Trump vs. civil rights hero
On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, allies and foes of Donald Trump battled over whether the president-elect went too far in ripping civil rights icon John Lewis on Twitter, Newsday’s Emily Ngo writes.
The feud erupted after Lewis — the Georgia congressman who as a young activist was severely beaten by police during a peaceful 1965 voting rights march in Selma, Alabama — told NBC News that he doesn’t view Trump as a “legitimate president.” Lewis cited the Russian hacking aimed at helping Trump.
Trump tweeted that Lewis was “All talk, talk, talk — no action or results.” He said Lewis should “spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”
The latter remark offended Atlantans as stereotyping a district that is diverse, with pricey neighborhoods, well-known colleges, Coca-Cola headquarters and other “high-profile corporate residents,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence and incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, while nodding to Lewis’ history, said Trump had a right to defend himself. Several Democratic members of Congress said Sunday they stand with Lewis and won’t attend the inauguration.
Legit, the flip side
Priebus rejected a comparison between Lewis’ comments on Trump’s legitimacy and Trump’s five-year run as a birther who doubted Obama that was born in the United States — and therefore, his legitimacy as president.
“That’s not the point,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The point ... is that we’ve got congressmen on the Democratic side of the aisle that are questioning the legitimacy of President-elect Trump. ... That’s where the outrage should be, not old news.”
After Obama was re-elected in 2013, Trump tweeted: "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"
More covered than Obamacare?
Trump said he is finishing an Obamacare replacement plan that would provide “insurance for everybody” — which sounds like universal coverage.
He did not explain how in a Washington Post interview. But as one way to hold down costs, he vowed to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices of Medicare- and Medicaid-covered medicines.
The take-away: Tax law target
With Trump’s team and congressional Republicans starting work on rewriting the tax laws, a federal deduction that helps ease burdens in higher-income, higher-taxed places such as Long Island could be a target, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
House Speaker Paul Ryan last year proposed ending deductions for individuals’ state and local taxes. It’s not yet known if Trump agrees. Another possible shock wave for local governments might be a GOP-proposed elimination of tax exemptions for municipal bonds.
Outgoing CIA chief rips Trump
Departing CIA director John Brennan said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump lacks a full understanding of the threat Moscow poses to the United States.
“Now that he’s going to have an opportunity to do something for our national security, as opposed to talking and tweeting, he’s going to have tremendous responsibility to make sure that U.S. and national security interests are protected,” Brennan said.
Trump answered on Twitter: “Oh really, couldn’t do ... much worse — just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes.” He then wondered whether Brennan was “the leaker of Fake News?” — apparently meaning the unsubstantiated allegations of Russian efforts to compromise him.
Can Trump deliver on jobs?
The economists’ jury is still out on whether Trump can deliver on promises for more well-paying jobs for American workers, writes Newsday’s Emily Ngo.
He has touted fairer trade, lower taxes and less regulation as answers, but there are other headwinds, including automation and the ever-growing strength of manufacturing in China and India.
Meanwhile his pick for labor secretary, businessman Andrew Puzder, has said of efforts to raise minimum wage to $15: “How do you pay somebody $15 an hour to scoop ice cream? How good could you be at scooping ice cream?” He's expected to dismantle regulations.
What else is happening
- Touting Ben Carson and Steve Harvey as aides and allies marks "nothing more than an attempted end run around serious engagement" with African-Americans, an eminent sociologist tells the Washington Post.
- In an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, Trump called NATO obsolete and predicted more countries would follow Britain’s plans to leave the European Union. Trump told the Times of London that he wants a deal with Russia to reduce nuclear arms.
- Trump officials are considering plans to evict the White House press from its current West Wing quarters or at least to conduct its daily briefings at another location, several reports say.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer joined Sen. Bernie Sanders at a pro-Obamacare rally in suburban Detroit, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren headlined a similar event in Boston.
- Pence dodged a question on whether Trump has confidence in FBI Director James Comey — “You’ll have to ask him.” Priebus said Trump does have confidence in Comey, calling him “extraordinarily competent.”
- “Saturday Night Live” Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin is expected to join other celebrities and Mayor Bill de Blasio at an anti-Trump protest Thursday in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, amNewYork reports. And Trump’s tweet on the latest SNL? “Not funny ... a complete hit job.”
- Priebus said the head of the Office of Government Ethics, who called Trump’s plan to avoid conflicts of interest inadequate, “ought to be careful.”
- The Washington Post examines how Trump will assume control of a federal bureaucracy with enormous power to bolster nearly every corner of his real estate, licensing and merchandising empire — and enhance his personal fortune.
- Inauguration planners staged a dress rehearsal at the Capitol Sunday, with an Army band vocalist standing in for Trump taking the oath of office.