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On the roster: Trump keeps it one hundred – Obama set to re-take the stage – Le Trump? – Power Play: Eat a peach (or a pork rind) – Les Nessman, call your office
TRUMP KEEPS IT ONE HUNDRED
President Trump expressed frustration today that his administration was being held to the “ridiculous” standard of having its accomplishments measured at the 100-day mark, which he will reach a week from Saturday.
And, to be fair, there’s nothing magical about 100 days for American presidents except for that Franklin Roosevelt exploited the concept in 1933 to jam through his agenda.
FDR’s successors have, to varying degrees, used the arbitrary timetable as he did: to try to goad Congress into action.
That was certainly the direction Trump seemed to be going when he immediately before the 2016 election offered a “Contract with the American Voter” that promised enormous action in the first 100 days.
And when Trump says that the 100-day standard is being imposed on him by the press, it sounds a little like what his predecessor claimed about Syria, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.”
Trump’s 18-point list of promises to keep in that span as well as the 10 legislative initiatives he said would be underway are, to say the least, a mixed bag.
He has delivered on some, like replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia and withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. On others, not so much.
In some cases the failure stems from simplistic or overly broad language like “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order” from the Obama administration. Are all the orders unconstitutional? Is he only revoking the unconstitutional ones? Probably intended to be in the eye of the voter…
Others have missed the mark because of problems with execution, like Trump’s promise to “suspend immigration from terror-prone regions.”
Still others are not complete because Trump changed his mind. Trump said he will not declare China a currency manipulator. He also has rescinded his federal hiring freeze and carved plenty of holes in his restrictions on lobbyists.
As for the legislative agenda, there is not much good to say.
Trump promised movement on term limits, corruption, taxes, ObamaCare, childcare, education and more. Few have been even proposed and those that have gotten underway, especially TrumpCare, have been a mess.
So it is understandable that Trump would like to break the yardstick he set for himself because he can already foresee the horrible coverage that will greet his 99th day in office one week from now. Not a happy thought for a guy who just carded the lowest first-quarter Gallup job approval rating ever.
But in addition to mounting an attack on the metric itself, Trump also seems determined to try to at least partly live up to it.
How else to explain the frantic action by the administration to simultaneously revive the previously failed TrumpCare initiative and raise the odds of a government shutdown in order to win some symbolic victories in a must-pass government funding package due a week from today.
Media maven Trump can obviously foresee the painful moment one week from today as he signs legislation extending current spending levels without any adjustment for his priorities and simultaneously hitting the 100-day mark without a single legislative victory.
But the president ought to take his own word for it: The 100-day construct is “ridiculous.” We could have told him that when he promised so much to voters in November.
If he and his ever-more-harried team fling themselves at the task of living up to unrealistic promises Trump made to win the election, Trump risks not just a weekend of bad coverage but catastrophic failure.
A government shutdown, even a brief one, would convince the country swiftly that the Republican claim to be a governing party is something like sick joke. Couple that with a busted revival of TrumpCare and you have the beginning of an epic tailspin.
If Republicans want to keep control of Washington next year, they better get serious about setting priorities and sticking with them.
THE RULEBOOK: LOCAL YOKELS
“The people of America may be warmly attached to the government of the Union, at times when the particular rulers of particular States, stimulated by the natural rivalship of power, and by the hopes of personal aggrandizement, and supported by a strong faction in each of those States, may be in a very opposite temper.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 59
TIME OUT: HAPPY BIRTHDAY… WEATHER PERMITTING
The Telegraph: “Queen Elizabeth II‘s 90th birthday celebrations were one of the highlights of 2016, but this year will be a much quieter affair as she prepares to turn 91. … The Queen celebrates her birthday twice each year – once on the anniversary of the day she was born, April 21, and on an ‘official’ birthday in June. … It is a tradition that was started by George II in 1748 and is owes its origins to the ageless problem of the British weather. George was born in November, and felt the weather would be too cold at that time of year for his annual birthday parade. So instead, he combined his birthday celebration with an annual spring military parade known as Trooping the Colour, in which regiments displayed their flags or ‘colours’ so soldiers would be familiar with them. It is a tradition that has continued to this day.”
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OBAMA SET TO RE-TAKE THE STAGE
Chicago Tribue: “Former President Barack Obama will return to Chicago on Monday to speak to young people at the University of Chicago, in what will be his first public event since leaving the White House. Obama and young leaders will hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing at the university’s Logan Center for the Arts, his office announced Friday. … About six young people will appear on stage with him for the 11 a.m. discussion, [Spokesman Kevin Lewis] said. The event will be a homecoming for Obama on multiple levels. He formerly taught constitutional law at the U. of C. and his family has a home nearby in the Kenwood neighborhood. It also lets the former president, who came to Chicago to work as a young community organizer, fulfill one of the commitments he set out for his post-presidential years: to engage and work with the country’s next generation of leaders, Lewis said.”
Politico: “Two days before a French election that has Europe on edge, President Donald Trump weighed in Friday with a tweet that seemed to imply support for the controversial far-right populist Marine Le Pen. Trump’s Friday morning tweet responded to a shooting the day before on Paris’s Champs Elysees that outgoing French President Francois Hollande called a likely act of terrorism. ‘Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!’ Trump wrote. A contender for France’s presidency, Le Pen has made the terrorist threat— particularly from Muslim immigrants to France—a top campaign issues. Until Friday morning, Trump had maintained a studious neutrality in the French vote, despite suspicions throughout Europe that he and his senior strategist Steve Bannon favor Le Pen, a fellow anti-establishment populist.”
POWER PLAY: EAT A PEACH (OR A PORK RIND)
All eyes were on Georgia’s special election this week that put Republicans on edge, but can you name the last Democrat to represent the Peach State in the U.S. Senate? Or better yet, do you know what sport Jason Chaffetz played in college? Chris Stirewalt is back with his smorgasbord of weekly news trivia. This week Daniel Halper takes on Josh Kraushaar… Want to play along? WATCH HERE
Trump wins release of U.S. citizen held in Egypt – WaPo
Iranians look to avoid showdown on nuke deal – LA Times
No neocon: Trump says “no role” for U.S. in rebuilding Libya – WaPo
Trump to review key financial rules – Politico
White House didn’t disclose Trump Mar-a-Lago meeting with former Colombian leaders – The Hill
Another missed deadline: Trump’s cybersecurity plan still not complete – Politico
Attorney General Jeff Sessions to revisit charges against Julian Assange – NYT
GOP super PAC begins $800,000 campaign ahead of special House election in Montana – Roll Call
Ivanka Trump skips book tour to avoid ethics conflicts – Fortune
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
With Congress returning to the Hill on Monday, this Sunday show is not one to miss. Before the busy week ahead Chris Wallace sits down with Sen. James Lankford to discuss all things Trump as well as the potential of a government shutdown. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
AUDIBLE: THANKS, SOCRATES
“Starting decades ago, many people, especially in the universities, lost faith in the Western civilization narrative. They stopped teaching it, and the great cultural transmission belt broke. Now many students, if they encounter it, are taught that Western civilization is a history of oppression. … All I can say is, if you think that was reactionary and oppressive, wait until you get a load of the world that comes after it.” – David Brooks in his NYT column, “The Crisis of Western Civ.”
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the ‘sexism’ issue with Clinton. Maybe I missed something, but I never heard anyone suggest she get back in the kitchen. In 2008, her defeat was a result of the first Black president trumping the first female president. President Obama also possessed charm, charisma and a great story….she, not so much. Her ‘deplorables’ comment, duplicitous nature, among other issues were the cause of her troubles… not her uterus.” – Madeline Schwarz, Wildomar, Calif.
[Ed. note: Race was a factor for Obama’s elections, for good and for ill. There were no doubt votes he lost because of his African ancestry but he no doubt won many, if not more, votes because of it. One suspects the same is true for Clinton who exploited her status as the first female major-party nominee in history without surcease. Were there people who voted against Clinton because she was a woman? I’m sure. Were there others, perhaps greater in number, who voted for her because she was a woman? I’m sure. What was galling about Clinton’s overt play on gender, though, was that she used a real problem – actual sexism – to cover for her own failings ethically, politically and managerially. Such selfish exploitation of a legitimate issue is peak Clintonism.]
“Just curious why President Trump has not nominated more judges to fill current vacancies? According to the USCourts.gov website, there are currently 127 judicial vacancies with 20 of those on the Courts of Appeals. 49 of the total vacancies are considered ‘judicial emergencies’. Considering most of them were vacant when he took office, I’m surprised that he has only found time to make two nominations. Gorsuch & one currently pending for the Court of Appeals. Perhaps this is not something scheduled for the first 100 days but it seems like he is missing a golden opportunity in this area.” – Keith Dameron, Lakewood, Colo.
[Ed. note: Great point, Mr. Dameron! One of the advantages of the lowered thresholds for confirming judicial appointees is to alleviate overburdened federal courts, especially at the district level. But the process for filing nominations isn’t quite a rubber stamp. Suitable nominees must be found and put forward, usually by officeholders of the party in power. Vetting and confirming these individuals takes time. I would expect at some point in the not-too-distant future, you will see a flotilla of appointments set sail in the Senate. All of the vacancies won’t be addressed but you will likely see dozens in short order.]
“I totally enjoyed your report on Christopher Hitchens and Can Dems Kick The Clinton Habit. For some reason, your comments [Thursday] were right on and provided me hope that not all Americans have the right to being stupid all the time.” – Ray Ingram, Athens, Ala.
[Ed. note: I wouldn’t go that far, Mr. Ingram! Americans certainly have the right to be stupid all the time. What they don’t have is the right to be protected from the consequences of their stupidity. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write in.]
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HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
LES NESSMAN, CALL YOUR OFFICE
Columbus [Ga.] Ledger-Enquirer: “Parents lept to social media this week after a chaotic egg drop event at a local park where a helicopter rained down candy-filled plastic eggs in celebration of Easter. ‘It was awful, I don’t even know how to describe it,’ said Maria Phillips, an egg drop participant and mother of a 2-year-old. ‘It was like when Mufasa got killed in the ‘Lion King.’’ The drop, sponsored by the Bridge Church in Columbus, featured a helicopter dropping candy-filled eggs into a field for children to then search for. … As the helicopter flew overhead for the first drop… it dropped the eggs into the middle of the field instead of in the first section. From that point on, it was madness. … Dust was flying, people were getting hit in the head and it was a scene of chaos, [mother Chelsea Gillens] said. … ‘…We got attacked by kids bigger than my 13-year-old, like they had facial hair.’”
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.