After seeing how President Donald Trump deployed his legendary dealmaking skills on the votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, Americans say they now “get” what Trump was talking about when he said on the campaign trail that no one can make deals like he can.
“I admit I thought he was just boasting when he said he was a great dealmaker,” says Harold Gardner, a retired accountant in Des Moines, Iowa. “It sounded like a lot of hyperbole to me. But I see now that he really is the consummate dealmaker. The way he got into the back-and-forth about what lawmakers needed to get the health care law passed—it was revealing. You could see how he works to understand what each person wants so he can cut a deal that gives each person a little of what they want so everyone can claim a victory. It was dazzling.”
Nancy Doane, a homemaker in Lansing, Mich., said she once worked for a “very good dealmaker” who would get deep into a negotiation with people and figure out a way to get everyone on board even if no one got 100 percent of what they wanted. “That’s what dealmaking is all about,” she says. “It’s hearing out each side and finding a way to yes. We saw that with the President during this whole health care debate. That’s why I’m surprised it didn’t pass. I guess you could say it’s everyone’s fault but Trump’s. He certainly got in there, learned the details, and carved out a path that everyone could follow. So, it must be the fault of recalcitrant Democrats and cowardly Republicans for turning down the great deal Trump was offering.”
Political consultants of both parties say they’ve never seen such shrewd dealmaking as Trump’s. “He offered just the right balance of carrots and sticks,” says Peter Barnes, a Republican strategist who appears weekly on CNN and Fox News. “Not too much negative pressure and not too much giving in. It was just the right amount. The result speaks for itself.”
“I wish it weren’t so, but I’m afraid he’s just going to kill it on tax reform,” says Democratic consultant Angela Gonzalez. “What he made clear in the health care debate—and what a great debate it was—is that he knows how to get deals done. So, I think comprehensive tax reform shouldn’t be considered pie in the sky. It’s entirely doable because Trump has left no doubt that he is the dealmaker to end all dealmakers and for people who don’t want Republicans to win on tax, this is very worrisome. The Republicans have a dealmaking genius on their team, so clearly he’s going to deliver a big win for his team. The Democrats are clearly doomed.”
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Republican lawmakers in the Senate say they urgently must pass tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy before the end of the year because of pressure coming from Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “Would it be better to slow down and better think through our tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy? Of course,” says John Thune (R-S.D.), the Senate whip. “Right now our own analysis is showing a $1 trillion addition to the budget deficit even after projected growth in the economy. So, if we had more time we could craft changes that address that and still give our wealthy donors what they want. Unfortunately, time is a luxury we don’t have.” That’s because Mueller’s investigation is winding down. More.
Pointing to the “unbelievable job” he’s doing as president, Donald Trump today said he’s way ahead of his schedule for fixing everything that’s wrong with America. “When I was nominated by so many Americans last year, I said that I alone can fix our great country’s problems,” he said in a briefing with reporters. “I’m glad to say your president has delivered on his promises and you’ll be so surprised and so pleased at how much I’ll deliver on my promises in the weeks and months ahead.” Trump cited the success of free speech that was expressed in Charlottesville, Va., yesterday, in which a coalition of white nationalist groups clashed with anti-fascist demonstrators. “The free speech was so good,” he said of the rally, at which one protestor was killed when an alleged neo-Nazi supporter rammed his car into a crowd of people. Two officers were also killed when their police helicopter crashed. Virginia Governor Terrence McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. More.
Special Prosecutor is Opportunity to Return Focus to Taking Away Health Care, Gutting Programs for Americans, Trump Says
President Donald Trump in a series of early-morning tweets said the appointment of former FBI director Robert Mueller to look into the Trump-Russia allegations gives his administration a chance to refocus on pulling the rug out from voters who put him into office. “Mueller will finally get the fake Russia story out of the news,” Trump said in the first of his tweets this morning. “We welcome the chance to take away health care from 24m, raise taxes on 70% of homeowners, cut heating aid to the old,” he said in a second tweet. In a third, he said he wants to get back to “wrecking U.S. standing in world, being a pushover to China, undercutting our allies.” More.
President Donald Trump said in a press briefing today that his administration has talked more about helping working class Americans than any administration in the United States. “No one’s talking about the interests of our workers like I am,” said Trump, whose tax reform plan, released in late April, cut taxes for corporations and pass-through entities, of which The Trump Organization is one. Most middle-class homeowners would see their taxes go up because the plan would eliminate the deductions for mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and state and local taxes. It would keep the mortgage interest deduction, but that’s not enough to offset the losses elsewhere, pushing them to take a new $24,000 standard deduction that’s less than what they got when they itemized. More.
White House Spokesperson Sean Spicer said there’s no truth to rumors that President Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have agreed to shoot a television commercial for Viagra®, the erectile dysfunction drug, while Duterte is in Washington for his White House meeting. “The fake news operation of the Democratic party is at it again,” said Spicer at his press briefing this morning. “The claim that President Trump and Philippine President Duterte have any intention of shooting a Viagra® commercial is absurd.” More.
A report by the Kleinbaum Institute of Forensic Sciences at Columbia University says there’s a good chance President Donald Trump has been hiding his bald spot in his taxes since 1995 and maybe even as far back as 1991. “As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump was willing to risk losing the election by refusing to do what presidential candidates have been doing for the last 40 years: release their tax returns,” says William Berger, professor of forensic sciences at Columbia and the director of the Kleinbaum Institute. “The question that has intrigued Americans and even people around the world for the past 18 months is, why? We think we know why.” Berger says it’s understandable people think Trump is trying to hide embarrassing financial matters by keeping his taxes out of the public spotlight. More.
President Donald Trump said today he might drop more bombs in hot spots around the world because people appear to like the bombs on a bipartisan basis. “Who would have thought the bombs would be so popular, but they are and we’re going to do more of them, I can guarantee you,” Trump said at a press briefing after meeting with business officials on tax reform. “Syria was a big win for us. People liked the Tomahawks. President Bashar al-Assad poisoned his own people. We fired the bombs. That was good. A big win. Then we dropped the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan. People are sick of Afghanistan. They can’t believe we’re still there. We can’t get out of that country? We dropped the bomb.” More.
President Donald Trump, his step a little lighter now that the reviews have been good on his decision to bomb a Syrian airbase, says Americans can expect more bombings in the weeks ahead. “There are going to be so many good opportunities to bomb things,” Trump said in his weekly radio address at the White House today. “We have North Korea. We have Iran. We have some other hot spots we’re looking at but aren’t ready to talk about yet. But they’ll be good bombing targets. A lot of pride among Americans, especially after all those disastrous Obama years when we blew so few things up.” Trump acknowledged he wasn’t expecting reviews across the political spectrum to be so good in response to his snap decision to send 59 Tomahawk missiles to the Shayrat military airbase in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on its own citizens. More.
President Donald Trump said he based his decision to bomb the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria on “raw emotion” and he’s left it to his generals to create a long-term engagement strategy that doesn’t leave Americans more vulnerable to middle east chaos. “I saw children murdered by their own government and I reacted to that,” Trump said today at the White House. “Now we’re working hard to build a policy around my decision. I think we’ll have a plan soon, maybe even before the weekend.” Trump said he’d been given policy papers on the situation in Syria, but what matters is what he sees on cable news. “And what I saw horrified me,” said Trump. “I think it’s important for the head of a country to act on the basis of emotions and without a long-term plan.” More.
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn insisted he’s not guilty of colluding with Russia to help Donald Trump become president in 2016 and to prove it, he said he’ll gladly testify before Congress as long as he’s given immunity. “I’m eager to clear my name of these incorrect charges,” said Flynn, who has kept a low profile since resigning in January after just a few weeks working for the Trump White House. “That’s why l’m saying, give me immunity to testify and I’ll tell you everything I know.” Flynn said his testimony will show he has done nothing wrong and the entire Russia-Trump connection amounts to nothing. More.
Recent sightings in the foothills of Spring Creek, Calif., of a mysterious beauty object have caused a stir in this former mining town 175 miles north of San Francisco. “I haven’t seen the town buzzing like this since we had the frog jumping contest here one year because the track was too muddy in Calaveras County,” says Sam Baker, a retired rancher who serves as the town’s unofficial historian. The cause of all the excitement are recent sightings of an unidentified beauty object that many locals believe is Melania Trump, the rarely seen wife of President Donald Trump. “We thought she only existed in New York City,” says Helen Carter, owner of Carter’s Diner on Route 43. “The idea that she would be sighted way out here—about as far from New York City as you can get—makes me think it’s not really her but a local girl who probably got pregnant and doesn’t want to tell her parents.” More.
Republican lawmakers in the United States Congress say they’re flabbergasted they couldn’t pull out a win yesterday by passing a bill that no one wanted and that would make the lives of Americans worse. “Who would have thought that a bill that strips health insurance away from 24 million people, raises the premiums for everyone else, and allows insurance companies to pay for less care couldn’t generate enough votes to pass?” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said last night after pulling the plug on his signature health care reform bill. Ryan said he’s stunned that his fellow Republicans didn’t want to commit political suicide by making the lives of their constituents worse by publicly voting “yea” for his bill, called the American Health Care Act. More.
WASHINGTON—In a sensational shot across the bow, American President Donald Trump said at the White House today that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is a “vindictive, narcissistic sociopath’ who mustn’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons because he’s “impulsive, unstable, and holds a grudge.” Trump also said he lies “practically every time” he opens his mouth. “What we have in North Korea is a man who only got where he is today because of his father,” Trump told reporters. Kim is the third leader in the Kim dynasty, which began in 1948 when Kim Il-sung led his country’s effort to overthrow Japanese rule. Kim then elevated his son, Kim Jong-il, to the post of Supreme Leader in 1994, and then Kim Jong-il elevated Kim Jong-un in 2011, when he was 27. More.
McConnell: ‘Have to do it’Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress has little choice but to censure President Donald Trump for accusing his predecessor, without evidence, of conducting surveillance on him during the 2016 campaign. “There has never been a greater debasement of the presidency than what we have seen in the last two weeks,” said McConnell, who as recently as this weekend joined President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Louisville, Ky. “For one president to accuse another of what amounts to a criminal act, and to do so even though all of the country’s considerable intelligence resources are at his fingertips, is to perpetrate one of the greatest violations of our nation’s trust we have ever seen.” More.
In a problem that has never happened before, according to historians, just nine weeks into the presidency of Donald Trump the White House has exhausted its supply of foreign leaders willing to come to Washington to meet with the president and analysts cannot figure out why. “In every past administration, the problem has been too many foreign leaders wanting to come to Washington to meet with what many people regard as the most powerful person in the world,” says Jake Tapper, Washington correspondent for CNN. “Now, leaders around the world are saying they’re too busy to come. It’s weird.” That’s not to say President Trump has hosted no foreign leaders. Among others, he’s hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. And just last week he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But White House aides say no more foreign leaders are lined up to come. More.
Stung by unfavorable comparisons between his inauguration crowd and that of his predecessor, Barack Obama, President Donald Trump today announced that when he wins reelection in 2020, Americans will be required to attend his 2021 inauguration unless at least two million people attend voluntarily. “What the executive order says is, attendance at the inauguration is voluntary—which is in accordance with our freedoms as a democracy—but that if under two million people attend, people will be required to attend up to the minimum two-million attendance number,” said Sean Spicer, the White House spokesperson. More.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency, says photos of her in a bikini are “alternative facts” that are being spread on the Internet to try to take the focus off the things the Trump administration is doing, like accusing President Barack Obama of wire tapping Trump Towers, using the presidency to spread accusations about Muslim attacks in Sweden, and saying immigration curbs are needed because of a massacre in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have clearly been photoshopped into images of other women to hurt Donald Trump by demeaning me as a person,” said Conway, 50. “It’s a personal attack on my character that’s been put forward without regard to the truth and without regard to the long-term impact this will have on our democracy, our shared trust in our institutions, and our credibility as a nation.” More.
President Donald Trump this morning announced the formation of a White House office to identify and assign blame to the responsible person for upcoming policy failures of his administration. “No administration will be as accountable to the American people as mine for assigning blame for problems that will be coming in the years ahead,” Trump said in announcing his new White House Office of Blame Laying. On the upcoming failure of the American Health Care Act, for instance, the finger of blame will be pointed at former president Barack Obama for his program to increase the number of people with health insurance by 20 million. “When the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare results in higher premiums for worse insurance for a declining number of Americans, we will know immediately that Barack Obama is to blame. More.
Vice President Mike Pence, amidst revelations that he used a personal email account to conduct official business when he was governor of Indiana, said what he did was different from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email when she was secretary of state. “What Hillary Clinton did was a clear violation of law and a threat to national security while my use of personal email was a smart and necessary action that benefitted the people of Indiana,” Pence said in a statement released today. Pence’s use of a personal AOL email account was revealed yesterday in a report by The Indianapolis Star. More.