opinion

The Donald vs. Very Fake News
The president’s solo news conference went exactly the way he wanted

President Donald Trump, seen here during his press conference Thursday, has the media right where he wants them, Wetherbee writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s first solo press conference as president was a disaster. The 77-minute ramblings of an elderly man has both sides of the aisle worried. Reporters and pundits and supporters and the opposition are confused. What was that? 

It was what the president wanted.

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Is There a Reward at the End of the Democrats’ Long Slog?
Hard work is vital but results are not always easy to see

North Carolina NAACP President William J. Barber II is playing a prominent role in what has been called the ‘Moral Movement’ there, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The HKonJ protest this past weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina, may have been the largest such event, but it wasn’t the first time that thousands, with causes as diverse as the citizen-marchers themselves, showed up. For 11 years, with messages for both Republicans and Democrats, the faithful gathering at Historic Thousands on Jones Street have persisted. 

There is a lesson for the dissatisfied, new to activism, who are now crowding town halls and filling the streets: Victories may never come, or may be incremental, at best. Each goal accomplished could be followed by a setback.

It’s not ‘Astroturf’ if the Anger is real
Politicians should pay attention to protesters

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he “absolutely” believes that disruptions at a recent town hall meeting in his district were orchestrated by paid protesters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

To town hall or not to town hall? That is the question Republicans are struggling with this week as they’re putting their recess schedules together. 

If they hold town hall meetings, they could risk a “Chaffetz,” like the moment last week when an angry crowd shouted Rep. Jason Chaffetz down in his Utah district with news cameras on hand. But refusing to hold town hall meetings could make a member look out of touch or scared to meet with their own voters. A “tele-town hall” feels like a happy medium, right? Members can say they’ve met with constituents, without actually having to meet with constituents.

A New DNC Chair: This Time It Really Counts
Democrats have much to overcome

The choice of a permanent successor to Debbie Wasserman Schultz as Democratic National Committee chairman has taken on larger-than-usual significance, Walter Shapiro writes. (Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BALTIMORE — Watching the Democratic Party’s regional forum here last week, my mind kept flashing back to that nearly century-old Will Rogers crack, “I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat.”

In normal times, the selection of a Democratic chair is one of those topics that primarily interest political reporters in the postelection doldrums and consultants hoping for future contracts. But with the Democrats in their worst shape organizationally since the 1920s, the choice of a permanent successor to Debbie Wasserman Schultz takes on larger-than-usual significance.

Capitol Ink | A New Layer of Bureaucracy

The Rules That Stopped Elizabeth Warren Are Waiting for Donald Trump, Too
Senate norms have never been more important in our democracy

Under Senate rules, President Donald Trump’s proposals will have to get through the chamber based on the merits of his policies, not the volume of his arguments, Murphy writes. Senators are seen here at the president’s inauguration last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rule 19 had its close-up this week, didn’t it? To be specific, Section 3 of Rule 19, did, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed Sen. Elizabeth Warren that she had “impugned the motives and conduct” of her fellow senator, Jeff Sessions, when she read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written about him many years ago.

When Warren was told, “The senator shall take her seat,” she took the Coretta Scott King letter, marched a few feet off the Senate floor, and took a different seat in front of a Facebook Live feed that went out to millions. The standoff launched a battle cry for any woman who has ever felt marginalized, belittled or silenced — which, by the way, is nearly all of us. A thousand hashtags bloomed. #SheWasWarned #ShePersisted #LetLizSpeak. You get the picture.

Ivanka Incident Shows That Trump Is No Truman
Presidency is more than business deals and profits

President Donald Trump, seen here greeting former President Barack Obama on Inauguration Day as Trump’s family looks on, is no Harry Truman, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It has taken less than three weeks of the Donald Trump presidency to establish the “A Democrat Did It First” principle of aggressive right-wing defense. For no matter what Trump does amid his dizzying daily assaults on White House decorum, there will always be claims — no matter how ludicrous — of a Democratic presidential precedent.

So when the president targeted Nordstrom for the unforgivable sin of not continuing to stock Ivanka Trump goods, it suddenly became time to blame Harry Truman. To Rush Limbaugh and company, Trump’s use of a White House Twitter account to excoriate a department store chain was the equivalent of Truman threatening a music critic over a scathing review of his daughter Margaret.

Sean Duffy’s an Embarrassment to Wisconsin’s 7th District
And he should apologize to everyone

Wisconsin Rep. Sean P. Duffy, seen above attending a House Financial Services Committee hearing last fall, made headlines after an interview on CNN on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Sean Duffy’s constituents and colleagues should be ashamed of him.

In an interview on CNN on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Republican applauded the “good things that came from” a white supremacist murdering nine black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Never Normal Is the New Normal at the White House
Strife when President Trump should still be in his Honeymoon period

Walter Shapiro writes that it should have dawned on everyone — even the craven and the credulous — that there never will be a normal interlude with Trump in the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

There are indelible details, admittedly sometimes exaggerated, that shape our memories of every presidency:

A drunk Richard Nixon talking with the White House portraits. Jimmy Carter monitoring who used the White House tennis courts. George H.W. Bush looking baffled by a supermarket scanner. Bill Clinton … nah, let’s not go there. Barack Obama limiting himself to just seven lightly salted almonds a night.