Politics Vulnerable Republican embraces Trump in NY
Flake: 'There should be' Republican challenger to Trump in 2020
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he thinks President Donald Trump will and should have a Republican challenger in the 2020 presidential election. "I do think the President will have a challenge from the Republican Party. I think there should be. I also think that there will be an independent challenge," the Arizona senator said in an interview for David Axelrod's show, "The Axe Files," airing on CNN Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. While he said it's "not something I'm planning," Flake did not rule out mounting a third party challenge to Trump, who announced his 2020 campaign manager earlier this week.
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) is embracing President Trump's confrontational style as she seeks to hold on to a hotly contested New York district considered a toss-up race in this fall's midterm elections.
While insisting that she is not tied to the president, the freshman lawmaker at times sounds like a mini-Trump.
She's declared war on the "twist and smear" media, which she blamed last month for not talking about how many people who commit mass murders end up being Democrats.
"I call it twist and smear - that's what the media tends to do," said Tenney, who ran the newspaper division of Mid-York Press, Inc., her family's commercial printing and manufacturing firm.
Vulnerable lawmakers answer a noisy gun debate with silence
They crowded around the White House conference table this past week, lawmakers from California, Connecticut, Texas and Florida, eager to share their state's painful experience with gun violence. One key state was not represented. No one from Nevada, home to the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history just five months ago, attended the televised discussion with the president.But in the politics of gun control, even those who say the least have considerable sway.
"Some are better than others," Tenney added. "I do think the single biggest destructive force in our country is the media. We've lost our way."
Tenney echoes Trump's talking points on immigration and jobs - a strategy that seems smart in her district, which Trump won by 16 points.
She's also pretty tough on Democrats, sounding almost Trumpian in her remarks.
"They don't love our country," Tenney said of the minority party during a CNN interview last month about the president's State of the Union address. "I thought it was terrible that they didn't clap for very American ideas, and why? Why not? They're just about 'resist,' and what does 'resist' mean? Obstruct."
The makeup of Tenney's district has created fertile ground for Trump's populist mix.
Arkansas becomes third U.S. state to add Medicaid work requirements
Arkansas on Monday became the third U.S. state to require that Medicaid recipients work or participate in employment activities as a condition of receiving health insurance as the Trump administration continues to approve state requests that fundamentally change the 50-year-old program. Arkansas's waiver would require beneficiaries to work or participate in job training or job search activities for at least 80 hours per month as a condition of receiving Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled.
The district is 91 percent white, with a college graduation rate of 24 percent. While Trump cruised to victory here over Hillary Clinton, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried it by less than 1 percentage point in 2012.
Chris Grant, a GOP consultant and head of Big Dog Strategies, described Tenney as "Trump before Trump."
"The environment will be different in each race, but Tenney has done a smart job of delivering for constituents on local issues, and standing with the President when it helps her district," Grant said. "That's pretty smart politics from where I sit."
Remington Arms, a firearms and ammunition manufacturer located in the district, has laid off more than 100 employees, while General Electric has significantly scaled back its operations in the region over the years.
"He's popular in my district," Tenney says of Trump, noting people stood in line for hours to see him when he visited the area before the New York presidential primaries.
Trump to rally for endangered Republican in Pennsylvania
<p>President Donald Trump is set to campaign on Saturday in Pennsylvania steel country for a Republican congressional candidate who is in a tight race.</p>Trump was to speak shortly after 7 p.m. EST at a "Make America Great Again" rally in a hangar at the Pittsburgh International Airport on behalf of Republican candidate Rick Saccone.
"There are times when he makes me cringe," she added, "but he's not a politician. He is very instinctual; he's very earnest."
In a 30-minute, wide-ranging interview outside the House chamber, she insisted she is standing for her community and not Trump, though she adds that "many of the things that Trump stands for are issues that are consistent with why he won by such a large margin in our district."
The Cook Political Report casts Tenney's race as a toss-up.
She's been out-fundraised by Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, whom Tenney has tied to "San Francisco liberal" Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), the House Democratic leader.
And her brash style has also landed her in hot water at times - including when she linked Democrats to mass murders in remarks about last month's high school shooting in Florida.
Tenney, 57, told a radio host that "many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but the media doesn't talk about that either."
Pressed by The Hill about the comments, Tenney initially rebuffed the question and said the issue has been asked and answered "a thousand times."
The 3 Republicans who could challenge Donald Trump in 2020
On Sunday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, was asked whether he thinks someone should challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary. "Yes, I do. I do," Flake told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd. "I mean, it would be a tough go in a Republican primary. The Republican Party is the Trump party right now. But that's not to say it will stay that way."Who could that someone be? Obviously, Flake, who was all-but-forced into retirement after his attacks on Trump led to an open revolt against him by the base of the party, wants it to be him. (He has been very coy about his own future political plans.
But she then took several minutes to clarify the remarks, saying she was merely pointing out that mass shootings are not all Republicans' fault - and she also snuck in a few jabs at the media as part of her line of defense.
"This is where I call it 'twist and smear.' They slandered me," Tenney said. "Trust me, if [the Orlando nightclub shooter] had been a registered Republican, it would have been front page, top of the line, everywhere."
It's not just Trump's style where Tenney mirrors the president; she has also taken a slew of policy positions that are in lockstep with the White House.
On immigration, she has labeled the Trump administration's proposed solution to an Obama-era immigration program "generous" and "reasonable," while calling a more moderate approach from some Senate Republicans "crazy."
She's also one of 13 House Republicans who called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate Clinton, still a frequent Trump target.
When it comes to taxes, Tenney says the tax-cut bill has been a big boon to her district, and she credited the law with already bringing some jobs back to the area.
But Tenney made clear she doesn't agree with the president on every issue, underscoring that the interests of her constituents may not always align with Trump.
Tenney, a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.
While Trump has expressed some openness to raising the age requirement to buy a rifle from 18 to 21, Tenney has expressed far more skepticism to the idea. She is also fiercely opposed to a ban on assault weapons.
"Remington Arms was founded in my district. We have a strong tradition of people who use firearms," Tenney said. "Have you used an AR-15? It's the most commonly used rifle. I don't consider that to be an assault rifle."
Trump defied GOP orthodoxy last week when he slapped steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, infuriating members of his own party.
Tenney admitted she has "mixed emotions" about the proposal, pointing out that she considers herself a free-trade Republican.
But she was not a vocal critic of the tariff plan and did not sign on to a Republican-led letter urging Trump to abandon the idea - perhaps a sign of the popularity of Trump's position on trade in her district.
"Trump won in our district largely because of the trade issue and the trade imbalance," Tenney said. "We've got to save our base and people that work in our communities."
In GOP pep talk, Trump says a Democratic Congress would mean ‘radical’ policies .
The president sought to buck up members of his party increasingly anxious about losing seats in the November midterm elections. Trump said he plans to travel “all over the country” in coming months to help Republicans tell their story of cutting taxes, reducing regulations and building up the military.Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post“If Democrats were to gain control of the House, the first thing they would do is raise your taxes,” the president asserted at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner in Washington.
Why Is New York Times OBSESSED With Trump Supporters?
In this Majority Report clip, Sam Seder and comedian Judy Gold talk about why the New York Times keeps giving space to Trump supporters. We need your help to keep providing free videos! Support...
Who’s to blame for the GOP’s loss in the 2017 elections?
Comedian Joe Piscopo reacts to the Democratic victory in the New Jersey gubernatorial election Tuesday night and whether that should be viewed as a reaction to Donald Trump's presidency.
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