Trump Slams McCain Blocking Obamacare Repeal: ‘Honestly, Terrible’

President Donald Trump slammed Sen. John McCain for opposing efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, vowing at a Friday campaign rally for an Alabama Senate candidate that Republicans would succeed on health care “eventually.”

The crowd booed as Trump said the opposition from McCain, R-Ariz., who announced on Friday that he would vote against the latest GOP health care bill, was “terrible, honestly, terrible” when he cast the deciding vote against an earlier measure.

“That was a totally unexpected thing,” Trump told the crowd.

The president went on to say that McCain’s opposition was “sad.”

“It was sad,” Trump said. “We had a couple of other senators, but at least we knew where they stood. That was really a horrible thing, honestly. That was a horrible thing that happened to the Republican Party.”

“It’s a little tougher without McCain’s vote, but we’ve got some time,” Trump said, acknowledging the difficulty in passing the Senate health care bill before a critical September 30 deadline. “We are going to do it, eventually.”

The boisterous arena rally recalled the heady days of Trump’s insurgent 2016 campaign. Thousands of supporters in the stands reprised chants of “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton and “build the wall,” and erupted in cheers when the president called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “little Rocket Man.”

But this time, Trump came as the president, using his first big endorsement trip outside of the Beltway to tout the establishment’s favored candidate in the heated special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump’s all-out support for interim Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., who is trying to close his gap in polls ahead of Tuesday’s GOP runoff election, is a political gambit, which the president acknowledged.

“I’m taking a big risk,” Trump said. “Luther Strange is our man.”

Challenger Roy Moore is an anti-establishment favorite, backed by many of Trump’s most prominent supporters — including Ben Carson, Trump’s HUD Secretary.

Trump said critics had given Strange “a bum rap.” And he praised the senator’s loyalty in the health care battle, recalling that Strange asked for nothing in return for his support to repeal Obamacare — unlike McCain and other unhelpful GOP senators.

“They are not doing a service to the people that they represent,” Trump said.

Democrats are as rare in Alabama as Louisiana State fans, but Trump warned that Moore, a controversial religious fundamentalist, would have “a very good chance of not winning in the general election” later this year.

If Strange pulls off a come-from-behind-win, Trump will get the credit and an infusion of political capital with elected Republicans when he needs it most.

“Our research indicates that he is the decisive factor,” said Steven Law, the president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that has spent almost $8 million backing Strange.

Trump is hugely popular in deep-red Alabama, gushing, “It’s nice to go places where people love you.”

Richard “Gator” Payne, the former commander of the local Purple Heart chapter, acknowledged he didn’t know much about Strange, but said Trump’s endorsement was enough for him. “I’m for Trump, and if Trump’s for Strange, then I’m for Strange,” he said.

[NBC News]

Media

Trump Calls Democrats a Slur in Proclamation Congratulating Himself For ‘Bipartisan Outreach’

President Donald Trump’s White House used what Democrats consider a slur for the party in a proclamation of “bipartisan” cooperation on Wednesday.

A statement released by the White House titled “Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Bipartisan Dinner with Senators” referred to the GOP’s opposition as “Democrat Senators.”

However, the party’s official title is The Democratic Party, but Republicans often slur Democrats by truncating the last two letters.

“President Donald J. Trump met with Republican and Democrat Senators to discuss advancing the Administration’s legislative priorities,” the statement said. “The President asked the bipartisan group of Senators to help deliver tax cuts for American families, which is essential to economic growth and prosperity.”

“Through bipartisan outreach efforts like this, President Trump is demonstrating his commitment to fulfilling his promises,” the statement added. “This meeting was highly productive, and will spur constructive discussion moving forward.”

Read the entire statement below.

[Raw Story]

Trump: I Pass a Lot of Bills. Also, the Democrats Won’t Let Me Pass Bills.

See if you can spot the contradiction in these two tweets President Trump posted Friday morning.

Eight Democrats control the Senate, he warns, meaning that the Republican majority must end the filibuster to pass legislation.

Eleven minutes later, a different story: In seven months, Trump’s seen unprecedented success, including … passing a lot of legislation.

This is not the first time Trump’s tried to have it both ways on legislation.

On July 11, this tweet:

And on July 17: “We’ve signed more bills — and I’m talking about through the legislature — than any president, ever,” he said.

Those can’t both be true, by definition. You can’t pass “more bills … than any president ever” if there are “no votes” on the bills.

This is in part a byproduct of one of Trump’s best-known personality traits, his tendency toward hyperbole. Nothing that’s good is anything less than great and beautiful in Trump’s eyes; nothing that’s bad is anything more than terrible or the worst. There’s no average day in the Trump presidency, just days jostling each other at the very top and very bottom of the spectrum. (Or, really, just at the very top.) And so it is not the case that Trump is in the middle of the pack in terms of legislation passed, he’s the best.

It’s also a byproduct of another of Trump’s well-known characteristics: Nothing is his fault. He did once tell the nation that he alone could fix what was broken in Washington, that what was needed was a dealmaker, who could come in, crack skulls and get a negotiated resolution. But making deals in Congress isn’t like making deals in Trump Tower. There are no one-on-one negotiations, just 52-on-1 negotiations with the Republican caucus in the Senate, with 52 people who represent diverging constituencies and interests. Whether Trump’s dealmaking skills weren’t overhyped, it’s clear that he’s met his match in Congress.

Remember: The most spectacular failure by the Republicans so far this year was on the health-care bill that only needed 50 votes. Trump’s signed no major legislation into law, and the one bill that would have met that definition failed independently of any need to overhaul the filibuster.

That’s not the story that Trump wants to tell. He wants to blame the failure on the Democrats — and, secondarily, on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who’s earned his own disapproving tweets from Trump in recent weeks. Whatever happened that was bad, Trump would like us to know, it certainly wasn’t the fault of Donald J. Trump.

So we end up with weird moments like Friday morning, a president who is both bragging about his unprecedented success and lamenting the unprecedented obstruction that’s preventing him from doing his job.

As Cornell Law professor Josh Chafetz noted on Twitter, neither of those claims is true. He’s signed more bills than some presidents and less than others. The filibuster makes consensus-building trickier, but rifts within his own party in both the House and the Senate are the bigger initial stumbling block.

But, again, most of America by now takes this in stride. We know Trump exaggerates and lies and misrepresents; we know that his hyperbole is just that. We know that the president wants to be hailed as the best and to have all of his failures blamed on someone else. For better or worse, we’ve come to terms with it.

Just as we’ve come to terms with Trump’s now-expected early morning tweets containing internal contradictions. One more day in the world of 2017.

[Washington Post]

Trump Unloads On GOP Leaders, Clapper and Media in Typo-Riddled Twitter Rant

President Trump fired off a series of tweets on Thursday morning, attacking Republican leaders in Congress, defending the wildly shifting tones in his recent speeches and retweeting a crude photo collage of him “eclipsing” former President Barack Obama in a typo-riddled tirade.

Trump began by accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan of not following his advice on debt-ceiling negotiations.

“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,” the president tweeted. “They didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!”

Those tweets came just hours after the White House issued a statement saying Trump and McConnell “remain unified on many shared priorities” and will meet when Congress returns from its August recess.

The statement seemed to be in response to a New York Times report that the relationship between the president and McConnell has “disintegrated” to the point where the Senate majority leader is now privately questioning whether Trump can even save his presidency.

According to the Times, Trump “berated” McConnell during an Aug. 9 phone call “that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.”

“During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue,” the Times reported. “He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

The president also criticized the media’s scrutiny of the shifting tone of his back-to-back-to-back speeches, misspelling the words “there” and “too.”

“The Fake News is now complaining about my different types of back to back speeches. Well, their was Afghanistan (somber), the big Rally (enthusiastic, dynamic and fun) and the American Legion – V.A. (respectful and strong),” Trump tweeted. “To bad the Dems have no one who can change tones!”

He wasn’t done.

Trump then ripped James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, who told CNN on Tuesday that the president’s fiery speech in Phoenix left him questioning the commander in chief’s fitness for office.

“James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?” Trump tweeted.

Amid the barrage, the president paused to retweet a meme-like photo of his face crossing in front of Obama’s, above the message “Best Eclipse Ever.”

[Yahoo News]

Update

Jerry Travone, whose meme Trump retweeted, turns out to be another white supremacist. Trump has a pattern of retweeting them.

Trump: Flake ‘Toxic,’ Boosts His Primary Opponent

President Donald Trump turned hard on a fellow Republican Thursday, boosting the primary opponent of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and calling the incumbent “toxic.”

“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.

Flake’s team shot back in a statement issued later Thursday morning: “You don’t serve Arizona by cutting backroom deals in Washington, D.C. That’s why Senator Flake will always fight for the people of our state.”

Flake’s senior Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, also came to his defense on Twitter, apparently in response to Trump’s tweet:

And Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also defended Flake, saying the group “unequivocally supports” the Arizona senator.

Ward responded to the President’s message, writing back, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump Working hard so you have a conservative from AZ to help #MAGA. Arizonans excited to see you again next week!”

Ward, an osteopathic physician and former Arizona state senator, is challenging Flake in Arizona’s 2018 Republican primary after having failed to unseat McCain in the previous primary cycle. Flake, meanwhile, has emerged as a regular Trump antagonist in Congress and one of his party’s loudest critical voices of the commander in chief.

Flake recently kicked off his re-election campaign with the release of a book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” in which Flake unloads on Trump and condemns his party for enabling Trump’s rise to power.

In the book, the Arizona Republican details a long-running feud with Trump that dates back to Flake’s resistance, early on, to Trump’s presidential campaign. He writes critically about Trump’s campaign, calling it “free of significant thought” and compares it to a “late-night infomercial.” Flake also touches on Trump’s own prediction that their differences would cost Flake his seat.

“You’ve been very critical of me,” Trump told him in a summer 2016 meeting recounted in the book.

“In the tweeting life of our president, strategy is difficult to detect. Influencing the news cycles seems to be the principal goal; achieving short-term tactical advantage, you bet. But ultimately, it’s all noise and no signal,” Flake writes.

(CNN) President Donald Trump turned hard on a fellow Republican Thursday, boosting the primary opponent of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and calling the incumbent “toxic.”

“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.

Flake’s team shot back in a statement issued later Thursday morning: “You don’t serve Arizona by cutting backroom deals in Washington, D.C. That’s why Senator Flake will always fight for the people of our state.”

Flake’s senior Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, also came to his defense on Twitter, apparently in response to Trump’s tweet:

“.@JeffFlake is a principled legislator & always does what’s right for the people of #AZ. Our state needs his leadership now more than ever,” McCain wrote.

View this interactive content on CNN.com
And Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also defended Flake, saying the group “unequivocally supports” the Arizona senator.

Ward responded to the President’s message, writing back, “Thank you @realDonaldTrump Working hard so you have a conservative from AZ to help #MAGA. Arizonans excited to see you again next week!”

Ward, an osteopathic physician and former Arizona state senator, is challenging Flake in Arizona’s 2018 Republican primary after having failed to unseat McCain in the previous primary cycle. Flake, meanwhile, has emerged as a regular Trump antagonist in Congress and one of his party’s loudest critical voices of the commander in chief.

Flake recently kicked off his re-election campaign with the release of a book, “The Conscience of a Conservative,” in which Flake unloads on Trump and condemns his party for enabling Trump’s rise to power.

In the book, the Arizona Republican details a long-running feud with Trump that dates back to Flake’s resistance, early on, to Trump’s presidential campaign. He writes critically about Trump’s campaign, calling it “free of significant thought” and compares it to a “late-night infomercial.” Flake also touches on Trump’s own prediction that their differences would cost Flake his seat.

“You’ve been very critical of me,” Trump told him in a summer 2016 meeting recounted in the book.

“In the tweeting life of our president, strategy is difficult to detect. Influencing the news cycles seems to be the principal goal; achieving short-term tactical advantage, you bet. But ultimately, it’s all noise and no signal,” Flake writes.

Flake had also called on Trump to withdraw from the presidential race after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which showed Trump making lewd comments about women.

Ward told CNN in July that she had talked to White House officials about her run against the incumbent Flake. She also controversially suggested that McCain might need to step down from his seat after his brain cancer diagnosis last month — which would have opened the door to her potential appointment to his seat.

Trump, meanwhile, plans to hold a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, next week, where he’ll have another chance to wade into the state’s turbulent Republican politics.

[CNN]

Trump Lashes Out at Sen. Lindsey Graham For Comments on Charlottesville

President Donald Trump lashed out at Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday morning, claiming the Republican from South Carolina falsely stated his words about violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In a tweet on Thursday, Trump said “publicity seeking” Graham incorrectly stated that the president said “there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists. … and people like Ms. Heyer.”

Trump Lashes Out at Sen. Lindsey Graham For Comments on Charlottesville

Heather Heyer was killed after she was struck by a car driven into a crowd of people who were protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

In a statement on Wednesday, Graham said Trump “took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”

Trump on Monday explicitly condemned white supremacists and “racist” violence, two days after he condemned hatred and violence “on many sides” without specifically denouncing white supremacist groups.

At a heated news conference on Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his initial response, blaming “both sides” for the violence.

[CNBC]

Reality

By claiming both sides were to blame for violence at the Unite the Right rally, Trump made a moral equivalence between Nazis and their protesters.

Trump Just Picked a Dumb Fight with Mitch McConnell

Even as the Trump White House continues to calibrate the right response to the news that North Korea may have miniaturized a nuclear weapon, President Donald Trump started a very public fight with the most powerful Republican in the Senate.

“Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so,” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?”

That Trump tweet came just hours after this one from White House social media director — and Trump confidant — Dan Scavino Jr.: “More excuses. @SenateMajLdr must have needed another 4 years – in addition to the 7 years — to repeal and replace Obamacare…”

Scavino added a link to his tweet of a video of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaking at an event in Kentucky on Tuesday — which is what started this all up.

“Our new President, of course, has not been in this line of work before,” said McConnell, according to a local CNN affiliate, which covered the event. “I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”
McConnell’s criticism — Trump is a newbie in politics and doesn’t totally get that things move incrementally even in the best of times — seems relatively mild especially compared to Scavino’s response. It’s also a criticism that plenty of Democrats leveled at then-President Barack Obama in the early days of his presidency.

The simple fact is that McConnell was always skeptical that there were 50 votes for any sort of health care overhaul. It’s why he tried to fast-walk the legislation before the July 4 congressional recess so he could move on to tax reform, where he’s said there’s more opportunity for a win.

But, even after McConnell was forced to delay that vote, he continued to push for passage of some sort of health care bill — ultimately coming up a single vote short. It was a swing and miss to be sure, but not, as far as I can tell, as a result of anything McConnell left on the field — which is the clear implication in Trump and Scavino’s tweets.
Beyond the overreaction, what baffles me is whether Trump did this in a fit of pique or whether there was some sort of intentionality or strategy behind it. For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out.

Remember that for everything that Trump wants going forward — tax reform, funding for the border wall, maybe even another shot at health care — he needs McConnell. Badly.  And despite the health care setback, McConnell still inspires considerable loyalty among his colleagues.

Picking a fight with someone: a) you need to get things done and b) people look up to, seems to me to be the essence of playing dumb politics. Maybe Trump (and Scavino) have some sort of grand plan here I don’t see. Always possible! But from where I sit, this was a needless fight to pick that could have decidedly negative consequences on the Trump’s agenda in the future.

[CNN]

Trump renews attack on Democratic senator, calling him a ‘Vietnam con artist’ on Twitter

President Trump on Monday launched a renewed attack on Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), calling him “a phony Vietnam con artist” on Twitter after the senator appeared on television.

Trump’s tweets came after Blumenthal voiced support on CNN for continuing the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election and expressed concern about the Justice Department’s increased focus on rooting out administration officials who leak information damaging to Trump.

“Politicizing the Department of Justice for personal ends, I think, is a disservice to the law, and it’s also potentially a violation of the spirit of the First Amendment,” Blumenthal said, suggesting that the department was “weaponizing” laws against leaking sensitive information.

“Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal,” Trump wrote on Twitter shortly afterward. “He told stories about his Vietnam battles and … conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child.”

Trump was referencing a 2010 controversy over Blumenthal’s military service. During his Senate campaign, Blumenthal came under sharp criticism for repeated remarks over the years that he had “served” in Vietnam, even though he did his full Marine service in the United States.

Blumenthal was granted several deferments between 1965 and 1970 and then joined the Marine Corps Reserve but did not serve in Vietnam. He later said he misspoke and intended to say that he was in the Marine Reserve during the Vietnam conflict.

Blumenthal responded to Trump on Twitter later Monday morning, writing, “Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law.”

In an interview later Monday on CNN, Blumenthal said Trump’s tweets reinforce the need for legislation he is pushing that would prevent the president from firing Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel looking into allegations of Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Trump’s tweets appeared to overstate what had happened with Blumenthal. NBC News said its analysis found no evidence that Blumenthal had bragged about his Vietnam battles nor that he had cried about the controversy during his 2010 campaign:

“No and no,” a Blumenthal spokesman told NBC on Monday when asked whether the senator had bragged or cried.

Trump returned to the issue later Monday, offering a suggestion to Blumenthal in an afternoon tweet: “I think Senator Bluementhal should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam, where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there.”

Trump has attacked Blumenthal on the same issue on past occasions.

In February, Trump pointed to the episode in trying to undermine Blumenthal’s credibility after he publicly shared that Trump’s then-Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, had told him that he found Trump’s attacks on the federal judiciary “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” Gorsuch later acknowledged having those concerns.

[Washington Post]

Reality

This isn’t the first time Trump, who himself deferred military service, attacked a veteran.

He once said Senator John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured, he said veterans suffering from PTSD “were not strong”, attacked Gold Star parents, and for  four months claimed he donated one million dollars to veterans charities when he only did once he was caught in a lie.

Trump: Dem Senator ‘Should Be the One Who is Investigated’

President Trump on Wednesday morning attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), calling for him to face an investigation over a 2010 campaign controversy about his military service.

Trump took to Twitter to slam Blumenthal shortly after the senator appeared on morning cable news shows to criticize Trump for firing FBI Director Jamed Comey, warning of a “looming constitutional crisis.”

“Watching Senator Richard Blumenthal speak of Comey is a joke. ‘Richie’ devised one of the greatest military frauds in U.S. history,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

“For years, as a pol in Connecticut, Blumenthal would talk of his great bravery and conquests in Vietnam — except he was never there. When caught, he cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness and now he is judge & jury. He should be the one who is investigated for his acts.”

Trump was referring to a controversy in Blumenthal’s 2010 Senate campaign in which he admitted misspeaking about his military service.

Blumenthal held a press conference during the campaign to clarify that he had said he served “in” the Vietnam War when he meant to say he served “during” the war, as a reservist and not overseas.

Trump attacked Blumenthal earlier this year over the 2010 controversy, during debate about then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, accusing the senator of a “long-term lie.”

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

Trump once overstated his military credentials telling Don Lemon he received an award in April 2015, saying it came from the United States Marines Corps when it was actually the unconnected charity The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation.

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