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President Trump is spending his spending his August wearing golf attire, working short hours and occasionally spouting off about politics ― just like a 24-year-old GOP legislative correspondent on the Hill. The White House doesn’t want to admit that the president is playing golf, as it might cause unnecessarily alarm among the population that he isn’t yelling at the television at odd hours of the day. And the Trump International Hotel has become a destination for GOP power players hoping to make a good impression on the president; we can only hope, for our own amusement, that the next Republican president is is a Medieval Times franchisee. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 7th, 2017:
PRESIDENT KICKING BACK AND WORKING SUPER, SUPER HARD - At least George W. Bush tried to make his vacations politically helpful what with all those photo-ops of him being clearing brush and otherwise being an everyman. Marina Fang: ”President Donald Trump, currently on a 17-day vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, spent his Monday morning posting a tirade against his usual target, the ’24/7 fake news,′ criticizing the ’failing ’New York Times. Trump also claimed his low approval ratings were fabricated, pointing to crowd sizes at his recent rallies. But following the tirade, he made sure to note that he was ‘working hard from New Jersey.’ On Saturday, he similarly insisted that ‘this is not a vacation ― meetings and calls!’ … Over the weekend, the paper also reported that Vice President Mike Pence is among several Republicans weighing a ‘shadow campaign’ in 2020, in case Trump does not seek re-election. Pence on Sunday responded in an unusually defensive statement pushing back on the story, calling it ‘fake news’ and affirming that he was ‘honored to be working side-by-side with a president who is making America great again.’” [HuffPost]
CONGRATULATIONS TO RICHARD BLUMENTHAL - Another missed opportunity by the president to talk about his own personal Vietnam. Paige Lavender: ”President Donald Trump revived his attacks against Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) over Blumenthal’s misleading claims about the Vietnam War. While on vacation Monday, Trump fired off several tweets about Blumenthal, calling him a ‘phony Vietnam con artist’ for claiming he ‘served in Vietnam’ when he did not. Trump’s history with Vietnam is similar to Blumenthal’s. The senator obtained at least five military deferments to avoid going to war between 1965 and 1970, according to The New York Times. Trump also deferred the draft five times ― four times for education and once after he was diagnosed as having bone spurs in his heels…. Trump’s latest attack on Blumenthal came after the senator appeared on CNN Monday, arguing the Russia investigation ‘must be pursued’ and saying special counsel Robert Mueller must be protected throughout the process.” [HuffPost]
TRUMP HOTEL SUCK UP CITY - Jonathan O’Connell: ”Since Trump’s election, the Trump International Hotel has emerged as a Republican Party power center where on a good day — such as July 28 around 8 p.m. — excited visitors can watch the president share intimate dinner conversation with his just-named chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and be the first to brag about it on social media…. In conversations with The Washington Post, the hotel’s management described its strategy to capitalize on the president’s popularity [HPH Editor’s note: What popularity?]. It markets the hotel to Republican and conservative groups that embrace Trump’s politics but takes care not to solicit business from fringe groups that would embarrass the president. Trump supporters in red ‘Make America Great Again’ caps get a chance to rub elbows with White House officials against an American flag backdrop at the Benjamin Bar, where a signature concoction of winter wheat vodka, oysters and caviar goes for $100.” [WaPo]
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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS SOME CONFLICT OF INTERESTS, FYI - Amazing that the people who take their cues from the White House that won’t even say if the president plays golf are being cagey about transparency stuff. Danielle Ivory and Robert Faturechi: “When President Trump ordered federal agencies to form teams to dismantle government regulations, the Transportation Department turned to people with deep industry ties…. A full vetting of industry connections has been difficult because some agencies have declined to provide information about the appointees — not even their names…. The lack of transparency has concerned several top Democratic members of Congress who serve on committees that oversee regulatory matters. In a letter to the White House on Monday, they called on the administration to release the names of all regulatory team members as well as documents relating to their potential conflicts of interest…. In all, there are now 85 known current and former team members, including 34 with potential conflicts. At least two of the appointees may be positioned to profit if certain regulations are undone and at least four were registered to lobby the agencies they now work for.” [NYT]
AT LEAST THE GOP CAN UNITE AND DEGRADE CIVIL SOCIETY *TOGETHER* - See, things do work in Washington. Jacqueline Thomsen: ”House Republicans have launched a new website that slams the media for focusing on ‘chaos’ instead of what they see as a productive first 200 days. The website, ‘Did You Know,’ claims that media coverage doesn’t focus on the issues important to Americans. It also calls out the press for not writing more about the legislative achievements of the House GOP. ‘House Republicans aren’t distracted by the newest countdown clock on cable news or partisan sniping in Washington, D.C.,’ the website reads. ‘You don’t care about those things. You care about finding a good job, taking care of your family, and achieving the American Dream, and so do we.’ It comes as President Trump hits his 200th day in office. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had set the 200th day as a bigger marker for Republicans than Trump’s first 100 days.” [The Hill]
PETER NOT THIELING IT - Thankfully moderating influences Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump will deal with it. Ryan Mac: ”Donald Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an ‘incompetent’ administration, and one that may well end in ‘disaster.’ Peter Thiel’s unguarded remarks have surprised associates, some of whom are still reeling from his full-throated endorsement of Trump at the Republican National Convention. And while the investor stands by the president in public — ‘I support President Trump in his ongoing fight,’ he said in a statement to BuzzFeed News — his private doubts underscore the fragility of the president’s backing from even his most public allies. Thiel’s comments may sting in particular in the White House as they come amid a series of hasty and embarrassed departures from the Trump train, as conservative voices from the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page to the floor of the US Senate have begun to distance themselves from the administration.” [BuzzFeed]
THE LIBERAL MEDIA CONSPIRACY WINS AGAIN Lydia O’Connor: ”Former CNN commentator Kayleigh McEnany, who announced her resignation from the network on Saturday, is joining the Republican National Committee as its national spokeswoman. ‘Kayleigh will be an integral part of our Party’s ongoing commitment to promoting the Republican message to Americans across the country,’ RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. ‘Her wealth of experience will be invaluable to the RNC as we continue to support President Trump and build on our majorities in Congress as we head into 2018.’ The announcement comes one day after McEnany anchored a pro-Donald Trump “real news” video on Sunday. The video, which mimics the style of broadcast media and was promoted on Trump’s social media channels, follows a similar video anchored by Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump last week. Both videos are part of a re-election campaign effort to spread positive news about the presidency.” [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a cat to help you relax.
- A look at the battle in Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones.”
- America’s musical tastes, mapped.
- Watch a bunch of buildings in China be demolished.
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