- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The news media continues to hammer on controversy surrounding President Trump in the aftermath of Charlottesville plus turmoil over Confederate statuary in public places, Mr. Trump’s comments about the situation, and the identity of those who support and elected him. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has addressed the resulting confusion, particularly the president’s association with particular groups.

“There is no history of Donald Trump associating with the Klan. None whatsoever. But beyond that, people are saying that Trump is insensitive and he’s boorish and he’s a pig, and now he’s sympathetic to all of these extreme right-wing groups because that’s who elected him,” Mr. Limbaugh told his 7 million-member audience Wednesday.

“OK, how many members of the Klan are there, folks? Have you Wikipedia’ed this yet? The number is 200,000, tops. Tops! How many white supremacists are there? Where do they live? How do you campaign for them? Where do you get their votes? Where are they registered and how do you reach them in a campaign?” Mr. Limbaugh continued.

“And now the Nazis, the neo-Nazis, where are they? How many of them are there? Add all three of these groups. How many people are we talking about, and we’re told these are the people that elected Trump? It’s not possible, folks.”

In the meantime, some bipartisan efforts are in motion. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has responded to Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s ranking Democrat who has called for a hearing on the threat of domestic terrorism following the violence in Charlottesville. That hearing is on the calendar for Sept. 12; Mr. McCaul has invited witnesses from Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center.

PRESIDENTS: NEVER REALLY ON VACATION

How long should the president of the United States have for a vacation? A Morning Consult asked the question and found that a hefty 72 percent of Americans agreed that presidents “are never really on vacation.” But the respondents were fairly reasonable about how long a president’s vacation actually should last. Few said the nation’s top leader warrants only a week.

The poll found that 22 percent said two-weeks would be appropriate. Another 21 percent said three weeks would be ideal, 20 percent simply “didn’t know,” 13 percent said more than three weeks would be OK, 10 percent opted for somewhere between two and three weeks, and 8 percent said two weeks or less. A mere 5 percent said the president should only get a one-week vacation.

ELIZABETH WARREN, MERCHANDISE QUEEN

The market for campaign-themed T-shirts, totes and knickknacks associated with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s likely quest for president in 2020 is huge. It almost rivals Hillary Clinton’s collection from her previous White House quests, which included haute couture scarves, goodies emblazoned with the ill-fated “Madame President” and pantsuit-shaped pins.

Ms. Warren is also inventive. The Massachusetts Democrat’s online campaign store now offers temporary tattoos that read “Nevertheless she persisted” — also found on bumper stickers, T-shirts and pink knit cat hats, the design borrowed from the Women’s March that took over the National Mall shortly after President Trump was elected.

“Elizabeth Warren isn’t just a progressive icon, she’s a merchandising industry unto herself,” writes Lauren Dezenski, a Politico reporter who discovered that Ms. Warren’s store already has sold a half-million dollars worth of T-shirts.

“The widest range of Warren-inspired swag, however, is sold by private vendors. A quick web search for ‘she persisted’ yields roughly 5,400 results on Etsy and 33,000 on Amazon, with items for sale including bracelets, bodysuits, coffee mugs, laptop decals, signs, portraits, cross-stitch patterns, phone cases, coasters and wine glasses, among other things.”

Other vendors are selling Elizabeth Warren action figures, aluminum bracelets and prayer candles.

“Massachusetts Republicans scoff at Warren’s merchandising appeal, chalking it up to what they view as a cult of personality surrounding her,” observes Ms. Dezenski.

“Perhaps Warren should focus less on selling silly slogans and more on delivering results for Massachusetts — otherwise, it would make more sense for her to sell ‘inaction figures,’” state GOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughes told the reporter.

MEANWHILE ON THE STOCK MARKET

An interesting phenomenon: Marcus Weisgerber, global business editor for Defense One, reports that “defense stocks soared” following the latest hubbub over North Korea, its growing nuclear arsenal and news that the hermit nation had built a miniaturized nuclear weapon that could ride atop an ICBM. The particulars?

“L3 Technologies, General Dynamics, Huntington Ingalls, and Textron were all up, and Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman hit all-time highs. Financial analysts quickly fired off emails talking about missile defense interceptors and the companies that build them,” Mr. Weisgerber writes. “Defense stocks remain an attractive commodity. A Morgan Stanley team of analysts took a look at the defense sector this week, and forecast a positive outlook. They rated Lockheed and Raytheon ‘overweight,’ meaning they expect both stocks are likely to go up.”

FOXIFIED

FOX News Channel continues its reign as the most-watched basic cable network for 32 consecutive weeks, according to Nielsen Media Research, ahead of the HGTV, USA and NFL networks, to name a few. Just a few numbers: Fox News averaged 2.1 million viewers during the prime-time hours, compared to 1.4 million for HGTV and 1.2 million for NFL.

Fox News continues to lead its cable news rivals, as it has done for the last 15 years — pulling in 2.1 million viewers in prime time; MSNBC garnered 1.7 million and CNN 1 million.

POLL DU JOUR

47 percent of U.S. voters would vote for a Democrat in their district if the 2018 election for Congress were held today; 4 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 93 percent of Democrats agree.

40 percent would vote for the Republican candidate; 91 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of independents and 3 percent of Democrats agree.

8 percent are undecided; 3 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of independents and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

5 percent would vote for neither party; 2 percent of Republicans, 13 percent of independents and 0 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Marist poll of 883 U.S. voters conducted Aug. 8-2.

• Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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