The Morning Jolt

Politics & Policy

I Guess We’re Just Not Going to Make a Fuss About That!

I Guess We’re Just Not Going to Make a Fuss About That!

Remember throughout the summer when Republicans had great fun counting the number of days it had been since Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had held a press conference?

The Republican National Committee had fun pointing this out, again and again. Donald Trump had fun pointing this out.

Townhall. IJR. Yup, I noted it, too. When the networks didn’t make a fuss, Newsbusters called them out on it.

President-elect Trump hasn’t held a press conference since before the election – since July 27, in fact. You don’t see many Republicans complaining about it, though. I guess he’s “our” guy now, so we’re just not going to make a fuss about that.

Yesterday his office announced a press conference for January 11.

At this press conference, Trump is expected to give an update on how his separation from his vast personal financial empire is progressing. On November 30, he tweeted, “legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!”

Good. Republicans spent a lot of time in the past few years arguing that the vast financial donations to the Clinton Foundation from private donors and foreign countries represented a massive conflict of interest. We wanted to cross-check every massive donation against every decision Clinton had made as Secretary of State – and we found plenty of reasons to be suspicious.

But you haven’t heard many Republicans demanding a full separation of President Trump from the Trump businesses. You really haven’t heard any complaining about the Kuwaiti, Bahraini, and Azerbaijani embassies booking events at Trump’s new Washington hotel, and that backdoor way of a foreign government putting money into Trump’s pocket. I guess Kuwaiti money is only bothersome when it ends up at the Clinton Foundation.

I guess he’s “our” guy now, so we’re just not going to make a fuss about that.

After promising to release his tax returns several times as a candidate, and then not doing so, the president-elect may not file any more financial disclosures than legally required:

The president-elect is not required to file the annual disclosure until 2018, but the past several presidents have filed in the spring after their inaugurations and then every year in office from then on, as a show of openness. Trump’s transition team did not respond to inquiries about whether he plans to follow that example.

Republicans would have been fine with that kind of a delay from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, right? Those financial disclosure forms were key to showcasing the “pay-for-play” allegations at the Clinton Foundation.

But I guess he’s “our” guy now, so we’re just not going to make a fuss about that.

Back during the campaign, I said a temporary embrace of Julian Assange was dangerous for Republicans. I pointed out Assange’s deeply anti-American ideology and his exposure of Afghan informers to the U.S. military. Silly me for thinking the embrace would be temporary. Kellyanne Conway says “we should pay significant attention” to what Assange says, and Sarah Palin is publicly apologizing to him.

I guess he’s “our” guy now, too, so we’re just not going to make a fuss about that.

There must have been some memo I didn’t get, announcing that Republicans don’t care about press conferences, tax returns, payments from foreign governments, financial disclosure, or Julian Assange leaking classified information anymore. Or some revision emphasizing that we only care about these things when Democrats are involved.

As noted yesterday, Mary Barra is the CEO and longtime high-ranking executive of General Motors, the taxpayer-saved company once reviled by conservatives as “Government Motors.” She was saluted at the State of the Union by President Obama and in March, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta sent the candidate a “first cut of people to consider for VP”, a list of 39 names that included Barra.

Barra’s on Trump’s economic advisory panel now.

I guess she’s “our” gal now, so we’re just not going to make a fuss about that, either.

Chuck Schumer, Not All That Different From The Guy He Was Last Year

The glowing profiles of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are arriving. His new slogan is that repealing Obamacare will “make America sick again.”

The last time I saw Schumer in person was at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when he was telling a cheerful audience just how terrific the outlook was for Hillary Clinton and his party’s Senate candidates. Lots of Democrats were blindsided by the 2016 results, but what’s worth noting now is how absolutely confident Schumer was that the Democrats wouldn’t be hurt by a lack of appeal to blue-collar voters who had traditionally supported the party:

“The number one factor in whether we retake the Senate is whether Hillary Clinton does well, and I think she’s going to do really well,” Schumer says of his former fellow New York senator. He notes that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Senate Republicans in difficult races to localize their elections, rather than get too tied to Trump’s positions and comments and scoffs, “Sorry, Mitch, this is a national election if there ever was one.”

At least publicly, Schumer has no worries about his party’s dwindling fortunes among working-class white voters. “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

Democrats lost both presidential and Senate races in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The party’s going to have to hope that Schumer’s learned from this cycle.

Although to give Schumer credit, back in 2013, he did have enough sense to recognize that the nuclear option could someday be used against a Democratic minority one day.

Paul Ryan Is Always Rumored to be Doomed, but Doom Never Quite Arrives

Ed Kilgore, October 25, 2016:

…the leader most likely to be left standing on November 9 — a pol, moreover, who has already been on a national ticket and has been lionized in the national media to the point of embarrassment — might well pack up the U-Haul and head back to Wisconsin.

The Hill, November 3, 2016:

Chatter is growing louder on Capitol Hill that Paul Ryan’s days as Speaker are numbered.

Four House Republicans, including a senior lawmaker close to leadership, told The Hill they expect Ryan to step down after Tuesday’s elections, arguing that he faces a daunting path to the 218 votes he needs to win a full two-year term leading the House GOP.

Sean Hannity, November 9, 2016:

“Paul Ryan is not going to be the speaker of the House in January,” he said. “… His state went for Donald Trump tonight. I mean, It’s an amazing turn of the events because the establishment on both sides ― Republican and Democrat ― have lost touch with the real lives of the real Americans who are really suffering,” Hannity continued. “Donald Trump has opened the door and said, ‘We’re going to fix it.’”

Yesterday 239 of 240 House Republicans voted for Ryan to be Speaker; 189 out of 193 House Democrats voted for Nancy Pelosi. Wait, more defecting Democrats than Republicans? I haven’t seen that since the Electoral College vote last month.

ADDENDA: Hurrah for all living presidents healthy enough to make the trip – basically, all but George H.W. Bush – attending the Inauguration this month.

Right now, I’m scheduled to appear on CNN International on January 10 and to return as a guest host on the extraordinarily early Mornings on the Mall with Brian Wilson on WMAL in Washington on January 13.

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