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1600: Trump revives fights with McCain, 'SNL' & Democrats

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) speaks during a news

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 5, 2015. McCain died this past August after battling brain cancer. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Win McNamee

Trump-style St. Paddy’s Day

President Trump rang in St. Patrick’s Day by attending services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., but not before taking to Twitter to make clear once again who was not in his good graces.

Were Irish eyes smiling when they woke up on St. Paddy’s Day — to a stream of presidential tweets trashing the late Republican Sen. John McCain, the cast of "Saturday Night Live," the news media, the Russia probe, Democrats, and “losers” in general?

The president took jabs at McCain, the POW turned lawmaker who died last August from brain cancer, describing him as “last in his class” at the U.S. Naval Academy. Trump also complained that “shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of “the other side.” Like an advertisement without consequences.” The gripe came despite the fact that Saturday's episode was a rerun. 

For good measure, the president also urged Fox News executives to “bring back” Judge Jeanine, after the controversial prosecutor turned TV commentator, was taken off the air for making anti-Muslim remarks aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

Fox News “must stay strong and fight back with vigor,” Trump tweeted. “Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!”

‘Not a white supremacist’

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney appearing on “Fox News Sunday” affirmed: “The president is not a white supremacist.”

Mulvaney’s assertion came in response to criticism Trump has received from some Democrats who argue he did not strongly condemn white supremacy in the wake of a deadly mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques.

"The president is not a white supremacist," Mulvaney said. "I'm not sure how many times we have to say that."

Trump, in a tweet on Friday, offered his condolences, but stopped short of describing white nationalism as a pervasive threat, when asked by reporters about the 28-year-old shooter who shared anti-immigrant rhetoric and praised Trump in a manifesto.

"I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess," Trump said.

Battle of the New Yorkers 2.0?

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) officially jumped into the 2020 race on Sunday, setting aside her previously formed exploratory committee with the launch of a full-fledge campaign that vows to take on Trump.

Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in an online video announced plans to hold her campaign's first major rally next Sunday in front of the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan — previewing what could be another clash between two New Yorkers vying for the Oval Office after the 2016 race between Queens-born Trump and Westchester resident Hillary Clinton.

Gillibrand’s entry into the race, comes as she has struggled to break ahead of a growing field of Democratic contenders, reports Newsday’s Laura Figueroa Hernandez.

A Real Clear Politics analysis of all 2020 Democratic polls conducted between Feb. 14 and March 10, found Gillibrand tied for last among support for 12 potential candidates. Gillibrand garnered an average 0.5 percent support, compared with the leader of the pack former Vice President Joe Biden who received an average of 29 percent support. Biden has not officially entered the race, but has hinted for weeks that he is weighing a run.

Gillibrand needs to break 1 percent in order to appear in a series of debates sponsored by the Democratic National Committee that will start in June.

Janison: Trump’s fiscal wish list

Trump’s proposed budget — released a month later than usual due to the 35-day government shutdown — has sparked condemnation over its proposed cuts to domestic programs including Social Security and Medicaid.

But as Newsday’s Dan Janison notes, executive budgets whether on the county, state or federal level, are generally seen as aspirational wish lists, that never completely match up with what the legislature ultimately passes.

The biggest dose of magical thinking in Trump's plan might be found in its projections of how the economy will fare. Read Janison’s full column here.

What else is happening:

  • Beto O’Rourke told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he might not have entered the 2020 presidential race had he won last year’s Senate race against Texas Republican Ted Cruz.
  • Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told “Meet the Press” she wasn’t “born to run” for the Oval Office, drawing a contrast from O’Rourke who entered the 2020 race with a Vanity Fair cover story in which he insisted he was “born to run.”
  • The Washington state senate has passed a bill that would prevent Trump from appearing on the state’s 2020 presidential ballot if he doesn’t release his income tax returns.
  • The list of potential Democratic presidential contenders includes millennial Pete Buttigieg, a handful of 40-something-year-old candidates, and two septuagenarians in Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, prompting The New York Times to ask in a report, "Does age matter anymore to Democrats?"

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