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The Left Column


"Trump's aides don't want to admit the President is golfing"

(CNN) President Donald Trump has made visiting his Florida golf courses a near every-weekend habit in the first month of his administration, and his aides are trying to obscure whether Trump is actually golfing during the visits.

One possible reason: Trump was a frequent and vocal critic of President Barack Obama's golf habit, regularly slamming the former president for playing golf with many pressing issues before the country. Trump even suggested during a 2016 event in Virginia, in a knock on Obama, that if elected he was "not going to have time to go play golf."

"I'm going to be working for you, I'm not going to have time to go play golf," Trump said at the time.


Norm Ornstein: "Jason Chaffetz will go down as one of the real villains" of this dark period

On Nov. 9, literally the day after the election, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said his pre-election plans had not changed: he remained focused on Hillary Clinton and her email server management. In December, he said it again. In January, he said it again.

Political scientist Norm Ornstein said this week, “When the history of this dark period is written, Jason Chaffetz will go down as one of the real villains.” That’s hardly an unreasonable assessment under the circumstances.


Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops

(AP) The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana.

Four states that border on Mexico are included in the proposal - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas - but it also encompasses seven states contiguous to those four - Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.


Trumps Public Humiliation

(Slate) Donald Trump isn’t accustomed to hearing prospective underlings say “No.” So it came as a shock when retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward—his first choice to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser—told the president he’d have to think about the offer. It must have been a double shock when, a few days later, Harward turned him down flat.

The rejection is stunning in several ways that go well beyond the scope of Trump’s personal sensitivities. First, it is very unusual—almost unheard of—for a senior military officer, retired or otherwise, to turn down a request from the commander-in-chief.

Second, and largely for that reason, by rejecting the offer, Harward has provided cover to other officers, and to civilian national security analysts with a similar sense of patriotic duty, to turn down this president, too. Service, in this case, is not its own reward and by no stretch worth the sacrifice.

Brother Buzz

10 Resign from Presidents Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

(NBC News) Ten members of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) submitted their resignation to President Donald Trump, NBC News has learned.

In the letter addressed to Trump and obtained by NBC News on Wednesday, the 10 members — approximately two-thirds of the commission — stated their objection to the president's "portrayal of immigrants, refugees, people of color and people of various faiths as untrustworthy, threatening, and a drain on our nation."

herding cats

Harward called the NSC offer a "shit sandwich."

Jake Tapper‏ @jaketapper
A friend of Harward's says he was reluctant to take NSA job bc the WH seems so chaotic; says Harward called the offer a "shit sandwich."


Vox: 9 things its hard to believe the president of the United States actually just said

1) Trump’s unhelpful explanation when asked if the revelation about Michael Flynn speaking to the Russian ambassador amounted to “fake news” or “real leaks.” “The leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them; I mean, the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it, and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.”

2) On how Trump handles negative publicity. “I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly, and I’m okay with that. But I’m not okay when it is fake.”

3) An unprompted riff on CNN ratings and how the network could improve. “I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred, and just the hatred. I don’t watch it anymore because it’s not very good. ... I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now, but I think that actually — I think that’d actually be better.”


"About the Press Conference" Josh Marshall nails it

(TPM) This is that rare time when I think the cliched phrase is appropriate: That press conference speaks for itself. There's very little I can think to add. It all amounts to a confirmation of what most of us already know. This man is not emotionally or characterologically equipped to serve as President. He lacks the focus, the ability to commit to even a passable amount of work without immediate emotional gratification. Thus his decision to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Friday. (It's literally a campaign event, put on by his 2020 reelection campaign). Trump lacks the emotional resilience or toughness to deal with what is the inevitable criticism and difficulties of being President, which - lets be clear - are great.

These different deficits all feed upon each other. He lacks the steadiness for the job.

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