This article titled "Trump goes 0-for-3 with Bush family as Jeb vows to sit out – as it happened" was written by Scott Bixby (now) and Tom McCarthy (earlier), for theguardian.com on Friday 6th May 2016 21.04 UTC
Today in Campaign 2016
Never say #NeverTrump... unless you’re a member of the Bush clan.
With cover provided by House speaker Paul Ryan, who yesterday declined to endorse Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House, a litany of “thanks, but no thanks” echoed from the halls of Washington, with multiple former presidential candidates declaring that they would rather eschew voting at all than cast a ballot for the real-estate tycoon.
But all wasn’t dire in Trump Town - despite his flirtation this morning with allowing the United States to default on its sovereign debt, endorsements from certain quarters of the Republican party continued to pour in, as well as pronouncements from his campaign that the naysayers would come around. Of course, so did the gleeful negative advertisements from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Here’s a quick rundown on the biggest news from the campaign trail - and some new nuggets that have just dropped:
- In a series of tweets, former presidential candidate and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham declared that he could not, “in good conscience,” support Donald Trump’s candidacy “because I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative... nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as commander in chief.”
- Former Florida governor Jeb Bush joined Graham - as well as his former-president brother and father - in declining to vote for either candidate, saying that the Republican nominee “has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character” required to serve as president. “I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life,” Bush wrote. “For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress. I look forward to working hard for great conservatives in the Senate and House in the coming months.”
- Trump, for his part, doesn’t seem too perturbed by the brewing Republican civil war. The presumptive nominee penned an eyeroll-laden response to Graham’s declaration, writing that if he had lost the primary campaign as badly as Graham had, he wouldn’t vote either. “I fully understand why Lindsey Graham cannot support me,” Trump wrote. “If I got beaten as badly as I beat him, and all the other candidates he endorsed, I would not be able to give my support either. Every time I see Lindsey Graham spew hate during interviews I ask why the media never questions how I single handily [sic] destroyed his hapless run for president.”
- He’s left it up to his campaign aides to denounce those unwilling to hitch their wagon to his star:
- Meanwhile, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton senses a weakness - and is making the most of it. Clinton’s campaign has been reaching out to Bush family donors to try to win their support with the pitch that she’s closer to their values than Trump is, reports Ben White in Politico.
- Throw in her scalding new line of Twitter-based anti-Trump advertisements, and the general-election strategy of the Clinton camp may be coming into shape:
- But while Clinton focuses on Trump, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is focusing on the upcoming Democratic national convention. Sanders has written a letter to Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz warning that any moves by the national party to stack convention committees with Clinton supporters will result in fights on the floor of the convention. “I believe that the composition of the standing committees must reflect the relative support that has been received by both campaigns,” Sanders wrote. “That was why I was so disappointed to learn that of the over forty people our campaign submitted at your request you chose to select only three of my recommendations for the three standing committees.”
That’s it for the biggest news of the day - we’ll be back next week with more up-to-the-second news from the campaign trail!
Donald Trump: If I had lost as badly as Lindsey Graham, I'd be mad too
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has penned an eyeroll-laden response to former opponent Lindsey Graham’s declaration that he would rather sit this election out than vote for Trump, writing that if he had lost the primary campaign as badly as Graham had, he wouldn’t vote either.
“I fully understand why Lindsey Graham cannot support me,” Trump wrote. “If I got beaten as badly as I beat him, and all the other candidates he endorsed, I would not be able to give my support either. Every time I see Lindsey Graham spew hate during interviews I ask why the media never questions how I single handily [sic] destroyed his hapless run for president.”
“As a candidate who did not receive 1% in his own state - compared to my victory at nearly 40% with many others in the race - he has zero credibility,” Trump continued. “He was a poor representative and an embarrassment to the great people of South Carolina. Judging by the incompetent way he ran his campaign, it is easy to see why his military strategies have failed so badly - we can’t even beat ISIS!”
“While I will unify the party, Lindsey Graham has shown himself to be beyond rehabilitation. And like the voters who rejected him, so will I!”
Jeb Bush: I won't vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton
Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush has posted a Facebook note declaring that, like fellow former candidate Lindsey Graham, he will abstain from voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the general election this November, saying that the Republican nominee “has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character” required to serve as president.
“In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life,” Bush wrote. “For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress. I look forward to working hard for great conservatives in the Senate and House in the coming months.”
“American voters have made it clear that Washington is broken, but I’m not optimistic that either of the leading candidates for president will put us on a better course,” Bush said, in his note.
“Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character,” he continued. “He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.”
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, “has proven to be an untrustworthy liberal politician who, if elected, would present a third term of the disastrous foreign and economic policy agenda of Barack Obama,” Bush said.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has a strong ad game: As Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, attempts to move towards the center, keep him pinned to the extreme positions that helped him win the nomination.
Case in point...
Bernie Sanders to DNC: Don't shut my supporters out at the convention, or else
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has written a letter to Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to warn that any moves by the national party to stack convention committees with supporters of opponent Hillary Clinton will result in fights on the floor of the convention.
“I believe that the composition of the standing committees must reflect the relative support that has been received by both campaigns,” Sanders wrote. “That was why I was so disappointed to learn that of the over forty people our campaign submitted at your request you chose to select only three of my recommendations for the three standing committees. Moreover, you did not assign even one of the people submitted by our campaign to the very important Rules Committee of the Democratic National Convention.”
Sanders has won roughly 45% of pledged delegates during the Democratic nomination process, and has demanded similar representation in the committees that craft the convention’s rules and help form the Democratic party’s platform.
“If we are to have a unified party in the fall, no matter who wins the nomination, we cannot have a Democratic National Convention in which the views of millions of people who participated in the Democratic nominating process are unrepresented in the committee membership,” Sanders continued, saying that such a makeup “sends the very real message that the Democratic Party is not open to the millions of new people that our campaign has brought into the political process.”
“Fairness, inclusion and transparency should be the standard under which we operate.”
If committee assignments aren’t allotted proportionally, Sanders warned, the disparity could result in floor fights at the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.
“If the process is set up to produce an unfair, one-sided result, we are prepared to mobilize our delegates to force as many votes as necessary to amend the platform and rules on the floor of the convention,” Sanders concluded.
Former president George W. Bush’s top White House staffer has declared that the notion of billionaire Donald Trump taking over his former boss’ position scares him.
“When Donald Trump entered the race, I didn’t think he had a chance,” former White House chief of staff Andy Card told CBS This Morning.
“When he started to gain traction, I became a cynic. I wasn’t sure he could make it. I was saying, ‘sane people will recognize this is not going to happen.’ Well, it happened. He scared me.”
“I want him to really pay attention the responsibility of being president,” Card said, saying that Trump has to assuage his fears that his kneejerk campaign style wouldn’t translate into a similar pattern of behavior as the nation’s commander in chief.
“I take the vote for president very, very seriously. Right now, I will probably write in a name,” Card said. “I want to find out what it will be like, Donald Trump, when you have an impossibly tough decision where there is no measure of popularity.”
Card is far from the first official from the second Bush administration to withhold support from the presumptive Republican nominee - starting with his former boss, who has said that he will sit this campaign out.
The late Rob Ford, former mayor of Toronto, has endorsed Donald Trump’s race for the White House, despite the notable handicap of being a Canadian citizen who passed away in late March.
Tweeting from the account for the first time since Ford’s death, someone posted from the tabloid fixture’s Twitter account a message for American voters:
Cheney supports Trump
Former vice president Dick Cheney has told CNN that he has always supported the GOP nominee and will do so this year as well.
Trump has accused Cheney and former president George W Bush of lying about Saddam Hussein’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to force a war.
Confronted with those remarks on Fox News in February, Cheney called Trump a “liberal Democrat”:
He sounds like a liberal Democrat to me, Bret. He’s wrong, and he’s I think, deliberately promoting those views in order to advance his political interests.
Kerry slams Trump in graduation address
Secretary of State John Kerry told college graduates on Friday that their diversity is “Donald Trump’s worst nightmare”, the AP reports:
Speaking to an estimated audience of 25,000 at Northeastern University’s commencement, Kerry drew heavy applause when he noted the many races and religions among the graduates, and then directed a jab at the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“You really do look spectacular,” Kerry said. “I want you to just look around you. Classmates from every race, religion, gender, shape, size. Eighty-five countries represented and dozens of languages spoken. You are the most diverse class in Northeastern’s history. In other words, you are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”
Graham calls Trump 'demographic death'
“Eating a taco is probably not going to fix the problem we have with Hispanics. I think embracing Donald Trump is embracing demographic death.”
Ryan and Trump to meet
On Thursday. High noon, presumably, with hats and chaps.
Nebraska shows up for Trump. Via the Omaha World-Herald:
Adelson: Trump 'good for Israel'
Casino magnate and political donor Sheldon Adelson told the New York Times that he is supporting much smaller casino magnate and political donor Donald Trump for president.
“Yes, I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican,” Adelson said. “He’s our nominee. Whoever the nominee would turn out to be, any one of the 17 — he was one of the 17. He won fair and square.”
Trump, Adelson said separately, “will be good for Israel.”
I guess he’s pretending to dig coal?
Lindsey Graham not budging on Trump
South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham, who didn’t get far in his presidential bid, tweets that he won’t support Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in November.
Graham was reelected in 2014 and may sense little political risk in so vocally objecting to the candidate that South Carolina Republicans picked 32.5-22.5 over Marco Rubio – and that was back when everyone was still in the race.
“It’s hard to believe that in a nation of more than 300 million Americans Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be our choices for President,” Graham’s tweet storm begins:
As for me, I absolutely will NOT support Hillary Clinton for President. (2)
Hillary Clinton represents the third term of Barack Obama & our nation cannot afford to continue those failed policies at home or abroad.(3)
I will enthusiastically support Republicans for other offices in South Carolina and throughout the country. (6)
I will focus my time, energy and effort on raising resources and advocating for our Republican majorities in the House and Senate. (7)
Finally, I do not plan to attend the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer. (8)
After the election, regardless of who wins, I’ll do everything I can to help new President deal w/ the many challenges facing our nation.(9)
Outside a Walmart Supercenter at the heart of a senator’s online manifesto and not far from the geographic center of the US, 79-year-old Duane Kiekow was adjusting to the reality that Donald Trump is his party’s nominee, writes David Steen Martin for the Guardian:
“I’m grudgingly coming around to the fact that it appears to be Hillary and Trump. I’ll take Trump,” said Kiekow, a registered Republican. [...]
Outside that Walmart on a day when Nebraska senator Ben Sasse’s online manifesto was all the rage on talk radio, Kiekow and other voters in this solidly Republican swath of the US grappled with the presidential options ahead of them. Most agreed that their choices didn’t reflect their interests.
“I say anyone but Trump. I don’t care who wins as long as it’s not Trump,” said Pam Eix, a nurse in this tiny Nebraska city set amid farmland.
Suzie Markey, a retired medical underwriter from Fremont, said she didn’t know how she was going to vote.
“People don’t know what to do. I’m not the only one. I cannot vote for Donald Trump. It’s a dilemma,” Markey said. She said she was no fan of Hillary Clintonbut Trump’s crass language and personal insults did not appear presidential.
“If my kids had acted that way, they’d have been grounded,” she said.
Read the full piece here:
Nebraska votes Tuesday. Trump has an Omaha event scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Labor secretary: a recovery Republicans would be proud of
In an interview with the Guardian, Labor Secretary Tom Perez said that Friday’s jobs report – 160,000 jobs were added in April, 40,000 less than expected – was a “solid” one.
Solid enough that Republicans would happily switch places with Democrats and take credit for the recovery, given the chance, Perez asserted.
“I appreciate the candor of Mitch McConnell and others who said our goal is to make this president a one-term president,” Perez said. “The challenge that they have right now is that if you administered truth serum to the Republican leadership in Congress and the head of the Republican National Committee and said, ‘Hey if I were to tell you that the unemployment rate would be 5% heading into an election cycle that you were in charge of and that it would have been 74 months in a row of private sector job growth and 5m open jobs’, they would’ve said, ‘Sign me up’. Because those are pretty good numbers.
“In fact, Mitt Romney said, ‘If you elect me in 2012, I’ll have the unemployment down to 6% by the end of my first term’. Regrettably the only response that other side has had [to the economic recovery] is to form an Eeyore caucus of truth deniers.”
Perez conceded that the economic recovery had a long way to go. He said it could be accelerated if Republicans in Congress agreed to raising the federal minimum wage and enacted paid family leave.
Obama: 'this is not a reality show'
In Barack Obama’s turn in the briefing room this afternoon, the taco bowl question did not follow directly on the president’s remark that “this is not a reality show.” Nevertheless...
Who are the Democratic superdelegates?
At first glance, with 13 primary races still to go on the Democratic side, it might look like Bernie Sanders is still in contention of winning the nomination - he is only trailing Hillary Clinton by 321 pledged delegates.
But one reason why Sanders’s chances are so slim – apart from the difficulty of making up ground quickly in the Democrats’ system of proportional delegate distribution – is that Clinton has an added lead of 483 super delegates, unbound Democrats who are free to change their minds about who they vote for at the national convention in July.
In 2008, to the detriment of Clinton, most super delegates stuck to the candidate that voters in their state selected. If the reverse proves true this time, Sanders could still have a chance. But there’s bad news for Bernie.
This week, DNC data analyzed by Pew shows that only 1 in 4 super delegates are undecided - probably not enough to get Sanders to the finish line of the 2,383 delegates needed for nomination (just 6% of the super delegates said they were committed to Sanders and the rest were supporting Clinton).
There’s also a little demographic information about these individuals that have so much sway in deciding the final nominee for the party. Of the 713 super delegates, 193 are US representatives, 47 are Senators, 21 are Governors while most of the rest are party members. Overall, 62% of super delegates are white and 58% are men.
That’s it for Obama. Press secretary Josh Earnest takes the lectern.
Obama is asked about Trump’s taco bowl / Cinco de Mayo / “I love Hispanics” tweet.
“I have no thoughts on Mr Trump’s tweets. As a general rule I don’t pay attention to Mr Trump’s tweets,” the president says.
He’s asked what he thinks Democratic voters should think about the ongoing investigation of Clinton’s emails.
Obama says he does not want to “meddle in the primaries” that have yet to play out.
“Let the process play out,” he says. “We’ll know soon enough, it’s not going to be that much longer.”
Obama: 'Republican women voters are going to have to decide'
The president is asked about Ryan’s hesitancy about Trump.
I think you have to ask Speaker Ryan what the implications of his comments are. There is no doubt that there is a debate that’s taking place within the Republican party about who they are and what they represent.
Then the president muses on the Republican identity crisis: “Their standard bearer at the moment is Donald Trump and I think that not just Republican officials but Republican voters are” going to have to decide.
Republican women voters are going to have to decide, is that the guy who I feel comfortable with, and representing me, and what I care about?
He also says that stewards of finance will have to ask whether Trump’s budgets work.
As far as Democrats, I think we run on what we’re for, not just what we’re against.
Obama on Sanders: 'let the process play out'
Obama is taking questions in the White House briefing room. He’s running down a list of things Clinton and Sanders agree on.
If you look at 95% of the issues, there’s strong agreement there. You don’t see the kinds of strong divisions between the two Democratic candidates that remain and what you saw in some of the Republican debates.
Clinton going after Bush donors
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been reaching out to Bush family donors to try to win their support with the pitch that she’s closer to their values than Trump is, reports Ben White in Politico:
Top targets for the Clinton team include people like Woody Johnson, Jeb Bush’s former finance chair and the owner of the New York Jets.
One person close to Clinton said supporters of the former secretary of state drew up a list of Wall Street donors who supported Jeb Bush and other unsuccessful Republican candidates months ago but wanted to wait until Trump locked down the nomination before beginning to make the calls.
“When you think about it there is no downside to making these calls, including for Hillary herself to make then,” this person said. “They may say no but they will talk to her for half an hour about their view of the world and probably say nice things when asked about her publicly. And they might stay away from Trump.”
Read the full piece here.
Obama to speak on economy
The White House has announced a previously unscheduled address by the president on the economy, to begin at noon ET – in just more than 10 minutes.
“The US economy showed further signs of a slowdown on Friday as the US Department of Labor announced just 160,000 new jobs had been created in April, 40,000 fewer than had been expected,” wrote the Guardian’s Jana Kasperkevic. “The US unemployment rate remained steady at 5%.”
What’s behind Ryan’s hesitancy about Trump? The Washington Examiner quotes an unnamed “person familiar” as saying it’s the whole bigotry + violence thing:
Below is video Ryan condemning Trump – not by name – over his slowness to disclaim former KKK leader David Duke’s enthusiastic endorsement.
“If a person wants to be a nominee of the Republican party, there can be no evasion and no games,” Ryan said. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals.”
Then he says “I hope this is the last time I have to speak out on this race” LOL.
The Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt, on assignment in Pennsylvania with a presidential candidate running on a platform of no booze for you:
Rand Paul backs Trump
Asked Thursday whether he backs Trump, Republican senator Rand Paul affirmed that indeed he would.
“I’ve always said I will endorse the nominee,” Paul told a radio show, with audio published by BuzzFeed. “To me it’s most important that people know that for Kentucky, the Clintons would be terrible.”
When he was still running for president himself, Paul called Trump a “bully,” an “empty suit” and “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag.”
Paul is up for reelection as Kentucky senator this year. Trump beat Ted Cruz in Kentucky 36-32, back when Marco Rubio was still in the race.
Trump aide: Ryan has insulted 'millions of Americans'
A senior Trump adviser says that House speaker Paul Ryan’s withholding support insults “millions of Americans”:
Clinton: 2016 is 2008 'on steroids'
Addressing Bernie Sanders’ continued presence in the Democratic nominating race Thursday, Hillary Clinton, who holds a lead of 321 pledged delegates over Sanders, recalled her own withdrawal from the 2008 nominating competition (as she has in the past) and said that this year the choice between Democrats and Republicans is especially stark, suggesting that achieving Democratic unity is especially urgent.
“I did that when I pulled out in ’08. Some of you remember,” Clinton said at the California African American Museum, in remarks quoted by the Los Angeles Times. She continued:
A much, much smaller margin than what we see in this race, but I knew that [Obama] had won, because it matters how many delegates you have. So I withdrew, I endorsed him, I campaigned with him, I nominated him at the convention, I went to the floor of the convention and moved that he be nominated by acclimation, because I knew then that whatever differences we might have had in the campaign, they were nothing compared to the differences between us and the Republicans. Now if that was true in ‘08, that is true on steroids today.
Sanders has echoed Clinton’s language in calling for unity, telling a West Virginia crowd last Tuesday that “the American people understand that coming together always trumps dividing us up” and “at the end of the day, love always trumps hatred.”
The Guardian’s Xan Brooks interviewed the novelist Don DeLillo (who has a new book out, Zero K) and who should come up but Donald Trump.
DeLillo shares a memorable assessment. From Xan’s report:
It transpires that the apartment is the home of his agent, and it’s taking me a moment to get my bearings. The table is heaped with copies of Zero K, together with a stack of magazines that all bear the image of a grinning Donald Trump. After a brief hesitation, I place my coffee on the mags.
“Trump,” says DeLillo. “Our national hallucination.”
Carson to Ryan: 'you don't have another choice'
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is helping Donald Trump pick a running mate, said “we would look at everybody” but that picking an elected official “makes sense.”
“It kind of makes sense that if you’re a political outsider that you would want to have someone within your administration that was very familiar with the inner workings of the party,” Carson said in an interview with MSNBC.
“Somebody who can work very well with the Senate. As president of the senate obviously you need to know what all the rules are...”
Carson also called on House speaker Paul Ryan to support Trump because “you don’t have another choice”:
People have to look at that rather than their personal feelings. So I hope speaker Ryan and many others as time goes on will begin to understand that, realize that we have to work together.
It’s not that you – you don’t have another choice. So you get behind the choice that you have, whether you personally like them or not. If in fact you’re a believer.
Trump's debt solution: squeeze creditors
Donald Trump told a cable interviewer Thursday that “you can’t lose” by running a national debt because if the economy gets in trouble you could just tell creditors you’re not paying them back in full.
“I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal,” Trump said on CNBC, in remarks quoted in the New York Times. “And if the economy was good, it was good. So, therefore, you can’t lose.”
Economists expressed concern that reneging on debt could damage the US credit rating, end the government’s ability to borrow money at low rates, radically squeeze taxpayers and threaten the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
The Time’s Binyamin Applebaum quotes Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP:
“No one on the other side would pick up the phone if the secretary of the U.S. Treasury tried to make that call,” Crandall said. “Why should they? They have a contract” requiring payment in full.
Trump did not comment on whether he would be willing as president to cooperate with a Congress that might refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Read the full piece here.
Notably different styles of attack here between Trump and Clinton.
Hello and welcome to our live-wire coverage of the 2016 race for the White House. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is spoiling for a fight this morning with Paul Ryan, the House speaker, after Ryan said Thursday that he was not ready to endorse Trump.
Here’s how Trump started his day:
Lest there is any doubt that the Trump army is making a run on Washington Republicans, Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, said that Ryan should not be speaker if he cannot endorse Trump for president:
The mystery of how the Republican leadership and the presumptive Republican nominee for president will come together deepened in an interview Friday morning that party chair Reince Priebus gave to Politico’s Mike Allen.
Priebus rejected a central plank of Trump’s platform – a ban on Muslims entering the United States – suggested that Trump release a list of “five to 10 names” of potential supreme court nominees to reassure conservatives and said that he, Priebus, had received a phone call from Trump moments after Ryan finished his non-endorsement.
It’s not easy being Reince. Time’s Zeke Miller tweeted some of the interview lines:
Trump held a boisterous campaign appearance on Thursday night in West Virginia, which votes on Tuesday. He told supporters to “save your vote for the general election” and wore a hard hat onstage. The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs was there:
To get started, read Jessica Valenti on Ivanka Trump:
This week, Americans had their long-held security blanket of denial ripped from their arms: Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president. A candidate whose history of disdain for women borders on the psychopathic will likely run against the first female to top the Democratic ticket. This is really happening.
And read Dave Schilling on Donald Trump’s taco bowl:
Thanks for reading as always and please join us in the comments ...
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