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On the roster: After a rough spell, Trump goes Lewan-out-ski - ‘Free the delegates’ movement picks up steam - Gun votes expected to fail on Senate floor today - See West Virginia from Paw Paw to Penile
AFTER A ROUGH SPELL, TRUMP GOES LEWAN-OUT-SKI
Corey Lewandowski’s motto was “let Trump be Trump,” but with Lewandowski’s sudden ouster as campaign manager, it seems that Donald Trump has decided to try to be someone else.
Lewandowski was the perfect lieutenant for Trump: Brusque, brutal and intensely loyal to the man and the brand. So much so that as the growing coterie of hangers on from the Precambrian era of Republican politics began collecting around Trump, it was Lewandowski who tasked himself with preserving Trump’s personality-driven, rally-fueled campaign approach.
But that approach has been looking shaky of late.
Called to answer for his disappointing performance in recent weeks, Trump told NBC News this weekend “we really haven’t started.”
Trump explained that things wouldn’t really get going for his campaign until after the Republican National Convention 28 days hence. The sound you heard in the distance was the sound of 10,000 spit takes from Republican politicos.
Haven’t started? Trump has been the party’s de facto nominee since for nearly two months, for most of which his Democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton, was still contending with a primary challenger.
Before his recent setbacks, Trump had certainly seemed to have started.
A month ago, Trump laid out a different game plan, one Lewandowski undoubtedly liked: Keep doing what he was doing. Trump told reporters that he would outsource the usual work of a campaign to the Republican National Committee and that he would focus on keeping up his raucous rallies and constant stream of media interviews.
Trump was doing exactly as he promised. And with the national general election polls nearly tied and Clinton seeming to still struggle with Bernie Sanders, Trump fans began to believe that their man could just keep his primary campaign chugging right into the general.
But Trump now trails by nearly 6 points in the average of recent reliable polls and Clinton’s campaign is preparing to unleash hell in the form of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of attack ads.
Who knows what really goes on inside the Trump campaign, so it may be that Lewandowski’s defenestration is about personal conflicts or may even be a way to put him outside the campaign as a surrogate or super PAC proprietor.
But the most obvious answer, and the one being pushed by the campaign on background, is that Trump and his children chose K Street crocodile Paul Manafort over Lewandowski. And that, presumably, means that Manafort’s approach wins out too.
If Lewandowski wanted Trump to be Trump, Manafort thinks Trump should be maybe a little, ahem, less so…
Even so, dumping a campaign manager just before a convention is odd and risky. So why now?
While Trump had routinely seen his from-the-hip hardline responses to prior terror attacks help him in primary season, his response to the attack in Orlando seems to have done considerable damage. Trump’s troubles in deciding whether he favors more gun control or more firearms and nightclubs have been particularly revealing.
The best guess for the timing of the is that in the wake of back-to-back unforced errors – first the attack on the Mexican ancestry of the judge on the fraud suit against Trump and then the errant response to the Orlando massacre – Trump is looking for a safer way to play.
Whether or not it works depends on how convincingly Trump can play a different character – clearly an open question – and whether this is the end of the staff upheavals.
Does your state have a holiday? You would if you were a West Virginian. Today is West Virginia Day, celebrating the 153rd birthday of the Mountain State. When Virginia left the Union in 1861 the 55 western counties left Virginia, establishing “the restored government of Virginia” in the state’s second largest city, Wheeling. As the war ground on, many in Washington came to see dividing the state as unnecessary and envisioned a whole and restored Virginia returning to the Union after the war, but true to his word,Abraham Lincoln delivered for those patriots who longed to make West Virginia the 35th state.
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Average of national presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +5.6 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.2
FREE THE DELEGATES MOVEMENT PICKS UP STEAM
WaPo: “Supporters of a growing anti-Donald Trump movement announced plans Sunday to raise money for staff and a possible legal defense fund as they asked new recruits to help spread the word with less than a month until the Republican National Convention. Having started with just a few dozen delegates, organizers also said Sunday that they now count several hundred delegates and alternates as part of their campaign…The group is led by delegates seeking to block Trump at the GOP convention next month in Cleveland by changing party rules so that they can vote however they want -- instead of in line with the results of state caucuses and primaries. It is quickly emerging as the most organized effort to stop Trump and coincides with hisdeclining poll numbers.”
GUN VOTES EXPECTED TO FAIL ON SENATE FLOOR TODAY
Fox News: “A week after the Orlando terror massacre, U.S. lawmakers will bring a set of dueling gun control measures to the Senate floor Monday — and all are expected to fail. The scheduled votes on four separate bills address changes to the background check system as well as restrictions on gun sales for those on terror watch lists, among other areas…Democrats are expected to block two Republican amendments, arguing that they fall short in controlling the sales of firearms. In turn, Republicans are certain to block two Democratic amendments, contending they threaten the constitutional rights of gun owners.”
Trump’s charity claims violating fraud laws? - Politico
Meet the lawyers who could blow up Hillary Clinton’s candidacy - Daily Beast
Are pollsters underestimating the minority vote? - WaPo
David Drucker dives into Trump’s fundraising mystery - WashEx
Trump holding press conference post-Brexit vote - The Hill
Trump hires adviser to oversee surrogates - NYT
Trump camp sends first ‘emergency fundraising’ email - Vanity Fair
“The reality is that they are changing the narrative. What's the narrative? It’s a weak president and the last four months and five months they have had more terror attacks than we have had since I don’t know when.” – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani talking about Democrats in congress trying to change the discussion on gun control.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“It is more clear today to me as when Trump started one year ago that his only goal is a shill for [Clinton]!” – Gene Lindbeck, Portland, Ore.
“I, like many of my fellow Americans, have had it up to here with political correctness. Up to now, no one has offered any alternative to being ‘PC.’ Well, how about being morally correct? When faced with an issue that screams for a correct solution, being morally correct should trump political correctness every time.” – Jim Hiddle, Altus, Okla.
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SEE WEST VIRGINIA FROM PAW PAW TO PENILE
Every state has its own unusual place names, but West Virginia takes the cake, or maybe we should say takes the Pie, for the community in Mingo County. What kind of pie should you eat in Pie? How about Paw Paw in Morgan County, which takes its name for a banana-like mountain fruit. For something more savory, head over to for a bowl of Bergoo in Webster County or down to Cucumber, McDowell County. Where should you cook it? How about Big Chimney (Kanawha County)? You can also travel to the less-appetizingly named War or even Hellhole Cave. And no one would want to bathe in Stinking Creek in Summers County.
What should you wear while you’re there? How about a Red Jacket (Mingo County)? And clearly the town fathers of many West Virginia communities were thinking about impressing the women in their lives. There’s Sarah Ann, Jane Lew, Glen Jean, Corinne, Helen, Idamay, Kimberly, Nettie and Rachel. And for those looking for something a little racier, you can go to Pinch in Kanawha County or Penile in Nicholas County.
You can take in a high school football game in Poca in Putnam County and root for, who else, but the Dots. Just down the road is Nitro. But too much of that and you might end up with a Boomer (Fayette County), or a Crumpler (McDowell County).
But wherever you go in the Mountain State just rest assured that you’d always be welcome at Hometown in Putnam County.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.