Maybe try a couple's retweet?
Should anyone expect Kellyanne Conway to distance herself from the boss, President Donald Trump, for calling her spouse of 17 years "a whack job," "a stone cold LOSER" and a "husband from hell"? Heck no.
"Some people take a little bit too much glee over the situation," a pained Kellyanne said on "Fox News Sunday" when host Chris Wallace quizzed her about the Washington power-couple soap opera in which she co-stars with George Conway, a less famous but still influential conservative lawyer.
The night Trump was elected, Kellyanne said, "George cried ... in his MAGA hat" and wanted a job in the administration, but later changed his mind. His loathing of Trump began privately some time in the president's first year in office. When George took it public, the digs at first were subtle and indirect. Now the acid takes come regularly and rapidly, on Twitter to his 482,000 followers (Kellyanne has 2.67 million) and in op-ed pieces.
From midmorning to midafternoon Sunday, George fired anti-Trump tweets at a rate of one per hour. Among them: "Always to be remembered about Trump: However great his malevolence and derangement may be, they are vastly exceeded by his remarkable ineptitude. For this we should give eternal thanks."
Asked if George is "cyberbullying … to try to get you to quit" and "jealous of your high profile," Kellyanne replied: "Some people think that." Portraying her career path as "different" from those in which women "tend to get their power and their position through the men in their lives," Conway said sarcastically: "I'm sure the feminists are going to throw me a parade at some point."
Kellyanne chided Wallace for asking, "Has this hurt your marriage?" She exclaimed, "Oh, Chris, what are you, Oprah now?" She said the Conway family — there are four children aged 9 to 14 — "has a right to their private life."
Unasked and unanswered is how the kids are dealing with the president's attacks on their dad. (For video of the interview, click here. The exchange about George Conway starts at the 14-minute mark.)
Biden at risk of kiss-off
Joe Biden's reputation as a touchy/feely/huggy guy isn't new. What's changed is how that kind of behavior with women retrospectively has become widely regarded as inappropriate by #MeToo era standards.
The story of a former Nevada state legislator, Lucy Flores, about Biden planting an uninvited, "big, slow kiss on the back of my" head at a 2014 event has become a new cloud over the former vice president's would-be 2020 candidacy. In a written statement Sunday, Biden said he doesn't believe he ever acted inappropriately toward women but will "listen respectfully" to suggestions he did.
None of Biden’s potential Democratic rivals defended him. New York's Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Lucy Flores felt demeaned, and that is never OK." Bernie Sanders, who closely trails Biden at the top of early polls, said, "I think what this speaks to is the need to fundamentally change the culture of this country.”
Trump's side has its attack lines ready. "If anybody just types in 'Creepy Uncle Joe Videos,' you come up with a treasure trove," Conway said on "Fox News Sunday."
Janison: Mock around the clock
It's to be expected that Democrats, liberals and the mainstream news media would be perpetual targets of this president. But Trump has put Big Comedy on a par with the supposed Deep State as a target for rage tweets and even threats of investigation.
He regularly calls out "Saturday Night Live" and late night comedy shows, many of which brought him in as a guest in years past. As for the comedians, writes Newsday's Dan Janison, their monologues have been vehicles for serious points, such as when Jimmy Kimmel spoke up for children's health care coverage or the time Trevor Noah slammed those attacking the investigations of Trump.
A funny thing about all this: Trump himself has been aptly compared to an insult comic, and his rallygoers seem to like him that way.
Border order coming?
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump meant it when he threatened to shut the southern border as early as this week “if Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States.”
Mulvaney, in multiple Sunday talk show appearances, said it would take "something dramatic" for Trump to leave the crossings open.
It's "not for spite," Mulvaney said, " ... but to simply say, look, we need the people from the ports of entry to go out and patrol in the desert where we don't have any wall."
Mulvaney and Conway also defended Trump’s decision to cut nearly $500 million in federal aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — countries that the migrants have been fleeing. For more, see Newsday's story by Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
Trump usually seems energized by his rallies. All the "executive time" in his schedules would seem to offer a chance to recharge.
Yet the presidency may be taking a toll on the stamina Trump bragged about when he ran in 2016. For the 2020 campaign, he won't commit to more than one event a day and recently balked at adding a rally to a fundraising swing out west, The New York Times reports. After more than two years in office, he's tired, the aides said.
Mulling over Mueller
Yet another poll — this one from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal — shows that news of Robert Mueller's report on his Russia investigation, as described by Attorney General William Barr, has done little to shift attitudes.
The survey found that 29% of Americans say believe Trump has been cleared of wrongdoing, 40% say he hasn't and 31% aren't sure. The president's approval rating stood at 43%, which is within his usual range though down 3 points from the month before.
What else is happening:
- Trump decided to restore federal funding for the Special Olympics in his budget plan when he realized the cut was unpopular, according to Mulvaney. "When the president realized the public wanted this money, he made the change," he said.
- It's no big deal that the Trump administration wants the courts to kill the entire Obamacare program without having a plan for what to do if it wins, Mulvaney said. "What we’re going to do over the course of the next couple of months, because the lawsuit will move fairly slowly, is to come up with something that can pass into law,” he said.
- While fentanyl deaths have increased most sharply among African-Americans, China made good on a pledge to Trump last year to treat all variants of the powerful opioid as controlled substances.
- Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail are offering a variety of plans to expand health care coverage. Here's a detailed look at the proposals by Newsday's Carol Polsky.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren's decision to swear off seeking money from wealthy donors — and rely instead on small-dollar campaign contributors — isn't working out well for her so far, The New York Times reports.
- Beto O'Rourke has shifted positions on several key issues and says that's a good thing. "Owning when you've made a mistake" is "part of who I am," he told CNN recently. "I have a ton to learn," he said.