Can we demand a recount in Punxsutawney? How do we know that the groundhog wasn’t paid off by “Big Winter” to keep it cold for another six weeks? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…
► That big wall between Mexico and the United States that President Trump has repeatedly promised is running into plenty of opposition from Congressional Republicans. As CNN reports:
A growing number of congressional Republicans are objecting to the cost and viability of a proposal that was a rallying cry for the billionaire businessman during his insurgent campaign. Interviews with more than a dozen GOP lawmakers across the ideological spectrum suggest Trump could have a difficult time getting funding for his plan approved by Congress.
Many bluntly told CNN they’d likely vote against any Trump plan that is not fully offset with spending cuts, while others questioned whether Trump’s vision would adequately resolve the problems at the border.
“If you’re going to spend that kind of money, you’re going to have to show me where you’re going to get that money,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a key swing vote who has already broken with Trump over his nominee for secretary of education.
“I don’t see how you can get a bill like that through (Congress) without offsets,” she added. “I don’t see how that’s possible.”
At a projected cost of $12-15 billion, it’s not hard to see why so-called “fiscal conservatives” would be freaking out a little bit.
► Remember Bowling Green!?
Don’t remember Bowling Green? You’re not alone. But here’s what President Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway told Chris Matthews of MSNBC on Thursday:
“Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people didn’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
Conway is correct that this didn’t get covered…primarily because it never happened. From the Washington Post:
In defending President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees, immigrants and citizens from Iraq and six other Muslim-majority countries, Conway referred to something that didn’t happen — the “Bowling Green massacre.” (She also incorrectly said that Obama “banned” Iraqi refugees, which we have previously fact-checked as false.)
Conway was on her way to a Four-Pinocchio rating when, about an hour and a half after The Fact Checker sent her a query about her remarks, she tweeted that she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists.”
► One of the foremost charter school advocates in the United States says that Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos is absolutely not qualified for the position and is urging the Senate to reject her nomination. Despite a series of shaky performances during the confirmation process, DeVos is still moving forward in the process but will have to sweat out a full floor vote on Monday.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► American corporations are finding that any public association with President Trump is bad for business. From the Washington Post:
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quit President Trump’s 15-member council of business leaders yesterday, and Disney CEO Bob Iger let it be known that he won’t attend a meeting at the White House today because of a scheduling conflict.
Nordstrom announced last night that it will stop selling Ivanka Trump’s name-branded line of clothing and shoes after an extended boycott by an anti-Trump activist group called “Grab Your Wallet.”
The retailer said the first daughter’s products are being dropped because of poor sales. In early December, Nordstrom had 71 Ivanka items for sale on its web site. Right now, just four are left. And they’re all being sold at a clearance discount…
…Customers complained so loudly after Kawasaki USA – a distributor of motorcycle, ATVs and personal watercraft – sponsored an episode of “The Celebrity Apprentice” that the company said it will not sponsor the show again, so long as the president is credited as an executive producer.
► Demonstrators in Denver on Thursday voiced their opposition to the nomination of Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. From the Denver Post:
A group of activists condemned President Donald Trump’s nomination of Colorado resident and U.S. 10th Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying his appointment would threaten hard-won constitutional protections for women, minorities and workers.
Gorsuch has sided with big business interests, supported rulings that give corporations rights that should be reserved for people, and has opposed women’s reproductive rights and the right to assisted suicide, they said at a demonstration on Thursday.
John Frank of the Denver Post examines a handful of key decisions from Gorsuch’s time on the federal bench. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), meanwhile, doesn’t want to talk about where Gorsuch might come down on the issue of Roe v. Wade.
► As the Boulder Daily Camera reports, organizers are planning a march in Boulder on Saturday to protest President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
► The White House is leakier than a 1982 Datsun, as Chris Cillizza explains for “The Fix”:
I wrote recently that not only was this the leakiest White House I’d ever seen but also that the leaks — whether purposely or not — seemed to cast the president as a child who badly needs to be managed. What’s truly remarkable is that the leaking appears to be growing even more frequent and even more deleterious to President Trump’s image within just the last few days.
What’s going on in the White House? How is it that seemingly everything that happens in the Oval Office gets out to the media within hours? Cillizza offers two theories:
1. Trump only really listens to things once they are presented to him via the media. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway acknowledged in the campaign that the best way to get through to him was often to talk on cable TV or to other reporters. There’s no indication that Trump has changed his voracious media consumption habits since he formally entered the White House. So it’s uniquely possible that these leaks are aimed at reining him in, showing him that when he acts like this with, say, world leaders, it makes him look bad.
2. There are people at senior levels within the administration who have major concerns about Trump and his fitness for office. In the long tradition of whistleblowers, they are using selective leaks to make sure that people know what is really going on inside the White House.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) may have little interest in listening to concerns from constituents, but reaching out to your lawmaker isn’t completely fruitless. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz appears to have dropped his plan to sell millions of acres of public lands after an outcry of opposition from his constituents. The Denver Post has more details on the Chaffetz about-face.
► State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) is opposing efforts to increase funding for school clinics that would increase services for disabled children. His rationale is more than a little ridiculous.
► The “Fascism Forever Club?”
► Jeff Hays, a candidate for State Republican Party Chair, says he has a plan to get all Colorado elephants to start singing Kumbaya. Good luck with that.
► Senate Republicans are hosting a big fundraiser that includes a major lobbyist for foreign governments. Right or wrong, the optics are not good here.
► Two influential Republican Senators — Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) — are speaking out about the problems with trying to repeal Obamacare without a replacement option. Both Hatch and Alexander are signaling that they are open to making adjustments to the current Affordable Care Act rather than a wholesale repeal.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► More than 100,000 travel visas have already been revoked under the Trump administration.
► Donald Trump’s Twitter Account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world, is obsessed with tweaking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”
► The New England Patriots are 3-point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Most of the late-week wagering on the game is favoring the Patriots.