In the 2018 midterms, there are 23 House Republicans who will be seeking re-election in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Though incumbent advantage is significant, such recent history makes these representatives vulnerable.
It does not, however, make them open to President Trump's presence on the campaign trail. Axios contacted the offices of all 23 and found just two — Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.) and Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) — who said they'd accept Trump stumping for them. Of the other 21, most ignored or dodged the question, but four explicitly said they did not want Trump's help.
"We have not requested the president's assistance and we don't plan on requesting his assistance," said the office of Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), one of those who preemptively turned Trump down. And Curbelo's office, though willing to have Trump involved, offered a tepid statement mentioning the representative's past appearances with both Trump and Obama. It concluded, "Anyone who wants to support Carlos' efforts and endorse his bipartisan approach to public service is welcome to do so." Bonnie Kristian
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was first elected to the Senate in 1992 and plans to make 2018 her final campaign. But if the activists at the California Democratic Party's convention this weekend have their say, she won't run again at all.
In vote results released Sunday, just 37 percent of delegates backed Feinstein, while 54 percent supported her primary challenger, State Sen. Kevin de León. Party rules require 60 percent support for an endorsement, but the underdog de León promptly cast the vote as "an astounding rejection of politics as usual [which] boosts our campaign's momentum as we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder against a complacent status quo."
When her speech ran long at the convention Saturday and music began to play her off the stage, Feinstein commented, "I guess my time is up." Her rival's delegates immediately made the aside into a political chant, shouting, "Your time is up! Your time is up!" as she left the podium.
In the broader race, however, Feinstein's name recognition and deep coffers put her well ahead of her opponent. A recent survey saw her leading with 46 percent to de León's 17 percent. Bonnie Kristian
Conservative author Mona Charen got booed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday because of comments she made about the #MeToo movement, the Republican Party, and President Trump.
"I am disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women," Charen said, referencing Trump and the Access Hollywood tape. "This is a party that endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester," she continued. "You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that."
Writing in The New York Times Sunday, Charen stood by her critique of the GOP as a lifelong conservative. "There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth," she wrote. "And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds, and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability."
Watch an excerpt of the CPAC panel below, and read the whole New York Times op-ed here. Bonnie Kristian
— Scout (@about_scout) February 24, 2018
Following Friday's indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday "the evidence is now incontrovertible" that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election. McMaster's statement stands in sharp contrast to President Trump's Friday claim that "results of the election were not impacted" by Russia's "anti-U.S. campaign."
Meanwhile, White House representative Raj Shah mostly echoed Trump on Fox News Friday evening. He argued Russian "efforts were about sowing confusion in the electoral process and undermining the next president, not about supporting one candidate over the other." Mueller's indictment specifically accused its targets of conspiring to "defraud the United States," including by "supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump."
McMaster was speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany when he made his remarks. Also there was Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who declined to comment on the indictment. "You can publish anything and we can see those indictments multiplying," Lavrov said. "Until we see the facts everything else is just blabber." Bonnie Kristian
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday drew a contrast between Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is "accepting responsibility, apologizing" for sexual misconduct allegations made against him, and President Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, "who have done neither."
Her remarks came a day after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, while allowing that the political climate surrounding sexual misconduct was different in the 1990s. "Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances, there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand said. "And I think in light of this conversation, we should have a very different conversation about President Trump, and a very different conversation about allegations against him."
Gillibrand is historically a Clinton ally, and her comments are the latest development in the Democratic Party's renewed debate and division over sexual harassment and assault accusations against Bill Clinton. Clinton defenders argue it is disingenuous to suggest the former president escaped consequences for his behavior by putting him in the same category as Trump and Moore. Bonnie Kristian
Ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon attacked fellow Republican former President George W. Bush while speaking at the California GOP convention banquet Friday evening.
"There has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush's," Bannon said, arguing that Bush "embarrassed himself" with a "high falutin" speech in New York City on Thursday. Bush's talk did not mention President Trump by name, but its decrial of "discourse degraded by casual cruelty" was widely regarded as a critique of Trump.
Bush "has no earthly idea of whether he's coming or going," Bannon added Friday, "just like it was when he was president."
Watch Bannon's full speech below — the Bush comments begin around the 24-minute mark — and read The Week's Paul Waldman on why even Trump critics shouldn't misremember Dubya as a representative of a nobler age and a nobler GOP. Bonnie Kristian
"We have many options for" dealing with the ongoing political unrest in Venezuela, President Trump said Friday. "I am not going to rule out a military option," he added, noting the United States has "troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away" and "Venezuela is not very far away."
— CNN (@CNN) August 11, 2017
Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino labeled Trump's comments "a crazy act, an act of supreme extremism." The Department of Defense said in a statement the "Pentagon has not received any orders with regards to Venezuela," calling rumors of a U.S. invasion "baseless." Bonnie Kristian
Republican lawmakers have rallied to urge President Trump against firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an option Trump has repeatedly indicated he is considering.
Sessions' most eager defender may be Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who called Sessions "one of the most decent people I’ve ever met in my political life" and labeled Trump's tweets about him "highly inappropriate." Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted his statement Wednesday morning:
Served with Jeff Sessions for 6 yrs. Always honest & transparent. When he's with you no better ally,when against you,tough adversary 1/2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 26, 2017
Jeff Session's not caricature created by those who don't know him. Even when we disagreed on immigration I saw his fairness & kindness 2/2
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 26, 2017
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Luther Strange (R-Ala.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) all stated their support for Sessions' character, as did former lawmaker Newt Gingrich. "There's a lot of good in Jeff Sessions," Gingrich said Monday. "I think it would be a big mistake for the president to do anything except move forward with him."