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The Rushmore Report: Four Things You Need to Know About Conflict with North Korea

The rhetoric between leaders of The United States and North Korea escalated this week, when North Korea’s Pyongyang threatened Guam and President Trump threatened with “fire and fury” if the rogue state continued its nuclear tests and verbal threats. Despite United Nations sanctions (including support from China and Russia), North Korea has yet to soften its tone or threats. All military analysts agree we are on the precipice of disaster – unless something happens to avert war. There are four things you need to know about the current conflict.

1. Does North Korea have nuclear weapons?

The simple answer is yes. Worse, the Korean military has figured out how to miniaturize a weapon, meaning they can deliver a bomb to a distant target such as the U.S. mainland. The North has been building and testing missiles for years. They have conducted five nuclear tests, each signifying greater capability than was previously known.

2. What is the rest of the world doing?

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution that imposes new sanctions. This is the eighth set of sanctions in the last 11 years. To date, sanctions have done nothing to divert the North from their intentions. And North Korea’s economy has somehow continued to expand and prosper despite these sanctions.

3. What has President Trump said about North Korea?

The president has called North Korean President Kim “a smart cookie.” He has said of their nuclear aspirations, “It won’t happen.” And on Tuesday, he threatened “fire and fury such as the world has never seen” if Pyongyang endangered, or even threatened the United States. Yesterday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tamped down the rhetoric a bit. He said, “I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days.” But clearly, Mr. Trump stands ready to respond, and has been presented with multiple military plans of action.

4. What happens if war breaks out?

Any U.S.-led military action would be met with an aggressive response from the other side. Korea has threatened to send missiles to Hawaii and even the U.S. mainland. Clearly, South Korea, where thousands of U.S. soldiers are based, would be at great risk. Military analysts estimate that 30,000 civilians would be killed in a non-nuclear strike by North Korea on its southern neighbor. Should nuclear warheads be engaged, the number of lost lives would be counted in the millions. Is the U.S. mainland at risk? While the United States certainly has the capacity to shoot down any incoming missile, such a response has never been tested. Let us pray it never will be.

The Rushmore Report: Republican Senator Hails Election of Trump As ‘Biblical Miracle’

A Republican senator has claimed that it is a “biblical miracle” that Donald Trump became President of the United States, as part of his remarks on the repeal of Obamacare. Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), who was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and is currently running to retain that seat, was speaking at a forum hosted by the Montgomery County Republican Committee.

He said, “President Trump is the greatest thing that’s happened to this country. I consider it a biblical miracle that he’s there.”

Strange then called for the repeal of the Obamacare health care law, which he called a “disaster.”

“We’re going to take care of the most vulnerable of our citizens,” the GOP senator said.

Strange is described as a “Constitutional conservative and pro-life Christian” on his Senate website.

Trump remains a controversial figure across America religious and political circles, though he has been backed by some notable megachurch pastors, such as Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas.

Jeffress, who serves on Trump’s evangelical advisory board, pushed back in an interview with The Christian Post against those who criticized his “Celebrate Freedom” concert at Washington’s Kennedy Center earlier in July, which Trump attended.

“No one is worshiping Donald Trump. What we are doing is showing respect for our president and praying God’s blessings on him as he leads our nation,” Jeffress told CP.

“That is the biblical and Christian thing to do,” he said.

About the Author

Stoyan Zaimov is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: President Trump’s Thin Evangelical Line

We all know that Donald Trump is a blunt, brash New Yorker. He’s a street fighter and he won the presidency that way. Tens of millions of Americans love his tenacity and penchant for brawling. But there’s a line – in the minds of his strong evangelical support. It is a line he must not cross if he hopes to maintain their undying affection. And the president is at risk of crossing this thin evangelical line.

The evangelical attraction to Donald Trump was strong during the GOP primaries and reached even greater heights during the General Election when a record number of evangelicals – 81 percent – voted for him. But he needs to be very careful if he wants to duplicate or even improve on that number next time around. Calling out the media is one thing, but too often Trump makes it personal. That’s another thing. Evangelicals don’t mind President Trump’s unorthodox ways or his fighting spirit. They like it when he socks it to Washington bureaucrats and phony politicians. But a pattern of petty personal insults will put Trump in danger of “evangelical voter apathy” in 2020.

Diehards will stay with him no matter what, but that won’t be enough to win in 2020. He needs those “anti-Hillary evangelicals.” Will they show up and vote for the next Democratic nominee? No. Many of them may just not show up at all. If 81 percent turnout becomes 77 percent evangelical turnout (especially in key swing states), then he’s toast. It’s that simple. He needs evangelicals and he knows it. Any slippage and it’s game, set, match. He can’t afford to go down this road. It’s not worth it for him.

Look, the art of this deal is pretty simple if President Trump wants to seal the deal with evangelicals going forward: he can bash the media, the “deep state,” and disingenuous politicians all day long. He just shouldn’t make it personal. Evangelicals are watching. And honestly, is it worth it? I get it. They insult him multiple times daily and Trump’s instinct is to punch back ten times harder. But sometimes it just gets way too personal and it can cause him more political harm than good.

This seems like a good time for a Bible verse, not just for President Trump, but for all of us. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

About the Author

David Brody is the Chief White House Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

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: Dems on Pace to Clear Trump Nominees – In Just 11 Years

Dozens of President Trump’s nominees are waiting for their confirmations to move forward as Democrats embark on historic obstructionism, according to several Republican lawmakers. Yet, the GOP isn’t the only one to have noticed the maddening delays. The New York Times is now reporting on the brand new “delaying tactic” the Democrats are employing to deny Trump his nominees. Here is what is happening.

Democrats are requiring that Republicans check all the procedural boxes on most nominees, even those they intend to eventually support. That requires the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to request a former “cloture” vote to move forward.

An “intervening day” is then required to allow the cloture request to “ripen.” Next is a vote to impose cloture followed by 30 hours of “post-cloture” debate before a final vote. Democrats have refused to shorten the debate time – to “yield back,” in the parlance of the Senate – though in most cases there is little to debate.

In the end, many Democrats end up voting for the nominee, as each of them did last week on a federal appeals court judge from Idaho.

The process is being delayed to an “excruciating degree,” the Times concludes.

In some instances, top Democrats have apparently admitted that their obstructionism was political at its core. One case in point is the Democrats’ treatment of deputy defense secretary nominee Patrick Shanahan. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to hold a vote on him – twice – before noting that “once things change a little bit in healthcare” they can consider the nominee.

If the Democrats continue to delay, Trump’s nominees will be waiting in the wings long after he has left office.

Republicans calculate that at the current rate, it will take 11 years and four months to fill all possible Trump administration spots at the current average of three and a half days spent considering each nominee.

About the Author

Cortney O’Brien writes for Townhall.

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.

The Rushmore Report: Is There Really an Anti-Trump Bias in the Media? The Facts

Monday, I watched the 35-minute heated exchange between Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and CNN host Chris Cuomo. At the root of their debate was alleged anti-Trump bias in the media. While Conway chastised Cuomo for focusing almost exclusively on negative coverage, while ignoring the great jobs reports and foreign policy achievements, Cuomo insisted CNN is balanced. Who is right? Is bias real, or just a Republican talking point? Here are the facts – and what they reveal is quite astonishing.

Is bias real? In a word, yes. In two words, of course. In five words, is that a serious question?

Here are the numbers.

Columnist Paul Bedard has surveyed dozens of news outlets and media contributions in the 2016 election. What did he find? An amazing 81 percent of all coverage of Trump was negative. And 96 percent of the money given by the media went to the Clinton campaign.

Writing for the Washington Times, Jennifer Harper cited a Harvard University survey that found that 80 percent of print and broadcast coverage of Trump was negative in his first 100 days in office. They also found that 54 percent now see the mainstream media as “the opposition party” to the White House.

The Center for Public Integrity conducted a study that concluded that 90 percent of national broadcasters who gave money to a presidential candidate gave all of their money to Mrs. Clinton.

Bob Adelmann, writing for The New American, has more numbers. NBC, CBS, and ABC combined to cover negative stories about Trump versus positive news by a rate of four to one. At CNN and MSNBC, 93 percent of all stories on the president are negative. The rate of negativity in the national print media is just as one-sided: New York Times (87 percent negative coverage), and The Washington Post (83 percent).

If there was still any doubt, the verdict is in. The media is biased against the president, they cover Russia more than America, and if Donald Trump walked on water, they’d criticize him for not being able to swim.

President Trump could cure cancer, solve world hunger, and heal the blind – and it still wouldn’t be enough. He could personally eradicate poverty, pay off the national debt, and buy every American a new house on the beach, and the media would still fixate over his latest tweet. Unemployment could hit zero percent, the Dow could top 30,000, and the Beatles could do a reunion tour, and you wouldn’t hear about any of it – if you only watch CNN.

So what’s the solution for Mr. Trump and conservatives? Do what Ronald Reagan did. Do your job, take your case to the American people, and ignore the biased media. Or the president can wait for the likes of CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and The New York Times to suddenly become this thing we call “journalists.”

Good luck with that.

The Rushmore Report: Trump’s Standing in New Fox Poll

Fox News has just released a new poll that brings mixed messages to President Trump and his agenda. The poll was conducted this past Sunday through Tuesday, before a tweet by Trump about MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski received significant media coverage. The focus of the poll was the president’s recent Twitter barrage.

The bottom line: voters think the president’s tweets are hurting his agenda.

Few voters approve of President Trump’s tweeting, and most agree it’s making his job harder. Seventy-one percent say the president’s tweets are hurting his agenda, while just 17 percent see his tweets as helpful.

The country is split on their opinion of what the tweets officially represent. Do the president’s online posts represent official statements? It’s a close call: 51 percent say yes, while 45 percent say no.

Overall, only 13 percent approve of Trump’s tweeting. That is down from 16 percent in March. Forty-six percent disapprove, while 39 percent take the middle ground and “wish he’d be more cautious.”

Among Republicans, only 21 percent approve of the president’s tweeting practice, while 59 percent would like to see him be more careful. Another 18 percent wish he’d quit tweeting altogether.

Majorities across the board say Trump’s tweets are hurting his agenda, although Democrats (87 percent) and independents (75 percent) are far more likely than Republicans (53 percent) to see it that way.

Over half of Democrats (59 percent) say the tweets are official presidential statements, while over half of Republicans say they are not (52 percent).

The Rushmore Report: The ‘Dark Soul’ of Johnny Depp

Last week, actor Johnny Depp said it may be time for another president to be assassinated by an actor. Of course, Hollywood and the Democratic-controlled media have virtually ignored his outrageous, indefensible comments. But that didn’t keep Franklin Graham from speaking out. “Johnny Depp is one dark soul. To even suggest the possibility of assassinating the president is shameful,” he said.

Depp made his comments at the Glastonbury Festival in England last Thursday. His exact words: “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? I want to clarify: I’m not an actor. I lie for a living. However, it’s been awhile, and maybe it’s time.”

Graham did not just condemn Depp’s statement. He offered the troubled actor a way out.

“Jesus Christ died on the cross for all dark souls – even mine. My prayer is that Johnny Depp will one day come to know the Savior who died so that he could be saved from his sins. Jesus Christ alone can change the human heart and bring us from darkness to light,” Graham said. He then quoted John 8:12. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The White House offered this response: “President Trump has condemned violence in all forms and it is sad that others like Johnny Depp have not followed his lead. We hope that some of Mr. Depp’s colleagues will speak out against this type of rhetoric as strongly as they would have if this was directed toward a Democrat elected official.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time liberal “entertainers” have called for violence against the president. In May, comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a severed and bloodied mannequin head in a blonde wig to resemble Trump.

Rapper Snoop Dogg released a music video in March. It depicts himself shooting President Trump in the head.

Madonna was among the first to joke about harming the president. During the Women’s March on Washington in January, she publicly said she thought about “blowing up the White House.”

The only thing more shocking than the complete look the other way by Hollywood and the mainstream media is the notion that if conservative entertainers had suggested the beheading or shooting of President Obama, liberals would be so quick to give them a pass.

There is not an actor or performer who would still have a job had they said and done the things against Obama that are being said and done against Trump.

The bad news is that Hollywood and the mainstream media are complicit with their silence.

The good news is that most Americans don’t care what Hollywood or the mainstream media are saying these days.

I applaud Franklin Graham. Rather than rant – as is the common response from the right – he understands the real issues for the likes of Johnny Depp, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. He understands that the answer to darkness is not logical discourse. That rarely helps in times like these. The answer to darkness is light.

For those of us who find such hateful speech from the left deplorable, we must never forget our battle is not with flesh and blood, but the powers of darkness.

Jesus nailed it when he said we are to let our light shine before men – because light is the only thing that can ever drown out the darkness.

The Rushmore Report: The Next 100 Days Will Determine the Trump Legacy

Since the days of Harry Truman, presidents have been graded more by their first 100 days in office than their next 1,361 days – Donald Trump more than any other. But with the constant obstruction thrown up by Democrats and the president’s struggles to get firm footing, Trump’s first 100 days will pale in comparison to what is coming next. I am convinced that the next 100 days will determine the Trump legacy. Four key challenges, and the way the president responds to them, will set the trajectory for the 45th president.

1. North Korea

Presidents are largely judged by world events, over which they often have little influence. But make no mistake, North Korea – not Russia or Syria or Afghanistan – will mark the defining moment of the Trump legacy on the world stage. President Kim Jong-un will push this president as far as he can. Already, he has kidnapped Americans, returned one in a comatose state, and taken illegal steps to threaten Japan, South Korea, and the United States militarily. President Trump must know by now that he cannot count on help from China. North Korea will be his “Cuban Missile Crisis.” The strength of his response – and it must come quickly – will send a message to the world.

2. Tax Reform

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the man to make this happen. The U.S. continues to burden her companies with the highest corporate tax rate of any developed country. And it’s not even close. In Ryan’s tax speech Monday, he laid out his plans. For those who were able to stay awake and not drown in the detail, they seemed pleased. Certainly, the stock market has responded well, continuing to shatter unthinkable records previous administrations would have never dreamed we could reach. With the House set to bring this legislation forward in the next few months, this can be the crown jewel of the Trump presidency to date.

3. Repealing Obamacare

New Mexico just did what so many other states have already done. It became a one-carrier state, as insurance providers continue to pull their support of Obamacare. Insurance companies are coming to a universal conclusion – they cannot afford to stay in the current system. The Affordable Care Act is quickly dying under its own weight. But this may present the new president with his greatest challenge. The House barely passed their version of repeal & replace. Tomorrow, we get our first peek at the Senate’s version, and early reports make it clear that it will be nearly impossible for the Senate to craft a bill that is tolerable to both wings of the Republican caucus, represented by Cruz/Lee on one end and Collins/Murkowski on the other.

4. 2018 Budget

The Trump budget proposal received expected condemnation by Democrats. The fact that it had “Trump” written on it meant it had zero chance of support from the party of no. But the real challenge is getting the near-unanimous Republican support necessary to pass a conservative budget. The good news is that what will likely emerge from the Trump/Ryan compromise will be a plan that gets to a balanced budget, strengthens military spending, is pro-business, and is well-received by both Main Street and Wall Street. Again, one need look no further than the record Dow Jones Industrial Average to see how economists are judging what they see.

President Trump’s first 100 days were entertaining. In some respects, they were highly successful. In other ways, they were not. But by September 30 – 100 days from today – we will know a lot more about the Trump legacy. The trajectory he will find himself on in 100 days is the trajectory that will guide the next 3.5 years. And if he proves successful in these four areas, I predict his approval ratings will rise from 35-40 percent (pick your poll) to near 50 percent.

Will Donald Trump have a successful presidency? We’ll know in 100 days.