Monkey Cage Blog/WaPo:
This is thanks to Trump
Merkel’s comment about what she has experienced in the past few days is a clear reference to President Trump’s disastrous European tour. Her belief that the United States is no longer a reliable partner is a direct result of Trump’s words and actions. The keystone of NATO is Article 5, which has typically been read as a commitment that in the event that one member of the alliance is attacked, all other members will come to its aid. When Trump visited NATO, he dedicated a plaque to the one time that Article 5 has been invoked — when all members of NATO promised to come to the United States’ support after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. However, Trump did not express his commitment to Article 5 in his speech to NATO, instead lambasting other NATO members for not spending enough money on their militaries. When Trump went on to the Group of Seven meeting in Italy, he declined to recommit to the Paris agreement on climate change, leaving the other six nations to issue a separate statement.
This cements the impression of the United States as an unreliable partner.
Donald Trump is destroying his own presidency
Trump has no one to blame for his endangered presidency but himself.
The investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia is serious, and becoming more so. But it is not what is imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency. What’s imperiling Donald Trump’s presidency is, well, Donald Trump.
Washington Republicans never liked or trusted Trump, but they hoped to be won over by his administration, to be persuaded that he was more disciplined and strategic than he appeared to be during the campaign. Those hopes have been dashed by the lawless, reckless way he has responded to ongoing inquiries. Trump has scared his allies, enraged his bureaucracy, undermined his credibility, and publicly admitted to using the power of his office to obstruct ongoing investigations. In doing, he has reminded Republicans what they feared a Trump presidency would be like — unconstitutional, unfocused, scandal-plagued, and damaging to both America’s standing in the world and the GOP’s brand at home.
“Republicans may soon lose a generation of voters through a combination of the sheer incompetence of Trump and a party rank and file with no ability to control its leader,” warned conservative radio host Erick Erickson.
Paul Krugman/NY Times on the damage to his own voters:
And just to be clear, we’re talking about white people here: At 93 percent white, West Virginia is one of the most minority- and immigrant-free states in America.
So what did the state’s residents think they were voting for? Partly, presumably, they supported Trump because he promised — falsely, of course — that he could bring back the well-paying coal-mining jobs of yore.
But they also believed that he was a different kind of Republican. Maybe he would take benefits away from Those People, but he would protect the programs white working-class voters, in West Virginia and elsewhere, depend on.
What they got instead was the mother of all sucker punches.
Trump returns home from abroad — with a Twitter rant about fake news, leaks and ‘the enemy’
President Trump returned home Saturday night to a country wondering how he would address a crisis of bad news that has only grown more dire during his nine-day tour abroad.
As the FBI continues an investigation of Trump's top associates and as he reportedly considers a White House staff shake-up, the president's attorneys have urged him to lay off his habit of aggressive and impulsive tweeting — lest it make matters even worse for him.
So what did Trump do upon returning to his embattled White House? He went on a Twitter rant, of course.
But Trump voters are a minority in this country. Some things affect us all. There’s this:
Trump Returns to Crisis Over Kushner as White House Tries to Contain It
Mr. Kushner’s troubles are only one facet of the crisis. Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, and Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, also dropped off Mr. Trump’s trip early, in part to return to deal with the political furor over the Russia investigations and the president’s decision to fire James B. Comey as F.B.I. director.
Stephen Rodrick/NY Times:
Do We Really Want Mike Pence to Be President
“America needs to understand that this is what they’re going to get,” said Scott Pelath, the Democratic House minority leader. “He is not going to look at something, assess it, think critically about it and go. He’s going to move slow. He’s going to have to go huddle up and sleep on it and pray on it.”
After the 2015 attacks in Paris, Mr. Pence announced that he was suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana and would cut off aid to groups helping them. A family that was on its way to the state was shuttled to Connecticut, where Gov. Dannel Malloy accepted them, eventually winning a Profile in Courage award.
A federal judge ruled that Mr. Pence’s policy “clearly constitutes national-origin discrimination.”
No, we don’t. But if Trump is illegitimate, so is Pence.
A reminder from earlier in the year, WaPo:
I worked for Jared Kushner. He’s the wrong businessman to reinvent government.
Kushner’s claim to business knowledge, beyond admiring Silicon Valley, boils down to his work for his family’s commercial real estate company, which is hardly comparable to a government institution. And if industry dynamics are not transitive across the board, expertise isn’t, either.
Neither is shady dealing.
Democrats copied the GOP’s politics of ‘personal responsibility,’ and it hurt America
It shaped the way liberals see the poor – as victims of circumstance, rather than Americans who can rise up.
“Personal responsibility” is a peculiar phrase, at once anodyne and foreboding. It is both an expression of breezy common sense and a barely concealed threat to those unfortunate souls who might be so foolish as to act irresponsibly. With its popularity in campaign slogans, commencement speeches and self-help books, it would be tempting to dismiss personal responsibility as an empty incantation — a way to name-check virtues every decent citizen can rally around: love and lemonade, patriotism and pancakes, personal responsibility and apple pie. It’s such a routine part of American discourse that the literal meanings of the words barely register.
Don’t be fooled. This language has had a profound impact on American politics. Weaponized by conservatives such as Ronald Reagan, then slowly adopted by liberals such as Bill Clinton, “responsibility” has shaped public policies from health care to housing. It is no coincidence, for example, that the greatest overhaul of the U.S. welfare state, which Clinton signed into law with bipartisan support in 1996, was called the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
The case for impeaching Trump — and fast
This is the exact situation impeachment was meant for. Let's hurry up.
The question that faces Congress today is whether the Trump case is more like Nixon or closer to Clinton or Johnson. And the answer is that it’s a highly Nixonian situation. Donald Trump is charged with misconduct that is serious and directly relevant to his public office but that isn’t simply a reiteration of longstanding ideological disagreements in American life.
The impeachment tool is somewhat clumsy and rarely used, in part because of how clumsy it is. It’s not so much that presidential misconduct is rare as that replacing the incumbent president of the United States with his hand-picked vice president is rarely a reasonable remedy for anything controversial and significant. But it’s ideally suited to the particular moment in which the country now finds itself. Democrats have enormous disagreements with Mike Pence, but those disagreements are fundamentally unrelated to the core of Trump’s obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and financial conflicts of interest — for now, at least.
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