Quick Takes: Donald Trump’s Endgame

* A lot of people have speculated that Donald Trump doesn’t really want to be president. Sarah Ellison reports that he might have another motive for this whole charade.

Trump is indeed considering creating his own media business, built on the audience that has supported him thus far in his bid to become the next president of the United States. According to several people briefed on the discussions, the presumptive Republican nominee is examining the opportunity presented by the “audience” currently supporting him. He has also discussed the possibility of launching a “mini-media conglomerate” outside of his existing TV-production business, Trump Productions LLC. He has, according to one of these people, enlisted the consultation of his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who owns the The New York Observer. Trump’s rationale, according to this person, is that, “win or lose, we are onto something here. We’ve triggered a base of the population that hasn’t had a voice in a long time.”…

Trump, this person close to the matter suggests, has become irked by his ability to create revenue for other media organizations without being able to take a cut himself. Such a situation “brings him to the conclusion that he has the business acumen and the ratings for his own network.” Trump has “gotten the bug,” according to this person. “So now he wants to figure out if he can monetize it.”

* Sen. John McCain is sounding perfectly “Trumpian.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the elder Republican statesman, said President Obama was “directly responsible” for the terror attack in Orlando due to his failure to combat the rise of the Islamic State terror group.

McCain’s statement goes beyond the criticism of Obama that has been leveled by his Republican colleagues in the Senate, and it follows remarks made this week by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who seemed to connect Obama to the attack in a Monday interview and on Wednesday tweeted an article claiming that Obama “actively supported” the terrorist group that became the Islamic State.

* A couple of weeks ago I suggested that Hillary Clinton was getting out early to define Donald Trump. I pointed out that she still had plenty of time to talk about her own vision and proposals. I see a bit of that shift happening with a new ad the campaign released that is focused on defining Hillary.

* Speaking of children, Kathleen Romig points out that part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty agenda includes eliminating Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 1.3 million severely disabled children in poor families. Here is just one of the reasons that is a very bad idea.

SSI helps families cover the extra costs associated with raising a disabled child. Raising a child is costly — and raising a child with a disability further raises parents’ costs and lowers their earnings. One study puts that extra cost, including lost parental income, at $6,150 a year — and $20,000 when raising the most severely impaired children. SSI benefits allow families to get the highly individual supports their children require, many of which wouldn’t be covered in a generic “services” model. Further, they support families when a parent must reduce his or her work to meet the special needs of a severely impaired child.

* Finally, Russell Moore is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He recently took a question from a pastor who expressed the fear that is fueling Donald Trump’s campaign. Whether or not you agree with Moore’s religious beliefs, it was encouraging to hear someone in his position accurately describe what religious liberty means in a pluralistic democracy.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.