Connect with us

News

‘Nobody likes me,’ Trump complains, as even his allies fade

Published

on

“Nobody likes me,” he said, confounded at how his administration’s health experts could be receiving accolades while he is accused of ignoring and denying the raging public health crisis.

That’s one answer.

By Friday, the President’s blunt assessment of his own popularity seemed to have manifested in a litany of other ways:

  • Even his staunchest Republican allies flatly rejected his suggestion that November’s voting be delayed, some actually laughing at what, by most accounts, was a serious (if toothless) proposal from the President to undermine the election.
  • The nation’s civic leadership, including three of Trump’s four living predecessors, gathered without him in Atlanta to honor the late Rep. John Lewis, making the sitting president’s absence conspicuous if unsurprising.
  • Stimulus talks on Capitol Hill have proceeded almost entirely without his participation, and have been notable mainly for the disarray they have exposed among Republicans, many of whom were unpleasantly surprised to learn the President’s demand for a new FBI building was included in the final proposal.
  • In a closed door hearing on Friday, intelligence officials working in Trump’s own administration discounted the possibility of foreign countries mass-producing fake ballots to interfere in the November elections — a claim Trump seemed to be making simultaneously from the Cabinet Room.
  • And the concerted push by Trump to delegitimize mail-in ballots is raising alarm bells among Republican operatives, who are worried the President’s demand for in-person voting will mainly serve to dampen turnout among his own supporters.

Trump’s attempts to regain standing have only exacerbated the divorce and led to worries he is weighing down his party’s ability to move forward. Long dismissive of the Washington establishment, Trump has shown little concern at how his moves are forcing allies into awkward positions or alienating himself from longstanding norms.

Far from a mere difference of “personality,” the examples of “nobody liking” Trump this week suggested a President actively isolating himself in his own bubble of conspiracy theories and questionable science, with fewer and fewer people willing to step inside to join him.

In an attempt to boost his mood, Trump’s advisers scrambled to assemble a scaled-down political event on a baking Florida tarmac on Friday, where Trump addressed a mostly mask-less crowd standing inches from one another. Other events in the state that Trump had scheduled for Saturday were canceled as a storm approached.

The event illustrated what White House officials describe as an ad-hoc effort to schedule appearances for Trump that allow him to bask in at least some adulation as his campaign rallies remain on hold and after an in-person convention acceptance speech was scuttled.

White House officials are still weighing their options for how Trump will formally accept the nomination, one person familiar with the planning said, including assessing sites around the country where he might deliver a prime-time address. Yet the task has proven difficult as Trump insists upon something dramatic while aides work to temper some of his expectations about the scale of the potential venues.

Aides say Trump has grown to recognize the extreme political peril he’s created for himself less than 100 days until the election. When he speaks with friends, his grievances are long and his complaints are ample but his willingness or ability to alter course seems minimal, according to people who have spoken to him.

Trump has voiced versions of “nobody likes me” for the past several months, those people said, describing an in-the-dumps president brought low by a pandemic he feels he has little ability to control.

Speaking Thursday, Trump appeared resigned to the fact that coronavirus case counts will continue spiking, and said it’s probably not anyone’s fault, least of all his.

“That’s just the way it is,” he said.

Top Republicans, many of whom have given up hope that Trump will offer anything resembling a coherent national plan to contain the virus, have long decided to promote mask-wearing and social distancing without taking a lead from Trump. One of those who didn’t, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, found out he had coronavirus from a test administrated at the White House.

Instead of avoiding the question or denying knowledge about Trump’s tweet on Thursday suggesting an election delay — a tactic they’ve fallen back on before when the President dispatches something inconvenient or embarrassing — nearly every Republican this week rejected the idea out of hand.

“I don’t think that’s a particularly good idea,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, an informal adviser to the President.

“I read it. I laughed. I thought my gosh this is going to consume a lot of people,” said GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer. “I long ago stop being surprised by the things he does that other presidents wouldn’t have done, but I also understand why he does it and why his base enjoys it so much.”

On Capitol Hill, the ill-fated election day float went over about as well as the administration’s proposal to include $1.75 billion for a new FBI building in a coronavirus relief package — a longstanding fixation for the President that his opponents decry as ethically questionable.

Republicans simply decried it as non-sensical in a bill meant to extend unemployment to the millions of newly unemployed Americans whose lives have been crushed by an out-of-control pandemic.

“There’s a number of unrelated things in there,” said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of the provision, which he said caught him by surprise.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also appeared to be caught off guard by the item, understatedly called it “non-germane.” Absent any support, the White House eventually said the new money wouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Yet by Wednesday, Trump’s isolation from the leaders of his own party — who are hoping to salvage what is shaping up to be a tough November — seemed cemented. Aboard Air Force One, Trump indicated to associates that he would not intervene in the Kansas Republican primary, even after hearing appeals from both his political team and senior Republicans that the seat — and control of the Senate — was at risk if conservative firebrand Kris Kobach wins.

The move appeared to some another break from a President whose interests in politics generally don’t extend beyond his own self-interest. While his absence from the Lewis funeral on Thursday was not a surprise given the animosity between the two men, it also reflected Trump’s general impatience for the rituals of politics that do not revolve around him.

Aides never expected Trump to join his three most recent predecessors — Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — at the funeral. But even some White House officials were surprised when Trump, on Monday, flatly rejected the prospect of traveling to the US Capitol where Lewis lie in state. Some had quietly been considering a quick trip to pay respects.

As it stood, all three former presidents offered remarks that could be read as oblique rebukes of how Trump has approached the job they all held.

“In the America John Lewis fought for, and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action,” said Bush, the most recent Republican president.

Denied traditional routes of affirmation, Trump has begun looking elsewhere. Frustrated that his once-favorite television channel Fox News is willing to interview Democrats, Trump has adopted the hard-right OAN as his preferred venue and spoke to the outlet’s CEO this week about hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial that he insists works to prevent coronavirus.

Even amid attempts by his aides to shift his focus back to the pandemic, Trump continues to hear from a wide range of associates who are undermining the administration’s health experts and questioning their approach to the pandemic, people familiar with the conversations say.

A group of doctors who have promoted hydroxychloroquine and cast doubt on the decision to enforce lockdowns to contain the virus were invited to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, even though a video of a press conference they delivered was removed from social media for violating rules against misinformation.

News

Trump Withdraws Controversial Nomination Of Anthony Tata To Pentagon

Published

on

By

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has withdrawn the nomination of Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier general who has called former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader,” to be undersecretary of defense for policy, the White House said on Monday.

The White House statement came a day after a Pentagon spokeswoman said Tata, who failed to secure a Senate confirmation hearing, had taken a different, less-senior policy role at the Defense Department.

Continue Reading

News

2020 election: Trump continues to lose ground as nation grapples with coronavirus

Published

on

By

Given the continuing widespread coronavirus pandemic, the persistent economic devastation millions of Americans are experiencing in its wake and President Donald Trump’s inability to wrest control of the crisis in the minds of a majority of Americans, it is probably not all that surprising that his reelection chances have taken a substantial hit.

From launching a law-and-order message in the face of mostly peaceful protests for racial justice, to Trump shaking up the campaign by demoting his campaign manager, to a short-lived attempt at having the President portray himself as a leader in command of the Covid-19 response, the race for the White House has continued to move in Biden’s direction.

While the cliché is true that the three months from now until Election Day is an eternity in American politics and the race is almost certain to tighten, it is also true that Americans are just six weeks away from beginning to cast ballots and the defining characteristic of this presidential race thus far is Trump’s failed leadership in managing the coronavirus pandemic and an inability to convince enough of the public that Biden is an unacceptable alternative.

Whatever thin cushion existed for Trump’s reelection prospects at the start of this election year has completely evaporated. The President’s path to 270 electoral votes is as narrow as it has ever been. For his part, former Vice President Biden is shoring up some traditionally blue-leaning battleground states, expanding the 2020 battleground map into what has recently been more Republican leaning terrain, and opening up multiple pathways to victory.

Based on public and private polling, where the campaigns are placing their strategic bets with millions of advertising dollars, where the candidates and their surrogates are spending time in person or virtually, conversations with Trump and Biden campaign advisers, Republican and Democratic political operatives, members of Congress, and political professionals involved with outside groups, our current Electoral College outlook reflects that substantial movement in Biden’s direction.

Since our last outlook, we have moved five states (and one congressional district) in the direction of the Democrat. Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states Trump won in 2016 that had been reliably blue for the better part of two decades in presidential elections, are being moved from battleground to lean Democrat, placing an additional 36 electoral votes to Biden’s total. We’ve also moved Virginia from lean Democrat to solid Democrat as the demographics and population shifts in the commonwealth continue to trend away from Republicans and both campaigns appear to be disinclined to spend substantial dollars competing there.

In addition, Georgia, Ohio and Maine’s 2nd Congressional District had all been leaning in Trump’s favor in our last outlook and have now all been moved to the battleground category, which reduces Trump’s electoral vote count by 35 votes.

In this new outlook, Trump starts with a solid base of 125 electoral votes from 20 states that are most likely to be uncontested in the fall. When you combine that base of solid states with the additional 45 electoral votes that are currently leaning in his direction, it brings Trump’s total to 170 electoral votes — 100 votes away from reelection.

Biden’s quest for the White House starts with a solid base of 203 electoral votes from 16 states and the District of Columbia. When you add in the 65 electoral votes that are leaning in his direction, it brings his total to 268 electoral votes — just 2 away from winning the presidency.

That leaves us with six states and a congressional district worth a total of 100 electoral votes that will likely prove decisive in selecting the direction the country heads in for the next four years: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

If Biden were to win everything in dark or light blue on this map, Donald Trump would need to run the table and win every single battleground to get reelected.

Solid Republican:

Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Indiana (11), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Montana (3), Nebraska (4), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3) (125 total)

Leans Republican:

Iowa (6), Nebraska 2nd Congressional District (1), Texas (38) (45 total)

Battleground states:

Arizona (11), Florida (29), Georgia (16), Maine 2nd Congressional District (1), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), Wisconsin (10) (100 total)

Leans Democratic:

Colorado (9), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (4), Nevada (6), Pennsylvania (20) (65 total)

Solid Democratic:

California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), DC (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maine (3), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), New Jersey (14), New Mexico (5), New York (29), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Virginia (13), Washington (12) (203 total)

Continue Reading

News

Maryland Gov. Hogan overrules county mandate for private schools to go virtual

Published

on

By

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday revoked the authority of county officials to mandate schools close amid a clash with local health officials.

Local health officials in Maryland’s Montgomery County last week made the decision to keep private and parochial schools closed through October for in-person learning, arguing that having students in the classroom would present a danger to pupils and teachers as the state grapples with COVID-19.

But Hogan amended an emergency executive order, which he issued April 5, that allowed local health departments to have the authority to close any individual facility deemed to be unsafe. He called the Montgomery County mandate “overly broad.”

“The recovery plan for Maryland public schools stresses local flexibility within the parameters set by state officials,” Hogan said in a statement. “Over the last several weeks, school boards and superintendents made their own decisions about how and when to reopen public schools, after consultation with state and local health officials.”

HOGAN CLASHES WITH OFFICIALS OVER MANDATE FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS TO GO VIRTUAL

Hogan added that “private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines.”

“The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer,” Hogan said, adding that the state’s recovery “continues to be based on flexible, community-based approach that follows science, not politics.”

“As long as schools develop safe and detailed plans that follow CDC and state guidelines, they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community,” he said, thanking parents, students and school administrators “who have spoken out in recent days about this important issue.”

TENNESSEE MAN, 27, RECOVERING AFTER CORONAVIRUS PNEUMONIA: ‘IT WAS PRETTY SCARY’

Hogan’s move Monday came after Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles in a statement Friday said that opening those schools in any capacity would be unsafe, and as private and parochial schools had signaled their wishes to open for in-person learning, citing their classes, which are smaller in size than public schools, could make them more flexible to follow social distancing guidelines.

Montgomery County Public Schools, as well as most other public school districts across the state, have announced their decision to offer virtual-only instruction this fall.

“At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers,” Gayles said Friday, according to The Baltimore Sun. “We have seen increases in transmission rates for COVID-19 in the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia, particularly in younger age groups, and this step is necessary to protect the health and safety of Montgomery County residents.”

Continue Reading

Trending