As GOP senators scramble to survey the damage caused by Donald Trump’s explicit comments about women, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had some direct advice for a local Kentucky group: Don’t ask him about the presidential election.
“If you are interested in the presidential election, you might as well go ahead and leave because I don’t have any observations to make about it,” McConnell said Monday at a Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, according to The Associated Press.
The Republican leader — who frequently ignores or sidesteps questions about Trump from reporters in the Capitol — said on Monday that luncheon attendees shouldn’t ask him about the presidential race “even though that’s what I know you all wanted me to talk about today.”
McConnell’s decision is less startling than the decision of Ryan, who (until this past Friday) had planned to campaign with Trump. McConnell often avoids questions about Trump. But Trump is down and needs help — and the pointed refusal of top Congressional leaders to give it to him is a signal that they think he will be an albatross around their necks.
The speculation over whether Paul Ryan will throw Donald Trump overboard is (temporarily) over. Ryan will not rescind his endorsement — “for now.” But he also has said he will no longer defend Trump. CNN:
House Speaker Paul Ryan told fellow Republicans Monday he will no longer defend GOP nominee Donald Trump and will instead use the next 29 days to focus on preserving his party’s hold on Congress.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said in a statement.
In a conference call with members Monday morning, Ryan told lawmakers, “you all need to do what’s best for you and your district,” according to someone who listened to the meeting.
However, The Hill reports that Ryan is not taking back his endorsement:
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday told rank-and-file Republicans that he will not defend or campaign with Donald Trump going forward, though he is not rescinding his endorsement of the embattled GOP nominee, according to sources on a conference call.
The orange fool, by the way, is none too happy:
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee
Ah, it must be nice for Trump to be back in his natural element: attacking Republicans.
But while the Trumpmeister doesn’t think he needs to worry about Congress, Paul Ryan does. And Paul Ryan has a lot to worry about.
With the revelation of the NBC/WSJ poll showing Hillary up by 11 points nationally, Trump looks like he’s toast — and wasting any more political capital on him must look to Ryan like throwing good money/time/resources after bad. Meanwhile, that same poll shows Americans preferring Democrats to Republicans for Congress — 49 to 42 percent (!!!). That’s a very worrying number. With the prospect of the House majority looking like it’s facing an execution date, Paul Ryan’s mind must be concentrated wonderfully.
As Donald Trump’s campaign reels over tapes of the presidential candidate’s sexually aggressive comments about women in 2005, the Republican nominee now trails Hillary Clinton by double digits among likely voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The poll, conducted on Saturday and Sunday but before the second presidential debate, shows Clinton with 46 percent support among likely voters in a four-way matchup, compared to 35 percent for Trump.
Bad enough. But here’s the kicker, which threatens the House and Senate:
As Republicans grapple with how to hold on to control of the House and Senate despite the Trump campaign’s woes, Democrats overall now have a seven-point advantage on the question of which party voters want to see in control of Congress.
Forty-nine percent of voters say they’d like to see Democrats in power on Capitol Hill, compared to 42 percent who chose the GOP.
That’s up from a three-point advantage for Democrats (48 percent to 45 percent) last month, and it’s the largest advantage for Democrats since the October 2009 government shutdown.
This is an unmitigated disaster, and Never Trumpers have nothing to do with it. This is on Donald Trump and the people who selected him.
Heckuva job, GOP and GOP primary voters. You couldn’t possibly have screwed this up any worse.
P.S. My post at RedState about the Rasmussen and YouGov polls (Hillary +7 and Hillary +6, respectively) is here. But the NBC/WSJ poll makes those two look like good news.
One of the more extraordinary aspects of last night’s debate was the way the “moderators” — particularly Martha Raddatz — jumped in to debate Donald Trump. Nowhere was Raddatz’s aggressive and partisan stance more evident than in the discussion of the crisis in Aleppo. Raddatz asked the candidates what their response would be to the humanitarian crisis. Trump used the opportunity to make some political points against Hillary. Raddatz interrupted and sarcastically said: “Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question.” She then noted that Mike Pence’s view is to potentially use military force against Assad. Trump said he disagreed with Pence:
RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your two minutes is up.
TRUMP: And one thing I have to say.
RADDATZ: Your two minutes is up.
TRUMP: I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.
RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president…
… what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.
TRUMP: OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.
RADDATZ: You disagree with your running mate?
At this point, Raddatz started to get very aggressive. Trump focused on ISIS, and Raddatz asked what would happen if Aleppo falls, repeating the question in a louder voice when Trump started to answer:
TRUMP: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.
I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.
RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls?
TRUMP: I think Aleppo is a disaster, humanitarian-wise. It is a human–
RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if it falls?
The most notable thing happened next. Trump criticized the way that the U.S. Government often telegraphs its military moves ahead of time — and Raddatz decided to play Trump’s opponent, arguing with him about reasons the military might do that, and concluding by virtually shrieking: TELL ME WHAT YOUR STRATEGY IS!!
TRUMP: I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen. Let me tell you something. You take a look at Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul. They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, “we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.”
Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say “we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks,” which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?
RADDATZ: There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.
TRUMP: I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.
RADDATZ [raising her voice]: It might be to help get civilians out.
TRUMP: And we have General Flynn. And we have — look, I have 200 generals and admirals who endorsed me. I have 21 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients who endorsed me. We talk about it all the time. They understand, why can’t they do something secretively, where they go in and they knock out the leadership? How — why would these people stay there? I’ve been reading now…
RADDATZ: Tell me what your strategy is!
You can watch the entire remarkable exchange below.
At my house last night it was immediately observed by viewers that Donald Trump walked into a trap:
COOPER: You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?
TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was said. This was locker-room talk. I’m not proud of it. I’ve apologized to my family — I’ve apologized to the American people.
Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it, I hate it, but it’s locker-room talk and it’s one of those things…
COOPER: Just for the record, though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago, that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?
TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.
COOPER: So for the record, you’re saying you never did that?
TRUMP: I said things that, frankly, you hear these things that were said, and I was embarrassed by it, but I have tremendous respect for women and women have respect for me.
COOPER: Have you ever done those things?
TRUMP: No I have not.
I don’t think it’s hard to figure out what we’re going to be seeing in the news this week. We’ve already had a glimpse of it.
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