Quick Takes: The One Area Where Trump Excels

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* In reporting on how Trump keeps tweeting about getting rid of the filibuster, Caitlin MacNeal zeros in on the one area where this president tends to excel.

There’s not much interest in the Senate to change the rule, so Trump can use the filibuster to repeatedly blame Republican senators for his stalled agenda…

Trump also preemptively placed blame on Congressional leaders for any struggle Republicans will have in raising the debt ceiling in September. The issue is always a difficult one for Republicans, as many hard-line conservatives outright oppose raising the debt ceiling. And in a Thursday morning tweet, Trump claimed that McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) did not listen to his ideas on how to pass a debt ceiling bill, leaving Congress with a “mess.”

Preemptively setting people up to be your scapegoat requires some major skills.

* Aaron Blake documents the 7 times Trump tried to call off the dogs on Russia.

1) Trying to get Tillis to back off off a bill protecting Mueller from being fired
2) Venting to Corker about sanctions bill
3) Complaining to McConnell about not getting protection
4) Asking Comey for loyalty
5) Suggesting Comey be lenient on Michael Flynn
6) Asking Comey to say Trump wasn’t under investigation
7) Asking Coats and Rogers to deny evidence of collusion

* In writing about the Mark Lilla interview, I wanted to stick to a couple of big points. That means that I wasn’t able to include one thing he said that literally stopped me in my tracks.

An example is every time Hillary Clinton went out on the stump, she would call out to various groups to women, to Latinos, to African Americans, to immigrants. She left out about 40 percent of the country in doing that, and she lost people: 51 percent of American women voted for Donald Trump.

First of all, that completely ignores the fact that Clinton’s campaign slogan was “Stronger Together.” But the statement, “52 percent of American women voted for Donald Trump” is absolutely incorrect. Only 41 percent of women voted for him. Clinton won the female vote with 54 percent. I suspect that what Lilla meant was that 52 percent of white women voted for Trump. In light of the topic at hand, that is an unconscionable error at best and a telling one at worst. Even if we limit the discussion to white women, here’s what has happened over the last few presidential elections:

Indeed, far from losing white women by some noteworthy margin, Hillary pulled a slightly larger percentage of their vote (43 percent to Trump’s 53 percent) than Obama did against Romney (42 percent to 56 percent). The misogynistic Trump did worse among white women than George W. Bush did against John Kerry (55 percent to 44 percent). And even the bigger-than-Elvis rockstar Obama of 2008 lost white women to John McCain, 46 percent to 53 percent. In fact, Hillary did manage to peel away white, college-educated women from Trump—a group that actually went for Romney by 6 points in 2012.

In other words, Lilla twisted what he said to support a theory that the facts do not support.

* Here’s the latest on Harvey from the Weather Channel:

Harvey is now a Category 4 hurricane off the coast of Texas and continues to strengthen.

It is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane tonight along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Harvey will then stall or meander for several days, leading to a threat of catastrophic flooding in parts of Texas.

Dangerous storm-surge flooding, damaging winds and a couple tornadoes are also threats.

* Finally, let’s all be grateful that when it comes to a FEMA director, Trump actually chose someone who seems to be competent. And so I’ll send this one out to all of our friends in Harvey’s path.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .