Mississippi

The Case of the Missing President — in House Debates
Candidates may want to avoid him, but election is still a referendum on Trump

The recent debate in Virginia’s 7th District between GOP Rep. Dave Brat and Democrat Abigail Spanberger revolved around both candidates taking a vow of silence regarding the president, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Judging from two House debates this week in hotly contested races on both sides of the country, you would think that the president of the United States was a shadowy, off-stage figure whose personality and politics are barely worth discussing. Even “The Invisible Man” of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel and the 1933 Claude Rains movie had more of a corporal presence than Donald Trump.

During the one-hour debate in Utah’s 4th district in suburban Salt Lake City, the word Trump was not mentioned until the 45-minute mark when the moderator blurted out the president’s name in a question on tariffs.

Their Districts Are at Risk. But They Still Vote ‘No’ on Climate Action
High waters and toxic blooms haven’t scared these lawmakers

Storm surge and waves from Hurricane Michael batter homes in the Florida Panhandle community of Shell Point Beach on Oct. 10. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)

He lives just half a mile away from the beach in Sarasota, Florida, but Len Seligman, a local musician, has barely enjoyed the sun and sand by the waterside recently, discouraged by the stench of dead fish and other marine animals washed ashore, poisoned by toxic algal blooms.

“In the last few months, there have only been a few days that it’s been tolerable,” the 63-year-old retired computer researcher said. “You just can’t breathe when the red tide is bad.”

Police Investigate ‘Ricin Letter’ at Sen. Susan Collins’ Home
Maine GOP senator was not at home when authorities arrived

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was not at home in Bangor when the authorities arrived to investigate a suspicious letter. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:53 p.m. | Republican Sen. Susan Collins will be able to spend Monday night at her residence in Bangor, Maine, after a suspicious letter was received by her husband there.

“Senator Collins’s husband, Tom Daffron, today received a threatening letter that the writer claimed was contaminated with ricin, a highly hazardous substance which was used in a previous attack against the United States Senate,” Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement.

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

In His Own Words: Trump Becomes Spokesman-in-Chief as Midterms Near
President weighs in and Democratic lawmakers fume

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn before boarding Marine One at the White House on Tuesday. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump on Thursday said Kanye West can “speak for me anytime he wants.” But the controversial rapper is one of the few folks doing so lately.

Worried Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was in trouble, Trump decided to go on the offensive last week. He sent a message to his conservative base — and other Republican voters — when he declared men are in danger of being “ruined” by a single “false” allegation by a woman. At a campaign rally, he mocked one of Kavanaugh’s accusers as an arena full of his supporters laughed and chanted that she should be thrown in jail.

Where Two Men Normally Sit, Two Women Flank Sen. Susan Collins During Kavanaugh Speech
Seating chart ignored during Maine Republican’s lengthy ‘yes’ delivery

Senate Republicans appeared to rearrange floor seats on Friday so that two women, instead of two men, would sit behind Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, as she gave a floor speech about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., sat behind Collins during the afternoon speech, but those seats are assigned to Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., according to an official seating chart.

Trump Is Giving Pyrrhic Victors a Run For Their Money
He’s angling for a Kavanaugh bump. But Democrats and sexual assault survivors will remember this for many elections to come

Former California Republican Gov. Pete Wilson won the battle but lost the war when he courted white conservatives in 1994. Now Trump is headed the same way, Shapiro writes. (Photo by CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — History is littered with Republican and White House insiders who naively believed that they possessed the hypnotic powers needed to protect Donald Trump from his worst guttersnipe instincts.

In the summer of 2016, Paul Manafort tried to convince the unruly Trump to use teleprompters and speech texts at campaign rallies. Now, of course, Manafort is a long-term guest of the federal government, and Trump is even more out of control than ever at rallies.

Kavanaugh Fight Goes Full On Knute Rockne
Mitch McConnell really knows his way around a sports metaphor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn leave the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday to address reporters in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week lamented that Democrats would never be satisfied with a one-week FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying he expects “soon enough the goal posts will be on the move once again.” McConnell, going full Knute Rockne, also has said of the Kavanaugh nomination and investigation: “We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win.”

Thankfully, the Kentucky senator did not channel another Republican, Ronald Reagan, with an exhortation that the win would be for “The Gipper.”

White House Puts ‘Fabergé Egg’ Ford in Frying Pan
Trump aides focus on Christine Blasey Ford’s ‘memory lapses,’ ‘factual inconsistencies’

President Trump heads for Marine One on the White House’s South Lawn on Monday. (John T. Bennett/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Senior White House officials for two weeks treated Christine Blasey Ford, as one put it Wednesday, like a “Fabergé egg.” Then the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault found out that, eventually, everything for President Donald Trump is still all about his base.

At the White House on Wednesday, the focus was on attacking Ford. Aides discussed her “memory lapses” and “factual inconsistencies” as they tried to paint her as an unreliable witness or an untruthful one. They turned up the heat on vulnerable Democratic senators to focus on the “facts” rather than “emotions” of the situation as they decide how to vote; they also reminded them of pro-Kavanaugh polls that could influence their decision. And, in the form of none other than presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, who once said Ford deserved to be heard, Democrats were warned to avoid being “complicit” in a plan to “destroy” the nominee.

Sanders Calls Trump’s Mocking Rally Speech a Statement of Facts
Kavanaugh nomination has become about politics and power, press secretary says

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivers the daily press briefing Tuesday afternoon June 5, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sidestepped questions about President Trump’s mockery of Christine Blasey Ford as key lawmakers reportedly expressed disgust with his campaign rally speech.

“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Mississippi, questioning what Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee during testimony last week.