President Trump geared up to launch “a fundraising initiative that mimics the famed George W. Bush ‘Pioneer’ program. … As with Bush, the president will reward donors who’ve bundled thousands of dollars in contributions, giving them an entree to exclusive dinners, political briefings, and future retreats.
“Under the plan, which is intended to provide a fundraising infrastructure that was lacking from Trump’s 2016 campaign, donors who raise $25,000 will join the ‘Trump Train’ and those who bundle $45,000 will be part of the ‘45 Club.’ The program, which will jointly benefit Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, will introduce higher class levels for larger dollar amounts in the future. Funds raised will also go toward the party’s 2018 efforts.”
“Trump is slowly building a 2020 campaign apparatus even as he endures the most tumultuous stretch of his presidency. While top advisers bolt the White House and a special counsel zeroes in on the president’s ties to Russia, Trump is tapping a new campaign manager, taking steps to fend off would-be primary challengers, and lining up travel to critical 2020 states.
“He has told friends privately that he wants to raise a massive amount of money in the months to come. Plans for the bundling program have been in the works for weeks.”
Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller: “Just because the Democrats and many in the media refuse to get over 2016 doesn’t mean President Trump should take his focus off 2020,. It’s important that President Trump continue to lay the groundwork for a strong reelection campaign because he’s not going to be able to drain the swamp overnight.” (Politico)
TEXAS. “Making an extraordinary effort to unseat state Rep. Sarah Davis—a fellow Republican—Gov. Greg Abbott has called it a ‘fight for the very future of both the Republican Party and the state of Texas.’ … On the line Tuesday is not only the political career of an all-but-extinct breed in Texas—a moderate, pro-abortion rights Republican—but also Abbott’s ability to influence a down-ballot election as the most popular GOP statewide official.”
Davis: “I represent so many Republicans that are just like me and feel that I give them a voice and a home in the party, and without someone like me, they are starting to wonder: What does it even mean to be a Republican? We have to be a big-tent party.” (Texas Tribune)
TARIFFS. “Trump’s threatened trade war has opened a rift within the Republican Party that some lawmakers and strategists believe could undermine their effort to keep their majorities in Congress.
“Republicans plan to brag about the economy in midterm campaigns in hopes of countering Trump’s unpopularity, touting a strong stock market, low unemployment rate and—most importantly—their increasingly popular tax legislation. But Trump’s suggestion Saturday that he might slap penalties on European cars, in addition to the tariffs on aluminum and steel he already promised, could upend that strategy completely, Republicans say.”
“The clash suggests that what might be good politics for Trump personally might not work for the entire party. While narrow action directed at China alone might be well received, two top Republican congressional campaign sources said any broader trade actions—such as what Trump is floating now—could be devastating.
“And it’s also allowing Democrats to hug Trump just when Republicans have been trying to position the opposing party as detrimental to Trump’s economy. Vulnerable Democratic incumbents from the Rust Belt have rushed to praise Trump for taking action that could help industries in their states.” (Politico)
CONTEXT: “Mr. Trump argues that free trade has hollowed out America’s industrial base and saddled the country with huge trade deficits. He has promised to recover lost ground with an ‘America first’ trade policy. But putting America first may not put all American workers ahead.
“‘There are more losers than winners,’ said Monica de Bolle, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. ‘If the point is to protect American jobs, if the point is to protect small and medium-sized businesses, this is exactly the wrong way to do things.’
“The mills and smelters that supply the raw material, and that would directly benefit from the tariffs, have been shrinking for years. Today, those industries employ fewer than 200,000 people. The companies that buy steel and aluminum, to make everything from trucks to chicken coops, employ more than 6.5 million workers, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis of Commerce Department data.”(New York Times)
Meanwhile, the National Association of Manufacturers “says U.S. companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year on unnecessary import fees. Critics say that miscellaneous tariff bills, which began decades ago as modest efforts to help U.S. manufacturers, have in recent years become sprawling packages of tariff reductions that undercut domestic producers without the means to defend their interests in Washington.” (Reuters)
KASICH. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) “praised the young people advocating for gun reform measures following the Florida school shooting in February.”
Kasich: “What I hope is going to happen is, we will make some steps. And young people, the millennials, the Gen Xers are saying, ‘Look, we have heard enough. Deliver something. Deliver something. We don’t want all these excuses. Deliver something.’” (The Hill)
What We're Following See More »
"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.
"Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months," said U.S. officials. The lasers appeared to be coming from Chinese fishing boats in the South China Sea, said the officials, which is the setting of a "long-running dispute between China and Japan over the control of nearby islands ... The incidents likely will come up as part of a broader discussion of issues when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits Beijing next week and meets Chinese President Xi Jinping."
"President Donald Trump has unveiled a new policy that depicts the world’s oceans as a resource ripe for expanded business opportunities, reversing the Obama administration's emphasis on protecting 'vulnerable' marine environments." Rather than emphasizing environmental protection, as Obama's policy did, "Trump’s directive speaks mostly to the oceans as a resource for promoting national security" and creating jobs.