TEL AVIV -- As President Trump nears the 100-day benchmark, it's a good moment to examine the relationship that has evolved between the mercurial and inexperienced commander in chief and his unflappable Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
It's an unlikely partnership, but so far it mostly seems to work. Trump may have relatively few domestic-policy accomplishments to show after three months, but he can take credit for selecting a generally solid national-security team and for listening to its advice.
Traveling with Mattis last week in the Middle East, I had a chance to watch the delicate balancing...
David IgnatiusDavid Ignatius2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:18:05 -0500
If you live in tax hell -- New York, Illinois, California, New Jersey or Connecticut -- paying your state and local taxes could soon become even more painful. Congressional Republicans and President Trump have plans to lower federal tax rates for almost everyone and simplify tax rules. All good news. But there's a catch for residents of high-tax states.
For now, federal tax filers can deduct their state and local taxes when calculating what they owe the IRS -- reducing the bite out of their wallets. But the House GOP tax reform eliminates those deductions to partly pay for dramatically...
Betsy McCaugheyBetsy McCaughey2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:15:14 -0500
Melania Trump has upped her public profile in the past month but that hasn’t stifled speculation that she is a reluctant first lady as she approaches the 100-day mark in that role.
In the past 30 days Trump, who turns 47 today, has been a more visible presence in her husband’s administration, meeting with her foreign equivalents and appearing at White House events. A video of her at the White House Easter Egg Roll, nudging President Trump to put his hand on his heart during the national anthem, went viral.
It’s a marked change from three months ago, when the president and...
Emily GoodinEmily Goodin2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:13:42 -0500
Democrats charting their long course out of the wilderness might look fondly upon the first 100 days of the Donald Trump administration.
For in this window of time, they have seen: the new president’s travel ban challenged in courts, a Cabinet appointee withdraw, the FBI make public its investigation into the campaign’s Russia ties, the attorney general and House intelligence chairmen recuse themselves from their own probes, the unraveling of a years-long effort to repeal Obamacare, Trump back away from his insistence of border wall funding, liberal activism at Republican town...
Caitlin Huey-BurnsCaitlin Huey-Burns2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:09:58 -0500
Science joined the #resistance over the weekend, or so the organizers of the March for Science would have us believe.
Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the country under the banner of science and in the spirit of the Women’s March opposing President Donald Trump back in January.
The march had its share of harmless and charmingly nerdy science enthusiasts holding signs like “I was told there would be pi” and “I was told to bring a sine” (get it?). Who can possibly object to people, who may have waited a lifetime for the...
Rich LowryRich Lowry2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 03:42:28 -0500
As he approaches the milestone he embraced as a candidate and tries to downplay as president, Donald Trump’s product launch has been a failure. None of the bold strokes he promised in his first months in office to “make America great again” yet exist in legislative form or in law.
Obamacare is still with us. The North American Free Trade Agreement still governs our trade relations with Mexico and Canada. No ground has been broken on a Trump-branded infrastructure project. Trump’s steep budget cuts are mostly non-starters in Congress. Not a dollar has been appropriated...
Mark SalterMark Salter2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 23:40:53 -0500
When President Trump on Wednesday unveils his tax reform ideas leading into his 100th day in office, he wants Washington and the American people to see “a president who is working at breakneck speed,” his chief of staff explained.
While defending the president’s achievements since January, and Donald Trump’s decision-making style, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told reporters the president is working to navigate roadblocks, including Democrats in Congress, resistance from some within his party, judicial branch challenges to his policies, and enemies on the...
Alexis SimendingerAlexis Simendinger2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 23:23:11 -0500
This week, President Trump called for a 15 percent corporate and small business tax rate.
It couldn’t come at a better time. According to a new Job Creators Network (JCN) poll conducted by Roosevelt Opinion Research of 400 small businesses, more than 70 percent of respondents agree that high taxes and tax complexity currently threaten the viability of their businesses.
The nation’s small business job creators face a top federal marginal tax rate of 40 percent. President Trump’s proposal to cut this rate by over 60 percent will allow business owners to invest more of their...
Alfredo OrtizAlfredo Ortiz2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:21:22 -0500
People are worried about the character of President Trump. Seasoned observers fear that he lacks the “temperament” for the office he occupies, and in particular the vital capacities for self-restraint, reflection, and empathy.
This is understandable. The character of the commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation on earth is an important matter. But what about the voters? Many of us, including liberals, are happy to comment on the virtues and vices of our rulers. We are more reluctant to turn a mirror on ourselves.
But the character of citizens matters a great deal, especially...
Richard V. ReevesRichard V. Reeves2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:06:06 -0500
Will Donald Trump be re-elected in 2020?
Probably not, say people who bet. They give Trump only a 23 percent chance. They do pick him over all other politicians, but the favorite is "other."
I know this because I follow the betting odds at ElectionBettingOdds.com.
Yes, bettors were wrong about Trump's election and Brexit, but those were exceptions, and those votes unusual. Even Brexit's promoters predicted a loss; even Trump said he thought he'd lose when he saw the election-night exit polls.
But betting odds are usually right. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if the bettors...
John StosselJohn Stossel2017/04
Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:32:12 -0500
Two Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Trump this week demanding a fuller explanation of the legal authority for the airstrikes launched against Syria earlier this month.
Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Tim Kaine, the signatories of the letter, said that Trump’s notification of the strikes to Congress did not provide any detailed information on the legal basis for the attack, and asked him to direct top administration officials to provide a more specific accounting of the legal reasoning behind his action.
“It has now been over two weeks since you ordered the strike on...
James ArkinJames Arkin2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 12:04:37 -0500
WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the world braces for a possible North Korean nuclear test, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday urged restraint in a call to President Donald Trump. America's U.N. envoy warned of a strike if Pyongyang attacks a U.S. military base or tests an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Xi's phone call with Trump came amid signs Pyongyang could soon conduct its sixth nuclear test explosion since 2006, or the latest in a rapid series of missile tests, further advancing its ambitions of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that could reach the U.S. mainland.
In Washington, the...
Matthew PenningtonMatthew Pennington2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:06:24 -0500
BERLIN (AP) -- Ivanka Trump is joining Chancellor Angela Merkel and others in Berlin on Tuesday for talks on encouraging women's economic empowerment on her first international outing as a White House adviser.
The one-day visit, at the invitation of the chancellor, gives Merkel and other officials face-to-face access with the influential daughter of President Donald Trump at a time when world leaders are still trying to discern where his policies will lead.
Trump and Merkel are part of a panel discussion Tuesday at the W20 Summit, a women-focused effort within the Group of 20 countries,...
David RisingDavid Rising2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:01:16 -0500
Now that student mobs at universities around America (and elsewhere in the West) have silenced conservative speaker after conservative speaker, it has dawned on a small number of left-wing professors that the public is beginning to have contempt for the universities. As a result, a handful of academics at a handful of universities have signed statements on behalf of allowing "diverse" views to be heard at the university.
These statements are worthless.
While some of the professors who have signed them may sincerely believe that the university should honor the value of non-left free speech,...
Dennis PragerDennis Prager2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:36:22 -0500
The multiple thousands who marched throughout America and the world last weekend hoped to whip up support for "Science."
Well. I'm sold. And what next? Do more than a handful of people doubt the indispensability of science to the enrichment of the human condition? Science's God-given nature may, in these secularizing times, meet with less affirmation than in the old days. But who turns his back on William Harvey, Louis Pasteur and Jones Edward Salk, not to mention Thomas Edison, Willis Carrier and the inventor of the triple-blade razor?
The question posed last weekend: "Are we Americans...
William MurchisonWilliam Murchison2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:32:35 -0500
For the French establishment, Sunday's presidential election came close to a near-death experience. As the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, it was a "damn near-run thing."
Neither candidate of the two major parties that have ruled France since Charles De Gaulle even made it into the runoff, an astonishing repudiation of France's national elite.
Marine Le Pen of the National Front ran second with 21.5 percent of the vote. Emmanuel Macron of the new party En Marche! won 23.8 percent.
Macron is a heavy favorite on May 7. The Republicans' Francois Fillon, who got 20 percent, and the...
Patrick BuchananPatrick Buchanan2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:30:28 -0500
WASHINGTON -- In the category of argument by irresistible anecdote, David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report tells of meeting with a group of young Democrats in wealthy, suburban Northern Virginia. In the course of his presentation, he made reference to "Cracker Barrel voters" -- those in counties with Cracker Barrel restaurants (Donald Trump won about 75 percent of such counties). "Excuse me," interrupted one of the young liberals. "Do you mean Crate and Barrel?"
This is an extreme form of a cultural bubble -- a life arranged by fate and choice so that other ways of life are...
Michael GersonMichael Gerson2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:28:52 -0500
Good morning, it’s Tuesday, April 25, 2017. A loyal reader of this newsletter, in response to Monday morning’s note about the weekend pro-science march, said that her favorite poster from that event was: “Got Polio? Me Neither. Thanks, Science!”
This is a nice segue to today’s date in U.S. history -- an article published on April 25, 1953 by Nature magazine. In it, researchers Francis Crick and James Watson described a momentous new finding: the DNA double helix.
From this discovery flowed the secrets of molecular biology and, eventually, the mapping of the human...
Carl M. CannonCarl M. Cannon2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:27:59 -0500
Unless you've been in a coma, you've seen the video -- about 8 million times -- of what I will delicately call the incident involving United Airlines at O'Hare Airport in Chicago.
You've seen the doctor turned into a bloody mess after airport cops hauled him off the plane because United needed the seats for its own crew members who had to be in Louisville for work -- just like the doctor who said he couldn't leave the plane because he had patients to see in the morning.
And you have come to your own conclusions as to who is at fault. Maybe you think it was United for forcing a passenger off...
Bernard GoldbergBernard Goldberg2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 15:11:23 -0500
WASHINGTON -- In the annals of pathetic climbdowns, this Sunday morning tweet from President Trump deserves a special place of honor, or perhaps dishonor:
"Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall."
To put those weasel-words in context, let me ask a question of all you small-business owners out there. If a customer brings some merchandise to the cash register and promises that one of his neighbors will pay you for it "eventually ... at a later date ... in some form," what are your odds of ever seeing...
Eugene RobinsonEugene Robinson2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:28:34 -0500
My friend, publicity shy but otherwise admirable, has an odd way of spending his free time. He flies to some of the world's most Godforsaken places and tries to help some of the world's most Godforsaken people. This is how he got to the Dadaab refugee camp on the Somalia-Kenya border, a moonscape of sun-blanched trees adorned with errant plastic bags, where young men, such as the ones my friend encountered, until recently dreamed of America. No longer though. "We are not wanted anymore," one of the refugees said. "America is not a friendly place." They said they'd prefer to go back to...
Richard CohenRichard Cohen2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:21:14 -0500
Donald Trump has mastered the authoritarian act, and that's how he attracted his brigade of humble followers. Some on the left seem to envy this ability to force obedience through threats and attacks. But that approach doesn't work on issue-oriented voters, doubly so on matters requiring nuance. Abortion is one such issue.
Thus, one cannot fathom the ongoing crusade by abortion rights activists to crush Heath Mello, a moderate Democrat running for mayor of Omaha. NARAL Pro-Choice America, it seems, would rather punish a Democrat straying from its dictates than defeat a more resolutely...
Froma HarropFroma Harrop2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:24:14 -0500
Decades ago, industrial pollution caused the Cuyahoga River to catch fire in Ohio. Smog blanketed cities from one end of America to the other. Chemical pesticides were sickening people and poisoning animals.
In response, a Republican president created the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, charged by Congress to safeguard clean air, water and lands.
What followed was historic progress that has improved our quality of life and actually saved lives by the hundreds of thousands.
Now, President Trump has proposed slashing EPA’s $8.14 billion budget by 31 percent. This comes on top of...
Rhea SuhRhea Suh2017/04
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:09:28 -0500
Good morning, it’s Monday, April 24, 2017. Over the weekend, many thousands of scientists, math geeks, amateur lovers of the cosmos, and assorted political partisans marched in the name of science. Notwithstanding the predictable bashing of President Trump, some of the placards carried by this new cohort of protesters were pretty good. Here are a few of them:
“Make Earth Cool Again”
“Science Makes America Greater”
“There Is No Planet B.”
“I’m With Her” (with a picture of Mother Earth, not Hillary Clinton).
Many of the chants were...
Carl M. CannonCarl M. Cannon2017/04
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:04:42 -0500
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With a budget deadline looming, President Donald Trump plans a whirlwind of activities seeking to highlight accomplishments while putting fresh pressure on congressional Democrats to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, even if that pressure risks a possible government shutdown.
Trump approaches the symbolic 100-day mark for his administration this coming week juggling a renewed health care push and his demands that a must-pass government funding bill should include money for the wall.
In a tweet Sunday, Trump jabbed at Democrats, who vigorously oppose wall funding....
Catherine Lucey & Hope YenCatherine Lucey & Hope Yen2017/04
Mon, 24 Apr 2017 06:56:44 -0500
Updated: 19 hours 11 min ago