John T. Bennett

Trump heads to Pennsylvania, where China trade war is hitting home
State leaders: Tariff tussle hurts local manufacturers, farmers and consumers

President Donald Trump heads to Pennsylvania on Monday evening — another battleground state vital to his chances of winning a second term. But Air Force One will touch down in Montoursville for a campaign rally just when his trade war with China is squeezing many of his core supporters there.

Trump has complicated his own quest to reassemble the Electoral College map he cobbled together in 2016 by slapping tariffs on Chinese-made products, according to political strategists, some lawmakers and state officials. The Keystone State is a prime example as China’s retaliatory levies are hitting its manufacturers, farmers and consumers particularly hard.

Trump lobbies for Dem support of immigration plan even while using hardline rhetoric
Can POTUS have it both ways on a proposal that appears mostly about his re-election campaign?

President Donald Trump on Friday lobbied for Democratic votes for an immigration plan that appears to have no traction while also throwing the kind of red-meat rhetoric toward his base that turns off those very Democrats.

In a morning tweet during a rare overnight stay at Trump Tower in New York, the president appeared be referring to polls like an April Washington Post-ABC News survey that showed a 17 percent jump in the number of Democrats who view the spike in migrant families showing at the U.S.-Mexico border as a crisis. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials say they made 100,000 apprehensions at the border in March, the biggest number in 12 years.

Trump‘s latest immigration plan came with no Democratic outreach
Proposal appears going no further than White House Rose Garden

President Donald Trump unveiled his latest immigration overhaul plan Thursday, but given its lack of outreach to Democrats, it likely will go little further than the Rose Garden setting where it first saw light. 

Trump used the White House backdrop to also reiterate some of his familiar hard-line immigration stances that may ingratiate him to his conservative base, but usually only repel Democrats and many independents.

Trump is Twitter-bashing 2020 hopeful and NY Mayor de Blasio. That puts him in a rare group
President has saved social media attacks for a handful of Democratic candidates

President Donald Trump used insults to welcome New York Mayor Bill de Blasio into the 2020 presidential race, a strategy he has reserved for only a few Democratic candidates.

Trump wasted little time in slamming candidates like now-front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden, former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the 2016 Democratic runner-up. He has said very little about South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and California Sen. Kamala Harris, even though she drew a large crowd at her Oakland campaign kickoff event — noteworthy because the president often remarks on his rally crowds and those drawn by his rivals, which he typically claims are much smaller.

White House to Judiciary Chairman Nadler: ‘How about you pass a bill?’
‘We will subpoena whoever we have to subpoena,’ Nadler vows as legal war escalates

The White House has a message for House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler: Pass a bill — any bill — rather than trying to “replicate” Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s Russia election meddling probe.

In a letter to Nadler and a subsequent call with reporters, White House officials charged the New York Democrat with “political theater” by continuing to investigate the Russian interference campaign and possible connections to the 2016 Trump-Pence campaign, as well as whether President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice — a crime — since taking office.

Trump targets 2020 Democrats as energy speech turns into campaign stop
A six-pack of eyebrow-raising POTUS quotes, just in time for happy hour

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump went to Louisiana to talk about his energy policies, but as frequently happens, an official White House event at times sounded a lot like a campaign stump speech.

Trump used parts of his speech to describe a booming economy with low unemployment — weeks after acknowledging to reporters he intends to run on the state of the economy. Of course, Trump did not bring up his trade “squabble” with China, which Democratic lawmakers and economists warn could help spawn an economic slowdown just as he revs up his reelection bid.

Trump downplays China trade ‘squabble,’ rattles sabre at Iran
POTUS: ‘We would send a hell of a lot more troops than’ 120,000 reportedly being mulled

President Donald Trump called stalled trade talks with America’s biggest economic rival, China, just “a little squabble,” even as Congress and the markets are increasingly unnerved by it, and, touching on another foreign policy hot spot, suggested he would send more than 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.

The remarks came after The New York Times reported the administration is considering sending troops to the Middle East. The president already has ordered a carrier strike group and bomber wing to the region. 

Trump asks Congress to shift project funds to states he needs to win in 2020
Great Lakes, Everglades restoration initiatives make list as request heads to Hill

President Trump’s Monday tweets about plussing up accounts for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an Everglades project and a NASA moon mission were codified in an amendment to his fiscal 2020 budget request sent to Congress the same day.

Also requested is nearly $20 million more for the Special Olympics.

Trump pledges to reject dirt from other countries on 2020 foes
POTUS has new warnings for China and Iran, including even more tariffs for Asian rival

President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to reject any dirt on his 2020 opponents that originates in a foreign country, just a week after his personal attorney canceled a trip to Ukraine allegedly to search for just that.

Trump also threatened to slap tariffs on even more Chinese-made goods as the two economic powerhouses barreled toward a full-scale trade war as markets around the globe dropped significantly. 

Trump threatens China over trade talks, contradicts top adviser on tariffs’ effect at home
China responds to Trump’s tariff hike saying it will start import fees on $60 billion in U.S. products in June

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled around 450 points Monday and the S&P 500 index was down by around 50 points as trading opened on a nervous Wall Street amid the trade tit for tat between the United States and China.

The Chinese government earlier Monday responded to President Trump’s hiked tariffs on its goods by announcing it will slap import fees on $60 billion in U.S.-made products starting June 1. The retaliation is a signal the world’s two leading economic powers could be barreling toward a full-scale trade war.

Trump team struggles with Iran, global tests after months of Mueller probe battles
Former official: ‘Provocative actions against Iran’ seem to have imprint of John Bolton

After months of mostly battling domestic political foes, the Trump White House is suddenly juggling a handful of potentially volatile situations from South America to the Middle East to East Asia.

President Donald Trump, his top White House aides and outside surrogates have largely spent the months since November’s midterm elections pre-butting, then rebutting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on Russian election meddling. But since its release last month, the commander in chief has been forced to deal with Venezuela’s political strife, a defiant North Korea, a chill in trade talks with China and a newly aggressive Iran.

For Trump, little gained this week from all-or-nothing negotiating style
‘You just can’t do things this way if you want to succeed,’ former U.S. official says

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump’s my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style was on full display this week. But the president is set to end the week with little gained on some big campaign promises.

From stalled trade talks with China to a new immigration reform plan to his legal battle with House Democrats over the special counsel’s Russia election meddling report and their desire to hear from his advisers, the president and his team again showed how they often take a position and hunker down. The message is clear: Adhere to the Trump way or prepare for war — be it one of the global trade variety or one over the Constitution.

Trump: Barr will decide if Mueller testifies, Kerry should face charges
‘I’m the one who tempers him,’ president says of hawkish John Bolton

Whether or not special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will testify before Congress about his Russia election meddling report will be left to Attorney General William P. Barr, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

The president appeared to contradict himself just days after a Sunday tweet that included this statement: “Bob Mueller should not testify.” Trump wrote that day that the former FBI director testifying before Democrat-run House committees would amount to the opposition party trying to invent evidence of negative information about him.

Trump says China would best Buttigieg even as his own trade talks slow
President returns to Florida, where polls show an uphill re-election battle

President Donald Trump mocked congressional Democrats at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday and called on them to end their investigations into his business and personal activities.

“It’s time to end the nonsense,” the president said of House Democrats’ probes on a day when Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the country has entered a “constitutional crisis.”

Chill in China trade talks is all Biden’s fault, Trump says
Former VP has not been involved in negotiations that appear to be collapsing

Updated 12:20 p.m. | President Donald Trump is blaming former Vice President Joe Biden and the rest of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates for a sudden chill in trade talks between his administration and America’s top economic rival.

Biden, who polls show is the Democratic frontrunner, has not been involved in any substantive talks about trade or any other matter since he left office in January 2017. But, according to Trump — who often takes his weaknesses and tries to blame them on his political foes — it’s all Biden’s fault.

Trump’s federal judge pace matches recent presidents — but with a big twist
Incumbent has stressed putting conservatives in legal realm’s ‘big leagues,’ expert says

In what the White House, Republican senators and right-leaning organizations hailed as a major milestone, President Donald Trump last week saw his 100th judicial nominee confirmed by the Senate.

But his record of getting federal judges confirmed is largely in line with his most recent predecessors, even if he’s been more successful in elevating nominees to the influential appellate courts.

Immigration talks at White House produce vague path forward
Administration officials decline to offer specifics on next steps

Tuesday started with talk of White House officials preparing to lay out a centrist immigration plan born from Jared Kushner’s monthslong efforts to bridge wide divides between Republicans and Democrats. But it ended with the administration tepidly pointing only to a “potential plan” with scant details.

And White House officials were unable to clearly explain just why many — if any — House and Senate Democrats would support a plan that they said was received warmly by a group of conservative GOP senators.

3 things to watch when Trump, GOP senators discuss immigration
Jared Kushner has been WH point person — but Stephen Miller has been Trump’s voice

Perhaps sensing momentum in the post-Mueller report realm, President Donald Trump has summoned a group of Senate Republicans to the White House to talk about overhauling the immigration system.

A small group of GOP senators will meet Tuesday afternoon with Trump and senior White House aides to hear details of a plan administration officials have been cobbling together. Presidential son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has been the point person in crafting the proposal.

Tiger’s Rose Garden moment ignores bogeys on his personal scorecard
‘I tried to hang in there,’ golf legend says of many struggles before fifth Masters win

Personal hardship and scandals? What hardship and scandals?

The scene in the Rose Garden Monday evening, when President Donald Trump lavished praise on Tiger Woods before placing the Presidential Medal of Freedom around his neck, focused only on the eagles and birdies on the golf legend’s scorecard. But the many bogeys from his personal life — to use a golf analogy only seems apt — hung over the event.

Tiger Woods, Trump and a perhaps counterintuitive political benefit
2019 Masters champion takes comeback story to White House to get Medal of Freedom

ANALYSIS — The crowd around the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club — mostly men — roared when Tiger Woods tapped in his final putt last month to win his fifth Masters, his first major championship in 11 years. That victory nudged President Donald Trump to honor Woods, and perhaps counterintuitively tap into support from a voting bloc that has remained elusive to him.

About two minutes after Woods’ Green Jacket-clinching putt disappeared into the bright white cup, as he and his family jubilantly walked toward the clubhouse, the CBS cameras caught a woman in a yellow baseball cap reaching over the rope line to give the champion a high-five. Another woman in a white cap pumped her fist. Another in a lime-colored pullover returned Woods’ guttural, celebratory scream — mimicking his clenched fist raised in the air. One particularly excited woman in a pink top tried to turn a high-five with him into an embrace.