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On the roster: Trump remakes GOP on national security - Orlando shooter’s dad makes cameo at Clinton rally - Conservative candidate’s bid: Block Trump - Ryan looks to make a statement with a primary win - As luck would have it…
TRUMP REMAKES GOP ON NATIONAL SECURITY
A decade ago, Republicans fantasized about a permanent majority crafted around social issues, economic opportunity and, most of all, national security.
So about that…
The hard lesson for the GOP in the 2006 and 2008 elections was that the national security strength that had delivered midterm success in 2002, and George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, had turned into a bitter harvest.
Reversals in Iraq, voter disinterest in the issue as years without a major terror attack went by and the financial panic of 2008 wiped out the political norms as we knew them.
Now, we have the strongest evidence yet of the rift among Republicans on the subject. Fifty national security advisers to President George W. Bush and other Republican presidents submitted an open letter describing why they will not be voting for Donald Trump this November.
The letter does not say the group will necessarily support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but does make it clear that they feel Trump would be “dangerous” as president.
The group of 50, which includes former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former homeland security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and the first Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, joins other high-ranking Republicans, most recently Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who also says she will not vote for the party nominee in the fall.
Trump, smartly, said he didn’t want their support, and that the reason they were speaking against him, as he told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo is that they want someone other than Trump to win “so that they can get a job.”
His argument is that he doesn’t want the support of the same people he says wrecked the Middle East and made America a less secure place.
The eventual nominee foreshadowed this rift during the GOP primaries when he blamed Bush for the 9/11 attacks and repeatedly denounced the invasion of Iraq. That was good for his populist supporters in the primaries, and it’s good for the general, too.
It remains to be seen is whether defense hawks and those who favor traditional pillars of conservative foreign policy will actually swing and vote for Clinton. But that probably doesn’t matter in an electoral sense. The significance here is that Clinton gets fresh ammunition in her fight to depict Trump as unfit for command.
Here again Trump stands at the crossroads. Many Republicans anguish over his attacks on Bush, his admiration for Vladimir Putin, his criticisms of NATO, etc.
But for many non-Republicans, including a lot of Democrats, they hate the existing foreign policy structure as much as Trump. Globalism, “blood for oil,” war profiteering, all have lots of enemies on the left.
It is easy to imagine that Trump’s next fight with his party will be over these subjects, particularly on the question of who his real military advisors will be. This could be a breakpoint in the way that other rhetorical dustups have not been. Clinton certainly hopes so.
But in his work of remaking the Republican Party as a new and very different entity, nothing may end up mattering so much as Trump’s departures on national security.
TIME OUT: NERD ALERT
Why are intellectuals freaks? Michael Lind explains: “My point is that people who specialize in the life of ideas tend to be extremely atypical of their societies. They — we — are freaks in a statistical sense. For generations, populists of various kinds have argued that intellectuals are unworldly individuals out of touch with the experiences and values of most of their fellow citizens. While anti-intellectual populists have often been wrong about the gold standard or the single tax or other issues, by and large they have been right about intellectuals.”
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 +10.4 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.8
ORLANDO SHOOTER’S DAD MAKES CAMEO AT CLINTON RALLY
Orlando Sentinel: “The Pulse nightclub shooter’s father attended Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s rally in Kissimmee Monday night. Cameras captured Seddique Mateen, Omar Mateen’s father, standing in the crowd. He later told a reporter for WPTV, a Palm Beach-based NBC affiliate, that he wanted to attend the rally as a member of the public and a Clinton supporter. ‘Why should they be surprised? I love the United States, and I've been living here a long time,’ Mateen said. The Clinton campaign said that the rally was a 3,000-person, open-door event for the public.”
Parents of two killed in Benghazi sue Hillary - Fox News: “The parents of two of the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attack in 2012 filed a lawsuit Monday against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, alleging her ‘reckless handling’ of classified information contributed to their deaths.”
CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE’S BID: BLOCK TRUMP
Daily Beast: “Call it Mitt Romney’s revenge. With less than three months left before Election Day, some prominent Republicans are banking on a long-shot candidate to bring down Donald Trump—one who happens to be a Wharton educated Utah native and a Mormon missionary…Republican consultant Rick Wilson, who eviscerated Trump in a weekend opinion column published in the New York Daily News, has teamed up with Florida-based pollster and operative Joel Searby to head up Evan McMullin’s campaign staff…There frankly isn’t enough time on the clock to build the kind of state-by-state organization necessary— especially since Clinton already has thousands of foot soldiers out door-knocking and has been up on television for weeks. But McMullin might not be in the race to win, place or even show. His candidacy appears to have one specific aim: Cut off Trump’s narrow path to victory.”
Why now? - Evan McMullin discussed why he decided to make the decision to run for president in his “Letter to America,” and what he feels is at stake this election cycle on Monday’s “The Kelly File.” Watch here.
RYAN LOOKS TO MAKE A STATEMENT WITH A PRIMARY WIN
WashEx: “House Speaker Paul Ryan is poised to cruise to an easy GOP primary win in Wisconsin on Tuesday, according to poll numbers and strategists who see no possible path to victory for his GOP opponent, Paul Nehlen. Polls have Ryan up by as much as 66 points in the state’s 1st District, leaving very little chance for a repeat of former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s stunning primary loss in 2014 to political novice Dave Brat.”
Trump implies a connection between Clinton emails and Iranian scientist’s execution - WaPo
Clinton spends over $13 million on ads during Olympic games - AP
Clinton campaign chairman urges Trump camp to accept debates - USA Today
Clinton lead widens in new Monmouth University poll - USA Today
Mother of baby ejected from Trump rally says she knew he was joking - The Hill
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT: SWIMMING IN DATA
As the general election battle heats up, much talk has turned to polls, state wins and the Electoral College. Is it possible for Donald Trump to win back Pennsylvania for the Republicans this cycle, but lose Arizona? Maybe! Dana Perino gets all of that plus a lesson on the archaic terminology of card games from Chris Stirewalt on the latest on the latest installment of the podcast, “Perino and Stirewalt: I’ll Tell You What.” Listen and subscribe HERE
AUDIBLE: SEE WHAT I MEAN?
“I believe it makes Donald Trump’s candidacy really clear: He’s running against the Washington insiders. You just heard from the Washington insiders.” – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on “FOX & Friends” this morning denouncing his former post-9/11 national security associates who have come out against Donald Trump.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Given your last tidbit about playing ominous music that makes viewing pictures of sharks seem more dangerous, and, therefore, more likely to hunted to extinction (an ominous outcome for ocean ecology if it happens), then playing ominous background music for the anti-Clinton or anti-Trump ads should have the greatest impact on voters. I wonder if the great composer, John Williams, ever considered that his theme for ‘Jaws’ would be played under political ads.” – John William Gibson, Coos Bay, Ore.
[Ed. note: Don’t give them any ideas, Mr. Gibson! Politicians are quite scary enough as it is…]
“The comment Tom Cotton made on this past week’s Fox News Sunday makes a lot of sense. Let’s focus more on what Mrs. Clinton DID than on what Mr. Trump SAYS. Granted, he has the personality of a charging rhino, but Mrs. Clinton is an incompetent, dishonest person with a bad personality.” – Susan Williams, St. Louis
[Ed. note: Thanks for the note, Ms. Williams. Now please go find out why the Redbirds keep getting schneidered at home and report back!]
AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT…
CBS 4: “Some skydivers seemed to have little choice when it came to a planned jump. One of the engines on their plane caught fire on Sunday so they decided to bail out a little early. The plane flew out of the Colorado Springs Airport on Sunday when the engine burst into flames shortly after takeoff. Thirteen skydivers were on board and say they saw flames out of the window. They decided to jump even though they didn’t hear instructions from the pilot. ‘The first guy out, he didn’t get a response from the pilot but he was like, ‘I’m getting out of this plane immediately’ and I was like, ‘I’m following that guy. I’m out,’ said skydiver Leah Sitzes…No one was hurt and the pilot landed safely. Officials believe the fire may have started after a bird got into the engine. The skydivers said they will jump again.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“[Donald Trump] gave the classic Republican agenda on economics, cut taxes. I think every Republican would agree, but I think what’s really notable is how anti-trade he is, he remains and he’s not gonna waver.” – Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Watch here.
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.