” the former New York City mayor, might be jealous. “Maybe Michael told them to do it,” Trump speculated in the Daily Mail, “because he always wanted to do what I’m doing.” Perhaps wisely, The New Yorker—even with its legendary phalanx of persnickety fact-checkers—wouldn’t venture any closer than “just a back-of-the-envelope calculation” of $2.56 billion, “which shouldn’t be taken too seriously.”
Is Trump instead harkening back to World War II, when the "greatest generation" went to fight in Europe and the Pacific theater, and women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers? Even then, women were paid at half the rate of men, and were swiftly removed from the workforce when the men came home. Very few were able to attend college. African-Americans, many of whom fought in the war, continued to live as second-class citizens under segregationist policies across the South. Japanese-Americans were locked up in internment camps.
But a closer look at conservative rhetoric in recent years reveals that “Make America Great Again” was not Trump’s invention. It evolved from a phrase that became central to the Republican establishment during the Obama years: “American exceptionalism.” People often equate the expression with the notion that God made America “a city upon a hill,” in the words of the Puritan colonist John Winthrop. However, as University of California-Berkeley sociology professor Jerome Karabel noted in a 2011 article, this usage only came into vogue after Barack Obama became president. Previously it was mainly used by academics to mean that America is an exception compared with other Western democracies, for better or worse, as illustrated by its top-notch universities or its bare-bones gun control.
At a time when the big-tent TV show seems all but dead and niche shows proliferate (“Marvelous Mrs. Mais-who?” groaned many Emmy viewers), Mr. Trump has created an unscripted drama that has unified living rooms everywhere. Whether you’re rooting for the antihero or cheering for his demise, chances are Trump TV has you under steady — some would say unhealthy — hypnosis.
Before being inaugurated as president, Trump moved his businesses into a revocable trust run by his eldest sons and a business associate. According to ethics experts, as long as Trump continues to profit from his businesses, the measures taken by Trump do not help to avoid conflicts of interest. Because Trump would have knowledge of how his administration's policies would affect his businesses, ethics experts recommend that Trump sell off his businesses. Multiple lawsuits have been filed alleging that Trump is violating the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution due to his business interests; they argue that these interests allow foreign governments to influence him. Previous presidents in the modern era have either divested their holdings or put them in blind trusts, and he is the first president to be sued over the emoluments clause.
Following Trump's controversial statements about illegal Mexican immigrants during his 2015 presidential campaign kickoff speech, NBC ended its business relationship with him, stating that it would no longer air the Miss Universe or Miss USA pageants on its networks. In September 2015, Trump bought NBC's share of the Miss Universe Organization and then sold the entire company to the WME/IMG talent agency.
In 1978, Trump launched his Manhattan real estate business by purchasing a 50 percent stake in the derelict Commodore Hotel, located next to Grand Central Terminal. The purchase was funded largely by a $70 million construction loan that was guaranteed jointly by Fred Trump and the Hyatt hotel chain. When the remodeling was finished, the hotel reopened in 1980 as the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Donald J. Trump defines the American success story. Throughout his life he has continually set the standards of business and entrepreneurial excellence, especially in real estate, sports, and entertainment. Mr. Trump built on his success in private life when he entered into politics and public service. He remarkably won the Presidency in his first ever run for any political office.
If you will allow me. . . Once, while standing with everyone else to sing in church; there was a lady 'singing' in the row, directly behind me. I'm being polite to say that I would have much prefered long nails on a chalk board! It was - what I categorized as - screeching! It was painful! I was, mentally, complaining (I sometimes forget that God can hear that too), griping and grumbling, actually! Then, I hear this voice (no, not an audible voice, but it couldn't have been more distinct, if it had been) saying, "She's not singing to YOU! She's singing to ME, and I think it's beautiful!"
There are other economic trends that are cause for concern. The most obvious one is debt. And as my colleague Jeff Spross pointed out last month, corporate debt may be a ticking time bomb. It's already at a record high and the portion of it that's considered high risk is larger today than it was even before the financial crisis. Consumer debt has also returned to historic levels and is set to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2018.
Trump's presidential ambitions were generally not taken seriously at the time. Trump's moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice. Before the 2016 election, The New York Times speculated that Trump "accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world" after Obama lampooned him at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in April 2011.
BREAKING: Man Steps Forward with Sexual Assault Allegations against Sen. Cory Booker -- With Lawyer's Response to Gateway Pundit (Via @gatewaypundit) #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #VoteRed2018 #Trump2020https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2018/10/breaking-man-steps-forward-with-sexual-assault-allegations-against-sen-cory-booker-with-lawyer-response-to-gateway-pundit/ …
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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. 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. 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." Trump's published writings shifted post-2000 from stylized memoirs to financial tips and political opinion.
The spin from the White House is that it is cooperating fully with Mueller to wrap up the inquiry quickly. The aim of that claim is to give the White House a pretext to attack the special counsel for prolonging a probe. It won't work. This investigation is thoroughly professional. It is diving deeply into any evidence of collusion between Trump operatives and the Russians in the 2016 campaign; into any possible obstruction of justice of the investigation by the president this year, as well as into financial dealings that may date back years.
Maybe Trump is talking about the period just after the Civil War, when the country was officially reunited after a painful Southern secession. Still, in 1873, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could bar women from certain jobs, holding that Illinois didn't have to grant a married woman a license to practice law. "[C]ivil law, as well as nature herself, has always recognized a wide difference in the respective spheres and destinies of man and woman," wrote Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. Bradley in his concurrence. "Man is, or should be, woman's protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life." African-Americans were freed from slavery, but disease, neglect, and poverty meant that hundreds of thousands died in the immediate aftermath of emancipation. Those who survived saw their opportunities quickly narrow, as conservative, mostly Southern states passed a series of laws restricting the rights of black citizens. Black men could vote, but not black women; even for many black men, the promise of a vote was a mirage, as states set up nearly impossible-to-surmount barriers to African-American voting. Those barriers were wildly successful, and by the turn of the century, virtually no Southern blacks were able to cast a ballot and participate in the political process. The Ku Klux Klan was a powerful social and political force, effectively restoring white supremacy; African-Americans were terrorized, assaulted, lynched, and murdered, the murderers and assailants rarely prosecuted.
There is a lot in Erick's article that I agree with. I agree with his calling out so-called conservatives who ignore their principles to be on the side of trashing Trump. Character assassination is wrong, regardless of who the target is. Unfortunately, there are a lot more conservatives who have thrown aside their principles to jump on the Trump train, especially conservative media types who are just out to make money off of Trump Kool-Aid drinkers. (Examples, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Hugh Hewitt, etc.) I vehemently disagree with Erick's conclusion that because the Democrats' actions are so awful, we should back Trump in 2020. Uh, no. I'm sorry, but character matters, integrity matters, principles matter, issues matter. Donald Trump is doing tremendous long-term damage to the GOP. He is doing more to help the Democrats succeed than any Democrat has in the last 20 years. Trump is cancer to the conservative movement. Not going to support his destroying the cause I fought for all of my life. Not going to happen. Ever.
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.
While previous presidents had held rallies in the early days of their presidency to garner support for legislation, such rallies differed from those held by Trump in that they were funded by the White House rather than by campaign committees. One of the advantages of having his campaign committee fund the events is that organizers can more discriminately screen attendees, refusing entry to non-supporters. Trump's February rally in Melbourne, Florida was the earliest campaign rally for an incumbent president.