Trump-starting America

Donald Trump’s economic speech in Detroit Monday combined a slew of broad proposals: massive tax breaks, a rollback of environmental rules, a unilateral revamp of trade deals and excluding child-care expenses from taxation.

“I want to jump-start America,” he told his audience at the Detroit Economic Club. “These reforms will offer the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan tax reform,” he said, but also, “the rich will pay their fair share.”

Questions swirled over the plan’s potential impact on the federal deficit, stemming in part from vague but high-cost infrastructure plans and the end of the estate tax. Several budget groups said if enacted, it would increase debt by as much as $10 trillion over the next decade.

A Wall Street Journal report suggested a full deduction for child care “would provide much larger benefits to the wealthiest families that have larger tax bills.” One nonpartisan group said those with the highest incomes would benefit.

Hillary Clinton, whose name came up more than 30 times in the speech, said: “Donald Trump’s plan is just a repackaging of trickle-down economics — and it doesn’t help our economy or the vast majority of Americans.” She gets her turn before the same group on Thursday.

New protest playbook

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Protesters interrupted Trump’s speech more than a dozen times. But the dynamic differed. They rose to heckle, having placed themselves in scattered parts of the room, and wore business attire to blend into a button-down audience, where Trump was generally well-received.

And the candidate, this time, refrained from egging on supporters to shout back or barking at security to “get ’em out.” Instead, he stood, squinting and glaring, until security employees removed them.

Trump, however, did indulge this little counter-taunt: “I will say the Bernie Sanders people had far more energy and spirit.” That video generated cheers from his fan base on social media.

Enforcers as endorsers

Ordinarily, you may think military, intelligence and police officials stay at least a step away from direct involvement in electoral politics. But this year, the gap seems quite small.

Now 50 former national security officials from Republican administrations say in a signed letter not only that the GOP nominee is unfit to serve, but also that he “would be the most reckless President in American history.” Trump “is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood,” the letter states, citing his “erratic” and “impetuous” behavior.

This unusual scenario was brewing before Monday’s letter. Former acting CIA director Michael Morell made waves last week with his endorsement of Clinton and attacks on Trump. Morell is affiliated with Beacon Global Strategies — a firm co-founded by longtime Clinton aides Phillippe Reines and Andrew Shapiro.

Trump came to his own defense Tuesday morning slamming his detractors on Twitter and an interview on Fox Business News, casting the officials as “Washington insiders” who were upset not to play a part in his campaign.

“They would have loved to have been involved with the campaign but I wasn’t using, I had no interest using” them, Trump told Fox Business Network.

Meanwhile Evan McMullin, a former CIA official and anti-Trump Republican, is expected to file as an independent candidate. A PAC for him has been organized.

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Debate Watch: Party of 3?

Hofstra University and the other venues hosting this year’s presidential debates should make room on the stage for a third-party candidate, according to a directive from the Commission on Presidential debates first reported by Politico.

Clinton and Trump are assured their posts on the debate stage, but it remains to be seen if any third-party candidates will reach the 15 percent national polling threshold required to secure a spot in the trio of presidential debates.

Politico reports that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is “hovering around 8.8 percent in national polls,” and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein is polling around 3.8 percent.

Riding the warning wave

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Clinton pushed the Trump-as-dangerous theme as she appeared in Florida on Monday. As she has previously, she urged her audience to imagine him in the Oval Office “facing a real crisis” and asked, “What happens when somebody gets under his skin?”

What else is happening

  • Clinton is due in the Hamptons for a three-day fundraising blitz later this month, Politico reports.
  • The day’s GOP defections included Lezlee Westine, an ex-aide to President George W. Bush, who endorsed Clinton, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who on Tuesday wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed piece outlining her reasons for not supporting Trump.
  • Clinton had 50 percent to 37 percent for Trump among likely voters, according to the latest Monmouth University poll.
  • Trump’s latest tax proposal moves him closer to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the issue.
  • Georgia may be a battleground state, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution poll showing Clinton with a slight lead.
  • Trump’s fundraising success, despite earlier boasts of being self-funded, has the Clinton camp scrambling to keep up.
  • Clinton is facing a lawsuit from the parents of two Americans who blame her for the death of their sons in the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Utah hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since 1964, but that could change this year with a growing number of Mormons expressing concern over Trump’s stance on religious freedoms, according to The New York Times.
  • Melania Trump is the least favorably viewed spouse of a presidential candidate since Hillary Clinton, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll.
  • The father of Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was spotted by reporters at Clinton’s Kissimmee rally Monday night. Her campaign said he was not invited by the campaign and they were unaware he was there until after the open-door rally ended.
  • Clinton has gained another Republican campaign donor — former MGM CEO Harry Sloan, who raised money for the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney.