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Donald Trump channels Richard Nixon in speech about restoring ‘law and order’

Donald Trump champions his ability to end attacks on law enforcement and make all Americans feel safe.

On gay marriage and other social issues, GOP platform hews to conservative stances

In the midst of an exceptional political year, Republicans stuck with conservative orthodoxy on same-sex marriage, drug policy and other social issues during the first day of crafting their 2016 platform.

Members of the GOP platform committee rebuffed efforts by moderate Republicans to strip the document of references to traditional marriage and opposition to adoption by gay couples.

Proponents of the more gay-friendly language, most prominently New York delegate Annie Dickerson, became visibly frustrated by their repeatedly stymied efforts. Dickerson is an advisor to GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, who has sought to promote gay rights causes within his party.

“Stop repelling gays, for God’s sake,” Dickerson said.

But others blanched at Dickerson’s push. One delegate was loudly applauded when he chastised her for implying those who don’t share her belief are bigots.

Rachel Hoff, the first openly gay delegate to serve on the panel, was near tears as she pled for support of an amendment that was neutral on same-sex marriage and stated that Republicans held a diversity of views on the issue.

Hoff, who is from Washington, D.C., told her fellow delegates, “Freedom means freedom for everyone, including gays and lesbians.” Her proposal, like others seeking to soften language on LGBT issues, failed.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a co-chair of the committee, said the vote was a reaffirmation of the GOP’s longtime position on marriage, but said that did not mean the party was shutting out gay and lesbian members like Hoff.

“She’s still welcome in the party,” Fallin said. “Everybody is.”

Delegates also sided with conservative language on drugs, rejecting a call for the legalization of medical marijuana and blocking language that would call for assessment of the consequences of the “failure of drug prohibition.”

Trump uses Nixon’s 1968 playbook, vowing to restore order in time of civil unrest

(Associated Press)

Donald Trump invoked Vietnam-era civil strife Monday as he described himself as a law-and-order Republican running against a weak and ineffective Democrat who can’t be trusted to keep America safe.

Trump skirted the topic of race as he condemned critics of law enforcement in a carefully worded speech on the eve of a Texas memorial for five Dallas officers killed last week at a protest over police shootings of African Americans.

“It’s time for our hostility against our police and against all members of law enforcement to end,” Trump told supporters in Virginia Beach, Va.

Trump, whose rallies have repeatedly sparked racially-tinged violence between his mostly white supporters and black and Latino protesters, sought to position himself as Richard Nixon did in his 1968 run for president, vowing to restore order at a time of civil unrest.

“We went through an ugly chapter in our history during Vietnam, when our troops became the victims of harassment and political agendas,” Trump said. “For too many police today, that is their daily reality.

“At the same time, the tragic deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota make it clear that the work must be done to ensure – and a lot of work – that Americans feel that their safety is protected.”

Trump was alluding to the two police shootings that led to the Dallas protest.

Speaking a week before the opening of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Trump called himself both “the law-and-order candidate” and “the candidate of compassion.”

“Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is weak, ineffective, pandering and, as proven by her recent email scandal … she’s either a liar or grossly incompetent,” he said. “One or the other. Very simply. Personally, it’s probably both.”

Trump’s event was focused mainly on his agenda for veterans, which he first outlined in October in nearby Norfolk, Va. It includes a White House hotline staffed 24 hours a day to take complaints about the Veterans Administration.

If any complaint goes unaddressed, he said, “I will pick up the phone and fix it myself if I have to. Believe me.”

Introducing Trump was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the latest of several potential running mates who have campaigned with him in recent days as he finalizes his choice for GOP vice presidential nominee.

Jeb Bush predicts Trump supporters will feel ‘betrayed’ when his promises don’t happen

Jeb Bush, the former Republican presidential hopeful, predicted Monday that Donald Trump’s supporters would “feel betrayed” once they realized his promises were not going to happen.

Bush’s comments on MSNBC were his first since Trump became the GOP’s presumptive nominee. He has not endorsed his onetime rival.

“There isn’t going to be a wall built. And Mexico’s not going to pay for it. And there’s not going to be a ban on Muslims. None of that is – this is all like an alternative universe that he created,” Bush, the former Florida governor, told Nicole Wallace, MSNBC’s Republican analyst.

“The reality is, that’s not going to happen. And people are going to be deeply frustrated, and the divides will grow in our country. And this extraordinary country, still the greatest country on the face of the Earth, will continue to stagger instead of soar.”

Bush went on: “And that’s the heartbreaking part of this, is I think people are really going to feel betrayed.”

Bush had once been the party’s expected front-runnner for the Republican nomination, but suspended his lackluster campaign early in the primary process after losses in South Carolina.

The Bush family, including the former presidents, have emerged among the GOP’s most high-profile holdouts refusing to back Trump’s nomination.

Trump calls for the creation of a 24-hour veteran hotline

Donald Trump called for the creation of a 24-hour veteran hotline to address complaints about the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Trump told an audience in Virginia Beach, Va., on Monday that the around-the-clock service would ensure no complaints against the VA “fall through the cracks.”

Trump rails against waste in Department of Veterans Affairs

Donald Trump accused the Department of Veterans Affairs of wastefulness in a speech Monday.

Trump slammed the department for making unnecessary purchases and promised sweeping reforms as president.

Donald Trump calls himself the ‘law-and-order candidate’

Donald Trump referred to himself as the “law-and-order candidate” and praised the work of police officers across the country in a speech concerning veterans issues Monday.

Trump affirmed his support for police officers while continuing to call Hillary Clinton weak.

Trump campaigning as a ‘racial healer,’ Oklahoma governor says

Donald Trump acted as a “racial healer” when he addressed the killings last week of both police officers and black men, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said.

“He talked about how devastating it was for Dallas, how we need to respect our law enforcement, how we need to pray for those who are killed and those who are injured,” Fallin, considered a possible Trump running mate, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that is his intent; I trust him with his words.”

In a statement Friday, Trump said the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Minnesota, as well as the shooting of police officers in Dallas, show that racial division has increased in the U.S.

Despite Trump’s history of divisive rhetoric about Latinos, Muslims, Native Americans, Jewish Americans and African Americans, Fallin said she believes Trump is campaigning with the intent of healing relationships, not breaking them.

Fallin said Trump’s campaign has not asked for vetting documents from her.

Justice Ginsburg ‘can’t imagine’ a Supreme Court under a Trump presidency

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg can’t bring herself to think about what the Supreme Court would look like if Donald Trump won the election.

Instead, she said she’d consider a suggestion of her late husband, Martin D. Ginsburg: “Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand.”

“I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she told the New York Times in an interview.

The appointment of President Obama’s pick to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the court, Judge Merrick Garland, remains stalled in Congress.

The next president could be deeply influential in shaping the court. Not only does Scalia’s seat remain open because of Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a hearing for Garland, but three justices are in their late 70s or early 80s, including Ginsburg at 83.

“For the country, it could be four years,” Ginsburg said of a Trump presidency. “For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.”

Clinton, Sanders officially set Tuesday for unity rally in New Hampshire

The widely expected -- and in the eyes of some Democrats, somewhat overdue -- unity event between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is now officially on for Tuesday.

The two campaigns confirmed the schedule in announcements Monday morning saying that Sanders would join the former secretary of State at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., the state where his thumping primary victory established Sanders as a formidable rival for the nomination.

Sanders and Clinton have been inching toward a joint appearance for several weeks since Clinton clinched the nomination on the eve of the California primary. In recent days, the two camps have reached compromises on several key issues for the party platform, and Sanders has gradually strengthened his statements in support of Clinton and opposition to Donald Trump.

Many Democrats, however, have said Sanders moved too slowly, and his leverage has waned as other major Democratic figures, notably President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have campaigned with Clinton.

Recent polls have indicated that a large majority of Sanders voters now back Clinton. By most measures, the Democrats are more united now than they were at this point eight years ago, when Clinton had already embraced then-Sen. Barack Obama, but many of her supporters had not.

Still, a Sanders endorsement is likely to sway an additional group of his backers, including some young voters who now say they might vote for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, rather than either Clinton or Trump.

If more Sanders supporters shift to Clinton, her already significant lead over Trump -- about 6 percentage points in the average of recent polls -- could be expected to expand by another point or two.

Wrangling over GOP platform begins, posing first test for Trump

The Republican National Convention kicks off in seven days, but a select group of delegates has already arrived in Cleveland for a series of meetings this week that pose key tests of presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s fraught relationship with GOP faithful.

Up first is the drafting of the Republican Party platform, which will be debated Monday and Tuesday by a committee comprised of two delegates from each state and U.S. territory. The platform states the principles and policy positions of the Republican Party; once crafted, it will be put to a vote before the full convention next week. (Democrats haggled over their own platform at a party gathering in Orlando, Fla., last weekend.)

Platforms may not be required reading for the average voter, but for dedicated activists, the document is a crucial guide to their party’s values. For Trump, whose departure from Republican orthodoxy on a number of high-profile issues has stirred suspicion among the conservative base, the haggling over the platform could offer clues whether the presumptive nominee plans to strike a conciliatory or combative note with his GOP holdouts.

“I would like my party’s platform to reflect conservative views,” said Libby Szabo, a Colorado delegate, in a May interview.

Szabo, who supported Ted Cruz, said she was unsure whether Trump would support such a platform.

“He’s kind of been all over the board,” she said. “That concerns me. Who is the real Donald Trump?”

But Trump has indicated he wants to make his own mark on the platform, particularly with regard to abortion rights. The 2012 platform asserted that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” Trump, in an April interview, said he would “absolutely” change the party’s stance to include exceptions to that opposition in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, the co-chair of the platform committee, sidestepped a question on such exceptions on CNN on Sunday, saying simply the document will “remain pro-life.”

She emphasized that Trump and his allies would be influential in the process, but not the sole decision makers.

“He will have representation -- he’s going to be the presumptive Republican nominee -- and certainly he will have a voice with his people, who will make recommendations too,” Fallin said. “But in the end, this platform is driven by grass-roots Republican people throughout the nation who will represent the very values and principles of the Republican Party.”

Also worth watching is how the platform committee tackles the matter of gay rights. The New York Times reports that a faction of moderate Republicans wants to see more inclusive language written into the document, but such efforts will likely face pushback from social conservatives.

While some conservatives have rallied around efforts to limit the bathrooms that transgender people can use, Trump so far showed little appetite for taking on that cause. Noting one such law in North Carolina -- and the backlash it sparked -- Trump said in April transgender people should be able to use whichever bathroom they prefer.

Democrats’ new platform adopts many Sanders demands

Democratic leaders had toiled past midnight for the second night in a row when they finally finished haggling over their platform, a compilation of the party’s principles and proposals.

Dozens of printouts of amendments, covering issues from healthcare policy to industrial hemp production, were stacked on weary committee members’ tables.

“There has been no deliberation of a party platform like this for decades,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, the committee’s co-chair, said early Sunday as he ended the two-day meeting in a hotel conference room.

The intensity of the debate surrounding the platform – a nonbinding document often ignored by candidates and voters alike – was a reflection of the importance placed on the negotiations by Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who fell short in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination but remains determined to push the party to the left.

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Behind a Bill Clinton speaking engagement: A $1,400 hotel phone bill and $700 dinner for two

Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.
Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

When former presidents and other dignitaries traveled to California to wax nostalgic on the speaking circuit, they may have been demanding, but none insisted on being flown from San Francisco by private jet to a venue just 70 miles down the freeway.

That was before Bill Clinton came along.

Clinton changed the rules of political speech-making for cash. He would push not just corporate hosts but also nonprofits and universities to pay fees well beyond what they were accustomed to. His aides would turn what had been a freewheeling format into tightly scripted events where every question from the audience was screened. He and Hillary Clinton would become so skilled at churning profits out of their lectures that they would net more than $150 million from speaking alone after he left the White House.

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