Sen. Elizabeth Warren is firing at Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) Sen. Elizabeth Warren isthrowing down the gauntlet, calling Donald Trump "a small, insecure moneygrubber," and telling progressives they must work to ensure he is never elected president. And in doing so, she might be paving the way to become her party's uniter-in-chief. "Donald Trump was drooling over the idea of a housing meltdown — because it meant he could buy up abunch more property on the cheap," the Massachusetts Democrat said of Trumpin prepared remarks for the Center for Popular Democracy's annual gala. Warren was referring to a 2007 quote, in which Trump said he was "excited" for housing prices to fall, since "I've made more money in bad markets than in good markets." "What kind of a man does that?" Warren asked in her speech. "Root for people to get thrown out on the street? Root for people to losetheir jobs? Root for people to lose their pensions? Root for two little girls in Clark County, Nevada, toend up living in a van? What kind of a man does that?" "I'll tell you exactly what kind — a man who caresabout no one but himself. A small, insecure moneygrubber who doesn’t care who gets hurt, so long as hemakes some money off it. What kind of man does that? A man who will neverbe President of theUnited States." Warren and the presumed Republican presidential nominee have traded barbs on social media, but Warren said that her points Tuesday evening, "won't fit in a Twitter war." In one her points, Warren went after Trump's declining to release current taxreturns. "Maybe he's just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims.But we know one thing: the last time his taxes were made public, Donald Trump paid nothing —zero," Warren said. It's part of a developing pattern for Warren, afavorite of many in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, who is seen as an essential peace broker once the often-contentious primary process between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., comes to a close. Warren has yet to endorse either candidate. She is making the case to supportive audiences, including many backers of the Sanders presidential campaign, that defeating Trump must be goal number one. Warren was critical of Trump during a weekend commencement speech at Suffolk University in her home state of Massachusetts where, as MassLive reported, the senator brought up Trump's lack of support among women voters. "How's this speech polling so far?" Warren asked the university president during her remarks. "Higher or lower than Donald Trump's unfavorable numbers with women?" Contact Lesniewski at NielsLesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) On the surface, it has strong potential to become a lasting political marriage: Donald Trump and Bob Corker, two rich and loquacious real estate developers who are both relatively new to national prominence and look to benefit from the other’s success. And yet their first date did not go all that swimmingly — yet another indication of how GOP power players in Congress aren’t anywhere close to getting over the profound ambivalence they have about their presidential candidate. “It was a good start, but I continue to want to know more” was about the most crisply positive thing the senator from Tennessee had to say Monday after returning to the Capitol from Manhattan, where he’d spent an hour in Donald Trump’s office. And then, the classic diplo-speak construct for expressing disappointment in a hoped-for ally: “My sense is that he will evolve.” As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee the past 15 months, Corker is by far the most prominent lawmaker to make a pilgrimage to Trump in the three weeks since the Manhattan businessman effectively secured the Republican nomination. That fueled frenzied speculation that he’d been summoned for a preliminary audition as a running mate. Just as obviously, Corker could have been invited by a candidate ready to enhance his understanding of international affairs and willing to hear some nuanced explanations of the how the party’s congressional wing views the globe. Either agenda would have afforded Corker an opening to wax effusive about Trump. And that stamp of approval would have carried serious weight among many of the Republicans on the Hill who have still never laid eyes on their party’s new leader — and who remain as deeply worried about his personal temperament and understanding of the issues as they are about his commitment to conservatism or his electability. But no such praise was forthcoming. In fact, when asked twice whether he believed Trump was ready to be the most powerful person on Earth, Corker demurred — offering a blizzard of no-sound-bite-possible rhetoric about how the experiences of campaigning can turn out to be adequate preparation for governing. According to the senator, neither his own foreign policy views nor the vice-presidency got broached. Nothing that was said led Corker to believe the search to fill the ticket’s second spot had begun. And when it came to geopolitical challenges, Trump did all the talking. “I had never met him before, so it was a good opportunity to get a much better sense of who he is and his thought process relative to some issues that are very important to me, and I was glad to be able to do it and appreciated it very much,” Corker said. “It’s something that helps me understand where he’s going and helped us to know each other a little bit better.” If a partnership eventually forms between the GOP’s presumptive standard-bearer and its senior voices on the Hill, in other words, it was not germinated this week in Trump Tower. That’s all the more surprising because, in background and temperament, Trump would have had trouble finding a more similar senator with whom to start cultivating the relationship. Corker, now 63, supervised building crews after college and then, at age 25, started his own construction firm with a pickup truck and $8,000 in savings. By the time he sold it in 1990, it was operating in 18 states. Like Trump, he also created an eponymous real estate development company, the Corker Group, which has made him the second-richest Republican in the Senate — with a minimum net worth of $18 million two years ago, according to his most recent financial disclosures. Corker also led a major redevelopment of the Chattanooga’s waterfront during four years as mayor, ending in 2005. But the next year, he successfully branded himself as the only “non-career politician” in the field for an open Senate seat. With the help of $5 million from his own wallet, he defeated two former House members for the GOP nomination and a sitting congressman, Democrat Harold Ford Jr., in the fall. During the decade since, a shorthand version of Corker’s Senate reputation has developed that sounds similar to the way Trump looks to be perceived: A workaholic who’s succeeded at making deals on policy by bringing a businessman’s outsider sensibilities to an insider’s game. He’s also a senator who, like the presidential candidate, finds it very difficult to avoid making assertive statements whenever he confronts an open microphone, without talking points that have been scripted in advance and on whatever topics reporters toss out. His congressional and life experiences would therefore seem to fit the bill for a position in Trump’s inner circle. And Corker’s credentials on foreign policy would bring helpful gravitas to Trump’s general election campaign – if only the two were not so far a part on that front. One of Corker’s most important bipartisan achievements was a deal to bolster border security in the immigration bill the Senate passed in 2013, which Trump derides every chance he gets. Corker has been a reliable supporter of trade liberalization deals, including the pending agreement among a dozen Pacific Rim nations, which the presumptive nominee deplores. Corker has made nuclear non-proliferation a priority of his time with the Foreign Relations gavel. Trump has suggested nations including Japan and South Korea should be urged to have nuclear arsenals instead of relying on U.S. atomic weapons as a deterrent. His time in New York, the senator said, only began to open a window into the “sort of realist” worldview of one of the two people with the potential to become the 45th president. “It’s a little bit more of a focus on core national interests,” he offered. “Less of a highly active role — but one where America leads.” Corker encouraged other Republicans in Congress to reach out to arrange similar meetings, and there are hints the campaign operation is working to set up more getting-to-know you sessions for influential senators and House members. But if the report from Monday’s get-together is any indication, Trump is a very long way from assuaging even his most obvious potential compatriots and collaborators on the Hill. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
One senator said ousting Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the Democratic National Committee was being "discussed quietly" among senators. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo) Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing rising pressure to resign as head of the Democratic National Committee after she and Sen. Bernie Sanders exchanged barbs last week, according to media reports. Schultz has withstood criticism from Sanders throughout the presidential campaign for what Sanders says has been a pattern of favoritism shown toward Hillary Clinton. Some senators have now concluded that Wasserman Schultzmay be "too toxic" to reunite the party after the bitter primary battle, CNN reported Wednesday. "There is a lot of sentiment that replacing her would be a good idea," a senior Senate Democrat told CNN. "It is being discussed quietly among Democratic senators on the floor, in the cloakroom and in lunches." CNN quoted the source anonymously. Tensionsflared when Wasserman Schultz criticized Sanders on CNN last week for his response to aggressive displays by his supporters at the Nevada Democratic Party convention this month. Sanders responded by endorsing her opponentTim Canova in her Florida primary campaign. The Hill first reported the concerns about Wasserman Schultz's leadership, quoting a pro-Clinton Democratic senator. Other Democratic party leaders told both news outlets that they supported Wasserman Schultz. The CNN source said there was no formal effort to oust her. A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday morning. Contact Akin firstname.lastname@example.org follow her on Twitter at @stephanieakin. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen,who spurned an invitation to testify at a House hearing, will not be permitted to provide an on-the-record statement, the committee ruled at the beginning of a hearing on Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it might be time to give Sen. Bernie Sanders a break. At a moment when the underdog presidential candidate and his supporters have taken on the Democratic party establishment with endorsements, lawsuits and unruly behavior, Reid cautioned restraint Tuesday. "I think we should kind of lay off Bernie Sanders a bit, okay?" Reid said at a news conference, responding to a question about whether he was concerned about Vermont senator's loyalty to the Democratic Party. "He has done, I think, some really good things. The party has changed during his tenure here. And we'll see whathappens," Reid said. "I think Bernie's a good man, he tries to do the right thing, and everything will work out well." Sanders, who has served for years as an independent caucusing with Democrats, has troubled some party members as he continues to pursue the presidential nomination, despite being well behind former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in both pledged and super delegates. This week Sanderswent after the party establishment, backing the primary opponent trying unseat Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. His supportersfiled a lawsuitin California over voter registration. Last week Sanders defended the conduct of his supporters who disrupted the Nevada State Convention on May. 14. Sanders delegates reportedly threw chairs, shouted and sent threats to the state's Democratic Party chairwomandue todiscontent over delegate distribution. Sanders condemned the violence, but pointed to what he called irregularities at the Nevada convention. The Senate minority leader offered no commentary on how Sanders dealt with the situation in Reid's home state. "I have no criticism of Bernie at this stage," Reid said Tuesday. Reid indicated that Sanders will still support the party's choices in other races. Reid saidhe spoke with former Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who is challenging current Sen. Ron Johnson, on Tuesday, and Reid was pleased to hear Sanders was supporting Feingold's bid for his former seat. Contact Bowman email@example.com follow her on Twitter at @bridgetbhc. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
Donald Trump has cultivated support from young white men who believe white males have been tamed and emasculated. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) A while back, a friend from Pakistan asked me why whites allow other races to make fun of them in the media. I don’t remember what provoked this discussion, but I explained the importance of being able to laugh at oneself, the fact that successful and confident people — speaking aspirationally of myself, not whites in general — should not be so thin-skinned or defensive or eager to play the victim, and that, besides, skin color is not the primary way I define myself. “You should not let them do that,” he said. “It makes you look weak.” Actually, I think it makes me look strong. Interestingly, my friend, an immigrant to this country, had identified an emerging sense that whites are under attack — a trend that helps explain the fervor for Donald Trump’s candidacy. And, ironically, he was making an almost identical argument as the so-called “Alt-Right” supporters of Trump — a collection of mostly angry, white young men who flourish on the net and who believe modern white men have been tamed, dominated and emasculated. A disturbing trend This emerging racial consciousness among whites is one of the most interesting and disturbing trends to behold. As in Europe, this phenomenon has many fathers — a shifting and anemic economy, demographic changes, and a myriad of other factors. But it’s also, at least partly, a backlash against political correctness and liberal overreach. Count me among those conservatives who sincerely hope for a colorblind society — who believe that people should, as Dr. King said, “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The problem is, at some point, mainstream conservatives started believing this — and liberals stopped. When a poor white kid gets denied a spot at a university to make way for a less academically deserving minority — who is the son of a doctor or a lawyer — we are not living in a colorblind society. Imagine being that poor kid and being told that you are “privileged” because of your skin color. Now, imagine living in a world where this happens to you, yet you’re not even allowed to vent about it. The university’s motives might have been noble (to correct for past discrimination), but it’s also far from what many of us signed up for — a civilization that strives for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. Falling short This is just one example. I don’t think it’s debatable that things have gone too far. When a politician has to apologize for daring to say that “all lives matter,” we are most certainly falling short of that dream. Now, in no way do I want to absolve Trump’s minions of personal responsibility, but, as the online magazine, TheFederalist, recently noted, it is fair to say that the Left has helped create an environment where “white people are being asked — or pushed — to take stock of their whiteness and identify with it more.” This is unhealthy for America. One of the most shocking and disappointing developments in my political life has been the lack of progress in race relations (the latest example being the Freddie Gray verdict in Baltimore). Without weighing in on the verdict, per se, the story is another reminder of how today’s African-Americans have legitimate grievances that should not be dismissed. It's 2016. I always knew we’d still have problems to overcome. I just didn’t think we’d still be fighting over these problems. It’s one thing for America to have to go through this process, it’s another for the problem to be so significant that this racial divide essentially defines the way we organize ourselves politically. Back to the notion that refusing to embrace tribalistic politics makes me look weak. I reject the notion that conservatives should become "Alt-Right" white nationalists just because we disagree with liberal views on things like affirmative action. Being reactive and letting your adversaries push our buttons and pull our strings — that is what makes you weak. Sticking to your principles and resisting zero-sum racism is what makes you strong. Roll Call columnist Matt K. Lewis is a Senior Contributor to the Daily Caller and author of the book “Too Dumb to Fail.” Follow him on Twitter at @MattKLewis. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.
House Democrats will keep trying to force floor votes on the issue of LGBT nondiscrimination after an amendment they offered to a spending bill last week failed when Republicans switched their votes, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday.