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National Govt & Politics
Reviewing President Trump's first month in office
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Reviewing President Trump's first month in office

Reviewing President Trump's first month in office
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Reviewing President Trump's first month in office

President Donald Trump has now been in office for one month and the media and political firestorm around him shows no signs of letting up any time soon, as Mr. Trump tries to push ahead with his agenda, but continues to find obstacles among Democrats, the bureaucracy, the courts and the press.

Let's take a quick tour of what we have seen in the last month:

1. Trump is Trump. Why are people surprised? To me, the start of the Trump Administration is playing out pretty much as I would have expected. President Trump is - not surprisingly - a lot like Candidate Trump. At times he is all over the place, without much in the way of message discipline. He attacks the news media. He is aggravated by questions about Russia and Vladimir Putin. He keeps bringing up Hillary Clinton. He keeps talking about the size of his Electoral College win. He is on Twitter often, on all sorts of subjects. His news conference last week was a perfect example - his supporters were over the moon, while many in D.C. were horrified. Was it really that much of a surprise?

2. Trump sticking to his campaign themes. Remember, Donald Trump basically ran against both the Democratic and Republican parties in 2016. "I’m keeping my promises to the American people," Trump said last week. "I’m here following through on what I pledged to do." Trump said he would get tough on illegal immigration - take him at his word. He said he would pull out the TPP trade deal, and he did. He vowed to hold down on regulations, and he's taken some actions along those lines. "I keep my campaign promises, and our citizens will be very happy when they see the result," Trump said. So far, he's doing what he said he would. And many of his supporters are pleased as punch.

3. But Trump slowed by internal miscues on travel ban. One of my favorite statistics in all of sports is the "unforced error" in tennis, because it's very much applicable to politics. Maybe a perfect example of it was the ongoing struggle over Mr. Trump's effort to slow refugee admissions into the United States, and to try to shut off most arrivals from seven different majority-Muslim nations. It's become obvious that the Executive Order signed by the President was not airtight - it included green card holders at first - as the courts stopped the Trump plan, and GOP lawmakers repeatedly grumbled about it being rushed out by the White House. Trump signed that order on January 27. It's now February 20, the order is still on hold, and we await a new plan. That is not the timeline of something that had a "smooth rollout" as the President said last week.

4. No swift action in Congress on Obamacare and taxes. Despite a lot of early talk about fast votes in the House and Senate on repeal of the Obama health law and major tax policy changes, none of that has surfaced as yet, as Republicans are working slowly behind the scenes to assemble their plans on taxes and health care. But many voters don't want to hear why they have to wait for action on such campaign goals, and it's likely to put some wear and tear on Republicans in Congress in the months ahead. Maybe the best example is health care - Republicans have been talking about repeal of Obamacare for six years, but they still don't have a final replacement plan ready for a vote. President Trump is sure to use his speech to a Joint Session of Congress on February 28 to lay out what he wants done.

5. Does Trump need an early victory in the Congress? Eight years ago at this time, President Obama had already signed his nearly $800 billion economic stimulus plan into law. But Republicans have not really provided Trump with any legislative victory on that level. Yes, the GOP has voted to repeal a couple of Obama Administration regulations - which was certainly a solid campaign talking point for the GOP - but that's not exactly super-duty-heavy-legislative lifting. With the GOP in charge, it seems like they need to chalk up a win for Trump. And maybe soon.

6. Democrats slow walk the Trump Cabinet. Using the rules of the Senate, Democrats have made sure that President Trump has had to wait for confirmation of his choices for various top jobs in his administration. Some of the delay is on Mr. Trump himself, as different nominees have had to deal with questions about their backgrounds and delayed work on ethics agreements. But Democrats have also taken their opposition to a new level, forcing extended debate and extra procedural votes in a bid to slow down nominations that they oppose. The combination of Democratic opposition and some internal vetting delays has left holes in a number of important federal departments.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

7. The Never Trump ranks seem to get smaller. Since the election, more and more Republicans have slowly gotten on board the Trump Train, even if they still have misgivings about the President himself. "The complete capitulation of the never-Trump right," a friend of mine described it (he was someone who didn't vote for either Trump or Clinton). But the Trump people have still exacted some revenge at times, for example, getting rid of some new administration hires who had once criticized Trump. Even with some of those running battles, it's obvious that those who rejected Trump have found themselves applauding him at times in this first month.

8. Congressional GOP still not sure what to make of Trump. Yes, GOP lawmakers are excited about the chance to push change through Congress with a Republican in the White House, but it isn't hard to figure out in the halls of the Capitol that Republicans aren't used to this dynamic. "I think we’re all struggling with it," said Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) at a recent town hall meeting. For many Republicans, they're still not convinced Trump is a real conservative, like the other day when he seemed to express his support for the Export-Import Bank in a meeting with GOP lawmakers. "Everything is more successful if he is pushing it," said Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

9. Judge Gorsuch nomination is a big conservative hit. There is one thing that GOP lawmakers in Congress will talk about a lot these days, and that is President Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. You would have to dig deep to find one peep of concern uttered by a Republican in the House or Senate about Gorsuch's nomination, which has calmed the waters among some conservative groups that were not exactly sold on Donald Trump as President. Getting Gorsuch through the Senate is another matter, but for now, his nomination has been a huge home run with Republicans.

10. Trump nibbling around the edges on the bureaucracy. While the President's actions on reducing regulations and some of his Cabinet choices have won strong support from Republicans, Mr. Trump has yet to push ahead with any dramatic bureaucratic changes in the federal government. From the start, it's been obvious that there are a lot of federal workers who want no part of Mr. Trump in the White House - will he move to boot huge numbers of them out of a job? Will there be wholesale agencies that get chopped out of the budget? This first month, Trump hasn't done much, even as some in the bureaucracy have organized to oppose him.

11. Saying "Fake News" does not get bills through Congress. I don't expect President Trump to slow his attacks on the news media anytime soon, but I would observe that complaining about media bias and the press doesn't really do much to push your agenda - though it probably makes your supporters very happy when you label the press the "enemy of the American People." The fight over the nitty gritty details of legislative text tend to take on a different tone than other political battles. I remember being on the House floor in June of 1981 for one of the first big legislative wins by President Reagan - getting something like that done takes a lot more than lobbing verbal grenades at the media.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A frightening scene unfolded in a Central Florida neighborhood Sunday as people watched a man allegedly force a woman and a baby into a car. >> Read more trending news  That man was arrested after police said he kidnapped his girlfriend and their baby around 2:30 p.m. in Orange County, then led officers on a chase. Orlando police said the chase began in the Carver Shores neighborhood and ended at South Street and Rogers Street, where the man crashed the car. A witness in the area saw the man get out of the car and believed he was surrendering, but instead he ran from police. Video the witness shot shows police and medics responding to the incident. Investigators said a witness saw the man grab his girlfriend by the hair and pull her into a car as she tried to escape several times. The man then allegedly sped off with her and their 1-year-old in the back seat. The car was later found by the Orange County Sheriff's Office helicopter. The man drove off again before he crashed into a ditch. “They were asking him to get out of the car with his hands up,” said a witness, who did not want to be identified. “He proceeded to get out of the car, seemed like he was going to put his hands up and then next thing we knew, he took off through the neighborhood.”  Police caught up to the man later and arrested him. Officers said the woman and child were not hurt.
  • As new legal battles brew over the right to abortion access nationwide, central Floridians are sharing their opinions on recently passed legislation in other states. Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, to send a message to Florida's lawmakers.  Representatives said even though abortion restrictions have not passed the legislature this session in Florida, that doesn't mean it's not going to happen next session.  “Having such an incredible crowd here today reflects the majority of Americans supporting access to an abortion and speaks to lawmakers across the state of Florida that if you try to follow suit with Alabama, Missouri and Georgia, these folks are going to be at your office,” Rep. Anna Eskamani said.
  • A new water park is coming to Kissimmee, and you have the chance to check it out before everyone else does. The 'preview days' for Island H2O Live! which is at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando start on June 5th and last until June 20th. The water park is located just off U.S. 192 on 3230 Inspiration Drive.  During these preview days, you can get $5 off a daily pass or save $20 on an annual pass and get one for $69.99 rather than paying $89.99. Be aware that daily passes must be bought at the water park ticket windows only.  Island H2O Live! has a 'social media' theme that is integrated into the park's attractions. Like the 'Tag Shack' cocktail bar or the 'Hashtag Heights' family tube ride. It also allows you to use unique technology like waterproof wristbands that you can link to an app that allows you to interact with some of the things on certain rides. This new water park has over 20 different experiences for you and your family to check out.  Also, here's a fun fact: its located within walking distance of Sunset Walk, the resort's shopping and entertainment district, so if water parks aren't your thing or you feel like doing a little bit of shopping after taking a swim, you can do that too.  Side note: Since this is a new water park, that means of course they need people to fill up their full time positions. If that sounds interesting, you can go to the job fair on May 28th from 9am to 4pm at the water park. They say they plan to hire on the spot.  Though the preview days have been announced, there is no official start date to when the park opens. If you would like to learn more about it, you can check out the website here:  https://www.islandh2olive.com/
  • As you spend this Memorial Day weekend celebrating with your friends and family, its important to remember that the freedom many of our nation's heroes have fought and died for always comes at a price. Well in honor of the occasion, as you would expect, here are some freebies and deals through Memorial Day that veterans, active duty and retired military members and their families can take advantage of( standard disclaimer: some locations may not be participating, so its important to always contact them ahead of time):  Ace Hardware: While supplies last, you can get a free 8 by 12 inch flag on May 25th.  AAA: Through Tuesday, you can get free tipsy low service.  Apple: They have special offers on their products, including their Apple Care Protection Plans.  Cinemark Theatres: It varies by location, but if you show your military ID, you get a special discount.  Delta Airlines: Military personnel get a free bag check.  Home Depot and Lowe's: Veterans and their families get 10 percent off. Just show your ID  Hooters: Show your military ID on May 27th and you can get free entrees including 10 free boneless wings, Buffalo chicken salad, Hooters Burger or a Buffalo Chicken sandwich.  Longhorn Steakhouse: Check out the coupon below to get a free appetizer or dessert when you get an entree through May 26th.  https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/customer-service/coupons/free-app-or-dessert-with-2-entrees-lh74-052319?cmpid=br:lh_ag:ie_ch:eml_ca:LHQ419L52COUP_dt:20190523_vs:1NV_in:Specials_pl:image01_FreeApp_rd:9bc86910b47843f7a15abeafd3d66e28  Sea World and Busch Gardens: The Waves of Honor program gives free entry to military families and members with their ID through December 31st. TGI Fridays: Check out the coupon to a free entree when you buy one and two drinks from May 25-27.  https://share.rivet.works/fridays
  • An ex-Magic Kingdom worker from Clermont has been arrested, accused of trying to set up a sexual encounter with an 8 year old girl.  According to the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, Frederick M. Pohl Jr.  sent inappropriate pictures of himself to what he believed was the 8 year old girl and talked online with her and her father in order to arrange a meeting. When he arrived at an Orlando hotel that they were supposed to meet at, Pohl was arrested by an undercover federal agent who was the one posing as the girl he was talking to.  According to the submitted criminal complaint, Pohl was in possession of condoms and a child sized pink dress. While the Middle District did confirm that he was an employee at the Magic Kingdom, they did not say what his role was.

Washington Insider

  • With June 4, 2019 marking the 100th anniversary of the approval by Congress of a constitutional change which guaranteed women the ability to vote in the United States, a look back at the final debates in the House and Senate showcased dire predictions that giving women the franchise would bring a rush to socialism in American and spur racial problems in the South. 'It will not only add to the growth of socialism, but will likewise contribute to the upbuilding of femininism and Bolshevism in America,' thundered Rep. Frank Clark, a Florida Democrat who bitterly opposed the women's suffrage amendment. 'Every Socialist and every Bolshevist throughout the land wherever you find him is an ardent advocate of woman suffrage, and he wants it by Federal amendment,' Clark said on the House floor, as he also warned the change would stir racial troubles in the South.  'Make this amendment a part of the Federal Constitution and the negro women of the Southern States, under the tutelage of the fast-growing socialistic element of our common country, will become fanatical on the subject of voting and will reawaken in the negro men an intense and not easily quenched desire to again become a political factor,' said Clark, who led opposition to the constitutional change. While Clark's arguments did not sway the debate, there were clear sectional differences, as the House voted 304-90 in favor of the proposed constitutional change to allow women to vote. As debate concluded in the House on May 21, 1919, supporters said it was simply time for women to be allowed to vote in every state of the Union. 'I want to congratulate the good women who fought the good fight all these years, and who now see the dawn of the day of final victory,' said Rep. Frank Mondell, the House Republican Leader from Wyoming, a state which allowed women to vote when it was still a territory. 'When I came here the voice of the suffragist was like that of John the Baptist crying in the wilderness,' said former House Speaker 'Champ' Clark, a Democrat from Missouri. 'I think my wife and my daughter are as capable of voting as most men in this country are,' the Democratic Leader said to applause. But for others, what would ultimately become the 19th Amendment - referred to in debate as the 'Susan B. Anthony Amendment' - was not something to celebrate, as many southern lawmakers eyed the effort with derision and suspicion, with the Civil War, Reconstruction, and states' rights bubbling in the political background. 'Is suffrage such a question as should be snatched from the control of the States and lodged in a rapidly centralizing government?' asked Rep. Eugene Black, a Democrat from Texas, as a number of lawmakers in both parties said the individual states should decide who votes, and who does not. 'Under the fifteenth amendment, not only the negro, for whom it was adopted, but the sons of every other race under the sun may vote in any State in the Union, provided they or their ancestors have once been naturalized,' argued Rep. Rufus Hardy, a Democrat from Texas. 'What evils may yet come of the fifteenth amendment only the future may unfold,' Hardy said, as he drew applause in advocating states' rights, and denouncing federal decisions about who could vote. 'It is a privilege to be granted or withheld at the pleasure of the States,' said Rep. Clark of Florida. But some urged southern lawmakers to reconsider, asking the 'gentlemen of Dixie' to give their mothers a chance to vote for them. Several weeks later, as the Senate vote on the 19th amendment approached in early June, the debate became more testy - more focused on race - and the right of states to determine who can vote. 'When it says that there shall be no restriction of the suffrage on account of sex, it means the female sex, and means the millions upon millions of Negro women in the South,' said Sen. Ellison Smith, a Democrat from South Carolina. The argument from southern Senators was simple - the states should decide who votes, not the federal government.  It was a preview of the battles to come during the Civil Rights era. 'Mr. President, it is not a question today as to whether the women of American should have the right to vote,' said Sen. Oscar Underwood, a Democrat from Alabama.  “It is a question of whether, in the end, our Government shall live.” Supporters of the amendment openly acknowledged that black women in the South probably would not be allowed to vote by southern states - precisely in the same way that hurdles had been placed in the way of black Americans voting in the states of the former Confederacy - a charge that left southern Senators like Smith aggravated. 'I have heard it flippantly remarked by those who propose to vote for this amendment, 'You found a way to keep the Negro man from voting and you will find away to keep the unworthy Negro woman from voting,' Smith said on the Senate floor, as he denounced how the South had been 'deluged by an alien and unfit race.' “You went specifically after the Negro men in the fifteenth amendment,” Smith said in Senate debate.  “Now you go specifically after the Negro and white women in this amendment.” On the floor, Smith and other opponents of the amendment pushed back hard on the race question, as Senators sparred over old wounds and scars left by the Fifteenth Amendment and Reconstruction. 'Those of us from the South, where the preponderance of the Negro vote jeopardized our civilization, have maintained that the fifteenth amendment was a crime against our civilization,' Smith said. 'The Senator knows full well that the fifteenth amendment embodied the color question,' said Sen. Irvine Lenroot, a Republican from Wisconsin, 'the Senator knows just as well that there is no color question at all embodied in this amendment. It relates only to sex.' 'The discussion here upon the floor yesterday makes it perfectly apparent that in part at least, in a certain section of this country, this proposed amendment will be a dead letter,' acknowledged Sen. James Wadsworth, a Republican from New York. Wadsworth and others were proven correct, as it took many years for black Americans to get around the poll tax and other means of stopping them from voting. “Oh, the white man votes because you are careful to apply tests which do not apply to the white man,' Senator William Borah, a Republican of Idaho, said to Senators from the South. 'You pick out those tests which exclude the Negro and write them into your law, and that excludes the Negro.' In an exchange with Senator John Williams, a Mississippi Democrat, Borah said, “the Negro does not vote (in the South) because he is black. That is the only crime which he has committed.” Just before the final vote in the Senate, Democrat Edward Gay of Louisiana rose on the Senate floor, making one last call to allow the states to have the final say on whether women should vote. 'I predict that there are 13 States that will never ratify the amendment which the Congress of the United State is about to present to the American people,' Gay said. Gay was wrong, as the amendment was ratified 14 months later in August of 1920. But it took years for many southern states to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution: + Virginia - February 21, 1952 + Alabama - September 8, 1953 + Florida - May 13, 1969 + South Carolina - July 1, 1969 + Georgia - February 20, 1970 + Louisiana - June 11, 1970 + North Carolina - May 6, 1971 + Mississippi - March 22, 1984