Get More Smarter on Friday (June 1)

Make sure your mailbox is cleaned out and ready to go — you’re about to get buried in campaign mailers. 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… 

► New job numbers show that the unemployment rate in the United States is the lowest it has been since 2000. As the Washington Post reports, President Trump (again) broke a long-standing tradition in leaking the news early:

President Trump on Friday broke with decades of protocol and commented publicly about the highly anticipated jobs report data 69 minutes before they were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Treasury yields moved sharply higher within seconds of a tweet from Trump that said he was “looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning.” He had never issued such a tweet before. Bloomberg News data also showed that the value of the U.S. dollar moved sharply higher after the Twitter post compared with previous trades the mornings jobs data are released. That means traders were probably making investment decisions based on signals they took from Trump’s post…[Pols emphasis]

…it led to an outcry from Democrats and Republicans, particularly veterans of past White House teams, who said the restrictions in place are meant to both prevent the politicization of these reports and leaks of market-moving information. Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary to President George W. Bush, said of Trump’s post: “This certainly was a no-no. The advance info is sacrosanct – not to be shared.”

Nothing is sacrosanct in the Trump White House.

 

► Before Donald Trump, the most prominent orange man in the Republican Party was former House Speaker John Boehner. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Boehner has some telling thoughts on the state of the GOP:

John Boehner, freed from the constraints of elected office and living his best life, offered a candid analysis of the state of the party he once led.

“There is no Republican Party,” Boehner said during an appearance at the annual GOP gathering at Mackinac Island in Michigan earlier this week. “There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.”

He is exactly right…

…The fact is the Republican Party, as currently constituted, bears only a slight resemblance to the party Boehner led — or even left when he resigned in 2015. What was once a rump group of ardent conservatives — loosely organized as the House Freedom Caucus — is now a primary arm of the party, elevated by the Trump victory. The so-called establishment of the GOP has moved to accommodate Trump and, in so doing, lost any of the strategic high ground they might have maintained.

 

► A judge on Friday ordered a temporary halt to the nation’s most restrictive abortion policy that was recently approved by lawmakers in Iowa.

 

President Trump’s trade war could be costly to your party budget this summer. The price of canned beer is likely to rise as a result of Trump’s new aluminum tariffs, and that was before news that Europe plans to engage in its own trade sanctions in response to the Trump administration’s decisions. 

As Politico reports today, NAFTA could be the next trade deal to get turned upside down:

The White House is hoping the campaign of aggression will cause Canada and Mexico to cave as talks to renegotiate the 25-year-old NAFTA agreement are plagued by standoffs and delays. But instead, the moves could backfire as Canada and Mexico retaliate with their own tariffs, leading to a stalemate that would result in Trump pulling out of NAFTA altogether.

Even by the most optimistic calculations, only a few weeks remain before a window closes for lawmakers to consider a deal this year. A complicated timeline of events must take place to get the deal through Congress. In addition, the Mexican presidential elections are about a month away, leaving the current administration there with little wiggle room to make big concessions.

And now both Canada and Mexico may be in no mood to deal.

“We had been very specific, both Canada and Mexico, that we would not negotiate with a gun pointed to our heads,” said Jorge Guajardo, a former Mexican ambassador who now works as a senior director at McLarty Associates in Washington. “That’s exactly what they are doing now.”

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► Corruption, shmumption. From the Washington Post:

President Trump said Thursday that Rod Blagojevich “shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

After pardoning conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign-finance laws, Trump told reporters traveling aboard Air Force One that he is considering commuting the prison sentence of the disgraced former Illinois governor and pardoning Martha Stewart, who was convicted of lying to investigators and obstructing justice related to insider trading.

Trump’s comments on Blagojevich got the least attention but, frankly, were the most startling. A jury of his peers convicted the former prosecutor of 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, soliciting bribes and conspiracy in 2011. He was impeached and removed from office almost unanimously. He left office with an 8 percent approval rating

…“I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden. And I’m just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing,” Blagojevich said on a court-authorized FBI wiretap that was played during his trial.

Apparently referring to that tape, Trump told reporters: “If you look at what he said, he said something to the effect like, ‘What do I get?’ … Stupid thing to say. But he’s sort of saying … he’s gonna make a U.S. senator, which is a very big deal. If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado. … Plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse. He shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

Blagojevich is currently serving his prison time at a federal facility southwest of Denver.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is apparently on another Asia trip — and meeting with another dictator.

 

► Is something medically wrong with Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)? It’s pretty clear from this video that Coffman is…off.

 

► As Politico reports, President Trump is more pushover than master negotiator.

 

Blair Miller of Denver7 reports on efforts by Colorado Democrats to push back on new family planning proposals from the Trump administration:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and 12 other Democratic governors on Thursday sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urging him and the Trump administration not to make sweeping changes to a federal program that supports reproductive health services for people across the country.

Trump and Azar’s proposed changes to Title X, a family-planning program that has been in place for 47 years, would include banning family-planning clinics from sharing a building or financial resources with clinics that provide abortions. Their proposal would also include a “gag rule,” as some have called it, that would ban clinics that received Title X funding from discussing abortions unless a patient explicitly requests that information. Opponents say the proposed rule also would change the requirement that birth control methods be “medically approved.”

The proposal also contains a shift toward abstinence-only education and a possible expansion of a ban on sending U.S. money to foreign entities that provide abortions.

Raise your hand if you think President Trump knows what the word “abstinence” means.

 

► Amtrak is under serious political pressure to live up to expansion promises, as the Pueblo Chieftain reports:

Lawmakers from Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico are demanding that new Amtrak President Richard Anderson keep the federally sponsored railroad’s past commitment to support improvements to the route of the Southwest Chief passenger train.

In a letter to Anderson, the federal lawmakers — including Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner — are demanding that Amtrak provide a $3 million grant the railroad had agreed to provide before Anderson became chief of Amtrak last year.

“The lack of transparency by Amtrak management about its changing position on the Southwest Chief is troubling, particularly for a government-sponsored enterprise entrusted with an important public transportation mission,” the letter says.

► Here’s the latest from the Colorado Springs Independent about ongoing negotiations with the EPA and the Colorado Springs area over water pollution concerns.

 

► Four of the five Republicans running for Congress in CD-5 expressed their allegiance to President Trump in a debate on Thursday. Not in attendance was incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), whose re-election strategy generally revolves around staying hidden in a closet somewhere.

 

Peter Roper of the Pueblo Chieftain reports on Democratic efforts to woo voters in Southern Colorado in advance of the CD-3 Primary Election.

 

 Joey Bunch reports on a new television ad from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis and in the process gets very confused about healthcare issues. Universal healthcare and single-payer healthcare ARE NOT THE SAME THING.

 

Republicans will not have a candidate in HD-59 (Durango area) because the candidate nominated by the party wasn’t actually a registered Republican. Whoops!

 

 We wouldn’t hike around the Rocky Flats area, either.

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► Let’s just call it what it is: Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt is a straight-up thief. As the Washington Post reports, Pruitt recently spent $1,560 on 12 pens:

The account manager at the Tiny Jewel Box, which calls itself Washington’s “premier destination for fine jewelry and watches,” had promised to expedite the order of a dozen customized silver fountain pens — each emblazoned with the seal of the Environmental Protection Agency and the signature of its leader, Scott Pruitt.

Now all that the EPA staff member working with the store needed was for a top Pruitt aide to sign off on the $3,230 order, which also included personalized journals…

…The exchange, included among thousands of pages of emails released this week as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Sierra Club, offered another glimpse of the high-end tastes of the EPA chief, who has faced months of scrutiny over his expenditures of taxpayer money on first-class travel, an unprecedented security detail, a $43,000 phone booth, a top-of-the-line SUV and other office upgrades.

Pruitt has recently taken to blaming his staff for many of these absurd expenditures.

 

► President Trump met Thursday with victims of the school shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston. A mother of one of the victims compared Trump to a toddler:

Rhonda Hart, whose 14-year-old daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed at the school, told The Associated Press that Trump repeatedly used the word ‘wacky’ to describe the shooter and the trench coat he wore. She said she told Trump, “Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn’t be in the situation.”

Hart, an Army veteran, said she also suggested employing veterans as sentinels in schools. She said Trump responded, “And arm them?” She replied, “No,” but said Trump “kept mentioning” arming classroom teachers. “It was like talking to a toddler,” Hart said. [Pols emphasis]

 

ICYMI

 

A North Korean official hand-delivered a letter to President Trump on Friday — the first time a North Korean official has been in the White House in 18 years.

 

 

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