Talk Media News

Victoria Jones created and edits Quick Morning News. She is chief White House correspondent with Washington DC-based Talk Media News, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

Morning Jumpstart

  • Trump camp wobbly on immigration
  • Trump insults blacks; wants their vote
  • Clinton asks for cash; bans press
  • Obama back at work: Congress, travel, campaign
  • Louisiana floods: Politics intrudes
  • US Army’s finances: FUBAR
  • Bye bye Rio: Hello Tokyo
Trump Camp Wobbly on Immigration (WaPo, WaPo, Politico, me)
• Appearing Sunday on CNN, Donald Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was pressed on whether he still supports the plan he put forward during the GOP primaries to have a “deportation force” carry out mass removals of people living in the U.S. illegally – a plan criticized for being expensive, inhumane and a major expansion of federal power
• “What [Trump] supports is to make sure that we enforce the law, that we are respectful of those Americans who are looking for well-paying jobs, and that we are fair and humane for those who live among us in this country,” Conway said. Asked twice whether he was sticking with his deportation force, Conway dodged then said that it was “to be determined.” (uh huh – polling pivot?)
• Trump launched on a promise to be very, very tough on illegal immigration – and immigrants. He called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals.” He would later promise to deport all of them – approvingly referencing a controversial 1950s mass deportation program known as “Operation Wetback.” He has recently prominently featured victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants

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• Trump’s Hispanic advisory board, made up of 23 faith and business leaders and a few former govt officials, met with the GOP nominee in his boardroom at Trump Tower on Saturday. Immigration came up at the candidate’s prompting, according to Jacob Monty, a Houston-based immigration attorney (Trump is quite capable of changing positions and saying he didn’t)
• “He listened to the comments and suggestions made by the various board members, but he never indicated what his immigration policy would be,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, the RNC’s Hispanic communications director and a key emissary between the GOP’s command structure and the few Hispanic conservative leaders willing to publicly endorse Trump
• Conway said that “as the weeks unfold” Trump will reveal the specifics of his immigration plan (thought we already heard it). Trump and his aides have also been unclear on whether he still wants to temporarily bar most foreign Muslims from entering the country. Trump is expected to give a major policy speech about immigration on Thursday in Colorado (polling like crazy…)
• “Whether Donald Trump’s immigration plan includes a deportation squad to forcibly remove millions of families from their homes has been asked and answered by the candidate himself time and time again,” Lorella Praeli, Hillary for America’s national Latino vote director, said in a statement (they intend to pretend the last year didn’t happen – it’s all about post-Labor Day now)

• Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday that his tax audit was a “serious matter” and when complete he’d release his returns. “This entire tax return debate is somewhat confounding to me,” she said (no it’s not – she knows very well that what’s in his taxes will tell people much more about him than they know – which right now is reality TV)

Trump Insults Blacks: Wants Their Vote (NYT, AP, Hill, Politico, me)
• Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, defended the GOP presidential nominee’s recent pitch to African American voters. “Those comments are for all Americans. And I live in a white community. I’m white. I was very moved by his comment,” she said on ABC on Sunday (kind of like an All Lives Matter comment, Kellyanne – guaranteed to tick off black people)
• Speaking at a rally in the overwhelming white suburb of Dimondale, Mich, on Friday, Trump said, “Tonight, I’m asking for the vote of every single African-American citizen in this country who wants to see a better future.” (go and talk to Black Lives Matter)
• “What do you have to lose by trying something new, like Trump?” he asked the overwhelmingly white crowd. “You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed – what the hell do you have to lose?” (see below)

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• Saturday, Trump said at a campaign stop in Fredericksburg, Va: “Outreach to the African-American community is an area where the Republican Party must do better.” “The GOP is the party of Lincoln, and I want our party to be the home of the African-American vote once again. I want an inclusive country and I want an inclusive party.” (who wrote this for him?)
• For someone who wants to reach out to African-Americans, he’s doing it in a peculiar way – to largely white crowds. He rejected offers to speak this year before the NAACP, the National Assn of Black Journalists and the National Urban League. Clinton spoke before all three. (He also referred to “my African-American” African-Americans have taken note – and will remember at the polls)
• Trump stepped into presidential politics by becoming the embodiment of the Birther movement, relentlessly demanding to see President Obama’s birth certificate. Trump has repeatedly and falsely insisted that Obama was the founder of the terror group ISIS – then claimed sarcasm. Trump has slyly implied that Obama is a secret Muslim who is disloyal to the U.S.
• Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, resigned on Friday (or was pushed), two days after the GOP nominee put in place a new leadership structure that minimized Manafort’s role. Manafort had come under fire over his past lobbying work for pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs and for the sloppy nature of the Republican convention, which he oversaw (Politico, TMN, me)
Clinton Asks for Cash; Bans Press (AP, me)
• Hillary Clinton brunched with wealthy backers at a seaside estate in Nantucket, snacking on shrimp dumplings and crabcakes. A few hours later, she and her husband dined with an intimate party of 30 at a secluded Martha’s Vineyard estate. And Sunday afternoon, she joined the singer Cher at a “LGBT celebration” on the far reaches of Cape Cod (cha ching weekend)
• By Sunday evening, Clinton had spoken to more than 2,200 campaign donors. But what she told the crowds remains a mystery. Clinton has refused to open her fundraisers to journalists, reversing nearly a decade of greater transparency in presidential campaigns and leaving the public guessing at what she’s saying to some of her most powerful supporters (tired of this)
• President Obama allows reporters traveling with him into the backyards and homes of wealthy donors to witness some of his remarks. Clinton’s campaign does release limited details about her events, naming the hosts, how many people attended and how much they gave. That’s more than Donald Trump, whose far fewer fundraisers are held entirely away from the news media
• While Clinton will occasionally take questions from reporters at campaign stops, she hasn’t held a full-fledged news conference in more than 260 days. Trump has held several. She refuses to release the transcripts of dozens of closed-door speeches she delivered to companies and business assns after leaving the State Dept, despite significant bipartisan criticism (where are they?)
• Clinton’s aides have promised for weeks that greater access to her events will be coming soon (sure). During a Saturday fundraiser at a stately Martha’s Vineyard estate, faint cheers could be heard as Clinton addressed donors. Staffers instructed drivers to roll up the windows of the vans where reporters waited before being ushered into a nearby guesthouse (bodes ill for a WH)

• Is the Trump “regret” for real? The Clinton campaign – not surprisingly – doesn’t think so. Its new ad tries to take apart Trump’s “regret” by showing past statements where he’s insulted people and then said he doesn’t apologize – and even said he thinks apologizing is “unhealthy”

Obama Back at Work: Congress, Travel, Campaign (AP, me)
• President Obama has returned from vacation rested and ready for a busy fall, including pressing Congress for money to protect against the Zika virus and fending of lawmakers’ attacks over the admin’s $400 million “leverage” payments to Iran (that’s not going away – GOP-led Congress plans to have fun with it with hearings in September)
• Obama also is expected to campaign doggedly to help elect Democrat Hillary Clinton as president. His first order of business is a Tuesday trip to Baton Rouge, La, to survey damage from flooding that killed at least 13 people and forced thousands into shelters
• Obama plans to spend the rest of the week in meetings, largely to prepare for an upcoming weeklong trip to Asia, his 11th and likely final visit to the region as president, where he’ll advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With Congress still on a seven-week break, Obama probably will focus on what the WH can get from lawmakers before they leave town to campaign for reelection
• Congress returns after Labor Day, and the House and Senate will have just a month to pass a catch-all spending bill by the 30 September end of the federal budget year to keep the govt operating (continuing resolution is likely). Lawmakers plan to leave DC again at the end of September, and not return until after the 8 November elections
• Obama opens the fall with a 53% approval rating, including among independents (a lot higher than Congress). After the Louisiana visit, the president heads to Nevada on 31 August to discuss environmental protection at the Lake Tahoe Summit. He follows with the 2-9 September trip to China and Laos. He’ll become the first American president to visit Laos

• A suicide bombing which killed 51 people in the Turkish city of Gaziantep was carried out by a 12 to 14-year-old, President Erdogan said, blaming ISIS for the attack. The attack targeted a Kurdish wedding party. The bomb wounded 69 people, 17 of them seriously (BBC)

Louisiana Floods: Politics Intrudes (Politico, Hill, AP, TMN, TMN, me)
• President Obama will travel to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, spox Josh Earnest said, noting that Obama’s team reached that date after coordinating that state officials (ie unlike Donald Trump). “The president is mindful of the impact that his travel has on first responders and wants to ensure that his presence does not interfere with ongoing recovery efforts.”
• “He is also eager to get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, hear from more officials about the response, including how the federal govt can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever.” (will the American people be with them? or forget?
• The Republican presidential ticket flew into Baton Rouge on Friday morning to visit those impacted by the severe flooding. During his visit with Gov Mike Pence R-Ind), Trump told volunteers at a church that Obama doesn’t want to visit the state, suggesting golf is more important to the president. Gov John Bel Edwards (D-La) said Trump helped “shine a light” on recovery efforts
• Hillary Clinton spoke with Edwards by phone Friday. “My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions. The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need,” Clinton wrote in a Facebook post, which included links to the Red Cross and Baton Rouge Area Foundation (she’s not going, then)
• Thirteen deaths have been attributed to the storm, and more than 3,200 people remain in shelters. Edwards announced that FEMA will start paying for hotel rooms for storm victims staying in cars, hotels, shelters or their workplaces. A disaster food stamp program will begin today
• The U.S. and South Korea kicked off annual military exercises today, prompting warnings of retaliation from the North. “The nuclear warmongers should bear in mind that if they show the slightest sign of aggression, it would turn the stronghold of provocation into a heap of ashes through a Korean-style preemptive nuclear strike,” Pyongyang warned (Reuters)
US Army’s Finances: FUBAR (Reuters, me)
• The U.S. Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. Disclosure of the Army’s manipulation of numbers is the latest example of the severe accounting problems plaguing the Defense Dept for decades (if we tried this at home…)
• The Defense Dept’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army had made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the years. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up (how can you lack receipts? how can you lack invoices? i can’t even write a trillion)
• As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”
• The report affirms a 2013 Reuters series revealing how the Defense Dept falsified accounting on a large scale as it scrambled to close its books. As a result, there’s been no way to know how the Defense Dept – far and away the biggest chunk of Congress’ annual budget – spends the public’s money (so what are they doing with all the money??)
• The new report focused on the Army’s General Fund, the bigger of its two main accounts, with assets of $282.6 billion in 2015. The Army lost or didn’t keep required data, and much of the data it had was inaccurate, the IG said. An Army spox said, “Though there is a high number of adjustments, we believe the financial statement info is more accurate than implied in this report.”
• A group calling itself White Lives Matter protested outside the NAACP offices in Houston on Sunday. Supporters carried Confederate flags and some carried assault rifles. Member Ken Reed claimed the flags were part of Southern “heritage, nothing to do with hate.” (course not) (Houston Chronicle)

 

Bye Bye Rio: Hello Tokyo (BBC, WaPo, AP, Yahoo, TMN, me)

• The Rio Olympics ended with a spectacular carnival-inspired closing ceremony, and the official handover to 2020 hosts Tokyo. The colorful ceremony, lasting almost three hours, celebrated Brazil’s arts, music and dance and was held in a wet Maracana. Among the highlights were Tokyo’s impressive showcase and a vibrant carnival parade

• “These were a marvelous Olympics, in a marvelous city,” said IOC chief Thomas Bach. Bach officially closed the Games of the 31st Olympiad after 16 days of competition, featuring 11,303 athletes from 206 nations and a refugee team

• One of the biggest cheers of the night came when Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe appeared dressed as computer game character Super Mario, rising out of a huge green pipe in the stadium. The ceremony, watched by billions around the world, featured the parade of athletes and a dramatic extinguishing of the Olympic flame

• American swimmer Michael Phelps took his medal tally to 28 from five Olympics by winning six in Rio – five of which were golds. The 31-year-old’s efforts helped the U.S. top the medal table with 121, their most successful games on foreign soil. Gymnast Simone Biles, 19, won four gold medals

Standouts, Firsts, Scandals
• Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt said goodbye to the Olympics by winning an unprecedented “triple triple.” Briton Mo Farah, who won his fourth Olympic gold, became only the second man to retain the 5,000m and 10,000 titles. Sir Bradley Wiggins became the most decorated British Olympian with his eighth medal. Team GB came second – though some claim China did (it didn’t)
• The Rio Games brought first medals for Fiji, Jordan and Kosovo – and all three opened their accounts with gold. Competitors from Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Vietnam and Tajikistan, too, won their first Olympic titles
• The IOC announced in June that a group of 10 refugee athletes would compete in an Olympic Games for the first time. The team of swimmers, judokas and runners competed under the flag of the IOC. “We are equal now,” said marathon runner Yonas Kinde, who is originally from Ethiopia. “We compete like human beings, like the others.”
• The build-up to the Games was dominated by a Russian doping scandal, fears over Zika and issues with Rio’s security, venues and infrastructure. The diving pool turned green. There were scores of empty seats at venues. Controversial decisions marred the boxing. Mongolian wrestling coaches stripped in protest at a result. A media bus was attacked. Then there was Lochte…

• American swimmer Ryan Lochte fabricated a story about a harrowing robbery that was actually an intoxicated-fueled vandalism of a gas station bathroom. Lochte left his fellow swimmers in the lurch in Brazil and hopped it back to the U.S. “I over-exaggerated the story,” Lochte said to a (sockless) Matt Lauer. (in the interview, Lochte’s still unable to admit the story was just a lie)

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Victoria Jones – Editor
News is news
Comments are mine

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