It’s going to be a scorcher this Memorial Day Weekend — don’t forgot your sunscreen. 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…
► If you’re heading out for a road trip this Memorial Day Weekend, make sure to bring along some extra cash for rising gas prices. The average price of gasoline is creeping toward the $3.00 per gallon mark — an increase of 31% in the last year and the highest average mark since 2014. As Politico explains, rising gas prices are happening at a bad time for Republicans:
President Donald Trump is hoping a wave of tax-cut-fueled economic euphoria will boost his approval ratings and his party’s political fortunes this fall. A sharp spike in gas prices could slam the brakes on all of that…
…The increased cost of fuel is already wiping out a big chunk of the benefit Americans received from the GOP tax cuts. And things could get worse as summer approaches following the administration’s standoff with Iran and a move by oil-producing nations to tighten supplies.
The result: The economic and political benefits Trump and the GOP hoped to reap from cutting tax rates could be swamped by higher pump prices that Americans face every time they hit the road.
“If you look at the benefits of what households are getting from lower rates, roughly one-third of that is wiped out if these higher gas prices are sustained,” said Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley. “And when we drive down the street, every block we see glaring signs about how much gas costs that day and it’s all over the media. The tax cuts were a one-off. It’s a one-time level shift in your paycheck that you are not reminded of every day.”
The rise in gas prices has a greater effect on lower-income Americans, particularly those from the Southern U.S. and the blue-collar voting base that supporter Donald Trump in 2016.
► The editorial board of the New York Times takes another broad look at the Trump administration:
So, for the fourth time in a year, we’ve compiled a list of Mr. Trump’s more egregious transgressions. These items don’t represent disputes about policy, over which reasonable people may disagree. They simply serve to catalog what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the other Trump-supporting Republicans in Congress and across America, through their silence, have now blessed as behavior befitting a president of the United States.
We find this guide a helpful way to avoid growing numb to what is so abnormal about this presidency, and to remind ourselves that a day may yet come when dignity and decency will matter again, even, perhaps, to Mr. McConnell and his fellow hypocrites.
Check out the entire bullet-point list from the Times, but make sure you have the antacid within reach.
► Chris Cillizza of CNN examines the (faceless) government conspiracy being peddled by President Trump:
Over the last 72 hours, the President of the United States has leaned into a conspiracy theory that goes like this: During the 2016 presidential race, President Barack Obama — via the FBI — placed a “spy” within Trump’s campaign for purely political reasons.
Trump made that charge plain in a tweet Friday morning:
“Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!”…
…But the fact that this is what Trump does shouldn’t distract us from the allegations here: Donald Trump is saying his predecessor as president used the leading law enforcement entity in the country to spy on him because Obama/the “deep state” didn’t want someone as unconventional as Trump to be president.
To be clear: There is zero public evidence that Trump’s claims are anywhere close to the truth.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
“We’ll see what happens. We are talking to them now,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House Friday morning. “They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it.”
“It could even be the 12th,” he added, referring to the date next month that had been set for him to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Asked if North Korea is playing games, Trump said: “Everybody plays games. You know that better than anybody.”
Trump’s comments, as he headed to Annapolis to speak at the U.S. Naval Academy commencement, came shortly after he also expressed optimism on Twitter about opening a dialogue with Kim — and accused Democrats of “rooting against” his administration’s efforts.
Colorado Republicans are walking quite the tightrope when it comes to supporting Trump’s decisions on talks with North Korea. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is blaming North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for Trump’s surprise decision to cancel talks.
► Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Walker Stapleton has no problem with pulling numbers out of thin air in order to support his arguments.
► The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons resigned this week because of turf battles between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and first son-in-law Jared Kushner.
► New polling numbers from Gallup show that Americans view the Trump administration as the least ethical administration in modern history. That’s not good.
► There are two applicants seeking to fill the remainder of the term of former Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, who died earlier this month after battling cancer.
► Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) is trying to be optimistic about the passage of a Farm Bill later this year, as a spokesperson tells the Durango Herald.
► 9News takes a look at local politicians who may be blocking you on Twitter.
► Channel 4 reporter Shaun Boyd finally shows up to the “Truth Check” party on the first TV ad for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton. Last week 9News picked up on a blatant falsehood in Stapleton’s ad that was first pointed out here at Colorado Pols. On Wednesday, Fox 31 joined the party.
► Brian Eason of the Associated Press examines rising costs for college students in Colorado.
► Blair Miller of Denver7 reports on a visit to Colorado from the chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association:
Democratic Governors Association Chair Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington came to Denver Thursday to rally voters to back whoever is the Democratic candidate for governor in November as part of a push to change the nation’s gun laws.
Inslee was joined by Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll and Tom Sullivan, who is now running for state office and whose son died in the Aurora theater shooting, along with the leaders of Never Again Colorado and Vote For Our Lives Colorado – two left-leaning groups working to cut back on gun violence…
…Inslee took a hit at Walker Stapleton, who Fox News grilled last weekend about skipping a debate hosted by Never Again Colorado, for doing so.
“I believe it’s Walker Stapleton, he’s running ads talking about his courage … he’s afraid of teenagers with braces on,” Inslee said.
► Voters in Ireland are going to the polls today for a major referendum on abortion rights. As ABC News reports, Irish citizens from around the world are flying home to cast their ballot on a measure that would repeal a Constitutional ban on abortion throughout the country.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► A Republican Congressman from Virginia is being called out by former aides for…well, just read this from Politico:
Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett and his wife turned the congressman’s staff into personal servants, multiple former employees to the freshman Republican told POLITICO — assigning them tasks from grocery shopping to fetching the congressman’s clothes to caring for their pet dog, all during work hours.
POLITICO has spoken with four former staffers who detailed a deeply dysfunctional office in which the congressman and his wife, Flanna, often demanded that staff run personal errands outside their typical congressional duties. The couple called on staff to pick up groceries, chauffeur Garrett’s daughters to and from his Virginia district, and fetch clothes that the congressman forgot at his Washington apartment. They were even expected to watch and clean up after Sophie, their Jack Russell-Pomeranian mix, the aides said.
The staffers said they feared that if they refused Garrett‘s or his wife’s orders — both were known for explosive tempers — they would struggle to advance in their careers. It wasn’t just full-time staff: many of the allegedly inappropriate requests were made of interns, the former aides said.
► One outspoken player for the Denver Broncos has a message for President Trump.
► Experts try to understand why health insurance costs are so ridiculously high in Summit County.