Day: February 12, 2017

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Republicans cope with stressful opposition to Trump


The intensity of Democratic and left-wing opposition to President Trump is taking a toll even on congressional Republicans.

“It’s just a giant hassle,” said Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. “Everybody is losing it on the left.”

“The world is upside down,” said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. “What is going on is the frustration of the American people, on both sides.”

Republican lawmakers have faced raucous town halls with anti-Trump protesters shouting them down. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., had to leave on with police escort. “Do your job!” demonstrators jeered at House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, after he noted the president was exempt from federal conflict-of-interest laws.

Protesters initially blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from entering two Washington, D.C., public schools Friday. Earlier in the week, Senate Democrats tried to block her from the job but failed due to Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was ruled out of order during the debate over nominating Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general when her criticisms were deemed by Republicans to impugn his character and motives in violation of Senate rules. After Sessions was confirmed, Warren ascribed to him “racism, sexism, bigotry.”

Democrats mounted all-night protests against both nominees. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus stormed the Senate floor to highlight their opposition to Sessions.

“We mostly roll our eyes and laugh,” a Republican congressional aide said of Democratic tactics. So far, the Democrats have failed to stop any of Trump’s nominees, largely because of a filibuster rule change their own party made when they controlled the Senate.

With the exception of Trump’s immigration order, now tied up in courts, the president has gotten much of what he wants in the early days of his administration.

Education Department mocked for misspelling name of civil rights activist

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. – W.E.B. DeBois.”

02/12/17 4:07 PM

For Capitol Hill Republicans, the stress of overcoming Democratic stalling in Congress and the anti-Trump “resistance” in the streets is still outweighed by excitement over the opportunities unified control of the federal government provides.

“These are friends of mine. They’re acting badly. And we’ll get past it,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., told Politico. “I’m embarrassed for them.”

Democratic morale is lower, because of their minority status and the futility of many of their battles against the administration.

“They’re not smiling,” Brat said. “They’re upset.”

But the whirlwind activity of the Trump administration and its detractors has had an impact on Republicans too.

Hezbollah leader rates Trump 'an idiot'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hassan Nasrallah said that “an idiot settles in the White House and boasts about his idiocy.”

02/12/17 3:47 PM

Several GOP lawmakers complained it was becoming difficult to sift constituent concerns from anti-Trump protests, not always from their districts. Even within their districts, they said they were facing newly politically engaged voters who are demanding they stand up to Trump — even though they were elected making a different set of commitments to the constituents who voted for them.

One recent poll found that 56 percent of Democrats want their party’s congressional wing to oppose Trump even if it means administration jobs don’t get filled or bills get defeated.

“I hope the spring and summer will bring more civility than we see right now,” Jones said.

“Tim Kaine has always been nice to me,” said Brat, referring to the Virginia Democratic senator who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate during the 2016 campaign. “Now he’s gone from being a Guatemalan seminarian to a Guatemalan jungle fighter. I don’t recall street fighters in the New Testament, maybe he can show me.”

Congressional Republicans are unsure of whether the anti-Trump protests are similar to the Tea Party that powered many of them into office or more like the ultimately ineffectual demonstrations against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Several lawmakers said the Trump protests were less ideologically unified and more chaotic than the Tea Party. But while conservatives raise allegations about paid protesters and astroturfing funded by liberal billionaires, similar accusations were made on the left about the Tea Party.

Trump does his part to fan the flames, hitting back at critics on Twitter.

“You’ve got all these distractions with the tweets here and the tweets there,” said Jones. “I wish he didn’t tweet so much, but that’s his decision, not mine.”

“He is provocative, he eggs them on,” Brat said of Trump’s relationship with the Americans outraged by his presidency.

“We need to be gracious in victory but not stupid and weak,” he added. “Trump is very good about saying you can’t be stupid and weak, if he can figure out the first part we’ll be in business.”

With Trump's order in limbo, states take action against sanctuary cities

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Legislation is beginning to bubble up in the states that would impose punishments on sanctuary jurisdictions.

By Todd Shepherd

02/12/17 3:11 PM



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Boycotters on the Left and the Right should be embarrassed


People on the Left and the Right have been boycotting huge businesses like Uber, Budweiser, Under Armour and Nordstrom. Are they doing it for the right reasons or are they just being “special snowflakes”?

Uber vowed to continue providing rides to patrons during a taxi strike in New York. Budweiser aired a commercial depicting one of their founders immigrating to the United States. The CEO of Under Armour announced his support for Trump’s business acumen. Nordstrom announced that it will soon stop selling Ivanka Trump’s brand in their stores. All four of these events sparked separate hashtags calling for each company to be boycotted.

The reasoning behind each of these boycotts makes little sense.

When taxi drivers at John F. Kennedy International Airport went on strike in protest against President Trump’s travel ban executive order, Uber continued to provide rides. Uber’s decision to remain apolitical and continue to furnish customers transportation angered opponents of the extreme vetting policy. The ride-sharing service was accused of supporting the executive order simply by their non-action. People took to social media to share screen-captures of themselves deleting the Uber service from their mobile phones along with the hashtag #deleteUber. Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, received so much negative attention from the #deleteUber movement that he resigned as a member of Trump’s economic advisory council. Uber also released a statement opposing Trump’s travel ban. All this commotion simply because they chose to stay in service when taxi drivers refused to.

During Super Bowl LI, Budweiser aired a commercial featuring a dramatized account of co-founder Adolphus Busch’s immigration to the United States. Immediately following its release, the hashtag #boycottBudweiser started trending on social media. Some viewers felt the commercial made a political statement against Trump’s stance on immigration. However, Trump signed the travel ban executive order on Jan. 27. The Super Bowl commercial aired on Feb. 5. Super Bowl commercials are planned months in advance, so it’s unlikely Budweiser conceptualized the clip after Trump won the election. Even Budweiser claims it was purely coincidental. It’s hard to believe the commercial is worth getting upset over, considering that Busch immigrated to the U.S. legally.

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank recently came under fire for calling Trump a “pro-business president” during an interview on CNBC. Anti-Trump “resistance” did not take kindly to his cordial regard for Trump. The hashtag #boycottUnderArmour began trending on social media. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who has a branded line of clothes produced by Under Armour, released a statement distancing himself from Plank’s support of Trump. Unlike the many companies joining the bandwagon to publicly oppose Trump, Plank stands behind his original statement. Unfortunately, the opposition stands behind its boycott.

Some Trump insist that Nordstrom recently discontinued its partnership with the Ivanka Trump brand due to politics. Nordstrom insists it was in response to poor sales. The high-end retailer even claims to have notified Ivanka of the decision in late January. Regardless, that hasn’t stopped Trump supporters from trending #boycottNordstrom on social media. The relationship between Nordstrom and Ivanka Trump has been a typically loyal one. The brand has stood behind its relationship with Ivanka even during the most polarizing moments of Trump’s political ascent. To cut ties over poor sales is perfectly reasonable. Traditional supply and demand.

I get it. The current political landscape has put Republicans and Democrats on constant defense. Regardless, I thought Americans were stronger. If we boycott every company that has maintained a political stance supporting something we disagree with, we’d pretty much have to stop using everything except for natural water and air. Why is the story of Adolphus Busch’s legal immigration to the U.S. upsetting people? Is a company really being boycotted for providing ride-sharing services at a time when taxi drivers refused to?

When the reasoning behind your protest lacks common sense, are you legitimately boycotting or just being an overly-sensitive snowflake? These boycotts are first-world problems, and Americans should be embarrassed by them.

Education Department mocked for misspelling name of civil rights activist

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. – W.E.B. DeBois.”

02/12/17 4:07 PM

Richard Mills is a political activist and journalist.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

With Trump's order in limbo, states take action against sanctuary cities

Top Story

Legislation is beginning to bubble up in the states that would impose punishments on sanctuary jurisdictions.

By Todd Shepherd

02/12/17 3:11 PM



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Hezbollah leader rates Trump 'an idiot'


President Trump is “an idiot,” and that’s cause for optimism, according to the leader of one of the world’s major terrorist organizations.

“We are very optimistic that when an idiot settles in the White House and boasts about his idiocy, this is the beginning of relief for the oppressed around the world,” Helzbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday, per the Associated Press.

Hezbollah receives the vast majority of funding and other support from Iran, making his comments the latest in a war of words between Trump and the radical Shiite regime. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took a shot at “inexperienced figures” attempting to threaten Iran, which provoked pushback from Trump.

“He better be careful,” Trump said Saturday during a gaggle with reporters on Air Force One.

Trash-talk aside, Trump’s team is taking steps to increase pressure on Iran, such as adding dozens of entities to a sanctions list. Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s new national security adviser, announced that Iran was “on notice” last week after the regime conducted a ballistic missile test.

Congressional leaders in both parties want Trump to take further steps to crack down on Iranian behavior. “I hope that the new administration will slap sanctions on them, and they’ll certainly have my support if they decide to do it,” New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Feb. 1.

With Trump's order in limbo, states take action against sanctuary cities

Top Story

Legislation is beginning to bubble up in the states that would impose punishments on sanctuary jurisdictions.

By Todd Shepherd

02/12/17 3:11 PM



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Education Department mocked for misspelling name of civil rights activist


The Department of Education on Sunday sent out a tweet misspelling the name of civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois during Black History Month. Then, it tweeted an apology that was also misspelled.

“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life. – W.E.B. DeBois” the Department of Education tweeted Sunday morning.

More than three hours later, the spelling of Du Bois’ name was corrected, and another tweet said: “Post updated – our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo.”

That tweet was deleted and updated to say “apologies.”

Twitter users lampooned the agency for the typos.

Hezbollah leader rates Trump 'an idiot'

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hassan Nasrallah said that “an idiot settles in the White House and boasts about his idiocy.”

02/12/17 3:47 PM

With Trump's order in limbo, states take action against sanctuary cities

Top Story

Legislation is beginning to bubble up in the states that would impose punishments on sanctuary jurisdictions.

By Todd Shepherd

02/12/17 3:11 PM

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Meryl Streep: 'Armies of brownshirts' are after me


Actress Meryl Streep continued her feud with President Trump, saying that “armies of brownshirts” are after her following her remarks critical of Trump during the Golden Globes awards in January.

“It’s terrifying to put the target on your forehead,” she said, according to Fox News. “And it sets you up for all sorts of attacks and armies of brownshirts and bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to. You have to! You don’t have an option. You have to.”

Trump’s tenure in office could serve as a reminder of “how fragile freedom really is,” Streep suggested Saturday evening.

“If we live through this precarious moment — if his catastrophic instinct to retaliate doesn’t lead us to nuclear winter — we will have much to thank this president for,” Streep said during a gala for the Human Rights Campaign in New York. “Because he will have woken us up to how fragile freedom really is.”

Streep, who accepted an award from the LGBT rights organization, said she has a moral obligation to condemn Trump.

Streep delivered a sustained assault against Trump during a six-minute speech at the Golden Globes

In one particularly emotional moment, she criticized Trump for mocking a disabled reporter by appearing to pantomime his condition. “There was one performance this year that stunned me,” Streep said. “It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.”

Trump denied mocking the reporter’s disability. “I was calling into question a reporter who had gotten nervous because he had changed his story,” he told the New York Times.

He took a shot at Streep in response to her speech in January. “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She is a Hillary flunky who lost big.”

Kirsten Gillibrand denies 2020 ambitions

Also from the Washington Examiner

“No, I am running for Senate,” she told radio host John Catsimatidis.

02/12/17 1:46 PM

Streep said Saturday that she agreed. “Yes, I am the most overrated, over-decorated and currently, I am the most over-berated actress … of my generation,” she said Saturday.

More than a third of the country says: No Trump, no way, never

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They want Democrats to oppose Trump rather than work with him.

02/12/17 12:05 PM



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Ryan's 'border adjustability' draws GOP, business concern


House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., thinks he has a simple way to raise roughly $1 trillion to pay for his long-sought overhaul of the tax code, but many businesses — and even some Republican lawmakers — are wary of his plan to change how the U.S. treats imports and exports.

Ryan first floated “border adjustability” in the “better way” plan he unveiled last summer outlining how the GOP would do everything from repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act to roll back federal regulations to revamping the tax code.

Republicans dutifully promoted it during their annual retreat in Philadelphia last month, but some now question how the little-understood provision would work and what ramifications it would have on trade and the economy.

Perhaps none is more out front than Georgia Sen. David Perdue — former CEO of Reebok.

“The border adjustment tax is a regressive tax, it hammers low-income and middle-income consumers, it doesn’t foster growth,” Perdue said last week at the Yahoo Finance Summit. “Since all imports would be taxed, the clear effect … is an increase in consumer prices,” he wrote in “dear colleague” letter dated Wednesday.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have all said they have questions.

“We don’t have definitive answers to any of those questions at this particular point,” Hatch recently told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “And without them, I don’t think I can give definitive positions.”

On the House side, Ohio Republicans Jim Jordan, Jim Renacci and Pat Tiberi have made the concerns public and at one point President Trump dismissed it as “too complicated.”

Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of retailers, has sprung up to specifically target border adjustment taxes, which would exempt U.S. exports from taxes while increasing levies on imports. Current U.S. law taxes companies on where they manufacture products. Critics say such a change would run afoul of World Trade Organization rules.

Kirsten Gillibrand denies 2020 ambitions

Also from the Washington Examiner

“No, I am running for Senate,” she told radio host John Catsimatidis.

02/12/17 1:46 PM

Privately House Republicans concede they don’t want to have to vote on a controversial proposal that the Senate may not even consider and that the White House might not support.

To be sure, many businesses are on board with Ryan’s plan. The corporate world is essentially split on the subject, with net importers opposing it and net exporters favoring it.

The Trump administration has also sent mixed signals on the issue.

Last week, press secretary Sean Spicer said the White House will unveil its comprehensive plan for tax reform in two or three weeks. While Ryan has stepped up his push for the proposal, most of Capitol Hill is waiting to see where Trump lands on the subject.

His support could spur legislative action on it while an out-right rejection could kill the plan before a bill gets moving.

Miller: Judges assumed power that belongs to the president

Also from the Washington Examiner

“There’s no such thing as judicial supremacy,” the White House adviser says

02/12/17 1:13 PM

If the prevailing winds begin blowing against border adjustability, it is unclear how the GOP would pay for the reduction in the corporate tax rate, which it wants to drop to 20 percent, or other expensive tax provision changes it seeks.

Fiscal conservatives, particularly in the House, would likely balk at a tax package that would add to the deficit. Yet, the White House and some Senate Republicans are hinting that a “revenue-neutral” plan is not an absolute necessity.

More than a third of the country says: No Trump, no way, never

Top Story

They want Democrats to oppose Trump rather than work with him.

02/12/17 12:05 PM



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Kirsten Gillibrand denies 2020 ambitions


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sunday rebuffed “rumors” that she’s laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

“No, I am running for Senate,” she told radio host John Catsimatidis. “I am running for Senate in 2018.”

Gillibrand has been eyed as a potential Democratic standard-bearer, following decades of the party being led by a Clinton or former President Barack Obama. She took the Senate seat that Hillary Clinton vacated to serve as secretary of state in Obama’s first term, so a 2020 campaign would have set her up to follow in Clinton’s footsteps once again by running against President Trump.

“I really love my job and I feel like I can make a huge difference for New Yorkers fighting for them,” Gillibrand said.

The Democratic party lost dozens of potential leaders in the Republican wave elections of 2010 and 2014, but the Senate could provide a launchpad for at least a few presidential aspirants. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., looms over the party due to her strong appeal among liberal activists, but other lawmakers are positioning themselves for a potential campaign as well.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., for instance, just took a spot on the Foreign Relations committee, a customary move for senators who intend to run for president. And newly-elected California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is also viewed as a rising star, was given a plum seat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

More than a third of the country says: No Trump, no way, never

Top Story

They want Democrats to oppose Trump rather than work with him.

02/12/17 12:05 PM



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More than a third of the country says: No Trump, no way, never


Thirty-five percent of Americans do not foresee themselves ever supporting President Trump and want Democrats to oppose him at every turn, according to a CBS poll released Sunday.

This group, whom CBS labeled “the resisters,” is angry and pessimistic.

“Resisters want the Democrats to oppose Mr. Trump on many more things, rather than try to work with him; demographically, they are much more likely to be either African-American or Hispanic,” CBS wrote.

However, the resisters may be a more potent force on the streets than at the ballot box. Four in ten of them did not even vote in the 2016 election, a lower rate of participation than those who strongly back Trump.

The survey, conducted by YouGov Feb. 8-10 using a sample of 2216 U.S. adults, categorized 22 percent of respondents as “believers” who do not put conditions on their backing for Trump. This group is more focused on security and fighting terrorism than jobs, and thinks “restoring law and order” is the biggest thing Trump can do to “make America great again.”

Another 22 percent support Trump but could withdraw their backing if they don’t like his performance and he does not fix the economy.

In a sign Trump can expand his base of support, 21 percent say that while they oppose him, they could change their mind depending on how he does particularly with respect to the economy. But they say they also want Trump “to reach out to them, and they want respect.”

Washington state AG threatens to depose Trump officials

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Claims there could be a coordinated effort to impose an unconstitutional ban on Muslims

02/12/17 11:10 AM



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Trump congratulates senior aide Miller on Sunday show performance


President Trump congratulated a top White House adviser after his appearance on multiple Sunday morning news shows.

“Congratulations Stephen Miller- on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!” Trump tweeted.

Trump reportedly watches and judges the public performances of White House staffers, though he has not sent many tweets on such interviews.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has reportedly come under Trump’s glare for his performances.

Trump was said to be unhappy not only with Spicer’s delivery – and even how he dressed – during an initial appearance in front of the press right after Inauguration Day.

Miller, a close ally of Trump senior adviser Stephen Bannon, was the only White House staffer to be interviewed on the major Sunday shows this week.

He adamantly defended Trump’s voter fraud claims and said the ruling on Trump’s controversial immigration ban shows a judicial branch taking the law into its own hands.

“The judiciary is not supreme. A district judge in Seattle cannot force the President of the United States to change their laws and our Constitution because of their own personal views,” Miller told ABC’s “This Week.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Miller said chief strategist Steve Bannon “has no role whatsoever in drafting executive orders,” amid questions from Democrats and critics that Bannon is manipulating Trump.

Washington state AG threatens to depose Trump officials

Also from the Washington Examiner

Claims there could be a coordinated effort to impose an unconstitutional ban on Muslims

02/12/17 11:10 AM

Trump: US stands by Japan '100 percent' after North Korea missile launch

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The missile launch was the first by North Korea since Trump took office just over three weeks ago.

02/11/17 10:56 PM

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Cummings: Conway committed a 'textbook violation' of the law


Urging Americans to buy Ivanka Trump’s clothing line was “a textbook case of violation of the law” by White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee said Sunday.

“Anybody else would be subject to a minimum of probably a reprimand or they could literally lose their job over this,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the panel’s ranking member, told ABC’s “This Week.”

During an appearance on Fox News last week, Conway told viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” after Nordstroms pulled her clothing and accessories line from their stores nationwide.

“I hate shopping but I’m going to go get some for myself today,” Conway had said.

The comments drew outrage from Democrats and Republican House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who said Conway’s remarks were “wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Chaffetz and Cummings have urged the Office of Government Ethics to review the incident and recommend that the White House take disciplinary action against Conway.

“We want them to take a thorough look,” Cummings said Sunday.

Trump: US stands by Japan '100 percent' after North Korea missile launch

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The missile launch was the first by North Korea since Trump took office just over three weeks ago.

02/11/17 10:56 PM

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