President Donald Trump has asked advisers their opinions about nominating Utah Senator Mike Lee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, according to three people familiar with the matter. Trump thinks Lee would be easily confirmed by the Senate, but the president has expressed concern about keeping his Senate seat in Republican hands, one person said. All of the people spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations.
He has been assured the seat will remain safely Republican, the person said. Trump complained that he was told the same about the Alabama Senate seat held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who wound up replaced by Democrat Doug Jones. Trump is actively considering other candidates. Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is said to be another top contender.
Back in March, Lee reintroduced the so-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would make it legal nationwide to refuse to serve LGBT citizens based on “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” His bill, which has not yet been reintroduced in the House, currently has 22 GOP Senate cosponsors.
On last night’s Scream Queens, actors John Stamos and and Glen Powell stripped down–and apparently oiled up–for a steamy shower scene.
Stamos and Powell play rich and handsome doctors on the second season of Ryan Murphy’s horror spoof series.
In the scene, Stamos explains the “Dateable Guy Checklist” to Powell and Powell tries to intimidate Stamos with his manhood.
As EW notes, Stamos took to Twitter on Tuesday night to talk about the filming of the scene:
“Well yeah, it could have been awkward. It was pretty awkward, but Glen is so damn funny. I at least wore a G-string or something, but he wore a very tiny… a medium-sized sock,” Stamos said. “We laughed a whole lot. We did a lot of pushups; he likes to do pushups. He likes a lot of oil, there’s a lot of oiling up. I swear we ran out of oil on that scene.”
His “Muslim ban” shift sells out his core constituents.
This is an awkward thing to admit: I actually took Donald Trump at his word about something.
Not much, mind you. Just two things. As much as he might flip-flop with abandon, and lie with ease, about most campaign issues, I figured that two things would remain: He would promise to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it, and he would promise to ban Muslims from entering the US "until we figure out what's going on."
By late June, the Trump campaign officially admitted that President Trump wouldn’t ban Muslims from entering the US unlessthey came from one of the "terror states." A few days later, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson was insisting that the candidate had never called to ban all Muslims at all.
It's not that I'm surprised Trump is lying about something. (If I were, I should probably be either checked for memory loss or fired.) But I'm really surprised that one of the two things I thought he'd never back down on is one of the first things that, as he "pivots" to the general election, he's signaling a willingness to move away from.
And I'm left to wonder: Who is Donald Trump even running as anymore?
Trump has successfully marketed himself as a bold, un-PC truth teller
It is clear to me that Donald Trump accidentally fell into a serious presidential run. The truest statement you can make about his campaign for the Republican nomination is that he micromanages his communications strategy — his marketing — and leaves his staff and surrogates scrambling to fill in the rest, if it gets filled in at all.
He flip-flops with abandon (on issues like taxes) and breaks gleefully with GOP orthodoxies (like George W. Bush "keeping us safe") because, as much as anything, he just doesn't give a damn about policy.
But for all this, he managed to stumble onto a constituency. His comments about Mexicans during his campaign speech did exactly what political communications consultants tell their clients to do. It provoked the opposition (liberal and mainstream media) and galvanized a base: people who felt repulsed by immigration and oppressed by "political correctness."
That wasn't Trump's base when he said it. But it became his base. And that base has stuck with him throughout the campaign, as the rest of the Republican Party failed to find an alternative to him and then talked themselves into more or less actively supporting him.
Trump's willingness to speak bluntly on delicate subjects is core to his appeal. When I spoke to Trump voters in the northern suburbs of Boston,it was the most common theme I heard. "A lot of things that American families say behind closed doors, he's willing to say out loud," one Trump supporter told me.
And the particular truths they cherish Trump speaking are about immigrants and Muslims. When one Trump supporter told me Trump was "actually saying things that we probably would not be comfortable doing ourselves," I asked him what sort of things he meant; his reply was, "The whole thing with the Muslim issue. That we should be screening them. I support that."
I figured that Trump understood that. I figured it was why his campaign always seemed one step more developed on immigration than it was on any other issue. I figured that's why those had been the issues he featured in his primary ad. (For more on Trump's proposed Muslim ban and its history, read our previouscoverage.)
With five months left in the campaign, what else might Trump promise to do, or even try to do, once elected president? What is he asking his voters to trust him for? What is left to Donald Trump?
A "negotiating" stance is an easy way to avoid commitment — but avoiding commitment diminishes the Trump brand
In fairness, Trump has been admirably forthright about the flexibility of his policy proposals. He's said over and over again that he's a dealmaker, a negotiator, and that therefore any policy he proposed should be taken no more seriously than an opening bid — a "suggestion."
Many of the Trump supporters I talked to either weren't aware of this or didn't care. They believed fervently that Trump's bluntness meant he was unusually sincere. "He's not a politician. He's not a smooth talker. What he says is what he's going to do," one said. "There's a lot of similarity between Trump and Reagan," said another, "because they say what they're going to do and they do it."
That's not necessarily Trump's fault. As the candidate himself likes to say on the stump (albeit referring to immigrants, not to himself), "You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."
It's not at all clear that Trump is actually backing off his Muslim-ban proposal so much as bringing it in line with the rest of his policy proposals: an opening offer to get someone (Congress? other countries? Paul Ryan?) to the table and hash things out.
That saves Trump's skin with political reporters who care about policy: The best way to avoid getting accused of flip-flopping is never to say anything specific enough to be reversible. But that's not the constituency Trump cares about anyway, or else he would, you know, flip-flop less.
But the thing about being a "negotiator" is that you don't cut a deal just to cut a deal. That's a good way to cut a lot of bad deals. It is, in fact, exactly what Donald Trump is accusing President Obama of when it comes to his 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
When you negotiate, you can't just have an opening bid in mind. You have to have a closing one, too. And while Donald Trump is just speaking out of a best-business-practices playbook when he refuses to tell anyone what his actual goals are in negotiation, because he doesn't want to tip his hand to the competition, at this point there is simply no way of knowing what he would actually go into a negotiation hoping to get out of it, what his top priorities and deal breakers for America would be.
If the Muslim ban isn't that, what is?
This gets to the other problem with the "negotiation" framework. There are plenty of Donald Trump supporters who don't think of the Muslim ban as a policy promise first and foremost; they think of it as an uncomfortable truth about the danger of the modern world. They support Donald Trump because even when the Republican "establishment" wants him to stop speaking out about these truths, he refuses to do it.
That’s not about policy as much as it is about communications. And communications is what is most important to Trump anyway. But over the last couple of weeks, it appears that the political insiders — the Republican establishment — have finally taken over the Trump messaging machine.
Trump’s Twitter account has started to read like a campaign account (at least sometimes). He gave an entire speech about Hillary Clinton without calling her "Crooked Hillary" once.