Inside the Beltway: Trump epic continues

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The media cannot stay away from former President Donald Trump — many billing his Ohio rally on Saturday night as the start of a “revenge tour” against foes and political rivals. In reality, Mr. Trump’s next stop is the southern U.S. border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, an event that appears to be centered on fact-finding over revenge.

Mr. Abbott issued a disaster proclamation on June 25 citing unlawful border crossings as an “ongoing and imminent threat” to 31 Texas counties.

“Anyone who thinks this is politics doesn’t have a clue what’s going on at the border. Anyone who thinks this is politics doesn’t care about American citizens or Texas residents,” the governor said at the time.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, will stage a “Save America” rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3 — but not without the blessing of the Republican Party of Florida and a celebration that includes a sizable fireworks show.

But wait, there’s more. Tickets are already on sale for “The History Tour: Donald Trump & Bill O’Reilly,” a four-city series featuring the former president and veteran broadcaster in December. Ticket prices range from $106 to $7,506 according to Ticketmaster.

“These will be wonderful but hard-hitting sessions where we’ll talk about the real problems happening in the U.S., those that the fake news media never mention. I will be focusing on greatness for our country, something seldom discussed in political dialogue,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

He has long focussed on this idea. It is a tradition, in fact.                                    

“The American Dream is dead, but we will bring it back bigger and stronger and more powerfully than ever before,” Mr. Trump advised during his very first rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on June 15, 2015.

In their coverage of the event, Politico described Mr. Trump as a “real estate mogul, a self-identified provocateur who has virtually no shot of becoming the Republican nominee.”

But the epic — and effective — tradition of public appearances had already been established. Mr. Trump appeared at 302 rallies and public events in 24 states in 2016 alone according to an ABC News study; the largest of these events took place before 28,000 people in Mobile, Alabama, that year.

And the rest, as is often said, is history.

THE BORDER VISIT THAT WASN’T

Republican members of Congress were very quick to comment on vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to the border region of Texas on Friday. Here are some tweets that appeared in the 48 hours following Ms. Harris’ stop in El Paso, Texas, on Friday. These are verbatim from Twitter, so be prepared for interesting punctuation and spelling.

“The VP’s visit conveniently misses the epicenter of the crisis by 800 miles. Which is like the fire department responding to a fire in the wrong town and at the wrong house.” (Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama).

“Here’s an idea: Maybe Kamala should visit the border while on her trip to visit the border.” (Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona).

“Who is going to tell her she’s not actually at the Southern border?” (Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York).

“Calling Kamala’s visit to El Paso a visit to the Southern Border is the equivalent of going to Olive Garden and saying you’ve been to Italy.” (Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado).

There was also commentary from Republicans running for office, among them:

“Kamala took a trip to Taco Bell and said it counted as a trip to the border.” (Josh Barnett, congressional hopeful in Arizona’s 6th District).

U.S. LEADS WORLD IN PANDEMIC ANGST

The U.S. leads the world in negative feelings associated with the coronavirus.

“As the coronavirus outbreak enters its second year disrupting life around the globe, most people believe their society is now more divided than before the pandemic,” says a new Pew Research Center survey of adults in 17 advanced economies.

“While a median of 34% feel more united, about six-in-ten report that national divisions have worsened since the outbreak began. In 12 of 13 countries surveyed in both 2020 and 2021, feelings of division have increased significantly, in some cases by more than 30 percentage points,” the pollster reported.  

“Sentiments are particularly negative in the U.S.: 88% of Americans say they are more divided than before the pandemic, the highest share to hold this view across all places polled.”

The pollster surveyed 16,254 adults from March 12 to May 26 in Canada, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. In the U.S., 2,596 adults were surveyed Feb. 1-7.

BOWING OUT

“As of June, 18 members of Congress — five members of the U.S. Senate and thirteen members of the U.S. House — have announced they will not seek re-election. Ten members — five senators and five representatives — have announced their retirement. All five retiring Senate members are Republicans, and of the retiring House members, three are Democrats and two are Republicans,” reports Ballotpedia, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit organization.

And the rest?

“Eight U.S. House members are running for other offices. Three Republicans and two Democrats are seeking seats in the U.S. Senate, one Republican and one Democrat are running for governor, and one Republican is running in a different district. No U.S. Senate members are running for other offices,” the report said.

As disconcerting as this may seem, the number of lawmakers bowing out is the lowest since 2012 according to Ballotpedia, which found that 55 left office early in 2018, 53 were gone in 2012, 48 in 2014, and 45 left in 2016.

POLL DU JOUR

60% of U.S. adults say there is currently a “crisis” on the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

42% of that group say it an illegal immigration crisis; 18% say it is a humanitarian crisis.

12% say it is a national security crisis; 11% say it is due to human trafficking.

9% cite some other cause. 4% say it is a drug smuggling crisis; 4% say it is a criminal crisis.

Source: A Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted June 20-22.

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