John T. Bennett

Watch out 2020 Democrats, Trump might have a long game
3 takeaways from the president’s New Mexico rally as he tries to flip state Clinton won in 2016

ANALYSIS | Donald Trump’s rally Monday night in New Mexico was billed as an opportunity for the president to try expanding his base and flip a state he lost in 2016. But his message — again — offered little new to moderate swing voters.

Trump’s Rio Rancho campaign stop was calculated, with his campaign looking to flip a small handful of states won in 2016 by Hillary Clinton; she won New Mexico by 8.3 percentage points. It was the second state she won to which he has traveled to headline a rally this year; he was in New Hampshire last month. Collectively, there are nine Electoral College votes between the two states.

Trump stops short of saying Iran orchestrated attack on Saudi oil facilities
Bipartisan group wants to prohibit 'unconstitutional' U.S. war with Iran

President Donald Trump wants the world to believe Iran was behind a weekend attack on Saudi oil facilities that took 6 percent of the world’s supply offline — but he’s just not ready to say it out loud.

The U.S. commander in chief on two occasions Monday sent strong signals his national security team and Saudi officials are increasingly confident the Iranian government is responsible for the armed drone and missile strikes.

Democrats object to Trump’s threatening Iran over Saudi oil attack
U.S. is ‘locked and loaded’ if Tehran believed to be behind strikes, president warns

The United States should not take orders about using military force against Iran even if Saudi Arabia’s government declares Tehran was behind an attack on its oil facilities, congressional Democrats are telling President Donald Trump.

Trump signaled on Sunday evening and again on Monday morning that he is standing by for Saudi officials to sort out just what happened and who launched what U.S. officials said appeared to be armed drone and cruise missile strikes on the Saudi facilities. The attacks are expected to pare Saudi production and drive up oil and gas prices — but Democrats are concerned the incident might compel Trump to launch retaliatory strikes on Iran, which they say would be contrary to American interests.

Still confused about Trump’s demands of Congress? Maybe it’s you
President ‘always lays it right out there,’ but Hill slow to ‘adjust,’ Eric Ueland says

ANALYSIS — If you’re a Republican lawmaker or congressional aide who struggles to understand what Donald Trump wants in legislation, take a long look in the mirror.

Because it’s you. Not him.

One rocky Donald Trump week tends to breed another... and another
Analyst: ‘If the election were held tomorrow, President Trump would lose — badly’

After another rocky week for Donald Trump, former officials and experts see a president likely to become even more bold and unpredictable as his path to reelection appears to grow more difficult.

From a tumbling approval rating and worries among voters about his economic stewardship to his firing of another national security adviser to remarks at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon that raised eyebrows to a special election in a Republican stronghold that was closer than expected, the president’s brash style was on full display.

List to replace fired national security adviser John Bolton grows to 15
Trump says he makes ‘all the decisions’ so senior advisers ‘don’t have to work’

There are now 15 candidates to replace John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, but the president says it will not be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

There was talk around Washington that the former Kansas GOP congressman — rumored to be eyeing a Senate run in his home state next year — might do both jobs after increasingly becoming Trump’s go-to counselor on foreign affairs and national security. But the president put an end to such speculation Thursday evening.

Five candidates on list to replace ‘Mr. Tough Guy’ John Bolton, Trump says
President mocks former national security adviser day after he was fired or quit, depending on the source

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is looking closely at five candidates to replace hawkish John Bolton — whom he mocked — a day after he abruptly fired Bolton from his role as national security adviser.

“We have a lot of good people who want that position. … We’ll have five people who want it very much,” Trump told reporters after an unrelated event at the White House. “We’ll be announcing somebody next week.”

Trump fires National Security Adviser John Bolton
‘I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,’ Trump tweets

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced in a tweet that he has fired National Security Adviser John Bolton, saying he disagreed with many policy stances from his hawkish aide.

Bolton disputed the president’s account of his leaving the White House, tweeting moments after Trump’s announcement that he had offered to resign Monday, but Trump put him off until Tuesday.

Trump attacks new poll showing his approval rating tumbling
Washington Post-ABC survey shows a 6-point drop over a summer of self-inflicted wounds, trade war

On a day when voters in a reliably red North Carolina congressional district head to the polls in a closer-than-expected House race, President Donald Trump lashed out at a poll that showed his approval rating tumbling.

As he waited to see if voters in the Tar Heel State’s competitive 9th Congressional District will send a Democrat to Washington for the first time since 1963, he took umbrage at a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That survey put his approval rating at 38 percent — down from 44 percent in June — along with a 56 percent disapproval rating.

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.

Trump says he’s preparing report on his personal finances
House Judiciary mentions president’s finances in announcing move toward impeachment articles

President Donald Trump said Monday he soon will release a report detailing his personal finances and declared secret talks he launched with Taliban leaders are “dead.”

“As far as I’m concerned they’re dead,” he said on the White House’s South Lawn as he departed for a campaign rally in 2020 battleground North Carolina. “They thought they had to kill people to put themselves a little bit better negotiating position. And when they did, they killed 12 people. One happened to be a great American soldier. … You can’t do that with me.”

Trump pressures House GOP leaders to get rid of committee chair term limits
President attacks primary foe Mark Sanford by bringing up affair with Argentine woman

President Donald Trump on Monday welcomed Congress back to Washington by pressuring House Republican leaders to make a major rule change and by trying to humiliate one of their former colleagues challenging him in 2020.

Trump started the workweek on Twitter after a number of memorable weekend tweets. He drew some GOP backlash after revealing a canceled — and highly controversial — Afghanistan peace summit at Camp David that would have put Taliban leaders within miles of the Pentagon into which their al-Qaeda allies crashed a passenger airliner 18 years ago. Some of his tweets lashed out at a singer John Legend and his TV personality wife Chrissy Teigen, while others touted books by political allies.

August is ‘quirky’: Trump’s top economic adviser brushes off disappointing jobs report
Data offers Americans ‘little comfort,’ Pelosi says, warning of president's ‘reckless agenda’

Lawrence Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, shrugged off a disappointing jobs report by saying August “is always a quirky month.”

Nonfarm payrolls added 130,000 jobs last month, about 20,000 less than most Wall Street estimates — a figure made further concerning because it was boosted by 25,000 temporary government hires in anticipation of the 2020 census. What’s more, total construction activity for July was $1.29 trillion, down 2.7 percent compared with July 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday. The decline was led by a 6.6 percent drop in residential construction.

Another West Wing departure leaves Kushner taking point on Middle East peace
Official: Presidential son-in-law, ‘a few others’ will try to fill void left by Greenblatt’s exit

President Donald Trump announced White House Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt is leaving the administration, essentially handing presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner the task of completing an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

“Jason has been a loyal and great friend and fantastic lawyer........His dedication to Israel and to seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians won’t be forgotten. He will be missed,” Trump tweeted in announcing Greenblatt’s departure.

UK’s Boris Johnson to White House: Buy our shower trays and Scottish haggis
Prime minister tells Pence his country’s National Health Service is off the table

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday offered some cheeky — but pointed — criticism of the United States and its trade practices, telling Vice President Mike Pence he wants to rip down “barriers” that keep British goods out of the massive American market.

Johnson also echoed his predecessor, Theresa May, by stating clearly that any potential U.S.-U.K. trade agreement would not include changes to his country’s National Health Service.

Trump drags ‘Sharpiegate’ into second day as latest self-inflicted wound festers
‘I’m really worried about him,’ Democratic presidential candidate Buttigieg says

President Donald Trump on Thursday dragged another self-created scandal into another day as he defended a map he displayed a day earlier of Hurricane Dorian’s expected path that appeared to have been altered, prompting howls from Democrats and accusations that he was putting lives in danger.

White House aides were eager last week to portray a commander in chief as deeply involved in the federal government’s efforts to prepare for and respond to Dorian. The storm even did the Trump team a favor when it turned away from Florida, sparing the Sunshine State the kind of catastrophic direct hit that left at least 20 dead and catastrophic damage in the Bahamas.

Trump again signals gun background checks bill is not a top priority
Congress should pass ‘something having to do with mental illness,’ president says

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signaled he is poised to defy public support for stronger background checks for firearm purchases in the wake of several deadly mass shootings.

He also again reverted to a pessimistic outlook for his long-promised trade pact that China that has devolved from rounds of talks into a tariff “battle,” as he described it Wednesday. Trump late last month described himself as the “chosen one,” picked by a higher power to get tough on China over what he calls its “unfair” trading tactics.

About Trump’s North Carolina Hurricane Dorian emergency declaration...
Another presidential tweet stirs confusion as GOP POTUS seeks to boost Tillis

No, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis did not send President Donald Trump a formal request he declare a federal emergency as Hurricane Dorian heads to the Tarheel State.

Several media outlets tightly interpreted a presidential tweet posted Monday night in which Trump said such a declaration soon would get his signature “at the request of Senator Thom Tillis.” The president signed the declaration later that night.

Democrats question Trump’s motives as Hurricane Dorian targets Florida
President’s decision to cancel Poland trip caught some aides off guard as polls turn bleak

President Donald Trump contends he canceled a diplomatic trip to Poland so he could monitor Hurricane Dorian as it churns toward Florida, but Democrats see political motives for the storm tracker in chief. And Trump started Friday clearly focused on other matters.

He claimed he was staying stateside “to ensure that all resources of the federal government are focused on the arriving storm,” and White House aides were eager to cast the president as laser-focused on the hurricane — even though his decision, yet again, caught some off guard.

Trump to skip Poland trip, and monitor Hurricane Dorian as it heads toward Florida
Vice president will attend World War II commemoration and meetings with Polish leaders

President Donald Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence to Poland for a World War II commemoration ceremony and meetings with Polish leaders because Hurricane Dorian is heading for Florida.

Trump started a ceremony on the formal establishment of U.S. Space Command by saying his top priority is the safety of Americans at home. Trump said he spoke with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the telephone to inform him.