Politics

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

Eclipse Day in Photos: D.C. and N.C. Residents Look Up to the Sun
An eclipse was on the minds of most American residents on this Monday

The moon passes in front of the sun during the solar eclipse in Sylva, N.C. on Monday. The town lies in the path of totality. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Roll Call’s photographers caught the eclipse and the event’s spectators in two different locations on Monday. Tom Williams traveled to Sylva, N.C.,  in the path of totality. And Bill Clark stuck close to Roll Call’s home and captured moments as congressmen, reporters, congressional staffers and other Hill personnel ventured out on the Capitol steps and plaza to catch a glimpse of the historic event. 

Here’s the day in photos:

Perlmutter Changes Mind, Decides to Run for Re-Election
Colorado Democratic congressman says he has had time to ‘regroup and recharge’

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., has decided to run for re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter reversed course Monday, announcing his decision to run for re-election, shaking up the Democratic primary for his House seat and prompting two candidates to end their campaigns.

The Colorado Democrat had previously said he would not run for re-election after ending his gubernatorial campaign. But Perlmutter changed his mind, saying in a statement that he had decided to run for a 7th term.

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Poll: Majority Disapprove of Trump in Rust Belt States That Helped Elect Him
But support stays strong among those who supported him last year

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a “Make America Great Again Rally” in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to celebrate their first 100 days in office. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

A new poll shows a majority in three Rust Belt states that helped propel Donald Trump to the White House disapprove of the job he’s doing.

The Marist/NBC News poll released Monday found 55 percent of residents in Michigan disapprove of Trump’s job performance while 36 percent said they approve. In Pennsylvania, 52 percent say they disapprove while 33 percent approve. And in Wisconsin, Trump’s disapproval rate was at 56 while approval was 33.

Hurd Gets Two More Democratic Challengers
Ally of Castro brothers and San Antonio teacher get into the race against Texas Republican incumbent

Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd R-Texas, faces one of the toughest re-election campaigns among all incumbents next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd received two more potential Democratic challengers in what will be the most-watched race in the state and likely the nation next year.

Former federal prosecutor Jay Haulings from San Antonio, an ally of Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, announced his campaign on Sunday.

Tim Ryan: ‘We’ll See’ About White House Run
Ohio congressman asked in New Hampshire about his long game

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said he is focused on helping “forgotten America” and workers displaced by globalization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan did not rule out a White House run when asked over the weekend in New Hampshire if he would pursue the presidency in 2020.

Ryan was invited to speak at New Hampshire’s Young Democrats’ cookout last week, the latest in a round of speeches and campaigning across the country.

Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Will 2018 Look Like 2010 for Anti-Repeal Republicans?
Nearly all Democrats who voted against Obamacare are no longer in office

Texas Rep. Will Hurd voted against the House Republican health care bill in May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When House Republicans passed their measure to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law in May, 20 members of their conference voted against it.

While some of them might be able to defend themselves against criticism by saying they voted against a historically unpopular bill, they could find themselves in the same political peril as Democrats who voted against the original health care bill in 2010.

Trump to Address Afghanistan Strategy Monday Night
Reports: President leaning toward keeping 4,000 U.S. troops there

President Donald Trump will make an announcement on Afghanistan on Monday night. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will address U.S. military forces Monday evening about his new plan for the country’s nearly 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

As a candidate and president, Trump often has maligned the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations for spending trillions too much in military operations overseas since the 9/11 attacks.

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Trump Is Quickly Running Out of GOP Factions to Alienate
Republican strategist: ‘He’s basically crossing out all of his allies’

President Donald Trump’s ouster of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seen by some as his first major slight to his conservative base. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is running out of Republican Party factions to offend and alienate after firing Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist who was a bridge to the president’s conservative base.

Along with Friday’s blow to his base, a defensive and sometimes erratic Trump in the past few weeks alone has attacked once-supportive business leaders, GOP lawmakers and voters eager to distance themselves from far-right and white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s also lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a key player in any effort to push forward his legislative agenda.

Democrats Say Bannon’s Ouster Not Enough
Jeffries says ‘things won't change if Grand Wizard remains in Oval Office’

Democrats say the ouster of White House adviser Steve Bannon is a good first step. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Democrats are glad President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon is gone,  but they say change is needed from the top down.

Democratic members of Congress hammered the president for choosing Bannon, the former Breitbart executive, to plot strategy in the White House in the first place. And they said if the president wants to repair the damage he has done, he should look inward.

White House: Steve Bannon Is Out
President’s chief strategist increasingly a lightning rod for criticism

Steve Bannon is out as  chief strategist to President Donald Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart executive infused his campaign and presidency with nationalist rhetoric and policies.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”