Politics July 23, 2017: America deeply polarized as Trump presidency hits six-month mark

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President Donald Trump’s polls at the six-month mark shows discontent especially among Democrats. President Donald J. Trump | July 20, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

As President Donald Trump’s hits the six-month mark of his presidency, polarization in the nation is at an all-time high. ABC News and Washington Post released a new poll on Sunday, July 16, 2017, that looked at Trump’s approval rating and followed up with another poll released on Monday, July 17 examining his presidential behavior including his Twitter habits. A Gallup Poll released on July 21, also showed how Trump’s approval rating is below 40 percent mostly because he lacks almost any support from Democrats. According to the new ABC News poll, only 36 percent of Americans “approve of Trump’s job performance,” while the Gallup Poll has Trump approval rating for his second quarter as president at 38.8 percent. The results show that Trump is the most unpopular president at this point in his presidency than any other president in the last 70 years of polling mostly because the nation is the most polarized over Trump than ever in history.

Trump’s approval rate numbers are his lowest and six points lower than they were in April when he reached 100 days of his presidency. Trump has only a 36 percent approval rating in the new ABC News / Washington Post poll entitled “Six months in, the latest poll reveals a record low for Trump,” but a 58 percent disapproval rating. Americans however, approve of the president’s handling of the economy, 43 to 41 percent. According to the Gallup poll entitled “Trump Sets New Low for Second-Quarter Job Approval” Trump’s approval rating for the second quarter of his presidency from April 20 to July 19, is 38.8 percent. In his first quarter, Trump’s approval rating was 41.3 percent. Until President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May his daily tracking approval rating remained in the low 40s, but since then it has remained for the most part in the high 30s.

The only other modern president with such a low poll number at the six-month mark of their presidency was Gerald Ford with a higher, 39 percent in January 1975. Ford, however, was not elected, he became president after Republican Richard Nixon resigned from office, and he faced a backlash for pardoning the disgraced president over the Watergate scandal. Trump also makes a record for highest disapproval rate at the six-month mark, beating President Bill Clinton whose disapproval rating was 51 percent in July 1993.

Gallup does not include Ford in their list and claims Trump’s numbers at this time are closest to Clinton, who had a 44 percent approval rating. The rest of the post-World War II presidents saw over 50 percent approval ratings at the six-month mark, with the average at 62 percent. Looking at all presidential quarters Trump ranks 250th out of 287 quarters. The lower numbers were recorded in later parts of the embattled Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush presidencies.

The gap between Republicans and Democrats’ approval of the president is astounding. According to ABC News, 90 percent of Conservative Republicans and 82 percent of Republicans, in general, approve of the president’s job performance. Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove, with only 11 percent approving. Not many independents approve of the president either with only 32 percent feeling that way.

The Gallup poll shows an even more dramatic partisan divide, only 8 percent of Democrats approve of Trump, which is the lowest opposing party support in the modern history of presidential polling. Trump has support from 85 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Independents. As Gallup indicates that is a 77 percent difference from members of either party. Gallup notes, “The high degree of political polarization in Trump’s approval ratings is one major reason why his overall ratings are historically low. Presidential job approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent presidential administrations, but the degree of party separation in Trump’s ratings reaches new extremes.”

Trump has had historically low approval ratings because he has not any support from Democrats, partisan support is key to higher approval ratings. The last two presidents Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush had about 30 percent from the opposing parties. Obama had 28 percent of Republican approving his job in 2009, and Bush had 30 percent of Democrats in 2001, despite another contentious election, which was decided by the Supreme Court. Trump has a low approval rating from independents, lower than from previous presidents, where the average at 53 percent, only Carter had low support, with only 42 percent.

The partisan polarization has grown exponentially since Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, before and since the 1950s opposing parties used to give a high approval rating to new presidents, a minimum of over 40 percent. The situation changed with Clinton, who received just over 20 percent support from Republicans. Independents also abandoned Clinton with only 44 percent approving of him in 1993. Trump has a problem with Independents as well, with only 36 percent supporting him. Fortunately, for President Trump he has overwhelming support from his party, with 86 percent support whereas the average since 1953 has been 82 percent.

The ABC News poll also looked at Americans’ view of the issues that have plagued Trump ‘s presidency and cause his lagging numbers, the Russia election interference controversy, and the embattled Obama repeal and replace bill going through Congress. The public does not approve of the president’s son, “Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and campaign manager, Paul Manafort” having met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign to gain Intel on opponent Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. The revelation and the Trump Jr.’s emails detailing the meeting set-up confirm that the Trump campaign was talking to Russia and looking for their help.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans found the meeting inappropriate. Americans now overwhelmingly believe Russia interfered in the presidential election with 60 percent responding that way, but 40 percent do not think there was any interference. Republicans, however, do not believe Russia helped Trump’s campaign with only 9 percent feeling that way. Meanwhile, a slight majority 52 percent believe the president is interfering with the investigation, while 37 percent believe he is not interfering.

In general, a majority, 55 percent of Americans do not believe Trump is succeeding in his agenda and campaign promises, while only 38 percent say he is making “progress.” One of the president’s biggest campaign promises to repeal and replace the Obamacare health care law is also turning into the young presidency’s biggest failure. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill, the American Health Care Act on the second try, the Senate was not satisfied with it. This past month, the Senate failed with two incarnations of the Better Care Act, without either going to a floor debate and vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell than planned to put to a vote a years old House bill that only repeals the health care and replace in two years time., that idea has not garnered enough support for a vote. Trump, however, is demanding that the Senate not only repeal Obamacare but also replace it before the August recess or else the recess should be canceled. Now the Senate with a vote on the House bill and will add amendments.

According to the ABC News poll, Americans prefer keeping Obamacare to any alternative; Congressional Republicans are floating 50–24 percent. The House and Senate bills both cut Medicaid funding for the states. The cuts were the main reason Republican senators came out against the bill, and they were in good company. According to the ABC News poll, 63 to 27 percent of Americans believe, “it’s more important to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans than to cut taxes.”

Americans are not very confident about the president representing the country on the world’s stage either. Around 75 percent of Americans do not trust the president to “negotiate with other world leaders” especially Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While 48 percent of Americans think, the country’s world image and reputation are weaker under Trump with only 27 percent saying, “it has gotten stronger.”

The mirror image is about the same, the world does not like Trump very much. According to a recent Pew Research Survey published on June 26, and entitled “U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership” of the over 37 nations surveyed only 22 percent have confidence in President Trump, while 74 percent have no confidence. The numbers are a sharp contrast to those of Democratic President Barack Obama, where it was the reverse, 64 percent had confidence versus 23 percent saying no confidence at the end of his term in January. The favorable view of the US is also in decline, now it is only 49 percent with a 39 percent unfavorable view. When Obama left office, there was a 20-point difference, with a 69 percent favorable view and a 26 percent unfavorable view. Of the 37 countries polled, only Israel and Russia had a better opinion on Trump’s leadership versus Obama.

Democrats claim that the reason for disapproving President Trump’s job performance has less to do with what he does in office and more to do with his personality and character. Gallup and ABC News/ Washington Post conducted separate polls looking at the way Americans view the president personally. Gallup released their poll “Trump Disapproval Rooted in Character Concerns” on July 13, and according to findings, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s personality and character, with previous presidents’ disapproval was grounded in policies and job performance.

According to Gallup, only 12 percent base their disapproval on Trump’s performance as president, with 16 percent basing it on policies and issues, but an overwhelming amount of 65 percent say it is his personality and personal characteristics. For Obama at the six-month mark, it was the reverse with 65 percent disapproving of him because of his policies, while it was split with George W. Bush between policies at 31 percent and performance at 43 percent.

Apparently, Trump’s personality was a benefit on the campaign trail but a hindrance to the presidency. As Gallup analyzes, “Trump’s unique personal style, brashness, and disregard for conventional political norms and discourse — while clearly a negative for many during the campaign — helped him stand out from other Republican contenders and ultimately contributed to his victory in November.”

Gallup broke it down and found that under character and personality related, 29 percent disapprove of President Trump because he comes across as “Not presidential/Bad temperament/Arrogant/Obnoxious,” 10 percent say he is “Inexperienced/Doesn’t know what he is doing.” Every other reason was all under 10 percent including “Looking out for himself/Doesn’t consider people’s needs,” “Use of social media/Twitter” and “Untrustworthy” all at 6 percent.

Although 16 percent of Americans cite issues and policies as their reason for disapproving the president, no single issue ranked at over 4 percent including foreign policy and health care, which only garnered 3 percent. According to the poll, 12 percent disapprove of Trump because of broad performance, yet no single reason registered above 7 percent, with the most saying it is because they “Disagree with what he is doing/Doing a poor job.”

In contrast, the reasons Americans approve of the president are almost evenly distributed among the three categories, 38 percent for broad performance, 33 percent for issues and policies and 24 percent for personality and personal characteristics. Only under broad performance does Trump get double digits for specific reasons, the highest is at 12 percent for “Doing a good job/best he can under difficult circumstances,” 11 percent for “Keeping his promises” and 10 percent for “does what is best for America.” The remainder is in the single digits for every category and they represent broad and general reasons.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll entitled “Public to Trump: Lay off Twitter (POLL)” also looked at Trump’s personality finding similar negative responses as Gallup’s poll. As ABC News noted, “70 percent say he’s acted in an unpresidential manner since taking office, 68 percent don’t see him as a positive role model and 67 percent disapprove of his use of Twitter.” Additionally, 57 percent “also say that the more they hear about Trump the less they like him, vs. 29 percent who like him more.” While 56 percent find his unpresidential behavior has a negative impact and is “damaging to the presidency overall.” Here even 38 percent of Republicans claim Trump has not behaved presidential. Only 24 percent of respondents find Trump’s behavior presidential.

Although Trump calls Twitter, his way to deliver his message directly to the American public while bypassing the news media, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of him using the social media site. Looking further at the president’s Twitter post, 68 percent said the tweets were inappropriate, 65 percent find them insulting, while 52 percent went further claiming the president’s tweets are dangerous. In contrast, of those supporting Trump’s tweets, 41 percent found them “interesting,” 36 percent “effective” and 21 percent went as far as saying they were “refreshing.”

Democrats, in particular, do not like or personally approve of the president and they also want him impeached a hope and call that started even before he entered the office and has only gotten louder since he fired Comey. A Monmouth University poll published on July 17, finds that only 39 percent approve of the president, while 52 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump. The poll asked about impeachment especially with the anger surrounding Trump’s son meeting with Russian operatives.

The poll says 40 percent of Americans want the president impeached over the Russia campaign interference controversy. Democrats represent the majority calling for impeachment with 70 percent, followed by 32 percent of independents and only 12 percent of Republicans. In 1973 at the start of the Watergate scandal, only 24 percent of Americans wanted President Richard Nixon impeached. A majority of Americans also found the Russia meeting “not appropriate” with 59 percent saying that, consisting of “86 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents, and 28 percent of Republicans.”

To be fair, the ABC News and Washington Post poll does not have a truly fair and bipartisan pool, which they surveyed. According to their methodology the poll was skewed with responses from 35% Democrats, 35% independents and only 23% Republicans. Naturally, Democrats and Democratically leaning Independents oppose Trump; they have never given him a chance since he was elected. For an entirely, non-biased survey, those responding had to be even distributing and independents had to be truly independent not leaning towards either party.

Americans do not feel any better about the Democrats than the y do about Trump, according to the ABC News / Washington Post poll, a majority of 52 percent said the Democrats “just stands against Trump.” Of Americans that feel that way about the party, 27 percent are Democrats, 55 percent are independents” and 82 percent are Republicans. Americans do feel Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote would not have been better than Trump. A new Bloomberg poll released on July 18, gave Trump a 41 percent approval rating, but Clinton had only a 39 percent approval rating. After a campaign, the losing party nominee’s ratings usually improve, but not Clinton partially because Trump keeps attacking her. Still, 20 percent of Clinton voters now say they did not like her and have an unfavorable view of her but only 6 percent of Trump voters feel the same.

In general, Americans are discontent with the current political situation, whether it is Trump, the Democrats, or the resistance movement. We are facing a political malaise not seen since the 1970s when Democrat Jimmy Carter named a speech those fateful and politically fatal words in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s ouster from the presidency earlier in the decade. On July 15, 1979, Carter delivered his Malaise speech to the nation, “The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America….” His words could easily describe the problem the nation faces again today.

The United States now too is facing a crisis of confidence, but it is a crisis because of partisanship. Three different polls Gallup, Reuters, and even the Conservative Rasmussen Reports all indicate that Americans are overwhelmingly dissatisfied and believe the country is going on the wrong track, direction. According to the latest from Gallup from July 5–9, 2017, only 27 percent of Americans are satisfied with the country direction, while 71 percent are dissatisfied, up from 27 percent the month before. There have been lower numbers even in President Barack Obama’s time, in July 2016, October 2013, and from July 2011 to January 2012. The most recent Reuters poll published on July 20, has 58.8 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, with only 25.8 percent saying the country is moving in the right direction. The Rasmussen poll published on July 17, had similar results with 33 percent of respondents saying, “The country is heading in the right direction,” down from the mid- 40s when Trump first assumed office.

The partisanship is getting so extreme Democrats have no tolerance to speak even with Trump voters and supporters. A new Pew Research Center survey, entitled “Since Trump’s Election, Increased Attention to Politics — Especially Among Women” published on July 20, examined how Americans’ relationship to politics and friendships from opposing parties has affected them since Trump’s election. According to the poll, 47 percent of liberal Democrats find that if they had a friend that supported Trump it would put “a strain on their friendship.” Of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 35 percent say it causes a strain. The feeling is worst among White and College educated Democrats with 40 percent and 44 percent feeling that way.

Republicans are feeling in a good and forgiving mood with their party controlling the White House and only 13 percent say it would “strain on a friendship” if a Democratic friend voted for Hillary Clinton. Never mind a friendship, the partisan sentiment has become so toxic that “68 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say they find it “stressful and frustrating” to talk to people who have a different opinion of Trump. About half — 52 percent — of Republican and GOP-leaning voters say the same.”

Americans are deeply polarized and unsatisfied with the current state of politics, with Democrats bearing the biggest burden and negative attitudes. The problem is that do not realize that the toxic atmosphere is just as bad as they deem the president is or even worse because it causes tensions in normal interactions. The deep polarization and negativity are not necessary, the economy is doing well and growing, the country and Americans are prospering even with Trump as president.

As long as the United States exists, one party will occupy the White House, while the other sits out on the sidelines. However, the Constitution guarantees elections for president every four years and for Congress every two years, guarantees freedoms for its citizens and a checks balance on each of the three branches of government. No matter Trump’s personality and character, nothing can affect the Constitution. If Americans are dissatisfied, they have put their efforts and strengths toward the next election rather than remain negative. As the polls indicate, no matter Trump’s future in the White House, he will go down in his as the most polarizing president to date.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Politics June 25, 2017: Two different models allow Bush and Obama’s post-presidential popularity to surge

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

George W. Bush sees his post-presidential favorable rating surge eight years after leaving office.

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Now that Republican Donald Trump is president, the American public finds themselves missing a simpler time when another Republican occupied the White House former President George W. Bush. A new poll released by Gallup on Monday, June 19, 2017, has Bush’s post-presidency popularity surging. The poll shows Bush seeing a seven percent increase in his favorable rating from the 2016 poll, from 52 percent to 59 percent, putting him closer to other former president’s popularity including the latest arrival to the club, Barack Obama. Both former presidents have chosen two radically different models for their post-presidencies, Bush’s choice to stay out of politics is the main reason his popularity has risen so much since he left office over eight years ago as the most unpopular president in recent history.

According to the latest Gallup poll of “favorable views of former presidents,” Bush has a 59 percent favorable rating. Bush has gained ground, in the over eight years since he left office. Bush left the White House with the second lowest approval rating of all presidents in the post-World War II era with only 34 percent approval and 35 percent favorable rating and even reached 25 percent. The peaks and lows of Bush favorable view in office range from 87 percent just after 9/11 in 2001 to 32 percent in 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis.

The groups that seem the most nostalgic for Bush are Democrats and independents, as Gallup pointed out, “his favorable rating has nearly doubled among political independents to 56% and has increased fourfold among Democrats to 41%.” Bush is doing well with Republicans but does not have a high of a favorable rating as he should have. Only 82 percent of Republicans see Bush favorably, only an increase of 10 percent since he left office when 72 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably.

Bush’s favorable rating is also skewed among specific demographics. He maintains his popularity among women more than among men, 60 to 56 percent, and whites over nonwhites 64 to 47 percent. Americans in the two age brackets above 35, 35 to 54 and 55 and plus view Bush with a similar 64 and 65 percent favorable rating. However, Bush still has not won over Millenials, with only 42 percent of young adults viewing him favorably.

Although it seemed unlikely in 2009, Bush is nearly as popular as Democrat Barack Obama. Obama has a 63 percent favorable rating, up five points since he left office in January. Gallup noted that Obama’s favorable rating average in both presidential terms was 54 percent. His highs and lows, however, were never as drastic as Bush’s. At his height, Obama had a 59 percent favorable rating in March 2009. At his lowest Obama’s favorable rating was at 42 percent, polled just after the 2014 midterm election, when the Democrats lost control of the Senate. Obama has always been popular with a large percentage of the public, and rating high among all demographics, Republicans, however, still view him negatively. Only 22 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the most recent former president, but an overwhelming 95 percent of Democrats view Obama favorably.

Recently Bush also saw his historical reputation rise. In February C-SPAN released their third survey ranking of American presidents entitled “Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership,” Bush’s rise was only slight, moving up three from 36th place to the 33rd position. Bush united the country in the aftermath of the worst terror attack on American soil in history when on September 11, 2001; radical terrorist group Al-Qaida used planes that hit the Pentagon in Washington, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, killing over 3,000 Americans. After the attack, Bush made records with both his approval and favorable rating according to Gallup.

Bush’s counter attack, initiating over decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, divided the country and mostly resulted in Bush falling out of favor with voters. The unpopular foreign wars coupled with domestic policy mistakes, including the handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the worst economic and housing collapse since the Great Depression led to Bush’s low ranking despite being a two-term president with the highest record approval rating from 2001 on record. Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University professor and C-SPAN historical advisory board member, commented, “The survey is surprisingly good news for George W. Bush, who shot up a few notches.”

After the divisiveness of Bush, Barack Obama came onto the scene, and he was elected in 2008 on a campaign pledge of hope and change. In his first foray in the presidential ranking, Obama was placed in the generous position of 12th. Obama earned the third spot in the category “equal justice for all” and seventh place “moral authority,” eighth for “economic management” and tenth place for “public persuasion.” Obama’s stature among historians counters his ranking in the public opinion polls where he only ranked ninth out of the twelve postwar presidents based on his term average.

Obama’s success was most in domestic policy, as he remained mired up for years in Bush’s wars in the Middle East before withdrawing all troops later in his presidency. Obama was able to turn the economy around with the help of his stimulus plan passed by a Democratic Congress, but it took six years for any actual recovery. Obama was the first president to succeed and provide health insurance coverage for practically all Americans with his Affordable Care Act, the program known as Obamacare.

Obama, however, failed in pursuit of his other goal, immigration reform, creating a legal pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants most of whom came from Latin American countries. Legislation in Congress stalled in the Senate, and Obama’s attempts at going it alone in a limited form through executive actions were struck down by the Supreme Court. Obama will be most remembered for his soaring rhetoric, advancement rights for LGBT Americans and being the first African-American president elected in American history.

Partisan divisions, however, grew in the country under Obama, who, despite promises to unite divided more during his tenure, where he was according to polls the polarizing president in history. His constant wars with the Republican House voted in 2010 and Senate voted in 2014 did nothing to help the partisan divide. Obama was the first black president, however, race relations deteriorated during his tenure, as police violence against Africans Americans rose.

The public’s perception of Bush is improving, largely because he has stayed out of political discourse since leaving office. Historian and Bush biographer Jean Edward Smith has remarked in a 2016 Washington Post article, “George W. Bush was not a good president. As a former president, he’s been exemplary. Bush has provided a model for anyone leaving the Oval Office.” Despite, his successor, Obama constantly criticizing Bush during his first years in office, Bush has never replied or criticized back. In fact, except for supporting his brother, Jeb Bush’s 2016 run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Bush has stayed clear of politics. Bush avoided every congressional and presidential election until 2016 but spoke via video to the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Instead, Bush’s post-presidency has been consumed by his presidential center The George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University, “with the exception of immigration reform,” he advocates for fighting AIDS in Africa and fundraising for veterans of the two wars started in his presidency, whom he feels a personal responsibility. Bush also authored books, including his presidential memoirs, “Decision Points,” published in 2010 and a biography of his father, former President George H. W. Bush, “41” published in 2014. Bush has also continued the tradition of post-presidential speeches.

Of the all his post-presidential activities the one that has defined Bush the most is that he has taken up painting as former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill before him and inspired by Churchill. What began as a hobby has emerged as a second career and fundraising source. Bush has displayed at his library portraits of the leaders he dealt with as president, most recently the former president made a book “Portraits in Courage” featuring portraits of veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, all of the funds which went to his presidential center. Although art critics have not all liked Bush’s paintings, it has definitely softened his image with the public. Bush is pleased and even happier about his post-presidential career, having expressed, “I think part of having a fulfilling life is to be challenged. I’m challenged on the golf course, I’m challenged to stay fit, and I’m challenged by my paintings…I am happy.”

In the five months of his post-presidency, Obama, on the contrary, has criticized his successor and his policies repeatedly urged resistance and protest and taken the limelight away by meeting foreign leaders. Still, according to a recent Politico article entitled, “Obama’s carefully political post-presidency” “Obama also intends to play a more active role in politics than many former presidents, he is insistent on not being the leader of the opposition. He feels he’s done. And he feels it wouldn’t work, anyway.” The Boston Globe noted Obama’s post-presidency is the opposite. The Globe writes, “In political retirement, he can choose which battles he wants to fight. Though if Obama enjoys it, he might usher in a new model for former presidents.”

Although Obama’s post-presidency is being described as non-political his actions prove otherwise, sometimes giving the impression he does not realize he is no longer the president. Just a week after leaving office, he released a statement praising the protests against Trump’s inauguration and criticizing the new president’s travel and refugee ban executive action. Obama received a backlash for his comments and then took a three-month vacation before his next public event in April. In the interim announcements from the former president revolved around vacation sightings, his and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s memoirs deal for $65-million with Penguin Random House and the design of his presidential library and center.

Since then Obama has some more restraint criticizing the new administration’s policies, but not mentioning Trump’s name. Obama endorsed his former labor secretary Tom Perez’s quest to become the chairman of the Democratic Party. The former president received the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum’s annual Profiles in Courage Award. Obama then spoke at the University of Chicago in his first public speech of his post-presidential career. Obama has also caused waves with his post-presidential speaking fees receiving $400,000 for a planned address for Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, a far cry from Bush’s $100,000 to $150,000 average fee.

Former President Obama’s continued forays on the international stage have seemed more invasive. In early May, Obama endorsed centrist Emanuel Macron in France’s presidential election. Obama then delivered a speech at Seed and Chips a food innovation summit in Italy where he urged citizens to vote, giving an unnamed swipe at his successor which garnered him $2.5 million.

Later, Obama took a tour of Europe at the same time as President Trump’s first official trip abroad. Obama met with German President Angela Merkel hours before she was to meet with Trump. Afterward, Obama visited Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in the United Kingdom. In the beginning of June, Obama spoke at Montreal’s Board of Trade and then had a much-publicized dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where headlines highlighted their continued bromance. All Obama’s meetings undermined new President Trump, who is still working to forge relationships with world leaders.

Publicly, Obama has repeatedly spoken out against President Trump’s policy decisions. First Obama criticized, Trump’s announcement that he was pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Obama expressed, “But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

Most recently, Obama criticized the Senate revised health care bill that would repeal and replace Obama’s crowning legislative achievement the Affordable Care Act signed in 2010 and known as Obamacare. The former president indicated in a Facebook post, “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family — this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.”

As Obama’s popularity continues to soar post-presidency, it has less to his actions, but more to do with the Democrats still having a vacuum in party leadership since he left office. The party is directionless with no clear message to counter President Trump and recently lost five special Congressional elections, not faring too well for the 2018 midterm elections. In contrast, Bush’s popularity is rising for the opposite reason he has stayed out of politics and the conflicts rising above them.

The two recent former presidents are following two vastly different models for their post-presidency. Bush, the Republican looked to follow fellow Republicans Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. Obama, the Democrat is following the actions of fellow Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. According to historian Jean Edward Smith, Bush is following the more historically appropriate model. Smith commended Bush, “That is exactly what an ex-president should do. While in office, a president dominates the nation’s political discourse. But after leaving the White House, that time is over, and he or she should move to the sidelines.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 2, 2017: Trump threatens government shutdown after Congress makes funding deal

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

White House Photo

President Donald Trump is not satisfied with the budget deal Congress made this past weekend and he is threatening a government shutdown. On Tuesday morning, May 2, 2017, President Trump tweeted two posts calling for either changing the filibuster rules in the Senate or a government shutdown so the White House and Congressional Republicans could force a budget without heading to Democrats. Later in the day, Trump backtracked and praised the bill White House Rose Garden at an event honoring the Air Force Academy football team. The threat comes only two days after Congress made a bipartisan deal to fund the government through the end of the 2017 fiscal year aimed at averting a government shutdown on the GOP’s watch.

The disgruntled president took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the Congressional budget deal. Trump wrote in two tweets, “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan responded to the president’s concerns at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. Ryan commiserated, “Look, we have a long ways to go between now and September, but I share the president’s frustration. I feel good about the wins we got with the administration in this bill.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot down the president’s request to change Senate legislative rules to prevent a filibuster at 60 votes to a simple majority. McConnell replied, “That will not happen.” Continuing, the Senate leader explained, “There is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar.”

Later, President Trump seemed to have changed his mind about the bill hailing it as a victory. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump expressed, “After years of partisan bickering and gridlock, this bill is a clear win for the American people.” Continuing the President said, “We brought lawmakers together from both sides of the aisle to deliver a budget that funds the rebuilding of the United States military, makes historic investments in border security and provides health care for our miners and school choice for our disadvantaged children.” Trump also praised the increase in funds allotted for border security, claiming, “We achieved the single largest increase in border security funding in 10 years. So we have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years,” Trump said. “The Democrats didn’t tell you that.”

At the White House Daily Press Briefing Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney rationalized the President’s first response to the budget deal. Mulvaney explained, “I think the president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they went out to try to spike the football and make him look bad. I get that frustration because I think it is a terrible posture for the Democrats to take.” The OMB Director did not take a possible government shutdown off the table, saying, “We’ve got a lot to do between now and September. I don’t anticipate a shutdown in September. But if negotiations — if the Democrats are not going to behave any better than they have the last couple days, it may be inevitable.”

The bipartisan budget deal reached on Sunday evening, April 30, went against President Trump’s wishes in certain key areas. There was no down payment allotted for the proposed border wall with Mexico, an important campaign pledge for the president. Neither did the budget cut funding for Planned Parenthood, something the GOP has wanted to do for a long time. Trump also wanted to cut funding for Obamacare subsidies, the budget will cover them. Sanctuary cities will also remain funded much to the president’s chagrin.

The budget does increase funding to certain key areas. There is a $15 billion increase in military spending, with $1.5 billion going to border security. The National Institute of Health will see a bump of $2 billion in funding. The Environment Protection Agency’s funding remains almost the same, but more funding is going to clean energy and science. Additionally, $68 million goes to New York and Florida to reimburse them for their state spending to protect the president and his family.

The deal also allocates more money to solve some outstanding issues, including miners’ health insurance, Puerto Rico Medicaid, transit infrastructure grants, year-round Pell Grants and fighting the opioid epidemic. There were also funded increases for national disasters in California, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Republicans had to cave in to Democrats’ demands on “poison pills” to avert a government shutdown, which would have been disastrous for the GOP because they control Congress and the White House.

Congress was originally set to shut down on April 29, until they passed a short-term spending bill that lasts until Friday, May 5. The House passed the bill 382–30 on Friday, April 28, the Senate followed suit, and the president signed the bill soon after averting a shutdown with a day left to the deadline. Despite his opposition to the new omnibus bill that will fund the government through September, Trump has no plans to force a shutdown now and intends to sign the bill. A budget fight, however, looms over the 2018 fiscal year, and the government could see another shutdown in October.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics April 27, 2017: Trump sees lowest 100-day marks in recent history, but is the milestone that important?

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump is planning a big rally to celebrate his first 100-days in office, as polls indicate that the new president has the worst 100-day mark approval rating in recent history. President Trump announced on Saturday, April 22, 2017, via Twitter a “big rally” in Pennsylvania on April 29, the same day as his presidency becomes 100- days old. Meanwhile, Three polls released this week, two on Sunday, April 23, ABC News/Washington Postand NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicated Trump had a 42 and 41 percent approval rating. Days later, on Wednesday, April 26, CNN/ORC pollgave Trump a higher approval rating of 44 percent. Still, these polls show that Trump has the lowest approval rating of all elected post-World War II presidents at the 100-day mark, but does that benchmark really translate into presidential success.

The rally on Trump’s 100th day of his presidency will be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and is sponsored by his reelection campaign. The rally will also be on the same night as the annual White House correspondents’ dinner, which Trump has long said he will not attend because of his feud with the mainstream media over their coverage of him from the campaign through his presidency. On Saturday, April 22, the president tweeted his followers, announcing the event, “Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it.”

Neither Trump nor is campaign is billing the event as honoring the president’s 100-days. As Trump is approaching his 100-day mark, he is downing playing the importance of the milestone. The previous day, on April 21, Trump called the 100-days a “ridiculous standard.” The President tweeted, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!” A White House official commented the milestone is about the voters, not the news media. The official explained, “The media is trying to make this about them when — respectively it has nothing to do with you guys. It’s about focusing on the people.”

Three polls released this past week, gave the public a chance to grade the president. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday, April 23, saw Trump with only a 42 percent approval rating, with 53 percent of American disapproving of his job so far. People who voted for Trump, however, are not feeling buyer’s remorse, 96 percent say it was “the right thing to do,” while only two percent have any regrets.

Trump’s numbers are better when it comes to how Americans view specific actions in his presidency. An overwhelming 73 percent of Americans seem to approve of Trump’s America first policy that has “pressured companies: into keeping jobs in the country. A majority of 53 percent sees Trump as a strong leader. Concerning foreign policy, Trump is getting middling grades with dealing with an aggressive North Korea, with 46 percent approving of his tactics. Despite some good numbers, no other president elected in the post-World War II has had such low approval rating at this point in their presidency.

Another poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday also does not give Trump good grades. The poll found that 46 percent of Americans say the Trump presidency is “off to a poor start,” only 35 percent say it has had a “good or great start,” while 19 percent are in between saying it is a “fair start.” The NBC/WSJ poll also gave Trump a worse approval rating than the ABC News / Washington Post poll with only 40 percent. Trump’s disapproval rating is almost the same at 54 percent. Trump does get some high marks for his foreign policy, 62 percent of Americans approve of his decisive military strikes against Syria after a chemical attack on their citizens, with 50 percent approving of his course against civil-war ridden country.

The CNN/ORC poll released another poll on Wednesday evening, April 26, which found that nearly the 100-day mark, Trump had a 44 percent approval rating and a 54 percent disapproval rating. Trump’s favorability numbers are around the same as his approval rating, with the American public having a 45 percent favorable view of the president and a 53 percent unfavorable view. The numbers are very much partisan, Republicans overwhelmingly approve of the president with 85 percent saying so, while only 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

The poll was mostly negative, with a majority dissatisfied with Trump’s approach to the presidency in almost every facet. His approval ratings on some issues are as low as the 20s and 30s percent, and they have fallen since his election in November. Even his ability to change the country is now negative with only 48 percent believing he can versus 51 percent of Americans saying he cannot. The president, however, is even losing ground within his party with less satisfied with his actions and abilities on different fronts. CNN’s bleak poll indicates the honeymoon is over with Trump and the GOP and that there barely was one with the president and the majority of Americans.

CNN broke down their marks for Trump also by area; some Trump did better while others he lost ground since entering the office. The president has lost points in his handling of immigration and health care, because of his travel bans and his failed first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. On those issues, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s actions. Trump’s numbers are “steady” when it comes to “foreign affairs, national security and the role of commander-in-chief.” Trump is excelling with his handling of the military issues 52 percent approving, the way the country is going 54 percent and the economy at 54 percent approving.

Gallup Poll’s first quarter assessment of Trump’s presidency determined that the president’s average approval is 41 percent, while 46 percent of Americans voted for him. Trump’s approval rating is also approximately 20 percent lower than when other presidents completed their first 100-days, where the average since 1945 is 63 percent. Looking at each post-war president, the numbers show an even larger contrast. The highest showing was John F. Kennedy, who had almost double Trump’s approval rating with 81 percent in April 1961. The lowest numbers were still 17 points higher than Trump, when in April 1989; George H. W. Bush had a 58 percent approval rating.

According to Gallup, here is a rundown of the 100-day approval ratings of all elected presidents since World War II:

Barack Obama 63 Apr 2009
George W. Bush 61 Apr 2001
Bill Clinton 55 Apr 1993
George H.W. Bush 58 Apr 1989
Ronald Reagan 67 Apr 1981
Jimmy Carter 64 Apr 1977
Richard Nixon 62 Apr 1969
John Kennedy 81 Apr 1961
Dwight Eisenhower 74 Apr 1953

President Trump thinks his presidency is successful despite what polls and the press says. Trump has signed up to now 34 executive orders, more than any other president in recent history during their first 100-days. The president has had a Supreme Court Justice confirmed with Neil Gorsuch; on the world stage, he has met with many of the major leaders and asserted his military might in Syria and Afghanistan. Still, the president has not yet had any real legislative success with his major campaign promises, including repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, travel and immigration ban, infrastructure plan or border wall with Mexico.

The White House boasts President Trump signed 28 new laws in first three months but most have minor, including repealing Obama-era rules, personal appointments, veterans’ recognitions, modifying programs, encouraging innovations in government agencies and one extension of an Obama era program. President Trump only saw one major bill extending health care choice for veterans, the tip of the iceberg to Trump’s lofty agenda.

Despite his protests, President Trump is planning a mad dash in the upcoming week before he reaches his 100th day. Congress failed to put the American Health Care Act to a vote in March, and but they plan to introduce the bill with amendments again this week this time with the Freedom Caucus’ endorsement. Trump also outlined his tax reform plan this week, and the White House announced that the president’s infrastructure plan has a summer deadline.

Trump’s major failure has been with his travel ban, which the administration will argue for the second time in Federal Appeals Court after an earlier ban and the present one saw injunctions halting their implementation. The president was also dealt a setback right before his 100-day when a federal judge struck down his attempt to defund sanctuary cities harboring illegal immigrants. The president’s greatest test has an April 29 deadline. President Trump will have a chance to prove his deal making skills and avert a government shutdown, the first budget showdown of his presidency.

The 100-day mark to gauge the early success or failures of the new president started with President Franklin Roosevelt (1933–1945). Roosevelt was elected in the midst of the Great Depression, with almost total economic and bank collapse and15 million or 20 percent of the American public unemployed. In this crisis, Roosevelt set the benchmark having signed 15 bills into law. Roosevelt marked his 100th day with a fireside chat, updating the American public recounted what he has accomplished in 3000 words. In his address Roosevelt explained, “I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal…We have built a granite foundation in a period of confusion.”

Early success does not mean a successful presidency and neither does early failure doom the presidency. Everywhere you look, journalists and academics are giving Trump grades for this milestone period, and many are unkind as has been the case with coverage and analysis of Trump’s campaign, transition and now presidency.

Some historians do not see the 100-day mark as important. Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University recently told the Atlantic that grading a president at this early stage could be counterproductive. Zelizer analyzed, “Asking how presidents did in the first 100 days, usually tells us little about what is to come and might even create the exact political incentives we need to avoid.”

Meanwhile, Morton Keller, a professor emeritus of history at Brandeis University, who wrote the article with Zelizer, concurs, and does not believe historians should rush to early judgments on a Trump presidency. Keller explained, “This is no time to attempt a conclusive assessment of what the Trump presidency is up to, and where it is heading. The media savants who explain politics to the masses appear to be quite certain of their positions, varied though they are. As historians, we are duty-bound to withhold judgment when the available evidence is as varied and conflicting as, just now, it is.”

Another historian that agrees the milestone is not indicative is Fredrik Logevall, “a presidential historian and an international affairs professor at Harvard University” Logevall spoke to the Washington Post telling them, “I think what history tells us is that it’s an arbitrary benchmark. It hasn’t correlated very much with subsequent success or failure. Whether an administration has success or not really depends on the four years, or eight years if you have two terms.”

Other historians are being harsher in their assessments. Presidential historian Robert Dallek told USA Today, “At this point, I’d give him essentially a failing grade.” Dallek pointed out, “There are no legislative accomplishments, zero,” the plan to repeal and replace the Obamacare “seems to be in suspended animation.” Dallek is probably making an extreme assessment than most. Even the mainstream media Trump calls fake news are running articles that share the view that 100-day s do not indicate the successes or failures of an entire presidency neither do they foreshadow what is to come.

While Roosevelt’s legislative accomplishments were unique, other presidents have passed lasting legislation in their first 100 days. Lyndon Johnson (1963–1969), Barack Obama (2009–2017), and George W. Bush (2001–2009). John son and Obama had the best legislative success, because their party, the Democrats concurrently controlled both Houses of Congress, and were popular with their party. Circumstances surrounding their entry to the presidency also made passing their agenda more urgent.

Johnson, who had been Senate Majority Leader when Kennedy tapped him for Vice President, was known as the Master of Senate. Johnson was the first of the two post-war presidents who were not elected; he came into power after Kennedy’s assassination. In his first 100-days, Johnson was able to ride the wave of pursuing Kennedy’s agenda and had legislative victories with most notably the Civil Rights Act. In his first 100 days after he was elected with a landslide victory in 1964, that saw Democratic control of Congress, Johnson continued to have legislative success with the bulk of his Great Society program, including, “the Voting Rights Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, immigration reform, and Medicare and Medicaid.” After the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Johnson became mired in Vietnam, which ended his legislative strike and any more expansion of his Great Society.

Obama was also able to catch the legislative magic in his first 100-days after his historic election becoming the first African-American president. After the 2008 election, Congress remained controlled by the Democrats, leading to a string of victories for the new president, including, “the Recovery Act, U.S. auto industry bailout, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, and then a year later in 2010, his legacy making legislation the Affordable Care Act. Obama never had more legislative success after Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2010-midterm elections. Obama like Roosevelt inherited a country in economic turmoil, this time a Great Recession where Democrats gave him a blank check to pursue his agenda.

When the same party controls the White House, Congress a president can more easily pursue his legislative agenda, that was not the case with Carter, and neither is turning out to be with Trump. The reason, both were outsiders elected against the Washington establishment and then found resistance from within their party in Congress. In 1976, Carter was an outsider with an ambitious agenda that failed in his first 100-days, planned legislation included “tax reform, infrastructure, and energy independence.” Carter did not have the relationship with Congress, the Washington insiders he needed to make his campaign promises a reality. Trump is facing the same problem with the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; he is facing resistance from not only Democrats but also different factions of the GOP, including the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.

Both Clinton and George W. Bush had successes and failures early in their presidencies. In 1993, Clinton raised taxes with the help of a Democratic-controlled Congress but faced a backlash for his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military. In 2001, Bush cut taxes as Reagan did 20 years before and laid out the groundwork for his education legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush, however, was later blamed for the 9/11 terrorist attacks for not heeding the signs of a major terrorist attack on the nation. In 1981, Reagan successfully cut taxes, but his 100-days were rocked with an attempted assassination attempt two months after taking office, earning him goodwill with Congress, but cutting his accomplishments in that milestone period.

Foreign policy has been the cause of two post-war presidents stumbling in their first 100-days. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush faced tests too early in their presidencies that were failures. In 1961, Kennedy continued with his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower’s planned coup in Communist Cuba to get rid of its leader Fidel Castro. Kennedy’s Administration altered the original invasion plan and the “Bay of Pigs” became Kennedy’s biggest blunder of his new presidency coming just days before his 100th day. In 1989, Bush also was confronted with Cold War crises and his administration blundered. Bush had to deal with the Tiananmen Square massacre and then later in the year after a failed coup as Kennedy did, but this time, it was in Panama.

In 1993, Clinton probably faced the greatest national security threat in his first 100 days than any other post-World War II president. Just barely a month after Clinton assumed the presidency; terrorists bombed the garage in the World Trade Center in New York. The attack that killed six and injured 1000 saw the perpetrators face the criminal justice system. Clinton never wanted to acknowledge the attack as terrorism, which allowed al-Qaeda to ramp up their attacks on the US. Afterward, there were bombings in 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and then in 2000 on the USS Cole. Clinton responded with targeted missile attacks but never did more to solve the increasing problem and danger. Clinton’s actions after the attack might not have seemed like a failure at the time, but in retrospect, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Clinton’s inaction was the greatest 100-days failure because it led to the greatest terrorist attack on American soil.

In the post-World War period, only Ford fared worse in the polls than Trump at the 100-day mark, mostly because he pardoned Nixon after he resigned from the presidency in August 1974, which led to Ford assuming the office. While the other presidents’ had higher approval ratings than Trump does at the 100-day mark, most had some failures or setbacks in that early period and their major legislative successes and the policy that defined their presidencies came later, for other they never could recapture that early success. Periods of crises have led to the most productive first 100-days out of necessity, like Roosevelt, Johnson, and Obama.

The problem is the benchmark Roosevelt created has pressured many of his successors, including Johnson, Nixon and even Trump. Despite his successes, Johnson wanted to pass the most legislation as possible; Nixon created the Hundred Days Group and during the campaign, Trump made his “Contract With the American Voter” in a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The contract was “a 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”

Trump promised in his contract, “On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you.” Among those pledges were 10 bills including repealing and replacing Obamacare on his first day in office. The president’s goals were too lofty. Kennedy, although the youngest elected in the post-war period, he was also the wisest when it came to the presidential milestone. In his inaugural address, he expressed, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration … but let us begin.”

The 100-day mark is too early in a presidency to determine success or failure. Neither is looking at Roosevelt’s accomplishments a fair standard. Each presidency and their time are different. Trump was the only president in history to be elected without a political or military background. The first weeks were chaos not only from within the White House but the negative response from the press and public that made governing difficult. Now, cooler heads are prevailing and despite some negativity and bias, Trump is being treated, as a president should from the press, Democrats, and dissenters within the Republican Party. With that in mind, Trump’s next 100-days could be more worthy of watching and marking than his first.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics September 2, 2016: Presidential debate moderators announced

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Presidential debate moderators announced

By Bonnie K. Goodman

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 10, 2016: The four remaining Republican primary candidates Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich take part in a debate at the University of Miami on March 10, 2016, hosted by CNN and the Washington Times. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MARCH 10, 2016: The four remaining Republican primary candidates Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich take part in a debate at the University of Miami on March 10, 2016, hosted by CNN and the Washington Times. (Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The upcoming presidential debates now have moderators. The Commission on Presidential Debates released the names of the journalists moderating the four debates on Friday, Sept. 1, 2016. The journalists represent the major news outlets NBC, CBS, ABC News, CNN and FOX News, and include Lester Holt, Elaine Quijano, Martha Raddatz, Anderson Cooper and Chris Wallace.

The first presidential debate on Monday, Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, will be moderated by NBC’s “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt. Holt is the only moderator that received Republican nominee Donald Trump’s stamp of approval. In August, Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, “Lester Holt is a good guy.”

The second presidential debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Washington University in St. Louis will be conducted as a town hall-style event and will be co-hosted by ABC News chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

The third and final presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas will be moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

Meanwhile, the one and only vice presidential debate will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia and will be moderated by CBS News correspondent Elaine Quijano.

The co-chairs of the Commission on Presidential Debates Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. and Michael D. McCurry issued a statement. Fahrenkopf and McCurry commended the choice of moderators, “These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively.”

The co-chairs then discussed the themes for the debates, “The formats chosen for this year’s debates are designed to build on the formats introduced in 2012, which focused big blocks of time on major domestic and foreign topics. We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result.” The specific themes for each debate will be announced at a later date.

Raddatz is the only moderator to have done so in a previous presidential election; she moderated the vice presidential debate in 2012. Cooper and Wallace have taken on moderating duties numerous times during the primaries, for the Democratic and GOP debates respectively, while, Holt and Quijano are both moderating for the first time.

Politics August 31, 2016: Report Clinton emailed classified info after leaving State Dept

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Report Clinton emailed classified info after leaving State Dept

 
By Bonnie K. Goodman

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not only sent classified information on her private email server during her tenure but also after she left the State Department. The New York Post reported on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, that Clinton sent a classified email over four months after leaving her post. The Republican National Committee acquired the email through a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the Post, the Democratic nominee sent the email on May 28, 2013, and it was about the “123 Deal.” The deal signed in 2009 was between the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. and dealt with nuclear energy production.

Clinton sent the email from the same email account and private server she used while Secretary of State. Clinton sent the email to “Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, policy aide Jake Sullivan, diplomat Kurt Campbell, State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills and top aide Huma Abedin.”

The Post said the email is heavily redacted because it contains classified “information regarding foreign governors” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” The email is set to be declassified on May 28, 2033.

Politics August 31, 2016: Rubio, McCain, Wasserman Schultz win primaries in Congressional and Senate races

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Rubio, McCain, Wasserman Schultz win primaries in Congressional and Senate races

By Bonnie K. Goodman

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 29: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to supporters as he stops to thank volunteers at a phone bank on the final day before the Florida primary election on August 29, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Rubio is facing off against Carlos Beruff for the Republican primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 29: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to supporters as he stops to thank volunteers at a phone bank on the final day before the Florida primary election on August 29, 2016 in Miami, Florida. Rubio is facing off against Carlos Beruff for the Republican primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Three embattled incumbent members of Congress have won their respective primaries. On Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, primaries were held across the country for Congressional seats in the House of Representatives and Senate. In Florida, Republican Senator Marco Rubio won his primary as did Republican Arizona Senator John McCain as did Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In the Florida Senate race, Rubio won against his challenger Carlos Beruff, 72 percent to 19 percent. Most of Rubio’s GOP opponents dropped out after he decided to join the race at the wire three months after his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Rubio will be vying for his second term against Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who beat out his only opponent Rep. Alan Grayson. Major points of attacks are that Rubio missed so much of his Senate term campaigning for president and has not committed to serving the next six-year term, suggesting he might consider another presidential run in 2020. Rubio’s seat is critical for the GOP to maintain control of the Senate.

In the Arizona Senate race, McCain is going for his sixth Senate term and easily defeated his opponent state Senator Kelli Ward. McCain who just turned 80 faced attacks about his age from his much younger, opponent. Ward, who is 47, and a doctor called McCain “old” and “weak” and made his age the main campaign issue implying he could die before his term ends. Republican voters, however, did not agree and chose McCain again, he will face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November.

One of the most vulnerable Democrats, Florida Rep. Wasserman Shultz was able to win her primary against Tim Canova. Canova had the backing of Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who rightly found Wasserman Shultz working against his primary campaign. The former Democratic National Committee chairman, Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign the evening before the start of the Democratic National Convention after emails showed her bias against Sanders. The public embarrassment put her primary bid in jeopardy.

This year has not been a good one for Congressional incumbents with five, three Republicans and two Democrats already losing their reelection bids. Those that lost their primaries are “Republican Reps. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Randy Forbes of Virginia and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.” Among the Democrats are Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah, who was convicted on 23 charges of corruption in June and Florida Rep. Corrine Brown, who was indicted in July on 24 counts of fraud.

Politics August 30, 2016: FBI discovers 30 additional Clinton emails on Benghazi attacks

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FBI discovers 30 additional Clinton emails on Benghazi attacks

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, gestures while speaking at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, gestures while speaking at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton erased about 30 emails regarding the 2012 Benghazi terror attacks. Among the nearly 15,000 emails the FBI recovered from her deleted private email server, there are 30 emails relating to the terror attacks. During a hearing State Department lawyers informed U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta of the emails on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016.

The 14,900 emails the FBI discovered during their investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information were not included in the 30,000 emails Clinton handed over to the State Department in December 2014. The Benghazi emails are at the center of one of several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the department filed by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The State Department in their usual defense of Clinton said the email have to be evaluated to determine if they are personal as Clinton claimed or are duplicates of emails they have already. The State Dept lawyers told Judge Mehta they need until the end of September to review the emails. Mehta was upset that the department is dragging their feet, and he ordered them to update him in a week.

State Department spokesman John Kirby issued a statement about the newly discovered emails, “Using broad search terms; we have identified approximately 30 documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive, or whether they are duplicates of materials already provided to the Department by former Secretary Clinton in December 2014.”

Judicial Watch wants all the emails released before the election in November. The State Department, however, is protecting Clinton, hoping to delay the release, so that the content does not hinder Clinton chances of winning the election. Two other judges agree with Judicial Watch and want the emails released promptly. A judge in Florida is ordering the Benghazi emails to be made public on Sept. 13, while another Judge in DC wants the State Department to provide a schedule for the emails’ release at a Sept. 23 hearing.

Republican nominee Donald Trump was quick to attack Clinton on the new emails. Trump’s Senior communications adviser Jason Miller released a statement, which read, “Clinton swore before a federal court and told the American people she handed over all of her work-related emails. If Clinton did not consider emails about something as important as Benghazi to be work-related, one has to wonder what is contained in the other emails she attempted to wipe from her server.”

Politics August 30, 2016: FBI to release Clinton interview notes and final report

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FBI to release Clinton interview notes and final report

By Bonnie K. Goodman

RENO, NV - AUGUST 25: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves Hub Coffee Roasters on August 25, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. Hillary Clinton delivered a speech about republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's policies. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

RENO, NV – AUGUST 25: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves Hub Coffee Roasters on August 25, 2016 in Reno, Nevada. Hillary Clinton delivered a speech about republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s policies. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After much requests from Congressional Republicans, the FBI plans to release their report not recommending criminal charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. CNN was the first to report on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, that the FBI is releasing their report to the Justice Department and their notes from their July interview with Clinton from their investigation into her usage of a private email server.

The FBI intends to release the documents as early as Wednesday, Aug. 31 as a response to Freedom of Information Act requests. The documents include the bureau’s 30-page report to the DOJ, and the interview notes known as FD-302 covering the FBI’s three-hour interview with Clinton.

Earlier this month the FBI handed the same documents to the House Oversight Committee in addition to the interview notes with Clinton’s aides. The committee’s chairman Jason Chaffetz then called on the FBI to release an unclassified version of those documents to the public. Chaffetz described the documents as “over-classified.” Clinton’s campaign also wanted the documents released, believing it would be best for them to be released in their entirety, then have the GOP release just certain excerpts that might be more damaging.

FBI Director James Comey announced in July that the FBI would not recommend pressing charges and instead suggested an administrative punishment. Comey called Clinton’s handling of classified information “extremely careless,” but argued, “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” The Justice Department and Attorney General Loretta Lynch “unanimously” agreed and declined to charge Clinton. Despite no criminal case pending, Clinton has not been able to escape her scandals from her tenure at the State Department, and recent revelations have dented her lead in the presidential race.

Politics August 26, 2016: Judge orders State Department to begin releasing newly discovered Clinton emails

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Judge orders State Department to begin releasing newly discovered Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in Reno, Nevada on August 25, 2016. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party, she said at the event about her opponent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in Reno, Nevada on August 25, 2016.
He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party, she said at the event about her opponent Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. / AFP / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A Federal Judge is not letting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign plans interfere with justice. On Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, a judge in Florida is ordering the State Department to begin releasing the 14,900 emails the FBI discovered during their investigation into the private email server Clinton used as Secretary of State by Sept. 13. The judge made the decision as part of Conservative Watchdog group Judicial Watch’s ongoing lawsuit against the State Department.

U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitriouleas’ decision will do a lot to ensure that the emails the FBI uncovered during their investigation will be made public before the election in November. The decision ensures that a federal judge in Washington presiding over a separate Judicial Watch lawsuit will make certain that emails release schedule is just as prompt. In that case, the next hearing is Sept. 23.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement commending the decision, saying, “no wonder federal courts in Florida and DC are ordering the State Department to stop stalling and begin releasing the 14,900 new Clinton emails.”

Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau was elusive about the emails and their contents. Trudeau said in a statement, “As we have said, the Department agreed to search the materials we received from the FBI in response to several pending FOIA requests and, to the extent responsive records are identified, produce them.”

Continuing, Trudeau tried to indicate few of the emails have to with the lawsuit, “Using broad search terms, we have identified a number of documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive.  We also have not determined if they involve Secretary Clinton.”

Politics August 25, 2016: New polls show conflicted view of 2016 race still Clinton leads Trump

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New polls show conflicted view of 2016 race still Clinton leads Trump

By Bonnie K. Goodman

(FILE PHOTO) In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Donald Trump.  ***LEFT IMAGE***   PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28:  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)  ***RIGHT IMAGE***  LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 15:  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(FILE PHOTO) In this composite image a comparison has been made between former US Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton (L) and Donald Trump. ***LEFT IMAGE*** PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 28: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers remarks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during the CNN Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last GOP debate of the year, with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gaining in the polls in Iowa and other early voting states and Donald Trump rising in national polls. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Despite all the scandals surrounding Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State she still is leading Republican nominee Donald Trump in national polls. Two new national polls show a conflicted view of the 2016 presidential race, suggesting the race might be closer than some poll indicate. According to a new national Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, Clinton leads Trump by 10 points. However, an Economist/YouGov online poll published on Wednesday, Aug. 24 Clinton leads by only 3 points within the margin of error.

The new Quinnipiac University poll, Clinton leads Trump 51 to 41 percent in a two-way race. Factoring third party candidates, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton’s lead shrinks to 7 points over Trump, 45 to 35 percent.

The numbers contrast with the latest Economist/YouGov online poll, where Clinton has the narrowest lead of all recent national polls, only three points. In the survey, Clinton has 47 percent to Trump’s 44 percent. The best national performance for Trump post-conventions. In a four-way race, Clinton’s lead expands to a point to a four percent margin, giving Clinton 42 percent to Trump’s 38 percent voter support.

Meanwhile, Clinton had her one of her largest poll margin leads of the campaign in the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Tuesday, Aug. 23, with 12 points over Trump. In the survey, Clinton has 45 percent support to Trump’s 33 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton’s lead shrinks to 8 percent over Trump with 41 percent to 33 percent for the GOP nominee.

Although Reuters/Ipsos poll nearly makes the record, Clinton had her largest margin of 15 percent over Trump in the McClatchy-Marist survey released on Aug. 4, a post-Democratic convention poll, where Clinton led 48 percent to 33 percent.

In most recent polls, Clinton leads Trump by 8 to 10 percent, however, earlier this week, two other polls had Clinton leading Trump by 8 percent. In the NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Online Tracking Poll released on Tuesday, Aug. 23, Clinton had the support of 50 percent of voters to Trump’s 42 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton only led Trump by 5 percent, 43 to 38 percent. In last week’s Reuters/Ipsos poll, Clinton had 42 percent to Trump’s 34 percent. In a four-way race, Clinton lead shrunk by one, 41 to 34 percent.

Besides the recent Economist/YouGov online poll, the only other poll where the margin the two candidates was close was the Pew Research Center poll published on Aug. 18. In that Pew poll, Clinton led Trump by only four points, 41 percent to 39 percent. This survey looked solely at a four-way race. Clinton, however, is leading in many battleground states as well.

Politics August 24, 2016: Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

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Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton scandals at the State Department keep growing, but will voters take the warning? A new report by the Associated Press published on Monday, Aug. 23, 2016, shows that outside of government people over half the people former Secretary of State Clinton met with during her tenure were donors or associated with donors to her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

According to the AP, Clinton tittered on the boundary, ethically violating her role at the State Department but not the legal agreement she made before commencing her post. Donations to the foundation were the ticket to a meeting with Clinton or possible favors from the State Departments. Donors received unprecedented access to the Secretary of State.

The AP discovered that based on the State Department released calendars that of the 154 private people Clinton met with during her tenure, 85 donated to the foundation or pledged donations for “international programs.” The 85 donors contributed a total of $156 million, of those donors 40 donated $100,000 each while 20 each gave over a million dollars each. The donors who met with Clinton each had a request for help from the State Department.

The AP notes, “The frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.”

The AP’s report was hardly complete; it only covered Clinton’s first two years as Secretary of State did not cover government officials and foreign governments. They based their findings on calendars and contacts that the State Department was forced to hand over to the AP. Although the AP added that 16 foreign governments met with Clinton that also donated a total of $170 million to the foundation. Completeness was not the aim; the point was to indicate the unprecedented access private citizens had to Secretary Clinton, as long they paid admission for the golden ticket a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s campaign used the report incompleteness as a means to discredit its very damaging findings calling it “utterly flawed data.”Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement, “It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals.” Fallon also said the report “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary’s Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.” Fallon also said it “omits more than 1700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other US government officials while serving as secretary of state.”

The State Department is also backing their former secretary; spokesman Mark Toner downplayed the report. Toner pointed out, “Individuals, including those who have donated to political campaigns, non-profits, or foundations — including the Clinton Foundation — may contact or have meetings with officials in the administration.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump is seizing on the reports to turn the attacks and attention towards Clinton’s ongoing scandals. First Trump issued a statement, which read, “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. We’ve now learned that a majority of the non-government people she met with as secretary of state gave money to the corrupt Clinton Foundation. … It was wrong then, and it is wrong now — and the foundation must be shut down immediately.”

At a Tuesday evening, rally in Austin, Texas Trump again assailed the foundation, saying, “Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office. It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.” Continuing Trump accused, “The specific crimes committed to carry out that enterprise are too numerous to cover in this speech.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, backed the GOP nominee up, repeating his call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s actions at the State Department. Pence in a statement wrote, “The fact Hillary Clinton’s official schedule was full of meetings with Clinton Foundation donors is further evidence of the pay-to-play politics at her State Department. No one is above the law.”

The Republican National Committee and its Chairman Reince Priebus took the opportunity to go after Clinton. In a statement Priebus said, “This is among the strongest and most unmistakable pieces of evidence of what we’ve long suspected: at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, access to the most sensitive policy makers in U.S. diplomacy was for sale to the highest bidder.” Republicans are not the only ones attacking the Clinton Foundation, news publication USA Today’s editorial board is calling for the organization’s closure.

The Clinton campaign is trying to curb the criticism and potential damage to her chances of winning the election. Bill Clinton issued a statement outlining changes to the Clinton Foundation should Hillary be elected president. The former president would step down from the board of directors, stop fundraising, cease taking foreign donations, or even from American corporations and would end “annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative.” Daughter Chelsea Clinton, however, would remain on the board.

Former President Clinton again defended his foundation, saying, “We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except I’m really proud.”

Despite the changes, Clinton still owes favors to 6,000 donors that had combined, donated $2 billion dollars to the foundation since its inception in 2000, when Clinton left the presidency. No matter how many scandals Clinton has had during her tenure at the State Department, never mind her husband’s during his presidency in the 1990s, she still leads in the polls. Whatever, her actions can be called they are a clear warning sign, one voters are ignoring. Instead, the media continually attacks Trump for mere statements and comments rather than actions.

Republicans choosing to defect to Clinton do not realize any Republican president will be more sympathetic to their agenda, than Clinton, who continually views the GOP as an enemy creating conspiracy theories about her. If Clinton wins the election, she truly would be made of Teflon devoid of any consequences for her actions, when any leader is given such a free pass it never ends well. Although different, not so much according to journalist Bob Woodward voters should read a history book on Watergate. Brewing political scandals during an election do tumble over into the presidency.

Politics August 22, 2016: Trump calls for independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton emails

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Trump calls for independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 22: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters at the James A. Rhodes Arena on August 22, 2016 in Akron, Ohio.  Trump currently trails Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Ohio, a state which is critical to his election bid. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

AKRON, OH – AUGUST 22: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters at the James A. Rhodes Arena on August 22, 2016 in Akron, Ohio. Trump currently trails Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Ohio, a state which is critical to his election bid. (Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

With new discoveries in Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s never-ending email scandal, Republican nominee Donald Trump is going on “the offense.” On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, Trump called for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor to investigate Clinton at a rally at the University of Akron, Akron, Ohio.

Trump made his call after a federal court ordered the State Department to release an additional 15,000 emails from Clinton’s tenure that the FBI uncovered during their investigation. Republicans are still angry that the FBI decided against recommending that the Justice Department file criminal charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information by using a private email server during her tenure. Instead, the FBI just criticized Clinton recommending a possible administrative punishment at most.

Speaking to an excited crowd of supporters, Trump accused Clinton of “criminal” behavior without receiving punishment. The GOP commented, “No issue better illustrates how corrupt my opponent is than her pay for play scandals as secretary of state. I’ve become increasingly shocked by the vast scope of Hillary Clinton’s criminality. It’s criminality. Everybody knows it.”

Trump indicated the FBI and DOJ could not be trusted when it comes to Clinton. Trump expressed, “The amounts involved, the favors done and the significant numbers of times it was done require an expedited investigation by a special prosecutor immediately, immediately, immediately.”

Continuing, Trump said, “After the FBI and Department of Justice whitewashed Hillary Clinton’s email crimes, they certainly cannot be trusted to quickly or impartially investigate Hillary Clinton’s new crimes, which happen all the time.”

The GOP nominee challenged that an independent prosecutor be appointed to investigate Clinton’s actions. Trump said, “The Justice Department is required to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor because it has proven itself to be really, sadly a political arm of the White House.”

Trump has often attacked Clinton over her honesty, her use of a private server and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation’s preferential treatment of its donors during her time at the State Department. Trump brought up the last time the Clintons faced an independent prosecutor in 1990s during the first Clinton administration. Then the Whitewater scandal was an investigation over a real estate investment while Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas.

The crowd agreed with Trump chanting “Lock Her Up” interrupting the GOP nominee’s speech. Trump pointed out that former Secretary of State Clinton’s “actions corrupted and disgraced one of the most important Departments of government.” Continuing Trump compared the two scandals, saying, “The Clintons made the State Department into the same kind of Pay-to-Play operation as the Arkansas Government was.”

Trump accused Clinton of corruption and even racketeering for giving preferential treatment to Clinton Foundation donors especially foreign donors. Trump called on voters to reject Clinton, who he believes represents the epitome of the Washington establishment insider catering to special interests. Trump promised, “We are going to take government away from the special interests that give her tens of millions of dollars so that she can broadcast absolutely phony ads about me and we’re going to give it back to the voters.”

The GOP nominee also vowed to win the election, saying, “Come November 8th, we are once again going to have a government that serves you and your family and your country, not the special interests, the donors and the lobbyists.” Still, Trump again warned his supporters that Clinton might rig the election, telling supporters, “When I say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about.” you know what I’m talking about.”

Politics August 23, 2016: Obama finally tours flood-ravaged Louisiana over a week too late

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US President Barack Obama speaks after touring a flood-affected area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 23, 2016. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks after touring a flood-affected area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on August 23, 2016. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Over a week after heavy rainstorms flooded Louisiana, President Barack Obama finally toured the most damaged areas. On Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, Obama visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saying his tour “is not a photo-op.” Obama waited until he finished his two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to tour the damage after much criticism locally in Louisiana and by Republicans particularly GOP nominee Donald Trump, who toured Louisiana last Friday, Aug. 20 with his vice presidential running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

President Obama arrived in Louisiana at “11:45 a.m. Central time,” where he was met by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, his wife, Donna, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, and Sen. David Vitter, at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. He first visited Castle Place neighborhood, which had been affected badly by the floods. There Obama met and spoke with residents, rescuers and officials. The flooding caused 13 deaths, 106,000 households “registered for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency,” and 60,000 homes were damaged. Afterward, the president met with the families of shooting victims Alton Sterling and the Baton Rouge Police Department.

After his tour, President Obama delivered some remarks. The president expressed, “I come here first and foremost to say that the prayers of the entire nation are with everybody who lost loved ones. We are heartbroken by the loss of life. There are also still people who are desperately trying to track down friends and family we are going to keep on helping them every way that we can.”

Continuing Obama said, “Sometimes when these kinds of things happen it can seem too much to bear but what I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you’re not alone on this. Even after the TV cameras leave. The whole country is going to continue to support you and help you until we get folks back in their homes and lives are rebuilt.”
President Obama also praised FEMA’s response, which they already spent $127 million on the tragedy. Obama said FEMA’s help is not enough, “Now, federal assistance alone won’t be enough to make people’s lives whole again so I’m asking every American to do what you can to help get families and local businesses back on their feet.”

The president also jabbed Trump for criticizing him because he did not cut his vacation short to tour the damage earlier. Obama expressed, “So let me just remind folks: sometimes once the floodwaters pass, people’s attention spans pass. This is not a one-off. This is not a photo-op issue. This is how do you make sure that a month from now, three months from now, six months from now people still are getting the help that they need.”

Trump toured the damage with his running mate Mike Pence on Friday, where the GOP nominee donated an 18-wheeler of supplies. Trump was still criticizing the president this past weekend after the White House announced the president’s Tuesday visit. Trump told Fox News, “Tuesday’s too late. Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what’s going on, because it’s a mess.”

The president has been widely criticized for not cutting his vacation short to visit the worst flooding in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Instead, Obama was golfing and fundraising for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who also did not visit Louisiana’s flooding victims. Both had been critical of then President George W. Bush when he flew over and did stop during Hurricane Katrina, and took three days to visit the devastation.

Obama took over a week, but the White House deflected the criticism by pointing out the president declared an emergency on Aug. 14, when aid kicked in and Obama received briefings in the interim. The White House was also defensive attacking Trump for saying the same thing Obama did back in 2007 when he was a Democratic candidate running for president. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One the “President is used to people trying to score political points even in situations where they shouldn’t.”

Clinton, who fiercely attacked Bush when she was a New York Senator running for the Democratic nomination in 2007, this time went after Trump for actually visiting the victims in a timely manner. Clinton issued a statement saying, “This month’s floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response. I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild toge

Politics August 22, 2016: Court orders State Dept to release 15,000 FBI newly discovered Clinton emails

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Court orders State Dept to release 15,000 FBI newly discovered Clinton emails

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31:  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers her final speech as Secretary of State at the Council on Foreign Relations on January 31, 2013 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clintons last day before being replaced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MD) who this week was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will be February 1.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 31: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers her final speech as Secretary of State at the Council on Foreign Relations on January 31, 2013 in Washington, DC. Secretary Clintons last day before being replaced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MD) who this week was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will be February 1. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The FBI handed over nearly 15,000 additional emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. On Monday, Aug. 22, 2016, the State Department confirmed it received 14,900 newly discovered emails from the FBI after a court hearing ordered the State Department to release the emails by Sept. 23.

The FBI uncovered the emails which are either two and from Clinton during their investigation as to whether the former Secretary of State risked national security by sending or receiving classified emails on her private email server. The emails are in addition to the about 30,000 Clinton handed over back in December 2014 and have since been released publicly.

In July, FBI Director James Comey explained that the emails were uncovered during their investigation into Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State. Comey indicated, “We found those additional emails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years, and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton … Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of email fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement about the newly discovered emails and eventual release. Toner pointed out, “As we have previously explained, the State Department voluntarily agreed to produce to Judicial Watch any emails sent or received by Secretary Clinton in her official capacity during her tenure as secretary of state which are contained within the material turned over by the FBI and which were not already processed for FOIA by the State Department. We can confirm that the FBI material includes tens of thousands of nonrecord (meaning personal) and record materials that will have to be carefully appraised at State.”

Last week, the State Department announced they would release the emails the FBI discovered but did not indicate how many emails were found. There was a status hearing on the emails release on Monday, there U.S. District Judge James Boasberg is presiding over the case. The State Department has to release the emails as part of Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department.

Judge Boasberg vetoed the release schedule for the emails that the State Department presented. The Department wanted to protect Clinton and her lead in the presidential race and release them the second week in October. Instead, Judge Boasberg ordered one batch to be released on Sept. 23 and to return to court for another status hearing the same day.

Politics August 20, 2016: Trump and Pence tour flooded Louisiana; Obama finally will visit on Tuesday

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Trump and Pence tour flooded Louisiana; Obama finally will visit on Tuesday

By Bonnie K. Goodman

DIMONDALE, MI - AUGUST 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally August 19, 2016 in Dimondale, Michigan.  Earlier in the day, Trump toured flood-ravaged Louisiana. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

DIMONDALE, MI – AUGUST 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally August 19, 2016 in Dimondale, Michigan. Earlier in the day, Trump toured flood-ravaged Louisiana. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Republican nominee Donald Trump became the first major leader to visit flood-ravaged Louisiana, beating out President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump visited Baton Rouge along with his vice presidential running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence toured the damage on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Trump specifically visited Greenwell Springs in East Baton Rouge, St. Amant in Ascension Parish, and some areas of Lafayette.

A Louisiana Republican leadership delegation met Trump at the airport. The delegation included “Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry, Congressman Garret Graves, Congressman Steve Scalise, and Eric Skrmetta, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission and co-chair of Trump’s campaign in Louisiana.” Pence arrived before Trump with his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte and received an early briefing.

Trump and Pence’s visit took them to the areas where the floodwaters are now receding, and the real damage is visible. Trump visited Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, where he met with
“Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.”

There Trump and Perkins criticized vacationing President Obama for not coming to the state. Trump said, “The president says he doesn’t want to go; he is trying to get out of a golf game.” Meanwhile, Perkins commented, “I heard he wants to stay under par while we are under water.” Then Trump joked, “He will never be under par.”

The GOP ticket commenced their tour by meeting with “local officials, volunteers and the National Guard and touring the flood damage.” The Republican ticket met also with “Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.” They visited one of the organizations’ mobile kitchens, and where they were “cheered by the crowds.”

Trump also donated an 18-wheeler full of supplies, and he and Pence helped unload them. Trump said at that time to reporters, “I’ve had a great history with Louisiana. They need a lot of help. What’s happened here is incredible. Nobody understands how bad it is. It’s really incredible. So, I’m just here to help.” Liberals later criticized because the supplies included many toys.

Pence also commented to the media, saying, “These volunteers are incredibly inspiring but the American people need to know that Louisiana needs help. Volunteers, support for the Red Cross, support to the charities like Samaritan’s Purse that are coming along side these vulnerable families and we’re just here to help tell that story and very inspired by it.”

Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ issued a statement about Trump’s visit that was semi-critical. Edwards office said, “Gov. Edwards wasn’t informed of the Trump campaign’s visit to the state or the schedule. We welcome them to Louisiana, but not for a photo-op. Instead, we hope they’ll consider volunteering or making a sizable donation to the LA Flood Relief Fund to help the victims of this storm.”

Obama has been vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and been spending most of his time golfing, except a fundraiser for Clinton. The president is facing criticism for avoiding visit Louisiana in the past week. The flooding has caused 13 deaths, while thousands have been dislocated forced to leave their homes because of the flooding, with many of these homes damaged, it has been the worst devastation Louisiana has seen in years.

The White House later announced on Friday, that Obama would be touring the damage in Louisiana on Tuesday, Aug. 23. The White House’s statement announcing the visit said the President is “eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods and hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever.”

Neither has Clinton visited the region. Instead, she received a briefing from Gov. Bell. Clinton posted a message after on Facebook, writing, “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions. The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need,” she wrote in the post. “These are our friends, our family members, our community –, and they’re counting on us to reach out with open arms right now.”

Politics August 19, 2016: Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

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Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

By Bonnie K. Goodman

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  Republican nominee Donald Trump, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,  and his daughter Ivanka Trump do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.   (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21: Republican nominee Donald Trump, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and his daughter Ivanka Trump do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

Two days after a shake-up of Trump’s campaign leadership, campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned from his post. Manafort resigned on Friday morning, Aug. 19, 2016, and Trump issued a statement confirming the resignation. Manafort is increasingly coming under fire for his past lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political operative and possible corruption probe. Trump and his former chairman have been odds since the Republican National Convention. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Trump essentially demoted Manafort giving him more of a background role in his campaign.

Trump issued a statement on Friday confirming Manafort was leaving, saying, “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

Opponent Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was quick to attack Trump, tying him to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in a statement, expressed, “You can get rid of Manafort, but that doesn’t end the odd bromance Trump has with Putin.”

Conway later admitted that Manafort was forced out of the campaign. In an interview with WABC’s Rita Cosby, Conway revealed, “He was asked, and he indeed tendered his resignation today.” Continuing Trump’s new campaign manager recounted, “Mr. Trump accepted his resignation and wished him well and thanked him for his service. I think it’s as simple as that. The last couple weeks have been very rough with the campaign.” Conway also called it a “mutual and a very mutually respectful decision.”

On Wednesday, Trump names Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon as campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager in an attempted to reboot his controversy dogged campaign. With just three months to go in the campaign Trump has been lagging the polls behind opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump and his family, particularly son-in-law Jared Kushner blamed Manafort with what is wrong with the campaign and wanted him out.

Initially, Manafort was hired in March towards the end of the primary to help mold Trump into a traditional presidential candidate; he then took the helm after Trump let go his original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Campaign staffers were shocked and were not informed in advance of Manafort’s departure. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, however, will remain a part of the campaign serving as the campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee.

Politics August 19, 2016: Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

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Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigns

By Bonnie K. Goodman

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  Republican nominee Donald Trump, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,  and his daughter Ivanka Trump do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.   (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21: Republican nominee Donald Trump, Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and his daughter Ivanka Trump do a walk thru at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

Two days after a shake-up of Trump’s campaign leadership, campaign chairman Paul Manafort resigned from his post. Manafort resigned on Friday morning, Aug. 19, 2016, and Trump issued a statement confirming the resignation. Manafort is increasingly coming under fire for his past lobbying work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political operative and possible corruption probe. Trump and his former chairman have been odds since the Republican National Convention. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Trump essentially demoted Manafort giving him more of a background role in his campaign.

Trump issued a statement on Friday confirming Manafort was leaving, saying, “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

Opponent Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was quick to attack Trump, tying him to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook in a statement, expressed, “You can get rid of Manafort, but that doesn’t end the odd bromance Trump has with Putin.”

Conway later admitted that Manafort was forced out of the campaign. In an interview with WABC’s Rita Cosby, Conway revealed, “He was asked, and he indeed tendered his resignation today.” Continuing Trump’s new campaign manager recounted, “Mr. Trump accepted his resignation and wished him well and thanked him for his service. I think it’s as simple as that. The last couple weeks have been very rough with the campaign.” Conway also called it a “mutual and a very mutually respectful decision.”

On Wednesday, Trump names Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon as campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager in an attempted to reboot his controversy dogged campaign. With just three months to go in the campaign Trump has been lagging the polls behind opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump and his family, particularly son-in-law Jared Kushner blamed Manafort with what is wrong with the campaign and wanted him out.

Initially, Manafort was hired in March towards the end of the primary to help mold Trump into a traditional presidential candidate; he then took the helm after Trump let go his original campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Campaign staffers were shocked and were not informed in advance of Manafort’s departure. Manafort’s deputy, Rick Gates, however, will remain a part of the campaign serving as the campaign’s liaison to the Republican National Committee.

Politics August 18, 2016: Trump apologizes and regrets word choice throughout campaign

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Trump apologizes and regrets word choice throughout campaign

By Bonnie K. Goodman

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 18:   Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally on August 18, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump continues to campaign for his run for President of the United States. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, NC – AUGUST 18: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally on August 18, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump continues to campaign for his run for President of the United States. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Republican nominee Donald Trump delivered a different kind of campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C. doing something he repeatedly said he does not do, express regret. On Wednesday evening, Aug. 18, 2016, Trump spoke from scripted text at the Charlotte Convention Center, coming as close to an apology as he ever has on the campaign trail, saying he regrets if what he said during the campaign caused pain. Trump’s remorse comes as he shook up his campaign leadership in an attempt to jump-start his flagging campaign.

Speaking to supporters in North Carolina, Trump admitted, “As you know, I am not a politician. I have worked in business, creating jobs and rebuilding neighborhoods my entire adult life. I’ve never wanted to learn the language of the insiders, and I’ve never been politically correct – it takes far too much time, and can often make it more difficult to achieve total victory.”

Continuing, the GOP nominee expressed remorse, “Sometimes, in the heat of the debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words, or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump has made controversial remarks that could be deemed insulting and often sexist and racist. Since the convention, the GOP nominee has seen a backlash partly for his war of words with the Kahns, the Muslim parents of a Gold Star soldier killed in Iraq in 2004, and claiming President Barack Obama and  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton founded terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS. Those and other missteps have cost Trump at the polls both nationally and in battleground states, where Clinton now leads.

This is the first time Trump has ever come close to apologizing, something he said in the past he never does. Last year told radio host Don Imus “I like not to regret anything.”Then this year he expressed, “You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And you know some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. Many people like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points.”

Even after the post-Democratic convention controversy with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Trump stated, “I don’t regret anything.” Speaking to Washington, D.C. television station WJLA, the GOP nominee said, “I said nice things about the son and I feel that very strongly, but of course I was hit very hard from the stage and you know it’s just one of those things. But no, I don’t regret anything.”

The GOP nominee, however, is trying to reboot his campaign, changing its leadership, promoting his pollster and former adviser Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Breitbart executive Steve Bannon as campaign CEO. Trump is also beginning his general election ads and visits flood-ravaged Louisiana with his running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The campaign’s new direction aims at emphasizing his “authenticity.”

Trump also used the speech to attack rival Clinton’s honestly. Trump vowed to be truthful to the voters, saying, “I’ve traveled all across this country laying out my bold and modern agenda for change. In this journey, I will never lie to you. I will never tell you something I do not believe. I will never put anyone’s interests ahead of yours.” Continuing, Trump said of Clinton’s ability to be honest, “So while sometimes I can be too honest, Hillary Clinton is the exact opposite: she never tells the truth. One lie after another, and getting worse each passing day.” Trump asked the audience, “Aren’t you tired of the same old lies and the same old broken promises?” The GOP nominee also pointed out, Clinton “has proven to be one of the greatest liars of all time.”

Trump blamed the media because they focus and overanalyze his every word on the campaign trails rather than critical issues relevant to voters. The GOP nominee accused, “The establishment media doesn’t cover what really matters in this country, or what’s really going on in peoples’ lives. They will take words of mine out of context and spend a week obsessing over every single syllable and then pretend to discover some hidden meaning in what I said.”

Trump said the media should focus on the issues rather than him, indicating, “Just imagine if the media spent this much time investigating the poverty and joblessness in our inner cities. Just think about how much different things would be if the media in this country sent their cameras to our border, or to our closing factories, or to our failing schools.” Trump is also proud of upsetting the party’s establishment. Telling supporters, “I am glad I make the powerful a little uncomfortable now and again – including some powerful people in my own party. Because it means I am fighting for real change. I am fighting for you.”

Trump’s speech at the Charlotte Convention Center, was primarily a pitch to African-American voters, who represent a large “voting bloc” in North Carolina. Championing minorities Trump said, “Those who believe in oppressing women, gays, Hispanics, African-Americans and people of different faiths are not welcome to join our country,” and he promised to “reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton.” Telling them, “If African-Americans give Donald Trump a chance by giving me their vote, the result for them will be amazing.” Trump started his rally reaching out to the victims of the floods in Louisiana, saying, “We are one nation. When one state hurts, we all hurt. Our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we send them our deepest condolences.”

The Clinton campaign had a field day with Trump expressing regret, mocking him and his regret as a campaign invention. Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds issued a statement, which read, “Donald Trump literally started his campaign by insulting people. He has continued to do so through each of the 428 days from then until now, without shame or regret. We learned tonight that his speechwriter and teleprompter knows he has much for which he should apologize. But that apology tonight is simply a well-written phrase until he tells us which of his many offensive, bullying and divisive comments he regrets — and changes his tune altogether.”

Politics August 17, 2016: Trump adds to staff leadership in attempt to reboot his campaign

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Trump adds to staff leadership in attempt to reboot his campaign

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Kellyanne Conway, president and chief executive officer of Polling Co. Inc./Woman Trend, smiles during an interview on "With All Due Respect" in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Asked how Trump reassures conservatives about his positions on issues such as abortion without losing ground with voters in the center, Republican pollster Conway, one of Trump's new senior strategists, said he would work to shift the spotlight to Clinton. Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway, president and chief executive officer of Polling Co. Inc./Woman Trend, smiles during an interview on “With All Due Respect” in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. Asked how Trump reassures conservatives about his positions on issues such as abortion without losing ground with voters in the center, Republican pollster Conway, one of Trump’s new senior strategists, said he would work to shift the spotlight to Clinton. Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican nominee Donald Trump is shaking up his campaign staff leadership in hopes that can still beat opponent Hillary Clinton in the general election in November. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Trump made two major changes to his staff adding a new CEO Stephen Bannon executive chairman of Breitbart News and promoting his senior advisor and pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. Since the Republican National Convention, Trump’s campaign has been floundering with controversy after controversy dogging him as he falls in the polls.

Trump in a campaign statement announced the additions, calling them “extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win.” Continuing the GOP nominee praised Bannon and Conway, saying, “I believe we’re adding some of the best talents in politics, with the experience and expertise needed to defeat Hillary Clinton in November and continue to share my message and vision to Make America Great Again. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to win this election, and ultimately become President because our country cannot afford four more years of the failed Obama-Clinton policies which have endangered out financial and physical security.”

According to the statement, Bannon will have “a new position designed to bolster the business-like approach of Mr. Trump’s campaign” consisting of “oversight of the campaign staff and operations.” Conway will focus on Trump’s campaign message. Just hours before, the Trump campaign announced that former embattle FOX News head Roger Ailes will be prepping Trump for the three presidential debates, however, the campaign is now denying Ailes involvement.

Trump is retaining Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort although he might have been involved in a “corruption scandal” involving Ukraine. Manafort will stay at the campaign’s Washington, DC office, and according to CNN he will be “largely sidelined.”  Bannon will be at the helms,  taking over as Trump’s “top advisor” where the message will return the focus of Trump as the “outsider candidate.”

The campaign staff changes are weeks in the making, as tensions rose between the GOP nominee and Manafort. Trump’s campaign has been free fall since the convention, with controversy after controversy, and lagging poll numbers that have Trump trailing Clinton in both the national polls and battleground states. Manafort wanted to mold Trump into a tradition presidential candidate, while Trump veered towards the freewheeling style that brought him success in the primaries, a clash that has brought negative results recently.

Prominent GOP donor Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert influenced Trump’s decision, as well as his children and advisors Donald, Jr., Eric and Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner was the one that met with Trump’s top campaign official both new and old at Trump Tower to notify them of the changes.

Clinton attacked Trump on his campaign shakeup at a rally held in Cleveland, Ohio. Clinton emphasized that nothing is different about Trump even with his new and improved campaign staff. The Democratic nominee pointed out, “I think it’s fair to say that Donald Trump has shown us who he is. He can hire and fire anybody he wants from his campaign. They can make him read new words from a teleprompter, but he’s still the same man who insults gold star families, demeans women, mocks people with disabilities and thinks he knows more about ISIS than our generals. There is no new Donald Trump. This is it.”

Trump seems to agree but not for the same reasons Clinton implied. Speaking to a Wisconsin radio station, WKDT Trump said he did not want to change his campaign style. The GOP nominee expressed, “I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh are you going to pivot?’ I don’t want to pivot. You have to be you. If you start pivoting you are not being honest with people.”

Politics August 17, 2016: FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

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FBI hands Congress over Clinton interview notes investigation report

By Bonnie K. Goodman

WASHINGTON D.C., July 7, 2016-- U.S. FBI Director James Comey swears an oath before the House Oversight Committee over investigation into Hillary Clinton's email system, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, July 7, 2016. U.S. FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, but refuted several of her statements to justify the use of private email setup as secretary of state. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C., July 7, 2016– U.S. FBI Director James Comey swears an oath before the House Oversight Committee over investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email system, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, July 7, 2016. U.S. FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, but refuted several of her statements to justify the use of private email setup as secretary of state. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan via Getty Images)

The FBI handed over its report on their decision not to recommend criminal charges for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her private email server to Congress. The FBI sent the classified report originally for the Department of Justice and interview memos, called 302s to the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, following through on their request. The House is also is also request the DOJ file charges because Clinton perjured herself in her sworn testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

FBI Acting Assistant Director Jason V. Herring included a letter to “House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz” and “ranking Democratic member, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings” re-explaining the bureau’s decision not to charge Clinton. Herring wrote, “The FBI conducted this investigation, as it does all investigations, in a competent, honest and independent way. As the director stated, the FBI did find evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues were extremely careless in their handling of certain, very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Continuing Herring clarified, “The term ‘extremely careless’ was intended to be a common sense way of describing the actions of Secretary Clinton and her colleagues. The director did not equate ‘extreme carelessness’ with the legal standard of ‘gross negligence’ that is required by the statute. In this case, the FBI assessed that the facts did not support a recommendation to prosecute her or others within the scope of the investigation for gross negligence.” Herring also suggested that usually what Clinton would be subject to is “severe administrative consequences.”

Among the documents, the FBI handed over was the summary of Clinton’s three and a half hour interview with the bureau that took place last month. FBI Director James Comey promised the reports and memos when he testified on July 7 before the House Oversight panel, saying he would do “everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.”

The documents are considered classified and will never be made public. Republicans are trying to keep Clinton’s email scandal in the limelight the election, hoping it can damage her bid for the presidency despite leading Republican Donald Trump in the polls. The FBI issued a statement warning that the information should not be made public, writing, “The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a statement, however, arguing the documents should be made available to the public. Grassley wrote, “On initial review, it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton’s server containing classified information, is marked ‘unclassified/for official use.’ The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible. The public’s business ought to be public, with few exceptions. The people’s interest would be served in seeing the documents that are unclassified. The FBI has made public statements in describing its handling of the case, so sharing documents in support of those statements wherever appropriate would make sense.”
Clinton campaign responded with a statement, “This is an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI. We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.”

The spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee confirmed receipt in a statement, “The FBI has turned over a ‘number of documents’ related to their investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Committee staff is currently reviewing the information that is classified SECRET. There are no further details at this time.”

Congressional Republican are looking to make sure Clinton pays as CNN pointed out a “political price” for her actions during her tenure at the State Department since the FBI did not recommend criminal charges. Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking the DOJ to charge Clinton with perjury claiming she perjured herself during her testimony to the House’s Benghazi committee.

Republicans are accusing Clinton of lying four times in her testimony to the committee saying what she said countered what she told the FBI. In the letter, Chaffetz and Goodlatte wrote, “The evidence collected by the (FBI) during its investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as secretary of state appears to directly contradict several aspects of her sworn testimony.”

On Monday, Aug. 15, 35 Republicans led by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) called on Comey to release Clinton’s interview notes because they believe she perjured herself. Tuesday morning before the documents were handed over Marino appeared on Fox News where he said about Clinton, “That she lied under oath to Congress when she came into testify. And if she lied, she perjured herself. She lied to Congress, therefore she can be prosecuted and spend as long as 10 years in prison for doing that. The director of the FBI, the Justice Department, in my opinion, they’re taking direction from the White House saying, ‘Do nothing about this.'”

Politics August 16, 2016: Clinton remains on top of polls leads Trump by 9 percent

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Clinton remains on top of polls leads Trump by 9 percent

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives at a voter registration rally, August 16, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER        (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives at a voter registration rally, August 16, 2016, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is continuing her reign atop of the 2016 presidential election polls. According to the latest NBC News/Survey Monkey Weekly, Election Tracking Poll published on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, Clinton leads Republican nominee Donald Trump by 9 points.

According to the NBC News poll, Clinton has 50 percent support to Trump’s 41 percent. Clinton’s lead shrinks, however, if the poll takes into account the two third party candidates, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein. Then Clinton only Trump by 6 percent, 43 percent to Trump’s 37 percent. Meanwhile, Johnson would have 11 percent support and Stein with 4 percent.

Despite Clinton’s lead, the public is only supporting her because they view her as the lesser of two evils. According to the poll, the public views both candidates unfavorably, with 59 percent viewing Clinton negatively and 64 percent viewing Trump negatively. When the voters were asked about the candidate’s attributes, where they considered them, “honesty, values and temperament,” most voters said none of the above.

Clinton’s main edge over is that 42 percent of voters say the Democratic nominee has the “personality and temperament to serve” as percent only 17 percent say that about Trump. While Trump has the edge on the honesty front, 16 percent of voters think he is honest versus only 11 percent that view Clinton as honest.

Clinton has been leading Trump in every post-Democratic National Convention poll since August with margins between 8 to 10 percent depending on the poll.  According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Clinton has a 6.8-point advantage of Trump, 47.8 to 41 percent. Clinton is also leading in most battleground states.

Politics August 15, 2016: New Electoral College projection Clinton 288, Trump 174, 76 tossup

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New Electoral College projection Clinton 288, Trump 174, 76 tossup

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This combination of file photos shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(L)on June 15, 2016 and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on June 13, 2016.  / AFP / dsk        (Photo credit should read DSK/AFP/Getty Images)

This combination of file photos shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton(L)on June 15, 2016 and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on June 13, 2016. / AFP / dsk (Photo credit should read DSK/AFP/Getty Images)

If the polls were not enough a new Electoral College projection shows that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has the votes needs to win the election over her opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to a new NBC News battleground map projection released on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, Clinton has 288 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 174 with 76 still up in the air, 270 votes are needed to win the presidency.

The NBC News projection tallies include the states that are solidly and leaning towards the candidate. Among the states considered a tossup are Florida, Iowa, and Ohio, although according to most polls Clinton is leading in those states. Georgia and Nevada are also in the tossup column. Some states that were formerly tossup including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Michigan are now solidly Democrat.

Trump has been drowning in the polls since after the Democratic National Convention. Since then Trump’s numbers have been plummeting that he now sits between 8 and 10 points behind Clinton, who is dominating not only the national polls but also those in battleground states. According to FiveThirtyEight’s latest forecasts Clinton has an 89 percent chance of winning the election, while Trump has only an 11 percent chance.

Politics August 14, 2016: Trump blames biased news media coverage for bad poll numbers

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Trump blames biased news media coverage for bad poll numbers

By Bonnie K. Goodman

FAIRFIELD, CT - AUGUST 13:  Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the high temperature after addressing supporters on August 13, 2016 in Fairfield, Connecticut. Thousands of people in the traditionally Democratic-leaning state came out to see Trump speak at Sacred Heart University.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

FAIRFIELD, CT – AUGUST 13: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the high temperature after addressing supporters on August 13, 2016 in Fairfield, Connecticut. Thousands of people in the traditionally Democratic-leaning state came out to see Trump speak at Sacred Heart University. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is blaming the news media for his weak poll numbers. Trump began his attack on the media on a Saturday evening, Aug. 13, 2016, rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, and continued to rant against the media in a series of tweets on Sunday, Aug. 14.

Trump began expressing this sentiment at a Fairfield, Connecticut rally Saturday evening, telling supporters, “I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton. I’m running against the crooked media.”

Then in a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Aug. 14 Trump blasted the media for bias, attacking him and shielding Clinton. Trump wrote in the morning, “If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%.”

Continuing, Trump tweeted in the afternoon, “It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!” and “Crooked Hillary Clinton is being protected by the media. She is not a talented person or politician. The dishonest media refuses to expose!”

Trump believes the media skews what he says but ignores his larger message. In a tweet from Sunday evening, he wrote, “My rallies are not covered properly by the media. They never discuss the real message and never show crowd size or enthusiasm.”

The news media has been biased against Trump, over-analyzing every word he said, but letting Clinton’s scandals and potential abuse of power during her State Department tenure go with minimal coverage. The scrutiny is impossible to live up to, with the media emphasizing out of context sound bites rather Trump’s larger message or even as he pointed out his rallies and a large number of supporters present. No matter what Clinton does, the media does not find fault, but according to them, everything Trump does is wrong.

Politics August 12, 2016: Trump claims sarcasm after calling Obama the founder of terrorist group ISIS

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Trump claims sarcasm after calling Obama the founder of terrorist group ISIS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

ERIE, PA - AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate  Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Erie Insurance Arena on August 12, 2016 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Trump continues to campaign for his run for president of the United States. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

ERIE, PA – AUGUST 12: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally at Erie Insurance Arena on August 12, 2016 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Trump continues to campaign for his run for president of the United States. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

For nearly a week Republican nominee Donald Trump has been calling President Barack Obama and his opponent Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the founders of terrorist organization Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now he says he was just being sarcastic. On Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Trump blamed the media for literally believing what he said, instead of identifying his sarcasm. This is hardly the first time this campaign Trump has blamed the media for not understanding his sarcasm and misinterpreting his remarks.

On Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”  The walk about comes two days after Trump starting blaming Obama for the founding of the terrorist group. Trump made the remarks numerous times over two days before going back on his comments.

Trump again went back on his remarks saying he was being “not that sarcastic.” Trump told supporters at an Erie, Pa. rally on Friday, “Obviously I’m being sarcastic … but not that sarcastic to be honest with you.” Trump continued to criticize “dishonest media,” saying, “These people are the lowest form of life. They are the lowest form of humanity. Not all of them, they have about 25 percent that are pretty good, actually.”

Trump supporter and campaign surrogate Newt Gingrich appeared Friday on “Fox and Friends” trying to explain the GOP nominee words. Gingrich blames Trump’s language, “One of the things that’s frustrating about his candidacy is the imprecise language. He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10.”

The former speaker and the 2012 GOP candidate believes Trump simplified what he meant to say. Gingrich clarified, “When you instead compress them into ‘Obama created ISIS,’ I know what Trump has in his mind, but that’s not what people hear. He has got to learn to use language that has been thought through, and that is clear to everybody, and to stick to that language.”

Gingrich, like Trump, blames the media, but also Trump’s campaign style, a holdover from the primary. The former speaker said, “It was a style that none of his Republican opponents could cope with. But I don’t think he yet appreciates, when you’re one of the few candidates for president, particularly when you’re the conservative … you’ve got to understand that the news media is going to attack you every chance they get, and it’s your job to not give them a chance.”

Trump began making waves with this accusation on Wednesday evening, Aug. 10 at a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the speech, Trump called the president by his full name, “Barack Hussein Obama.” The GOP nominee called the war in Iraq a mistake, and “criticized” the president’s  “clean up.” Trump said, “Normally you want to clean up; he made a bigger mess out of it. He made such a mess. And then you had Hillary with Libya, so sad.”

Then Trump accused Obama, saying, “In fact, in many respects, you know they honor President Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK? He’s the founder. He founded ISIS. I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”

Trump reiterated the sentiment on Thursday, Aug 11, during an interview with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt tried to spin Trump asking if he meant, “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.” Trump responded with certainty, “No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”

Hewitt still questioned what Trump meant, trying to force him to clarify, arguing that Obama’s “not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.” Trump bluntly responded, “I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”  No matter what, Trump remained steadfast on his position, saying his comments were “no mistake.”

The GOP nominee made the statements repeatedly. Trump also told the National Association of Home Builders in Miami on Thursday morning, “I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They are the founders.” At a rally Thursday evening, Trump said again, President Obama “is the founder in a true sense.” Trump said that the terrorist organization wants Clinton for president, saying on Thursday, “Oh boy, is ISIS hoping for her.”

In a CNBC interview on Thursday, Trump clarified, Obama “was the founder of ISIS, absolutely. The way he removed our troops — you shouldn’t have gone in. I was against the war in Iraq. Totally against it.” Continuing he said, “That mistake was made. It was a horrible mistake — one of the worst mistakes in the history of our country. We destabilized the Middle East and we’ve been paying the price for it for years. He was the founder — absolutely, the founder. In fact, in sports they have awards, he gets the most valuable player award. Him and Hillary. I mean she gets it, too. I gave them co-founder if you really looked at the speech.” Supposedly, Trump originally supported the war despite the denials.

Clinton responded and attacked Trump on his favorite medium, Twitter. Clinton tried to tie the GOP’s nominee words to his fitness to be president. Clinton wrote, “It can be difficult to muster outrage as frequently as Donald Trump should cause it, but his smear against President Obama requires it.” Clinton also tweeted, “No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS. … Anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our Commander-in-Chief.”