The oracle from Jamaica Estates
Q. True or false?
President Donald Trump isn’t the least bit embarrassed, let alone sorry, for the profusion of falsehoods and unsubstantiated allegations that flow from his lips and tweets. If it isn’t true when he says it, it could be true later. Or so he’ll claim.
In a Time magazine interview, Trump didn’t dispute an observation that he says things without having factual evidence in hand.
“I predicted a lot of things,” Trump said in an interview with Time magazine. “I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right,” he said.
He gave examples that mostly fell short of backing that up and offering altered interpretations of some of his original statements. (Here’s a take from Washington Post fact-checkers.)
The wiretap charge? “I have articles saying it happened.”
Massive voter fraud? “I think I will be proved right about that, too.”
A closing remark to the Time reporter does stand up -- at least the last five words of it: “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”
GOPstacles stall Trumpcare
“Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” Trump said last month. If anyone didn’t know, they know now.
House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled a planned Thursday night vote on legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act after Trump failed to close a deal to win support of recalcitrant conservative House Republicans, report Newsday’s Tom Brune and Emily Ngo.
Trump warned balking Republicans that if the bill didn’t pass, he would leave Obamacare in place.
The White House and Ryan said they would have a vote Friday, but it was unclear how they would assemble a majority to vote yes. Growing numbers of moderates are upset at efforts to placate conservatives by stripping away popular Obamacare standards.
New projections from the Congressional Budget Office are no help. The plan would still mean 24 million fewer Americans would be insured by 2026, and the revised plan only reduces the deficit by $150 billion, compared with $337 billion in the original version, the nonpartisan CBO estimated.
The take-away: In the yikes lane
So far, Republicans seem grateful to finally have one of their own in the White House to advance their party’s agenda.
But there have been multiple occasions when Trump’s outbursts have those in the GOP stretching and straining to distance themselves, if only a little bit. See Dan Janison’s column for Newsday.
On second thought, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) acknowledged Wednesday maybe it wasn’t the smartest move to rush over to the White House with what he had found out about “incidental” surveillance of Trump’s transition team without consulting other committee members.
“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the wrong decision,” Nunes said Thursday. In a private meeting, he apologized to angry Democrats on his panel, though Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said it was “not clear” precisely which actions his apology covered.
Another committee member, Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), said Nunes’ actions “dramatically increased the pressure for an outside, bipartisan commission to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election campaign. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Nunes was either “duped” by Trump or was “a willing stooge.”
See Ngo’s story for Newsday.
Trump’s D.C. hotel checks out
The General Services Administration has ruled that Trump’s luxury Washington hotel, located on federally owned Pennsylvania Avenue property, isn’t violating its lease despite a clause that says no government official can be a party to it.
The GSA said it was satisfied with Trump’s arrangements to separate himself from the operation of the business -- sons Donald Jr. and Eric are in charge -- and to not collect profits while in office.
Objection, says Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he plans a filibuster against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, calling him a judge who “almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak.”
But the Republicans who control the Senate are expected to ensure that Gorsuch reaches the bench, perhaps before mid-April, by changing the rules so a simple majority can get him through.
What else is happening
- A Quinnipiac poll finds a majority of voters — 56 percent — oppose the Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replacement plan. Only 17 percent approve and 26 percent are undecided.
- Defending the GOP health plan’s removal of maternity care from the list of mandatory benefits, Spicer said older men “can generally say” they won’t need it. Trump was 59 when his youngest child, Barron, was born.
- The Senate confirmed Trump’s former bankruptcy lawyer, David Friedman, as ambassador to Israel, overcoming strong opposition from Democrats. The vote was 52 to 46.
- Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka — both top advisers — are away on a spring break vacation in Aspen, Colorado, with other members of the president’s family.
- The State Department will approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline by Monday, fulfilling Trump’s pledge to reverse one of former President Barack Obama’s environmental decisions, Politico reported.
- A Trump lawyer labeled as false a report in the Observer Tuesday that legal action was threatened against a teenager’s website depicting kittens scratching Trump’s face. Gizmodo says other parts of the teen’s story don’t seem to add up.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders wonders aloud what Russia has on Trump.
- Before meeting with trucking industry executives, Trump got behind the wheel of a big rig parked on the White House lawn, honked the horn and pantomimed driving off.