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Tag: donald trump

‘Huge Loss’ For Trump In Texas As He Tries To Dodge Blame

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Donald Trump is refusing to concede defeat, although this time though he was not the candidate. Trump endorsed Susan Wright in the Texas Republican special election runoff for a U.S. House seat – a seat that opened after Wright's husband, Rep. Ron Wright, died of coronavirus.

She lost on Tuesday to Jake Ellzey.

Not according to the former president, who also lost his election, last year.

"This is the only race we've … this is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win. …The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win," Trump told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Swan observes that "Trump is notorious for shifting or refusing to accept blame for any failure, whether as a businessman or a politician."

CNN's chief Congressional correspondent, Manu Raju Tuesday night characterized the results as a "Huge loss for Trump," while The New York Times' Maggie Haberman notes that "Trump did a teletown hall for Wright the night before the election."

Trump's advisors are angry at David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, who convinced Trump to endorse Wright.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump said, Swan reports, referring to "McIntosh and the Club for Growth, before catching himself mid-sentence on the word 'lost.'"

Meanwhile, as Trump's advisors are blaming the Club for Growth, Trump decided to just blame Democrats.

"Trump himself disputed the result had dented his power," Swan adds. "In a phone call with Axios on Wednesday, the former president conceded McIntosh had pushed him to support Wright but blamed Democrats — not the Club for Growth — for Ellzey's victory."

Justice Department Won't Defend Mo Brooks In Capitol Riot Lawsuit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Justice Department in a court filing on Tuesday declined to defend Republican congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) in a lawsuit that alleges he conspired to instigate the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Brooks had asked the Justice Department to consider him covered by the Westfall Act, which protects federal employees from being sued for actions taken as part of their jobs, concerning the lawsuit brought by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). The Justice Department's filing could indicate it may not defend former President Donald Trump, who has also been sued by Swalwell for a...

Liz Cheney Targets Trump In Jan. 6 Probe

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) made clear Tuesday that she is targeting Donald Trump, the former President, and his administration as she delivered her opening remarks as the ranking member of the historic House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Cheney said the American people must "know what happened every minute of that day in the White House."

"The American people deserve the full and open testimony of every person with knowledge of the planning and preparation for January 6," Congresswoman Cheney said.

"We must know what happened here at the Capitol. We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House, every phone call every conversation every meeting, leading up to during an after the attack, honorable men and women have an obligation to step forward. If those responsible are not held accountable. And if Congress does not act responsibly. This will remain a cancer on our Constitutional Republic."

During her remarks Cheney also asked, "Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?"

"I pray that we all remember, our children are watching, as we carry out the solemn and sacred duty entrusted to us. They will know who stood for truth."

Cheney is a hard-core conservative with the bona fides of having a father who served two terms as a Republican vice president of the United States, a Secretary of Defense, and like his daughter, the chair of the House Republican Conference, and yet she has been all but kicked out of the GOP because she is willing to speak the truth about her own party's attack on the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Government, and democracy itself.

Political Spending At Trump Properties Plunges Sharply

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

The number of federal political committees that have spent money in the first half of 2021 at Trump Organization properties has dropped dramatically from the same period two years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show. Those continuing to spend: a smaller circle of loyal supporters of former President Donald Trump and candidates jockeying for his favor in contested Republican primaries.

During the first six months of 2021, 27 federal committees have reported spending $348,000 at Trump Organization properties, with the Republican National Committee accounting for more than half the total. That's a steep decline from the 177 committees that did so during the 2019-2020 election cycle or the 78 committees that spent more than $1.6 million at Mar-a-Lago, the Trump International Hotel in Washington and other company sites in the first half of 2019, filings show.

Of course, that spending came in the run-up to a presidential election in which Trump was the incumbent. The biggest spenders in 2019 were the RNC and Trump's own political committees raising money to support his campaign.

While the RNC is the top spender so far in 2021, many of the other PACs that used Trump properties as venues for fundraising events and other activities appear to have stopped their spending. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has not reported spending any money at Trump properties through May of this year after spending $32,532 during the previous election cycle. (National party committees will file reports covering activity in June on July 20, which may show some spending at Trump's facilities.)

Those that have spent money at Trump properties this year represent some of the former president's most fervent loyalists, including Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who is running for an open Senate seat, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, who previously was the White House physician. Overall, 13 of the 23 committees spending this year are connected to current members of the House or Senate.

"Republican candidates are in a delicate moment, I think, because of uncertainty surrounding Trump's future power," said Abby Wood, a professor of law, political science and public policy at the University of Southern California, in an email. "Trump's power in the next election is much less certain than it was from the vantage point of folks spending money (and enriching him) at his properties in 2019."

The drop in political spending comes at a precarious time for the Trump Organization, which in early July was hit with 10 felony charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., as well as additional charges against Allen Weisselberg, the organization's chief financial officer. Both Weisselberg and the company have pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the impact of the investigation and the fallout of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have damaged the company's business prospects. The Washington Post described the company as at its "lowest point in decades."

The other spenders include congressional candidates advertising their ties to Trump, such as Lynda Blanchard, who is one of Brooks' opponents for the GOP nomination in the Alabama Senate race, and Josh Mandel, who's running for an open Senate seat in Ohio. Brooks, Blanchard and Mandel have each paid to use Mar-a-Lago, Trump's property in Palm Beach, Florida, while Jackson paid for an event at the Trump hotel in Washington.

"It is my intention to do fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago as often as I can, so long as they help generate positive cash flow for my Senate campaign for America First policies," Brooks said in a statement. "I personally thank President Trump for allowing me to use Mar-a-Lago and hope he will continue to be so generous in the future."

The campaigns of Blanchard, Jackson, and Mandel, along with the RNC and the Trump Organization, did not respond to requests for comment. The RNC has spent more money for events at other locations this year, including $529,000 for a donor event at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach in April.

Mar-a-Lago, a private club that also doubles as the former president's residence, has been the leading recipient of federal political committee spending among Trump properties, bringing in at least $283,000 this year, much of it for hosting an RNC donor retreat in May. In addition to getting the venue and Florida weather, politicians holding events at the club stand a good chance of having Trump make an appearance.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and the BLT Prime restaurant located there, have seen a significant drop-off in political spending compared to the first half of 2019. Two years ago, the D.C. hotel and restaurant brought in more than $518,000, according to FEC records. This year, without Trump in the White House nearby, the total is less than $15,000.

"Given Trump is no longer president and there is less need to curry favor with him, congressional incumbents and party committees may choose less expensive venues," said Paul Herrnson, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut.

Why Don't Journalists Tell Trump To 'Go Away' — Like They Did Hillary?

Reprinted with permission from Press Run

Sexist double standards don't come any brighter, or more well defined, than the eager, nonstop coverage Trump continues to receive months after losing his White House election, compared to how the Beltway press gleefully tried to run Hillary Clinton out of town after her 2016 loss.

For the media, Trump the man remains a captivating topic who provides endless angles of intrigue and who is treated as a looming star of American politics. This, after becoming only the ninth president in U.S. history to lose a re-election bid. Clinton the woman though, was treated as an incompetent has-been who threw away a sure-fire win, and one who needed to get off the national stage immediately. Trump has receiving very little media second guessing.

"I was really struck by how people said that to me, 'Go away, go away,'" Clinton observed in 2019, "They never said that to any man who was not elected." Trump's media treatment this year confirms her claim and that the tough coverage she received was tailor made for the first woman nominee.

Against the backdrop of President Joe Biden's "boring" administration, journalists seem eager for the chaos and clicks that Trump creates. The coverage seems to swell with each passing day, as the press marvels at Trump's lasting power. This was a breathless Business Insider headline this week, even though it would been more timely in 2017: "The Definitive Oral History of How Trump Took Over the GOP, as Told To Us By Cruz, Rubio, and 20 More Insiders."

The premise to virtually all the coverage is, of course Trump will run again. By contrast, the first woman White House nominee was treated quite differently after her defeat as journalists angrily, and irrationally, demanded she "go away":

• "Hillary Clinton Just Won't Go Away" (National Journal)

• "Why Won't Hillary Clinton Just Go Away?" (Washington Examiner)

• "It's Time for Hillary Clinton To Go Away Forever" (Toronto Star)

• "Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly into the Night?" (Vanity Fair)

• "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Hillary?" (Politico)

• "Hillary, I love you. But please go away" (Los Angeles Times)

The issue was so vexing, a New York Times column asked, "What's to be done with Hillary Clinton, the woman who won't go away?" Not long after, an annoyed Michelle Cottle at the Times published "Hillary Clinton's Master Class in Distraction," perturbed that the day's most famous Democrat was giving media interviews and speaking out against Trump.

Following the election came constant pundit hand wringing that Clinton, "doesn't place enough blame on herself," the Times stressed. Media men in particular focused on pressing Clinton to acknowledge her mistakes. Journalists today demand almost no self-reflection from Trump regarding his lopsided loss to Biden.

Clinton ran on one of the most decorated resumes in American history: First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State. But the post-election media message was simple: She was a poorly-advised, "bad" candidate who just didn't get retail politics in America.

By contrast, how many in-depth reports have you read about how and why Trump lost Georgia and Arizona, two longtime Republican bastions? "I've yet to see reporters from NY Times, WaPo, Politico etc chide Trump for not running a good campaign in Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia the way they spoke about Hillary and Wisconsin/Ohio/Etc," Oliver Willis tweeted last week.

By piling on Clinton and her campaign, the press didn't have to ask itself the hard questions about 2016 — about the obvious misogyny that fueled so much of the coverage, and whether America is a fundamentally racist country for having elected Trump.

There was also an unmistakable glee the media took in recounting Clinton's loss. In late December, 2016, the Washington Post published a mocking piece after a journalist posted a candid photograph of Clinton sitting alone in a local restaurant near her home, looking "forlorn."

Sadly, none of this is surprising. "Women candidates often inspire something more akin to paranoia," Megan Garber noted in The Atlantic. "They are often treated as interlopers, their presence regarded, in ways both subtle and astoundingly obvious, as an encroachment."

What we're seeing today is the media embrace two extreme approaches for covering recent White House campaign losers. No defeated candidate has ever been showered with much attention as Trump has. And no defeated candidate has ever been showered with as much contempt as Clinton was. Note that she actually tallied two million more votes than Trump in 2016, and Trump lost 2020 by eight million. Yet the double standard persists.

Sexism is a helluva drug.

Will Americans Go Backward Into Disease And Depression, With Trump?

In the professional stratum of politics, few verities are treated with more reverence than the outcome of next year's midterm, when the Republican Party is deemed certain to recapture majorities in the House and Senate. With weary wisdom, any pol or pundit will cite the long string of elections that buttress this prediction.

Political history also tells us that many factors can influence an electoral result, including a national crisis or a change in economic conditions — in other words, things can change and even midterm elections are not entirely foretold. There have been a few exceptions to this rule, too.

Such an exception ought to be possible in a country where, increasingly, the Democratic Party represents majority opinion on most salient issues, while the Republican Party wields power mainly because of rules, traditions, population imbalances and constitutional anomalies that thwart the majority. In no other democratic nation is the will of most citizens so systematically frustrated.

So the Democrats must fight their way uphill, and they would be wise to start now. The way to begin is to define the terms of battle with a message that reflects the lived experience as well as the hopes and expectations of voters in America after former President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss — and draws a powerful contrast with the opposition.

That message begins with the behavior of the Republicans, who no longer even pretend to have policy solutions to the crises that America confronts. Instead, they function solely as sycophantic servants of Trump, whose synthetic grievances over his impeachments and defeat continue to be their shared obsession. The Grand Old Party is no longer grand and scarcely a party, but it is terribly "old" in the most insulting sense: an entity decrepit and stuck in the past.

In recent days, the Republican leadership and a few of its media minions have seemed to sense how badly and bloodily they botched the pandemic. Suddenly, after more than a year of pretending it would go away and months of undermining the vaccination campaign, some of them are urging Americans to get inoculated. But with so many loonies and cultists infesting their active base, the party can't dispel the aura of needless, stupid death that surrounds it. Geniuses that they are, the Republicans apparently noticed President Joe Biden's strong approval, which rests on his competent, compassionate, scientific response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile that awful negative aura extends over the Republican obstruction of Biden's investments in economic recovery and national infrastructure, which are favored by a big majority of voters — and even a plurality of their own party rank and file. As the benefits of the Democratic program reach more households, the inadequacy of the Republicans will only be underlined.

The last time Democrats defied the midterm curse was in 1998, when Newt Gingrich overplayed his hand by impeaching Bill Clinton — another Republican outrage against the popular will. Their paranoid and conspiratorial tendencies have only grown worse over the past two decades.

Today's Republicans can be relied upon to exhibit the same character deficit as the 2022 cycle unfolds. That process began earlier this month, when a mob of fascist thugs disrupted a town hall hosted by Democratic Rep. Katie Porter in her Southern California district. While Porter spoke about solutions to climate change and the pandemic, they interrupted her with shouted slogans and tried to drown her out. The disturbance was planned, organized, and led by her Republican opponent, a white nationalist and anti-vaccination activist who disgracefully joined in physical attacks on her supporters.

The attack on Porter, so reminiscent of the worst Tea Party scenes in 2009, is a harbinger of things to come. It is a clear reminder to every voter of what the GOP now represents as an engine of authoritarian violence, big lies and bigotry — the continuation of January 6. They are nothing more than Trump, a hollow figure who returns endlessly to a past that reeks of depression, disease and deception. And they are willing to violate every democratic principle to drag the country backward with him.

But most Americans don't want to go backward with Trump and his goons. Now they must mobilize to defend democracy and keep moving forward.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Hypocrisy On Housing Is A Bipartisan Scourge

Right now, selling a home is akin to selling beer on a troopship: Buyers are so eager they'll pay almost any amount. The median home sales price in the United States was nearly 23 percent higher in June than a year earlier.

Surging demand is the immediate cause of the increase, and it will abate before long. But underlying it is a more durable factor: policies that choke off supply by making it harder and more expensive to build homes.

The claim that all politics is local has never been more true than in the realm of housing policy, which has a way of turning principles upside down. At the national level, Democrats favor affordable shelter for all and Republicans oppose burdensome regulation. But in their own neighborhoods, they give priority to high real estate values.

The 18th-century economist Adam Smith wrote: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices." The same can be said of homeowners, who in many communities have harnessed the power of municipal government to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

In a lot of appealing locales, housing is increasingly unaffordable. The pandemic has boosted prices in suburbs and small towns by allowing urban office workers to relocate while keeping their city jobs. But that development only deepens a chronic malady: too many people and not enough homes.

A new study for the National Association of Realtors documents the fundamental cause. "While the total stock of U.S. housing grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent from 1968 through 2000, the U.S. housing stock grew by an annual average rate of 1 percent in the last two decades, and only 0.7 percent in the last decade," it noted. During this period, "every major region of the country heavily underbuilt housing."

It's true in Chicago. In Lincoln Park, one of the most desirable neighborhoods, loss of housing units has helped reduce the resident population by 40 percent. It's true in California. Since 2005, the state has added more than three times as many people as it has housing units.

In recent years, people have been leaving the Golden State for places like Austin, Texas, where rules have prevented the construction of multiunit buildings — helping to boost the median home sales price by 42 percent in the past year. In that respect, Austin resembles Los Angeles, where 75 percent of residential land is zoned for single-family homes and duplexes.

Democratic mayors can be faulted for making it difficult and expensive to enlarge the housing stock. Unfortunately, Republicans reject any attempt by the federal government to encourage more construction and density.

During the 2020 campaign, President Donald Trump alleged that Joe Biden would "eliminate single-family zoning, bringing who knows into your suburbs, so your communities will be unsafe and your housing values will go down." Biden's infrastructure package includes $5 billion in grants to local governments that ease zoning rules to allow more housing units.

You might think conservatives would want to scrap government regulations that abridge property rights and interfere with the free market. No such luck. Like Trump, many of them see exclusionary zoning as a way to shut out undesirables and keep home prices up. Self-interest triumphs over ideology.

Liberals are prone to their own hypocrisy. While cities like San Francisco, Denver, and Austin flaunt their progressive values, they have clung to housing rules that harm the people progressives are supposed to care about.

On the left, though, the consensus has cracked. Minneapolis and Seattle have "upzoned" to permit more multifamily units. In 2019, Oregon Democrats won passage of a measure largely forbidding single-family zoning. Last year, the Democratic California state Senate approved a bill to let local governments override such restrictions, and it's up for consideration again this year.

It's often said that the three most important factors in buying a home are location, location, and location. When it comes to housing affordability and access, the three most important factors are supply, supply, and supply. Anything that facilitates more housing units helps; anything that obstructs them does not.

Bipartisanship can be a way for people of differing views to find practical compromises that advance common goals. In the case of housing, though, it amounts to a cartel of the haves against the have-nots. And it's working exactly as designed.

Follow Steve Chapman on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.