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100 Days of Trump: Should Trump ask McConnell to go “nuclear” on the filibuster?

As we enter week two of the groundbreaking Donald Trump administration, the new president will be hard pressed to follow-up on the impressive amount of news and appreciation generated by his first seven days in office.

Speculation surrounding Trump’s long-awaited nomination for the Supreme Court will likely provide all the drama he’ll need to make his second week just as noteworthy as the first.

Trump McConnellLast Friday Trump dropped a few hints as to which way he’s leaning in making his selection.

Shane Goldmacher of Politico reports, “President Donald Trump said Friday that one of his top factors in filling the current Supreme Court vacancy is ‘who’s going to get approved’ — a remark that represents a bad sign for 11th Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, one of the finalists whose chances are widely seen as fading in the selection process…

“Trump predicted his selection would be praised by the evangelical community, as well.

“’I think that the person that I pick will be a big, big — I think people are going to love it. I think evangelicals, Christians will love my pick and will be represented very fairly,’ he said.”

If Trump wants ease of confirmation and to make Evangelicals happy at the same time then Pryor’s name should be removed from the short-list, since the former Alabama Attorney General is highly controversial (having originally been a George W. Bush recess appointment) and is opposed by a good many conservatives who question Pryor’s judicial commitment to breaking the politically correct stranglehold that’s gripping the country.

Trump may also be holding Senator Mike Lee in “reserve” until one of the aging liberal Justices drops (literally or figuratively) off the Court in the future, since Lee would seem to have the best chance to be confirmed without a cage-match brawl with the Democrats.

In his article, Goldmacher added that the other two names reported to be under consideration, 3rd Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman and 10th Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch, both received unanimous Senate approval on voice votes for their appellate nominations.

That doesn’t mean they’ll receive that kind of free ride when a Supreme Court slot is at stake but it could potentially take some fire out of the Democrats’ anti-nomination rants when the fact is brought up that many of them already voted to confirm Hardiman and Gorsuch in the past. What’s changed now?

For his part Trump is keeping his final selection closely guarded, only offering that it’s coming up later this week and of course the nominee will have passed a “very, very strong” vetting process. Not “extreme,” but “strong.”

Whether it ends up being Hardiman or Gorsuch or someone else, whoever ultimately faces the Democrats is likely to get a grilling of epic proportions. The minority party will have to consider their strategy carefully, however, because should they take a pass on Trump’s first and second nominees, who could predict what the combative president would do with nomination number three.

One thing’s for sure…Trump is more likely to call for nixing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees than he is to back down to his critics’ demands. Trump fears looking weak a lot more than he does appearing intractable. He’ll fight with everything he’s got to get someone through.

But it’s also not up to Trump to use the “nuclear option” on the filibuster in any case.

Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim of Politico report, “[A] day after Trump urged McConnell to kill the filibuster if Democrats mount a sustained resistance to his high court pick, McConnell had this to say to the new president: That's not your call.

“’That’s not a presidential decision. That’s a Senate decision,’ McConnell told POLITICO in an interview Friday that focused mostly on the Supreme Court. ‘What I’ve said to him, and I’ve stated publicly and I’ll say today: We’re going to get this nominee confirmed.’”

It’s true that the future of the filibuster is not in Trump’s hands but if McConnell doesn’t show the gumption to squelch the Democrats’ smear tactics on Trump’s nominees, get ready for perhaps the first of many intra-party showdowns between the White House and Capitol Hill Republican establishment leaders.

McConnell did correctly point out it was Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who began the practice of using the filibuster to slow or stop Supreme Court nominees and it’s Schumer who should back down on requiring 60-votes to confirm.

But that’s not likely to happen – the backing down part at least. Schumer is in an extremely tight spot as leader of a collection of squawking liberal ideologues who don’t care a lick about merit and process but love the special interest money that flows into their campaign chests whenever Democrats champion causes that could never succeed otherwise.

It could easily come down to a situation where the “nuclear option” is the only one left to get a nominee through. If that happens, I’m certain Trump will pressure McConnell and Senate Republicans to use it.

In today’s ideologically divided country it’s going to be the rare exception rather than the rule that the two parties agree on anything, much less a Supreme Court nominee. The Democrats began the practice of stalling administration personnel and legislation under then Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in the early years of this century.

They seem put-off by the strategy now, but they’re stuck with it.

In the end, the majority will rule. It’s something Republicans appear willing to accept as the national Democrat Party crumbles without a recognizable leader. Obama was kind of an anomaly for his ability to maintain popularity despite his general ineffectiveness. With longtime national figures like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and the Clintons no longer in the picture, Democrats lack anyone who can speak to a mass audience.

And if they put up an over-the-top stink on Trump’s nominees and policies, they’ll get drubbed in the 2018 midterm elections.

There’s already evidence that one key element of the conservative/Republican coalition is fully behind Trump on the Supreme Court – pro-life Christians.

W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Since Trump took office, he has reinstated the ‘Mexico City’ policy banning such funding for organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas — just like the previous three antiabortion Republican presidents. He has nominated social conservatives for key positions in his Cabinet, including attorney general. And Trump appears poised to nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court…

“The thousands attending the March for Life may now have more reason to be hopeful that Trump will keep his word to them.”

Keeping his promises appears to be what Trump is all about. The Democrats don’t like it; leftist organizations hate it. But they’re stuck with it. We’ll see how this all plays out this week.

Trump’s family business ties will continue to be an issue; for now he deserves the benefit of the doubt

Not all of the news coming out of Trump’s first week was positive – and I’m not just talking about complaining from the media about the order of questions in press briefings or gripes about his continued tweeting habit.

The issue that doesn’t seem to be going away is possible conflicts of interest concerning the new president’s continued ownership of his family’s businesses.

Even some conservative outlets are beginning to speak up.

For example, The Editors of the Washington Examiner wrote, “Trump still owns the company, despite repeated calls from Right, Left, and center (including this page) to divest. So the company's ability to expand over the next four or eight years determines how wealthy Trump will be when he emerges from the White House and, as he has suggested, retakes the helm of the company.

“Will Trump, in his presidential travel, favor cities where new hotels bear his name? Will his massive infrastructure plans favor roads or transit around his new hotels? Given his penchant for scattershot subsidies and taxes (see Carrier, for instance) will he help the business partners of his new hotels, or hurt the rivals in some way?”

While all of these are valid concerns, Trump made it very clear during his press event a few weeks ago that he has put legal barriers in place to wall himself off from the day-to-day operations of the businesses and will only hear about them when they are reported in newspapers or TV stories.

So in essence, the more people complain about Trump’s business ties the more he will learn what’s going on with them.

Similar to the issue of releasing his tax returns, potential conflicts of interest with Trump’s businesses seems to be a subject that mostly only Democrats and Trump’s enemies bring up. The people who voted for him don’t care in the slightest that he’s rich – and if they have the money to stay at his hotels or join his golf clubs, they may be more inclined to do it.

But it’s not exactly as though Trump is begging anyone to do it. People would give his family their patronage because of the quality of the Trump brand – or because they like him. What’s illegal about that?

And there’s also the other side of the coin – those who can’t stand Trump are more likely to not frequent his properties. Know anyone like that? I wonder how many memberships his golf clubs have lost since he began his run for president. I know the PGA Tour moved an event from his Miami venue last year.

As conservatives we can’t – and shouldn’t – make light of the conflict of interest problem. Appearances of impropriety only provide fuel for Trump’s political enemies to bring them up in order to undermine the legitimate policy proposals Trump is advancing.

It would be an extremely challenging legal case for any lawyer to prove that Trump acted or is acting in his businesses’ interests instead of the country’s, but that doesn’t mean liberals won’t try. There may come a point where Trump will need to sell the businesses to save his presidency.

For now, the president deserves the benefit of the doubt. If there are proper measures taken to keep presidential decision-making separate from his private decisions, we will have to assume the system is working.

It wouldn’t be any different for a Democrat, would it?

Since when does keeping one’s promises equate to a permanent campaign?

While it easily can be argued that all of President Donald Trump’s executive actions last week garnered some level of outrage and backlash from Democrats and the media, there’s little doubt that his order to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from seven terrorist hot spots of the world drew the highest number of complaints.

Not even the order concerning construction of the southern border “wall” generated as much rancor from the liberals. Man, they really hate common sense, don’t they?

At any rate, Trump’s swift and direct executive actions have critics arguing the new president is still in “campaign mode,” almost like it’s a disease.

Amie Parnes and Ben Kamisar of The Hill report, “After a brutal GOP primary where Trump and his rivals traded personal attacks, many Republicans bristled when Trump brought his scorched-earth campaign style to the general election fight, rather than following the typical path of mid-summer moderation.

“Now that he’s in office, then, it’s not surprising that Trump remains fixed on his general election victory over Hillary Clinton.

“That campaign has helped inform many of his early victories.”

Liberals seem particularly bothered by Trump’s call for an investigation into voter fraud, claiming his continued insistence that he didn’t lose the popular vote by legitimate means indicates he can’t let go of “campaign mode.”

I don’t think it means any such thing. If anything, Trump knows precisely where the Democrats’ most sensitive buttons are pressed and he’s pushing them intentionally to get a reaction. It’s truly surprising after we’ve seen Trump the politician in news articles and nightly news broadcasts for going on two years now that the media can be so “shocked” at what he’s doing.

At the root of it, Trump is basically just keeping his promises. Ditch TPP: check. Build a wall: check. Institute a temporary immigration ban from dangerous places in the world: check.

This is who Trump is, the least politically correct person ever to hold office. The old saying (attributed to Harry Truman) goes, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

In reality, Trump has a lot of friends in Washington and other places because of his willingness to speak directly to Americans and fulfill his promises.

Despite this, there’s still opposition. But we knew there would be.

Even Crooked Hillary is back in the news, resurrecting a tired statement from last fall’s campaign. Brooke Siepel of The Hill reports, “Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Saturday tweeted in support of numerous protests that sprang up Saturday over President Trump's executive order banning many refugees and others from predominantly Muslim nations.

“’I stand with the people gathered across the country tonight defending our values & our Constitution. This is not who we are,’ Clinton tweeted.”

I would like to officially thank Clinton for demonstrating to us once again why the Democrats are now sitting on the sidelines watching Trump’s pen do its work and powerless to do anything about it other than participate in noisy stupid marches and grumble on Twitter.

It is who we are, Hillary. Trump knows it. And if more people understood that it’s not a “ban on Muslims” but a means to increase security, they’d be alright with it too.

Far from waging a permanent campaign, Trump is finally bringing back common sense to American policy. It’s a new day, for sure.

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YES . . . to "Save" the

YES . . . to "Save" the DEMOCRATIC HEADACHE, that they will "Try" doing !.