Posts tagged with "President Barack Obama"

He’s all in: Former congressman Joe Walsh announces primary challenge against Trump

August 27, 2019

Former congressman Joe Walsh (R-Illinois) announced on ABC’s This Week Sunday that he would challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 primary—becoming the third Republican to go up against the POTUS, after former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford announced they were in the race during April and August, respectively.

According to a report by The Washington Post, Walsh, a talk-radio host, was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the conservative Tea Party wave and served one term. He has described himself as an immigration hard-liner and said he would not challenge Trump from the center but from the right and on moral grounds.

“I’m going to run for president,” Walsh told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, charging that the president is “incompetent,” “a bigot” and “a narcissist.”

When Stephanopoulos pushed back, pointing out that Walsh, himself, had a long history of racist and controversial statements, the new candidate said, “I helped create Trump, and George, that’s not an easy thing to say,” noting,  “I went beyond the policy and the idea differences and I got personal and I got hateful. I said some ugly things about President Obama that I regret.”

Like another Republican who recently turned on Trump— former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci—Walsh would not be averse to invoking the 25th Amendment in order to remove the “unfit”  president from office. He told Stephanopoulos that the amendment should be  “looked at” because “we’ve never had a situation like this. You can’t believe a word he says.”

Meanwhile, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld welcomed Walsh’s entry into the race, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press, “It’s going to be a more robust conversation. Who knows? The networks might even cover Republican primary debates.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Going south? Trump’s Miami resort in mix to host G7 summit

July 23, 2019

The Trump administration, which next year will host the leaders of the world’s seven most powerful industrialized economies for the G7 summit, is down to its final few choices after completing site surveys of possible locations —and Trump National Doral, the president’s 800-acre golf club in Miami, is among the finalists, Axios reported on July 22.

The G7 comprises the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada—traditionally, this country’s closest allies; although President Trump has shown a preference for other nation states during his time in office.

Trump loves showing off and promoting his properties with no qualms about criticism for mixing state and personal business, and his interest in hosting the G7 at Doral was first mentioned by The Washington Post last month.

The Post also reported, on May 15, that the Doral was “in steep decline, according to [Trump Organization] documents,” with operating income down 69% since 2015.

The downturn at this Trump property “is especially significant,” the Post said, “because the resort had seemed better insulated from political backlash than other Trump properties, protected by its place in golf’s history, by its recent renovations, and by its location in a booming state that won Trump won in 2016.” It wasn’t.

Thus, the G7 would provide opportunities for extra conference bookings and worldwide publicity for the underperforming property.

This would be the first G7 summit since 2012 to be held in the United States. At that time, former President Barack Obama invited leaders to Camp David.

Research contact: @Axios

Obama implores, ‘Restore honesty, decency, and lawfulness in government’

September 10, 2018

Former President Barack Obama has delivered two major speeches since the start of September—one at Senator John McCain’s funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral on September 1 and another at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on September 7—a sure sign that the crucial midterm elections are approaching.

The occasion for the latest speech was the presentation to the 44th president of the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government by the university in acknowledgement of his belief in the principles of equality and decency over division.

I’m here today,” he said on Friday, “because this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us as citizens of the United States need to determine just who we are, what it is that we stand for. As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president, I’m here to deliver a simple message, which is that you need to vote, because our democracy depends on it.”

Obama characterized the upcoming election as the most significant in American history. “Just a glance at recent headlines should tell you that this moment really is different,” he noted. “The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire.”

And, according to a September 7 report by Politico, for the first time since leaving office, he said Trump’s name. “It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom [of our tribal divisions], not the cause,” Obama said, to applause. “He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.”

He laid a great deal of the blame for the country’s climate of contention on U.S. legislators. “It’s not just about Trump, he said. It’s about Republicans “who know better in Congress … bending over backwards to shield” Trump. They’re hypocrites, he said, and they’re just as dangerous to America. At times mocking them and at times laying into them, Obama said they’ve abandoned all that they’re supposed to stand for as Republicans, and as citizens of this country, Politico reported.

“None of this is conservative. I don’t mean to pretend I’m channeling Lincoln now, but that’s not what he had in mind, I don’t think, when he formed the Republican Party. It sure isn’t normal. It’s radical. It’s a vision that says our protection of our power is all that matters,” Obama said.

What’s more, Obama said, no American should feel good about the idea, expressed in the anonymous New York Times op-ed on September 6, that there are adults in the room managing Trump.

“That is not a check. That’s not how our democracy’s supposed to work. These people aren’t elected,” he said. “They’re not doing us a service by actively promoting 90% of the crazy stuff that’s coming out of this White House, and saying, ‘Don’t worry, we’re preventing the other 10%.’”

He ended by imploring the public to do the right thing: “Even if you don’t agree with me or Democrats on policy, even if you agree with more libertarian economic views, even if you are an evangelical and the position on social issues is a bridge too far,” Obama said. “I’m here to tell you that you should still be concerned and should still want to see a restoration of honesty and decency and lawfulness in our government. It should not be Democratic or Republican. It should not be partisan to say that we do not pressure the attorney general or the FBI to use the justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents.”

“We are Americans,” Obama said.

At press time, Trump’s favorability polls remained stable. Gallup reported that 41% of Americans approved of the president’s job performance and 53% disapproved.

Research contact: @IsaacDovere

Oh, you beautiful doll: Brooklyn company raises over $600K for a Ruth Bader Ginsburg action figure

July 11, 2018

Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the Supreme Court justice perhaps best-known for her strong voice in favor of gender equality and her dissenting opinion in Bush v. Gore—always has been a woman of action. Now, a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign, started by the Brooklyn-based creative house FCTRY and asking for $1 pledges since April, has raised an amazing $613,655 from 15,652 backers to produce a lifelike action figure of the plucky, intellectual jurist. When the fundraising window ended on July 10, the campaign had exceeded its original funding goal of $15,000 by over 4 000%, MIC reported.

The action figure’s prototype was sculpted by Mike Leavitt, a Seattle-based master caricaturist who portrayed the diminutive, soft-spoken member of the court with her characteristic, piercing gaze. The six-inch replica comes wearing her “righteous robe”, carrying a teeny-tiny gavel, pointing a finger, and wearing pulled-back hair and wire-rim glasses. The dolls will be available for shipping in September.

One dollar from the sales of each $20 action figure will be donated by FCTRY to She’s the first, an organization that fights gender inequality through education. STF provides scholarships to support girls who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school, and strains students everywhere to be global citizens.

On its Kickstarter page, FCTRY said it selected RBG as the subject of its newest campaign because she’s a “tremendously positive and inspirational character to so many different kinds of people.”

But she is not the only action figure available to support a good cause. RBG is just the latest offering from FCTRY, which also sells replicas of former President Barack Obama, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and, yes, President Donald Trump. (The POTUS already is sold out. Sorry.)

“Knowing that some of these figures will surely wind up in the hands of young girls and boys who may, quite possibly, grow up entirely free of all of the antiquated stereotypes that RBG has spent her life dismantling is both gratifying and humbling,” FCTRY’s Kickstarter says.

Followers already are asking for more versions of the figure. In fact, one woman who already had order 3 RBGs and 2 Obamas pleaded in an email to the Kickstarter site, “And yes …[Rachel] MADDOW! My 89-year-old mom would be over the moon.” Another said, “MADD … Wait for it …DOW!”

Finally, liberals, take heart. For $100, you can have a full dream team of RBG, Warren, Hillary, Obama, and Bernie shipped straight to you, with proceeds going to several good causes.

Research contact: @fctry

90% of Americans support DACA; most oppose border wall

January 19, 2018

Nearly 90% of Americans favor allowing young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally as children to remain here—a federal policy established under President Barack Obama and known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This is a view that spans partisan lines, based on results of a survey of 1,225 adults nationwide released on January 18 by CBS News. .

However, the sticking point—one that may lead to a government shutdown as soon as tonight—is the demand of President Donald Trump for financing for the wall he campaigned on, which he believes would stop illegal immigration into the United States from Mexico and other Latin American nations.

Americans remain divided over which issue is worth risking a shutdown of the federal government, the CBS poll has found: Democrats support DACA; Republicans support a wall on the southern border:

  • Most Americans continue to oppose building a border wall, however, 70% of Republicans support it—and 51% of GOP supporters think it worth risking a government shutdown to get it.
  • More than half of Democrats (57%) say it’s worth shutting down the government to have young illegal immigrants stay in-country.

If the wall is ultimately built, 85% of Americans (including majorities across party lines) think that the United States would foot the bill; not Mexico. Most Democrats and Independents are bothered by the possibility of the United States. paying for the wall, but Republicans, two-thirds of whom favor the wall, are not.

On a related issue, CBS News reports, 75% of Americans find the remarks President Trump reportedly made about immigration from Haiti and African countries unacceptable for a President to make, but fewer, 52%, say they are personally bothered by them. Seventy-two percent of Republicans say they are not personally bothered.

Asked which criteria the U.S. should use to admit immigrants, slightly more Americans (47%) prefer that priority be given to people based on their education, job skills, and work experience than people with family members already living here (39%).

Research contact: @Fred Backus