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Spike in the cost of motoring drives a Democratic message

From left, President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense

From left, President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford attend a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

Seeing Trump at the pump?

Spikes in gas prices have long been targets for partisan blame. During his aborted GOP run for Senate in 2000, Mayor Rudy Giuliani held photo ops at service stations, where he blamed the Clinton administration for the cost.

And in 2012, before he even ran for president, Donald Trump tweeted with futility: “Gas prices are crazy levels — fire Obama!”

Now it seems to be the outsider Democrats’ turn to try to stir popular sentiment with this talking point, as Politico reports. Economic conservatives rail against their doing so.

Gasoline has jumped 50 cents per gallon since Trump took office. That’s a four-year high, despite a huge windfall that oil companies get from the new GOP tax law. Sanctions on Iran may be a factor, as they are spooking oil markets.

Only last July Fourth, Trump boasted on Twitter about low gasoline prices — using the usual double set of books for political credit and blame.

Putting the ‘me’ in Memorial Day

Trump preceded the solemn annual official Memorial Day ceremonies with self-promotion.

“Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today,” he tweeted, followed by his re-election rally claim of accomplishments:

“Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more.”

Several condemnations followed. Retired Gen. Michael Hayden simply tweeted “OMG.”

But later, at Arlington National Cemetery, the prepared presidential text was more conventional, with Trump reading words that said fallen service members’ love of country was “more deep and more pure than most will ever know.”

‘Dreamer’ deflections

Top Republicans are urging Congress and the White House to act quickly on immigration reform, even as they are unlikely to do so.

Trump has not managed to craft any legislative deals so far, instead following the lead of the House and Senate majorities when signing legislation such as the tax cuts.

Sen. Corey Gardner (R-Colo.) said in a Politico interview he told the president recently, “The sweet spot for getting an immigration deal remains now.” Trump initially asked Congress to make the so-called “Dreamers” legal, but a deal bogged down. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said mass deportations of those brought here as kids could escalate pressure.

Over the weekend, Trump claimed Democrats were responsible for laws that lead to separating families at the border. But in fact, his own subordinates, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have declared an aggressive pursuit of the practice.

What else is happening

  • The FBI warns users of certain internet routers to reboot, to avoid malware from the same Fancy Bear operation that carried out the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack.
  • Trump managed, despite Memorial Day, to keep complaining about the Russia probe.
  • China awarded Ivanka Trump seven new trademarks around the same time her father vowed to save that nation’s security-suspect ZTE firm.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke with Trump Monday, and the two agreed to meet before any U.S.-North Korea summit.

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