Trump Admninistration

With Alex Acosta history repeats itself

Featured image Bloomberg reports that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is “keeping a low profile in this first year in office, possibly because he has his eye on another job.” “Low profile” means keeping Barack Obama’s left-wing program in place. “Another job” means a high-level federal judgeship. “Possibly” means certainly. Here’s how Bloomberg’s Ben Penn puts it: There is widespread discussion that Acosta, a former United States Attorney and law school dean, »

Minnesota Kinda Likes Donald Trump

Featured image Traditionally deep-blue Minnesota is trending red; one sign of this is that Donald Trump lost the state to Hillary Clinton by only a point and a half. Yesterday the Star Tribune released its latest Minnesota Poll. The paper’s headline was “Minnesotans divided over Trump; majority sees him as temperamentally unfit, dishonest.” But if you look at the actual poll results, they tell a different story. The basic finding is that »

What Trump (And Everyone Else) Is Up Against

Featured image We had a lively discussion last night on the Power Line VIP video chat about the “permanent government,” or “the swamp” as Trump and others call it, and how difficult it is to conquer. It reminded me that I’ve been thinking for years about teaching an entire course based on episodes of the great “Yes, Minister” and “Yes, Prime Minister” BBC series, which holds up astoundingly well after 30 years »

“Temporary” means temporary, Trump administration controversially insists

Featured image On Monday, the Trump administration announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who, without that status, will be illegal. The termination will take effect in 2019. The El Salvadorans in question are those who were living illegally in the U.S. when earthquakes struck their country way back in 2001. The idea, as Mark Krikorian reminds us, was to hold off temporarily on sending »

Populism and the administrative state

Featured image Steve Bannon’s days as an influential player may be over. If so, what is his legacy? It’s not the election of President Trump. This was down to Trump himself, as the president likes to remind us. Nor is Bannon’s legacy hanging tough on “Billy Bush weekend,” though at times this seems to be what he is most proud of. And his legacy is not blowing a safe Senate seat in »

Steve Bannon, David Stockman, and the need to spill one’s guts to liberals [UPDATED]

Featured image Jonah Goldberg says he’s “struggling to think of a comparable figure in American political history who squandered real power and influence as completely and quickly as [Steve] Bannon has.” The closest he comes is Father Coughlin from the 1930s. I can come no closer. However, Bannon’s fall reminds me of what happened to David Stockman in the 1980s. In some ways the comparison seems inapt. Stockman, who served as President »

Michael Wolff, fabulist

Featured image Michael Wolff is the author of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, the scathing book that describes alleged dysfunction and infighting at the White House. He’s the guy to whom Steve Bannon apparently decided to spill his guts. But is Wolff a reliable chronicler? Paul Farhi, the Washington Post’s liberal media reporter, doesn’t seem to think so. He writes: A provocateur and media polemicist, Wolff has a penchant »

Chai Feldblum removes picture of President Trump

Featured image It’s standard practice for U.S. government officials to have a picture of the president and the vice president on their office walls. The protocol is that the president and the vice president are displayed side by side in the center of the wall, with the president on the left and the vice president on the right. The government supplies the pictures and helpfully slots them into a frame permanently placed »

Trump abolishes voter fraud commission

Featured image Last night, I argued that the fall from grace of Steve Bannon is leaving too much influence in the hands of the New Yorkers and the Generals who dominate President Trump’s inner circle. Neither of these two power centers has much commitment to, or even familiarity with, modern conservatism and its concerns. Now comes word that President Trump is disbanding the commission he established to investigate voter fraud. White House »

After the Trump-Bannon divorce

Featured image I have viewed President Trump as bridging the divide in the Republicans party between its establishment and populist-nationalist wings. Trump attempted to play that role in 2017. For example, he supported the establishment candidate in the Alabama Senate primary, but then bucked the establishment by backing the populist candidate in the general election even after that candidate found himself in severe difficulty. Trump also bridged the gap in the realm »

The Trump-Bannon Divorce Is Final

Featured image Steve Bannon is accusing Donald Trump, Jr. of treason or something–I’m going off a Drudge headline here–so the president issued this statement. I think we can say the romance is over: Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the »

Two strands of Never-Trumpism

Featured image I see the Never Trump movement splitting into two strands. John described the first strand here. It’s the view that most of the things Trump has done as president in terms of personnel and policy are desirable but that they are outweighed by the things Trump does that, in Bill Kristol’s words, “degrad[e] our public life.” So stated, this strand of Never-Trumpism is hard to defend, for the reasons John »

It Is Time to Pull the Plug on Never-Trumpism

Featured image As President Trump’s first year in office draws to a close, even the Democrats have been forced to admit that he has accomplished quite a lot. While it pains Democrats to acknowledge Trump’s successes, those successes probably pose more of an existential crisis for the Never Trumpers. They, too, have had to re-examine their premises in light of the president’s track record through (almost) one year. From InstaPundit: BRET STEPHENS »

Trump Unbound

Featured image President Trump sat down with New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt for an interview in West Palm Beach yesterday. Schmidt was low-key and even respectful, while Trump was ebullient. You can read excerpts here. (As always, there is no point in reading any newspaper’s account of the conversation.) Trump was his usual unscripted self–rambling, not very articulate, sometimes humorously self-promoting, generally correct if often imprecise. He talked at length, and »

The year in journalism: Mainstream media flunks the Trump challenge

Featured image 2017 posed a challenge to the mainstream media. Could it set aside its hatred of President Trump and report honestly on him and his administration? To the surprise of no one who had been paying attention, the media flunked this challenge. The failure commenced immediately. The day Trump was inaugurated, a White House reporter claimed, incorrectly, that the Trump transition team had removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. »

Why People Hate the Media, Chapter 12,186

Featured image There is something ironic about the fact that a grand White House Magnolia tree planted during Andrew Jackson’s administration is going to come down during the administration of the most Jacksonian president since Old Hickory. (By the way, if Jackson was “Old Hickory,” maybe we should call Trump “Old Spice”? It fits in some ways, if you think about it. . .) Rim-shot! Anyway, what isn’t ironic at all is »

Coalition for Jewish Values denounces Chai Feldblum’s re-nomination

Featured image The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) is, I believe, the largest rabbinic public policy organization in America. It articulates and advocates for public policy positions based upon traditional Jewish thought. Today the CJV sharply criticized the Trump Administration for re-nominating Chai Feldblum to the EEOC. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, Eastern Regional. Vice President of the CJV, explained: Feldblum has been truly unfriendly to accommodation of religious views. The decision to renew »