In January 2017, American intelligence agencies—the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, represented by the Director of National Intelligence—jointly stated with "high confidence" that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election to favor the election of Trump. In March 2017, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that "the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts." Later, in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, he affirmed he has "no doubt" that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, adding "they did it with purpose and sophistication".
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.
We searched Federal Election Commission records on spending by three Trump-related political committees since 2017 and found no evidence of flags, banners, or other campaign merchandise being ordered from entities based in China. If such orders had been placed, it is possible that they may have been recorded as disbursements to third parties or subcontractors, but we found no evidence that this had taken place.
Some rallies during the primary season were accompanied by protests or violence, including attacks on Trump supporters and vice versa both inside and outside the venues. Trump's election victory sparked protests across the United States, in opposition to his policies and his inflammatory statements. Trump initially said on Twitter that these were "professional protesters, incited by the media", and were "unfair", but he later tweeted, "Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country."
Trump University was a for-profit education company that was founded by Trump and his associates, Michael Sexton and Jonathan Spitalny. The company ran a real estate training program and charged between $1,500 and $35,000 per course. In 2005, New York State authorities notified the operation that its use of the word "university" was misleading and violated state law. After a second such notification in 2010, the name of the company was changed to the "Trump Entrepreneurial Institute". Trump was also found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license for the operation.
The paradox of the Trump campaign is that its biggest asset, Trump, is also at times its most intractable—a weapon that threatens, at any moment, to blow up in its face. He’s a constant critic of his own operation. “Trump trusts absolutely nobody,” a former top West Wing official told me. That includes Stepien and DeStefano. In recent months, Trump has complained to aides that he’s not being well served by the White House political operation, according to multiple Republicans who’ve spoken with Trump. Trump has told people he questions DeStefano’s loyalty after DeStefano developed a close relationship with the president’s long-suffering chief of staff and nemesis, John Kelly. “Trump openly questions Johnny,” a former official told me. “He asks people, ‘Is he to be trusted?’” A source said Trump has also complained that Stepien is too cautious because Stepien was among advisers who told Trump not to take sides in Republican primary elections.
Presidential approval polls taken during the first ten months of Trump's term have shown him to be the least popular U.S. president in the history of modern opinion polls. A Pew Research Center global poll conducted in July 2017, found "a median of just 22 percent has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs". This compares to a median of 64 percent rate of confidence for his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump received a higher rating in only two countries: Russia and Israel. An August 2017 POLITICO/Morning consult poll found on some measures "that majorities of voters have low opinions of his character and competence". Trump is the only elected president who did not place first on Gallup's poll of men Americans most admired in his first year in office, coming in second behind Barack Obama.
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But some say the name-calling could turn into a plus for Democrats trying to break out in a crowded field. Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic consultant not working for any of the would-be candidates, referred to it as Trump’s “Darth Vader problem,” which leaves some he tries to strike down, including former White House aide and “Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman, “more powerful than they can imagine.”
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.
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.
While Trump is sui generis, history offers guidance on the folly of predicting distant elections. At this moment in 1989, George H.W. Bush, having kept his promise not to raise taxes and with communism collapsing, seemed invincible. Three years later, he was defeated. In 2009, Barack Obama was in trouble, with unemployment soaring to 10 percent, up sharply from what it was two years earlier, and with his major health-care initiative seemingly stalled in the Senate. Three years later he was re-elected.
Trump held his eighth campaign rally on August 22 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The rally was the campaign's first event in the Western United States. Before attending the rally, Trump toured a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. In addition to the president, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson also spoke at the rally, with Carson's appearance being criticized as possibly in violation of the Hatch Act of 1939 due to his status as current HUD secretary. Phoenix's Mayor Greg Stanton had repeatedly asked that Trump postpone the event after the protests in Charlottesville.
The data tell conflicting stories. Mueller’s approval rating has indeed sunk under the weight of Trump’s withering Twitter barrage, but some analyses suggest that Stepien and DeStefano are engaged in magical thinking. An NBC News poll in late June reported that only a third of voters in the swing states of Arizona, Ohio, and Florida felt Trump deserved to be re-elected. Trump’s immigration crackdown also sent his numbers crashing, if perhaps only temporarily. A Gallup survey conducted days after the Duluth speech recorded a four-point drop in his approval rating, to 41 percent; while his disapproval numbers spiked five points. Seventy-five percent of voters said immigration was a “good thing.” Trump’s siding with Putin over America’s intelligence agencies at the Helsinki summit had the rare effect of bringing Democrats and Republicans together against him. But one lesson of 2016 is that numbers like that may not mean very much when it comes to Trump. Everyone knows unicorns aren’t real, and yet, there it was.
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.
Of course, unlike anything else on TV, the story lines coming out of Washington could determine the future of Roe v. Wade, whether immigrant families can reunite and the health of the global economy. Tuning out is a luxury only the most privileged viewers can afford. And yet, it goes beyond being an informed citizen when you find yourself on hour six of watching a panel of experts debate Bob Woodward’s use of “deep background” sourcing for his book “Fear,” Paul Manafort’s $15,000 ostrich-leather bomber jacket (“a garment thick with hubris,” The Washington Post said) and the implications of Stormy Daniels’s lurid descriptions of Mr. Trump’s, um, anatomy. (I, for one, will never look at Super Mario the same way again.)
After Donald Trump popularized the use of the phrase, the phrase and modifications of it became widely used to refer to his election campaign and his politics. Trump's primary opponents, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker, began using "Make America Great Again" in speeches, inciting Trump to send cease-and-desist letters to them. Trump claimed after the election that the hats "were copied, unfortunately. It was knocked off by 10 to one [...] but it was a slogan, and every time somebody buys one, that's an advertisement". Cruz later sold hats featuring, "Make Trump Debate Again", in response to Trump's boycotting the Iowa January 28, 2016 debate.
A result is that the Democratic presidential field in 2020 may be even bigger than the unwieldy Republican 17-member parade in 2016. Indeed, a recent informal survey of Democratic strategists produced a list of more than 30 fellow party members who are — or who, in the minds of these insiders, should be — thinking about running for president in 2020.
On August 13, Trump's campaign released an advertisement entitled, Let President Trump Do His Job. The ad attacks those that Trump alleges to be his "enemies", and was released one day prior to violent far-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. The advertisement portrays Trump's enemies as being Democrats, the media and career politicians. The ad includes clips of various journalists, including several that work at CNN. CNN refused to play the ad, and campaign chairman Michael Glassner derided CNN's decision as “censorship". In retaliation to CNN, the President retweeted a far-right activist's post featuring an image of a "Trump Train" running over CNN. The tweet, which was later deleted, received criticism after a vehicular attack in Charlottesville that injured and killed counter-protesters.
Trump does not drink alcohol, a reaction to his elder brother's chronic alcoholism and early death. He also said that he has never smoked cigarettes or consumed drugs, including marijuana. In December 2015, Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, released a superlative-laden letter of health praising Trump for "extraordinary physical strength and stamina". Bornstein later said that Trump himself had dictated the contents. A followup medical report showed Trump's blood pressure, liver and thyroid functions to be in normal ranges, and that he takes a statin. In January 2018, Trump was examined by White House physician Ronny Jackson, who stated that he was in excellent health and that his cardiac assessment revealed no medical issues, although his weight and cholesterol level were higher than recommended, Several outside cardiologists commented that Trump's weight, lifestyle and LDL cholesterol level ought to have raised serious concerns about his cardiac health.
Narrator: The red MAGA hat retails for $25. Every purchase of a MAGA hat, along with any other item for sale on the Trump campaign's official website, counts as a campaign contribution. About 100 employees work in the factory, and, according to an interview Brian Kennedy did with the Los Angeles Times in 2015, about 80% of the workforce is Latino. According to the Trump campaign, all employees are verified US citizens. We didn't speak with any employees during our shoot. But in 2015, MSNBC visited the factory and reporter Jacob Soboroff spoke with some of the workers.
Hillary Clinton tried — and failed — to run for Barack Obama’s third term. Deval Patrick, the former Massachusetts governor, might have better luck. He’d have the unambivalent backing of much of the Obama political machine, including, it is said, Mr. Obama himself. He’s one of the few Democrats out there with Mr. Obama’s rhetorical skills and a life story to match — rising from a Chicago housing project to Harvard and Harvard Law. To be sure, Mr. Patrick’s post-office employer, Bain Capital, would dog him. But if any Democrat is capable of rebuilding the formidable Obama coalition, it’s him.
Trump's paternal grandfather, Frederick Trump, first immigrated to the United States in 1885 at the age of 16 and became a citizen in 1892. He amassed a fortune operating boomtown restaurants and boarding houses in the Seattle area and the Klondike region of Canada during its gold rush. On a visit to Kallstadt, he met Elisabeth Christ and married her in 1902. The couple permanently settled in New York in 1905. Frederick died from influenza during the 1918 pandemic.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh have filed a lawsuit in June 2017 alleging that President Trump violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution by continuing to profit from his businesses, such as the Trump International Hotel in D.C., as well as receiving foreign government payments through his businesses.
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.
Ronald Schneckenberg, a sales manager for Trump University, said in a testimony that he was reprimanded for not trying harder to sell a $35,000 real estate class to a couple who could not afford it. Schneckenberg said that he believed "Trump University was a fraudulent scheme" which "preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money."
Trump began acquiring and constructing golf courses in 1999; his first property was the Trump International Golf Club, West Palm Beach in Florida. By 2007, he owned four courses around the U.S. Following the financial crisis of 2007–2008, he began purchasing existing golf courses and re-designing them. His use of these courses during his presidency was controversial. Despite frequently criticizing his predecessor Barack Obama for his numerous golf outings, Trump golfed 11 times during his first eight weeks in office. According to CNN, Trump visited Trump-owned golf courses 91 times in 2017, although the White House does not disclose whether or not the president actually played on each of those visits.
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.
“I felt that jobs were hurting,” he said. “I looked at the many types of illness our country had, and whether it’s at the border, whether it’s security, whether it’s law and order or lack of law and order. Then, of course, you get to trade, and I said to myself, ‘What would be good?’ I was sitting at my desk, where I am right now, and I said, ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”
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.
Presidential approval ratings have shown Trump to be the least popular president in the history of modern opinion polling as of the start of his second year in office. Early polls have shown Trump trailing by a margin of 10–18 percent against several hypothetical Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand. In 2018, the presidential reelection effort and the Congressional midterms both drew presidential campaign attention.