Analysts are giving high marks to a little-known advisor in the White House who President Trump turns to for advice after high-profile tragedies like the shooting that left 11 dead in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
“It’s easy to forget the talented people who toil away in near anonymity to make the White House run, so a special shout out to Trey Calhoun for giving the president just the right response to the Pittsburgh shooting and the pipe bomb threats to former president Barack Obama, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and others who’ve criticized Trump in the past couple of years,” says Ray Morgan, Washington political correspondent for Fox News.
Calhoun, the Special White House Advisor on Insensitive Remarks, is credited with coming up with President Trump’s comment that an armed guard could have prevented the mass killing at the baby naming ceremony in the Pittsburgh synagogue. He also talked the president into keeping his Charlotte, N.C., campaign rally on his schedule on the day federal investigators arrested suspected pipe bomber Cesar Sayoc.
Morgan says Calhoun always comes up with the perfect way President Trump can show he cares little for the people he governs. “Just when you think there’s no way the president can fail at his most basic task, which is comforting the country in the wake of tragedy, Calhoun finds a way to do it,” says Morgan. “Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you have to recognize the genius that’s at work here.”
Lee Mather, the Washington political analyst for Cox News, says he was certain the president would cancel his Charlotte rally after investigators arrested Sayoc, because that would have been the appropriate thing to do. But, in a classic Calhoun touch, Trump kept the rally on his schedule and even inadvertently provoked attendees to chant one of his golden oldies from the campaign trail, “Lock her up,” which was particularly inappropriate since Clinton was one of the targets of the bomber.
“You couldn’t have had a better way for the president to grind the heel of his boot into the idea of American unity, one nation under god and so on, than for Trump to hold a political event at a time when people are craving an act of decency from their leader,” says Mather.
Calhoun is also credited with Trump’s refusal to condemn white nationalists immediately after their Charlottesville, Va., rally turned deadly, and for calling for armed teachers after the Parkland, Fla., shooting.
“No one knows how to keep President Trump from stepping into the trap of acting presidential than Calhoun,” says Morgan. “Bravo to him. It’s high time he got the recognition he deserves. The President rightly gets the credit for eroding the foundations of our democracy, but let’s not forget the people under Trump who help make that happen. When our country faces yet another tragedy, it’s good to know we have someone who has the President’s trust when the stakes are high and a calming, unifying presence is demanded. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the President yet again fails to live up to his responsibility as the leader of our country and instead reminds us what a self-centered prick we elected in 2016.”
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Two years into the presidency of Donald Trump, Americans have had enough, according to two-thirds of the country’s 330 million citizens in an open letter published today in The New York Times. “Although you appear to be the lawful president thanks to 60,000 votes you received in half a dozen districts in three states during the 2016 election, your focus on our country’s cultural hot-button issues leaves you too little time for governing,” say the 220 million Americans who signed the letter. “While you provoke us into arguing about birthright citizenship our inadequate infrastructure has worsened, our federal budget deficit has become unsustainable, and the widening gap between the rich and middle class has made it impossible for us to work together with common purpose.” More.
The right to bear arms has the weight of the U.S. constitution behind it but unfortunately there are no constitutional protections for children, the National Rifle Association says. “We’re not saying children shouldn’t be protected, just that they can’t look to the constitution to protect them the way it does guns,” says NRA spokesperson Jack Smith. “Look for yourself. If you see children protected in the constitution, let us know; we’d love to protect them with the same fervor we protect guns. We didn’t write the constitution, you know.” After a rash of shootings in which children were killed or injured at school, advocates have called for tighter background checks and other curbs on guns, but these calls have met stiff resistance among gun-rights advocates and their champions in Congress. Instead, the NRA and other protectors of the second amendment have called for arming teachers and beefing up school security. More.
Several Americans rose from the dead after the tragic shooting in Toronto last week to urge Canadians to “get some mojo” and replace their “lame” gun laws with the kind of laws that give the United States the bragging rights of a true gunslinger. “Nothing will get the testosterone flowing like a few ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in Ontario, Alberta, or British Columbia,” said Tucker Hawley, a Dallas lawyer who became a dead American last year when he was shot at a shopping mall. Hawley said he was a little freaked out after he was killed, along with several others, by a man whose social media posts suggests he had trouble talking to women. But once he got over the shock of being shot, he found his new life as a dead man not that bad. He never really liked to work anyway. More.
Lawmakers in Congress said they would absolutely, and without delay, take no action in the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting at a school. “We know the American people are looking to us to act decisively, which is why, without hesitation, we will take no action to stem the random violence that’s turning our country into a shooting gallery,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said immediately after the shooting. Reports say Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered the Santé Fe, Texas, school Friday and opened fire, killing 10, most of them students. More.
BILLE, Mo.—Tag Carter says he had to shoot dozens of people at random because he never learned how to talk to women and despaired he would die a virgin. But it seems like all those years he didn’t shoot anyone while carrying a gun should count in his favor. “Let’s not forget that I was a good guy with a gun far longer than I was a bad guy with a gun,” Carter said after he was arrested for opening fire in a shopping mall in this quiet midwestern town. Anyone who carries a gun while he eats at a restaurant or shops in a store should meet the definition of a good guy with a gun, it seems to Carter . . . . More.
Tucker Blair told his wife today he’s getting together with his friend Bob to bear arms, although he doesn’t expect to be late for dinner. “My wife always makes tacos on Thursday and they’re not something you want to miss, believe me,” he said. The last time he went out to bear arms he had planned to bear his AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle but the trigger was giving him trouble so he got out his old Browning 9 mm Lugar pistol instead. “I like the Browning—it’s got 14 shots per round, which isn’t bad—but I’ve never liked the way the holster pinches my hip,” he said. “After I got my concealed-carry permit I thought I would get one of those cool holsters you wear under your coat, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.” More.
The U.S. Congress came together in a bipartisan fashion today to condemn the acts of gun violence that will plague the country in the months and years ahead. “We condemn the senseless taking of innocent life that we will experience in the future,” the resolution reads. “We call on all Americans to come together during these times of national trauma that will inflict us, probably twice a year if not more frequently.” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the sponsors of the resolution, says it’s a step in the right direction for lawmakers to get all of their future condemnations of acts of gun violence out of the way at once, because that will free up time for other legislative priorities. More.
Stung by derisive comments that followed their use of tiki torches at their Charlottesville rally this summer, supremacist groups around the country say they’re now using the new SmartTorch app for their events. “Our goal has always been to stoke fear in the hearts of liberals and progressives and other snowflakes that the white supremacist movement is for real and it’s large,” says Richard Spencer, leader of a white supremacist think tank based in Alexandria, Va. “Obviously we can’t do that if people are laughing at or mocking our torches. That’s why we’ve found the new Smart Torch app indispensible for our rallies.” More.