President Trump seems to have walled himself into a corner in the fight over border wall funding, initially acquiescing to the deal brokered in the Senate to fund the government without $5.7 billion for the wall, then flip-flopping and shutting down the government until he gets his way.
For many loyal Trump supporters, the wall is a symbol of everything Trump promised on the campaign trail and his promise to protect America from immigrants and preserve a way of life.
While some supporters are cheering the President on his wall stance, support is precipitously eroding, a worrying sign when the Democratic field of contenders to take him on in 2020 looks stronger by the day.
The Washington Post
quoted a retired Navy reservist who supported Trump but sees this shutdown as an indication that he might have gotten it wrong. He told the Post: “What the [expletive] were we thinking?”
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, conducted Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, found that his net approval rating has dropped seven points since December. Perhaps even more concerning for the Trump administration is the declines in support among men: suburban men’s approval of Trump has slipped a significant 18 percentage points and for men without a college degree, support is down seven points.
One Trump voter in Michigan, frustrated by the shutdown, put it this way: “Something miraculous has to happen for me to vote for him again.”
Federal workers are bracing for their second missed paycheck, with no end in sight to the partial government shutdown. Thousands are running up credit card debt and tapping into retirement accounts as their savings dip dangerously low or are completely exhausted. And mortgage and rent payments will be due February 1, increasing the angst for many federal workers who may not be able to pay.
According to Politico, the Consumer Bankers Association says calls have increased tenfold from the early weeks of the shutdown, with federal employees seeking relief from payments as the shutdown drags on.
Some creditors are stepping in to help, offering forbearance and waiving fees and offering no-interest loans. Verizon has set up a “Promise to Pay” program, which gives workers affected by the shutdown the ability to set a future date to pay their phone bill. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has a national plan in place to help support workers seeking relief and many banks are working with individuals to waive fees and delay payments. But if the shutdown continues for much longer, it’s unclear how long these temporary plans will hold.
And for some, their creditors and landlords aren’t very forgiving and this shutdown could mean eviction.
If the shutdown lingers on, tenants in low-income housing provided via Housing and Urban Development contracts could be evicted.
Legislative efforts are afoot in Congress and in the Washington, D.C. Council to protect federal workers from evictions, foreclosures, cars repossessions, late fees, and cancelled insurance policies because of missed premiums. But so far, the stakes of this shutdown are high and growing by the day.
This week, liberal Senator Kamala Harris of California threw her proverbial hat into the ring that is the 2020 Democratic nomination, announcing her first campaign event in California.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Harris doesn’t believe that practicing Catholics can be federal judges. She nearly said as much last year, when she asked whether a potential judge’s membership in the Knights of Columbus should disqualify him on the basis of their Catholic ties and views on social issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. Harris seems to forget that the Constitution bars religious discrimination for judges.
- Her politics are liberal, but not quite liberal enough. She’s already taking flack from the socialists for having been a prosecutor before she was Attorney General of California.
- Harris has been largely a figurehead in Congress. Beloved by pundits and Democratic donors, she often takes center stage in Congressional confrontations, but has yet to be behind any major legislation.
- She’s already being compared to Barack Obama, and not for reasons she should be proud of. Like Obama, she’s a brand-new Senator with almost no experience under her belt.
We’ll see what the voters make of her, but our hopes aren’t exactly high.
The Chamber of Commerce is wasting no time in 2019 trying to stop President Trump from putting new tariffs on foreign imports, Breitbart News
A letter written by Chamber of Commerce Chief Policy Officer, Neil Bradley, obtained by Breitbart argues that new reciprocal tarrifs on foreign imports, “would undermine U.S. economic growth and job creation.”
Putting aside the fact that the Trump administration hasn’t even introduced legislation yet, Bradley argues that new tariffs “would effectively give the President unilateral authority to increase U.S. tariffs on imports from any foreign country. The harm to Americans would be immediate: Tariffs are taxes, and they are paid by American families and American businesses.”
The letter can be read in full here.
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is expected to introduce a bill in the next few weeks, called the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, to give the president the ability to raise tariffs on specific products from overseas if foreign countries put higher tariffs on similar products from America.
The Coalition for a Prosperous America, a fair trade organization, has praised the concept:
“This reciprocal tariff bill idea is a good one because the WTO system has locked the United States into treating all trade competitors the same, regardless of whether they have high or low tariffs,” a CPA statement read. “Such a bill would also further the end of the WTO system, potentially.”
Globalists trying to screw over America will have one less weapon in their arsenal after President Trump is through.
The question of the week: Is President Trump’s lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, incompetent or up to something?
Giuliani made a disastrous appearance on Chris Cuomo’s “Prime Time” on CNN in which he actually uttered the words: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign…I have not. I said the President of the United States.”
Giuliani then claimed that reports that the Trump campaign shared polling data with Russian agents would not constitute collusion. “How is it not?” said Cuomo.
“Well, because polling data is given to everybody,” Giuliani said. “I mean, he shouldn’t have given it to them. That’s wrong to give it to them.”
It’s becoming more and more possible to consider that that the president’s lawyer actually isn’t on his side after all.Maybe Giuliani is out only to protect himself. Or maybe he’s just the worst lawyer in history.
Senator Lindsey Graham has not minced words in his support for the government shutdown over funding for the border wall, though he also seemed to fancy himself a key dealmaker on a “grand bargain” to trade DREAMers for the border wall funding that President Trump is desperate to secure.
Once it became clear that the White House wasn’t interested in that deal, Graham’s morale apparently plummeted. He told press: “I have never been more depressed about moving forward than I am right now.”
While he previously had strong words for Trump, insisting that backing down was tantamount to the end of the Trump presidency and the end of the Republican Party, now Graham seems to have changed his tune.
As the shutdown hits record lengths and the dominoes continue to fall as a result, Graham is telling Trump to go ahead and re-open the government.
On Fox News Sunday, Graham said:
“I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug. See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers.”
Between this and Trump blowing up at his new chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in front of Congressional leaders over the handling of the shutdown, the President is surely steamed. His approval ratings just keep sinking and far more Americans blame him for the shutdown than blame Pelosi and the Democrats.
It sure seems like Trump needs to find a way out of the mess…did Graham just show him how?
What’s going on at the Pentagon?
Following Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ abrupt resignation late last month, other top military leaders have reportedly been forced out or resigned in the last few weeks.
Mattis resigned December 20, reportedly because he disagreed with President Trump about the president’s decision to pull American military forces out of Syria.
The special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, Brett McGurk, resigned two days later, reportedly because of the same concerns about the Syria decision.
On January 5, Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney was reportedly forced out of his post after working for the defense secretary for two years. “I’ve decided the time is right to return to the private sector. It has been an honor to serve again alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense,” he said in a short statement.
Sweeney was then followed three days later by retired general Anthony Zinni, the administration’s envoy for the Gulf region out of the State Department.
Retired General Anthony Zinni, the Trump administration’s envoy working to resolve diplomatic disputes in the Gulf region, has resigned from his role at the State Department. “I did not think my services were needed,” he said.
Sources at State told CNN
that Zinni resigned “because he felt he
had reached a dead-end, believing there was no forward movement on resolving the stalemate between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors. The sources claim Zinni did not depart because of bad blood with other administration officials. Zinni confirmed in an email to CNN that the sources’ characterizations of his departure were correct.”
The Trump administration is bleeding foreign policy experience. Where will it end?
Tom Steyer has been talking a big game over the past few years. In October 2017, he launched “Need to Impeach”, an organization that claims to be committed to impeaching the president, though the group offers no explanation for how they intend to do so given that private citizens with a grudge can’t actually impeach a sitting president.
Through Need to Impeach, Steyer has been on a swing from Iowa to New Hampshire and back again over the last few months, leading many to speculate that he was considering a presidential run to finally put his values toe-to-toe with Trump’s.
I guess he decided his plan for our country wouldn’t hold up to scrutiny, because Steyer announced this week that he won’t run for president in 2020.
“Most people come to Iowa around this time to announce a campaign for president,” Steyer said in Iowa. “But I am proud to be here to announce that I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to remove a president.”
That’s right: A man too scared to put together his own campaign is instead investing $40 million in a futile fight to get Trump out of office. That’s $40 million you’ll never see again, Tom.
There’s little to be happy about as the Pelosi Democrats take over Congress and begin to pursue their radical liberal agenda, but at least there’s an upside: Paul Ryan isn’t around anymore.
The former speaker left office with a dismal approval rating of 12%, according to the polling firm Civiqs. That number improved only slightly when polling only Republicans; 24% of Republicans approve of Ryan’s performance.
Maybe it’s because Ryan lied repeatedly and voluminously about the border wall.
President Trump spent his presidential campaign telling voters that he would build a border wall, and that Mexico would pay for it.
Initially, things looked good. In January of 2017, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to pass up to $15 billion for the Trump wall. But Ryan didn’t include the funding in any actual budget proposals until Trump threatened to shut down the government because of it.
Even in those dire circumstances, Ryan put forth legislation that only allocated a measly $5 billion to the border wall.
Wondering why no one will miss you, Paul? A series of broken promises and an invisible wall. Thanks for nothing.