Newsletter: Essential Politics: ‘Reckless, outrageous and undignified’

Essential Politics

President Trump finds himself at midweek facing blistering criticism from Capitol Hill for what he says and how he says it.

And that’s from Republicans.

So far, three GOP senators have this week done something unheard of in modern U.S. political history: a strong rebuke, and almost even ridicule, for the president from their own party.



It all began with high hopes, as the president met on Tuesday with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill

It’s not as though Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was a strong supporter of Trump. But in a 17-minute speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker offered an unprecedented public condemnation of the current political dialogue and the man engaged in it from the Oval Office.

Flake called out the “reckless, outrageous and undignified” behavior coming from the “top of our government” in his comments.


(Oh, and Flake announced he won’t seek reelection next year -- a big bombshell of its own in Republican politics.)

That scathing critique came just hours after another round of bitter jabs between Trump and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, with the president saying Corker (who is stepping down after 2018) “couldn’t get elected dog catcher” and the senator replying that Trump is “an utterly untruthful president.”

And don’t forget all of this came after earlier comments this week by Flake’s Arizona counterpart, Sen. John McCain, about the men who received draft deferments during the Vietnam War.

“We drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said. Trump received a 1968 draft deferment because of bone spurs in his heels.



-- No, says the president, there won’t be any downsizing of how much Americans can contribute tax-free to their 401(k) accounts.

-- A federal appeals court in Washington has rejected an anti-abortion rule adopted by the Trump administration and cleared the way for a 17-year-old migrant to end her pregnancy.

-- House Republicans are opening investigations of the Obama administration’s 2010 decision to approve the sale of American uranium mines to a Russian-backed company, lawmakers said Tuesday.


-- Congress gave final approval Tuesday of $36.5-billion in disaster aid for wildfire victims and those cleaning up from hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and several states.

-- With a reality-TV star in the White House, the political norms have shifted — at least among some Republicans hoping to emulate his success.

-- A new study suggests the Trump administration’s reluctance to confront climate change could create a massive burden on taxpayers.

-- When he ran for president, Trump said Americans would win so much they would be “tired of winning” if he prevailed. Nearly a year later, both sides think they’re losing.



For more than a week, California’s political world has been squarely focused on the detailed and disturbing allegations made by scores of women about what they see as a “pervasive” culture of sexual harassment at the state Capitol and beyond.

On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) announced special legislative hearings in November and pledged additional steps as a “comprehensive effort.” That announcement came one day after Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) announced the hiring of an investigator and human resources consultant to examine specific allegations.



The four leading California Democrats running for governor have now had two chances this week to debate the issues facing voters in 2018. On Tuesday, it was a forum in San Francisco.

While there were few fireworks between state Treasurer John Chiang, former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the candidates did stake out separate, nuanced views on single-payer healthcare and schools.

As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on that race and the U.S. Senate race on our Essential Politics news feed.



-- The #metoo campaign encouraging women to speak out about sexual harassment has led to allegations that prompted the campaign manager of a Democratic congressional challenger to resign.

-- In another free-speech campus controversy, college Republicans are protesting what they call UCLA’s “unconstitutional” security fees assessed on the student club for a Nov. 13 appearance by conservative writer Ben Shapiro.

-- A judge has dismissed disorderly-conduct charges against protesters who burned an American flag outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year, ruling Tuesday that they were arrested for practicing 1st Amendment-protected free speech.

-- Los Angeles school board member Ref Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty to charges of political campaign money laundering.


-- A group appointed by California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye concluded in a report this week that money bail for criminal defendants should be replaced with risk assessment. Legislation on the issue remains under discussion in Sacramento.

-- Gubernatorial candidate Newsom wants the state to nearly quadruple its annual housing production to deal with California’s affordability problems.

-- Tenant groups are weighing a possible 2018 statewide ballot measure to expand rent control across California.

-- Of the more than 70,600 voters who signed petitions to hold a recall vote for state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), only 849 asked that their signatures be withdrawn by last week’s deadline. That all but assures a recall election next year.


-- A former deputy director of the state Board of Equalization said Tuesday he was improperly fired after cooperating with a state Dept. of Justice investigation into allegations that agency officials improperly used public resources.


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