Posts tagged with "Republicans"

As COVID-19 rages, Trump asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare

June 29,2020

The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases per day in the United States hit an all-time high of 40,000 on Friday, June 26—eclipsing the mark set during one of the deadliest stretches in late April, CBS News reports; noting that there is “ample evidence” that the pandemic is making a comeback.

Yet, even so, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on June 25 to terminate the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare—the only health insurance to which many Americans have access. If the justices agree, they will wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans, The New York Times reports.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the Administration joined Republican officials in 18 states in arguing that, in 2017, the largely Republican Congress had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance—the so-called individual mandate.

In his brief, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco maintained that the health law’s two remaining central provisions are now invalid because Congress intended that all three work together, the Times said.

The court has not said when it will hear oral arguments, but they are most likely to take place in the fall, just as Americans are preparing to go to the polls in November.

Republicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. They are bracing for the possibility that the effort to overturn the health law will cost them, according to the Times report.

Joel White, a Republican strategist, said in a recent interview with the news outlet that he considered it “pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic.”

Democrats, who view health care a winning issue—and who reclaimed the House majority in 2018 on their promise to expand access and bring down costs—are trying to use the Supreme Court case to press their advantage. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote for Monday, June 29, on a measure to expand the healthcare law, in an effort to draw a sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday night, after the administration’s brief was filed.

“If President Trump gets his way,” she added, “130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the A.C.A.’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Pelosi: ‘State of the Union’ should be delayed due to lack of security during government shutdown

January 17, 2019

In a January 16 letter to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) suggested that the State of the Union address, scheduled for January 29, should be postponed, due to security concerns caused by the partial government shutdown.

The annual statement—which covers the accomplishment and challenges of the current administration and is delivered by the president—is classified as a National Security Event under Public Law 106-544, passed in December 2000. Under that legislation, the U.S. Secret Service is designated as the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating, planning, exercising, and implementing security for the speech.

While the president is not required to deliver the information as a speech, every POTUS since Woodrow Wilson, except Herbert Hoover, has done so, in front of a joint session of Congress. Prior to that time, most presidents delivered the annual communication as a written report.

“Both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now—with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs,” Pelosi noted.

“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week,” she said, “I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th

The suggestion, which, The Washington Post reported, could deny Trump an opportunity to make his case for border-wall funding in a prime-time televised address, came as White House officials were urgently lobbying Republican senators against signing a bipartisan letter that would urge an end to a shutdown.

The White House had no immediate response.

According to the same Post report, Pelosi later told reporters that the letter was intended as a suggestion and that she was not rescinding the invitation for Trump to speak. “He can make it from the Oval Office if he wants,” she added.

Research contact: @SpeakerPelosi

‘Who’s gonna pay for the wall?’

December 13, 2018

The answer to the question above? Apparently, not Mexico—which was what President Donald Trump repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign. And probably not Congress either.

During a surreal meeting in the Oval Office on December 11, The New York Times reports, President Donald Trump engaged in an argument in front of reporters with two Democratic leaders, Representative Nancy Pelosi (12th District, California) and Senator Chuck Schumer (New York), over the his own threats to shut down the government unless he gets $5 billion to build a border wall.

During what the news outlet characterized as “an extraordinary public airing of hostilities that underscored a new, more confrontational dynamic in Washington,” the president vowed to block full funding for the government if Democrats refused to allocate money for the wall on the southwestern border, saying he was “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

He repeatedly told Pelosi that he “only need[ed] ten Democratic votes in the House” to pass the funding for the wall. In turn, she replied that he didn’t have the votes—and would not have them in the future.

According to the Times report, the two Democratic leaders took issue with the president’s position and his false assertions about the wall—which he claimed was already under construction—in front of a phalanx of news cameras, imploring him repeatedly to continue the tense conversation without reporters present.

However, the news outlet said, “Trump insisted on a conspicuous clash that undercut Republican congressional leaders and his own staff working to avoid a shutdown at all costs, or at least to ensure that Democrats would shoulder the blame for such a result.”

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government — this country needs border security,” Mr. Trump declared as the diatribe unfolded, and Schumer reminded the president repeatedly that he had called several times for a shutdown, appearing to goad him into taking responsibility.

 “You want to know something?” an infuriated Trump  finally said. “I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”

“I will take the mantle,” Mr. Trump went on. “I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Ultimately, the discussion again raised doubts about whether Trump and the Congress could reach agreement by a December 21 deadline to keep much of the government open, appearing to harden diametrically opposed positions on the wall.

Research contact: @nytimes

In effort to intimidate voters, Trump and Sessions warn of fraud at polls

November 7, 2018

On the day before the midterm elections, November 5, President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued strong warnings about the threat of voter fraud —echoing what the Washington Post characterized as “the president’s baseless claims that massive voter fraud marred his 2016 election and prompting accusations that his administration is trying to intimidate voters.

In a tweet early Monday, Trump said that law enforcement has been “strongly notified” to watch for “ILLEGAL VOTING.” He promised that anyone caught voting improperly would be subjected to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.”

Sessions, in a statement laying out the Justice Department’s plans to monitor ballot access on Election Day, said “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.

In remarks to reporters on his way to a campaign rally in Cleveland, Trump also falsely claimed that voter fraud is commonplace, the Washington Post said.

“Just take a look,” he said. “All you have to do is go around, take a look at what’s happened over the years, and you’ll see. There are a lot of people—a lot of people—my opinion, and based on proof—that try and get in illegally and actually vote illegally. So we just want to let them know that there will be prosecutions at the highest level.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States, the Post reported, noting that the president had formed a commission to study the issue shortly after he took office that was disbanded without finding evidence of fraud after states refused to turn over voter data.

Voting rights advocates denounced Trump’s remarks as a blatant attempt to intimidate voters on the eve of Election Day—and part of a pattern among Republicans, they said, to curtail voting access with strict rules that disproportionately affect voters of color who tend to vote Democratic.

“I find this kind of conduct incredibly anti-patriotic,” Kristen Clarke, who leads the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a voting rights group that has successfully challenged several new voting restrictions across the country this year, told the Post. “At a time when we need our White House and Justice Department speaking out against the relentless campaign of voter suppression in this election cycle, it defies reason.”

Research contact: amy.gardner@washpost.com

Pressure group led by Steve Bannon spends $3 million on ads ahead of midterms

October 16, 2018

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon‘s political arm is spending $3 million on digital ads targeted at getting out the Republican vote ahead of the midterms, he told ABCNews.Go on October 14.

The new push, just three weeks before the election, is funded by Bannon’s new outside political group, a 501(c) 4, called Citizens of the American Republic, which he founded in August “in order to advance the ideals of Economic Nationalism and American Sovereignty.”

Groups under 501 (c) 4 are social welfare organizations that must not be organized for profit and “must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare,” according to the IRS.

Bannon will be out on the campaign trail stumping for Republican candidates who are considered vulnerable to what is being called the Blue Wave of Democratic victories in the November midterm elections. His message: Although President Donald Trump isn’t on the ballot in 2018, the midterm election is a referendum on his presidency.

He says he will travel to 10 states—Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas,and Florida—to spread the message that the president is at war with the Democrats, and that the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a preview to impeachment hearings that the Democrats will try to hold against Trump.

“Trump has delivered the goods. Now it’s time for the deplorables to deliver the votes,” Steve Bannon told ABC on October 14.

Bannon’s political strategist Sam Nunberg told the network news outlet, “If the president continues to communicate that the ‘Democrat [Nancy] Pelosi Mob’ will impeach him if they are in power, we are highly confident we can hold them at the gates and keep the House in Republican hands. A red wave is rising.”

Research contact: @CitizensAR

Schumer: ‘Mainfestly unfair’ not to share Kavanaugh documents with entire Senate

August 22, 2018

Senate Minority Leader Charles (Chuck) Schumer (D-New York) said on August 20 that he is demanding that documents from SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh‘s White House tenure under President George W. Bush as Staff Secretary that currently are marked “committee confidential” should be shared with the entire Senate.

“I will … be submitting a request to the chairman and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee for access for all senators to all of the Kavanaugh documents in the possession of the committee,” Schumer said, according to a report by The Hill on Monday.

He added that “withholding documents from the Senate and the American people under the bogus label of committee confidential is a dark development for the Senate.”

As the legal team for former President George W. Bush hands over documents on Kavanaugh’s work at the White House to the Judiciary Committee, the paperwork is initially marked “committee confidential.” The documents are then reviewed to determine which can be released publicly, The Hill said.

Democrats estimate that roughly 33% of the documents handed over by the Bush legal team to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are still marked “committee confidential”—preventing them being released publicly.

“It’s outrageous. Now, Chairman Grassley is usually a fair-minded man. …But when it comes to this area, Chairman Grassley’s actions are manifestly unfair, not typical of his character. I understand the pressure he is under, but that doesn’t forgive the result,” Schumer added.

In a strictly partisan move, Republicans have dismissed the attacks, arguing that Democrats have focused on Kavanaugh’s paperwork because they’ve struggled to find a policy issue that could sink his nomination.

Grassley called out Schumer in a tweet saying any senator was able to stop by the Judiciary Committee to review the documents.

A spokesperson for Grassley also called accepting documents as “committee confidential” an “old hat.”

“Now, as in the past, the committee has agreed to accept material at least initially on a committee confidential basis in order to facilitate timely access and review. Doing so ensures that members of the committee have access to records that presidents may otherwise privilege. This procedure is old hat and the Democrats know it,” the spokesperson added.

According to a CNN poll released on August 16, only 37% of Americans say they’d like to see the Senate vote in favor of his confirmation. Kavanaugh’s support is the lowest in polling dating back to Robert Bork’s nomination by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Research contact: @jennagiesta

Few Americans read Trump’s tweets directly on Twitter

May 21, 2018

While 76% of Americans ultimately hear about @realDonaldTrump’s  tweets and the news they generate, few Americans say they read the POTUS’s tweets unfiltered, directly from Twitter (8%). Instead, most appear to read or learn about them indirectly, through either other social media or the broader news media, based on findings of a poll conducted by Gallup and released on May 16.

Trump views his use of Twitter as a way of sending unfiltered opinions and views directly to the public. In June 2017, Trump tweeted: “The FAKE MSM [mainstream media] is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out.”

However, just 26% of Americans have a Twitter account, and 30% of that group—or 8% of the overall U.S. population— personally follow the president’s official Twitter account.

The corollary of the finding that relatively few Americans read Trump’s tweets directly on Twitter is that most of those who say they see, read or hear a lot or a fair amount about his tweets (69%) are getting their information from a secondary source. Some of their access to his tweets could be relatively straightforward, such as when a friend forwards a tweet or when a tweet is reprinted directly in a publication and the person reads only the tweet. But Americans’ awareness of Trump’s tweets is more commonly the result of an indirect, filtered dissemination.

Interestingly enough, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they see, read, or hear a lot about Trump’s tweets (64% vs. 50%, respectively). Democrats also edge out Republicans when including those who read a fair amount of his tweets: 84% of Democrats see, read or hear about at least a fair amount of the president’s tweets, compared with 77% of Republicans (and 71% of independents).

The major difference between Republicans and Democrats is among those following Trump’s tweets without having a Twitter account.

In some ways, then, Twitter functions for Trump much like an old-fashioned press release or press conference statement. Few Americans see or read his tweets directly, but many ultimately hear about them via media coverage or other means.

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com

Does Roseanne’s comedy trump her politics?

April 9, 2018

Bar none, writer, comedian and actress Roseanne Barr is the least likely person to produce a sitcom that mollifies her audience of any showrunner on the scene in the past 20 years.

Her rebooted show—revived (along with TV husband Dan Conner) after its nine-year run ended in 1997—is shaping up to be as successful and outrageous as its forerunner.

The return of the eponymously named Roseanne on March 27 for an eight-episode run on ABC-TV attracted more than 27.3 million viewers (including DVR watchers)—an audience for which President Donald Trump took credit in a congratulatory call to Barr the next day.

But—however much her lower-middle-class Republican character supports the POTUS on the show—the laugh-packed script was largely responsible for the ratings, according to findings of an Economist/YouGov poll released on April 5.

In fact, nearly equal numbers of Democrats (31%), Independents (30%) and Republicans (30%) viewed the premiere—while 50% of viewers said they approve of Trump and 45% said they disapprove of him. Indeed, 25% of viewers said they had voted for Hillary Clinton, while 30% had voted for Trump.

But more importantly, viewers weren’t all that willing to cite politics as a reason they watched the show. They watched – mostly – because they always did in the past– and because they believed Roseanne was funny.

More than half of those who regularly watched the first Roseanne series tuned in to the reboot.Only 18% of viewers said they watched because the show supported the President. And just over one-third of Republicans and Trump voters said the same.

 

 

Research contact: kfrankovic@yahoo.com

Americans see Trump as ‘impulsive’

March 9, 2018

Americans don’t perceive a lot of careful thought in President Donald Trump’s decision-making process—at least when it comes to his public statements—and there has been little, if any, improvement in this viewpoint since last July, based on the findings of an Economist/YouGov poll  released on March 7.

A total of 81% of voters—and more specifically, 66% of Republicans and 89% of Democrats—believe the POTUS should think before he speaks.

Indeed, the researchers established that a majority of Americans— Republicans and Democrats alike—believe that Donald Trump speaks without prior consideration most of the time; and often doesn’t listen to his advisers (49% total, 35% Republicans, 75% Democrats) .

What’s more, American voters catch Trump out, at least some of the time, they claim—saying things that are incorrect. They believe that the POTUS either is wrong or is lying all of the time (25%), often (23%), or sometimes (28%). Only 12% say he rarely or never strays from the truth, while 8% are not so sure.

In the last week, the President has changed his public stance on gun control and the National Rifle Association (NRA), and has surprised GOP Congressional allies with his proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

He also lost Communications Director Hope Hicks, one of his longest-serving staff members and confidants. Hicks, the fourth communications director in the Trump administration’s first year, admitted to the House Intelligence Committee that she sometimes had to tell “white lies” in her job. That is behavior the public finds inappropriate.

It is no surprise that Democrats are especially critical, but nearly half of Republicans agree Hicks’ statement that she told “white lies” was inappropriate. Where Republicans draw the line, however, is whether Hicks “lied about substantive issues on behalf of President Trump.” Twice as many Republicans say she did not as think she did, but more than a third say they aren’t sure what she did.

Public questioning of the President’s decision-making comes at a time when public opinions of his advisers— even some relatives—have declined since the start of his term.

The last week found two of the President’s most trusted advisers, his daughter and his son-in-law, slipping in public confidence. When Donald Trump’s term began, Ivanka Trump was viewed favorably by the public. Now, opinion is closely divided. As for her husband, Jared Kushner, he began 2017 with Americans divided in their opinion of him, but now evaluations of Kushner are decidedly negative.

Kushner’s lost his

Photo source: Alternet.org

top-secret security clearance last week, and the public isn’t sure he can do his job without it. Just 22% think he can, while 40% think he can’t.

Research contact: kfrankovic@yahoo.com

Democrats in Congress rain on—and want to rein in—Trump’s parade

February 9, 2018

Congressional Democrats are largely opposed to President Donald Trump’s request to hold a military-style parade, while Republicans appeared to have mixed feelings on the subject, CNN reported on February 7, following an informal poll of the federal legislators.

The Washington Post first reported that Trump told top Pentagon brass last month he wanted a military parade similar to the one he had viewed as a guest of French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day last July 14. At that time, he called the procession “one of the greatest parades” he had ever seen.

“I think a parade showcasing our military and the sacrifices they make to our country would be appropriate as a way to say thank you,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN. “But I am not interested in a military hardware display that would be cheesy and project weakness.”

Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi was not on-board with the idea at all: “It hadn’t been a priority at all,” he told CNN. “If it would save money not to do it, we probably ought to look at that.”

Meanwhile, Democrats told the news network that they were skeptical about the proposal, arguing it was a waste of money and a vanity exercise for Trump.

“I was stunned by it, to be quite honest. I mean, we have a Napoleon in the making here,” Representative Jackie Speier of California told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on February 6.

The Senate Democratic Whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said he wouldn’t attend such a parade. “I believe that spending millions, maybe more, on the President’s amusement is a colossal waste of funds that should be spent to make sure our troops are ready for battle and come home safely, their families receive all the support they deserve and that the waiting lines at V.A. facilities be reduced,” Durbin told CNN. “That’s how we can honor our veterans. Not with a parade for the president.”

Predictably enough, Senator Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, said that “what [Trump] should have learned from France is about their healthcare system—not about their military parades.”

“We have the mightiest military on the planet and we don’t need a parade to prove that,” tweeted Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

The Pentagon is exploring the idea of holding the parade in November, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, a spokesperson said. There also has been some consideration of staging a parade on July 4.

The Post said shipping tanks and military  hardware into Washington could cost millions of dollars and that military officials said they were unsure how to pay for it.

And the Washingtonian magazine reported that, “if history is any guide, the costs could quickly pile up”—noting, “The last big military parade, in June 1991, featured 8,000 troops and lineups of Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 72-ton M1 Abrams tanks crawling along 200,000 spectators on Constitution Avenue. While organizers originally estimated the day would cost $8 million, with $5 million coming from private donors, the final tab climbed to $12 million, with taxpayers footing the balance.”

Like the wall on the southern border, this may be a project that the president must find funding for, himself.

Research contact: @KilloughCNN