**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: GOP won’t let trump make clean getaway - Trump speech today addresses ISIS, Muslim immigration - Power Play: Keeping tabs on campaign spending - Audible: Good to be back, Greg - You’ll thank me later
GOP WON’T LET TRUMP MAKE CLEAN GETAWAY
The wrong time for a bank robber to get a conscience is after the heist but before the getaway.
And after knocking over the GOP Savings & Loan, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was about to hop in his Packard like Willie Sutton and roar off to his next heist. But instead, he sat in front of the bank and started filling out a loan application.
That sound you hear off in the distance is the faint wail of sirens…
In winning the Republican nomination, Trump succeeded in the most daring political caper since at least Bill Clinton’s 1992 primary success amid rolling waves of personal scandal. But depending on what comes next, Trump’s primary win may go down in the books as the most audacious electoral gambit to have ever succeeded so wildly.
He slapped the members of the Republican Party right in the mouth and ended up with many of its members lining up to kiss his, ahem, assets. As Trump points out over and over and over again, they said it couldn’t be done, but he did it. And he did it faster and more thoroughly than anyone, himself included, would have guessed just a few months earlier.
But now we see Trump Agonistes, the mighty Samson in chains.
However much Trump complains about unfair media coverage or however much he and his team make the provocative and potentially dangerous claim that the election is being stolen, one thing is clear: Trump is talking an awful lot about losing.
What happened to winning so much that we would get bored of winning?
Part of the answer is the obvious but often overlooked fact that the general election is wholly different from the Republican nominating process. The electorates are different, there are only two candidates and the bent of the press takes on a more urgent and intense curve.
But it’s also because Trump seems to have either lost his nerve or been misled by his advisors.
This note has long held that Trump’s only path to victory is to unite disaffected blue-collar, white voters from across the political spectrum into one movement. Trump as heir to Ross Perot’s revolution could work. Trump as Mr. Republican? Not so much…
But after the primaries, Trump threw over his loyal campaign manager in favor of a veteran K Street operative, promised to get serious about policy and start acting “presidential.” Trump entered into a partnership with the RNC and started doing fundraisers.
But what he got, it seems, are a lot of headaches with no success to show for it. Just look at the headlines today.
The aforementioned K Streeter is in an imbroglio about his ties and alleged cash payments from the deposed Putin-backed government in Ukraine. And given Trump’s own Putinic penchant, it’s decidedly unhelpful.
The WSJ Editorial Page has issued an ultimatum for Trump to either normalize by month’s end or hand the nomination over to second banana, Mike Pence. Trump took an establishment Republican as his running mate to placate critics, and now the critics have a ready vehicle to dump Trump.
And, as has been the case since Trump first tried to play it straight, it is either fed by or reinforced by leaks.
Every day brings news of the latest turmoil and disagreement within the campaign. That’s all made possible by the fact that there is actually a campaign organization now. Trump couldn’t really have any leaks when he didn’t really have a campaign.
Now, there are many more people in the campaign – including those who are not themselves Trumpists – but also national and state party officials who are being brought into the fray. Once, only as many people who could fit on Trump’s jet could claim any real knowledge of the campaign. Now, there are hundreds.
In addition to his own organization’s leaking, there’s also the elevated status for Trump’s critics.
Former Trump holdout Rep. Mark Sanford is joining the calls for Trump to release his tax returns. Those calls will surely grow as anxieties build over not just what is hiding in Trump’s records, but also over setting the precedent for non-disclosure. If Trump won’t comply, how could Republicans ever demand disclosure from Democrats?
But Sanford gets special status and attention as a conservative Republican. That’s the same way that Trump’s partnership with the GOP empowers those like Speaker Paul Ryan and others to criticize his comments. We get the same loop over and over again: Trump says or does something controversial, he initially shows no remorse, Republicans heap on blame and then Trump eventually relents.
So what good are they anyway?
These Republicans are the bank managers of the GOP Savings & Loan running after Trump, paperwork in hand. If only he had asked for the money nicely and filled out the forms, it all might be fine. Just initial here, sign here and show two forms of identification.
Meanwhile, the sirens are getting louder and louder…
TIME OUT: AFTER THE RAJ
On Indian Independence Day, Time looks back at the world’s largest migration and how surprisingly few photographs exist of such a historically brutal event: “Surprisingly few photographs of this world-changing exodus survive, and some of the best were taken by Margaret Bourke-White for LIFE. The rediscovery of her contact sheets, together with the notes written by the reporter Lee Eitingon, give a powerful sense of how she did it. Having chronicled the liberation of Buchenwald and nearly every theatre of war in World War II, the celebrated and notoriously resourceful Bourke-White was not fazed by the chaos of a newly divided subcontinent. Eitingon, though in her mid-20s, was an experienced conflict reporter. A note in the archives reads: “Old India hands warned that the assignment was impossible for women – transportation would be difficult, native women were being abducted, even British army officers were being attacked.”
Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions
Average of national presidential polls: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +9.2 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.8
[Watch Fox: Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin takes the Center Seat with the All-Star Panel on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Tune in at 6 p.m. ET.]
TRUMP SPEECH TODAY ADDRESSES ISIS, MUSLIM IMMIGRATION
Time: “Donald Trump will revisit his proposed Muslim immigration policy in a foreign policy speech on Monday, and set out a vision for a United States waging war against ISIS and radical Islam. The Republican presidential nominee is expected to say that any nation that shares the U.S.’s goal of destroying ISIS, regardless of underlying ideological divisions, should be considered an ally, the Associated Press reports. In the speech, set to be delivered from Ohio on Monday, Trump will also lay out a new approach to immigration under which the U.S. would restrict visas for citizens of countries where the U.S cannot perform accurate security screenings. The new immigration policy is a new iteration of the controversial ‘total and complete shutdown’ of Muslims entering the U.S, first announced in December.”
BIDEN HITS THE TRAIL WITH CLINTON IN SCRANTON
AP: “Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is getting an assist from Joe Biden in Pennsylvania on Monday. The vice president plans to call Donald Trump the most uninformed presidential nominee in history. Biden is holding his first campaign rally with Clinton in his hometown of Scranton. Biden’s office says he will argue that Trump, the Republican hopeful, is less prepared on national security than any nominee in history. And he’ll say that Trump’s erratic rhetoric and "bluster" will make Americans less safe. Biden is also expected to make a pitch for Clinton’s plans on the economy and educations. It comes as Clinton has pressured Trump to release his tax returns and questioned his jobs agenda for middle-class workers.”
POWER PLAY: KEEPING TABS ON CAMPAIGN SPENDING
Tyler Arnold, founder of political technology firm Circa Victor, breaks down campaign and Super PAC spending -- including where and how the big bucks are being spent. WATCH HERE.
Conservative group seeks records for why a Clinton donor was placed on an intel board despite lack of experience - ABC News
Clinton camp deploys illegal immigrants to register voters - The Hill
Clinton’s free college plan lacks specifics - WSJ
Nate Silver lays out three scenarios and maps for Clinton landslide victories - FiveThirtyEight
Trump N.Y. co-chairman Carl Paladino stays on the attack against parents of dead Army officer - BuzzFeed
How Trump got the better of House conservatives - NRO
Ryan challenger launches pro-Trump PAC - Fox News
AUDIBLE: GOOD TO BE BACK, GREG
Boy, this is just as irrelevant as it always has been. I’ve missed this. I’ve really missed this. Man, this is really great.” – Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson on “The Greg Gutfeld Show” when asked by the host to list his third priority if he assumes the presidency.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Donald Trump should release his medical records and see if the press will demand the same from Hillary Clinton.” – Tim Daters, Little Rock, Ark.
[Ed. note: Trump has already released a medical report, including a description from Trump’s physician of the candidate’s “astonishingly excellent” lab reports and that Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” But Trump declined then to release past medical records and, one would suppose, that whatever motivated his prior demurral is still relevant.]
“I would like to correct your statement that implied that Trump won the primaries with the least amount of money. What you didn’t take into consideration is the reports that I have seen on two different venues. The media gave Trump almost 2 BILLION dollars’ worth of media time during the primaries. Cruz got the next highest amount with only 313 million dollars’ worth of media time during the primaries. Add to that the fact that Trump got a reported 26% more media time than ALL OF THE REST OF THE CANDIDATES COMBINED after the first debate. Publicity pays off, and Trump got a staggering amount of FREE publicity while all of the others had to struggle to be heard.” – Eleanor Korf, Olympia, Wash.
[Ed note: There’s no doubt, Ms. Korf, that the term ‘free press’ took on a double meaning during the GOP primaries. As Trump now thunders against unfair coverage, so too did his primary rivals. They were right and perhaps he is too – up to a point. There is desperate need for more responsible, far-sighted political coverage. But in the end, the responsibility redounds to the voter.]
“Your use of the term ‘Paddy Wagon’ is a micro-aggression aimed at American Irish. Paddy equals Patrick and the term relates to the frequency of American Irish being passengers in police wagons. God knows we are law abiding citizens and always have been. Further, use of terms like malarkey, shenanigans and blarney are cultural appropriations must cease. Erin Go Bragh. With tongue in cheek.” – James Ronan, Lake Wye, S.C.
[Ed. note: Faith and begorrah, Mr. Ronan! As my mother’s people would tell you, Patrick was driving the wagon... most of the time.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
YOU’LL THANK ME LATER
ENCS: “A man was mistaken as a patient and received surgery to remove hemorrhoids at a hospital while he was waiting for his wife to give birth. At Hunnan Hospital in Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, [China] the surgery room for pregnant women having cesarean sections is close to a smaller one for hemorrhoid patients. The man surnamed Wang said he waited anxiously for about 40 minutes outside the surgery room before a doctor beckoned him in and ordered him to take off his pants…During his surgery, Wang said he heard the cries of his newborn baby, then felt a pain in his bottom after leaving the be…The hospital later said it was a mistake and promised to pay 5,000 yuan ($750) in compensation, adding that Wang really did have hemorrhoids.”
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.