The effects of Trump's Charlottesville backtracking

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On the roster: The effects of Trump’s Charlottesville backtracking - No clear winner in Alabama GOP primary - Hicks named interim communications director - CBO score shows higher premiums and deficits - A gift to last the next 100 years

Axios: “White House aides say [Donald Trump] lashed out because he felt that the barrage of media criticism for his Saturday remarks was unfair and wrong — that he was fighting back, campaign style. … Top Republicans, including West Wing sources, tell us Trump can expect to pay a huge price for his self-indulgence, which came at an event that was supposed to promote his infrastructure plan. … We're told close aides aren't shocked, but mainly dispirited. … White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, exhausted and dismayed, was shown in iconic TV shots with his head hanging during Trump's blast. … Trump's legislative agenda will suffer: He doesn't have a single real friend in the Senate — 0 for 100. His lack of moral authority, and low approval ratings, will make everything harder.”

His team got blindsided - Politico: “White House aides are wrestling with how to respond to President Donald Trump’s defiant news conference on Tuesday in which he doubled down on his statement that ‘both sides’ are to blame for the Charlottesville violence and offered what some perceived to be overtures to white supremacists. No aides had yet threatened to resign as of Wednesday morning, according to White House officials and advisers, but a number of White House staffers had private conversations on Tuesday night about how terribly the day went. … Still, White House aides say they were startled by the extensive comments, especially because Trump paid so little attention at the event to the intended focus of infrastructure, which is an issue the president often says he cares deeply about.”

Main GOP players got dragged into it -
Bloomberg: “Trump forced Republicans into a conversation about one topic they see no political benefit in speaking about: race. It creates the latest, and potentially most perilous, test of Republican loyalty to Trump after a long string of such moments -- including his crude comments about women on the Access Hollywood tape, his baseless claim that President Obama wiretapped his phones, and his firing of FBI director James Comey. … The episode has led some Republicans to show their evident frustration at the president’s continual habit of creating self-inflicted wounds for the administration and Congress. … House Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, the top three Republicans in the House of Representatives, all came out quickly to denounce white supremacy again -- without directly criticizing Trump. … Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky followed suit on Tuesday, releasing a statement on ‘hate groups’ without mentioning Trump or the president’s remarks.”

Two of his business panels have collapsed  - WaPo: “President Trump’s relationship with the American business community suffered a major setback on Wednesday as the president was forced to shut down his major business advisory councils after corporate leaders repudiated his comments on the violence in Charlottesville this weekend. Trump announced the disbanding of the two councils — the Strategy & Policy Forum and the Manufacturing Council, which hosted many of the top corporate leaders in America — amid a growing uproar by chief executives furious over Trump's decision to equate the actions of white supremacists and protesters in remarks Tuesday at Trump Tower. … As the number of resignations swelled, Trump announced on Twitter afternoon that he'd shut down the councils. ‘Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum. I am ending both,’ he wrote.”


“…let us make a firm stand for our safety, our tranquillity, our dignity, our reputation. Let us at last break the fatal charm which has too long seduced us from the paths of felicity and prosperity.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15

On the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, we take a look at the King’s legendary 1968 television special that re-launched his career. Rolling Stone: “If Presley was nervous at all, though, it didn't show. When he appeared onscreen, it was with a piercing stare and a curled lip. He was dressed head-to-toe in black leather, and best of all, his voice sounded powerful: He wailed ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’ and other hits like it was 1956. The hour-long broadcast, then dubbed Elvis and now known as the ‘‘68 Comeback Special,’ proved that the then–33-year-old still had swagger. For years, he’d been exiled in Hollywood – making movies instead of touring, as the Beatles blew up and rock got bigger than ever – so the show was a long-overdue return to pure performing for the singer. … At a press conference a few days before the taping, Presley was humble. ‘We figured it was about time,’ he said of why he wanted to do the special. ‘Besides, I figured I'd better do it before I got too old.’”

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Trump net job-approval rating: -17.2 points
Change from one week ago: up 6.2 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

Roll Call: “Judge Roy Moore and Sen. Luther Strange will advance to a Republican primary runoff in the Alabama special election Senate race for the remaining term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions’ seat. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Moore led Strange 39 percent to 33 percent, The Associated Press reported. Since neither candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, Moore and Strange, as the top two finishers in the nine-person field, will face off in a Sept. 26 runoff.  The winner will face the Democratic candidate, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones. … GOP Rep. Mo Brooks was in third place in the Republican primary… Whoever wins the GOP primary runoff will be in a strong position heading into the Dec. 12 general election. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Alabama Senate race Solid Republican.”

McConnell avoids embarrassment, for now - Politico: “Senior Republicans conceded that Tuesday’s results weren’t what they’d hoped for. But they argued that Strange … still has a path to victory. One option being considered by McConnell allies, who have already spent around $4 million in support of Strange, is a scorched-earth campaign targeting Moore. In a possible preview of what’s to come, the pro-McConnell Senate Leadership Fund began airing TV commercials in the days leading up to Tuesday’s primary accusing Moore of taking funds from a charity he ran. … In the days to come, the group intends to examine the results and pore through polling to determine how to proceed. Yet to some, Strange’s backers have little choice but to turn Moore … into an unacceptable choice for the Senate.”

Mayor John Curtis wins Utah primary - WaPo: “The mayor of Provo, Utah, won the race for the Republican nomination Tuesday to fill the seat vacated by retired Rep. Jason Chaffetz against a pair of GOP rivals who portrayed themselves as more ardently conservative. John Curtis is now well positioned in Utah’s conservative 3rd Congressional District ahead of the Nov. 7 general election, where he will face a Democrat and several third-party candidates. Curtis faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in negative super PAC ads that sought to portray him as insufficiently committed to lowering taxes and cutting government spending.”

Fox News:Hope Hicks, the 28-year-old press aide who has worked with President Trump since before the campaign, has been named interim White House communications director, Fox News has learned. A senior White House source told Fox News that Hicks will fill the role until the White House finds a permanent replacement. … In picking Hicks to fill the role in the interim, the president is going with a loyal press aide who has been with him since before his entry into politics. Hicks has been in the Trump orbit since her early 20’s… She joined Trump’s then-underdog presidential campaign in 2015. She has been a constant presence since, even though she eschews TV interviews and the limelight in general, unlike some of her colleagues. Hicks survived frequent turnover in the top ranks of the Trump campaign last year and later the Trump White House.”

Trump weighs his options on Bannon - Reuters: “The dispute between Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster and political strategist Stephen Bannon has reached a level of animosity that is destabilizing Trump’s team of top advisers just as the administration tries to regain lost momentum, three senior officials said. Under pressure from moderate Republicans to fire Bannon, Trump declined to publicly back him on Tuesday, although he left his options open. ‘We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon,’ he told reporters at Trump Tower in New York. Whatever Trump decides could chart the fate of a nuclear-weapons deal with Iran, U.S. troop deployments to Afghanistan and White House staffing decisions - all issues over which Bannon and McMaster have sparred.”

Lizza: ‘Firing Steve Bannon won’t change Donald Trump’ - New Yorker: “There are two streams of thought flowing from the vision of nationalism that Bannon is trying to foist on the G.O.P.: economic and xenophobic. Trumpism so far has been marked by the latter and very little of the former. Trump’s time in office, so far, will be remembered far more for his coddling of racist groups after the protests in Charlottesville than for any policy achievements. Whether or not Bannon remains in the White House, one clear test of whether Trumpism means anything more than the scapegoating of non-whites is whether the Republican Congress’s ambitious fall legislative agenda takes a more economically populist turn.”

NYT: “Premiums for the most popular health insurance plans would shoot up 20 percent next year, and federal budget deficits would increase by $194 billion in the coming decade, if President Trump carried out his threat to end certain subsidies paid to insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The subsidies reimburse insurers for reducing deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs that low-income people pay when they visit doctors, fill prescriptions or receive care in hospitals. Even before efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate last month, Mr. Trump began threatening to stop paying the subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions. … Those threats continue, though the Trump administration has paid the subsidies each month. The nonpartisan budget office has now quantified the cost of the threats and potentially handed Democrats a weapon to force Congress and the administration to keep the money flowing.”

Trump signs executive order on environmental reviews - WashEx: “President Trump issued an executive order on environmental permitting Tuesday that seeks to solve a longstanding problem for industry by placing firm time limits on federal agencies to issue permits, and punishing those that fail to meet the president's goals. ‘The Executive Order will make the environmental and permitting processes needed for major infrastructure projects more efficient and effective,’ according to the White House.’ … This policy places the lead federal agency in charge of collecting all other relevant ‘environmental reviews and permitting decisions needed for major infrastructure projects,’ according to a White House fact sheet.”

Trump to hold rally in Phoenix next week - Arizona Central

Colorado Sen. Gardner faces blowback at home over support of Obamacare repeal - Politico

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous arrested at D.C. rally - CBS News

Federal judges have invalidated two of Texas’ congressional districts - Texas Tribune


Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well-reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!” – President Trump said in response to the North Korean dictator’s decision to back off his threats to attack Guam.

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[Ed. note: Chris Stirewalt is away. He and FROM THE BLEACHERS will return on Aug. 23.]

Bay News 9: “At least four days a week, 103-year-old Barbara Rygiel takes a late morning stroll to the bus stop where she waits to get picked up for church. It’s a normal routine for a woman who is anything but average. ‘If I tell myself I’m super, then I feel better. I get up in the morning and say, ‘Barbara, you’re super. So get up and do the work,’’ she said. … She loves taking the bus but said the fees do add up. To surprise and thank Barbara for being such a loyal rider, leaders of The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has given her a lifetime pass. … Rygiel said every time she steps on the bus, she’ll be reminded of those who’ve helped her get there. She said she is now looking forward to the future and will greet each day with a smile.”


“We are discussing the unique role of a president of speaking for the moral conscience of a country going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln. … We're comparing him to his great predecessors and to the modern predecessors who, on occasions like this, would rise to the occasion …” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.