Trump and GOP struggling

With a GOP majority in both the House and the Senate it was expected that President Donald Trump should be able to achieve a lot, but after 6 months in power both the White House and the Republicans are struggling for traction.

Politico: Senate Republicans still at impasse after late-night health care meeting

GOP senators engaged in talks late Wednesday night to try to revive their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare after Trump told senators they shouldn’t leave town without action.

NY Times: Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions

President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

That is sure to raise a few eyebrows, if they haven’t disappeared over the back of heads already.

Bloomberg: Trump’s Honeymoon With China Comes to an End

  • Economic talks end with no joint statement from two countries
  • Ross says trade imbalance not driven by market forces

Three months ago, President Donald Trump had warm words for his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping after the two leaders bonded at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Within weeks, the Trump administration was touting early wins in talks with China, including more access for U.S. beef and financial services as well as help in trying to rein in North Korea.

Now, the two sides can barely agree how to describe their disagreements.

High-level economic talks in Washington broke up Wednesday with the two superpowers unable to produce a joint statement. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross scolded China over its trade imbalance with the U.S. in his opening remarks, and then both sides canceled a planned closing news conference.

It is not just the pressure on Trump to achieve results that’s growing, the pressure is also growing on him and his family.

Bloomberg: Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

  • Special counsel examines dealings of Kushner, Manafort, Trump
  • Trump lawyer says this goes beyond Mueller’s mandate

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Reuters: Trump’s son, close associates to appear before Senate

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee said on Wednesday that it had called Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and Manafort to testify on July 26 at a hearing.

The president’s son released emails earlier this month that showed him eagerly agreeing to meet last year with a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The meeting was also attended by Manafort and Kushner, who is now a senior adviser at the White House.

Kushner is scheduled to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, July 24, behind closed doors.

Trump, who came into office in January, has been dogged by allegations that his campaign officials were connected to Russia, which U.S. intelligence agencies have accused of interfering in last year’s election. Trump has denied any collusion.

The current list of news links at Real Clear Politics paint a fairly grim picture, as does their rolling average of disapproval for Trump, dipping again recently to 39.7% approve, 55.5% disapprove.

And it’s not just Trump’s White House  that’s struggling.

RCP: GOP Divide Threatens 2018 Budget — and Tax Overhaul

The House Budget Committee passed its fiscal blueprint for next year Wednesday evening with unanimous GOP support, but intra-party divisions threaten to derail the measure in the full House, jeopardizing plans to pass an overhaul of the tax code, a key legislative priority of President Trump and congressional Republicans.

It’s a familiar position for the party: Hard-line conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are frustrated that the conference isn’t pushing further to curb spending; moderates are wary that they’re pushing too far; and those supportive of the budget are concerned that detractors are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Signs of a lack of strong or credible leadership, and also a lack of unity.

Comey versus Trump continues

One of the most troubling accusations against President Donald Trump has come via an alleged memo written by then FBI directory James Comey. The White House denies the implication.

Fox News: White House disputes explosive report that Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe

The White House grappled late Tuesday with the political ghost of James Comey, as an explosive new report said a memo written by the ousted FBI chief claimed President Trump once asked him to end the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The White House sharply disputed the report, as Democrats seized on it as potential proof of “obstruction” of justice.

According to The New York Times the memo quoted Trump as saying he hoped Comey could “let this go” with regard to Flynn.

The Times said Comey wrote the memo shortly after an Oval Office meeting on Feb. 14, the day after Flynn resigned from the Trump administration. The paper acknowledged it had not seen a copy of the memo, but said a Comey associate read parts of it to a reporter over the phone.

The memo was presented as the clearest evidence yet that Trump tried to influence the Justice Department and FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and alleged links to Trump’s associates.

But the White House rejected the characterization that the president tried to shut down an investigation.

“[T]he President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” an official said. “The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President and Mr. Comey.”

Washington Post: The guy who predicted Comey’s memos thinks the former FBI director may be trying to take down Trump

News broke Tuesday evening that then-FBI Director James B. Comey had written notes in February indicating that President Trump had asked him to end an investigation of former White House national security adviser Michael T. Flynn.

It was big news to the rest of us. To Matthew Miller, it was as predicted.

Q: You were pretty prescient in noting that the Comey memos would come back to bite Trump — saying “stay tuned.” How widely known are Comey’s note-keeping habits? Is it exceptional in some way?

MILLER: I don’t think it’s exceptional either for an FBI director or for anyone at the FBI or at the Justice Department. If they have a conversation with someone where the other person raises something inappropriate, it’s a pretty standard practice to then write a memo to the file, basically, putting that down.

Q: What kinds of things are usually in these notes? Is it a pretty straight recounting of the conversation, or will they also include things like, ‘Well, I think this may have been illegal?’

MILLER: I think it completely depends on the conversation and the person you’re having it with. It’s a very different thing if someone outside the Justice Department calls you and asks you to find out the status of an investigation, and you tell them no. That’s one thing — versus the president of the United States telling you to quash an investigation. In the orders of magnitude of wrongdoing and impact, they’re two very different things.

Something that’s important here is that it was inappropriate for Trump to have any conversations with Comey about the status of this case — let alone to make the kind of request that we now know he did.

Q: So that would definitely raise a red flag for Comey.

MILLER: Yeah. And Comey — he might have had two motives here. One is, when you’re put in this situation, you want to make a record, so if the other side ever tells their story, you can pretty clearly demonstrate with contemporaneous records that you acted appropriately.

I keep wondering — something in the back of my head keeps saying to me — maybe Comey was actually trying to build an obstruction-of-justice case against the president here.

…but if you’re trying to build an obstruction-of-justice case, you might want the president to keep talking, because everything he does is digging a deeper legal hole for himself.

Q: And that would be, ostensibly, a reason for him not to resign after that first conversation, as some people have suggested he should have.

MILLER: That’s exactly right. You have to remember, the president in that letter firing Comey said, ‘You told me three times I wasn’t under investigation.’ We have no idea if that’s true or not. But I think it’s also a little bit of a red herring, because the president’s campaign is under investigation.

Q: A lot of this could come down to how much Comey wants to fight this battle with the president. Is there anything in his past that leads you to believe he would willingly and proactively want that fight?

MILLER: Yes. Look, there’s one thing I agree with the president on: That Comey is a showboat. You just look at his actions in the [Hillary] Clinton case, where he made himself the central player when there was no reason for him to be the central player. That aside, his entire history shows that he likes to be at the center of attention. You look at the Ashcroft bedside incident where that unfolded in one of the most dramatic congressional hearings in history. And it was pretty clear at the time that that hearing had been pretty well planned by Comey and by Preet Bharara — to uncover real wrongdoing by the Bush administration — but also to present Comey in a very favorable light.

All of this seems to be having affect on Republican support for trump.

Real Clear Politics: GOP Mood on Hill Darkens in Wake of Comey Memo Story

Even before the latest report about President Trump exploded across Washington on Tuesday, congressional Republicans were troubled.

When the president abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, the timing was “troubling,” multiple Republican lawmakers agreed. So, too, was the president’s tweet threatening to reveal “tapes” of his conversations with Comey. Ditto the president’s reported disclosure of highly classified intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting.

If Republican lawmakers had seemingly settled on a rote response to Trump’s outrage du jour, however, on Tuesday they faced a new shock: a New York Timesreport detailing an alleged exchange in which Trump urged Comey…

“I keep using ‘troubling,’ but troubling is an understatement,” Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters.

More Republicans now seem to agree.

As the news rippled across Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the mood among GOP lawmakers was one of “concern,” said Sen. John McCain. At a dinner later Tuesday where he received an award, McCain said Trump’s scandals are “reaching the point where it’s of Watergate size and scale,” according to reports.

A shift among Republicans was immediately visible. Whereas GOP lawmakers had previously pressed the White House to provide answers and explain fresh scandals, party lawmakers are now beginning to take action themselves.

In a letter Tuesday to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz requested “all memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings referring or relating to any communications between Comey and the president.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, told reporters that he is inviting Comey to testify publicly before the Senate judiciary subcommittee that Graham chairs. “I don’t want to read a memo,” Graham said. “I want to hear from him.”

The sharp turn by Republicans suggested “they are increasingly shaken,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. “How could they not be?”

In recent weeks, regular chaos emanating from the White House has left Republican lawmakers in a permanent defensive crouch. The crush of new developments, often without warning, has felt like “drinking from a fire hydrant at times,” Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, told CNN this week.

On Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to nudge the administration. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” McConnell told Bloomberg News.

“Every day they need to call in political ServPro to vacuum and clean the damage that’s occurring,” lamented one Republican strategist who has worked with the administration.

That was before the Comey memo story broke.

By Tuesday evening, in light of the latest Times report, some House Republicans were no longer merely troubled. Rep. Mark Sanford, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, said the actions ascribed to the president “would be more than deeply troubling” if true. King, although skeptical of the Times’ reporting, said the president’s actions “would have been a crime, the way it’s being reported.”

The reported contents of Comey’s memo opened a “new chapter of scandal and controversy in this country,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who hails from a swing district.

This story is likely to continue to trouble Trump and Republicans as it seems likely Comey will need to testify.

Public opinion also seems to be darkening, with the RCP average disapproval of Trump reaching a record 55.0%, with 39.9% approval.

RCPTrump2070517

How Trump handles this growing dissatisfaction and concern will be a key to how his presidency progresses.

Trump may be looking forward to getting out of the country for his first trip abroad as president. He may or may not be looking forward to meeting the Israelis.

USA – Trump tries political blackmail

 

News or views or issues from the USA.USFlag


I know political threats are probably common, done privately, but Donald Trump is openly threatening Republicans who won’t rubber stamp his agenda.

All is not well in the once Grand Old Party.

Fox News: Trump on Freedom Caucus: ‘We must fight them’

President Trump on Thursday struck back at the House caucus that sunk his ObamaCare replacement bill, threatening their legislative careers if the staunchly conservative members refuse to get on board with the new president’s agenda.

Trump is attacking via Twitter of course.

Later Thursday, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Justin Amash returned fire in the Republican civil war:

Later, Amash told Fox News that “most people don’t take well to being bullied” and compared Trump’s tactics to those of a fifth grader.

Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan, however, refused to take Trump’s bait during an interview on “America’s Newsroom.”

“We appreciate the president,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to help the president, but the fact is you have to look at the legislation.”

He added: “I’m not here to assign blame to anyone…what I focus on doing is doing what I told the voters we’re going to do.”

And also a public spat between House Speaker Paul Ryan and a Republican Senator.

Ryan and a top Senate Republican engaged in a brief public spat Thursday about comments Ryan made earlier in the morning, seeming to suggest Trump should not try to work with Democrats.

“What I worry about, Norah, is that if we don’t do this, then he’ll just go work with Democrats to try and change ObamaCare and that’s not – that’s hardly a conservative thing,” Ryan told CBS.

Sen. Bob Corker, an avid backer of Trump’s during the presidential campaign who was among those considered to be vice president, shot back on Twitter: “We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.”

Ryan, during his news conference, dismissed Corker’s remarks.

“They’re not going to help us repeal ObamaCare, that’s my point,” Ryan said of Democratic lawmakers.

I wonder what is going on in private.

Republican base clash with leadership

Adding to Donald Trumps campaign problems is a growing divide between the Republican Party leadership and it’s base, or at least a significant part of it’s base.

The leadership has tried to appease moderate and undecided voters over Trump’s often outlandish behaviour, and they have to try to support the many Republican candidates standing for the Senate, for Congress and for state governorships.

But in doing so they are infuriating their base that has swung in behind Trump. Some are saying they will not vote for other Republican candidates in a backlash against the leadership.

Many are writing about this, including Laura Ingraham at Lifezette: GOP Leadership v. GOP Base:

The Trump betrayal by Republican elites won’t soon be forgotten by his millions of supporters

The vast majority of Republicans want Donald Trump to be president. They’ve repeatedly told the pollsters, they’ve turned out in huge numbers for the GOP nominee’s rallies, they’ve given him a record-breaking number of small donations, and they are trying to help him win. Some of them were for Rubio, some of them were for Kasich, and a lot of them were for Cruz, but they have come together in an effort to save the country from Hillary Clinton.

A small minority of Republicans do not want Donald Trump to be president. They prefer Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately for most of the Republican Party, this small group of angry dissenters includes many of the people at the top of the party — officeholders, major donors, “strategists,” and “conservative” pundits. These people have been able to leverage their connections with the mainstream press to repeatedly attack Trump — even though they refuse to say anything nice about Hillary.

When this election is over, the vast majority of Republicans are going to remember that their supposed leaders — the same officeholders, millionaires, and pundits who told them that they had to “come together” and support John McCain and Mitt Romney — refused to do the same for Donald Trump. They will know that what they have long suspected is true — the Republican Party is led by people who have more in common with the Clintons than with the GOP base. And that knowledge will affect the future of the GOP for years to come.

Whether Trump wins or loses the Republican Party will be in a precarious state after the election.

But right now their turmoil is putting their majorities in the Senate and in Congress in jeopardy, and Trump’s tilt at the presidency looks on very shaky ground.

As does the GOP leadership.

CNN: Paul Ryan facing threats to speakership over Trump flap

Speaker Paul Ryan is facing backlash from House Republicans over his flap with Donald Trump — and his own job may be on the line.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma — a conservative who voted for Ryan last year for speaker— is threatening to pull his support if the Wisconsin Republican won’t fall in line behind the GOP nominee.

“Given the stakes of this election, if Paul Ryan isn’t for Trump, then I’m not for Paul Ryan,” Bridenstine tweeted Wednesday.

Other conservative Republicans have also flashed their anger toward Ryan over his position that he wouldn’t defend or campaign with Trump, raising the specter that Bridenstine could be the first in a crowd of conservatives rebelling against the speaker.

Several angry GOP members on that call pushed back at Ryan, arguing he should continue to stand strongly behind Trump.

Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said the speaker is “fighting to ensure we hold a strong majority next Congress, and he is always working to earn the respect and support of his colleagues.”

Trump and the Republicans seem to be doing their best to ensure a candidate seen by many to be seriously flawed and even toxic wins the presidency. They appear to be handing it to Hillary Clinton.

Trumped up campaign?

How many people thought that Trump was just deliberately being controversial and provocative to attract attention and once he actually started campaigning for president he would get serious to show he was capable of doing the job?

It hasn’t happened, and doesn’t look like happening.

But did he ever seriously want the job?

Michael Moore thinks that Trump Is Self-Sabotaging His Campaign Because He Never Really Wanted The Job In The First Place

Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president of the United States. I know this for a fact.

This has been suggested elsewhere.

Trump was unhappy with his deal as host and star of his hit NBC show, “The Apprentice” (and “The Celebrity Apprentice”). Simply put, he wanted more money. He had floated the idea before of possibly running for president in the hopes that the attention from that would make his negotiating position stronger. But he knew, as the self-proclaimed king of the dealmakers, that saying you’re going to do something is bupkus — DOING it is what makes the bastards sit up and pay attention.

Trump had begun talking to other networks about moving his show. This was another way to get leverage — the fear of losing him to someone else — and when he “quietly” met with the head of one of those networks, and word got around, his hand was strengthened. He knew then that it was time to play his Big Card.

He decided to run for president.

Moore describes how Trump was surprised by how much support he receioved and got caught up in the game. But now…

Many now are sensing the end game here because they know Trump seriously doesn’t want to do the actual job — and, most importantly, he cannot and WILL NOT suffer through being officially and legally declared a loser — LOSER! — on the night of November 8th.

Trust me, I’ve met the guy. Spent an afternoon with him. He would rather invite the Clintons AND the Obamas to his next wedding than have that scarlet letter (“L”) branded on his forehead seconds after the last polls have closed on that night, the evening of the final episode of the permanently cancelled Donald Trump Shit-Show.

Trump is trying something though. He has revamped his campaign team, again, after an awful couple of weeks where the polls have dumped him.

But he seems to be preparing for more of the same rather than softening or seriousifying his campaign.

NYT: Donald Trump Appoints Media Firebrand to Run Campaign

Donald J. Trump named as his new campaign chief on Wednesday a conservative media provocateur whose news organization regularly attacks the Republican Party establishment, savages Hillary Clinton and encourages Mr. Trump’s most pugilistic instincts.

Mr. Trump’s decision to make Stephen K. Bannon, chairman of the Breitbart News website, his campaign’s chief executive was a defiant rejection of efforts by longtime Republican hands to wean him from the bombast and racially charged speech that helped propel him to the nomination but now threaten his candidacy by alienating the moderate voters who typically decide the presidency.

It also formally completed a merger between the most strident elements of the conservative news media and Mr. Trump’s campaign, which was incubated and fostered in their boisterous coverage of his rise.

Mr. Bannon was appointed a day after the recently ousted Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes, emerged in an advisory role with Mr. Trump. It was not lost on Republicans in Washington that two news executives whose outlets had fueled the anti-establishment rebellion that bedeviled congressional leaders and set the stage for Mr. Trump’s nomination were now directly guiding the party’s presidential message and strategy.

Party veterans responded Wednesday with a mix of anger about the damage they saw Mr. Trump doing to their party’s reputation and gallows humor about his apparent inability, or unwillingness, to run a credible presidential campaign in a year that once appeared promising.

So it looks like the Republicans will continue to rip themselves apart over Trump.

Ex-Fox Ailes and Breitbart involvement makes it look like media trying to take over the party thinking they can lurch the once grand old party rightward, which they may achieve, but they have already made a mess of it.

Nicky Hager may have done National a big favour warning them off Slater and Whale Oil before they could do too much damage.

In the US maybe overplaying their hand thinking their madness would be widely supported has warned Americans off a train wreck, and saved the world from a potential debacle.

From offensive to reckless

I think Donald Trump has already been reckless in his campaign, but calls are growing to put a stop to it and him.

Even Fox News are seriously questioning Trump’s actions and over the top oral outbursts.

Trump accused of advocating violence against Clinton with ‘2nd Amendment’ remark

Trump seems to suggest people use gun rights to stop Clinton

Donald Trump was accused Tuesday of advocating violence against Hillary Clinton, as he warned voters at a North Carolina rally about what a Clinton presidency would mean for the Second Amendment – though the Trump campaign later rejected the characterization of his remarks.  

The candidate made the comments after telling voters in Wilmington that his Democratic rival wants to “abolish” the Second Amendment.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he said.

Trump then added, “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Almost immediately, social media lit up with accusations that Trump was essentially calling for someone to kill Clinton.

Later Tuesday, Trump told Fox News’ “Hannity” that he was referring to the political power of gun rights advocates. 

“This is a political movement,” Trump said. “This is a strong powerful movement, the Second Amendment. Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.

“And there can be no other interpretation,” Trump said of his remarks. “I mean, give me a break.”

Trump’s campaign also slammed the “dishonest media” for the characterization of his comments.

He uses the media to put highly questionable messages out there and then blames the media for reporting and interpreting what he says.

It’s no wonder the media are not very supportive of him.

Some officials, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., went so far as to suggest the Secret Service investigate.

An agency spokesperson told Fox News, “The Secret Service is aware of the comment,” but would not say whether an investigation had been launched.

Michael Hayden, the former CIA director who has come out against Trump, also said on CNN: “If anybody else had said this, they’d be out in the parking lot in a police wagon being questioned by the Secret Service.”

Whether Trump wins or loses things could get out of hand and very ugly.

This is just one more response to his latest attention seeking moment.

Tomorrow’s front page THIS ISN’T A JOKE ANYMORE: The News says, Trump must end his campaign

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I doubt either Trump will end his campaign or the GOP will abandon him (it has become seriously damaging farce if the do, seriously damaging farce if they don’t) – yet at least.

But it’s looking more likely as time goes by that some sort of train wreck will be the result. The only question is whether the crash will be quick or if it will be drawn out.

Conservative candidate to stand against Trump

It is being reported that a conservative ‘third-party’ candidate will stand for US president. Presumably Evan McMullin has little chance of winning but he could make things even more difficult for Donald Trump.

ABC News reports: Former CIA Officer Evan McMullin to Launch Independent Presidential Bid

Evan McMullin, a former CIA counterterrorism officer, will run for president as a third-party conservative alternative to Donald Trump, GOP operatives working to back the candidate told ABC News today.

The operatives working on McMullin’s bid resigned from Better for America in order to push his candidacy. Better for America, a 501(c)(4) organization that cannot officially endorse or back McMullin’s bid, has been working for months on trying to select a candidate and get on ballots throughout the country. In some states, like Texas, they will likely have to sue to get on the ballot. A 501(c)(4) is an issue-based nonprofit that can raise unlimited funds and does not have to disclose its donors.

It’s an extreme uphill climb, but his supporters are confident McMullin, 40, can act as a disruptor who they hope can peel off some red states in a race where some Republicans are still resistant to Donald Trump.

McMullin’s candidacy, backed by some Republicans, shows how the “Never Trump” movement is still working to upend Trump even with less than three months left until the general election. McMullin may be a long shot, but will have a legitimate organization behind him.

McMullin, who resigned this morning as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference, will file today and in a statement told ABC News exclusively:

“In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”

The group says prominent Republicans will back McMullin, who has some well-known GOP operatives working behind the effort, including Republican consultant Rick Wilson and Florida-based pollster and operative Joel Searby.

Things don’t look great in the once grand old party. McMullin may or may not pull significant numbers of votes away from Trump, and highlighting the Republican split over Trump won’t help either.

“She plagiarized a statement about hard work”

The biggest thing to come out of the Republican convention today was Melania Trump’s speech – especially the parts that were Michelle Obama’s speech repeated.

She plagiarized a statement about hard work. Seriously. You can’t write this stuff.

CNN: Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizes parts of Michelle Obama’s
(a video comparison of the speeches via the link)

At least one passage in Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Side-by-side comparisons of the transcripts show the text in Trump’s address following, nearly to the word, the first lady’s own from the first night of the Democratic convention in Denver nearly eight years ago.

Fact checking the speeches

The controversy quickly overshadowed the speech, which was to have been her introduction to voters.

First noticed by @JarrettHill

TrumpvObamaSpeeches

Doesn’t look very flash for Ms Trump, nor for Mr Trump, and it has taken over most of the media coverage.

It’s truly fitting that 8 years of mockery of Obama’s teleprompter speeches should end in an Obama speech plagiarized at the GOP convention.

CNN:

The Trump campaign released a statement on the speech after the similarities were uncovered, but the statement did not mention the plagiarism charge.

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success,” according to Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser.

Earlier in the day, Melania Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer: “I read once over it, that’s all, because I wrote it … with (as) little help as possible.”

Real guns good, toy guns bad

Only in the USA – at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio it will be legal to openly carry real firearms, but toy guns won’t be allowed.

Wall Street Journal:

Ahead of GOP Convention, Cleveland Officials Affirm Protesters May Carry Guns

But water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope, tennis balls are barred

Cleveland officials said Wednesday that they will uphold the right of protesters at the Republican National Convention to carry firearms even as they expressed opposition to the state’s open carry laws.

Speaking to reporters in advance of the Republican National Convention next week, both Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and police Chief Calvin Williams said they were bound by the state’s laws allowing people to carry guns even if they disagreed with them.

“Our intent is to follow the law. And if the law says you can have open carry, that’s what it says. Whether I agree with it or not is another issue,” said Mayor Jackson in a press conference.

That was a sentiment also echoed by the city’s police chief. Asked if he would prefer that people be prevented from carrying weapons at the Republican National convention, Chief Williams said, “Of course.”

“It’s the law in this state. As police chief, I’m bound to uphold the law in this state,” he added.

The group Oath Keepers said this week that they would appear at the RNC armed, while the chairman of the New Black Panther Party also said that his group may carry weapons at an event designed to protest police brutality in advance of the RNC. Event organizers of the police brutality event later said that no armed demonstrators were expected.

Just to make sure that nothing bad happens:

Cleveland has banned a wide array of items inside a broad zone in downtown Cleveland around the convention site, including water guns, toy guns, knives, aerosol cans, rope, tennis balls and others.

But because of Ohio’s open carry laws, protesters who legally own a firearm will be allowed to carry it near the convention center.

This doesn’t make sense.

I’m sure carrying ropes, tennis balls and water guns is not illegal generally under Ohio laws.

The right to carry them probably isn’t enshrined in law though.

However it seems very odd that safe things can be banned and firearms can’t.

GOP plots against Trump

The Washington Post via NZ Herald reports that there are moves within the Republican Party to try and derail Donald Trump’s campaign to become the party’s presidential nominee.

Party critics plot Trump’s downfall

Donald Trump fired his top aide yesterday as a campaign to stop him from becoming the Republican candidate in this year’s United States election gathers momentum.

Organisers of the campaign against Trump say they have the support of nearly 400 delegates to the GOP’s convention next month, quickly transforming what began as an idea tossed around on social media into a force that could derail the billionaire’s campaign.

Efforts to unite the party around Trump will not have been helped by the Free The Delegates campaign. Organisers concede their plan could worsen internal party strife but they believe that they are responding to deep-rooted concerns among conservatives about Trump.

“Short-term, yes, there’s going to be chaos,” said Kendal Unruh, a co-founder of the group. “Long-term this saves the party and we win the election. Everything has to go through birthing pains to birth something great.

We’re going to go through the trauma of the birthing pains, but the reward will be worth it.” Unruh said her cause is winning support from “the non-rabble-rousers; the rule-following, church-going grandmas who aren’t out protesting in the streets”. “This is the way they push back.”

Unruh and other GOP delegates from Colorado hatched the idea of trying to stop Trump by introducing a rule change: Instead of binding delegates to the results of the caucuses and conventions – as many party leaders insist they are – the convention’s 2472 delegates should instead be able to vote their conscience and select whomever they want.

For weeks, Unruh, her colleague Regina Thomson and other Colorado Republicans sought out like-minded delegates in other states. After Unruh appeared in newspaper interviews and called in to a few radio talk shows, she said other delegates with similar concerns in places like Louisiana and Missouri reached out.

By the weekend, Unruh was consulting a lawyer about possible fundraising plans while Thomson was compiling the list of interested delegates, building a website and booking a conference call phone line that could host 1000 participants.

Thomson said that at least 1000 people participated in the call. Delegates who participated said they plan to spend this week wooing others to the cause.

On Monday, leaders of Free the Delegates repeatedly insisted that they are not working on behalf of any of Trump’s former opponents.

“The problem is Trump,” said veteran Republican strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic. “You can fire all the yes men you want, but the campaign reflects on the candidate, and the candidate is hopelessly flawed.”

So the success of his campaign that seems to have even surprised Trump appears to be turning into a civil war in the GOP. It may be an Old party but it’s not looking very Grand.