By most political measures, Donald Trump shouldn’t be in the White House. That’s not an assessment of his policies or fitness for the job. Rather, it’s judging by the rules that once seemed to govern presidential campaigning.
Trump never held office, never served in government or spent a day in military uniform. His campaign was slipshod; he was vastly outspent by his Democratic rival and faced strong Republican opposition after a hostile takeover of the GOP.
Perhaps most striking, more than 60% of those surveyed said they thought Trump was unqualified to be president the day he was elected. The same exit polls found Trump viewed favorably by fewer than 4 in 10 Americans; only 1 in 3 considered him “honest and trustworthy.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday called on Turkey to show restraint as its forces attacked U.S.-backed militias in northern Syria for a third day, the latest strain in relations between Washington and Ankara, a NATO ally.
Tillerson, speaking in London, acknowledged Turkey’s “legitimate security concerns” because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government views the Kurdish-dominated militias as terrorists and insurgents seeking an independent state.
Tillerson urged Turkey to work with Washington to focus on fighting Islamic State and “securing a peaceful, stable…and unified Syria” through negotiation. He described the largely Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces as a multi-ethnic group.
Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament Monday that the United States will open an embassy in Jerusalem by the end of 2019 to make good on recognizing the disputed holy city as Israel’s capital.
The Trump administration decision on Jerusalem outraged many world leaders and reversed decades of U.S. policy, which had held that the status of the city should be decided in final Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Palestinians also claim part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
“In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem — and that the United States Embassy will open before the end of next year,” Pence told the Knesset on the first full day of a two-day visit here.
Democrats have grown used to winning political face-offs over government shutdowns, smiling from the sidelines as Republicans struggled to contain the unruly factions in their party. On Saturday, Democrats got a taste of that stomach-churning game.
The first day of a federal shutdown ended much as it began Saturday, with Democrats and Republicans hardened in a stalemate of angry finger-pointing as Congress and President Trump failed to broker a deal to reopen the government.
Lawmakers in both parties spent the day blaming each other and pushing plans for new stopgap measures lasting either weeks or days, continuing a tightrope process that went on for months and finally broke down late Friday night.
The White House posted photos of a grim-faced Trump, who had to cancel his plans to attend a Saturday night fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago beachfront resort in Florida, “working in the White House during the Democratic shutdown” on the first anniversary of his inauguration.
Speaking to U.S. troops involved in bombing Islamic State militants in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday launched a broadside at Democrats over the government shutdown, accusing the opposition party of “playing politics with military pay.”
It is unusual for a sitting vice president to use a meet-and-greet with service members to make political attacks.
“Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, the minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay. But you deserve better,” Pence told a crowd of Air Force and Army troops inside an airplane hanger on a military base near the Syrian border.
Vice President Mike Pence heard pointed criticism Sunday from the king of Jordan, a key regional ally unhappy with President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Sitting directly across from the vice president at the start of a lunch in the royal palace on a hilltop in Amman, King Abdullah II told Pence he had repeatedly voiced his “concerns” to the White House over the past year that such a move would upend peace negotiations and threaten Jordan’s stability.
“Today we have a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations,” Abdullah said.