POTUS: Cheers for fears
Gather 'round the fire. The nation's top Republican is using the run-up to Halloween and Election Day to spread dark and chilling horror stories about Democratic congressional and Senate candidates.
President Donald Trump published a rare op-ed piece on Wednesday in USA Today denouncing proposals to expand Medicare to all Americans. It contained several stretches and clear falsehoods about what the still-hypothetical plan would mean for seniors and those insured with pre-existing conditions.
In claiming that the "out" party constitutes an "angry mob," Trump repeatedly notes that his nominee Brett Kavanaugh made it to the Supreme Court, but that Democrats might try to impeach him. "They've gone wacko," he told cheering rallygoers in Iowa on Tuesday.
Throw in the recent fright-night phantasms about how Democrats would abolish borders, emulate Venezuela, support MS-13, end ethanol, vilify young men and degrade law enforcement, and it sounds like one big, scary Stephen King tale. He repeated much of it in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
'Smears and sabotage'
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave a heated reply to Trump's printed commentary, saying: "“All of the false and misleading words in the world can’t cover up the truth: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are forcing millions of Americans to pay more for health insurance and trying to rip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
"The American people deserve better than smears and sabotage,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. On Wednesday, a Democratic bill aimed at abolishing Trump-backed short-term "junk" health plans that don't cover pre-existing conditions failed in the Senate — but by a tied, 50-50 vote.
Melania's #MeToo message
The #MeToo movement and recent sex-abuse controversy during the Kavanaugh confirmation led first lady Melania Trump to react. On ABC's "Good Morning America," she said women who make allegations "need to be heard" and supported, as do men.
She said there should be "really hard evidence" presented and accusers should "show the evidence."
"I support the women, and they need to be heard. We need to support them. And, you know, also men, not just women." Her husband has been accused over the years of sexual assault by numerous women.
His show had to go on
While Hurricane Michael began to devastate a swath of Florida, Trump rolled in the opposite direction to Erie, Pennsylvania, headed for a campaign rally. He assured reporters at the White House that this would not be for his sake but because "it would be unfair" to cancel on "thousands of people" who he claimed in the morning had already lined up to attend. In the past, he has made false claims about "thousands" of people outside his venues.
He did not mention that he was going to raise money for Senate candidate Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). To the Floridians, he had this to say: "God bless you all." In 2012, Trump complained that President Barack Obama campaigned in the aftermath of Sandy. In fact, Obama had already toured the affected regions.
What else is happening:
- Billionaire Trump backer Sheldon Adelson not only wields political influence, but Trump urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to consider Adelson's Las Vegas Sands for a casino license, ProPublica reports.
- Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has re-registered as a Democrat as his aides again promote the possibility that he will try to seek the presidency on that line in 2020.
- Trump griped after arriving in Erie that the Federal Reserve Bank has "gone crazy" with short-term interest rate hikes after stocks plunged.
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's meeting with congressional Republicans has been put off, possibly until after the election.
- Even while condemning Democrats over Medicare, Trump signed a bipartisan bill aimed at curbing drug costs.