Trump’s focus on pleasing his most ardent supporters raises questions about reelection strategy
President Trump’s headstrong refusal to reopen the federal government without new border wall funding has set him on a risky and defiant path for 2019, relying on brazen brinkmanship to shore up his base support and protect him ahead of a challenging year for his administration.
The latest overtures in the wake of the midterm elections, which brought about sweeping Democratic gains and the end of GOP control of Congress, stand in stark contrast to the historical behavior of modern presidents, who have moved at least briefly toward the political center after being humbled at the ballot box.
But Trump — counseled by a cadre of hard-line lawmakers and sensitive to criticism from his allies in the conservative media — has instead focused on reassuring his most ardent supporters of his commitment to the signature border pledge that electrified his followers during his 2016 presidential run even though it is opposed by a majority of voters.
Week 84: This Was the Year Mueller Made the Liars Writhe
And it looks like 2019 promises more of the same.
The pattern of lies and lying that Mueller has uncovered isn’t random. Many of the verified lies told by Flynn, Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos, Van Der Zwaan and Cohen were told to protect both the tellers and the man at the top of the prosecutorial pyramid that Mueller is building: Donald Trump.
I’m not foolish enough to predict when Mueller will close his case, but I’m brave enough to venture that Trump’s troubles are only now beginning. As Garrett M. Graff recently wrote, there are more than a dozen investigations into the various scandals connected to the president, from the Russians’ hack of the election to the purchase of influence by Middle Easterners to obstruction of justice to inauguration committee funding to campaign finance fraud. On Jan. 3, a Democratic House of Representatives will be seated and pursue aggressive, additional oversightinto Trump’s affairs, further complicating his life. I can’t wait until Trump tweets his view that Congress should be dissolved.
Trump and his team will, I suppose, attempt to lie their way out of the jams that 2019 promises. It’s my guess that Mueller is hoping for exactly that. The old lies told in Trump’s service have brought him closer to the truth. Newer lies will only hasten the president’s demise.
(Click on the 7:04 AM timestamp to read the twitter thread, or read here).
Outgoing White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly defends his rocky tenure
When Trump picked him to head Homeland Security, and then serve as White House chief of staff, officials from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill expressed hope that Kelly would be one of the “adults in the room” to manage a mercurial president.
To critics, Kelly failed at that task, unable to rein in Trump’s angry tweets or bring order to executive decision-making.
Worse, they argue, he aggressively advocated and implemented harsh immigration measures, including separating migrant children from their parents on the border last summer, that quickly ran aground or were reversed in the courts.
This reads like the anonymous op-ed in the NYT. Was that one authored by John McMaster Mattis?
In a Year Full of Heinous Men, Jeffrey Epstein Still Managed to Be Shocking
Few examples have more clearly revealed the toxic inner workings of male social networks.
If it surprised you when Sen. Orrin Hatch said he didn’t care that prosecutors had determined that the president was implicated in a crime; if it startled you to see Rudy Giuliani—who tackled threats to society like turnstile jumpers and squeegee men—so sweatily downplay Donald Trump’s illegal conduct in an interview with Chris Wallace; if you noticed Jerome Corsi doubling down on birtherism, Trump acting like Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was NBD, Alan Dershowitz insisting that Michael Flynn lying to the FBI is “not a crime,” Rep. Steve King endorsing white supremacists, Arnold Kopelson saying “we all did that” to a woman who claimed Les Moonves accosted her and masturbated in front of her, and Minnesota state Sen. Scott Newman dismissing Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford with “even if true, teenagers!,” then congratulations: You’ve made it to the end of 2018 without becoming irreversibly jaded.
Frankly, I thought I was. I didn’t think much could stun me. But then the Miami Herald published Julie Brown’s exposé of how prosecutors cozily negotiated with Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team to minimize his punishment for raping and trafficking underage girls—and presiding over a sex ring of sorts that he allegedly shared with powerful friends—and my depleted capacity for shock was refreshed. The case is exceptional, and though it’s about a decade old, you might not have heard about it.
See, this is the kind of stuff the lying/disinformation is supposed to protect heinous men from. Knowing and exposing it is part of the correction. see Jack Shafer, Mueller is the correction for the Trump WH but media and the courts have to be the corrective for the rest. If they are suborned, we are in trouble.
‘You Control Nothing’: House Republicans Brace for Life in the Minority
The reign lasted eight years before the November midterms and the Democratic gain of 40 seats, a thorough beating that many Republicans did not anticipate. Mr. Kinzinger said the culture shift might be hardest on those colleagues who, unlike himself, believed the election was going to turn out quite differently.
“We have come to grips with the shock of the election,” he said, “but the shock of governing will still be a wake-up call for some people.”
Sabrina Hersi Issa/NBC:
The 'Year of the Woman' forced us to take a step back for every step forward. That isn't real progress.
It is flooring the ways little has changed but nothing is the same.
When we mistake moments in our culture during which some women are being represented as mere cause for celebration, then we have missed the true call to interrogate ourselves and ask: Why did it take this much pain to get the world to care? Why are we increasingly reliant on the most vulnerable voices in our culture to serve as collective moral wake-up calls to problems we have long known existed, but which we have done little to correct?
Our focus on the inclusion of women’s voices in politics and necessary culture change is misplaced as long as it fails to change the structures and practices that promoted our exclusion in the first place. If we can achieve this shift — one in which there is an expectation for progress for all — then we can create a force of momentum for the many political fights to come.