He just can’t win the popular vote
Trying to undo Barack Obama’s legacy has been a driving force of Donald Trump’s first year as president, from health care to immigration to the Iran nuclear deal and foreign affairs. Trump’s Twitter feed in 2017 mentions Obama at least 56 times — not counting the 80 slams at Obamacare.
In his way, Trump is making sure people don’t forget Obama. Perhaps then he could even claim credit for Obama landing as No. 1 on the Gallup poll’s annual survey of the men Americans most admire. Trump finished second — same as last year.
Gallup has posed the most-admired man question 71 times since 1946, and the incumbent president has taken the title 58 times. The last to fall short was George W. Bush during the 2008 financial meltdown.
The names “Hillary” and “Clinton” each had more than 50 mentions in Trump tweets — and 25 called her “Crooked Hillary” — but the 2016 election loser eked out a first-place finish as “most admired woman,” followed by Michelle Obama. First lady Melania Trump came in at No. 8.
There was no quick reaction from Trump to the Gallup results, but later he tweeted stats suggesting he’s done better than Obama battling ISIS.
Obama’s friends and admirers include Britain’s Prince Harry. That has sparked reports in London that the government is worried about diplomatic fallout if Obama — but not Trump — is invited to the royal’s wedding to Meghan Markle next May.
Asked on a BBC radio program Wednesday whether the couple would invite Obama, Harry teased that he didn’t want to “ruin that surprise.”
The BBC also aired an interview of Obama by the prince that was recorded in September. The former president voiced worries that using social media in a harmful way can lead to the “Balkanization of society.” Obama didn’t mention Trump.
A rail honor
Israel’s transportation minister, Yisrael Katz, wants to name a planned train station near Jerusalem’s Western Wall for Trump.
A project in its initial stages would add an extension to a soon-to-open high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv. It calls for tunneling under Jerusalem’s Old City, passing near sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Katz proposed naming the station after Trump “for his brave and historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”
With Mike Flynn promising cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump’s legal team plans to cast Trump’s former national security adviser as a liar if he accuses the president or senior aides of wrongdoing, The Washington Post reported.
Up to now, Trump has expressed sympathy for Flynn and hasn’t ruled out a pardon. The Post report, which cited three people familiar with the legal strategy, said Trump’s team has privately expressed confidence that Flynn doesn’t have any evidence that could implicate the president or his top aides.
Tree’s a crowd-pleaser
Chelsea Clinton tweeted praise for Melania Trump’s role in preserving as much of a magnolia tree next to the White House’s South Portico as can be saved.
Much of the tree planted in 1835 has been cut back because its weakened state posed a safety problem.
“Thank you @FLOTUS for preserving part of a tree I & so many have treasured,” said Clinton, who spent eight years of her childhood there.
What else is happening:
- After another visit to his West Palm Beach golf course, Trump took a detour on the way back to Mar-a-Lago to visit with firefighters. He praised them for doing a “a fantastic job” and touted his accomplishments.
- When in Washington, Trump has been a homebody, The Associated Press reports. He hasn’t attended a show at the Kennedy Center and never dines in a restaurant except for one in the Trump hotel there. But he told a radio interviewer recently he intends to get out more often.
- Trump faces a struggle to get Democratic support for a big infrastructure plan, CNN reports. Democrats think the federal funding commitment needs to be more than the $200 million officials have floated. They may also decide working with Trump will hurt their 2018 election prospects.
- Ivanka Trump separated herself from running her fashion business when she became a White House adviser, but she is still a “walking billboard” for the company, The Wall Street Journal (pay site) reports. A review of her social media posts shows her wearing its wares 68% of the time.
- Trump’s presidency has brought a boom in political comedy. But an article on the entertainment website Vulture says that’s bad for comedy. Comedians are “making worse comedy than they would have otherwise,” the article contends, because Trump as a subject is “shallow and played out.”
- The previous edition of The 1600 misspelled the name of PGA Tour player Bryson DeChambeau, who was part of a Trump golf foursome Tuesday. We are taking a one-stroke penalty for the error.