Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!
On Wednesday, “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his Jan. 29 [State of the Union] address.” AP News
On Thursday, Trump followed up by denying Pelosi and other Democrats the use of military aircraft for a trip to Belgium and Afghanistan. Reuters
Also on Thursday, Trump “canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip later this month to an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland.” AP News
Many on both sides are critical of Trump and Pelosi.
“Two weeks in, the relationship between the new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and President Donald Trump is off to a smashing start… As hundreds of thousands of federal employees continue to work without pay, the two most powerful elected leaders in the country are locked in a duel of personal vengeance.” The Atlantic
“Next thing you know, they’ll both be running to the teacher yelling that the other one started it. American government has now entered the Romper Room. Can’t anybody in Washington remember that they are supposed to be serving over 328 million people, rather than trying to prove who is more adept at breaking the other person’s crayon?” Washington Examiner
Other opinions below.
The left supports eliminating the electoral college, arguing that all votes should count equally regardless of which state they're from.
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is driving President Trump nuts… by doing something he simply cannot abide: She’s stealing the spotlight. She is also seizing the initiative in the trench warfare over Trump’s government shutdown… Pelosi’s play was a stiletto -sharp reminder of how much power she wields — and an illustration of how deftly she is wielding it.”
“If anyone has the chops to manage Mr. Trump’s brattiness, it is Ms. Pelosi… Ms. Pelosi is not overly concerned with personal popularity. Like Mr. McConnell, she has a job to do, and if getting it done requires taking some heat, so be it.”
New York Times
Regarding the canceled congressional trip, it “was to come during a particularly sensitive geopolitical moment… Trump is set to roll back close to half of all U.S. troops in Afghanistan, dealing a significant blow to the progress the U.S. has made over the last six months to help broker peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban…
“Troops on the ground viewed the Pelosi trip as a chance to gain an inroad with someone, especially the highest ranking member of the House, in the U.S. government who could see the need to keep U.S. troops in the country. The announcement of the drawback has significantly lowered morale among officials and soldiers.”
“Trump’s candidacy and his presidency are largely predicated on being the guy who picks the fights that commentators in conservative media say should be picked. The appeal of ‘owning the libs’ — smacking down liberal political opponents or, more broadly, the elitists with whom the liberal population is believed to overlap — has enormous traction in some circles, including in much of Trump’s base… This is how Trump does politics. He may not do everything that his base would wish, but he at least fights against the people they hate. That’s often good enough.”
“The summary, released this morning, is a wild look into the president’s mind-set and approach to his job. It shows a commander in chief consumed by conspiracy theories, strong-arming a foreign government to help him politically, and marshaling the federal government in his schemes… The call is bizarre on several levels. First, the United States has legitimate interests in Ukraine, but Trump is using his conversation with that country’s president to pursue his pet, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Second, Trump appears—as has been alleged—to be engaging in a quid pro quo, asking Zelensky to assist him in pursuing those conspiracy theories, in exchange for help to Ukraine. Trump never puts it in plain terms—he’s too smart, and too experienced in shady business, to do that—but it requires willful blindness to miss what Trump is asking… Third, the call shows how Trump enlists the might of the U.S. government in his weird, personal, political schemes.”
David A. Graham, The Atlantic
“Trump’s defenders will say this evidence is all circumstantial. But circumstantial evidence is not weak evidence: it’s simply evidence based on the circumstances in which an act of wrongdoing is committed — such as the license plate of a car that speeds away from a bank just after that bank is robbed. Criminals are convicted on such evidence all the time. They will also say that there’s no explicit quid pro quo proposal here. But… ‘even when a corrupt deal is struck implicitly, the government can still prosecute extortion on a quid pro quo basis. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to prove a criminal exchange.’…
“In the absence of an explicit quid pro quo over restarting aid, the context and circumstances are what will become the focus of the investigation. There is enough here to support impeachment. Whether it is also enough to convince Republicans and lead to removal is another matter.”
Noah Feldman, Bloomberg
Some suggest that Congress “remove Trump from office, so that he cannot abuse incumbency to subvert the electoral process, but let the American people make the judgment on whether or not he gets a second term… Removing Trump from office for the remainder of his term would disable him from abusing presidential power again and protect the integrity of the electoral process from inappropriate interference. At the same time, letting him run for a second term would permit the American electorate to decide whether Trump, despite his attempt to subvert the system, should have another chance… Decoupling removal from disqualification lowers the stakes and changes the constitutional calculus. As long as Trump can run again, Republicans cannot hide behind a claim that they are [the] ones protecting voter choice by opposing impeachment.”
Edward B. Foley, Politico
The right criticizes Sanders and Warren for adopting far-left policies, and praises Marianne Williamson’s performance.
“Pelosi is using her faux security concerns as a pretext to do something unprecedented and outrageous: deny a president of the United States the opportunity to come to Congress and deliver his State of the Union address… Yet all those who constantly decry Trump for shattering of presidential norms seem to be perfectly fine when Pelosi is doing the norm shattering — and lying about why she is doing it.”
“If we’re going to end this tradition [of the State of the Union], we ought to do it for a better reason than the speaker detests the administrationand there’s a government shutdown going on. The security explanation is nonsense, and everyone knows it… The State of the Union has gone on during times of war, deep recession, under threat of terrorism and with Congress contemplating the impeachment of the president… Now we’re going to toss the whole thing out because of the government-shutdown fight?”
“It is easy to see why she wanted to do this: the State of the Union is a great stage for the president… I would like to see Trump deliver the State of the Union before a cheering throng of 15,000 or 20,000 in an arena. He could invite members of Congress and justices of the Supreme Court to attend, and simultaneously deliver his report on the state of the union to Congress in writing… Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want the president to be seen in a favorable light in the House chamber? Fine. Let’s do it in an arena somewhere in the heartland.”
Power Line Blog
Regarding the canceled congressional trip, many note that “Pelosi tried to pull a power move on the White House. On Thursday, Trump landed a brutally timed counter-punch. His reasoning — that she should be in the nation’s capital to continue negotiating the end of the shutdown — is a scathingly shrewd touch… Like the GOP presidential field in the 2016 primaries, Pelosi may be learning the hard way that you can’t out-troll Trump. This is his bread and butter.”
Regarding her candidacy as a whole, “Warren seems to have concluded that if a rule-breaking candidate like Donald Trump can be elected president, then the old political rules don’t apply any more. So she has endorsed Medicare for All and backs eliminating private health insurance; she has said she’d ban fracking for oil and natural gas; she supports decriminalizing illegal border crossing, health care for illegal immigrants who get across, and paying reparations to the descendants of slaves…
“Warren obviously hopes that her calls for federal oversight of large corporations and her call for a 2% wealth tax on multimillionaires will resonate with non-affluent Trump voters. But those voters seem more concerned with elites’ political correctness than convinced that Warren’s proposal will send their way any money somehow mulcted from corporations…
"This is not to say that Warren is a sure loser. Any Democratic nominee has a serious chance of beating Donald Trump. But it says something interesting about the Democratic Party that its current top three are in their 70's and all from overwhelmingly Democratic states.”
Michael Barone, Washington Examiner
“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative
Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…
“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review
“President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner
A libertarian's take
“Why did Modi pick this moment to do something so radical? Violence in Kashmir had been trending downwards for the last year, after all. The main reason, besides President Donald Trump's alarming offer to mediate a settlement, is that he wanted a distraction from India's mounting economic woes. India's GDP growth dropped from over 8 percent to 5.8 percent over the last year, and it is widely expected to dip further. Just as ominous has been the crash in consumer demand. India's usual problem has been an insufficient supply to meet its voracious appetite for vehicles, cell phones, and other similar goods. But sales figures for all consumer goods have posted a precipitous decline, slamming businesses that are dramatically scaling back investments.”
Shikha Dalmia, Reason
Dog accidentally runs half-marathon after being let out to pee, finishes 7th.