Trump already retracted transgender rights in schools, bathrooms, prisons, military
Trump already retracted transgender rights in schools, bathrooms, prisons, military
Former Russian leader weighs in Donald Trump’s decision
President Donald Trump confirmed Saturday that the U.S. would be abandoning a Cold War-era arms treaty, arguing that Russia has defied the terms of the decades-old agreement.
“They have been violating it for many years,” Trump said after a rally in Elko, Nevada, according to a White House readout, referring to the Kremlin’s cooperation with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
“We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” Trump said.
Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev brokered the pact in 1987 to halt the proliferation of nuclear and conventional missiles.
“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” Trump said, adding: “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who departed this weekend for a trip to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, was scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Saturday.
White supremacist groups have heeded Trump’s calls to monitor “certain areas” for voter fraud – and civil rights groups fear they may result in violence and disenfranchisement
The first time I met Nikki Haley, in 2010, I was a columnist for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and she was a little-known state legislator vying for the governor’s mansion near the end of Mark Sanford’s tenure. I had been invited to a quiet Q&A session Haley was having with a group of local attorneys at a popular Myrtle Beach restaurant. I felt a vibe similar to the one I had the first time I met Barack Obama, when he was visiting South Carolina during the 2008 Democratic nomination fight. I thought her political skill set was that impressive, even though we disagreed about many things. She’s been proving me right ever since.
But unless she does what Obama did and ignore conventional wisdom, particularly that coming from within her own party, she could miss the opportunity to become this country’s first female president.
When Haley announced that she would resign as ambassador to the United Nations on October 9, she attempted to put to rest all speculation about a 2020 run. “For all of you who are going to ask about 2020, no, I am not running for 2020,” Haley said. “What I can say is I will be campaigning for [Trump].”
It’s certainly the safe play. Established party officials and political pundits might look forward to the day Haley throws her hat into the presidential ring, but most surely don’t think she should do it now. As Democratic leaders believed about Obama in 2008, Republican Party brass think Haley should wait her turn, because the party already has a popular figure at its helm who will be hard to beat in 2020—President Donald Trump. And while Haley has found ways to set herself apart from Trump—on Thursday she said in a speech “in America, our political opponents are not evil,” a break from Trump-style politics—she is, it appears, following their advice.
But back in 2008, Obama was smart enough to ignore party bosses. He understood that political landscapes change, sometimes by the day, the hour even—that he had a chance in 2008 that might not come again. The question is, is Haley smart enough to understand that? Is she smart enough to see that 2024, or 2032, if Trump wins reelection and Mike Pence is able to succeed him, is an eternity away in political time and that the opportunity she has now might not materialize in future?
And, is the Republican Party smart enough to see that Trump is more vulnerable than they think, and that Haley might be the GOP’s best chance to win in 2020?
Though you won’t hear this from pundits and political analysts who are still smarting from getting it wrong in 2016, Trump is highly unlikely to win a national presidential race in 2020. His chances aren’t zero, and whoever wins the Republican nomination two years from now has a chance to win. But his prospects for a second term are extremely dim. Four years ago, he ran against a candidate nearly as unpopular as he was. He had help from the Russian government. He was aided by an eleventh-hour intervention from then-FBI Director James Comey. Aggressive voter suppression efforts by Republicans also played a role in his victory. (Some version of each of those things might still be in place in 2020, but they are not nearly as rooted as they were in 2016.) And despite all of that support, he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million and won the Electoral College because of a roughly 80,000-vote difference in three states. He’s unlikely to benefit again from a confluence of such events.
Things have gotten only tougher for Trump since he got into office. Democrats are energized in a way they weren’t in 2016. His poll numbers remain in the high 30s or low 40s, even with a historically low jobless rate. Trump is incredibly unpopular despite a strong economy. Econ 101 tells us that we are overdue for a recession. What if that materializes in the next two years? We should not forget that Robert Mueller is still quietly going about his work, the results of which reportedly might be revealed by the end of this year and alone could have a devastating effect on Trump’s 2020 plans.
Beating Trump—a sitting president—in a primary would much harder than defeating him in the general, of course. But a poll from analytics firm Applecart suggests he is more vulnerable even among Republicans than many think. The same poll also found that Haley is the most popular among GOP challengers and would have a real shot if she declared her intentions to run.
Republicans should be jumping at that chance. Let’s be frank. Haley is a highly-qualified woman and a member of a minority group who shattered the glass ceiling and destroyed racial barriers in a Deep South state to become governor of South Carolina. She is also far more conservative than Trump. That combination of attributes should be extremely appealing to a party that knows, despite its current hold on power, its base is shrinking by the year. The party knows that in order to avoid becoming a regional party a couple of decades from now, it must make a choice: Either keep trying to subvert the democratic process by implementing voter-ID and other laws designed to curtail the Democratic vote—which will be harder to do once Democrats begin retaking power in Washington and numerous state capitals during the midterm elections, not to mention as the American electorate continues to change—or make itself seem more inviting to minority voters. Those paying close attention know Trump is more Jesse Ventura than Ronald Reagan—a shock to the system, not a transformative figure—and that his brand of racist, white nationalistic, angry politics has a short shelf life.
I know the GOP knows this, even if it doesn’t want to admit it publicly. South Carolina officials told me the reason no top Republicans dared challenge Tim Scott in his run for U.S. senate in 2014—after Haley had appointed him to the seat in 2012—was because it would have “been unseemly” to have challenged a popular Republican vying to become the first black man elected to the Senate from the Deep South since Reconstruction. I got the same message from several of my white conservative readers, who in one breath said identity politics was awful but in the next emphasized how proud they were to vote for a conservative black man. Though they loudly protested and claimed otherwise, they were desperate to get out from under the cloud and charges of racism that has dogged Republicans in the South for decades, and voting for Scott was one way they believed they could do this.
That same dynamic is at play in the era of Trump—maybe even more so. Concern with party diversity was one of the reasons the all-male GOP caucus in the Senate Judiciary Committee hired a woman to question Christine Blasey Ford during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation hearing, and why some Republicans are now touting that Kavanaugh, who was credibly accused of sexual assault, has the first all-female clerk team in the court’s history, including a black woman. And the top conservative political pundits and analysts, who have spent years complaining about so-called identity politics on the left, had no problem with any of this. Not only that, Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by nearly two dozen women and was recorded bragging about casually sexually assaulting women. His record of racism and open bigotry is so deep and long and disturbing, most black voters automatically become suspicious of any black person who cozies up to Trump, if not hold them in outright contempt, no matter their black bona fides. Ask Kanye West and the presidents of historically black Colleges and universities if you doubt this.
Publicly, Republicans repeatedly claim that none of this matters because Democrats are supposedly worse. They point to how Democrats defended Bill Clinton 20 years ago, not just of an illicit affair with a young intern in the White House, but also turned a blind eye to charges of sexual harassment and rape. But privately, Republicans know their record sends an awful message, one that might have worked to their advantage these past two years but that can’t last forever.
That’s why Haley is perfectly positioned to save the GOP from itself. Her positioning didn’t come by accident. She did not jump on the Trump train during the contentious Republican primary season or during the general election. Neither did she take John Kasich’s principled, but politically unwise, route and offend the party’s base. That gives her space to accurately claim in a potential presidential run of her own that she was able to hold fast to her principles, something many Republican officials simply can’t say they did, while not abandoning the party by joining the ranks of #NeverTrumpers despite enormous pressure to just give in to political winds. And she has gone on the record—several times—criticizing Trump and declaring that the women who have accused him of appalling things should be heard. No one can credibly accuse her of turning a blind eye to Trump’s excesses the way Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell other Trump enablers clearly have.
You want tough, one of Trump’s supposed strengths? Haley was hit with ugly negative headlines about sexual rumors when she was trying to become governor, and even while she was a member of the Trump administration, and successfully fought them off. She knows how to fight. She knows how to win. She’s had to deal with more than most politicians. It’s hard to express just how difficult it was for a young Asian-American woman to do what she did in one of the reddest states in the heart of the Old South by winning the governor’s office twice, then navigating the tricky political terrain—which includes factions of Republicans with sharp elbows competing against one another—to become a rising star in the GOP. I say this as a man who disagrees with Haley vehemently on a variety of political issues and will never forget that she passed on billions of federal dollars through the Affordable Care Act that would have brought health insurance to maybe a quarter of a million struggling residents of my poor native state, along with creating maybe 44,000 jobs. But that’s the kind of decision that would help her in a Republican presidential primary contest.
She was also wise to become U.N. ambassador. It provided her national and international experience. It convinced Trump loyalists that she was a team player. But the position is so critical and unique, she can easily argue that she did it, not for Trump, but because her country needed her, and that was more important than her personal views about Trump’s behavior. She’s covered her bases, not by accident, but because her political skills are immense.
The kicker is that she did all of this shortly after becoming the South Carolina governor who took down the Confederate flag from the State House, where it had flown for more than half a century and, it seemed, would fly forever. It’s true that she spent most of her two terms as governor dodging that issue. It’s true that the blood spilled by Dylann Roof in a Charleston church had more to do with the flag’s removal than Haley’s leadership. But it’s also true that whoever is in office during a time like that will receive an enormous amount of the credit for the change. That’s precisely what I’ve been hearing—even from black Democrats and independents. Though they despise the Republican Party for having elevated Trump and his open bigotry to the White House—something they won’t ever forget, something I won’t ever forget—they are willing to listen to Haley because of what she did with the flag in the aftermath of the Roof shooting.
I suspect Melissa Harris-Perry, one of the most popular black progressives in the country, and a former MSNBC host, sees what I see and that’s why she recently tweeted:
“Mark it. @nikkihaley will be president.”
I’m a black guy who used to vote for Republicans as easily as I did for Democrats. When I saw the GOP become more extreme and increasingly OK with open bigotry and racism, I vowed not to consider another Republican candidate for the foreseeable future, if ever again. Haley would force me to at least reconsider. That’s how desperate I—and many others—are to move beyond Trump.
A mechanic who maintains the White House’s fleet of helicopters has been busted with methamphetamine, after he called the cops while under the influence, thinking his house was being broken into.
Ms Haley is due to leave her UN post at the end of the year