This was supposed to be a good week for Donald Trump. He was going to give a big speech, and he was all set to roll out the 2.0 version of his Muslim ban. As usual in the Trump administration, though, things didn't quite work out as planned.
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With only about four months left to go in his second term in office, President Barack Obama just had his first veto overturned by Congress. Considering Obama's rather aloof attitude towards Congress (including even members of his own party), what is extraordinary isn't so much that Obama just got overturned -- it's that it hasn't happened before now. The contentiousness between the White House and the Capitol has been pretty fierce during Obama's term, but up until this week none of his vetoes has been overturned.
Hillary Clinton made a deplorable basket case this weekend. That is, she made the case that "half" of the supporters of Donald Trump belong in a "basket of deplorables." It just sounds funnier to say it the first way, that's all.
Donald Trump going to Mexico could have had a certain "Nixon goes to China" flavor about it, and he actually was getting some good reviews for crossing the very low bar of "not totally embarrassing himself or his country" -- at least for the first few hours. Then he went to Phoenix, and Mr. Hyde came back out.
Donald Trump finally stopped talking, so I can now start writing. His speech went on for almost an hour and a half, which was a bit much for me -- especially after an exhausting week of listening to Republicans talk. But that's the end of the evening, so let's go back to the beginning and see how we got here.
Heading into tonight's speechifying, I was convinced that Ted Cruz would emerge afterwards as the heir apparent to the Republican nomination in 2020, should Donald Trump fail to win in November. Now, I'm not so sure.
But before we get to the big story of the night, let's start at the beginning. Today, the realization finally dawned in the Trump camp that they had to do something to stop the bleeding over the plagiarism storyline. A staffer was summarily dragged out who offered to fall on her own sword, and magnanimous Donald pardoned her, saying "everyone makes mistakes." So they likely successfully prevented the story from continuing for another day. But it would have been overshadowed anyway (obviously) by the end of the night.
We have to admit, we don't know where we heard that subtitle, and we certainly can't claim original credit for it. We think we read it in a comment to a Washington Post article, but we're not certain. In any case, as the stream of Republicans fleeing the Donald Trump candidacy becomes a flood, it does seem the appropriate metaphor to use -- the ships are leaving the sinking rat this time, not the other way 'round. We'll get to all of these amusing developments in the talking points this week, because we're devoting the entire section to the "Dump Trump" theme this week.
To begin with, Great Britain is part of Europe. This is a cartological fact which anyone with a grade-school grasp of geography knows. One is a subset of the other. Three countries (England, Wales, and Scotland) make up the island of Great Britain, and when you add in Northern Ireland (more on them in a moment), you get the United Kingdom. All are located on islands, but those islands are undoubtedly part of the continent of Europe. While Britain may leave the European Union political federation, they will always remain European.
Newt Gingrich is a smart guy, Washington insiders will tell you. He's certainly smarter than Donald Trump, based on nothing more than vocabulary and the complexity of ideas he is able to comprehend. Newt is currently on Trump's vice-presidential shortlist, which makes sense if you believe what Trump's been saying about his veep pick for months now -- he wants someone with experience dealing with Congress. Newt, being a former Speaker of the House, certainly fits that bill better than most.
Whither the fabled "Party of Lincoln"? That was the question on the minds of many Republicans this week, at least based on how often they used the phrase. Now, we're used to scathing attacks on character being hurled in the frenzy of a presidential campaign. Indeed, it's woven into the fabric of American politics. It's just that in normal years, these attacks are flung across the aisle, at the other party's nominee. It is extraordinary that all of the vicious attacks we're going to feature in our talking points section this week came from Republicans, all aimed squarely at their own party's presidential nominee. Seriously, when in the past have you ever heard the term "unendorse" used? We haven't checked, but we believe it just got coined and added to the political lexicon. It hasn't existed before because the concept hasn't ever existed before (again, in our own memory, at the very least). But we're going to get to all this in great detail later, so let's just move along for now.