- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

American Spectator columnist Jeffrey Lord notes that the news media is methodically attacking President Trump’s staff, one by one — including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, advisers Stephen K. Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Miller; and press secretary Sean Spicer. Mr. Lord describes these attacks as a “media jihad” prompted by press annoyance of the Trump White House and its agenda.

“The game is to zero in on this or that Trump White House staffer and paint them with some form of journalistic radioactivity,” the columnist explains, adding that this is a very old tactic that has percolated for decades.

“Have we seen this before? Answer: yes. In the Reagan era the favorite target of the media was Reagan’s counselor to the president, Ed Meese. Why Meese? Because Meese was both powerful — and, most importantly, conservative. He was the Stephen K. Bannon of the Reagan White House. Hence he was subjected to relentless attacks by both the media and Democrats as an extremist,” Mr. Lord writes.

“It’s a very old Washington liberal media game. It was in fact played with the Reagan staff. And safe to say, Trump supporters — like the Reagan supporters of the day — understand the game. Which is, at least in part, exactly why they voted for President Trump in the first place,” Mr. Lord concludes.

AMERICANS: TRUMP IS A ‘STRONG LEADER’



A startling new Gallup Poll headline proclaims this: “Americans say Trump keeps promises, is a strong leader.” In an analysis, Gallup Poll director Frank Newport writes: “Majorities of Americans believe President Trump keeps his promises, is a strong and decisive leader, and can bring about changes the country needs.”

The numbers indeed show a nation that appears more receptive to Mr. Trump than the press coverage would lead us to believe. It also illustrates that the stark divide between the political parties has grown razor-sharp. Republican agreement with the positive qualities in the survey soars to above 90 percent — and falls as low as 8 percent among Democrats. Mr. Newport points out Americans overall give Mr. Trump lesser scores for his efficiency and honesty, among other things. Democrats agree with the lower scores; Republicans don’t. See all the numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

THE BIG THREE

Figuring out who will replace someone who has stepped down from their post is a favorite parlor game in the nation’s capital. And it’s going full blast following the resignation of White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who resigned from his position Monday. Who will replace him? A powerful trio of possibles has emerged as the favorites.

CBS News, NBC News, USA Today and multiple news organizations suggest it’s a match between retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward, former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command; former Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, acting national security adviser; or David Petraeus, former CIA director. There are a few variations though.

Vox goes with Mr. Harward, whom they called “the anti-Flynn,” while one op-ed in the Washington Examiner by contributor Daniel Davis notes: “Thus far, Trump has elevated mostly conventional candidates to senior posts. Now is the time to back up his words with actions by nominating qualified ‘new voices’ who have distinguished themselves by succeeding in non-conventional ways.”

FOR THE Lexicon

“Destabilization campaign”

— An efficient term, perhaps, and a possible contributing cause of an event which has caused considerable hubbub in the past 48 hours. The term comes from a tweet from WikiLeaks on Tuesday: “Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by U.S. spies, Democrats, press.”

MR. CULBERSON’S CANDOR

Sharyl Attkisson, host of “Full Measure,” an investigative news program syndicated nationally by the Sinclair Broadcast Group — had a recent conversation with Rep. John Abney Culberson. He is a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee on Appropriations who worked with the Justice Department to implement a policy that ensures that sanctuary cities are ineligible for federal law enforcement grant funding. This policy has been in place for the last seven months.

“What is your role in the sanctuary city debate?” Ms. Attkisson asked the lawmaker.

“I found a law that’s crystal clear and unambiguous, and I found a way to enforce it using the power of the purse, which is very persuasive, the authority that I have as subcommittee chairman,” Mr. Culberson replied. “I’ve got a lot of tools that I can bring to pressure these agencies that it was actually done last July, and then I had the top 10 sanctuary jurisdictions certified as violating federal law, so they can have their money turned off immediately. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the federal government can put conditions on the receipt of federal money, and as long as they’re reasonable and they’re related to the grant. The state doesn’t have to take the money.”

Ms. Atkisson said that in an interview, a sanctuary city official had expressed his concern with the policy, wondering why the federal government would “retaliate against the poor citizens in the community who benefit from this money in grants and, in some cases, to help the poor and the elderly.”

Mr. Culberson’s response: “It’s actually his decision. It’s the local government’s decision this is not my decision. This is very simple. If you want federal money, follow federal law.”

POLL DU JOUR

62 percent of Americans say President Trump “keeps his promises”; 91 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

59 percent of Americans overall call Mr. Trump a “strong and decisive leader”; 94 percent of Republicans and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent overall say he can bring about change “this country needs”; 93 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall say he cares about everyday people; 89 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent say Mr. Trump can manage the government effectively; 86 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall say Mr. Trump “inspires confidence”; 81 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

42 percent overall say he is “honest and trustworthy”; 81 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,013 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-5 and released Tuesday.

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