America Doesn’t Do Snap Elections, And That’s Too Bad

Jennifer Calfas of TIME writes today about a particularly damaging new poll for President Donald Trump:

Amid a tumultuous week across America, President Donald Trump saw low approval ratings in three key swing states that helped catapult him to victory last November.

According to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Monday, Trump has an approval rating of under 40% in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states that turned red in the 2016 election for the first time in a presidential election since the 1980s. He won each of those states by less than 100,000 votes.

In those states, more than six in 10 voters said they believe Trump has embarrassed them since the election. About one in four said Trump made them proud, according to the poll.

Trump won surprise victories in critical Rust Belt and Upper Midwest states–at least they were surprising to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which was foolishly campaigning in states that as it turns out she would never win in the campaign’s final days while letting these presumed safe states slip away. The economically nationalistic (and xenophobic) message Trump offered to voters in a few economically beleaguered states gave him an edge that in the allowed him to overcome a three-million popular vote advantage for Hillary.

But that was never going to be the end of the story, with those voters needing to see tangible progress in order to remain loyal to Trump. The near-total lack of not just progress, but basic functionality in Washington since Trump took office despite one-party control of the government, while the administration’s innumerable scandals compound almost daily, is lethal to the swing-vote support that put Trump over the top.

We imagine a lot of them feel rather swindled, much like the majority of Americans (and Coloradans) who didn’t vote for Trump themselves felt after fewer than 100,000 voters in four states trumped the votes of millions.

There is of course no provision for “taking a mulligan” in American politics like there is in other places like the United Kingdom. Right now, the inability to constitutionally change what could be broadly characterized as failing leadership in the United States looks pretty bad in the eyes of the rest of the world. Anything that can be done about it rests in the hands of Trump’s own party, which does not appear to have the collective will to intervene.

The result is that the 2018 elections may see historic pent-up voter frustration unleashed on Trump’s party, in the Rust Belt but not just there. Perversely, the growing likelihood of a major defeat in 2018 could prompt Republicans to hold on to Trump for longer than they would otherwise, in hopes of accomplishing agenda items.

That could be the story of the next year. How much can the GOP-controlled government jam through before the voters make them stop.

Weekend Open Thread

“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry.”

–George Bernard Shaw

You Should Probably Stop Saying That

Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. Most likely.

Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne is totally absolutely probably maybe running for Governor in 2018. Possibly.

Earlier this month we learned that Lynne was “exploring” a bid for Governor, with the self-professed caveat that she wasn’t sure there was enough support for her among Democrats to pursue a campaign in 2018. As the Denver Post quoted Lynne on Aug. 1:

“I want to make sure that I have everything in order. A lot of people urge candidates to run. But you really want to make sure that you can solidify that — that they will be endorsers, that they will be financial supporters and that’s a process.”

As we said at the time: “If you’re not sure that you would have the support to mount a strong statewide campaign, then you don’t have the support to mount a strong statewide campaign.” But as the Summit Daily News reports, Lynne’s proto-campaign is sticking with its message that she still isn’t sure if she should really run, even though she’s already filed to run:

Lynne is scheduled to appear at a Summit County Democrats mixer in Breckenridge on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, with gubernatorial candidates Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy and Rep. Jared Polis. The private party event will include brief introductions followed by a short Q&A.

Reached Thursday afternoon, Curtis Hubbard of OnSight Public Affairs — an advisor to Lynne — said she has received a groundswell of encouragement to run, but is still lining up formal support before making an announcement. [Pols emphasis]

“Donna is using this exploratory phase to identify supporters and to hear from key Democrats across the state,” Hubbard said in a statement. “Sunday’s appearance is part of that ongoing effort. She expects to make a formal announcement in the weeks ahead.”

Thursday’s story in the Summit Daily News was a follow-up on the fact that Lynne had officially filed paperwork to run for governor as of Aug. 11. There is no such thing as an “exploratory committee” in Colorado — you either file paperwork to form a candidate committee or you don’t — but this detail is apparently confusing to some news outlets.

As the Aspen Times Tweeted today, the only step left for Lynne’s pending gubernatorial campaign is to announce that she is really running for Governor. This is partially true; the real next step for Lynne is to STOP SAYING THAT YOU DON’T KNOW IF PEOPLE WILL SUPPORT YOUR CAMPAIGN.

I’m Donna Lynne, and I’m really not sure that anybody wants me to run for governor!  

In politics and in life, cantaloupes can be great metaphors. We’ll leave you with this image from the La Junta Tribune-Democrat on July 30, 2017 (we couldn’t possible make this up):

Mostly ripe, but I’ll make a final decision at a later date.

 

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 18)

The sun will come out…tomorrow…and Sunday…but not Monday. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

So long, Steve BannonPresident Trump’s Chief Strategist is out of a job.

Earlier this week, Bannon told American Prospect magazine that he thought the recent news focus on white supremacists would actually be politically beneficial to Trump and Republicans.

 

► Lawmakers are growing concerned that President Trump might deliberately refuse to spend money allocated by Congress for federal budgets. As Politico reports:

Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.

The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freezecongressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump…

…Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending.

The goal is to fend off cuts that they fear could damage foreign aid programs, hobble U.S. diplomacy and ultimately weaken America’s national security.

So, about that separate “branches of government” thing…

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Buh-Bye, Steve Bannon

UPDATE: As The Atlantic reports, Bannon ain’t happy:

“He’s going nuclear,” said another friend. “You have no idea. This is gonna be really fucking bad.”

—–

Steve Bannon, one scary looking dude.

That’s the word from the New York Times, controversial White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is being shown the door as the Trump presidency’s struggle to find footing in the grip of self-inflicted chaos and disaster goes on:

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

Bannon, who never looked comfortable in the Donald Trump White House’s strict Manhattan dress code, was both the focal point of controversy and the ideological pole star that drew in the specific segments of voters considered integral to Trump’s narrow election. It was Bannon’s unapologetic nationalism as voiced by Trump that appealed to Rust Belt voters disaffected by NAFTA, which proved key to Trump’s Electoral College majority. And Bannon’s platform also played a role in motivating the racist fringe to support Trump–a disturbingly symbiotic relationship as became clearer in the past week.

It’s safe to say that history will not miss this creep.

Amber McReynolds Moves Toward SoS Bid

Word of a possible new Democratic entry into the 2018 Colorado Secretary of State’s race could spark new interest in a critically important but underappreciated statewide downballot office, one that Democrats have tried and failed to win for a number of years. Amber McReynolds, the current Director of Election for the Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s office, is reportedly well down the path of discussions to determine if she should challenge incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

McReynolds, who is currently unaffiliated but would likely register as a Democrat for this race, would represent a departure from previous candidates with mostly legislative or other political experience; an elections professional from the state’s foremost county clerk’s office–more in the mold of successful Republican candidates for Secretary of State like Donetta Davidson and…well, yes, incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams. There’s an argument that a challenger from a position of competency like another well-known elections official would represent a better challenger to Williams, who has prided himself on running as smooth and uncontroversial a ship as possible.

That was of course made much more difficult by Williams’ very poor handling of the recent request from the Trump administration’s so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, voicing support for an effort that even most Republican secretaries of state think is a waste of time and resources. Williams’ initially confusing statements about what data was bring provided resulted in thousands of Colorado voters un-registering in an act of misguided protest. Since then Williams has tried to walk back that gaffe while reaffirming the integrity of our state’s elections, but for lay political news consumers in Colorado the damage is arguably done.

So yes, we’d say there is an opening here–to win an office that has bedeviled Democrats for longer than most of us have been doing politics in Colorado. And if she does get in, McReynolds could be just the candidate Democrats need to make the most of it.

Friday Open Thread

“If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be?”

–Richard Branson

Jason Crow Keeps Up Momentum in CD-6

Democrat Jason Crow

With every Trump Tweet, Democrats seemingly become more emboldened about their chances in 2018. Whether sensing opportunity or stoking the fires of their own growing anger with the White House and an inept Republican Congress, Democrats in Colorado have had little trouble finding candidates for the most high-profile races in the state.

Three Democrats are running for the opportunity to take on Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) in CD-6, a seat that Dems have been perpetually optimistic about capturing ever since redistricting changed the boundaries in 2012. While the slate of candidates may not yet be complete, with each passing week Democrat Jason Crow seems to be pulling further and further away from the rest of the pack. Today, Crow’s campaign announced that it has secured two more significant endorsements that should play big dividends in a Democratic Primary: former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and state Senator Irene Aguilar.

Crow’s solid Q2 fundraising numbers and a steady stream of notable endorsements have given him plenty of momentum over the other two Democrats in the race (Levi Tillemann and David Arrestad). We’ve got a long way to go here, of course, but surrogates for the incumbent Coffman have already demonstrated that Crow is the Democrat who concerns them the most in 2018. If Crow can keep up this momentum, we’re likely to see that General Election matchup heating up one year from now.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 17)

On this day 11 years ago, it was 2006. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but he has a LOT of work to do just to win back his Republican base. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin absolutely dismantled Gardner in a column yesterday in the Washington Post titled “Cory Gardner Has a Choice: Voters or Trump.” Here’s an excerpt:

Gardner has sacrificed his integrity and betrayed the confidence voters place in him to be an independent-minded voice. And for what? His reputation has suffered, his profile has fallen…

…It’s Gardner’s moral absenteeism that reminds all voters how unworthy of office are Trump and his go-along Republicans. Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats should get ready for 2020 — they can and should have the chance to knock him out of office.

Yikes! It has not been a good week for Sen. Gardner. Maybe he’ll feel better tomorrow after he hosts a fundraiser tonight in Denver along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

President Trump is on a mission to burn every bridge imaginable, and it may only be a matter of time before he is forced to answer his own phones in the White House. As Politico reports, Trump is essentially just an orang-er version of that angry old man down the street who shakes his fist at kids for running on his lawn:

President Donald Trump’s decision to double down on his argument that “both sides” were to blame for the violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was driven in part by his own anger — and his disdain for being told what to do…

…The controversy over his response to the Charlottesville violence was no different. Agitated about being pressured by aides to clarify his first public statement, Trump unexpectedly unwound the damage control of the prior two days by assigning blame to the “alt-left” and calling some of the white supremacist protesters “very fine people.”

“In some ways, Trump would rather have people calling him racist than say he backed down the minute he was wrong,” one adviser to the White House said on Wednesday about Charlottesville. “This may turn into the biggest mess of his presidency because he is stubborn and doesn’t realize how bad this is getting.”

That thing about the old guy down the street? We take that back. Trump is 9-years-old. You’re not the boss of me!!!

Never content to let a divisive issue settle, Trump is now raging about the removal of statues that celebrate the Confederate Army. From the Washington Post:

President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments” in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.

Trump’s string of morning tweets made clear the president was not willing to back down over his claims Tuesday that some of the demonstrators had legitimate grievances over the loss of Southern “history,” and that “both sides” were to blame in the mayhem that left a woman dead and at least 19 more injured. Trump made those claims a day after he had belatedly condemned the neo-Nazi and Klux Klan groups that organized the Unite the Right rally. Politicians from both parties have criticized the president for inflaming racial tensions and failing to provide clear moral leadership for the nation.

History may well show that Trump’s Presidency truly did collapse this week. Hell, even Brick Tamland Rep. Doug Lamborn is condemning Trump’s comments about white supremacists in no uncertain terms.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Even Doug Lamborn Is Dissing Trump Now

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, that’s everybody:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn pushed back against President Donald Trump’s Tuesday comments that “there is blame on both sides” for weekend violence in Virginia, saying any statements that in any way embolden white supremacists are wrong.

“The KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and nationalists are abhorrent,” the El Paso County Republican said. “Statements that provide even indirect comfort to these merchants of evil are unacceptable and wrong.”

Trump remarks on his home turf at Trump Tower in New York City backtracked on a more deliberate statement he made Monday in Washington condemning those hate groups. He angrily placed blame on liberal groups on Tuesday in addition to white supremacists for the Charlottesville, Va., violence. Some of those protesting the rally to save a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee were “also very violent,” he said.

“There are two sides to a story,” he said. He added that some facts about the violence in Charlottesville still aren’t known.

Not to be gratuitously insulting to the Republican representative of deep-red El Paso County and Colorado Springs, but Rep. Doug Lamborn has a well-earned reputation for not being, you know, the sharpest knife in the proverbial drawer. Lamborn has had his own racially-tinged gaffes, like his unfortunate reference to President Barack Obama as a “tar baby” he’d rather not hug–an incident that may in retrospect may have been more clumsy than than it was intentionally racist.

Either way, President Trump has now given even the most gaffe-prone politician a wide-open shot at rehabilitation, simply by jumping on the bandwagon of condemning Trump’s increasingly undeniable and unapologetic racism–and even a bunch for whom the offenses were not ‘gaffes’ at all. After doubling down on horrifying initial remarks after the violence in Virginia last weekend that everyone thought the White House would try to walk back–and indeed, they tried–there’s just not much for Republicans to do now other than minimize the collateral damage.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that more or less the whole Republican Party expressed its disapproval of Trump–and considering they did so just a couple of weeks before he won the election, their sincerity is not real easy to gauge.

Unless that prior behavior tells you everything you need to know.

Colorado’s Senate GOP Spokesman Calls Fact-Check Journalism “Largely Phony” (And More)

(Grrrr, facts are dumb — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

paige on Ingold article 8-2017Colorado’s Republican Senate spokesman, Sean Paige, isn’t shy about expressing himself on Twitter.

So I was surprised that he wouldn’t explain why he took to Twitter to call into question the “objectivity” of John Ingold’s excellent Denver Post article, “Is Medicaid Gobbling Up Colorado’s Budget?

“What’s wrong with The Denver Post article?” I tweeted at Paige, who’s the former Deputy Director of Colorado Americans for Prosperity. “This is one of the most serious topics facing #coleg #copolitics.”

He disappointed me by tweeting back, “I’ll leave the faux media critic shtick 2 U and share what critiques I have with the paper. But I thought the piece was flawed.”

I eventually got more details on Paige’s thinking, because someone passed along a Facebook post by Paige, in which he explained his problems with the piece and with journalists.

Basically, he seems to hold them in very low regard, calling fact checking by reporters a “largely phony” activity carried out mostly by “left-leaning journalists not correcting but counter-spinning points of view they disagree with.” (Now I feel much better about him calling me a “faux media critic.”)

Ingold’s Medicaid piece is an example of the left-leaning, counter-spinning work of the press, writes Paige:

Paige: “The ‘reporter,’ who in this case becomes an advocate disguised as an ‘analyst,’ takes on the question of whether the Medicaid expansion that accompanied Obamacare is really, in fact, devouring a bigger share of Colorado’s budget. But instead of just reporting the facts and the truth — which of course is taking a bigger bite out of the budget, squeezing dollars that could be going to schools, roads, etc. — the writer [Ingold] works to soften that harsh but factual conclusion by mounting a defense of the program and putting the problem in a context that makes it appear like a non-problem. He’s doing what Democrats do, in other words, every time a non-Democrat asks and impertinent question about the blob that’s eating the state budget.” [emphasis added]

So Paige is openly advocating for shallow journalism. He wants Ingold to write that Medicaid costs are increasing and stop there!

Ingold’s sin was to dig into the budget Medicaid numbers, instead of just regurgitating the budget pie charts.

He determined that none of the money being spent on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion can go to “roads, schools, etc.,” as Paige wants. You’d think this would be important information for Paige, like he other facts reported by Ingold: The Medicaid budget has, in fact, increased, from 17 percent of the general fund in 2000 to 26 percent today. But how to cut it? Ingold reports that if you took the advice of many conservatives and took away Medicaid from “able-bodied” poor people (most of whom incidentally, are already working), you’d save hundreds of millions of dollars out of a $10 billion general-fund budget.

Ingold tells us where a disproportionate amount of Medicaid spending goes: “People with disabilities and people in nursing homes, for instance, make up 10 percent of the state’s Medicaid enrollment — but account for 42 percent of state Medicaid spending.”

These nonpartisan facts didn’t stick in Paige’s brain, because he accuses Ingold of doing “intellectual contortions” to avoid “reaching a politically incorrect conclusion.”

Since Paige cites no factual errors, it appears he thinks Ingold contorted by failing to report on, as Paige puts it, “the trap [Obamacare] set for the state, by creating the potential for a fiscal crisis when ‘the feds’ either can’t or won’t continue with that arrangement and Obama’s check bounces.”

All of Paige’s hostility toward Ingold seems to stem from Ingold’s decision to leave that dubious notion out of his article. Seriously? Every time reporters write about a federal program with a state impact (military, national parks, roads, BLM, EPA), they should discuss the possibility of Uncle Sam’s check bouncing?

Paige, who didn’t return a call for comment, concludes his post with a broad slam at fact checking, which is one of the most honorable missions of journalism in our age of degraded discourse.

Paige: “I believe ‘yes but’ stories, like the dishonest ‘fact-checking’ exercises that have become such a trend among media outlets, are just another way for opinionated journalists to have the last word, while pretending to be honest brokers of information.”

I have to say, I’m glad he’s not my press secretary. But if he were, and I were his honorable Republican boss, I’d tell Paige to immediately stop blaming Obamacare for Colorado’s budget problems and, instead, come up with reality-based solutions. I doubt a specific list of Medicaid cuts would be among them.

Thursday Open Thread

“Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”

–Adlai Stevenson

Conservative Columnist: “Gardner Shows No Moral Leadership”

Senator Cory Gardner is in trouble.

On Tuesday, Gardner held his first solo town hall appearance(s) in more than a year. The coverage of those events (in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lakewood) was largely negative for the freshman Senator, but there were a few friendlier media voices that could help Gardner feel a little better about the rough reception he received.

And then there was Jennifer Rubin.

The well-known conservative columnist absolutely unloaded on Gardner today. Rubin writes the “Right Turn” blog for the Washington Post, and if you have a knee-jerk reaction to assume a liberal bias because of the publication, it’s important to know that Rubin’s conservative bonafides are more than solid. In fact, Rubin heaped praise and sunshine on Gardner just last December, calling him a “steady but quiet force in the Senate” in a column dedicated entirely to our man from Yuma.

It’s safe to say that Rubin is no longer buying whatever Gardner is selling. We’d encourage you to read her entire column today, titled, “Cory Gardner Has a Choice: Voters or Trump?” In fact, it’s hard for us to pick out a handful of anecdotes to best represent the apparent disgust Rubin has with Gardner today, but we’ll do our best.

Sen. Cory Gardner in a July press conference about repealing Obamacare.

Rubin starts out by pointing out that Gardner has come a long way from where he started when he won a Senate seat in 2014:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) ran in 2014 as a reform-minded, inclusive Republican (now an oxymoron). He successfully beat back the “war on women” charge from Democrats. He nevertheless turned out to be a political lemming [Pols emphasis] — yes on endorsing Donald Trump’s candidacy (until the “Access Hollywood” tape); yes on denying Merrick Garland a confirmation vote; yes on President Trump’s extreme and unqualified nominees (only the U.S. trade representative [!] nominee drew a no vote); and yes on Trumpcare, including a one-year ban on Planned Parenthood funding. When he returned home this week, he got an angry reception…

Rubin is not at all impressed with Gardner’s attempt to finesse questions about President Trump, whose bizarre news conference on Tuesday seemed to indicate his support for white supremacists:

When the hard questions come, Gardner shows no moral leadership…

…In  three years, no one will say in his defense, “But Cory Gardner was privately upset so he gets a pass!” or “But Cory Gardner made empty public statements after Charlottesville!”

It is because of passive, cowering Republicans such as Gardner that Trump feels confident he can ride out his term. Gardner is the quintessential decent man who refused to interpose himself between an abhorrent leader and his country. Gardner has sacrificed his integrity and betrayed the confidence voters place in him to be an independent-minded voice. And for what? His reputation has suffered, his profile has fallen. [Pols emphasis]

In her final paragraph, Rubin drops the hammer:

It’s Gardner’s moral absenteeism that reminds all voters how unworthy of office are Trump and his go-along Republicans. Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats should get ready for 2020 — they can and should have the chance to knock him out of office. [Pols emphasis]

There is no way to sugarcoat this for Gardner. Rubin was one of the leaders of the Cory Gardner fan club as recently as last December. But as 2017 wore on, it became apparent that Gardner preferred the title of “leadership” in the U.S. Senate as opposed to actually, you know, showing leadership.

We noticed the change ourselves some months back, but these critical comments from an erstwhile-friendly conservative commentator confirm that Sen. Gardner took a hard-right turn at Donald Trump’s side and hasn’t looked back since.

Donald Trump May Have Lost Control of the White House

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, left, and other staffers during Trump’s Tuesday press conference (Kristin Donnelly, NBC News)

Donald Trump has gotten away with saying more ridiculous things than any President in modern history. With his stunning remarks Tuesday on the violence in Charlottesville, VA, Trump may have finally gone beyond a point that his own staff is willing to follow.

As multiple media outlets are reporting today, Trump’s insane comments seemingly defending white supremacists could lead to a mass exodus of vital staff members.

Here’s NBC News:

To President Trump’s aides, it was stunning. Multiple sources inside and close to the White House described the president’s senior staff as confused and frustrated, caught off guard by Trump’s decision to defend his initial response to the violence in Virginia.

He “went rogue,” one senior White House official told NBC News.

And Politico:

White House aides are wrestling with how to respond to President Donald Trump’s defiant news conference on Tuesday in which he doubled down on his statement that “both sides” are to blame for the Charlottesville violence and offered what some perceived to be overtures to white supremacists.

No aides had yet threatened to resign as of Wednesday morning, according to White House officials and advisers, but a number of White House staffers had private conversations on Tuesday night about how terribly the day went. [Pols emphasis]

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who was standing near Trump on Tuesday for what was supposed to be a statement about infrastructure, was particularly displeased, according to people familiar with the matter, as the president launched into a rant about the culpability of the “alt-left” while calling some of the protesters at the white nationalist rally “very fine people.”…

And The Washington Post:

Now that President Trump has reverted to his earlier position that “many sides” are to blame for the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, the dismay of senior people very close to him is suddenly getting smuggled out to the rest of the world, as if by magic. [Pols emphasis] We are told that Gary Cohn, a top economic adviser to the White House, was “disgusted” and “upset.” We learn that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have been urging moderation. We are informedthat Trump’s top aides were “stunned” by Trump’s comments, and that new chief of staff John F. Kelly was “very frustrated” by them.

And the New York Times:

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. [Pols emphasis] The National Economic Council chairman, Gary D. Cohn, and the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.

We could go on and on and on, but let’s wrap up with this story from CNN:

Donald Trump always got away with everything.

The most unorthodox candidate and president in history has exhibited a near-mystical capacity to evade the price of blunders that would have felled conventional politicians.

If that is ever going to change, the moment may be now.

Trump’s approval ratings continue to plummet, as does his hope of advancing any sort of policy agenda with Congressional Republicans who are increasingly distancing themselves from the President. The President has already burned through three different Communications Directors in his first 200 days in office; Hope Hicks, who is all of 28-years-old, is the new White House Communications Director. But what happens when critical staff members such as Cohn and Kelly decide that they can longer work for Trump?

At what point does the White House all but cease to function? We may be on the verge of finding out the answer to that question.

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