President Trump admitted that he likes divisive rhetoric as a campaign tactic, but now finds it frustrating when it is used by Democrats to counter his agenda.
“Their theme is resist,” Trump said during an interview aired on “Fox & Friends” Sunday. “I happen to like it from the standpoint of running for office. But I think it’s a terrible theme in terms of getting elected. And more importantly, I think it’s a terrible theme for the people of this country — resist, obstruction. That’s not what they want.”
“It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together, wrap their arms around it, and come up with something that everybody’s happy with,” he said, referring to the controversial proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act released by Senate Republicans last week. “It’s so easy, but we won’t get one Democrat vote — not one.”
He later described health care as a “very complicated subject” and argued that “honestly, nobody can be totally happy.”
Trump, who regularly slams Democrats on Twitter, decried “the level of hostility” between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and said that he has “open arms” to bipartisanship, while also taking the opportunity to make digs at opponents such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“She’s a hopeless case,” Trump said of the Massachusetts Democrat, who has been an outspoken opponent of the recently unveiled Senate health care bill. “I call her ‘Pocahontas,’ and that’s an insult to Pocahontas.”
The Dems want to stop tax cuts, good healthcare and Border Security.Their ObamaCare is dead with 100% increases in P’s. Vote now for Karen H
Trump also admitted that he had criticized the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act as “mean,” and accused former President Obama of using his term in a lengthy Facebook post in which he called the Senate health care bill “a massive transfer of wealth” built on “fundamental meanness.”
“He actually used my term, ‘mean,’” Trump said, confirming reports that he’d privately called the proposed House healthcare legislation “mean” despite previously praising the bill as a “great plan” in public.
[6/27/17/ SPUTNIK] Three staffers with CNN reportedly resigned after the organization retracted a story connecting a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team to the Russia investigations.
Three staffers with US media outlet CNN resigned after the organization retracted a story connecting a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team to the Russia investigations, media reported.
CNN accepted the resignations of Pulitzer-prize nominated journalist Thomas Frank, assistant managing editor Eric Lichtblau, and executive editor in charge of investigations, Lex Harris, Politico reported Monday.
CNN reporters used an anonymous source claiming the US Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the chief executive of a $10-billion investment fund who met with financier Anthony Scaramucci before Trump’s inauguration, Politico reported last week.
[6/27/17/ ETHAN HUFF] Its mission includes proudly defending the environment and “causing no unnecessary harm.” But now that Donald Trump is president, the California-based Patagonia clothing company is singing an entirely different tune, as its CEO shamelessly joins the ranks of the anti-Trump “Resist!” movement because she doesn’t like that the president is considering giving back to the states millions of acres of land that were confiscated by Barack Obama and declared to be “national monuments.”
Needless to say, you won’t find Rose Marcario talking about peace or unity anymore now that President Trump is making important federal decisions rather than Obama (or Hillary). She’s so livid about the president even suggesting that Obama may have severely overstepped constitutional bounds with his massive land grabs that she’s pledge her entire company to join the anti-Trump resistance.
Marcario’s hysteria was triggered by an executive order that President Trump signed back in April that orders the Department of the Interior to review Obama’s actions on national monuments, particularly the “Bears Ears” National Monument in Utah. Most Utahans were against this land grab when Obama declared it, and in its aftermath President Trump declared the move an “egregious abuse of federal power.”
But Marcario disagrees, insisting that the president does not hold the power to make this type of decision (even though he actually does). Her statements in response to the move are nonsensical to the degree that it appears she’s more upset about the fact that President Trump was the one who made the decision, rather than the decision itself.
“We have to fight like hell to keep every inch of public land,” Marcario wrote in an article published in The Huffington Post. “I don’t have a lot of faith in politics and politicians right now.”
Patagonia CEO hypocritically undermines democratic process while claiming to defend it
In a statement released before her article’s publishing, Marcario demonstrated her inability to even process what President Trump’s executive order entails. By simply ordering a review of how the Obama land grab came to be, the president is seeking to verify its legitimacy and determine whether or not it’s in the best interests of the people affected. But to Marcario, it somehow represents an affront to democracy.
“A president does not have the authority to rescind a national monument,” she erroneously stated. “An attempt to change the boundaries ignores the review process of cultural and historical characteristics and the public input.”
The irony, of course, is the fact that when Obama declared Bears Ears into existence, he did so without any consideration of the Utahans who would be affected by it. Where was the “review process of cultural and historical characteristics and the public input,” as Marcario puts it? It was nowhere to be found, it turns out.
At the end of the day, this is all just sour grapes because Marcario doesn’t like President Trump and wants to cause trouble. Instigating a movement of “resistance” amongst her employees and customers while simultaneously claiming that the one she’s resisting is a threat to democracy is beyond ironic. It’s borderline insane, and yet this is how far to the fringes the left-wing elements of society have fallen.
When Marcario thought that Trump would never be president, in other words, it was all about democracy. But now that he actually is the president, it’s all about undermining democracy while claiming to defend it. It makes no sense, but it’s the new normal for angry leftists who, quite frankly, are abandoning all sanity while they simultaneously broadcast this fact to the world.
What the sane elements of society need to do is resist companies like Patagonia that spread this type of toxic venom. It’s one thing to disagree; it’s entirely another thing to “resist” a president and fan the flames of social unrest, which is what Marcario is doing.
How much has the media’s obsession with the ongoing Russia investigation smothered the rest of the Trump policy agenda? A Media Research Center study of every broadcast network evening newscast in the five weeks since the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller on May 17 found a whopping 353 minutes of airtime devoted to the Russia probe, or 55 percent of all coverage of the Trump presidency during those weeks.
The networks’ relentless coverage of Russia meant little airtime was spent on important policy topics, as the investigation garnered 20 times more attention than the new health care bill, 100 times more attention than the administration’s push to improve the nation’s infrastructure, and a stunning 450 times more coverage than the push for comprehensive tax reform.
The study also found one-third (34%) of the networks’ Russia coverage was based on anonymous sources, some of which later proved erroneous.
For this report, MRC analysts reviewed all 364 evening news stories — totaling nearly 640 minutes — that discussed President Trump or other top administration officials. Of those, 246 were full reports focused solely on the administration; the rest were brief, anchor-read items (36), or stories about other topics that included some mention of the administration (82).
The Russia investigation was by far the dominant topic in these stories, totaling 353 minutes of airtime, or more than half of all Trump coverage during this period. The Russia story was featured or mentioned in 171 evening news stories (126 full reports, seven brief, anchor items and another 38 mentions in stories on other topics).
ABC’s World News Tonight was the most enraptured by the Russia story, devoting 134 minutes to the investigation, or nearly two-thirds (63%) of all of its Trump news during this period. The CBS Evening News churned out 124 minutes of Russia news (54% of its Trump coverage), while NBC Nightly News spent a total of 95 minutes talking about the investigation (48% of its overall Trump coverage).
In contrast, the top policy issue during these five weeks — the debate about the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty — drew just 47 minutes of coverage. Top legislative items were almost completely lost during these weeks, with just 17 minutes spent on competing bills to repeal and replace ObamaCare, five minutes on efforts to boost the economy and create more jobs, and a meager 47 seconds on tax reform.
Without question, the President’s own comments about the Russia investigation, including his ubiquitous tweets, supplied the networks with a rationale for some of this coverage, but it’s not as if reporters felt compelled to cover all of Trump’s utterances. On the subject of infrastructure improvements, for example, the President spoke on camera at a variety of public events in early June, but the networks offered a mere three minutes of airtime — 1/100th as much as they spent on the investigation.
Our analysts found that one-third of all of the Russia/Comey stories (58 out of 171) relied at least in part on unnamed, anonymous sources for crucial information. Of course, these sources are only anonymous to viewers, not the reporters who talk to them. But their anonymity means viewers can’t weigh the information against any agenda — partisan or otherwise — that may contribute to the source’s motive in secretly talking to journalists. And in cases where the information turned out to be false, the anonymous source remains happily hidden from public view, sharing none of the blame for misleading the audience.
So what did TV viewers learn from the networks’ secret sources? CBS correspondent Jeff Pegues on May 17 offered nothing more than speculation about why then-Trump transition advisor Michael Flynn talked in December to Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak: “CBS News has learned that investigators believe Flynn may have been acting on orders from someone else.” (Italics added for emphasis.)
All of the networks used anonymous leaks to make it sound gravely important when word came that there would be questions posed to the President’s son-in-law, as NBC’s Peter Alexander did May 25: “Multiple U.S. officials tell NBC News tonight that Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, one of his closest advisors, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation….”
On June 8, NBC’s Pete Williams used anonymous sources to briefly float a guilty-sounding tidbit about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which he promptly dismissed: “Investigators tell NBC News the FBI was looking at whether Sessions had a meeting he didn’t disclose last year with Russia’s ambassador at a Washington, D.C. hotel. Justice Department officials have since said there was no such meeting.”
Sometimes, the anonymous sources were flat-out wrong. On June 6 ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir teased “exclusive reporting, what ABC News has learned — what the fired FBI director plans to tell Congress.”
Moments later, correspondent Jon Karl made the reveal: “Tonight, a source familiar with Comey’s thinking tells ABC News that the former FBI director will directly contradict what the President wrote in the letter telling him he was fired: ‘I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I’m not under investigation.’…According to our source, Comey will dispute that.”
An on-screen headline reinforced the point: “Sources: Comey Will Dispute Some Trump Claims.”
The next day, a transcript of Comey’s testimony was released showing the exact opposite, that Comey would support Trump’s statement. Without any reference to their misreporting from the previous evening, anchor David Muir on June 7 told viewers Comey “will acknowledge that he did tell the President that he was not under investigation, personally, on multiple occasions.”
Correspondent Jon Karl also made no reference to the earlier, faulty report, as he read the response from Trump’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz: “Kasowitz says the President feels completely and totally vindicated.”
TV’s obsession with the Russia investigation flies in the race of what the public says it actually cares about. According to a Harvard-Harris poll released late last week, “a majority of voters believe the Russia investigations are damaging to the country and are eager to see Congress shift its focus to healthcare, terrorism, national security, the economy and jobs.”
Given the disconnect, it should be no surprise that half of all voters see the media as biased against Trump, compared to only four percent who think the media are pro-Trump, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, with two-thirds of Republican respondents (68%) saying media coverage of the President is “poor.”
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The latest episode in the Trump administration’s long-running legal battle to impose a temporary ban on travel from several nations concluded on Monday. Its result, as described by National Review’s David French, was that “in a per curiam ruling, the Supreme Court restored the vast majority of the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban — including the temporary ban on refugee entry.”
Much of the establishment press is nevertheless describing this major Trump administration legal victory as “partial” and “limited.” Most reports are also failing to note that the ruling was unanimous.
Two Associated Press reports paved the way for the inaccurate labeling late Monday morning and early afternoon. Both reports by the wire service’s Mark Sherman indicate a clear unwillingness to characterize the Court’s ruling as a major victory.
The headline and opening paragraphs from Sherman’s 11:07 a.m. Eastern Time report — the one which was the basis for the first broadcast announcements at subscribing AP outlets — read as follows (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Court partly reinstates Trump travel ban, fall arguments set
The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.
The court said Monday the ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.
Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.
The Trump administration said the 90-day ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. That review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.
A 120-ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.
Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.
Sherman’s revised 1:27 p.m dispatch added verbiage which gave a voice to “opponents,” tried to give them a reason to keep hope alive, and even pretended that the ruling didn’t mean all that much:
… Opponents say the ban is unlawful, based on visitors’ Muslim religion.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and that it will suffer irreparable harm with any interference. Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.
Some immigration lawyers said the limited nature of the ban and the silence of the court’s liberals on the issue Monday suggested that the court had not handed Trump much of a victory. They said relatively few people would fall under the ban because people coming to study, work or visit family members in the United States already have sufficient relationships with others already is in the country.
Trump, though, hailed the high court’s order as a “clear victory for our national security.” He said in a statement that his “number one responsibility” is to keep the American people safe.
Sherman failed to note that despite the “silence of the court’s liberals,” they all either agreed with or acquiesced to the ruling. Justice Thomas made sure to note that fact at the end of his opinion. Commenting on lower court rulings earlier this year which ultimately brought the matter to the nation’s highest court, Thomas also provided his observation on the ruling’s true scope:
… this Court has now — unanimously — found (those rulings) sufficiently questionable to be stayed as to the vast majority of the people potentially affected.
National Review’s French shredded Sherman’s claim that “relatively few people would be affected,” and also noted that the primary basis for lower-court usurpation of clear and constitutionally defined presidential authority was stonewalled:
The lower courts’ injunctions remain only in the narrowest of categories — where the person seeking entry has a “bona fide relationships with a person or entity in the United States.”
And what is a “bona fide relationship?” The court’s guidelines were strict …
… Notably absent from the court’s decision is any analysis of Trump’s campaign statements. Moreover, the only dissenters from the opinion (Justices Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas) wanted the injunctions vacated in their entirety. They are correct that the court’s ruling will invite further litigation as litigants test the boundaries of the “bona fide relationships,” but the difference between the dissenters and the six remaining justices was only over the proper extent of Trump’s legal victory. For now, the constitutional and statutory primacy of the executive and legislative branches over national security and immigration has been restored.
The judges in the courts below have been celebrated as heroic resistance figures. Yet now even the Supreme Court’s most liberal justices have rejected the lower courts’ overreach.
Most of the press is following the AP’s “parts” take (and barely a “victory”) on the Court’s ruling:
CNN.com — “Supreme Court allows parts of travel ban to take effect.”
Politico — “Supreme Court allows Trump’s travel ban to take partial effect.“
New York Times — “Supreme Court Will Hear Travel Ban, Which Is Partly Reinstated.“
ABC News — “Supreme Court allows parts of Trump travel ban to take effect.”
Reuters — “Supreme Court breathes new life into Trump’s travel ban.” The opening: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to President Donald Trump by reviving parts of a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that he said is needed for national security but that opponents decry as discriminatory.”)
The story at the New York Times disingenuously claimed that “those challenging the travel ban said the court’s opinion would protect the vast majority of people seeking to enter the United States to visit a relative, accept a job, attend a university or deliver a speech.” Well of course, but as Justice Thomas and National Review’s French noted, the ruling won’t “protect” others, who just so happen to be the “vast majority” of those falling with its scope.
The New York Times also claimed that the ruling’s exception for those with bona fide family or entity relationship somehow constituted “strict limits” on what the Trump administration can do, and even contended that the “liberal” justices “are likely to vote against it.”
CNN, the New York Times, and Reuters failed to note the unanimous nature of the ruling. Politico and ABC did, but only by quoting President Trump’s reaction, which was, in part: “Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security.”
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Supreme Court finds a compromise in reviving Trump’s travel ban
The Supreme Court on Monday took a pragmatic approach to resolving the dispute over President Trump’s foreign travel ban with a middle-ground ruling that may defuse the controversy — for now.
Later LA Times verbiage tried to portray the Supremes as the outliers, describing the ruling as “handing a partial victory to the president and his lawyers after a string of rebukes in federal courts from Hawaii to Maryland.” But at least the paper described that ruling as an “unsigned but unanimous opinion,” something the AP should have done in its early dispatches.
On a recent appearance on Fox & Friends, Ivanka Trump revealed that he role as “adviser to the president” doesn’t include dealing with politics.
Regarding what she advises her father on, Ivanka said: “I try to stay out of politics. His political instincts are phenomenal. He did something that no one could have imagined he’d be able to accomplish.”
Ivanka explained she isn’t “a political savant” and because of her inherent ingornace she is comfortable leaving “the politics to other people.”
However, Ivanka asserted that she does “adviser [Donald Trump] on a plethora of things.”
Exactly what Ivanka advises her father on is difficult to access considering she hasn’t vocally opposed Trump on anything.
For example, while attending the 2017 W20 Summit, Ivanka attempted in vain to white-wash her father’s very public apathy toward women. When asked what her role as First Daughter means, she said “she didn’t know… and was learning.”
Ivanka tried to paint the image of her father championing women’s rights and empowerment in an op-ed piece published prior to the W20 Summit, individual empowerment is not the same as “deconstructing any of the underlying conditions that have led to the economic inequality faced by women today.”
And yet within days of that statement and according to internal White House documents , the Let Girls Learn program, an initiative begun under the Obama administration giving girls in developing nations opportunities to receive an education, “will cease operation immediately.”
This action is yet another example of how the Trump administration is showing little concern for women’s empowerment.
Journalist Jill Filipovic points out that “there is close to zero evidence” that Melania Trump or Ivanka have ever championed women’s rights or feminism.
Filipovic explains: “Melania and Ivanka provide good cover for Trump’s misogyny because they’re palatable, conventionally feminine women: They’re docile and poised, they don’t make demands of men, and they are above all conventionally beautiful — white and thin.”
Back in March and prior to her official role at the White House, Ivanka was given a “West Wing office, government issued communications devices and security clearance access to classified information.”
She was there alongside her father during a visit of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Trump Tower while her company was seeking to close a deal with a bank owned by the Japanese government.
Later it was confirmed that Ivanka was taking an official role as adviser, even though Ivanka was (and currently still is) benefitting financially from her private corporation.
Journalist Rachel Abrams points out that while Ivanka “handed over day-to-day control of her company to her top executive, Abigail Klem, and transferred its assets to a new trust overseen by relatives of her husband”, the particulars of this agreement “have not been disclosed” which causes concerns over how much control Ivanka still has “over the brand that bears her name”.
Based on information provided by Ivanka’s attorney, she is “the sole beneficiary” of a trust she set up called the Ivanka M. Trump Business Trust.
In addition, Ivanka “will no longer appear in advertisements” for her company, and has “separated her business and personal social media accounts.”
And while this sounds like a clean break, Ivanka will continue to “receive regular financial reports on her company” and her husband, Jared Kushner, and her sister-in-law were both named as trustees so there is no separation of Ivanka from her company.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Ed Gillespie has a tricky road ahead of him as he campaigns for Virginia governor this year.
The Republican nominee wants to talk about state issues, not President Trump, not Russia and certainly not what’s on Twitter.
But Democrats hope to make the race, one of the few significant elections this fall, a referendum on Trump. The latest sign is that former President Obama has already decided to campaign for the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. Obama isn’t coming to campaign for Northam because he wants to discuss the state budget. He’s going to come and talk about the man in the Oval Office.
And Gillespie can’t easily distance himself from the Republican president. He barely won the Republican primary, almost losing to another Republican candidate who imitated Trump’s style and approach to issues. That candidate, Corey Stewart, received 155,466 votes, and Gillespie eked out a victory with a few thousand more.
Without a good number of those Stewart voters on his side, Gillespie won’t have much of a chance on Nov. 7. The first poll of the general election showed Gillespie trailing Northam by eight points.
And Democratic turnout was enormous in the primary. A total of 540,000 Democrats voted in the primary, compared to just 360,000 Republicans. That suggests Gillespie is facing a potential tsunami of anti-Trump sentiment.
In an interview with Yahoo News at his office here just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., Gillespie, a longtime Republican operative and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, gave a preview of how he’ll try to navigate these challenges. He said that he voted for Trump for president and hopes he can pass policies that help Virginians, but also took some effort to note that it’s “not my job” to “always be for the president or always be against the president.”
“It’s to always be for Virginia,” he said. “Clearly I supported [Trump], but I look at everything through a focus of Virginia.”
Gillespie made several comments that signaled a clear break with the resentment-driven politics embodied by Trump. He noted that he’ll run an inclusive campaign that appeals to all races and religions.
“I intend to be governor for all Virginians. I will take my campaign to all Virginians. I try to look at things through other people’s eyes and to listen and to be open to different perspectives,” he said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ed Gillespie, front left, waits to place a flower on an impromptu memorial for Nabra Hassanen, who was killed in a road rage incident, prior to the start of a vigil in honor of Nabar on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Reston, Va. (Photo: Steve Helber/AP)
Gillespie attended a funeral Wednesday for Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim girl who was beaten and killed Sunday by an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, as she was on her way to Ramadan prayers at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, one of the largest mosques in the area.
“I have a lot of friends in the ADAMS community,” Gillespie noted.
Gillespie’s starkest departure from the Trump brand of politics was his expression of agreement that “Black Lives Matter” and his acknowledgment that he did not respond positively to the slogan at first.
“I remember the first time I heard Black Lives Matter, and my reaction I’m sure was similar to that of many others, which was, ‘Well, of course they do. All lives matter,’” Gillespie said. “As I thought about it and talked to people, it occurred to me that I never felt the need to say white lives matter. The fact that a significant portion of our fellow citizens feel the need to tell us that tells me something.”
I asked Gillespie what it told him.
“It tells me that —” he said, then paused. “Well, I’ll just leave it at that. I am responsive and open to and listening to the needs of my fellow Virginians, wherever they are, and I think people see that.”
Gillespie’s hesitation indicates his awareness that most Republican voters probably don’t share his appreciation of movements like Black Lives Matter. A recent survey of 40,000 Americans found a dramatic drop in the number of self-identified Republicans who believe African-Americans face discrimination, from 46 to 32 percent in just the last year.
Beyond that, Gillespie wants to talk about the economy. He’s a classic conservative in the sense that his main focus is on creating the conditions for economic growth. He believes that’s the biggest thing the government can do to improve the lives of the greatest number of people.
The commonwealth has had sluggish economic growth for several years, often lagging behind the national rate, which has averaged around 2 percent. “Five of the past six years, our economic growth rate has been below 1 percent, and the only year it wasn’t, it was at 2 percent, which is still anemic,” Gillespie said.
The state’s economy was deeply affected by the budget sequester cuts in 2013 that took money away from the robust federal contracting industry in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
Gillespie said his “long-term goal is to make our economy less reliant on federal spending and federal programs.” That’s been a goal of the current governor as well, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is limited to one term by the state constitution.
But while McAuliffe traveled the globe to attract business to locate in Virginia, Gillespie thinks a 10 percent cut in the state income tax rate, which hasn’t changed in over four decades, is a key to “a more dynamic economy” because most small-business owners pay the individual rate rather than the corporate rate.
“We have had a focus for 25 years … on what I call ‘whale hunting’ in Virginia in terms of our economic development policy. We’re constantly trying to get some Fortune 100 company to move its headquarters lock, stock and barrel into Virginia, and we throw taxpayer dollars to lure them here to do that,” Gillespie said. “I think that is an antiquated approach and that we need to put a greater focus on startups and scale-ups.”
“It’s more natural, organic growth. It is a more long-term but sustainable approach to job creation here, and it will help us diversify our economy,” he said.
Gillespie also wants to require that municipalities look for alternatives to three categories of local taxes, which he thinks are stifling small business growth.
He said this election will put Virginia on one of two trajectories: to be like many Northeastern states, with high taxes and lower rates of growth, or follow the course of Southern states, that he said have more people moving into them because of lower taxes and more jobs.
“Virginia is either going to become the northernmost southeastern state or the southernmost northeastern state,” he said.
Northam’s approach to the economy includes a desire to make the code “simpler, more progressive and fairer,” and he has spoken of the need “to have a tax code that’s competitive with other states.”
“If we don’t, these businesses and manufacturers are going to choose to go elsewhere,” Northam said. That could be interpreted to mean Northam wants to lower taxes for corporations, but he has so far not spelled out the details.
Northam also wants to raise the minimum wage, offer a tax credit to allow employers to offer more paid family leave and provide tax credits to offset grocery tax for lower-income Virginians.
The two candidates have already started to trade blows, with Northam charging that Gillespie is “Trump’s lobbyist.” It’s a double-pronged attack meant to tie him to Trump, forcing him to defend the president to hold on to the Republican base, but hurting him among moderates and independents.
And Democrats will look to ding Gillespie over some of his lobbying clients.
“There are plenty of clients of his that the public will find unappealing. He made money off helping big corporations game the system,” said Northam spokesman David Turner.
Gillespie began his political career as a congressional aide and quickly rose through the ranks of Republican operatives during the 2000 presidential campaign, and then formed a powerful lobbying company with Democrat Jack Quinn.
He was named chairman of the Republican National Committee and helped oversee the effort to reelect George W. Bush in 2004, then served as a senior White House adviser to Bush. He has since worked in both national politics and in Virginia. He was a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, and nearly won the 2014 U.S. Senate election against incumbent Mark Warner, a Democrat.
Part of Gillespie’s counterattack against Northam so far has been to label the Democrat as having drifted too far left, more focused on social issues and on attacking the president than on basic bread and butter economic issues.
“I’m going to keep talking about the issues that matter to Virginia … jobs and roads and schools and the safety of our communities and neighborhoods,” Gillespie said.
He concluded with a shot at the media, one topic that he does appear to agree with Trump.
“I have to talk to the voters about what the voters are telling me they care about and just let the media talk about what they want to talk about, because the good news is, it doesn’t matter that much anymore,” he said. “The voters will get their information, and they’ll get it through other means.” _____