Vice President Mike Pence denied that he is considering a run for the presidency in 2020, issuing a statement the vehemence of which underscores how sensitive the White House is to any questioning of whether President Trump will seek a second term.
In what appeared to be a coordinated message, the White House also hit back Sunday at a report in the New York Times that described steps Pence and other GOP lawmakers have taken that could position themselves for presidential bids.
Pence went so far as to call the newspaper’s report “disgraceful and offensive.”
The spirit of a world-class artist blessed with sharp political wit has been emerging lately, as if by magic, in the little town of Bethlehem. It’s not the first time, of course, that an unexplained marvel has appeared here.
Early Friday, two massive murals depicting President Trump made their debut on the wall that separates Bethlehem, which is part of the Palestinian West Bank, from Jerusalem, in Israel.
According to transcripts published Thursday, Trump mentioned the Israeli wall in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto a week after his inauguration.
It’s not surprising to find an Arizona Republican smack in the middle of a poke-in-the-eye dust-up with the powerful. The only surprise these days is that the Republican in question isn’t John McCain.
McCain is in a fight of his own, having cast the final blow against the healthcare plan crafted by his fellow SenateRepublicans and President Trump. In his home state, references to that vote prompt a shoulder shrug and a common Arizona refrain: “Just McCain being McCain.”
The newest set-to, however, involves the state’s junior Republican senator, Jeff Flake, a first-termer who may have blasted a big hole in his reelection campaign next year by publishing a book.
Under pressure by President Trump to staunch a steady flow of classified material to the media that has embarrassed his administration, Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions on Friday announced new efforts to find and prosecute leakers.
Sessions announced no new leak cases, but told reporters that the Department of Justice has tripled the number of leak investigations and created a new counterintelligence squad at the FBI to handle them.
He also signaled that the department may become more aggressive about prosecuting journalists, saying those policies are now under review.
In Arizona, where the Great Recession cut a deep swath through home prices and shook all facets of the economy, voters are now increasingly buoyant about the fiscal future they envision for themselves and the nation.
They’re saving their ire for politics and politicians.
More than two dozen voters gathered in Phoenix this week delivered a bipartisan broadside against President Trump, Republicans and Democrats, dismissing the political class as serving its wealthy benefactors and abandoning everyday Americans.
As President Trump and the Republicans who control Congress leave Washington for their separate August breaks, theirs is a marriage on the rocks, an estrangement that bodes ill for their party’s ambitious agenda going forward.