President Trump?
July 13, 2016

Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups have praised the no-filter presumptive Republican nominee for making it acceptable to be outspoken about races they see as invasive or inferior. And although Donald Trump has said he "disavows" the support of such hate groups, many are now claiming that his use of images from white nationalist blogs on Twitter is a "full wink-wink-wink to his most aggressive supporters."

In fact, many white nationalists hear a whole lot of approval in the words "I disavow":

Mr. Trump has often used those words when confronted by reporters. The phrase is comfortingly nonspecific, a disavowal of everything and nothing. And whatever Mr. Trump's intentions, it has been powerfully reassuring to people on the far right.

"There's no direct object there," [white nationalist Richard] Spencer said. "It's kind of interesting, isn't it?"

Mr. Trump's new supporters took his approach as a signal of support. In an interview on a "pro-white" radio show called "The Political Cesspool," [white nationalist William] Johnson, of the American Freedom Party, praised Mr. Trump's handling of the controversy.

"He disavowed us," Mr. Johnson acknowledged, "but he explained why there is so much anger in America that I couldn't have asked for a better approach from him." [The New York Times]

It would take a serious change of tone to dissuade white nationalists from seeing Trump's disavowals as anything other than a sly wink at them, too. "[Trump] says what everyone thinks," one Trump supporter told The New York Times at a rally in Richmond, Virginia. "He says what we're all thinking. He's bringing people together. We say, 'Hey, that's right; we can say this.'"

You can learn more about why the groups are so encouraged by Trump's "disavowals" over at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

June 17, 2016

Much has been made about how unprepared Donald Trump is for a general election — and then his campaign revealed Friday that it estimates there are only about 30 paid Trump staffers on the ground nationwide.

Taylor West, who worked on the campaign for failed Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd in 2008, said that 30 paid operatives was how many her candidate had in Iowa alone:

Trump is counting on Republican Party-led state-based efforts to win the general election, despite the fact that many in the Republican establishment are fairly skeptical about Trump as their nominee. Nevertheless, one aide defended Trump's decision to The Associated Press by saying, "We are creating the playbook."

Hillary Clinton began putting state-level directors in swing states in April. Jeva Lange

June 17, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan is not going to ask other Republicans to support the party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, despite having offered his own hesitant endorsement of the candidate earlier this month. "The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's contrary to their conscience," Ryan told NBC's Meet the Press.

Ryan has been tasked with "uniting" the Republicans, and he said he didn't want to lead to a "chasm in the middle of the party." But, Ryan admitted, Trump is a "unique nominee."

The full interview will air Sunday. Jeva Lange

June 17, 2016

With Donald Trump all but officially the Republican nominee, some in the Republican establishment are rallying to support senators whose reelection campaigns are threatened by Trump's divisive rhetoric. Leading the charge is none other than former President George W. Bush, who has fundraised for Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and reportedly has plans of getting involved in the reelection campaigns of at least three others.

Bush has said he will not support Trump for president, nor attend the Republican convention in Cleveland, and his father, former President George H. W. Bush, and brother, Jeb Bush, have mostly followed suit. Instead, George W. Bush has turned his focus to the Senate. "President Bush believes that it's critical to keep the Senate in Republican hands," his former spokesman, Freddy Ford, told The New York Times:

Friends say that the former president is deeply bothered by Mr. Trump's campaign message, especially his derogatory remarks about Muslims and immigrants. At the event with Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush stressed the importance of preserving the Republican-held Senate as a "check and balance" on the White House, suggesting that such a check was needed, whether the next president is Mr. Trump or Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. [The New York Times]

Trump, for his part, shrugs off Bush's work on the down-ballot. "I like that he's helping certain Republicans," Trump said. Jeva Lange

June 7, 2016

The decades-long cold shoulder India has given the United States appears to be thawing as Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to make his second visit to the White House in as many years — and it might all be thanks to Donald Trump.

India is beginning to get nervous that a President Trump would not be as friendly toward the nation as President Obama has been, The New York Times reports. And although Trump hasn't singled India out specifically, Indian officials are already fretting about his promises to tighten American immigration policies.

"Modi wants to get as much as he can out of Obama's last months in office," said Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Among the forthcoming agreements, Modi is expected to formally announce that India will comply with the Paris climate change agreement. The pact is only binding once countries representing 55 percent of global emissions comply, and the addition of India will guarantee the deal goes into effect before the next U.S. president takes office. Trump, however, has sworn he will "cancel" the Paris agreement, despite the fact that once the accord is legalized, no nation can withdraw for four years.

"If the Paris agreement achieves ratification before Inauguration Day, it would be impossible for the Trump administration to renegotiate or even drop out during the first presidential term," Harvard environmental economics director Robert N. Stavins said. Jeva Lange

May 31, 2016

Donald Trump took on the press during a news conference on Tuesday, slamming the media for being "dishonest" and made up of "not good people." Trump had appeared in order to account for charitable contributions his campaign said it made toward veteran organizations during an Iowa fundraiser in January, but he repeatedly lashed out at the press in attendance for requiring him to do so.

The press returned fire, with CNN's Jim Acosta accusing Trump of not being able to cope with the scrutiny it takes to run for president.

"I've seen you on TV, you're a real beauty," Trump replied.

Trump later pivoted to calling ABC reporter Tom Llamas, who was in attendance, "a sleazy guy."

"He's a sleaze, in my book." Trump said.

"Is this what it is going to be like covering you, if you are president?" another reporter finally asked.

"Yeah," Trump said. "Yeah, it is." Jeva Lange

May 26, 2016

In case there was any question that this is Trump's world and we're just living in it:

Clinton, meanwhile, is in Las Vegas discussing her plans to raise incomes for working families. Jeva Lange

May 20, 2016

Donald Trump told Fox and Friends on Friday that "anybody that supports me" could be a potential running mate. Here, then, is a shortlist of possible vice presidents on a Trump ticket. Jeva Lange

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