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The Rushmore Report: Grading Trump’s First Year

It has been one year since Donald Trump’s shocking election as the 45th president of the United States. The night of the election, I told a friend, “This will be like watching a blind discuss thrower. He may not set any records, but he will keep everyone watching.” That’s not to say Trump won’t – or hasn’t – set any records. I’d argue he has. Undeniably, he has kept everyone watching. But when we clear away the fog and dismiss the punditry from all sides, how has the president done so far? Or to borrow a question from President Reagan (1980 election vs. Jimmy Carter), are we better off today than we were one year ago? The answers may surprise.

For five reasons – all clear – we can conclude that America is better off and that the first year has been, to quote Michael Knowles, of The Daily Wire, “wildly successful.” But before we get to that, we must concede the president has not made it easy to grade him positively. His incessant, petty tweets continue to get in the way of his message. Whether we blame that on his political inexperience or personal immaturity, it needs to stop. Someone – anyone – needs to steal his Twitter device and not return it for at least three years.

One more caveat – we are grading the president on the basis of things accomplished, not things said. For the sake of this argument, we are not considering personal character, but policy achievements. That is not to say character doesn’t matter; it matters greatly. But grading another man’s character is above my pay grade. I’ll use this example. I have a great dentist. I know that because he takes good care of my teeth, his fees are reasonable, and he offers gas. Whether or not he is a good husband and father, I can’t say. And it’s not that it doesn’t matter, but that’s not how I judge his work.

So let’s get to it. I argue that President Trump’s first year has been successful – when judged on the basis of any measurable standard.

1. The Economy

Consumer confidence has hit its highest level in 17 years. Over one million jobs have been created. The post-election stock market rally is the greatest since the Kennedy Administration of 1961 – 56 years ago. The first meaningful tax reform since the Reagan years awaits Congressional approval. Unemployment is lower today than at any point in Obama’s eight years.

2. Social Issues

President Trump repealed the Obama mandate that forced states to fund Planned Parenthood. He has reinstated the Mexico City policy that protects U.S. taxpayers from having to fund abortions overseas. Most importantly, the president nominated an originalist justice – Neil Gorsuch – to the Supreme Court. He has also nominated 12 other textualist judges to the lower courts, and many others who await confirmation in the face of Democratic opposition.

3. Immigration

Trump has added more agents to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He has expanded deportation priorities, moved to end Obama’s executive amnesty program DACA, and signed an executive order directing the Justice Department to defund sanctuary cities. Illegal immigration has dropped to a 45-year low along our southern border. Additionally, Trump has imposed a five-year ban on lobbying the government by former White House officials and a lifetime ban by foreign governments.

4. Foreign Policy

While his critics have predicted the new president would recklessly plunge us into nuclear war, Trump has achieved trade concessions and collaboration on North Korea from China. He handled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s chemical test of American resolve five years after Obama failed to follow American threats with action. Trump has ISIS in retreat for the first time. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines after years of Obama-era red tape, lessening dependence on foreign oil. The days of “strategic patience” with Iran and North Korea are over.

5. Environment

EPA head Scott Pruitt has dismantled 52 burdensome regulations. While a net 13,000 new federal restrictions have been added annually for the past 30 years, under Trump that number sits at zero. The result, according to data supplied by the Heritage Foundation, will be lower energy costs, more growth, and no negative impact on the environment.

Election Night of 2016 was like the moon landing. We all remember where we were. The past year has been fraught with political land mines, to be sure – many of the president’s own doing. But if a person had entered hibernation one year ago, and were to awaken today, he would open his eyes to a nation with lower unemployment, greater wealth, stronger borders, clearer foreign policy, and a more secure Supreme Court. These things matter – a lot. Therefore, for these five reasons, any objective summary of the past year has to credit President Trump with a highly successful year.

 

The Rushmore Report: Did Trump Make Up Wiretap Claim?

Last week, President Trump claimed that former President Obama had wiretapped his offices at Trump Tower. Predictably, the mainstream media has exploded over what they see as completely unfounded accusations. What they aren’t telling you is that there is more evidence for the wiretap claim than their own story of Trump colluding with Russia to affect to 2016 election.

I watch all the Sunday news shows: Meet the Press, This Week with George Staphanopoulos, Face the Nation, Inside Politics, and Fox News Sunday. It’s the cross I bear. Each show blasted Trump for his allegations, void of evidence and outrageous in content. Here’s what they missed . . .

There is more evidence that Obama wiretapped Trump’s office than that Trump colluded with Russia.

Let’s take that last part first. For five months – yes, five months – we have been hearing that Trump’s cozy relationship with President Putin and Russian leaders led him to a full collusion with Russia to fix the recent presidential election. Yet, when interviewed on several news shows, James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence under Obama, had to admit they had zero evidence of such collusion. Other Democratic leaders, such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), were forced to agree.

Despite continued media coverage of this fake story, no one has produced a single piece of evidence to support this claim. 

Now, for the wiretap claim. There actually is some evidence that Team Trump has been monitored in an unlawful and secretive way. Here’s the evidence to support his Twitter claim.

1. In January, BBC’s Paul Wood reported that a federal task force within the Obama administration sought a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor three Trump associates. (The request was denied.)

2. Also in January, The Guardian wrote: “We have learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials.”

3. A few days later, The New York Times reported that Obama administration law enforcement was “examining intercepted communications and financial transactions” related to “possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump.”

Does any of this prove the Obama administration conducted illegal surveillance of Mr. Trump? Of course not. But at least there is some evidence to support Trump’s claim – flimsy as it is.

On the other hand, the media’s claim of Trump colluding with Russia has yet to produce a single piece of evidence. Still, they keep repeating the claim – daily. The thinking, I suppose, is that if they repeat the same conjecture enough times, that will make it magically become true.

For eight years, Sean Hannity has said journalism in America is dead. He may have a point.

The Rushmore Report: Charlie Sheen Calls for Trump’s Death – Where’s the Media Outcry?

Following the death of actress Debbie Reynolds, Charlie Sheen tweeted that God should “take” the president-elect next. Predictably, there has been virtually no media response. Can you imagine the rage we would have seen in the mainstream media had a conservative actor called for the death of President Obama when he was first elected to office?

This was Sheen’s tweet: “Dear God, Trump next, please! Trump next, please! Trump next, please! Trump next, please! Trump next, please! Trump next, please!”

When he received some negative response (not much), Sheen dug in with another tweet:

“The media’s reaction to last night’s tweet is insanely emblematic of the panoramic timorousness, draped vastly and wantonly, across any and all expressions of hope or joy, that we now dare to publish or impart. Oh, by the way, I was talking to God, not you.”

Apparently, God has signed up on Sheen’s Twitter account.

From this amazing hate-filled statement, I draw two conclusions.

1. It’s okay for the left to call for the death of a Republican president, but if a conservative pundit even criticizes a black Democratic president, he is immediately branded as a racist.

2. You don’t need a Twitter account to communicate with God.

The Rushmore Report: The Historic Decline of the Democratic Party

As President Obama prepares to leave office, his party is smaller, weaker, and ricketier than it has been since at least the 1940s. The Democratic Party has frittered away tremendous power – from 2009 through the aftermath of the 2016 elections. The decline of the Democratic Party is indisputable and historic. For those who think the Democratic Party is not in crisis, the following data will destroy this fallacious argument.

  • Democrats surrendered the White House to a political neophyte.
  • Democrats’ seats in the Senate have slipped from 55 to 46 – down 16 percent.
  • Democrats’ House seats have dropped from 256 to 194 – down 24 percent.
  • In 2009, Democrats controlled the House and Senate. Now they control neither.
  • Governorships have dropped from 28 to 16 – down 43 percent.
  • State legislatures plunged from 27 to 14 – down 48 percent.
  • States with Democratic governors and legislatures are down from 17 to 6 – off 65 percent.

Since FDR, eight presidents have served at least two terms or bowed to their vice presidents due to death or resignation. Among them, Obama ranks eighth (last) in total state legislative seats that his party preserved during his tenure.

Obama has supervised the net loss of 959 such Democratic positions, down 23.5 percent, according to Ballotpedia, which generated most of the data cited here. This far outpaces the 843 net seats the Republicans yielded under President Eisenhower.

By this measure, Ronald Reagan is No. 1. While he was president, Republicans gained six statehouse seats.

In terms of boosting his party’s state-level strength, Obama is the worst president since World War II. Reagan is he best.

“My legacy’s on the ballot,” Obama said in September, just as he had said before the shellacking his party received in the 2014 midterms.

Democrats have paid the ultimate price. The political cadavers of more than 1,000 Democratic incumbents and nominees, from Hillary Clinton on down, confirm that Obama is poison at the polls.

Rather than enjoy a traditional, low-key post-presidency in Chicago, Obama plans to hunker down in Washington, D.C., comment on current events, and counsel his party’s candidates and officeholders. Democrats should find this as appetizing as dinner cooked by Typhoon Mary.

About the author

Deroy Murdock is an American political commentator and a contributing editor with the National Review. Murdock is a first-generational American, with roots in Costa Rica.

The Rushmore Report: It’s Done – Trump Wins 304 Electoral Votes

On Monday, the electoral college finally put all the brouhaha over the chance to deny Donald Trump the presidency to rest, as the vote confirmed Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. What should have been a foregone conclusion had been questioned by Democrats and leftists desperate to undo the will of the American voters. Although Hillary Clinton won roughly three million more votes than Trump, that difference could simply be explained by the popular vote in California.

Trump won the electoral college vote, 304-228.

Ironically, the vote was taken on the 18th anniversary of the day that the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, charging him with lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstructing justice.

For those who believe in the significance of dates, December 19 was also the date that Thomas Paine published American Crisis in 1776 and the Continental Army entered winter camp at Valley Forge in 1777.

Trump released this statement:

The official votes cast by the Electoral College exceeded the 270 required to secure the presidency by a very large margin, far greater than ever anticipated by the media. This election represents a movement that millions of hard-working men and women all across the country stood behind and made possible. With this historic step we can look forward to the bright future ahead. I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans. Together, we will make America great again.

As noted in The Hill, the “faithless” electors that Democrats hoped would abandon Trump turned out to be more eager to abandon Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump.

The Hill reported . . .

The Texas defectors mark the only two “faithless electors” who broke from the controversial Republican. One voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich while the other voted for former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. A Minnesota delegate cast a vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, only to be removed and replaced with an alternate. In Maine, an elector had announced his intentions to vote for Sanders, only to change his vote and back Clinton in a second round of voting. And in Washington, three Democrats voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one Democrat voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a tribal activist opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

About the Author

Hank Berrien is a lead writer for the Daily Wire. His focus in American politics. He has emerged as a leading conservative critic of progressive ideology and policies.

 

The Rushmore Report: You Won’t Believe Bill Clinton’s Explanation for Trump’s Win

It has been 44 days since Donald Trump’s surprising upset over Hillary Clinton. This week, the Electoral College made it official – Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. But while the election is over, it seems the battle of words between Trump and former President Bill Clinton is just heating up. But you won’t believe the explanation Clinton is giving to explain the way Trump won the presidency.

The editor of the Bedford-Pound Ridge Record Review caught an impromptu Q & A with Bill Clinton at a New York bookstore and published the details in the paper’s print edition. The editorial did not appear online, but the contents have been reported by Politico.

Clinton said of Trump, “He doesn’t know much.” But it is what he said next that is saddening and beneath the dignity of a former President.

Clinton continued, “One thing Trump does know is how to get angry white men to vote for him.”

There’s more. Clinton blamed FBI Director James Comey for Hillary’s loss. “James Comey cost her the election,” he said. Then he said he believed the allegations that Russia was responsible for a series of pre-election hacks that revealed embarrassing – and politically damaging – acts by some prominent Democrats associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

As he cast his electoral vote for Hillary in Albany, New York, he said more. According to CBS News, he said she battled “through that bogus email deal” and “prevailed,” but “at the end we had the Russians and the FBI deal and she couldn’t prevail against them.”

Where is Bill Clinton wrong?

1. Neither James Comey nor the Russians made Hillary set up an insecure server in the basement.

2. Neither James Comey nor the Russians told Hillary to not make a single campaign trip to Wisconsin.

3. Neither James Comey nor the Russians told Hillary to make one-third as many campaign trips as Donald Trump.

It is understandable that Bill Clinton would be upset, even angry, over Hillary’s loss. What is sad is the depth to which he has fallen in his irrational, unprovoked statements of condemnation. What is sadder is his characterization of Trump supporters as “angry white men.”

Can you imagine the uproar that would have been created had John McCain or Mitt Romney blamed their losses to President Obama on “angry black men”?

Trump won the election because people wanted change. He connected with blue collar workers. And, despite what the media continues to perpetuate, Trump won the popular vote by two million, among the 49 states not named California.

In America, we have a history of former presidents showing class and patriotism in the face of defeat. We have a history of former presidents responding with class when their party loses the White House.

Exhibit A – Jimmy Carter

Exhibit B – George H. W. Bush

Exhibit C – George W. Bush

Bill Clinton gets high reviews for his presidency among most historians. That makes this an especially sad day. By his harsh criticisms of the President-elect and the 30 million white men who voted for him, Clinton is harming the process, creating division, and embarrassing his party.

But mostly, he is diminishing his own legacy.

The Rushmore Report: Four Reasons Russia Didn’t Swing the Election to Trump

Democrats are over the moon about the new Washington Post report that quotes CIA sources who say that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government actively attempted to aid Donald Trump in his election race against Hillary Clinton. Many Democrats have claimed that if not for Putin’s intervention and Russian hackers accessing emails from Hillary campaign chief John Podesta, Hillary Clinton would today be the president-elect.

There’s no evidence to support that.

There is plenty of evidence so support the contrary notion, actually.

1. Hillary tanked because of Comey.

When FBI Director James Comey announced on October 28 that the FBI had reopened their investigation  into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the iceberg hit the Titanic. The gushing hole the FBI announcement represented can’t be overstated. As Nate Silver pointed out over the weekend, “Late-deciding voters broke strongly against Clinton in swing states, enough to cost her Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.”

According to Silver, “Clinton would almost certainly be President-elect if the election had been held on October 27 (day before Comey letter).” The Comey reopening happened because of discoveries made during the Anthony Weiner investigation, not because of WikiLeaks.

2. Hillary was wildly unpopular the entire election cycle.

The notion that WikiLeaks pushed Hillary’s unpopularity is unsupported by the evidence. An Economist/YouGov poll taken January 15 – January 19, 2016 showed that just 38 percent of voters saw Hillary favorably, compared with 56 percent who viewed her unfavorably. That same poll showed her at 43 percent to 56 percent on November 4 through November 7. Hillary was always an awful candidate, and most Americans knew that for the entire election cycle.

3. The major WikiLeaks revelations weren’t major enough.

The most serious WikiLeaks revelations about Clinton broke late in the campaign: Donna Brazile channeling debate questions to Hillary Clinton during her campaign with Bernie Sanders, Hillary aides attacking Catholics, Hillary working with the Clinton Foundation. But none of those had any marked impact on her poll numbers. It was the Comey revelations that damaged her severely – she seemed to be stabilizing just before the Comey news broke.

4. It wasn’t Putin’s fault Hillary didn’t visit the swing states.

Hillary’s team blew it. She didn’t show up in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. According to Huffington Post, In Michigan alone, a senior battleground state operative told Huffpost that the state party and local officials were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004; a similar situation unfolded in Wisconsin. According to several operatives there, the campaign’s state office and local officials scrambled to raise nearly $1 million for efforts to get out the vote in the closing weeks.” Hillary assumed she had the campaign in the bag, and in the final weeks, she treated it that way, spending time in states that weren’t competitive rather than those that were.

Is it serious stuff that Putin attempted to influence an American election by hacking an American institution like the DNC? Of course. It was impeachable when Richard Nixon bugged the Democratic headquarters in 1972 – it’s not exactly small news when the Russians effectively do the same thing to Democrats in 2016. But just as Nixon’s bugging didn’t cost McGovern the election in 1972, there’s little evidence to suggest that Putin’s interference stopped Hillary Clinton from becoming president-elect.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is an American conservative political commentator, nationally syndicated columnist, author, radio talk show host, and attorney.

The Rushmore Report: Democratic Senator Has Warning for His Own Party

Some of the harshest warnings for the Democratic Party are coming from the . . . Democratic Party. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin on Monday warned the Democratic Party to not engage in payback when it comes to President-elect Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court or they will continue to lose a significant portion of the electorate in rural states like his who helped hand Trump the presidency.

“We have to be careful how we go down this road,” Manchin said during a panel discussion at a centrist “No Labels” conference in Washington. Manchin was referring to Senate Democrats’ willingness to use the filibuster to try to block Trump’s high court pick and cautioned against doing so.

“If my Democrat friends just hunker down and say, ‘No, no, and hell no,’ I can understand that [Republicans] are going to say, ‘Wait a minute, we have a pretty good person here. We need to give him a fair shot,'” he said. “Those types of things, I hope we’re going to avoid before we get into this dysfunction that we’ve been in.”

Manchin, a conservative-leaning Democrat who has always played an outsized role in the Republican Senate majority, is under consideration for Energy Secretary in the Trump Administration.

After the election, Senate Democrats realized they had lost voters in states like West Virginia and the so-called Rust Belt and appointed Manchin to a leadership role in response.

On the leadership team, Manchin has said he’s going to work to try to bring his party “back to the middle.” He said, “I look at all of this . . . this is big change. We have big change in our country right now, and with every big change comes opportunity.”

On the flip side, he also warned Republicans not to repeal Obamacare while waiting two or three years to pass a replacement.

“It would be much easier” if Republicans didn’t wait, he argued.

But Manchin saved his strongest words for his Democratic colleagues, warning them that they may be on a path toward permanent minority status if they don’t learn the lessons of the 2016 elections. The Democratic Party can stay the course – with renewed commitment to the same old leadership team, with Rep. Pelosi at the helm. But to learn nothing from its continued slide is to risk irrelevancy on a national level.

The Democrats can ignore the warnings from one of their best leaders – Sen. Joe Manchin. But they will do so to their own peril.

About the Author

Susan Crabtree is a Senior Congressional Reporter who writes for the Washington Examiner. She covers the United States Senate with daily columns and commentary.

The Rushmore Report: Does Trump Have a Mandate?

The new voice of the Democratic Party argues that the 2016 election proves the American people want the Democratic agenda. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Anderson Cooper of CNN that “Republicans do not have majority support in this country.” As evidence, she pointed to Democratic pick-ups in the House and Senate. She continued, “The American people didn’t give Democrats majority support so we can come back to Washington and play dead.”

While Mr. Cooper nodded in approval, I nearly fell off my treadmill taking in her amazing position. “We won the popular vote,” she reminded. While Sen. Warren is to be congratulated for putting on the best face possible in light of Trump’s stunning victory, in one 20-minute interview, she encapsulated the daunting problem that threatens to relegate Democrats to minority status for a generation.

Trump doesn’t have a mandate? I’ll do what Anderson Cooper failed to do – ask Ms. Warren obvious follow-up questions. Apparently, nowhere in his journalism studies at Yale, nor in his 26 years as a journalist, did anyone tell Mr. Cooper it is okay to ask tough questions during an interview, rather than sit there and nod in approval with every statement, no matter how preposterous.

Sen. Warren said Republicans don’t have a mandate. This calls for several obvious questions that any B+ student in a high school journalism class would have asked.

1. “Sen. Warren, are you aware that Republicans have more seats in Congress than at any time in American history?”

While the new face of the Democratic Party argues that Democrats made gains, she left out a few facts, that left ignored, will seal the fate of her party for years to come. Put forth as a question: “Sen. Warren, are you aware that under President Obama, Democrats have lost 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, and over 900 state legislature seats?” Today, following the 2016 election, when putting all those numbers together, Republicans fill more elective positions than at any date in American history.

2. “Sen. Warren, Did JFK and Bill Clinton have a mandate?”

The fact is that neither Kennedy nor Clinton ever won a majority of the vote in any of their elections – 1960, 1992, 1996. Did Ms. Warren call President Clinton and say, “Mr. President, you won just 43 percent of the vote (three points less than Trump received in 2016). Therefore, do not govern as though you won. Do not push for Democratic positions to actually be enacted. You do not have a mandate. Do not govern as a Democrat.” I’m pretty sure Warren never made that call.

3. “Sen. Warren, are you saying Trump should not fulfill the promises he made during the campaign?”

To not govern with a “mandate” implies Trump should back off the commitments he made to the voters who elected him. Trump can’t win with the media or such Democrats as Sen. Warren. If he follows through with his campaign promises such as lower taxes, fewer regulations, and border control, he will be accused of governing as though he had a mandate. If he goes along with Ms. Warren’s advice – which she would have never suggested to Sec. Clinton had she won the race in similar fashion – Trump would be branded a flip-flopper.

4. “Sen. Warren, are you aware of how we count wins in elections?”

Anderson Cooper’s next visit after the interview was to a chiropractor – his neck was sore from the constant nodding of approval with everything Warren said, no matter how goofy. “Mr. Trump lost the popular vote,” she repeated. Apparently, Ms. Warren failed her high school government class. Elections are actually decided by this pesky thing thought up 225 years ago. It’s called the Electoral College. That’s the scoreboard they use. I’m expecting the Senator’s next complaint to come at a Red Sox game. “We got more hits than the Yankees, so we won!” Games are won by the team with the most runs, points, or goals.

The Democrats’ biggest problem is not that they lost the election. It’s that they don’t know they lost the election. They kept the same leadership team in place in both the Senate and the House. They have yet to acknowledge that they are on the wrong track. And if they keep this up, they will re-define insanity in 2020 – doing the same thing they did in 2016, but expecting different results.

A win is a win. To quote President Obama, “Elections have consequences.” The winner gets to lead. That’s how it works in America. Sen. Warren and the Democratic Party can pretend it’s the popular vote that counts, that Santa’s elves make all the toys, and that the sun rises in the west. It’s a free country. But it’s also a Republican-led country, at least for the next four years.

Trump won – like it or not. And that, Sen. Warren, is all the mandate the Constitution requires.