Trump’s Broken Promise Will Doom Thousands Of His Voters

Trump’s Broken Promise Will Doom Thousands Of His Voters

THE NATIONAL MEMO

Not long ago, Americans learned that the average life expectancy for white people in this country — those most likely to have voted for Donald Trump — actually declined for the first time in many years. The pathologies and frustrations believed to have driven that decline may have motivated the tiny handful of votes that gave Trump his Electoral College victory.

But not long after their euphoria over his inauguration fades, they are going to learn why his administration is so likely to drive those statistics in the wrong direction. Despite his promise to protect Social Security and Medicare — and his vow to replace the Affordable Care Act with “something much better” — Trump’s cabinet appointees and his allies in Congress plan ruinous changes to those programs. And that will mean ruin, and in thousands of cases death, for the mostly white and working class people who depend so heavily on them.

Unless the Republicans come up with a plausible bill to replace Obamacare, which has eluded them since 2009, millions of their constituents will lose the health insurance they have only recently gained — and yes, thousands of those people will die next year.

Back when the president’s health reform plan first passed, Republicans and their media echoes warned loudly about mythical “death panels” embedded in his legislation. Now, the voters who believed that nonsense are about to meet the real death panel — led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican slated to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

This is not hyperbole: Before the advent of Obamacare, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans died every year because they didn’t receive timely care. Eight years ago, one reputable study estimated that as many as 137,000 Americans had perished prematurely due to lack of health coverage — or more than twice as many as died in the Vietnam War — between 2000 and 2006 alone. The Institute of Medicine has estimated that uninsured adults are 25 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with coverage, with uninsured adults between 55 and 64 years old faring even worse. For them, being uninsured is the third most significant cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer.

Those estimates don’t include the victims of insurance company profiteering who will die if the repeal of Obamacare undoes its protection of patients suffering from “previously existing conditions.” Exposed to the tender mercies of corporate actuaries, thousands of them will lose their coverage, watch their families driven to destitution, and many of them will die, too.

That isn’t supposed to be what happens under President Trump, who declared in many interviews and debates his determination to provide better and cheaper health insurance “for everybody, let it be for everybody.” But by appointing a far-right ideologue like Price to run health policy, Trump effectively violated that promise before even taking his oath of office. Working with Ryan and the Republican majority in both houses of Congress, Price means to destroy Obamacare, slash Medicare, and decimate Medicaid.

The truth about the current incarnation of the Republican Party, which voters ought to have learned long ago, is that its attitudes toward working Americans of all descriptions range from careless to merciless. If not every Republican shares the “let ‘em die” position on health care screamed by a GOP debate audience in 2012, all too many believe that government has no role in ensuring that every American is insured — even though that would save money as well as lives.

However ridiculous most of Trump’s commitments may seem, his promise to protect Americans who depend on Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid is a matter of life or death. Unless he changes course now, we may see a lot of red caps at funerals for people who lost their health insurance, and died much too soon.

How Paul Ryan Plans To Teach Scrooge A Lesson

How Paul Ryan Plans To Teach Scrooge A Lesson

REUTERS/Gary Cameron

THE NATIONAL MEMO

If Paul Ryan had written A Christmas Carol, Scrooge would have gotten a massive tax break, paid for by taking away Tiny Tim’s health insurance. The obvious lesson of the tale would be that a small businessman had been rewarded for creating a job for Bob Crachit — who could enjoy working overtime on Christmas without the fear of additional compensation, as well as the freedom of knowing that he won’t be able to retire until he’s at least 70, if ever.

Ryan’s glorious vision of Christmas yet to come may sound like a nightmare to you — but if the Speaker of the House gets his way, that nightmare will become America’s reality by the end of 2017.

Let’s go through Scrooge’s wish list, step-by-step, like we’re a concierge Santa service for rich people’s most destructive urges — or as if we were Paul Ryan.

Ebenezer Scrooge may be Charles Dickens’ personification of everything that is wrong with unfettered greed. But to Paul Ryan, Scrooge — with his estimated net worth of $1.6 billion — is a proud example of those job creators known as small businessmen, which by Ryan’s definition includes all Americans who “file their business as individuals, as people.”

This class of taxpayer, New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait notes, allegedly includes Donald Trump, a man who seats himself in a gold throne and identifies as a billionaire. Though Trump evidently is not much of a taxpayer.

Ryan doesn’t like to point out that 76.1 percent of his proposed tax cuts go to the richest 1 percent in 2017, and that percentage rises to 99.6 percent by 2025, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

But who would? That kind of talk would only make rich people sad, which to Paul Ryan is a crisis almost as severe as America’s recent epidemic of poor people getting health insurance.

Sure, offering tax breaks that mostly benefit the rich blasts a $3.1 trillion hole in the deficit over the next ten years. But, as tattoo artists often lie to their drunkest customers, the Chinese character for “crisis” also means “opportunity.”

So 2017 will be an excellent opportunity to insure poor kids, like — say — Tiny Tim.

Under President Obama, America has hit a remarkable milestone with 95 percent of children covered by health insurance. Ryan has a plan to fix that with a repeal of Obamacare that will increase the number of uninsured kids by 4 million, nearly doubling the uninsured rate from 4 percent to 9 percent, according to a study by the Urban Institute. Ho ho ho!

In exchange for all those uninsured kids, we get a lot of happy Scrooges! We’ll be trading the insurance of about 4 million kids and some 16 million adults for $197,000 a year in sweet tax breaks for the richest .01 percent of people a.k.a. “small businesses” in RyanSpeak.

But, you say, Tiny Tim uses a crutch and an iron frame to support his sickly frame. He has a pre-existing condition! Surely Republicans will make sure he’s still insured.

Well, Scrooge doesn’t have to offer his employees insurance, meaning the Crachits have to get their own coverage. And since the GOP replacement bills all require people to maintain coverage, a few bad months for Bob and his family could leave poor Tim at the mercy of grossly underfunded high risk pools.

Or perhaps Scrooge will offer some of that great new non-Obamacare low-cost insurance that could cover as much as $2,000 a year, which would insure him for a whole day if he ends up in the hospital.

To make up for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Crachit could end up owing for Tiny Tim’s care — given since Republicans will almost certainly aim to repeal Obamacare’s ban on insurance companies placing yearly or lifetime limits on care — Bob has got to work, all the time. So he does.

But Mr. Scrooge carefully makes sure his star employee earns just over the threshold where no compensation for overtime work is required. President Obama’s Labor Department wanted to raise that threshold from $455 a week to $913, meaning employers like Scrooge would either have to offer a raise or pay overtime. But Paul Ryan’s GOP will make sure that people earning more than $455 but less than $913 can be made to work all the overtime Scrooge wants for no extra compensation — even on Christmas. Just like the wise men!

And the best news of all is Bob Crachit and his son can look forward to working overtime every week of their lives until they’re in their 70s, when they can finally cut back to just working a 40-hour week so they can afford some Fancy Feast to go with the doctors’ bill.

Paul Ryan’s desires to privatize Social Security and Medicare — and pass the losses and costs on to you! — are about as well hidden as his passion for Ayn Rand. It’s what defines his career in public service — but it’s also what makes him repulsive to most Americans. So he tries to hide his passions or cloak them under code words.

Ryan’s plan to privatize most of Medicare and demand future retirees pay more is a part of his “Better Way” plan, which should be named “Better Way for Scrooge” plan. Donald Trump campaigned on preserving both of America’s retirement guarantees, but he has been quickly moving toward Paul and the two now seem to be fully aligned with the president-elect’s choice of Rep. Mick Mulvaney to be his budget director. The GOP congressman from South Carolina is one of the few politicians in America who eagerly declares his desire to cut Social Security.

How else can we afford to make Scrooge’s life easier?

Ryan and Dickens may have had different ideas of happy endings. The author of Great Expectations saw a Scrooge overwhelmed by the plenty with which he had been blessed and the need to which he had become blind. Ryan sees a Scrooge who is overburdened by tax and spend politics and exploited by greedy employees who want Christmas off every single year.

No wonder he prefers the works of Ayn Rand.

Both stories end with Scrooge being able to proudly say, “Merry Christmas!” But in Ryan’s tale, Scrooge is rushing home to inhale a whole turkey by himself. Just like a “small businessman” should.

Schumer Fires Back After Ryan Accuses Dems Of ‘Medi-Scare’ Tactics

J. Scott Applewhite

TPM LIVEWIRE

This will get dark, comical and ridiculous. Republicans – particularly Marco Rubio – did significant damage to Obamacare by getting rid of the so-called ‘risk corridors’ in Obamacare by labeling them bailouts. They were not ‘bailouts’ but systems to cushion the transition to the Obamacare system, given the inability to make perfect guesses about the risk pools in the system. Now, according to The Hill, Republicans are looking at giving vast sums of money to insurance companies to give them a way to ride out the market collapse that the repeal of Obamacare would likely trigger – that is, ride it out until Republicans can think up something to replace Obamacare with.

From The Hill ...

One Republican lobbyist said that in discussions about a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement, insurers are “painting a picture of the market that isn’t very pretty and Republican staffers are getting the picture.”“They want to pump money back in to the insurers without appearing like they’re giving them a handout or bailing them out,” the lobbyist added.

A second lobbyist said Republican staff is discussing the effects of actually getting into law a repeal bill similar to the one passed last year through the fast-track process known as reconciliation. That measure would have taken out the core of ObamaCare on a two-year delay.

The lobbyist said Republicans are discussing: “What’s the impact on the 2018 plan year for that, and if it’s as bad as some people say, what are our options to mitigate the impact without looking like we’re bailing out the health insurance industry?”

This brings us to the essential copout behind all the ‘repeal’ jawboning. The health care industry has significantly remodeled itself around the Affordable Care Act. You can’t just pull the plug on that without all hell breaking loose, at least not all at once and not without a specific and visible framework for how you get from the repealed system to the new one. Republicans also have no policy or political answer to tens of millions of people losing their health care. In other words, they not only have no answer to ‘replace’ they don’t even have one for ‘repeal’.

The gargantuan giveaway to the health care industry we’re talking about here is supposedly to give Republicans time to figure out a replacement. But time isn’t the problem. They had more than six years to mull this one. They are simply unwilling to confront the actual alternatives. So the ‘bailout’ is a way to put off figuring out what to do.

Given Republican fears of being tarred with voting a “bailout” for the health care industry they are apparently also looking at ways President Trump can provide the cash through regulatory action, thus avoiding the need for a vote.

Lauren Fox

Could President Hillary heal a divided nation?

Getty

THE HILL

If she wins the White House, Hillary Clinton will face the daunting task of healing the national divisions exposed by a vicious campaign season.

Whether Clinton could knit the nation back together is an open question. Her supporters say she will do what she can, but that the GOP will have to play its part. Opponents argue that she is uniquely ill equipped for the task.

The former secretary of State has been a polarizing figure for decades. She is the most unpopular nominee of modern times, with the sole exception of her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump. To many conservatives, she represents everything that is wrong with liberal politics.

Yet Clinton has sought to make overt appeals to Republican voters. Invited to deliver a closing statement at the third and final presidential debate last week, she said that she was “reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be.”

If Clinton wins, said former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), “for the first time in our history, we will have a president who more than half the people don’t trust and don’t like. That means that, rather than having the historic honeymoon period — being given the benefit of the doubt for a time — she won’t have that, unless she creates it.”

Gregg, who is also a columnist for The Hill, served in the Senate at the same time as Clinton. He acknowledged that during her time representing New York “she aggressively crossed the aisle,” going out of her way to seek areas where bipartisan progress was possible.

But, he added, “since she left the Senate her positions have hardened, and she has moved very far left” — in part to rebut the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during this year’s Democratic primary.

Many liberals, however, either don’t believe Clinton has moved to the left or doubt her sincerity in doing so. While all politicians are subject to pressures from both left and right, Clinton may have an unusually small amount of leeway.

Tad Devine, who served as a senior advisor to Sanders during the primary, said that he believed some progressives “will wait to see what her agenda is. If she pursues the agenda that was outlined in the Democratic platform, she will convert them into supporters. And, if she doesn’t, she will have to deal with a less-than-unified party, like President Carter in 1980.”

The parallel with Carter is ominous for Clinton. Democratic discontent with Carter fueled a primary challenge at the end of his first term from then-Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Although Kennedy’s bid had its share of missteps and ultimately fizzled, his candidacy weakened Carter before his eventual defeat by Ronald Reagan in the general election that fall.

Gregg suggested one possible way of threading the needle between competing political pressures.

A President-elect Clinton could convene a meeting with the leaders of the Senate and House before even taking office, he said, and outline issues on which bipartisan agreement ought to be possible: infrastructure and reform of the Veterans Administration being two examples. This would not require Clinton to forsake her campaign pledges, he said. Instead, she could simply run them along “a parallel track.”

But others are dubious that such an approach would work, especially with a Republican Party that may still be shell-shocked from the turbulent Trump candidacy.

While some Republican leaders in Washington, including Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), have made no secret of their differences with Trump, they have to be mindful of the power his supporters wield within the party.

A new poll from Bloomberg last week asked Republican voters whether Trump or Ryan better represented their own views. Fifty-one percent chose Trump, while only 33 percent favored Ryan.

It seems inconceivable that the Trumpian forces would accept GOP leaders cutting deals with Clinton on any issue of significance.

“I don’t think his people are going anywhere,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who was the campaign manager of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

“Whether he gets 38 percent, 40 percent, or whatever, that is a pretty rock-solid group of people. If he loses, they are not going to decide it’s time to stay home and not be involved with politics. How does their party deal with all that? How it comes back together is more important than anything Hillary tries.”

There are some things Clinton can do right now to ameliorate these problems. Even in the closing days of the campaign, a more positive tone in her advertising could give voters a better sense of what she stands for, experts say. Clinton’s most memorable ads so far have been attacks on Trump.

Clinton could also focus on running up the score on Nov. 8. A thumping win could give her greater leverage in any negotiations with Capitol Hill Republicans — especially if she brought a significant number of Democrats into Congress on her coattails.

Even so, however, she will almost inevitably face critics who say her victory was a national repudiation of Trump, rather than a positive endorsement of her.

“There’s where the non-Trump Republicans will be: ‘We made a mistake, the media was too light on him,’ ” Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer predicted.

“It won’t be because she is a great candidate or there is some mandate for what she stands for. And many people — not just Republicans — will believe that argument, given how explosive Trump has been. It’s a plausible argument to many people.”

The political polarization of the United States had been underway for years before battle was joined between Clinton and Trump, fueled by forces like talk radio and the growth of social media.

The widening fissures have begun to affect the basic geography of American life.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center report, a full 50 percent of people with “consistently conservative” beliefs said it was important for them “to live in a place where most people share my political views.” Thirty-five percent of people with “consistently liberal” views said the same thing.

Another Pew report this summer found that the number of partisans who hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the opposing party continues to rise. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats now feel that way — figures roughly three times as high as they were in 1994.

Findings like that underline the sheer scale of the challenges Clinton will face, even if she storms to victory on Election Day.

“The country is really at war many ways, rhetorically at least,” Devine said.

Niall Stanage

The gutlessness of Paul Ryan

CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

THINK PROGRESS

When it comes to policy, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump have disagreements on key issues like entitlements and trade. Ryan has also denounced Trump’s incendiary rhetoric on numerous occasions, going so far as to call some of his comments the “textbook definition of racism.”

Nonetheless, Ryan wants to have it both ways when it comes to Trump. Ryan may speak out against him, but he has also officially endorsed him.

And now, his position on the GOP nominee has become incoherent.

In the wake of the release on Friday of a 2005 video where Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women, Ryan disinvited Trump from what was to be their first joint campaign appearance the next day in Wisconsin. He released a statement saying he was “sickened” by Trump’s comments while still standing by his endorsement.

Ryan went a step further during a Monday morning news conference with House Republicans, telling members of his caucus that he will no longer defend Trump.

“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” a Ryan spokesman said, according to numerous reports.

While Ryan’s position effectively concedes the presidency to Hillary Clinton, he didn’t actually rescind his endorsement of Trump.

Instead, he basically told members looking for guidance, ‘You do you.’

So Ryan continues to endorse a candidate whom he disagrees with on key issues, whom he has denounced on numerous occasions, whom he won’t appear with, and whose conduct he finds “sickening.” Why won’t he take the additional step of rescinding his endorsement?

Part of the answer is undoubtedly that Trump, who’s still his party’s nominee, remains popular among a segment of Republicans. For instance, during the Saturday event in Wisconsin where Trump was originally scheduled to appear, Ryan “was booed and heckled by Donald Trump supporters.” And Trump still has his supporters within Ryan’s caucus.

As the New York Times reports with regard to the Monday conference call:

[W]hile he did not say he was withdrawing his endorsement, some of the House members took it that way and angrily attacked him for effectively giving up on Mr. Trump.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a veteran California conservative, was particularly heated, according to House Republicans on the call. About 45 minutes into the call, Mr. Ryan had to come back on the line to clarify that he was not formally rescinding his support from Mr. Trump.

But in the wake of the publication of the shocking hot mic clip, Trump’s support appears to be tanking nationally. Ryan may have reached the conclusion his party has a better chance of retaining its congressional majorities by distancing from Trump.

In the process of trying to have it both ways, however, Ryan has arrived at a position that is even harder to figure out than where Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was last summer. At the time, Ayotte justified her plan to vote for Trump by making a distinction between “voting” and “endorsing.”

“Everyone gets a vote, I do too,” Ayotte said on CNN in August. “And an endorsement is when you are campaigning with someone.” (Ayotte now says she’ll no longer vote for Trump.)

Ryan, who says he won’t appear with Trump but is still endorsing him, is clearly operating under a different definition of “endorsement” than Ayotte.

Another reason that Ryan may be hesitant to break with Trump once and for all is pragmatic. In the increasingly unlikely event Trump wins the presidency next month, Ryan hopes Trump will help him ram his tax-cutting, entitlement-slashing agenda through Congress. In fact, Ryan outlined his plan to do so under President Trump just last week.

Trump, for his part, predicted that Republicans who distance themselves from him will pay a price on November 8.

And hours after details of Ryan’s Monday morning conference call went public, Trump put him on blast by name.

Republicans’ Congress Lull Could Impede A Clinton Presidency

Republicans’ Congress Lull Could Impede A Clinton Presidency

REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

The National Memo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in Congress are planning a light legislative agenda as they return from their long summer break on Tuesday, a strategy some say is designed in part to bog down Hillary Clinton if she becomes president.

It is not uncommon for the Congress to take it slow in an election year and legislative delays could work in Republicans’ favor if their nominee Donald Trump takes the White House in November.

But the strategy will also pay dividends if it is Clinton who takes office on Jan. 20. She will be forced to deal with old baggage rather than focus on her agenda of infrastructure investments and immigration and Wall Street reforms.

“If Hillary wins, we force her to waste time, resources, momentum, early good will and political capital – all on cleanup duty,” said a senior aide to one Republican senator.

If all goes as expected this autumn, a U.S. Supreme Court seat, vacant since Feb. 13, will remain unfilled until sometime next year. A sweeping Pacific free-trade deal negotiated by President Barack Obama will be on hold, if not doomed.

And if many conservative Republicans get their way, government agencies will run on stop-gap funding from Oct. 1 until sometime in February or March. That means that the next president would have to negotiate a longer-term deal or face the prospect of government shutdowns in the early days of a new administration.

Senior congressional aides have told Reuters their agenda for the coming months include bills to keep the government funded, combat the spreading Zika virus and renewing laws guarding the nation’s water resources.

Other items would help the majority Republicans score political points with key constituencies before the November elections, even though they have no chance of becoming law.

These include scolding the Obama administration for a $400 million payment to Iran in January after Tehran released American prisoners, anti-abortion measures and, once again, proposals to repeal Obama’s landmark healthcare law.

Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist and former aide to Republican leaders in Congress, acknowledged that public opinion polling is trending in Clinton’s direction.

If Clinton wins, Bonjean added, “The whole mindset (among Republican leaders in Congress) would shift to taking care of the most important business to help Republicans and unloading the more difficult, tense issues for a Clinton administration to deal with.”

Clinton has maintained a lead in most polls since Republican and Democratic conventions, but some surveys showed that lead narrowing. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sept. 2 showed Trump effectively pulling even with the Democratic nominee.

Yet one veteran Republican congressional aide said more and more Republicans in Congress brace for the White House to stay in Democratic hands for the next four years, even if their party manages to maintain control of Congress.

Trump’s trouble in appealing to important groups of voters, such as Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians, and self-inflicted wounds “have made it pretty clear he’s highly unlikely to get there,” he said.

Leaving the Supreme Court nomination and other high-profile disagreements for 2017 “does bog down” a new administration, “no question about it,” the aide said.

Some election years mean a slow autumn in Congress, but this is not always the case. In 2012 for example, lawmakers dramatically labored all the way through New Year’s Eve addressing a “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax and spending laws.

Not all of the delays in passing legislation are purely on Republican shoulders though.

While Trump has blasted free-trade deals, leading Democrats, including Clinton, also have criticized Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership pact that would create a free-trade zone ranging from Japan to Chile.

Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, downplayed the challenges Clinton might face early on. “She knows how to deal with Congress. She’s been there,” he said referring to Clinton’s years as a senator representing New York.

Besides, he added, if Trump loses, Republicans will be busy dealing with their own problems.

“They’ll have to think seriously about how they got themselves in the trouble that they’re in.”

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Julia Edwards and Tomasz Janowski)

Vets In Congress Urge Paul Ryan To Un-Endorse Trump

Jim Bourg / REUTERS

THE HUFFINGTON POST

“The profound disrespect Mr. Trump has shown toward Gold Star parents is a new low.”

WASHINGTON ― The fallout over Donald Trump’s attacks on the family of a Muslim American soldier continued Monday as military vets in Congress urged Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to drop his endorsement for his party’s presidential nominee.

“As veterans who previously served on active duty, we are horrified by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s slander of parents whose son died serving our country,” reads a letter to Ryan, signed by Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.), Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) and Seth Moulton (Mass.).

“Your continued endorsement of Mr. Trump’s hateful, bigoted and sexist vision threatens the integrity of the House of Representatives in which we serve,” they wrote. “We were heartened by your first instinct, which was not to endorse Mr. Trump. We respectfully request that you follow what we believe your heart is telling you and withdraw your endorsement of him now.”

Their letter comes after last week’s moving speech at the Democratic National Convention by Khizr Khan, who spoke of the heroism of his son, U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, who was killed in Iraq while protecting his troops. Khizr Khan denounced Trump and his proposed ban on Muslims, asking if the real estate mogul has even read the Constitution. Trump responded by criticizing Khan for saying he has “sacrificed nothing,” claiming Khan “has no right” to say “inaccurate things” in front of millions of people. He also questioned why Khan’s wife Ghazala, who stood by his side during his speech, didn’t speak, suggesting she wasn’t allowed to talk because Islam oppresses women.

That hasn’t gone over well with anyone, including Republicans.

Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong declined to say Monday if Ryan would pull his support for Trump over the flap. Instead, she pointed to a statement Ryan issued over the weekend, in which he says Capt. Khan’s sacrifice should be honored but says nothing about Trump himself.

“Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example,” reads Ryan’s statement. “His sacrifice ― and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan ― should always be honored. Period.”

There are dozens of military veterans in Congress, and for those who are Republican, Trump’s latest flap makes it even more difficult for them to stand by their party’s nominee. The Huffington Post reached out to ten GOP lawmakers who served overseas, randomly selected, to see if they still endorse Trump for president ― or if they plan to formally endorse Trump at all. Only a few responded.

“The Congressman has yet to endorse,” said Maura Gillespie, a spokeswoman for Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

“Rep. Coffman has not endorsed Trump,” said Cinamon Watson, a spokeswoman for Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.). “In fact, Rep. Coffman has voiced grave concern about Mr. Trump’s policies and his tone.”

“Of course Hunter is still on board with Trump,” added Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.). “But I think this is a real learning lesson for Trump in that he’s got to be more careful when discussing points of such sensitivity. In this case, he should have acknowledged the sacrifice and separated it from the broader policy issue, but he’s still right on the problem related to immigration and I have no doubt that he believes anyone who makes the ultimate sacrifice is the truest of heroes.”

Aides to Republican Reps. Doug Collins (Ga.), Brad Wenstrup (Ohio), Joe Heck (Nev.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Republican Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) did not respond to a request for comment.

Jennifer Bendery

GOP Leadership Thinks Electing Trump Is More Important Than Standing Up To Racism

CREDIT: AP PHOTOS

THINK PROGRESS

On Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered up unambiguous denunciations of Donald Trump’s racist attack on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Latino heritage, with Ryan characterizing Trump’s comments as “sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment” and McConnell describing them as “outrageous and unacceptable.”

But in the next breath, both politicians reiterated that they still plan to support Trump. Ryan cited pragmatic reasons. “Do I believe that Hillary Clinton is going to be the answer to solving these problems? I do not. I believe we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than we do with her.”

Along similar lines, McConnell, who as recently as Sunday refused to denounce Trump’s racism, said “the less said about [Trump’s comments] the better. What we ought to be working on is unifying the party and getting ready to try and defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall.”

The implication is that American’s two most powerful office-holding Republicans care less about racism than they do about defeating Hillary Clinton. They’ve labeled Trump’s perspective racist and outrageous, but those concerns are being subordinated to a more pressing concern — electing someone with an R next to their name as president, even if they believe Latino judges have no business presiding over certain cases simply because of their ethnicity.

Leadership’s sentiment was echoed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

In contrast stands remarks made by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in a New York Times report published Tuesday. Graham, who recently seemed to be warming to Trump, characterized Trump’s attack on Curiel as “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy.”

“If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it,” Graham added. “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Far from denouncing Trump’s remarks, some of his supporters actually appear to be following the attack-the-questioners-as-the-real-racists script Trump outlined during a Monday conference call detailed by Bloomberg.

During an appearance on CNN on Tuesday, Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord accused Speaker Ryan of being the real racist for allegedly embracing “identity politics.”

During the Monday conference call, Trump said to his supporters, “The people asking the questions — those are the racists… I would go at ’em.”

BY AARON RUPAR

Trump shifts his tone, promises to make party proud

Getty Images

THE HILL

Donald Trump sought to reshape his candidacy on Tuesday night, using a teleprompter to deliver a carefully prepared address that cast the presumptive presidential nominee as a champion for ordinary Americans.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

The speech was clearly designed to reassure Republicans worried about the billionaire’s candidacy after his remarks criticizing a federal judge provoked cries of racism within his own party.

“You’ve given me the honor to lead the Republican Party to victory this fall,” Trump said. “We’re going to do it, folks. I understand the responsibility of carrying the mantle and I will never ever let you down.”

“I will make you proud of your party and your movement,” he added.

Trump passed on hot-button issues like his pledge to build a wall along the Southern border, his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the country, his criticism of Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and declined even to use his preferred nickname for Hillary Clinton – “Crooked Hillary.”

Instead, Trump vowed to work to earn the support of all those who cast ballots for other candidates over the course of the primary.

“To those who voted for someone else in either party, I’ll work hard to earn your support,” Trump said. “I will work very hard to earn that support. To all of those Bernie Sanders supporters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms.”

The remarks come as Trump tries to move past one of the most explosive controversies of a presidential campaign in which he has repeatedly pushed the envelope, particularly on matters related to race and ethnicity.

Trump should have been enjoying a victory lap on the last night of GOP primaries after steamrolling a deep field of Republican contenders and clinching the nomination a full month before Hillary Clinton was able to wrap up the Democratic nomination.

Instead, Trump found found himself under siege from Republicans and Democrats alike for comments he made about an Indiana-born federal judge being biased against him because he’s of Mexican descent.

Top Republican leaders from House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on down have rebuked Trump.

Ryan said that Trump’s remarks are the “textbook definition” of racism, while McConnell demanded the likely GOP standard bearer “get on message.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a fierce Trump critic and former presidential candidate, is urging Republicans who have endorsed Trump to retract their support.

Republicans are also upset that Trump is missing opportunities to go after Democrats for a weak economic recovery and Clinton over an inspector general report that called into question her use of a private email account and server.

Trump tried to get back on message on Tuesday night, saying that he expects build a substantial lead over Clinton in the polls in the coming weeks as he takes aim at the likely Democratic nominee.

“America is getting taken apart piece by piece and auctioned off to the highest bidder,” Trump said. “We’re broke. We owe 19 trillion going quickly to 21 trillion. Our infrastructure is a disaster. Our schools are failing. Crime is rising. People are scared .The last thing we need is Hillary Clinton in the White House or the extension of the Obama disaster.”

Trump said he would give a major speech next week detailing why he believes Clinton is unfit for office.

“The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves,” Trump said. “They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts…secretary Clinton even did all of the work on a totally illegal private server…and the corrupt system is totally protecting her.”

Trump’s speech concluded just moments before Clinton was scheduled to speak at a rally in Brooklyn, where she’s expected to claim victory in the Democratic presidential primary.

As eager as Trump was to go after Clinton, Democrats are equally as eager to have their shot at Trump.

Since Trump’s controversy with the federal judge, many Democrats have branded the likely GOP nominee a racist and a bigot and sought to tie him to down-ballot Republican running for reelection, particularly in the Senate, where the GOP is playing defense as it seeks to protect a fragile majority.

By Jonathan Easley

‘Small Government’ Republicans Want To Control D.C.’s Budget

‘Small Government’ Republicans Want To Control D.C.’s Budget

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) | REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

THE NATIONAL MEMO

The House passed legislation Wednesday afternoon gutting a local ballot measure that would give Washington, D.C. more control over its finances. The vote took place on partisan lines, with Republicans voting for the measure and Democrats voting against it.

“The current D.C. government needs to be reined in,” said House Majority Leader Paul Ryan in a statement highlighting Republican arguments in support of the bill. “We will not allow Congress and the Constitution to be undermined.

“Congress has ultimate authority over the District,” he said, “and efforts to undermine this authority are in violation of the Constitution. There are real consequences.”

Lawmakers had voted 240-179 in favor of a bill that would prevent the District from spending tax dollars without congressional approval. The vote is the latest in a campaign that started in 2012 to give residents of D.C. greater autonomy in how to spend the city’s money, and is part of an effort by Republican congressmen to prevent the District from using local or federal cash to fund abortions or marijuana decriminalization (pot was legalized late last year in D.C.).

While the Republican-controlled Congress says it’s only reining in unconstitutional excesses, D.C.’s non-voting Congressional representative Eleanor Holmes Norton was understandably angered by legislation that nullified the 2012 Budget Autonomy Act, a ballot initiative aimed at giving more power to local government.

“It is profoundly undemocratic for any member of Congress in the 21st century to declare that he has authority over any jurisdiction except his own,” she said during a debate on the House floor.

But House Republicans have argued that the ballot initiative was a clear violation of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, a law passed in 1973 which devolved certain powers, like being able to elect a mayor and city council. But all laws passed by the District’s government had to be reviewed and approved by Congress before being signed into law, including yearly budget plans, hence the Republican bill aimed at overturning the Budget Autonomy Act.

President Obama has said he would veto any legislation that barred D.C. from following through on the overwhelming support the 2012 ballot initiative received from the city’s residents.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 5233, which would repeal the District of Columbia’s Local Budget Autonomy Amendment Act of 2012,” read a statement of administrative policy sent out yesterday. “The Administration strongly supports home rule for the District and the President has long called for authority allowing the District to spend its own local taxes and other non-Federal funds without congressional approval … If the President were presented with H.R. 5233, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Prior to the vote, city officials had said they were planning to not submit their budget to Congress, as per the stipulations of the Budget Autonomy Act. Should Paul Ryan have his way, D.C. would be forced to submit its budget for approval, possibly at the cost of programs popular with residents of the District, including providing local funding for abortion access for Medicaid-eligible women, and establishing a regulatory framework for legal marijuana sales.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts