The Rushmore Report: What Has Trump Accomplished in His First 6 Months?

The first six months of the Trump Administration have been marked by constant conflict – much driven by a mainstream media intent on Trump’s demise. To watch most newscasts is to miss most of what Trump has actually been doing. There is, after all, more to a presidency than the man’s tweets. So what, exactly, has Trump accomplished in his first six months in office? Quite a bit, actually.

1. Dow Jones is way up.

In the first six months of the Trump Administration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has jumped by 9.3 percent. That represents billions of dollars in the pockets of millions of workers and retirees. No, you won’t hear about it on CNN. But it’s big news.

2. Unemployment is way down.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 4.3 percent, the lowest level since 2001. Think about that. By adding over 800,000 jobs in the first few months of his presidency, Trump has seen the unemployment rate fall below the rate at any time of the entire Obama Administration. To say it again, the unemployment rate in July, 2017 is lower than it was for any of the 96 months of the Obama presidency.

3. Neil Gorsuch was appointed to the Supreme Court.

Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deserves much of the credit for reserving the seat vacated while Obama was still president, it was Trump who made the Gorsuch appointment. And by all accounts, Gorsuch is a superb choice.

4. The travel ban was put in place.

Call it what you want, but the travel ban keeps more terrorists out than a non-travel ban would. Despite all the legal wrangling, even the threat of the ban has kept many refugees out who might have done harm to Americans.

5. A border wall is planned.

While it is estimated that the wall will cost $21.6 billion, it will keep many illegals out. The House Appropriations Committee has approved just $1.6 billion for the first 74 miles of fencing.

6. Illegal immigration is down.

Trump’s most consequential immigration-related action is the expansion of deportation. An average of 13,085 illegals are being deported each month. As a result of the crackdown, border crossings are way down.

7. Trump has brought massive deregulation.

The president has made unprecedented use of the Congressional Review Act to undo 13 regulations passed under President Obama. Another 860 regulations have been put on hold. This has been a boon to American industry.

Has the Trump Administration been without controversy? Of course not. Are his twitter habits helping? Of course not. But if we actually judge President Trump by what he does more than by what he says, it’s hard to argue that the first six months of his presidency have been marked by great success.

 

The Rushmore Report: Sen. McCain Rescues Healthcare Reform – For Now

Sen. John McCain returned to the Senate Tuesday afternoon for the first time since his brain cancer diagnosis, delivering powerful remarks from the floor addressing the need for bipartisanship amid the gridlock facing the chamber. McCain, R-Ariz., returned to help GOP colleagues advance their health care bill. As he arrived, he was greeted by a round of applause and hugs from fellow senators.

“Make no mistake, my service here is the most important job I have had in my life. And I am so grateful to the people of Arizona for the privilege – for the honor – of serving here and the opportunities it gives me to play a small role in the history of the country I love,” McCain said, acknowledging senators he’s “known and admired.” “But they knew that however sharp and heartfelt their disputes, however keen their ambitions, they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively.”

But McCain stressed that the Senate’s deliberations are “more partisan, more tribal” than any time he remembers.

“Our deliberations can still be important and useful, but I think we’d all agree they haven’t been overburdened by greatness lately – and right now they aren’t producing much for the American people,” McCain said.

“We’ve been spinning our wheels on too many issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. That’s an approach that’s been employed by both sides,” he continued.

McCain added, “Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.”

The test vote on the health care bill Tuesday allows lawmakers to start debate. With McCain’s support and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence, it cleared the hurdle on a 51-50 vote.

McCain warned he won’t support the bill in its current form.

“I will not vote for the bill as it is today. It’s a shell of a bill right now. We all know that,” he said. “We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince then it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past unified opposition.”

McCain said he didn’t think that would work, and added that “it probably shouldn’t.”

President Trump was not mentioned by name in McCain’s speech, but the senator did go on to mention that the Senate is an “important check on the powers of the Executive.”

“Whether or not we are of the same party, we are not the President’s subordinates. We are his equal,” McCain said. “As his responsibilities are onerous, many, and powerful, so are ours.”

McCain went on to thank fellow senators for their kind words and prayers after the news of his diagnosis.

“I’ve had so many people say such nice things about me recently that I think some of you must have me confused with someone else,” McCain joked, drawing laughter from the chamber. “I appreciate it though, every word, even if much of it isn’t deserved.”

McCain said he would spend a “few days” in Washington and plans to manage the floor debate later this week on the defense authorization bill.

McCain concluded his remarks with a promise that he had “every intention” of returning to Washington after spending time at home to treat his illness.

“I have every intention of returning here and giving many of you cause to regret all the nice things you said about me,” MeCain joked. “And, I hope, to impress you again that it is an honor to serve the American people in your company.”

About the Author

Brooke Singman is a writer for Fox News.

The Rushmore Report: Meeting the Lawyers Investigating Trump

President Trump’s criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller signals a renewed effort to challenge his investigators’ credibility over their track record of pro-Democratic political donations. There is no shortage of examples to fuel the president’s case. Of the 15 attorneys on staff for Mueller, at least seven have donated thousands of dollars to Hillary Clinton; not one gave a penny to the Trump campaign.

“This is just a witch hunt – it’s all a hoax,” White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” last week after Trump criticized Mueller in a New York Times interview. “People should know what folks’ motivations are – these weren’t minor donations, these were significant donations by members of that team.”

Does Team Trump have a point? Yes. Again, not a single member of his 15 attorneys has any track record of supporting Mr. Trump or other Republicans with their donations. On the other hand, consider what we know about just a few of the attorneys assembled by Mueller in his “unbiased investigation.”

James Quarles

A former partner at WilmerHale, Quarles donated $2,700 to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and over $7,000 to President Obama for his two races for the White House. His donations to Trump: nothing.

Jeannie Rhee

Having served in the Office of Legal Counsel and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Rhee donated $5,400 to Clinton and $4,800 to Obama. Her donations to Trump: nothing.

Andrew Weissmann

A general counsel at the FBI and assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Weissmann gave $2,300 to Obama and $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee. His donations to Trump: nothing.

Andrew Goldstein

An attorney on detail from the Southern District of New York, Mr. Goldstein gave $3,300 to Obama. His donations to Trump: nothing.

The Rest

Elizabeth Prelogar, Brandon Van Grack, and Rush Atkinson all donated to the Clinton campaign. Their combined donations to Trump: nothing.

So Mr. Mueller has assembled a team of 15 “unbiased” attorneys to investigate Team Trump. At least half have donated money to Clinton, Obama, and other Democratic causes. Not one of the 15 has given a dime to Trump or Republican causes.

But this could backfire. While Republicans are demanding fairness and calling Mueller’s team into question, perhaps this is going to work in their favor. If the Special Counsel exonerates President Trump, no one can say they were stacked in his favor. What could look better for the president than for a team of Clinton supporters to report back that he had done nothing wrong?

So while many conservatives are blasting Mueller for his “unfairness,” perhaps he’s the smart one. He knows that a right-leaning investigative team would have any pro-Trump report called into question. But when (or if?) his team comes back in a few months and says Trump did nothing wrong, no one can call into question the integrity of the committee.

So will this heavily pro-Clinton investigative team work against Trump – or for him?

We’ll know soon.

 

The Rushmore Report: Dems Pledge to Come Up with a Message – At Last

As polling shows that more Americans today think the Democratic Party “just stands against” President Donald Trump instead of promoting its own message, leading liberals are calling for the party to unify its base by refocusing its attention on an economic alternative. A Washington Post poll last week found that only 37 percent of Americans believe that the Democratic Party actually “stands for something.”

Another 52 percent say the party “just stands against Trump.” With focus now on the 2018 midterm elections, that same poll found that only 24 percent of registered voters plan to vote based on their opposition to Trump in the midterm elections. Meanwhile, 20 percent of registered voters will vote based on their support of Trump. And 51 percent said Trump will not be a factor in their midterm votes.

Now, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has unveiled a legislative agenda called “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” According to Schumer, the agenda has three prongs that will focus on creating more job-training opportunities, lowering costs of everyday expenses, and raising wages.

Schumer was asked why Democrats didn’t release this type of economic agenda during the 2016 campaign. He responded, “Well, I don’t know why it didn’t happen in the campaign. We all take blame, not any one person.” He added, the new agenda “is not going to be left or right.”

He continued, “It will unify the Democratic Party, because we are united on economic issues. And a bold, sharp-edged message, platform, policy, that talks about working people and how the system is rigged against them is going to resonate. And this is the first time we’re going to have it, and our party is going to be unified.”

There you have it. Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says of his party: “This is the first time we’re going to have it.”

America is waiting. The Democratic Party says it actually has a message – at last.

About the Author

Samuel Smith is a reporter for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: The Two Men Most Likely to Replace Jeff Sessions

In light of President Trump’s recent comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, commentator Charles Krauthammer describes Sessions as a “dead man walking.” In recent phone calls to supporters and confidants, Trump asked, “What would happen if I fired Sessions?” It seems Sessions’ departure is no longer a matter of if, but when. But when he goes, who will replace him? I suggest two names.

This is not to say we support the idea. Sessions is a man of integrity. He was the lone senator to support candidate Trump on the eve of Super Tuesday. One could argue it was Sessions’ support that allowed Trump to run away from Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the campaign. Most legal scholars and conservative politicians agree with Sessions’ move to recuse himself from the Russia investigation – the move that has landed him in hot water with the president.

Should Trump replace Sessions? No! But that doesn’t mean he won’t. My guess is that Sessions will not go on his own. He will force Trump’s hand. And sooner rather than later, the move will come. Sessions will be out.

So who will replace him? I see two likely candidates.

Ted Cruz

The senator from Texas has the right background. It is highly suspected in Texas that he wants to do something else. He has grown weary of being one of 100 in “the world’s most deliberative body.” The senate’s failure to pass legislation – or even vote on legislation – has frustrated Cruz tremendously. It will not be easy to find a candidate who a) is willing to take the job, and b) can win Senate approval. But the Republican senators will vote for Cruz because he is one of their own. And the Democratic senators will support him because they want him gone from the Senate.

Rudy Giuliani

Trump has already floated Giuliani’s name to close friends and supporters. While Giuliani has said he doesn’t want the job, he would likely take it. But as a fiercely independent voice, he would not be a good match for the president long-term. However, that may not be much of a problem, as most of Trump’s appointments don’t appear to be long-term anyway.

Best Guess

My best guess is that Trump will fire Sessions by the end of summer. Then he will appoint Senator Cruz. Then Texas Governor Greg Abbott would appoint an interim senator – possibly Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who would love the job.

The Rushmore Report: Will O.J. Go Free? The Betting Odds

It might be the biggest parole hearing of all time. The fate of football legend O.J. Simpson will be decided today by the Nevada Board of Parole of Commissioners. Networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, and ESPN will air the hearing live. More than 250 media credentials have been issued for the event. And Las Vegas has actually issued betting odds on whether O.J. will go free – and on much more.

Simpson, who is now 70 years old, was sentenced to a minimum of nine years and a maximum of 33 for his role in an armed robbery of two sports memorabilia agents at a Las Vegas casino in 2008. He is currently incarcerated at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.

Close friend Tom Scotto told USA Today that Simpson is optimistic about his chances of being paroled.

Most experts seem to agree. Even the man who put him behind bars, retired Clark County District Attorney David Roger, supports his release. And his attorney, Yale Galanter, says Simpson has been a model inmate.

If paroled, O.J. will be eligible for release on October 1. If he is not paroled, his next chance comes in January, 2018.

Now for the fun part. Sports Betting Experts has set betting odds on the parole hearing and on some of the questions concerning what life will be like for Simpson if he is set free.

On the basic question of whether Simpson will be paroled, the odds are 4-to-3 that he will be. Then it gets interesting. Rather than giving the exact odds on the numerous scenarios Sports Betting Experts considered, I’ll lay out what they say are the most likely outcomes for each situation.

For those of us who remember watching the famous Bronco chase, or better yet, remember O.J.’s remarkable career as one of the best running backs in NFL history, to see what is most likely to come next is intriguing. This is what betters say will come next. And yes, you can actually bet on this stuff.

  1. Will O.J. be paroled? Yes.
  2. Will O.J. address the parole board? Yes.
  3. Will Donald Trump reference O.J. Simpson in a Tweet by the end of the week? No. (I say take this bet!)
  4. Will Simpson be greeted by any of his children upon his release? Yes.
  5. Will O.J. speak to the media as he departs? No.
  6. Will he release a book within one year? Yes.
  7. Where will O.J. live after he is released? Florida.
  8. Will the families of Nicole Brown or Ron Goldman release a statement? Yes.
  9. Who will conduct the first live interview with Simpson? Oprah Winfrey.
  10. Where will his first stop be? Home/hotel.
  11. Will O.J. ever go back to prison? No.
  12. Will any of his old attorneys make a statement? No.
  13. Will “Kato” Kaelin make a statement? No. (Too bad!)
  14. Will the NFL say anything about O.J.’s release? No.

O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1995. A civil jury ordered Simpson to pay $33.4 million to the deceased’s families in 1997. And in a few months, O.J. will likely walk free, move to Florida, do an interview with Oprah, and write a book.

And then perhaps he can finally begin his much-anticipated search for the real killer.

The Rushmore Report: One Senator Has Figured It Out – How to Pass Healthcare Reform

The Republican-led Senate failed to pass healthcare reform – again. Now it appears they may try to pass a simple repeal bill, meaning that in two years Obamacare would officially die. This, the thinking goes, would force the Senate to do something by then. The problem is Republicans have 52 in the Senate, and they need 50 of those 52 to agree to any legislation, given that Democrats are content to stand by while Obamacare implodes. But is there another answer? “Yes!” says one senator. This senator’s plan makes perfect sense. In fact, it may not just be the best answer, but the only answer . . .

The Senator

The man in question is Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. As for the Republican plan that just fell short, Lankford told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Put me down as a solid undecided.”

Lankford released this statement: “Congress should pass a bill that provides a smooth transition from the Affordable Care Act to a better system that provides more affordable coverage options for everyone, with the goal in mind of doing no harm to current enrollees.” He then offered six specific areas of concern to the Tulsa World newspaper, to help the proposed legislation, which failed to even come to a vote.

But this was never Lankford’s plan in the first place. No, he had, and still has, the only plan that will actually work. And until the Senate embraces his idea, they have virtually zero chance of passing new healthcare reform legislation.

The Plan

Interviewed on Fox News Tuesday morning, Senator Lankford repeated the plan he first set forth months ago. “For seven years, we [Republicans] have been running around saying that when we get the majority, we will repeal and replace Obamacare. But we never actually came up with a plan that would garner enough support.”

When asked what he would do to get a bill that could pass, Lankford said, “It’s simple. Here’s my plan. Get all 52 Republican senators in a room, and stay there until we have the votes.”

Genius. Innovator. Creative. Brainy.

Pick your descriptor for the Oklahoma legislator. What he is saying will actually work. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should not even think about releasing a plan that a) was constructed by just 14 senators (as he just did), and that b) does not have the support of 50 senators.

So the majority has two ways to go. They can follow Lankford’s plan and get in a room and hash out a plan. This could take days or even weeks. That’s okay. At least then, they’d have something to show for their work. Don’t announce anything until you have the votes. And then release the plan, give plenty of time for amendments and debate. And then vote.

Or McConnell can keep releasing plans that only 14 senators have created in hopes that 36 of the other 38 would agree also. Good luck with that!

I learned something a long time ago. Never have a vote until you know the outcome in advance. Mr. McConnell, follow Sen. Lankford’s lead. Get your caucus together. Set aside a week, maybe two. Carve the time out of your stupid August recess. And don’t talk to the press until your first words are, “We have a plan. We have the votes to pass it. Here it is.”

Several senators have offered their own plans – Cruz, Lee, Paul, Cassidy among them. But none of them will work because none of them will get the necessary votes. None. Zero. Zilch.

Just one plan will work. So, Mr. McConnell, invite the man from Oklahoma to breakfast. Listen – don’t say a thing. When Lankford is finished, repeat these words: “Thank you, Senator. We will do just that.” Then call your Republican colleagues together. It’s time for the longest slumber party in political history. No one goes home until you have a plan. No one passes “Go” or collects $200 (Monopoly lingo).

We have 100 United States senators. And exactly one of them has a plan that will work. He has the only plan that will work. Listen to him, Sen. McConnell. You’ll be the hero, the American people will be served, and Congress will actually get something done.

Yes, after seven years of failed Obamacare, it has all come down to this – one man with one plan. His name is Senator James Lankford. And his plan is the only one that will work.

The Rushmore Report: Border Wall – Does It Work?

The debate over a border wall continues to rage. From the left, we hear three piercing arguments: no one does a border wall, a wall doesn’t work anyway, and illegal immigrants should be allowed in because they commit crimes at a lesser rate than legal citizens. It’s hard to know where to start in a sane rebuttal to these arguments. I will try to be concise. And fact-driven. Let’s check our emotions at the door and engage our brains.

Argument #1 – No one does a wall.

We hear this one all the time. Building a wall on our southern border would violate our values. (I guess this assumes one of our “values” is to let as many people as possible violate out sovereignty and our laws – interesting “values.”) “We would be the only civilized country in the world to build a wall on our border,” says Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Tell that to the 36 countries who actually have walls on their borders right now! Here is a partial list: Belize, Bulgaria, Spain, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, China, North Korea, Egypt, Russia, Macedonia, Thailand, Hungary, India (on four borders), South Korea, South Africa, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ukraine, and my favorite – Mexico. Yes, Ms. Pelosi, civilized countries do build walls to protect their sovereignty – lots of them. One would think you would have known that.

Argument #2 – Walls don’t work.

Does this really need a response? I guess it does, because Democrats and most of the media keep repeating the ridiculous claim that a huge wall keeps no more people out than no wall at all. Of course, these same people build fences around their houses and put locks on their doors. But I digress. If walls didn’t work, we wouldn’t have 36 countries who have spent billions of dollars to build them. Consider this. Just the promise of a wall is affecting border crossings. Clayton Morris just reported that illegal immigrants crossing at America’s southern border have dropped 64 percent in 2017 versus the same time span in 2016. The Daily Caller cites further evidence. From February through May, about 76,000 people were captured by law enforcement at the border versus 188,000 in 2016. Fewer illegals – by the tens of thousands – are even trying to cross over our border since the Trump border wall threats began. One commentator said it like this – “Trump isn’t just building the wall; Trump is the wall.” 

Argument #3 – Illegals commit less crime.

This is debatable. Data goes both ways. But if I hear Juan Williams say this one more time, I may ban Fox News from my cable system for all time. Let’s assume illegals do commit less crime than American citizens. That changes nothing! Whether by a larger number, or a lesser number, no one argues they commit no crime. 

Let’s say you have three sidewalks you can take to the store. One has more criminals waiting for you, a second has fewer criminals, and the third has no criminals. Which would you choose? Is the fact that inner city thugs in Chicago are killing each other at a higher rate than illegals kill Americans really a good argument for letting illegals in? To hear Juan Williams tell it, as long as illegals are committing less crime than others, their crime should be applauded and welcomed.

Perhaps Mr. Williams should test his own theory – that it’s okay to be somewhere illegally as long as you don’t commit any other crimes while you are there. I wonder if he would consider illegally entering a person’s house, making himself at home as though he lived there, and then when the home owner enters the room, say, “Hey, I’m not hurting anyone. Go on back to bed. I’ll just stay here for a few years.”

So what do we know? We know three things. First, other civilized countries do build border walls. Second, they work. Third, the rate at which illegals commit crimes is irrelevant.

The Rushmore Report: ‘A Friend Among Friends’: Evangelicals Pray Over Trump – Again

A group of evangelical leaders prayed over President Trump in the Oval Office, with Vice President Mike Pence in attendance as well. Following a meeting hosted by the Office of Public Liaison last week, the evangelical leaders met with Trump and other Administration leaders. Johnnie Moore, president of the KAIROS Company, snapped a photo of the men laying their hands on Trump in prayer.

In a statement emailed to The Christian Post, Moore described the event as “a very special moment, but it was also not an unusual one.”

Moore continued, “Various ones of us have prayed with him many times and have been praying for him a long time. We believe we are a praying nation, and we begin by praying for our leaders. As you know, most evangelicals believe it’s a sacred responsibility to pray for the president, and this is very much in our tradition as Americans who once took – and sometimes still do take – this responsibility seriously.”

Moore also noted that while he and other evangelical leaders had prayed for former President Barack Obama, “it’s different with President Trump.” He says, “When we are praying for President Trump we are praying within the context of a real relationship, of true friendship.” Moore called it “a visit among friends.”

When he first declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2015, Trump’s relationship with evangelicals was a tenuous one. Many prominent evangelical leaders endorsed other Republican candidates, especially U.S. Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

However, after securing the Republican nomination and since taking office, Trump’s support among evangelicals has grown and remains steady despite his controversies.

Moore is not the only evangelical leader to see the Trump Administration as offering unprecedented welcome for evangelicals.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said there has “been no American president in history who has reached out to evangelicals to the extent that Trump has.”

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer for The Christian Post.

Disneyland’s First Day

On July 17, 1955 – 62 years ago today – Disneyland Park, originally called Disneyland, opened under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself. Walt came up with the concept after visiting amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He bought the 160-acre site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began a year later.

Disneyland was dedicated at an “International Press Preview” event held on Sunday, July 17, 1955, which was only open to invited guests and the media. Although 28,000 people attended the event, only about half of those were actual invitees, the rest having purchased counterfeit tickets. The following day, it opened to the public, featuring 20 attractions.

The Special Sunday events, including the dedication, were televised nationwide and anchored by three of Walt Disney’s friends from Hollywood: Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan.

Yes, Ronald Reagan.

ABC broadcast the event live, during which many guests tripped over the television camera cables. In Frontierland, a camera caught Cummings kissing a dancer. When Disney started to read the plaque for Tomorrowland, he read part way then stopped when a technician off-camera said something to him, and after realizing he was on-air, he said, “I thought I got a signal,” and began the dedication from the start. At one point, while in Fantasyland, Linkletter tried to give coverage to Cummings, who was on the pirate ship. He was not ready, and tried to give the coverage back to Linkletter, who had lost his microphone. Cummings then did a play-by-play of him trying to find it in front of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

So Disneyland didn’t get off to a great start. But Walt Disney famously said, “It’s not how you start that matters, but what you do next.”

The same is true in life. To get the full thrill of this ride God calls “life,” it’s not about how we start, or even where we are now – but what we do next.