June 29, 2017… Day 161
Jezebel has a new bulleted list of daily political news scraps. They call it Barf Bag. It’s funny and has links and is more comprehensive and less gratuitously personal than this blog so I recommend it.
Wall Street Journal published an article today about attempts at collusion between a Trump associate and … Russian hackers? I don’t have the full gist yet. Haven’t seen the article. I suppose there’s no need to rush on that. I can’t even tell when something is new anymore.
Trump’s “election fraud commission” wants states to hand over all their voter information for individuals. So far, three states have said no.
Here’s what reporters asked freakin Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a liar who complains about being called a liar to her face:
- Sarah, in reference to the President’s tweets this morning that have been a matter of some discussion today, you said earlier on Fox News that the President has a right to defend himself when he is attacked and it’s no secret that this particular program has been very critical of him. However, the nature of the tweets this morning has drawn condemnation from people on Capitol Hill, including the Speaker of the House, Senator Graham, Senator Susan Collins — all of whom are allies of the President. Did the President go too far with his tweet in its deeply personal nature?
- If I could just follow on that, Sarah, if I could just follow on that. A couple of the criticisms from supporters of the President have been that this particular tweet was beneath the dignity of the office. Where does the President draw that line, on the dignity of the office?
- I have a healthcare question, but on this, just one other aspect of it. Some have suggested in their tweet response or public announcements today that the President misconstrued one of the messages that should have been gathered from the shooting that involved Steve Scalise and others, the hostility of the verbal environment can create an atmosphere of violence. I’m not saying that, but members of Congress have said that about this particular tweet. I know that episode affected the President and those here at the White House personally, very importantly and deeply. Do you have any reaction to that sentiment, that conversations like this create an atmosphere that is either dangerous or one we need to avoid?
- Sarah, I just had a healthcare question. So you talked about the President’s overall priorities. Last night, late last night, as part of the amendment and evolution on the Senate draft, $45 million was put on the table for opioid treatment and health savings accounts can be used, according to this new draft, to pay premiums in the future. Does the President support those two initiatives, and why does he believe they make the bill better, specifically does he believe that opioid allocation will be sufficient, as many people do not, to address that problem?
- How about on health savings accounts? Does he have any particular approach —
- Sarah, what about the Republicans who are criticizing the President?
- Sarah, thank you. I want to go back to the shooting and remember what President Trump said then. He said, “Our country will perhaps become closer, more unified, so important.” Does his tweet this morning, his series of tweets help to unify the country?
- But do his tweets help to unify the country, to do what he said he wanted to see happen in the wake of that shooting?
- He’s the President of the United States, Sarah.
- Sarah, two questions, to follow up on that. One is that I understand your point, but he’s the President of the United States, they are cable news anchors. So he has to stand to a higher standard, one. And two, you talk about criticism, he said that former President Obama wasn’t born in this country, right? So he clearly was a part of criticizing the past President, who was not immune to criticism himself. So I wonder how you make that argument.
- Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors, Sarah? Doesn’t he have to meet a higher standard than cable news anchors?
- Sarah, how is insulting a woman on Twitter being a fighter?
- What about the impact of statements like this on his effectiveness? There was a Maris poll this week that said 68 percent of registered voters say the President’s tweets are reckless and distracting. Only 22 percent say that they’re effective and informative. And Republicans on this question are split down the middle — half of Republicans say that they’re reckless and distracting. So how can you argue that this is something the President must do?
- Sarah, as a woman, how do you feel about the President attacking another woman specifically for her looks? And what does that show as an example to how men should be treating other women?
- He’s the President, Sarah.
- Why can’t he take the heat?
- I just have a follow-up, Sarah, and then I have a separate question too. And this kind of gets to the point that’s been made, and —
- You’ve been talking about the idea that the President is a fighter. I just want to put it in — because you talk about being personally affected by all of this as well, and that nothing is wrong with the President fighting fire with fire, is the argument that you’re making. So I would ask this to you sort of on a personal level. You have stood here and talked about your family from this podium. Are you going to tell your kids this behavior is okay?
- I want to ask you my follow-up, Sarah — a follow-up question just on more policy points, with the G20 coming up next week.
- I disagree with that. I think we talk about policy a lot here.
- I just did one about five minutes ago, Sarah.
- But I want to ask about his meeting with President Putin that is coming up next week that has just been confirmed by Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, and a definitive answer from you on whether the President will bring up election interference. It is clearly the biggest topic between the U.S. and Russia right now, the fact that Moscow meddled in the election. Is the President going to press Putin on that?
- Okay, thanks a lot, Sarah. The President’s tweet today, does it help his legislative agenda? Does it help him win the votes of those nine senators who have come out against that Senate bill? Senator Collins, Senator Murkowski, for instance? What’s your view on that?
- But as it relates to his legislative agenda — I’m not asking about the tweet itself, I’m asking about whether or not this helps his legislative agenda.
- All those points that you make, Sarah, about the —
- — the positive elements of the President’s agenda are certainly true. All of those things are true. But the President today put out this tweet which takes away from all of that, and do you expect us here in this room to simply ignore that? Now, I think that’s the valid question that should be asked of you right now. Should we just ignore this entirely?
- Two questions for you, Sarah. First, did the U.S., did the administration send a representative to the funeral mass for Chancellor Kohl? Or will they send anyone to the official funeral service July 1st?
- My other question is this: You’ve had people turn down nominations to be deputy secretary of the Treasury. The President is on his third appointee, I believe, for Secretary of the Army. And the ambassador to Ireland has declined the nomination, and there’s no candidates for ambassador to Germany or France — both major allies — or Greece, for that matter, an important country. Is the President having trouble recruiting people to fill some of the key slots that remain unfilled after six months?
- Hey, Sarah. Thank you so much. I don’t want to talk about any tweets. I want to talk about making America great again, and part of that energy dominance in Energy Week. Here’s the thing: During the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, we had some pretty scary times in North Dakota. Just a couple weeks ago, a judge (inaudible) suggesting that the Army Corps of Engineers had prematurely issued some permits. This creates more uncertainty for people. My question is this: What specifically is the administration going to do to give these companies more certainty, more clarity as they make these multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments to improve our energy? At the same point in time, our tribal leaders and tribal nations (inaudible) feeling honored and respected about this entire permitting process.
- Thank you, Sarah. I want to ask you again about this Russia sanctions legislations in Congress. If, as Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said, the administration wants to go to the upper limits of the law in keeping those sanctions on Russia, then why not support this legislation that basically keeps what has been slapped down in place?
- Sarah, our question is on healthcare. Specifically, our governor put out a number that perhaps hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana will lose their healthcare if this bill goes through. If you add up the other states, that kind of puts it into the millions. Is there an acceptable number (inaudible) behind the scenes of people losing coverage to get the great bill through?
- Thanks, Sarah. I had a two-parter. The President had let us know that he had planned on having an ISIS news conference to update people on the situation within the next couple weeks, which is now-ish. But we’re coming up on departure —
- Now-ish. I’m wondering, do you expect that we would get that update, whether it’s a news conference or just kind of remarks before the upcoming foreign trip, or whether we need to wait? And I also wanted to ask you — it looked like there might be some coverage of remarks at the fundraiser yesterday. It didn’t work out. But beyond yesterday, are you guys looking at beginning to do that now for fundraisers of a certain size to have some transparency and the ability to hear what he’s telling donors?
- So no apology from the president, Sarah? (called after her as she left — and ignored)