As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

William Weld is a Problem for Trump

The never-Trumper’s, and certainly President Trump himself, will seek to laugh off the decision by former Massachusetts governor William Weld to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. But actually, this is a very serious problem for the president.

Weld announced Friday morning that he’s going to give it a shot, no doubt getting him invites to all the Sunday talk shows.

The reason some GOP money, and probably the anti-Trump faction of the Republican Party, will likely get behind Weld is that they understand that Weld doesn’t have to win, and he probably won’t. But they know that he only has to injure Trump enough to harm his prospects for the general election.

The reason some GOP money, and probably the anti-Trump faction of the Republican Party, will likely get behind Weld is that they understand that Weld doesn’t have to win, and he probably won’t. But they know that he only has to injure Trump enough to harm his prospects for the general election.

History doesn’t always repeat itself, but the history for presidents who get primary challengers is not good. George H.W. Bush was challenged by Patrick Buchanan and lost in the general election to Bill Clinton in 1992. Gerald Ford was forced to run in the 1976 primary against Ronald Reagan and lost his reelection bid to Jimmy Carter. And Lyndon Johnson decided not to even make a try for reelection as challengers piled up in the Democratic primaries.

Weld may not be the only challenger. I’m willing to bet that the eternally self-indulgent former Ohio Governor John Kasich will give it a try too. Trump is going to have to expend resources to combat them, and he will be under constant attack from within his own party, possibly hurting his polls.

The president’s political advisors certainly know all of this. I am sure that while publicly they will dismiss Weld, privately they will take him very seriously.

Trump to Declare National Emergency After Signing Spending Bill

President Trump said he had other ways to fund his wall. He was serious.

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” White House Press press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday afternoon. “The president is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.”

Trump Tries to Keep Conservatives from Attacking Him on Border Deal

Prominent conservative media figures are once again trying to convince him not to go for it, as they did successfully last time when they changed his mind and got him to force a shutdown. This time, they’re not going to succeed.

President Trump appears ready to sign a spending deal that would avert a government shutdown but provide only skimpy funding for his proposed wall.

So Trump is trying to assuage conservatives, according to the New York Times:

As he inched closer to reluctantly accepting a bipartisan spending compromise without the money he demanded for his border wall, Mr. Trump offered no acknowledgment on Wednesday that his pressure tactics had failed even as aides sought to minimize the damage by tamping down criticism on the right.

One call was made to Lou Dobbs, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s whose Fox Business Network show he often tries to catch live. Another was placed to Sean Hannity, the Fox host who regularly talks with the president. The message: Mr. Trump deserved support because he still forced concessions that he would never have gotten without a five-week partial government shutdown.

Even so, it was arguably the most punishing defeat Mr. Trump has experienced as president, and it left the White House scrounging for other ways to pay for a wall on the southwestern border and rethinking its approach to a Congress now partly controlled by Democrats. The agreement that lawmakers produced this week would allocate $1.375 billion for fencing along the border, even less than was on the table at one point last year. 

Mr. Trump argued that the shutdown had been useful because it educated the country about troubles at the border and, if nothing else, he has framed the national debate on his terms. That did not completely assuage conservatives. Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, contradicted the White House line and declared that the agreement was “a bad deal for the president.”

Should conservatives feel reassured? Should conservative opinion leaders leave Trump alone this time around? What do you think?

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Poll: Half of Voters Support Southern Border Wall

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