Trump is an idiot (and that is currently the best thing about him)
President Donald Trump ended the months-long speculation on whether he would end Obamacare insurer subsidies that are the subject of GOP lawsuit, with an announcement Thursday he was ending them immediately, including a payment due this week.
While the question of their legality was still being hashed out in court, Trump has made clear his convoluted political reasoning behind ending them: that it would put pressure on Democrats to cooperate with his attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
But it’s still not clear how much bargaining power his blatant move to sabotage the ACA marketplaces really brings him. Democrats, after his announcement, remained stalwart that they believed Republicans now own the health care system, and all the chaos Trump causes in it. If anything, it’s Republicans who are split on how to respond to Trump’s move.
“In this, politically, he’s in much worse shape than we are,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on a conference call with reporters Friday. “The American people, even a large number of Republicans, are on our side in terms improving the system, not destroying it. So I don’t think he has much leverage to threaten or bully.”
President Donald Trump's cancellation of Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction payments will increase premiums by 20 percent, cost the government $194 billion in higher subsidy payments, widen the deficit, destabilize insurance markets, increase the number of uninsured Americans, and cause chaos in health markets in the runup to the 2018 election. There is literally nothing in the health care system it makes better; it's pure policy nihilism.
Like the Republicans who came before him, Trump is trying to gain leverage by sabotaging the governance of the country; unlike the Republicans who came before him, Trump is responsible for the governance of the country, and so he is sabotaging himself. This would all be quite comic if not for the millions of people who badly need decent health insurance and are going to suffer as Trump teaches himself this lesson.
Top White House aides, lawmakers, donors and political consultants are privately asking whether President Donald Trump realizes that losing the House next year could put his presidency in peril.
In more than a dozen interviews, Republicans inside and outside the White House told CNN conversations are ramping up behind the scenes about whether Trump fully grasps that his feuds with members of his own party and shortage of legislative achievements could soon put the fate of his presidency at risk.
President Trump’s decision to end key cost-sharing reduction payments to health-insurance companies — which could throw Obamacare’s individual markets into turmoil — will probably not be the last word on the matter.
I last checked in on Donald Trump's approval numbers when they were rising modestly. They've now been retreating, at least by FiveThirtyEight's estimate, for the last three weeks, and he's now back down to 37.7 percent approval. Some of this movement could just be random fluctuation, and the exact estimates are different from various poll averagers; RealClearPolitics, for example, has him slightly higher. But the basic story is about the same.
Trump is (again per FiveThirtyEight) back in last place in approval ratings at this number of days after being sworn in of any president in the polling era.
And his "net" approval (subtracting disapproval) has been the worst among those 13 presidents every day of his presidency, and it's never been particularly close. Currently he's within a single percentage point of same-day Gerald Ford in approval, but at -18.3, his net approval is 9 percentage points worse than Ford's, and every other president was in positive territory at this point.
All of that with the more-or-less peace and something very close to prosperity -- the two things that generally drive whether U.S. citizens like their presidents or not.
Put aside questions about how well a start this bad predicts how he'll be seen in November 2018 or November 2020: To get this unpopular, this fast, and to do it in an era of relatively good times, is just breathtaking.
Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight estimates that Trump's net approval is a whopping 30 percentage points below where the economy suggests it should be.
That can't just be the tweeting, or the failure of the health-care bill, or any other single factor. It suggests that almost everything Trump is doing drives away potential supporters. If someone suspects they've found the exception, the burden is on them to prove it.
His press-bashing may rally his supporters. But it isn't helping him get bills passed.Trump isn’t better than George W. Bush or Mitt Romney at keeping the public from absorbing the negative portrayals of him in the media. A Quinnipiac pollfinds that most people don’t think he’s honest or level-headed, or cares about average Americans. It also finds that 54 percent of the public trusts the media more than Trump, while 36 percent have the reverse view.The success of the president’s media-bashing has been confined to his base. His supporters have a distrust of the press that reduces the impact of negative stories about him, even if those stories are true. Trump’s media-bashing reminds those supporters not to believe news reports that reflect badly on him and thus helps him retain their support.It’s not helping him get legislation passed. It’s not helping get conservative viewpoints more broadly accepted.
the percentage who say things in the country are going well has fallen from 53% in August to 46% now, about the same as after Trump's tumultuous first weeks in office.
And as the White House pushes for congressional action on tax reform and takes steps to modify Obamacare on its own, few say they think Trump's policies will bring about positive change. Around four in 10 (38%) say the policies Trump has proposed will move the country in the right direction, 56% say the wrong direction. Back in March, that was a near-even split.Even fewer approve of Trump's approach to Republicans in Congress. Overall, 32% approve of the way the President is handling his relationship with Republicans in Congress while 54% disapprove.
Voices against Trump are coming from all over — and they are bold and brave
I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.
This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner–and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers–is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.
It is great news that people in positions of power and prominance can and do speak out against Trump.
Here is more of that
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, called the president’s claim “an outrageous and disrespectful lie even by Trump standards” and noted on Twitter that it was Trump, not Obama, who attacked a Gold Star family that had been critical of him.
Alyssa Mastromonaco, Obama's former deputy chief of staff of operations, was even more forceful with her tweet, writing, “that's a f------ lie. to say president obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA - he's a deranged animal.”
and from McCain:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted “half-baked, spurious nationalism” in the United States in an emotional speech Monday night after receiving the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal.
He called the White House "an adult day care center." He suggested President Donald Trump was setting the nation on a course to "World War III." And he said Trump "concerns me," adding that the President was treating the office "like a reality show."
And on Monday, Sen. Bob Corker stood by those remarks, adding: "My thoughts were well thought out.""Look, I didn't just blurt them out," Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told CNN. "My comments -- my comments, I stand by them -- yes."Corker also added a fresh complication to the intensifying White House push to overhaul the tax code, saying that he would oppose any tax-cut bill that would raise the deficit"No," Corker said when asked if he would back a tax plan that would hike the deficit. "I mean, I've stated that clearly."