"I don't have any plans" to primary President Trump in 2020, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said Sunday in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "I'm rooting for him to get it together. We all are. I mean, we're only like seven months into this presidency," he added.
Kasich decried a political discourse in which "all we're doing is questioning [Trump's] motives" and "fighting back and forth," averring that America doesn't "do well when all we do is fight."
He also weighed in on Trump's much-criticized responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. Asked by Tapper whether he believes Trump is "concerned about alienating bigots because they might be a part of his base," Kasich praised Trump's Saturday remarks on the related demonstrations in Boston. "It's all about ... explaining to [Trump] we've got to bring the country together," the governor continued, "and, you know, blaming one side or another when we're talking about the KKK or white supremacists — there is no comparison between these hate groups and everybody else."
Watch Kasich's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian
GOP senator says it will be difficult for Trump to lead if 'his moral authority remains compromised'
GOP Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the Senate's only black Republican, did not mince words in his assessment of the Trump administration during an interview on Face the Nation Sunday.
"As we look to the future, it's going to be very difficult for this president to lead if in fact his moral authority remains compromised," Scott told CBS host John Dickerson. "Sometimes you have positional authority, and that is very helpful," Scott continued, "but the reality of it is this nation responds to moral authority, when we believe that our president has the entire nation's best interest at heart."
Trump's "comments on Tuesday," in which he said there were some "very fine people" marching on the white nationalist side in Charlottesville, Virginia, "erased his positive comments on Monday," Scott added. The senator recommended Trump meet with Civil Rights movement leaders "who endured the pain of the '60s ... the humiliation of the '50s and the '60s" to better understand "the painful history of racism and bigotry of this country."
Watch an excerpt of Scott's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
Sen Scott: As we look to the future it’s going to be very difficult for this POTUS to lead if in fact moral authority remains compromised pic.twitter.com/VYeq720hew
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 20, 2017
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday what President Trump so far has not: that the lethal vehicle attack on a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday was domestic terrorism.
"I certainly think any time that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism," McMaster told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. "It meets the definition of terrorism."
"But what this is, what you see here," he continued, "is you see someone who is a criminal who is committing a criminal act against fellow Americans — a criminal act that may have been motivated, and we'll see what's turned up in this investigation, by this hatred and bigotry which I mentioned we have to extinguish in our nation."
Watch a clip of McMaster making similar remarks on NBC News below. Bonnie Kristian
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 13, 2017
"I don't want to make this too much about Donald Trump," Signer said in an appearance on CBS, "but he should look in the mirror. I mean, he made a choice in his presidential campaign, the folks around with him, to, you know, go right to the gutter, to play on our worst prejudices. And I think you are seeing a direct line from what happened here this weekend to those choices."
In a conversation with CNN's Jake Tapper, Signer made a similar argument. "Look at the campaign he ran. Look at the intentional courting," Signer told Tapper, "on the one hand, all of these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up and condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed, all of those different efforts just like we saw yesterday, and this is not hard."
Still, Signer went on to say, "this is not about Donald Trump" but about a potentially hopeful future of American democracy. Watch part of Signer's CNN appearance below. Bonnie Kristian
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 13, 2017
"The president is not a representative of the political establishment class, so for whatever reason the people have made a decision that they want to eject him," fired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview Sunday.
"I think there are elements inside of Washington, also inclusive in the White House, that are not necessarily abetting the president's interests or his agenda," Scaramucci claimed. When Stephanopoulos pressed him to "name names," Scaramucci referred back to his colorful public critiques of ousted White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Scaramucci also weighed in on President Trump's response to this weekend's violence in Charlottesville, which critics have charged did not adequately label and condemn the ideology, associations, and tactics of the white nationalist demonstrators. "I wouldn't have recommended that statement," Scaramucci said of Trump's remarks. "I think he would have needed to have been much harsher," he continued. "With the moral authority of the presidency, you have to call that stuff out."
Watch excerpts of the interview below. Bonnie Kristian
Scaramucci: People within the White House are plotting to remove President Trump. pic.twitter.com/w4XDVojQ8v
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) August 13, 2017
Scaramucci wouldn't have recommended Trump Charlottesville statement, "He needed to be much harsher as it related to white supremacists." pic.twitter.com/l5cbwUF63c
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 13, 2017
The deputy attorney general says the Justice Department won't 'prosecute journalists for doing their jobs'
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that he is ready to "devote whatever resources are necessary" and prosecute "anybody who breaks the law" to get executive branch leaks under control.
"What we need to look at in every leak referral we get, we look at the facts and circumstances. What was the potential harm caused by the leak? What were the circumstances? That’s more important to us than who it is who is the leaker," he said. Still, Rosenstein cointinued, "if we identify somebody — no matter what their position is — if they violated the law and that case warrants prosecution, we'll prosecute it."
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday suggested he might target members of the media who report based on leaks, Rosenstein claimed Sunday the "attorney general has been very clear that we're after the leakers, not the journalists," adding, "We don't prosecute journalists for doing their jobs." Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) August 6, 2017
The punitive sanctions levied against North Korea by the United Nations Security Council on Saturday show the United States is "not playing anymore," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a Fox News appearance Sunday. "A third of their trade exports have been hit, and we basically gave them a kick in the gut with a billion dollars of sanctions that they are going to begin to feel right away," Haley argued, describing the measure as "a really strong message."
Pressed as to whether she would consider a military option like "troops on the ground" in North Korea to deal with Pyongyang, Haley's response was a cautious non-denial. "We hope that we don't have to do anything," she concluded, "but all options have always been on the table and will continue to be on the table."
Read The Week's Harry J. Kazianis on how a pre-emptive U.S. strike on North Korea would be disastrous, and watch Haley's comments below. Bonnie Kristian
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 6, 2017
George Stephanopoulos asked Kellyanne Conway about the Trump Jr. meeting. She talked about ObamaCare, Benghazi, and Michigan.
President Trump was merely acting as a good father when he responded to news that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer during the 2016 election, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway argued Sunday in an interview with ABC host George Stephanopoulos. "The president weighed in as a father. He did not dictate the statement," she claimed.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported the president did in fact dictate the misleading statement, contrary to his lawyer's initial claim of Trump's total uninvolvement. "Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had 'primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children' when they met in June 2016," the Post story said, citing "multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations."
Stephanopoulos continued to press the question of why the Trump team's narratives varied, but Conway responded by turning to topics including ObamaCare, Benghazi, and campaigning in Michigan. "There's nothing. There's nonsense. It was a ridiculous meeting," she said. "It was nothing. People want to offer their services and have meetings all of the time, believe me. I know you know this. But let's look at the consequence: no follow-up. No results."
Watch an excerpt of the conversation below. Bonnie Kristian