UN Ambassador Nikki Haley Excoriates Russia. But Is She Speaking For Trump?

“Let Me Make One Thing Clear From The Beginning”

Haley said: “The United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military grade nerve agent. Dozens of civilians and first-responders were also exposed.”

The “two people” Haley refers to are an ex-Russian spy and his daughter, who are now recovering in a hospital. That as the New York Times reports Russian President Putin said the one thing he can never forgive is “betrayal”. (Maybe that’s an approach Trump admires?)

Here’s a more extended clip of her comments (click on the photo to watch):


That’s in stark contrast to President Trump’s only comment to this point, which is: “As soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn Russia or whoever it may be.” As of time of publication of this newsletter, no Presidential Tweets on the topic either.

Meanwhile, Trump’s been traveling around; talking about everything but. (The Washington Post reports on a remarkable boast Trump made about faking out Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau by making up trade numbers when he didn’t know them, and insisting Trudeau was wrong).

Trump returning from his California visit via Missouri, where he visited a Boeing plant. Boeing, which is likely to be hit hard by Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum, took great care to put Trump’s name on the side of one of the jets he inspected.

If Boeing really wants the President’s help, next time we’d suggest letting him sit in the pilot’s seat.



Why Conor Lamb Won

At this time yesterday, all we could tell you is that Democrat Connor Lamb had “probably” won a special election in Western Pennsylvania that reduces the Republican majority in the House by 1. Now we can tell you for sure: the New York Times reports that even though a few absentee and overseas votes still haven’t been counted, even if they all come in for Republican Rick Saccone, it won’t be enough to make up the gap.


Newly Elected U.S. Representative Connor Lamb (D) Pennsylvania


Lamb’s margin of victory: just a little more than 600 votes out of about 230,000 total, still small enough that Republicans will almost certainly fight it. According to Politico, they plan to challenge on 3 things: Republican party attorneys were not permitted to watch the tabulation of absentee ballots, changes to the Secretary of State’s website confused voters about polling locations, and some touchscreen voting machines might’ve been “mis-calibrated”, so they recorded votes for the wrong candidate. (The fact that the district is almost 100% white limits Republicans’ ability to use their more “typical” arguments: that “illegals voted”, etc.)

Lots of people are batting around lots of ideas about why Lamb, a former marine and Federal Prosecutor prevailed, with all kinds of spin going every which way.

We think there are 3 major factors:

Enthusiasm! One thing President Trump deserves complete credit for: Americans are more interested in politics than they’ve been in a couple of generations. That higher level of engagement is leading to a higher voter turnout, according to fivethirtyeight’s Nate Silver. And we believe there’s a 2nd trend in play: there’s less interest in party and more interest in who is actually running and what their message is. The Republican in this race tried to skate by with no message other than “I was Trump before Trump was Trump.” Trump alone is Trump.

People Are More Concerned About Health Care And Social Security Than They Are Happy About Tax Cuts And Steel Tariffs (Even In “Steel Country”): And they’re right! We think this is going to be the biggest takeaway for Democratic leadership from this race: that they can run robust campaigns built around focusing on social safety net issues and how Trump policies imperil them. Lamb emphasized strong support of health care programs and Social Security in person and in his TV ads. Here’s one:


Lamb Flipped The Script On Nancy Pelosi: Several decades ago, Republican pollster Frank Luntz found groups of voters he talked to instinctively reacted negatively to the California Representative, long before she became Speaker of the House during Obama’s first term. He strongly urged Republican candidates to “run against Pelosi” and coastal Liberalism regardless of who they were actually running against. Turned out this strategy really worked, and it especially worked well when the Democratic candidate wasn’t well known to the public beforehand, which was certainly the case with Lamb. So why didn’t it work this time? Especially with as much as $12-million in Conservative dark money pouring in to finance ads taking this exact approach? Because Lamb swerved, and made it known very early on that he doesn’t support Pelosi either. Rendering the Republican line of attack ineffective, with millions wasted on ads like these:


Senate Majority Leader Paul Ryan says Lamb won because he “ran as a Conservative”.

We say: Conservatives are going to have to find a new way to run.



The Kids Are Keeping Up The Momentum On Guns


Students across the country, at many age levels, walked out of class for 17 minutes exactly one month after a shooter in Florida killed 17 people in a high school there. The unprecedented display of unity sends a strong message that the voices of these young people are not fading this time, at least not yet.

We picked our favorite photo from the day: of a student protestor outside the U.S. Capitol building and a surprise appearance by Senator Bernie Sanders. We like it not because it reflects our political dreams (and anyway Sanders has not exactly been pro gun control), but because it illustrates a bridge between two protest generations. One that was ultimately successful, and a new one that is nascent but growing.


Students from Parkland, Florida are leading a big Washington march, which will also feature a series of satellite marches in different cities, all on March 24th. Information on that is here.

Meanwhile, Congress passed a school safety bill almost unanimously. And that’s because it contains almost nothing anyone could object to.  And that’s because it contains almost nothing but $. The final vote 407-10. The bill provides $50-$75-million a year in funding over the next 10 years for safety programs. It does not arm teachers, nor does it address gun control in any way.


Senate Loosens Rules On Banks Imposed After 2008 Financial Crisis


The bipartisan measure doesn’t quite “do a number” on Dodds-Frank, as the President’s promised, but it it the biggest rollback of the landmark financial legislation since it went into effect. The final vote: 67-31.


Meaning a whole bunch of Democrats came over and voted for it. Their reasoning? While Dodds-Frank was designed to put much needed limits on large banks, it has inadvertently prevented smaller financial institutions from growing.

Opponents, like Elizabeth Warren say that’s a bunch of bunk and it’s only setting the stage for the next financial crisis.

Here’s the official record if you want to see how your Senator voted.



Trump Hires Fellow TV Personality As Top Economic Advisor


Larry Kudlow, who’s most familiar for his frequent appearances on CNBC, will replace Gary Cohn who left the White House last week after failing to talk Trump out of doing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Interestingly, Kudlow published a piece on the CNBC website called: “Mr. President, tariffs are really tax hikes”. Meaning he was against the tariffs too!  So how did this happen?


Kudlow, according to Wikipedia, does not have an economics degree. But he does have some bona fides having worked both at the Federal Reserve and in the Reagan White House. In 1994, Kudlow made headlines by outing himself as an alcoholic and cocaine addict. (Which we bring up only because Trump doesn’t seem to be backing away from bringing more people with checkered pasts into the White House).

Recently, Kudlow’s mainly functioned as a kind of floating public relations person for American equities. That’s exactly what Trump’s looking for: although sometimes cranky and often opinionated, Kudlow’s a reliable cheerleader for the stock market.

And they both sure love cutting taxes. We’ve known Kudlow for decades, and as one of our former colleagues reminded us, Kudlow’s remedy to just about anything is and has always been “tax cut!”




Stormy Daniels Court Date Set


CNN reports an initial hearing for the porn star’s suit against President Trump and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen will be held on July 12.

Know what that means? We’re going to be hearing a lot about this story for a long, long time.