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The Rushmore Report: Is Trump Administration the ‘Screwball Presidency’?

Appearing on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, Republican strategist Mike Murphy called President Trump’s Administration America’s first “screwball presidency.” He said, “We don’t know who’s in charge. The internal politics are crazy.” The establishment consultant went on to diminish Trump’s first year in office to rhetorical ashes. But is Murphy – and much of America – missing something? Do the facts of the past year really support this “screwball” claim?

Sure, Mr. Trump is unconventional. And yes, much of what he says – and tweets – is controversial. It’s hard to find anyone who is happy to defend some of the things he says. But for those who are more interested in their bank account than Trump’s twitter account, “screwball” may be a bit off target.

Mr. Murphy might be wise to consider a few actual facts . . .

1. Unemployment rate

More Americans are employed under Trump’s presidency than at any time in history. Last month alone, 261,000 new jobs were added, and the unemployment rate has dipped to 4.1 percent, its lowest rate in 17 years – lower than at any point in the entire Obama eight years.

2. Tax reduction

The average American family will pay $1,200 less in taxes next year, assuming Congress passes the new tax bill. As for the Democratic/media claim that the new tax structure will only benefit the rich (same song, 100th verse), the top one percent of wage earners will pay 40 percent of all taxes – same as before. And about 15 million in the lower to middle class will now pay no taxes – for the first time in history.

3. Stock market

Up 6,000 points since Trump’s election, the stock market has gained $5 trillion in one year – up 18 percent. Because most retirement packages are tied to the market, this helps nearly everyone.

4. ISIS in retreat

Secretary of Defense James Mattis reports that we are defeating ISIS “much more quickly than we anticipated.” He said, “The enemy is collapsing for all the world to see.” Ten months after Trump took office, the U.S. military has taken back Raqqah – the caliphate’s self-appointed capital.

5. Deregulation

President Trump’s deregulation has already saved businesses $378 million with just over a billion dollars in savings expected next year, according to the Washington Examiner. A report from American Action Forum said that next year’s actions will bring “potentially billions in savings.”

6. Judiciary

Trump’s court appointments guarantee conservative gains for the better part of the next 50 years, starting with Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

7. Immigration

Though the wall has yet to be built, illegal immigration is down by 50 percent. Deportations are up, and the Supreme Court just upheld Trump’s immigration ban from six countries that import terrorism more than any others.

Mike Murphy – like so many like him – has derided the Trump Administration, calling it the “first screwball presidency.” Tweets matter. Trump’s presidency has been unorthodox, to say the least. But if a “screwball presidency” means lower unemployment, reduced taxes, a record stock market, ISIS in retreat, deregulation, and a conservative judiciary, there will be millions of Americans who will be okay with a “screwball presidency.”

The Rushmore Report: David Jeremiah – ‘I Feel Safer with Trump’

Megachurch pastor David Jeremiah, who leads the Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, says that now that Donald Trump is president, he feels a “greater sense of security” as an American citizen. “I’ll be honest with you, I feel safer as a citizen because he’s my president,” Jeremiah told CBN last Thursday.

“I feel like there’s a greater sense of security in our country even though people don’t want to talk about it,” said Jeremiah, who also founded Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries.

While he doesn’t like some of the things Trump “says and the way he says them,” Jeremiah doesn’t appear too concerned since, he said, the New York City billionaire “is not my pastor.”

Jeremiah also pointed to a few more positive outcomes of Trump’s presidency so far, such as the improving economy.

“Right now, we are in the best economic situation I can ever remember in terms of the stock market being $5 trillion more than it was in November,” he said

“Many of the experts say we’re in the process of getting prepared for a big downturn, but nobody knows that, and I don’t know that,” Jeremiah added. “I just know that ultimately if we don’t deal with our debt, then there’s not a lot of good news long-term.”

“Obviously, he’s making a difference in many areas. He’s making a difference economically; nobody wants to talk about it, but I just mentioned what’s happened to the stock market since he’s been in office.”

 

The Rushmore Report: Why Did Trump Tell the Media to Go Away?

On Thanksgiving Day, President Trump did something he is not known for. He shunned media attention. When the media anxiously waited for his latest words and controversial statements, they got nothing. And it’s not that Trump didn’t have something to say. He did. He just didn’t want the media – or our country – to know what it was. So why would Donald Trump tell the press to go away?

It’s simple. He called some of our brave men and women serving overseas to wish them happy holidays and to thank them for fighting for freedom. But he wanted to keep it between himself and them.

“You’re very special to me and to everyone in this country, that I can tell you,” Trump told the five deployed units who were representing each branch of the military during the video conference. The troops on the call are currently serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, and aboard the U.S.S. Monterey.

“It’s an honor to speak with you all and to give God thanks for the blessings of freedom and to the heroes who have this tremendous courage as you do to defend freedom and to the heroes who have this tremendous courage as you do to defend us and to defend freedom.”

The president then asked the press to leave so he and the troops on the video call could have a “personal, confidential conversation.”

Following the call, Trump went to help hand out food to Coast Guardsmen in Riviera Beach, Florida.

Early on Thursday, Trump tweeted a Happy Thanksgiving to his followers, noting that Americans can feel content with the state of the nation.

Trump’s tweet read, “HAPPY THANKSGIVING, your Country is starting to do really well. Jobs coming back, highest Stock Market EVER, Military getting really strong, we will build the WALL, V.A. taking care of our Vets, great Supreme Court Justice, RECORD CUT IN REGS, lowest unemployment in 17 years….!”

Trump concluded, “God bless America and God bless our troops.”

About the Author

Cortney O’Brien writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report: ‘God and Donald Trump’ Author Speaks Out

Evangelicals and others should give President Donald Trump a chance, especially given his warm reception of evangelical Christians, says the author of a new book examining the spiritual side of the controversial commander-in-chief. Charisma Media founder and CEO Stephen E. Strang, whose book God and Donald Trump was released last week, told The Christian Post we should “give Trump a chance.”

“There’s some people that just, they’re against every single thing he does or says. He says that today’s Monday, they say ‘no he’s lying because it’s Tuesday in Australia,'” said Strang.

“I would hope that people would stand back, look at what’s happening with the economy, look at what’s happening internationally.”

Strang told CP that he believed Trump “has the makings to be a great leader” and “a great president,” then added the caveat that he still has to “definitely grow into the job.”

“But I believe that God raises up people in times of crisis and I believe our country is at a time of crisis,” said Strang, who believed that Trump seemed fit for the job due to his apparent ability to be unphased by the “onslaught” of criticism he gets.

An Unexpected Candidate

In his book, Strang noted the gradual rising support for Trump among evangelical leaders, telling CP that during the Republican primary he had originally endorsed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

“I supported Cruz up until the day he dropped out,” explained Strang, noting that once Sen. Cruz dropped out he “immediately endorsed Trump.”

“I was not a Trump supporter to start with. My image of him was, you know, what I picked up in the media. I rather expected, as a lot of evangelical leaders did, that his campaign would implode at some point.”

Strang said that his support for Trump came in part because “some Christian leaders that I respected were meeting with him, they were praying with him.”

A Flawed Yet Changing President

Despite the eventual support for Trump, Strang explained at various points in his book that the thrice-married casino owner was not the ideal candidate for many evangelicals, himself included.

“But the more I watched, the more I saw the potential for greatness. President Trump has won over many of the evangelical leaders who are naturally skeptical of a politician who did not emerge from among their ranks. Still, as I saw them embrace President Trump despite his obvious flaws, I had to take a second look. And what I have seen is a man who, though flawed, has great potential. His work as president has just begun, and God’s work in his life has just begun, as well.”

About the Author

Michael Gryboski is a writer for The Christian Post.

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: President Trump’s Surprising New Poll Numbers

According to Real Clear Politics, President Trump’s approval rating is 38 percent. Some polls have his numbers even lower than that. But the most reliable and recent poll brings good news to the White House – news you won’t hear in the mainstream media. As opposed to the other polls considered by Real Clear Politics, Rasmussen only considers likely voters. And their poll – out Tuesday – brings shocking news.

Tuesday’s Rasmussen survey of 1,500 likely voters found Trump’s approval rating at 46 percent, which is in line with other presidents’ numbers – presidents who went on to win reelection.

The president quickly tweeted: “One of the most accurate polls last time around. But #FakeNews likes to say we’re in the 30s. They are wrong. Some people think numbers could be in the 50s. Together, WE will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The poll also found that the number of Americans who believe the country is headed in the right direction is just 33 percent. But many of them blame Congress, not the president. Meanwhile, their confidence in the jobs market reached a new high.

From this new survey, we draw three conclusions.

1. President Trump’s approval is higher than the media wants you to know.

2. President Trump’s approval rating is still below water, well under 50 percent.

3. Poll numbers in November, 2017, have virtually no bearing on the 2020 election, which is three years away. Remember, President George H. W. Bush had the highest approval rating in the history of polls – 91 percent – at this point in his presidency, but garnered only 37 percent of the vote three years later, in his bid for reelection.

I love polls because I love numbers. While the new numbers by Rasmussen are interesting, especially given they only survey likely voters, and while the new numbers bring comfort to Trump supporters, these poll numbers will be long forgotten by the time the 2020 election cycle begins. But considered within the context of Trump’s recent poll numbers, and within the context of 24-hour attacks by most media outlets, a 46 percent approval rating for President Trump will be met with great enthusiasm among his supporters.

The Rushmore Report: You Won’t Believe What Jimmy Carter Just Said about Donald Trump

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, remains amazingly engaged in international issues and national policy at the age of 93. He remains a reliably liberal Democrat and equally reliable critic of President Trump and conservative policies. That’s why his interview with The New York Times has surprised many. Carter said some things about Trump and the mainstream media that are shocking in their deviation from the far-left rhetoric that has taken the Democratic Party hostage.

Carter told columnist Maureen Dowd, “I think the media have been harder on Trump than any other president that I’ve known about.” He added that he thought the media “feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”

Carter also doesn’t believe the current president’s “America First” strategy is out of step with the larger world, spoiling international relations. “Well, he might be escalating it but I think that precedes Trump,” he said. “The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world and now we’re not anymore. And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”

The former president also offered to serve in a diplomatic role to calm tensions with North Korea. He said, “I don’t know what they’ll do, because they want to save their regime. And we greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly Kim Jong Un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China.”

In September, Carter expressed optimism that Trump might break a legislative logjam with his six-month deadline for Congress to address the immigration status of 800,000 U.S. residents who were brought into the country illegally as children.

He told Emory University students that the “pressures and the publicity that Trump has brought to the immigration issue” could even yield comprehensive immigration law changes that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama could not muster.

Carter blamed both major political parties for an inability to pass any major immigration law overhaul since a 1986 law signed by President Reagan.

“I don’t see that as a hopeless cause,” he said. Carter then added that Trump’s critics “have to give him credit when he does some things that are not as bad” as they are depicted.

The Rushmore Report: Media Lynch Mob Trying to Take Down Trump

Reince Priebus learned a hard lesson over the past six months and America should pay attention to it. After leaving his job as White House Chief of Staff, Priebus told Sean Hannity that the national press is flat-out “dishonest.” He continued, “What I find to be amazing is how narratives are set and a lot of it is not true. The most breathtaking thing for me has been the difference between what is truth and what is reported.”

Preibus was referring to story lines that have taken deep root in the anti-Trump media.

The most prominent one is that Russia and the Trump campaign worked together to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. Hundreds of stories have run bolstering that theory – many of them driven by rank speculation and the use of anonymous sources that are clearly opposed to Trump.

The second story line embraced by the hate-Trump forces is that the president is unfit to hold the office. Under this banner, almost everything the man says or does is reported as a negative. Day after day, the media themes of corruption and incompetence are hammered home with few solid facts to back up the negative expositions. It must be said, however, that Trump’s lack of discipline in replying to the attacks is greatly aiding his opposition.

It is certainly true that every American has the right and perhaps civic duty to form an educated opinion about their leader. But those opinions should be based on facts that demonstrate truth – not contrived narratives designed by partisan ideologies.

And it’s not just the left that is hating Trump. A good number of conservatives are participating in the lynch mob. If you think there wasn’t a dose of personal animus in John McCain’s vote to keep Obamacare intact, you’re living in the Land of Oz. Sen. McCain despises Donald Trump, perhaps with justification, and fully understands how his vote has damaged the president.

Another conservative, pundit Peggy Noonan, recently launched a vicious personal attack on Trump’s manhood. Ms. Noonan basically ignored the unprecedented battering the president has taken in the media as a reason that he might respond to criticism inappropriately at times. She is smart enough to know the media score but not honest enough to provide perspective while denigrating Trump.

By the way, that’s what seeking the truth is all about, providing some honest perspective even if you don’t like someone.

Reince Priebus witnessed the hostile media onslaught up close and personal. At this point in our history, few reporters are actively seeking the truth. Almost all allegations against Trump and his supporters are treated as facts. Conclusions are drawn, narratives spun.

In short, Americans are being barraged with story lines designed to make it impossible for Donald Trump to govern.

This is right out of the Saul Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” playbook. Isolate a political target, and hammer the person ceaselessly with whatever you can think of. The truth be damned. Demonize and marginalize your opposition in order to destroy them.

As Sharyl Attkisson’s new book, The Smear, chronicles with facts, the anti-Trump, anti-conservative movement has now become an organized industry in the U.S. with millions of dollars supporting it. More than a few national press people are part of that industry as they print or broadcast unproven accusations using the word “reportedly” to justify spreading unverified information.

It is very possible that the White House does not fully understand the powerful forces arrayed against it. Priebus seems shocked by what he calls “press dishonesty.” But it has been on display for many years.

The difference now is Donald Trump. He is so despised by the progressive movement, and by some conservatives as well, that old rules of fairness and truth-seeking no longer apply. It is obviously wrong for the press to insinuate and then promote conclusions based upon biased conjecture, but in some media precincts the “get Trump” end justifies the means.

Presidential tweets and charges of fake news are not going to be enough to blunt the media corruption that has so horrified Reince Preibus.

Only a full, methodical exposure of it to the American people may provide some balance.

About the Author

Bill O’Reilly is a writer for The Hill, and former host of The O’Reilly Factor, the most watched show in the history of cable news.

 

 

 

The Rushmore Report: Why Republicans Can’t Govern

You might think that securing the White House, Senate, House of Representatives, and a majority of seats on the Supreme Court would enable a party to practically dictate laws and policy. But so far, unified government hasn’t worked out too well for Republicans. The GOP controls it all – but has no major legislative accomplishments to show for it. So let’s tackle the obvious question. Why can’t Republicans govern?

The U.S. system is designed to slow down and complicate attempts at change, so parties in charge must learn to navigate their way. What makes this so hard? There are several things that a majority party needs in order to convert political victories into legislative ones, and the GOP doesn’t have them.

1. A prioritized agenda

This one seems obvious but can be deceptively difficult. Research shows that agenda control is a key source of power for the majority party in Congress. For a party to effectively implement an agenda, it has to agree on a) what that agenda is, and b) how that agenda should be prioritized. The first part isn’t a given; Republicans largely support lower taxes, for instance, but – as the recent healthcare debate showed – they are less unified on health care policy. Even when there is agreement on the issues, parties must also decide on which ones to focus. The President is short on details to his policies, and there is much diversity within the Republican Party. A prioritized agenda has yet to emerge.

2. Public support

Whatever agenda emerges, it helps a lot if it has public support. Public opinion doesn’t always direct policy, of course. But members of Congress tend to be motivated by an interest in reelection, and don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of a national debate.

The GOP is finding this out the hard way. Some of the few core positions that have been staked out by Republicans in Congress – such as bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act – have proven very unpopular. Trump also ran into this problem with the Russian sanctions bill: he opposed it, but widespread public support translated into veto-proof majorities in Congress.

In simple terms, President Trump won the Electoral College, but not the popular vote. Until he turns his low poll numbers around, it will be hard to garner much unified support behind his agenda.

3. A way to address internal divisions

Even with a governing agenda and public support, there will be disagreements over specifics, clashes between factions and disputes over resource allocation. Institutions can help resolve these disputes – especially organizational rules in Congress that create incentives for compromise.

An opposition party has the luxury of a unifying objective – pointing out the shortcomings of the majority. As the musical Hamilton tells us, “Governing is harder.”

About the Author

Julia Azari is an associate professor of political science at Marquette University. Her research interests include the American presidency, political parties, and political rhetoric. She is the author of Delivering the People’s Message: The Changing Politics of the Presidential Mandate.