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“Just Another Day On The Campaign Trail”: Donald Trump To Republican Lawmakers: Hey, Losers, Vote For Me

Donald Trump spent his day on Capitol Hill calling fellow Republicans losers, complaining that the media is just too mean, and doubling down on his defense of Saddam Hussein.

So basically, just another day on the campaign trail for the GOP nominee.

It’s just 124 days til the election and less than two weeks until he gets officially nominated, and Trump’s stop on Capitol Hill proved that—while he’s won some converts—Republican unity is still very theoretical.

Some of his relationships here are complicated. Others are simple. You can put his dynamic with Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk in the latter category.

The Washington Post reported that Kirk skipped Trump’s Capitol Hill huddle, and that Trump called him a “loser” in the closed-door meeting. The mogul also predicted that Kirk will lose his re-election bid, but that Trump,  himself, will win Illinois—a state which hasn’t voted for the Republican nominee since 1988.

Kirk told reporters, flatly, that he thinks Trump is wrong.

“I’ve never been defeated in Illinois,” he said.

Then he added that he thinks Trump will bomb in Illinois, predicting that he will do about as well as Alan Keyes did in 2004—when he only got 27 percent of the vote in the Senate race against then-state Sen. Barack Obama.

Kirk wasn’t the only Senate Republican to tussled with Trump. Sen. Jeff Flake, of Arizona, confronted him in the meeting, according to the Post, criticizing him for belittling Sen. John McCain’s time as a POW in Vietnam. Next on Trump’s “to alienate” list:  Sen. Ben Sasse for criticism.

Sasse is a dogged, long-time opponent of Trump, and called him a “megalomaniac strongman” on the Senate floor last December. He left the meeting long before his fellow Republican colleagues did, and was blank-faced and silent as reporters swarmed him with questions.

Later, his spokesman released a statement saying the 2016 contest “remains a dumpster fire. Nothing has changed.”

Trump’s courtship of House Republicans didn’t seem to generate that level of fireworks. But it also wasn’t a lovefest.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who backed Jeb Bush and then Marco Rubio in the primary, told reporters that Trump’s overtures left him unmoved.

“It was a lot of stream-of-consciousness again,” he said of the mogul’s remarks, “like what you’d hear at the rallies but with less cheering.”

Multiple members told reporters that Trump doubled down on his comments on Saddam Hussein. When asked how it felt to hear the Republican presidential nominee say nice things about the late Iraqi dictator, Kinzinger gave a one-word response:


He added that he thinks giving him credit as a terrorist-hunter is “disgusting and despicable.”

“To somehow give him credit for killing terrorists—he also killed a lot of innocent people, fed them into acid and did some really terrible things,” he said.

And Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican from a swing district in Pennsylvania, also told reporters that when a member asked Trump how he would reach out to Hispanic voters, he gave an answer we’ve all heard before.

“He said Hispanics love him,” Dent said.

Dent added that the polls do not back up that assertion, and that Trump also said he is “all for trade.”

When asked if Trump’s remarks about supporting trade were persuasive, Dent chuckled.

“No!” he said.

Other members said they were charmed.

Rep. Peter King, who once joked he would leave politics if Republicans nominated Trump, said the mogul got a warm welcome. He added that his daughter, Ivanka, got even more applause. She attended the meeting along with her husband, Jared Kushner. And Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, said he’s made a complete 180 on Trump. He was a longtime detractor, but now said he’s enthusiastic about the candidate.

“I may have been one of Trump’s most vociferous opponents in the primary, and I am now one of his most committed supporters,” he said, “partially because I understand the profound significance of the coming election. If I tell you that the party’s coming together, you can believe it. Because I’m living proof.”

Kirk and Flake probably beg to differ.


By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, July 7, 2016

July 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, GOP | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Burden Of Governing”: Boehner Tantrum Does The GOP Cause No Favors

If House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) tantrum yesterday was intended to get headlines, it was a striking success. News outlets everywhere were eager to tell the public that the Republican leader wants Senate Democrats “to get off their ass and do something.”

At issue, of course, is the dispute between the Republican-led House and the Republican-led Senate over funding for the Department of Homeland Security. When the Speaker, who still has no legislative accomplishments to his name, says he wants Dems to “get off their ass,” it’s little more than gibberish – Democrats aren’t being lazy; the congressional minority simply remains opposed to the anti-immigrant scheme cooked up by the majority.

Funny, Boehner thought filibusters were great when it was his party in the minority.

Nevertheless, the Speaker’s cursing notwithstanding, we’re left with a dispute that pits the Senate GOP against the House GOP, with each insisting the other has to do something before Homeland Security runs out of money in two weeks.

And if Boehner thought his whining yesterday might turn the tide, he was likely disappointed by the end of the day.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said Wednesday that his party made a mistake by picking a fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration actions, and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should bring up a “clean” bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded.

“I generally agree with the Democratic position here. I think we should have never fought this battle on DHS funding,” the Illinois senator told a few reporters in the Capitol.

The Illinois Republican added, “I don’t think we should have ever attached these issues to DHS funding. I always thought the burden of being in the majority is the burden of governing.” This is, of course, the polar opposite of what Kirk told reporters literally the day before.

But even putting Kirk’s contradictions aside, the larger point to keep in mind is that there are growing cracks in the GOP’s facade.

While Kirk was telling reporters that his fellow Republicans should just give up and pass a clean bill, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) also broke ranks, adding, “Using a spending bill to poke a finger in the president’s eye is not a good move.”

At least one House Republican also wants his party to throw in the towel and end the nonsense.

“From a political perspective, in my view, you’re better off passing a clean Homeland Security appropriations bill because it makes a lot of important changes many of us on the Republican side wanted – more detention beds and all sorts of improvements to border control,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told reporters.

“I think it’s better politically to vote for a clean appropriations bill,” he added. “That’s better on a policy basis as well as on a political basis. I’m going to urge that we do the DHS bill and not a CR, but a CR is better than a shutdown.”

House Republican leaders have worked from a bizarre assumption: as the deadline neared, Democrats would give in, reward the GOP with everything it wants, and abandon millions of immigrants in order to make the far-right happy. As long as Republicans kept the pressure on and refused to budge, Boehner and Co. thought, Democrats would magically move to the right.

As became clear yesterday, it’s actually Republicans who are giving up on this gambit and endorsing the Democratic position.


By: Steve Benen, The Madow Blog, February 12, 2015

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Dept of Homeland Security, John Boehner | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nullifiers And Future Secessionists: The Tea Party’s Shutdown Is Their Mission Accomplished, But What Now?

Yes, the tea party Republicans should hang a “Mission Accomplished” banner across the House of Representatives. They could flank it with large portraits of Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who ousted John Boehner as speaker of the House in an unacknowledged coup. The right-wing extremists got exactly what they wanted. Now, what will the country do about it?

In blundering into a shutdown, Boehner has lost any claim to authority. Helpfully, the Speaker-in-Name-Only underscored this fact himself on the House floor when he mocked the way President Obama talked. Does anyone remember a real speaker going to the well of the House and making fun of a president of the United States? Can anyone now doubt who is responsible for Washington’s dysfunction? The Republican right still does not accept the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency. That is why the government shut down.

The issue here is not that Congress failed to reach a “compromise.” The Democrats already have compromised, lopping some $70 billion [this number has been updated from an earlier version] off their budget proposal, to the dismay of many liberals. That was meaningless to a tea party crowd that seems to care not a whit about the deficit, despite its fulsome talk. It will be satisfied only if Congress denies heath-care coverage to some 25 million Americans, which is what “repealing Obamacare” really means.

It needs to be said over and over as long as this stupid and artificial crisis brewed by the tea party continues: Financing the government in a normal way and avoiding a shutdown should not be seen as a “concession.” Making sure the government pays its debt is not a “concession.” It’s what we expect from a normal, well-functioning, constitutional system. It’s what we expect from responsible stewards of our great experiment. The extremists who have taken over the House do not believe in a normal, constitutional system. They believe only in power.

There’s a profound irony here, since no one talks more about the Constitution than the tea party. Before the Civil War, John C. Calhoun and a variety of nullifiers and future secessionists spoke incessantly about the Constitution, too. We know where that led.

In the normal course of things in a constitutional and democratic republic, parties win elections on the issues that matter to them. They pass laws or repeal them by majority vote. The tea party could not muster such a majority to repeal the Affordable Care Act because Democrats held the White House and the Senate in the 2012 elections. Lacking a majority, the extremists chose force. “Do what we want,” they said, “or we will render the country ungovernable.”

That’s what they have done. Everyone says Boehner knew better and did not want this outcome. But he was so fearful for his job that he let it happen.

My conservative colleague Michael Gerson had it exactly right this morning: “We are no longer seeing a revolt against the Republican leadership, or even against the Republican ‘establishment’; this revolt is against anyone who accepts the constraints of political reality.”

I would only add: This is also revolt against anyone who accepts majority rule and constitutional constraints.

The burden now is on Republicans who know how profoundly radical and, indeed, crazy the tea party has become. These genuine, non-radical conservatives know how irresponsible this shutdown is. They know that playing around with the debt ceiling later this month would be a profoundly un-patriotic act. “It’s a dead end,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said of the shutdown strategy. King, along with Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), had the courage to stand up against the lunacy by voting against Boehner’s last in a series of craven proposals Monday night. Dent told CNN that as many as 200 Republicans were secretly hoping that there would be a vote on the Senate’s continuing resolution so the government could stay open. But if those Republicans exist, they are paralyzed, unwilling to stand up to the far right.

There is only one way for this to end: Republicans who know better need to tell the far right, “Enough.” They need to overcome their abject fear of Republicans who are under Cruz-control and their cheerleaders in Rush Limbaugh’s world. They need to exit the boulevard of self-inflicted wounds.

We now know where the tea party’s political experiment ends. If this shutdown does not end the tea party’s reign of intimidation, we will face one unnecessary crisis after another as the extremists keep ripping up the roots of our great constitutional system.


By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, October 1, 2013

October 2, 2013 Posted by | Debt Ceiling, Government Shut Down, Tea Party | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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