2017

Opinion: Echoes of Vietnam in Trump’s Afghan About-Face
Instinct may be to avoid the appearance of losing a war

President Donald Trump reflected that “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office” while he was outlining a new approach in Afghanistan Monday night. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is the seventh president since the end of World War II who inherited on taking office his predecessor’s war or the planning for one. And like most of these American presidents Trump decided that the most important strategic consideration was not to publicly lose a war on his watch.

No president wants to replicate the experience of Jerry Ford watching images of the last desperate helicopters taking off from the American embassy in Saigon as North Vietnamese troops battered down the gates.

Judge Gives Gianforte Until Sept. 15 to Have Mugshot Taken
Democrats can’t wait to see it

Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., pled guilty to assaulting a reporter on the eve of his special election win. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A judge ordered that Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte be fingerprinted and photographed by Sept. 15 in relation to his assault of a journalist earlier this year. 

Judge Rick West ordered that the Republican report to a jail in Bozeman to be booked for his assault charge, The Associated Press reported.

Puerto Rico Pressing On in Its Quest for Statehood
Island’s governor swore in its would-be congressional delegation last week

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló arrives for a news conference about the June 11 vote in favor of U.S. statehood at the National Press Club in Washington on June 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló recently swore in his dream team for political representation — two senators and five representatives to match the commonwealth’s population.

They are expected to travel to Washington soon and ask lawmakers to be seated as the official congressional delegation for Puerto Rico. 

Eclipse Day in Photos: D.C. and N.C. Residents Look Up to the Sun
An eclipse was on the minds of most American residents on this Monday

The moon passes in front of the sun during the solar eclipse in Sylva, N.C. on Monday. The town lies in the path of totality. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s photographers caught the eclipse and the event’s spectators in two different locations on Monday. Tom Williams traveled to Sylva, N.C.,  in the path of totality. And Bill Clark stuck close to Roll Call’s home and captured moments as congressmen, reporters, congressional staffers and other Hill personnel ventured out on the Capitol steps and plaza to catch a glimpse of the historic event. 

Here’s the day in photos:

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Will 2018 Look Like 2010 for Anti-Repeal Republicans?
Nearly all Democrats who voted against Obamacare are no longer in office

Texas Rep. Will Hurd voted against the House Republican health care bill in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When House Republicans passed their measure to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law in May, 20 members of their conference voted against it.

While some of them might be able to defend themselves against criticism by saying they voted against a historically unpopular bill, they could find themselves in the same political peril as Democrats who voted against the original health care bill in 2010.

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Opinion: Corker Silent on Trump Renomination
Republicans may end up pushing president toward the exit

Sen. Bob Corker’s office had nothing to say when asked if the Tennessee Republican would weigh in on President Donald Trump’s renomination in 2020, Allen writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senator Bob Corker said Thursday he doesn’t think President Donald Trump has demonstrated “stability,” “competence,” or understanding of “the character of this nation.”

Normally, that would be a stunningly personal attack for a senator of one party to launch against a president of the other party. But Corker and Trump are both — at least in name — Republicans.

White House: Steve Bannon Is Out
President’s chief strategist increasingly a lightning rod for criticism

Steve Bannon is out as  chief strategist to President Donald Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart executive infused his campaign and presidency with nationalist rhetoric and policies.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”