Donald Trump

Trump says he will visit Tennessee on Friday following deadly storm

President Donald Trump says he plans to visit Tennessee on Friday in the aftermath of a deadly storm that left at least 25 dead.

“I want to send my warm wishes to the great people of Tennessee in the wake of the horrible and very vicious tornado that killed at least 19 people and injured many more,” Trump said in remarks at the National Association of Counties meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

“It’s a vicious thing, those tornadoes, I’ve seen many of them over a three-year period and I’ve gotten to see the results and they are vicious,” Trump said. “If you’re in their path, bad things happen.”

 

 

Poll: Trump has big advantage over any Democrat in Tennessee

New polling results suggest President Donald Trump doesn’t have much to fear in his efforts to carry Tennessee again in November. According to a survey by Mason-Dixon, Tennessee voters give Trump a wide advantage, regardless of who turns out to be the Democratic nominee.

Here are the head to heads:

  • Trump 55%, Joe Biden 39%.
  • Trump 57%, Bernie Sanders 37%.
  • Trump 57%, Elizabeth Warren 36%.
  • Trump 55%, Pete Buttigieg 38%.
  • Trump 54%, Mike Bloomberg 39%.

The poll of 625 registered voters, including 247 Republicans, 207 independents, and 171 Democrats, was conducted between Jan. 28 and Jan. 30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Tennessee Super Tuesday presidential primary is on March 3.

Tennessee delegation comments on Trump acquittal

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) speaks at a Tennessee Titans event in Nashville on Dec. 13, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Here’s what members of the Tennessee congressional delegation had to say about the Senate’s acquittal of President Donald Trump following his impeachment trial:

U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood):

The impeachment of President Donald J. Trump was not a matter of procedure—it was an attempted coup, brought forth at the expense of the safety and prosperity of the American people. Every member of Congress must now reflect, remember, and take to heart the real legacy of this dark moment in history, when ruthless partisanship undermined due process, trampled the rule of law, and very nearly erased from precedent those rules that underpin our democratic republic.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville):

The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution clearly provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that began on Monday in Iowa.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis)

I voted for the articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor and believe the House managers proved their case in the Senate beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the Senate required a two-thirds vote to remove the President from office, he will remain. But his ignominious impeachment will always be the legacy of his reckless and lawless presidency. A bipartisan majority of Congress has voted to impeach or convict him, and that’s a blemish on his record that the American public should consider in evaluating his remaining time in office.

U.S. Rep. John Rose (R-Cookeville):

Just as we knew from the beginning, House Democrats’ impeachment process was purely partisan and an embarrassment to our country. More importantly, their focus on this process served as a distraction from the work the American people sent us to Washington, D.C., to accomplish.

U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-Memphis):

I commend the Senate for acquitting the President today and putting an end to this partisan endeavor. The fact is, President Trump did nothing wrong, and today’s acquittal proves just that. Now that this impeachment is behind us, I look forward to working closely with President Trump to pass real legislation that would improve our infrastructure, secure our border, and continue to boost our already thriving economy.

 

Before it was expedient? New Hagerty ad features Donald Trump Jr.

A new ad for Bill Hagerty features Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, speaking on the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s behalf at a fundraiser and rally in Gallatin last week. The ad also features the dubious claim by the president’s oldest son that Hagerty was “on the Trump train before it was politically expedient.”

As The Tennessee Journal reported in September:

Despite Hagerty’s heavy emphasis on his links to Trump, his relationship with the president doesn’t go back all that far. The new candidate had been an early backer of Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid and was named to the former Florida governor’s Tennessee slate of delegates alongside former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Nashville) and fellow former state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd.

When Bush’s bid fizzled out, Hagerty wrote a $2,700 check to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, also of Florida, on the eve of the Tennessee presidential primary. But Trump ended up carrying all but Williamson County in that contest and was formally awarded the Republican nomination in July. [Hagerty was named a Trump bundler, or state victory finance chair, on July 1, 2016]

Hagerty contributed $2,700 to the Trump campaign in September 2016, but by that point he had already been tapped as the director of presidential appointments for the nominee’s transition team, a position responsible for selecting and vetting, more than 4,000 jobs. Hagerty had done similar work for Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008.

Poll: Trump approval rating on the rise in Tennessee

Graphic: Mason-Dixon Polling.

A new Mason-Dixon poll shows President Donald Trump’s popularity is on the rise in Tennessee and three out of five respondents say they oppose efforts to remove him from office.

Trump’s approval rating was 57% in the poll released Friday, up from 54% in April 2018 and 51% in November 2017. Disapproval was a steady 42% in all three surveys.

Trump’s approval was highest in East Tennessee at 61%, compared with 56% in Middle and 53% in West. Ninety-three percent of Republicans approved of the president, while 53% of independents agreed. Just 10% of Democrats approved of Trump’s job performance.

Fifty-nine percent said they opposed the efforts to remove Trump from office. The ratio was higher among men (65% for to 32% against) than women (54%-41%). A near-unanimous 97% of Republicans opposed the president’s removal, as did 56% of independents, and 7% of Democrats.

The poll of 625 registered voters, including 247 Republicans, 207 independence, and 171 Democrats, was conducted between Jan. 28 and Jan. 30. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Alexander decides against impeachment witnesses

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) says he doesn’t need to hear from witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial:

I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense. …The Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.

The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday. …Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.” – Senator Lamar Alexander

Here is the full release from Alexander’s office:

Washington, D.C., January 30, 2020 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote regarding additional evidence in the impeachment proceedings:

“I worked with other senators to make sure that we have the right to ask for more documents and witnesses, but there is no need for more evidence to prove something that has already been proven and that does not meet the United States Constitution’s high bar for an impeachable offense.

“There is no need for more evidence to prove that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; he said this on television on October 3, 2019, and during his July 25, 2019, telephone call with the president of Ukraine. There is no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; the House managers have proved this with what they call a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ There is no need to consider further the frivolous second article of impeachment that would remove the president for asserting his constitutional prerogative to protect confidential conversations with his close advisers.

“It was inappropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political opponent and to withhold United States aid to encourage that investigation. When elected officials inappropriately interfere with such investigations, it undermines the principle of equal justice under the law. But the Constitution does not give the Senate the power to remove the president from office and ban him from this year’s ballot simply for actions that are inappropriate.

“The question then is not whether the president did it, but whether the United States Senate or the American people should decide what to do about what he did. I believe that the Constitution provides that the people should make that decision in the presidential election that begins in Iowa on Monday.

“The Senate has spent nine long days considering this ‘mountain’ of evidence, the arguments of the House managers and the president’s lawyers, their answers to senators’ questions and the House record. Even if the House charges were true, they do not meet the Constitution’s ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors’ standard for an impeachable offense.

“The framers believed that there should never, ever be a partisan impeachment. That is why the Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate for conviction. Yet not one House Republican voted for these articles. If this shallow, hurried and wholly partisan impeachment were to succeed, it would rip the country apart, pouring gasoline on the fire of cultural divisions that already exist. It would create the weapon of perpetual impeachment to be used against future presidents whenever the House of Representatives is of a different political party.

“Our founding documents provide for duly elected presidents who serve with ‘the consent of the governed,’ not at the pleasure of the United States Congress. Let the people decide.”   

Alexander open to witnesses in Trump impeachment trial

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) attends an event at the state Capitol in Nashville on Dec. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) is open to hearing from additional witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. He also says he would vote against any motion to dismiss the charges against the president.

“I’m going to listen to the arguments, listen to the questions and then I’m going to decide whether I believe we need additional documents from additional witnesses,” Alexander said in response to a reporter in Washington. “That’s precisely what they did in the Clinton impeachment that was a hundred to zero vote for that procedure and I think that’s good precedent.”

Alexander added in a statement:

I think we should hear the case. We have a constitutional duty to do that. That means to me, number one, hear the arguments. Number two, to ask our questions. Number three, to be guaranteed the right to vote on whether we need additional evidence following hearing the case. Evidence could be witnesses, it could be documents.

 

Green looks to raise money off ‘storming’ impeachment hearings he had access to

As a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) has access to closed-door hearings in the congressional impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. That didn’t stop him from joining 40 Republican colleagues in barging into a secure hearing room where the hearings were taking place on Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post, 13 of those joining the protest were GOP members who, like Green, serve on committees giving them access to the hearings.

But in a fundraising appeal sent out Thursday, Green says “my colleagues and I have been barred from accessing certain testimonies.”

“That’s why yesterday, my colleagues and I stormed the committee rooms where they are conducting the depositions in secret,” he said. “And, unsurprisingly, Shifty Adam Schiff wouldn’t let us in.”

It’s unclear why Green would have been blocked from a hearing he has authorization to attend.

“I need you to join me in standing with President Trump,” Green writes. “Will you chip in $25 today to help me continue to fight for the truth?”

PAC set up by disbarred tea party figure takes aim at Romney

A political action committee set up by Judson Phillips, the disbarred founder of Tea Party Nation, is reporting new independent expenditures against Mitt Romney in the presidential race, the Nashville Post’s Stephen Elliott has found.

The PAC called Drain the DC Swamp was formed in November 2017. Phillips was listed last year as its treasurer and custodian of records. A new statement of organization filed last week no longer lists Phillips in either of those positions.

The PAC reported spending money in support of President Donald Trump and against Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 and current U.S. senator.

The State Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Responsibility disbarred Phillips in June after he acknowledged “he could not successfully defend himself” on 41 pending disciplinary complaints. Phillips had previously been disbarred last year after clients alleged he charged unreasonable fees and misled them about the results of timeshare litigation.

Cagle sees Senate race as ‘Manny against the Machine’

It all goes back to 2014, Knox TN Today’s Frank Cagle writes in his latest column. That’s when incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander lost 27 counties — including the incumbent’s home county of Blount — in the Republican primary to a “broke, no-name former state legislator,” Joe Carr. The prospects of credible, well-funded challenges were enough, Cable writes, to lead Alexander and fellow Sen. Bob Corker (R-Chattanooga) to retire and cause former Gov. Bill Haslam not to run for either seat.

Cagle is a former managing editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel and served as spokesman for Republican Van Hilleary’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign. He isn’t averse to throwing bombs in his opinion pieces, and this column is no exception.

The question Cagle raises is: “How does the cocktail party caucus retain control of the Republican political machine in the Age of Trump?”

Manny against the Machine

Haslam’s much-delayed decision not to run for Alexander’s seat this year “froze the field, dried up donors and forced [U.S. Rep. Mark] Green out of the race,” Cagle writes. When Haslam finally begged off, President Donald Trump was “primed to announce an endorsement of Hagerty to give him a clear field to glide into the seat.”

But hopes of clearing the field didn’t occur when Sethi jumped into the race — and has remained a thorn in the side of Hagerty’s efforts.

“Hagerty will be running a top-down campaign, Sethi will be running a bottom-up campaign,” according to Cagle. “While Hagerty was being introduced around the Neyland Stadium skyboxes by Haslam Saturday night, Sethi was at a Montgomery County chili supper.”

Hagerty’s ties to Trump critic Mitt Romney, the former presidential candidate and current U.S. senator, could hurt him among the president’s supporters in the state, Cagle writes:

A key to the race may be whether Trump wants to come to Tennessee and rally for Hagerty. It isn’t likely Romney will be getting an invitation.

For now, the rallying cry is Manny Against the Machine.