Trump Watch: Day 179 Wrap-Up

Good Tuesday afternoon, Trump watchers! My apologies for not getting this post up last night. I forgot that I had an evening commitment and I didn’t end up having time to write all of it last night, but here is all the news you’ve missed since the last post:

— First, the vote on the latest Republican Senate healthcare bill was delayed because John McCain had to have surgery, and as of last night the bill is effectively dead, as two more Republicans joined Senators Susan Collins and Rand Paul in their opposition to the bill. The latest defectors are Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah. For now, Trump’s wishes of repealing and replacing Obamacare are once again dead. Multiple news outlets reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may try to move forward with an option of “repeal only”, but as the New York Times noted, “That has almost no chance to pass, however, since it could leave millions without insurance and leave insurance markets in turmoil.” Stay tuned.

— On Monday the Trump administration granted a one-time increase of 15,000 additional visas for low-wage seasonal workers. This represents a 45% increase in the number of H-2B visas that are usually granted in the second half of the year. According to the Washington Post, these visas “are for workers taking temporary jobs in the seafood, tourism, landscaping, construction and other seasonal industries — but not farm laborers.” Some see this as a marked turn from Trump’s “Hire American” rhetoric during his campaign.

— In yet another display of attempted voter suppression from the Republicans, an email from the vice-chair of Trump’s commission on voter fraud shows that the group wants to add a provision that when registering to vote, people must show proof of citizenship. While this may sound fairly easy to those of us who have a copy of our birth certificate or who hold a U.S. passport, a national survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University revealed that millions of Americans do not have access to the required documents to prove their citizenship. Many of the citizens without access to the necessary documents include the elderly, minorities, and the poor — all groups that tend to vote for Democrats, and therefore, a big reason why the Republicans would like to stop them from voting. The vice-chair of Trump’s commission, Kris Kobach, already introduced this rule in his home state of Kansas, where thousands of people have been unable to register to vote as a result.

— On Monday it was widely reported that Trump’s approval rate has fallen to just 36%, which is down from 42% in April, based on results from a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Additionally, nearly half of the population (48%) say they “disapprove strongly” of Trump’s performance in office. This is worse than any disapproval rating that President Obama or Clinton ever received, and George W. Bush only reached that level during his second term in office. Forty-eight percent of Americans also said they believed the United States’ leadership in the world has become weaker since Trump took office.

— Also on Monday, Trump declared that he wants a new NAFTA deal to help cut the United States’ trade deficit with Mexico. The Trump administration released an 18-page report on its goals for an updated deal. The Associated Press reported that “in addition to reducing the trade deficit, the administration wants to insert a chapter on the digital economy into the deal. It also wants to strengthen labor and environmental obligations, as well as amending the rules of origin so that more of the products traded come from the United States and North America.”

— A government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was successful in its legal battle to make Trump’s Mar-a-Lago visitor logs public. The Trump administration has to release the logs by September 8, at which time CREW will make them public. CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said, “The public deserves to know who is coming to meet with the president and his staff.”There are still ongoing lawsuits from various groups to make the visitor logs at the White House and Trump Tower public.

— There is a breaking news story this morning regarding an eighth person who attended the Trump Tower meeting between Donald Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, a Russian government lawyer, and other Russians. I’ll likely have much more to report on this in tomorrow evening’s post, but for the moment, CNN is reporting that the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election has sought information from the eighth person, whom they have identified, but whose name has not been released publicly.

That’s all for today. I’ll be back with the next update on Wednesday evening!