The Rushmore Report – How Trump Can Get His Wall in Three Steps

Last week, President Trump met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the Oval Office, in front of the media. They spatted over his proposed border wall. The conclusion of the meeting was clear. Both sides remained dug in. Democrats won’t agree to the $5 billion request from the president, and Trump is willing to shut down the government until they do. Here’s what’s missing for Mr. Trump – a clear strategy to get his signature campaign promise over the finish line. He doesn’t have a bad plan. It’s worse than that. He has no plan at all. But it’s not hard. The president should adopt this simple three-step plan if he really wants to secure the border.

Step 1 – Address the nation.

President Trump should request 30 minutes of prime time from the major television networks, in order to address the nation. Twitter is a poor substitute for a national, prime time address on television. The networks never turn down such a request from a president. This would allow him to take his message directly to the people, putting the maximum possible pressure on elected officials.

Step 2 – Play the Democrats’ greatest hits.

During this national address, Trump should play clips of leading democrats – including Schumer and Pelosi – voicing their support for a border wall when a Democrat was in the White House. There are plenty of videos to choose from, as Democrats’ support for a wall (pre-Trump) is well-documented. The president should not just say Pelosi and Schumer supported a wall, he should show us. Use their own words against them.

Step 3 – Address the spending issue directly.

When it comes to border security, Democrats enter the proverbial phone booth as big spenders, then exit as fiscal conservatives. They say we can’t afford the $5 billion that Trump is requesting. Never mind, these same Democrats voted to spend $10 billion when one of their own held the White House. When President Trump addresses the nation, he should point out that this $5 billion represents one percent of one percent of the federal budget. Compared to the $7 billion spent on Head Start each year, the border wall would be a bargain. According to the Cato Institute, since the Johnson Administration, the federal government has spent $15 trillion on welfare, while the poverty rate has actually inched up.

Securing our borders is a hill to die on. President Trump is to be commended for doing what so few politicians do. He is actually keeping the promises upon which he campaigned. And he is trying to do what no president has ever succeeded at doing. Of course, the Democrats – being the party of ‘No’ – will only obstruct, because that’s what they do. But that doesn’t mean the president can’t get his wall. He can. But first, he needs a plan. All humility aside, he needs my plan.

The Rushmore Report – GOP Senator Loses It

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is a team player. Now the longest serving senator in Congress is retiring. You may have heard of the fellow who is replacing him – Mitt Romney. But before he exits the stage, Hatch fulfilled a long Senate tradition by giving a going away speech before his 99 colleagues. And the dapper, always under control Mormon did not hold back. In fact, he lost it on the Senate floor.

Hatch has rarely caused any kind of heartburn or division among the Republican caucus. He has never been the kind of senator to stray from the fold, like Jeff Flake of Arizona.

But Orrin Hatch has had enough, and he is sticking up for the President, whose policies he faithfully supports.

Hatch has had enough of the Democratic Party’s anti-Trump antics. He blasted Democrats for displaying a level of hatred never even demonstrated toward President George W. Bush. He called this a “new kind of crazy.” He said, “The Left will do anything and everything to hurt this president.”

Here’s more of his speech . . .

“I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as president. The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president. What happened before he was elected president is one thing, but since he’s been elected the economy has done well, our country is moving ahead. We’re in better shape than we were before he became president. And I think we ought to judge him on that basis.”

What Sen. Hatch did was simply vocalize what most Republicans feel about all of the investigations into the Trump Administration, including the DOJ’s Russia investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. While general practice is to identify a crime in search of a person, they seem to have found their person – President Trump – and are now in search of a crime, Hatch said.

After a long and distinguished career, Orrin Hatch is going away. But make no mistake; he isn’t going away quietly.

The Rushmore Report – The Commercialization of Christmas

Every year around October, I begin preparing myself for the onslaught. The increase in number of emails I receive from businesses, the increase in mail, the increase in money slipping away from my bank account. I’m guessing that I throw away twice as much mail and send two to three times as many emails to the trash before opening in the October to December rush than the rest of the year.

And I don’t really blame the people and businesses sending all of this stuff to me. As the Director of Communications for international non-profit LiveBeyond, I fully realize that this is the time of year when nonprofits like ours meet budgets, businesses meet quotas, and people reach out to each other in ways like never before. It’s a time of sharing and community and…meeting the bottom line.

On days like today, I like to think back to when I was living in Haiti, working in Thomazeau for LiveBeyond. Sure, I still got emails, but my everyday life wasn’t so crowded with advertisements and marketing ploys. Christmas time was just…well Christmas time – a time of year when people made a point to get together. I got to help distribute stockings with toys to local children, hand out gifts to the LiveBeyond Haitian staff, and laugh gleefully at the Haitian v. American Christmas song competitions (The Haitians always won, by the way).

Christmas isn’t so over commercialized in Haiti. In a country where most of the people live on less than a couple bucks a day, who can afford to buy mountains of presents for each other? No new email or billboard was going to encourage one of my friends to make an impulse buy of this year’s big present. So, few companies even bother advertising there.

The holiday in Haiti always gets me thinking about the true reason for our celebration. Mary gave birth in conditions similar to how the women give birth in Haiti. Jesus spent his life in a level of poverty that wasn’t far from what I see in the villages in Haiti. But the Lord chose to use circumstances like these to bring us the absolute Joy of the world! And the advertisements for Jesus’ birth were positively heavenly.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to remember why we are celebrating. Jesus came to this earth to save us all and to show us the true joy we can experience when we are in a loving relationship with the Lord. He spread that to us. Now it’s our job to spread it to the rest of the world. If that means purchasing special gifts or making donations to your favorite nonprofits in honor of our loved ones or buying items on a list for a child in need, then we should absolutely do it. Because that means that one more person is being reached by the Light of the world.

May the Lord bless you this holiday season.

About the Author

Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing clean water, medical care, adequate nutrition and the hope of Christ to the poorest of the poor in Thomazeau, Haiti.

The Rushmore Report – First Iowa Poll Just Out!

The first poll for the 2020 Iowa caucuses has just come out. The first survey of the first state, conducted by the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom revealed which Democratic hopefuls are in the best position to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. One of the themes of the poll is that voters favor experienced politicians over upstart candidates.

Only three potential candidates sit above ten percent in this initial poll, and only one more candidate garners at least five percent. The top four prospects at this point – and this is guaranteed to change a zillion times – are as follows.

1. Joe Biden – 32%
2. Bernie Sanders – 19%
3. Beto O’Rourke – 11%
4. Elizabeth Warren – 5%

The next candidates, all polling less than five percent, are, in order . . .

5. Kamala Harris
6. Cory Booker
7. Amy Klobuchar

The firm that conducted the poll was Selzer & Co., led by J. Ann Selzer, who said, “This is obviously a warm welcome to some people who are really familiar to caucusgoers in the state. But there’s also some welcoming of newcomers who are only now starting to come to the state and get to know the people who could shape their future.”

The Iowa caucuses matter because they are the first polls of the primary season. But while they’re important, there is no guarantee that the winners will win their party’s support. In 2016, for example, Ted Cruz won the Republican caucus, but Donald Trump would win the party’s nomination. The one thing the Iowa caucuses do is to narrow the field.

Conventional wisdom – confirmed by historical results – is that the Iowa caucuses stamp the ticket for the three candidates with the most votes. So the candidates who finish out of the top three will be very unlikely to compete for the nomination. And considering the Democratic field in 2020 will be more crowded than a mall on Black Friday, jockeying for the top three positions will be critical.

So as of today, your three candidates coming out of Iowa will be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke. But check back with us, because there is at least a 100 percent chance this will change.

The Rushmore Report – Think There Are No Dangerous Criminals Among Illegals? Guess Again!

I may gag if I hear it again. Democratic pundit Juan Williams, whom I really admire, is the latest example of a mind-numbing defense of illegal immigration. He recently said, on Fox News, “Undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a lesser rate than native born citizens.” This is an unbelievable statement for two reason – ANY crime is too much, and it’s simply not true.

Let’s start with the first argument. I don’t know why conservative on-air commentators virtually never point this out. Democrats essentially say that as long as “undocumented immigrants” (illegals) commit crimes less often than the rest of us, their crimes cannot be used to argue against the unmitigated flow of illegals. So, if it could be documented that – this is only a mathematical example – 5 percent of American citizens commit crimes, while “only” 4 percent of illegal immigrants do, the illegals must be welcomed in.

So Williams’ defense of the presence of illegals (who have already committed crimes by crossing the border in the first place) is that as long as they kill and rob fewer neighbors than other subsets of the population, we must look the other way. Their crimes are to be tolerated.

But the data actually does not stand in support of this argument, anyway. Let me give you an example.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that ICE arrested 58 illegal aliens during a five-day sweep of Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, from November 30 to December 4. Dozens of these individuals either were convicted or had pending charges against them.

“Thirty of the people have prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, and 33 have criminal charges pending. Nine had been previously deported, and 15 had been previously released by local authorities despite the agency’s request to hold them,” the AP reported.

Further, two of the illegal aliens arrested were wanted for murders in Brazil. One of these men in question was found in Lynn, Mass., while the other was found in Putnam, Conn.

According to ICE’s Boston Field Office, “Ultimately, efforts by local politicians have shielded removable criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and created another magnet for more illegal immigration, all at the expense of the safety and security of the very people it purports to protect.”

Similar raids throughout New England this year have yielded drug dealers and violent criminals using fake identities to conduct massive welfare fraud. As reported by Townhall in July, “The Department of Justice announced charges against 25 individuals who committed fraud using Puerto Rican identities in an effort to gain government benefits and in some cases even vote. Twenty-two of the 25 charged were illegal aliens, many with records of drug dealing, violent crimes, and some previously deported.”

The AP concluded that it is unclear how many of these illegal aliens arrested will actually be deported.

So what are we saying? Two things . . .

First, ANY crime is too much.

Second, life-threatening criminal behavior by undocumented immigrants is much worse than is being reported.

The Rushmore Report – Tick Tock: Senate Races Clock to Pass Key Measures

With just weeks left until the end of the year, a bipartisan group of senators is working hard to get a major criminal justice reform bill passed before the clock runs out. The goal of The First Step Act is to help prisoners return to society and to address excessive prison sentences. “We have the opportunity in front of us,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Specifically, Grassley said, “We have the opportunity right now where the president’s for something and we have broad bipartisan support in the Senate for it.”

The bill has already passed the House, and Grassley believes more than 75 senators would vote ‘yes’ if it makes it to the Senate floor. He worries that if it’s delayed until next year, it’s over.

“If we don’t do this bill and Democrats come in and control the House, we’re not going to get the broad bipartisan support that we have for this now,” he warned.

In addition to prison reform, lawmakers are also wrestling with President Donald Trump’s demand of $25 billion for a border wall. Legislators must make a decision by Friday to prevent a partial government shutdown.

Grassley said he’s confident Congress can avoid that scenario simply because it costs a lot of money to open and close the government.

“I don’t think with the fiscal situation in our country we should do anything as stupid as shutting down the government,” the incoming Senate finance chairman told CBN News.

Meanwhile, a few senators, like James Lankford (R-OK), are working to permanently remove the threat of these shutdowns.

“When you’re constantly fighting about a government shutdown, then you’re always distracted over what the real issues are,” he said.

Lankford introduced a bill that would require the previous year’s funding to kick in until Congress passes a budget, and only penalizes lawmakers, not the American people, for missing their deadline.

“Let’s put the pressure where the pressure needs to be,” he said.

Congress has until December 21 to reach a spending deal to fund the rest of the government.

About the Author

Abigail Robertson serves as the congressional correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

The Rushmore Report – The Three Times I Met President Bush

Like much of America, I was glued to the television for much of last week. President George H.W. Bush was a special man. I always identified with him on a more personal level than most of my generation. Part of that was because he was born exactly one day before my dad – June 12, 1924. And like my dad, he served in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. But there’s more. I will never forget the three times I met the former president.

Let me say up front, I didn’t actually “meet” the president, in the way some consider “meet.” Though we were in the same rooms (very large rooms), we never actually talked. I never shook his hand. In fact, I was never within 20 feet of the man.

But to observe George Bush up close was to meet him. He was everyone’s father, grandfather, or friend. Maybe that’s why I wept openly so many times last week – when George W. Bush gave the eulogy, when the train made its way from Houston to College Station, and when the Aggie Band played. Through all the speeches, images, and pageantry, Bush’s faith and patriotism were on full display.

But let’s get back to the three times I “met” George Bush.

1. On the tennis court

The year was 1982. I was invited by a close friend to play tennis at the Houstonian Club – a very exclusive country club. When Gary and I approached our court, we were held back for a few minutes. The two men playing on our court played beyond their scheduled time. So we waited – and watched. Who were these two players? One was Texas Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen. The other player? Vice President George H.W. Bush. And Bush had a pretty good game. But more impressively, he was playing with one of the leading Democrats in Washington. Bush had made friends with the “enemy.” For Bush, life was more than politics. He built relationships across the political aisle. That said a lot for the character of this very good man.

2. The vice presidential search

I was one of about 25 pastors in the Houston area who were summoned to meet with Vice President Bush. The year was 1988. He was running for president, and at the time of this meeting, his nomination was in the bag. Now, he was contemplating his vice presidential choice. To that end, he instructed his staff to assemble clergy in small groups around the country. He wanted to know who we thought he should name as his running mate. Mr. Bush was unable to attend this meeting. But his faith and priorities were there for all to see.

3. The Astros game

This is my favorite Bush story. The year was about 2012. Bush would have been about 88 at that time. Beth and I were given third-row seats to an Astros game. Our seats were one section removed from George and Barbara Bush. They were 20 feet and two secret servicemen away. But they were close enough for me to observe their every move with my eagle eye. And here’s what happened.

George Bush ordered a bag of candy from the employee assigned to them. He placed the candy on the ledge in front of him, just behind the backstop. Then a fan to his left called his name. He turned to wave. And when he turned back, his candy was missing. We saw what he missed. Barbara hid his candy. He looked around in exasperation. Finally, he turned back to his left to order another bag of candy. And when he turned to the right once again – poof! – his candy reappeared. George figured out what the rest of us sitting nearby had seen. Barbara took, then returned, his candy.

When he figured out what Barbara had done, they shared a laugh and a kiss. What’s my point? The man was human. He didn’t seem to care what anyone else thought. Being “presidential” mattered less to George Bush than supporting his beloved Astros with his best friend by his side.

Conclusion

No, I didn’t actually meet President Bush. I have met two presidents in my lifetime – both very briefly. And I love them both – Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. But I feel like George H.W. Bush was the only president I ever knew.

Our loss is heaven’s gain. As President Bush’s minister said at the service in Washington, heaven just became a kinder, gentler place.

The Rushmore Report – Ten Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas

The number one way to keep Jesus Christ in your Christmas celebrations is to have him present in your daily life. If you’re not sure what it means to become a believer in Christ, check out this article on “How to Become a Christian.”

If you’ve already accepted Jesus as your Savior and made him the center of your life, keeping Christ in Christmas is more about the way you live your life than the things you say—such as “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays.”

Keeping Christ in Christmas means daily revealing the character, love and spirit of Christ that dwells in you, by allowing these traits to shine through your actions. Here are simple ways to keep Christ the central focus of your life this Christmas season.

1) Give God one very special gift just from you to him.

2) Set aside a special time to read the Christmas story in Luke 1:5-56 through 2:1-20.

3) Set up a Nativity scene in your home.

4) Plan a project of good will this Christmas.

5) Take a group Christmas caroling in a nursing home or a children’s hospital.

6) Give a surprise gift of service to each member of your family.

7) Set aside a time of family devotions on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

8) Attend a Christmas church service together with your family.
If you are alone this Christmas or don’t have family living near you, invite a friend or a neighbor to join you.

9) Send Christmas cards that convey a spiritual message.

10) Write a Christmas letter to a missionary.

About the Author

Mary Fairchild is a Christian writer, editor, and full-time minister. She writes on Christian issues for an organization called ThoughtCo.

The Rushmore Report – Odds on the Top 54 Presidential Contenders for 2020 (You’ll Love #54!)

It’s never too soon to predict the next presidential election. Just 698 days from the 2020 election, Kris Abbot has given us the latest “Sportsbook” odds on the dozens of potential candidates actually winning the race. For the sake of brevity, I am “only” going to list the top 54 contenders, in order. Why stop at 54? Because you will love who the odds makers have slotted into the 54th position. And before some of these names strike you as preposterous, remember that this time four years ago, a certain New York real estate tycoon may have been outside the top 54.

Before I give you the list, let’s note a few themes of the early polls.

First, while President Trump remains the individual favorite to win the race, the Democratic Party is favored to win the race. What does that mean? It means that while Trump has the highest individual chance of election, there is a greater chance that whoever emerges from the Democratic primaries will unseat him.

Second, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX) and Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) are co-favorites among Democrats, according to the current betting odds. O’Rourke helped inspire a shifting electorate in Texas that saw record numbers come out for the midterm elections, but at the end of the day, Ted Cruz won by a slim 51-48 percent margin. O’Rourke’s popularity, though, has thrust him into the national spotlight as he and Harris are now the two front-runners to represent the Democratic Party in 2020.

Third, celebrity candidate groundswell has slowed. With Trump emerging from the world of real estate and reality TV, there was early support for potential candidates such as Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or Mark Cuban. While they are still remote possibilities, the bet is that the pendulum has swung toward more traditional candidates going forward.

Let’s get started with the top ten. These are the most likely winners of the 2020 presidential election, in order from best odds to least. Again, you will love #54!

1. Donald Trump
2. Beto O’Rourke
3. Kamala Harris
4. Bernie Sanders
5. Joe Biden
6. Elizabeth Warren
7. Mike Pence
8. Cory Booker
9. Kirsten Gillibrand
10. Oprah Winfrey

Here are your next ten . . .

11. Michelle Obama
12. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
13. Michael Avenatti
14. Nikki Haley
15. Andrew Cuomo
16. John Kasich
17. Mitch Landrieu
18. Paul Ryan
19. Julian Castro
20. Chris Murphy

Now, we could continue this list all the way to #54, but you are probably already numb from reading the first 20. So I’ll just give you the highlights of 21-53. (You will love #54!)

28. Marco Rubio
29. Mitt Romney
30. Ben Shapiro
33. Joe Kennedy III
34. Hillary Clinton
35. Mark Zuckerberg
36. Mark Cuban
39. George Clooney
44. Jeb Bush
47. Leonardo DiCaprio
48. Bill Gates
49. Ivanka Trump
50. Kanye West

And now we unveil the man of the hour. He’s a Republican who has never held office. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and then went on to play a little football in the NFL. And he would probably make a better president than the vast majority of those ahead of him on this list.

Will he make it to the Oval Office? Probably not. But we can hope. Let’s start a national movement, because this guy – more than any other candidate – is a true Patriot. A New England Patriot.

54. TOM BRADY

The Rushmore Report – George Bush: The Day that Changed Everything

George Herbert Walker Bush’s life is marked by many significant dates. His wedding date and presidential inauguration stand out as obvious examples. You can toss in the beginning and end of the Gulf War, his son’s presidential election, the birth of his five children, the death of his beloved wife. But the future president’s life was defined by one day more than any other – during his senior year in high school.

The year was 1941. The date was December 7. The 17-year-old boy was walking the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., when he heard the news. The U.S. military base in Hawaii had been bombed. This moment, according to Bush biographer Jon Meacham, changed everything for George Bush. His response to the news? He wanted to serve his country – immediately.

Bush would recall for Meacham’s book, “After Pearl Harbor, it was a different world altogether. It was a red, white, and blue thing. Your country’s attacked, you’d better get in there and try to help.”

Bush made the decision quickly. He wanted to become a pilot as fast as he could. He briefly considered enlisting in the Royal Air Force in Canada because, he told Meachem, he “could get through much faster.” But he was lured by naval service, inspired by the grandeur of the Navy’s power and its reputation for camaraderie and purpose. A combination of flying and the Navy fit just right.

That winter, Bush would go home for his last Christmas out of uniform. And at a Christmas dance, he would fix his eyes on Barbara Pierce, age 16. She would, of course, become his wife.

On June 12, 1942, Bush turned 18 and graduated from Andover. After commencement, he left for Boston to be sworn into the Navy. Nearly one year later, Bush became an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and earned his wings as a naval aviator. Meacham speculates that Bush was likely the Navy’s youngest flying officer, just days shy of his 19th birthday. His assignment was to fly torpedo bombers off aircraft carriers in the Pacific theater.

At dawn on September 2, 1944, Bush was scheduled to fly in a strike over Chichi Jima, a Japanese island about 500 miles from the mainland. The island was a stronghold for communications and supplies for the Japanese, and it was heavily guarded. Bush’s precise target was a radio tower.

About 7:15 that morning, Bush took off through clear skies along with William G. White, known as “Ted,” and John “Del” Delaney. Just over an hour later, their plane was hit. Meacham wrote that smoke filled the cockpit and flames swallowed the wings. Bush radioed White and Delaney to put on their parachutes.

“My God,” Bush thought to himself, “this thing is going to blow up.”

Choking on the smoke, Bush continued to steer the plane, dropping bombs and hitting the radio tower. He told White and Delaney to parachute out of the plane, then climbed through his open hatch to maneuver out of the cockpit.

“The wind struck him full force, essentially lifting him out the rest of the way and propelling him backward into the tail,” Meacham wrote. “He gashed his head and bruised his eye on the tail as he flew through the sky and the burning plane hurtled toward the sea.”

As Bush floated in the sky tethered to a parachute, he saw his plane crash into the water and disappear below. Then he hit the waves and sand, and fought his way back to the surface, kicking off his shoes to lighten his load.

“His khaki flight suit was soaked and heavy, his head was bleeding, his eyes were burning from the cockpit smoke, and his mouth and throat were raw from the rush of salt water,” Meacham wrote.

Fifty feet away bobbed a life raft that Bush managed to inflate and flop onto. But the wind was carrying him toward Chichi Jima, so Bush began paddling in the opposite direction with his arms. Of the nine airmen who escaped their planes that day, according to a story in the British newspaper Telegraph, Bush was the only one who survived. But he didn’t think he would.

“For a while there I thought I was done,” Bush told Meacham.

Bush would later learn of horrific war crimes committed against American captives at Chichi Jima, including cannibalism. His eight comrades were tortured and then beheaded or stabbed to death, according to the Telegraph. The body parts of four American pilots were cooked and eaten by Japanese officers.

For his part, clinging to his raft, Bush was alone, vomiting over the side and slowly grasping the fact that White and Delaney were both gone. Hours passed. He cried and thought of home. Barbara would soon receive a letter from him saying “all is well,” but she had no way of knowing the truth. The letter was sent before Bush’s plane went down.

Bush, who would win the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism under fire, thought he was delirious when a submarine rose from the depths to rescue him.

“Welcome aboard, sir,” greeted a torpedoman second class.

“Happy to be aboard,” replied the future commander in chief.

It all started on December 7, 1941, “the day that lived in infamy.” It was the day that would change the course of America – and one 17-year-old high school senior who would someday be her President.