- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Takes one to know one, perhaps. President Trump is having a remarkable influence on the nation’s merchants, manufacturers, builders and retailers, and they’re vocal about it: 80 percent of the respondents in a business outlook survey believe the nation’s business conditions will improve this year — compared to 44 percent in 2016. The primary reason for the boost in optimism is “clear,” the survey analysis noted, citing Mr. Trump and calling the president “a positive game changer for the business community.” The research was conducted by McDonald Hopkins, a business advisory and advocacy law firm.

Mr. Trump’s policies are also winning support. “Despite almost nonstop criticism” from media and political rivals over Mr. Trump’s executive order for a travel ban to Muslim countries, 51 percent of Americans still support the president’s order, reports a new poll from Investors Business Daily which also says the public’s mood has “considerably brightened since Trump took office,” with half the nation now saying America is headed in the right direction. Things haven’t been this positive since 2005, the pollster says.

IBD also found that 55 percent of its respondents are upbeat about the economy, 51 percent satisfied with federal economic policies, and 64 percent are confident Mr. Trump will bring back manufacturing jobs. Another 67 percent say he’ll repeal Obamacare, 58 percent say he’ll build the wall on the southern border, and 53 percent say the president will cut taxes. Forty-nine percent say he’ll defeat Islamic State.

“Americans see Trump moving on issues with a laser focus in lightning speed,” says polling director Raghavan Mayur. “He is taking actions on multiple fronts both domestic and foreign. This explains the confidence they have that Trump will fulfill his campaign promises and he means business. Americans are not used to the speed and frank talk — such as on refugees — which make some people nervous.”


All in the timing? Sen. Elizabeth Warren garnered much media coverage for her rigorous speech before the Senate on Tuesday — speech that prompted Senate leaders to call for the Massachusetts Democrat to cease, and be still, but her defenders were more than eager to take over the conversation.

Interestingly enough, on the same day, a major publisher released the following:

“Senator Elizabeth Warren is writing a new book about how we can win the fight to revive and expand America’s struggling middle class,” says Stephen Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt and Company. The title to the Democrat’s new tome: “This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.” The book will be published by the company’s Metropolitan Books imprint in mid-April. The publisher also noted that the book was written in Ms. Warren’s “forthright, inspiring voice” and would provide a candid account of her life and her battles on Capitol Hill.

“Warren launches book tour from Senate floor,” the Republican National Committee dryly noted in the aftermath.

Could be. Sounds like she just launched her presidential bid for 2020 as well.


Curious about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden? He has publicly emerged for the first time since leaving office. Mr. Biden is out to support the debut of daughter Ashley Biden’s new clothing collection during New York City’s Fashion Week.

“He’s taking the fashionable route. Bro Joe joined wife Dr. Jill Biden (and a slew of celebs) to celebrate his daughter Ashley’s new line,” reports GuestofaGuest.com, a Manhattan-based fashion and society website.

The former second daughter’s new fashion line showcases “made-in-USA hoodies” with proceeds going toward Ashley’s mission of community revitalization. “The event served as Biden’s first public appearance since leaving office, and it was for a great cause,” the website gushes. “Who would have thought Joe Biden would fit in so seamlessly with the style crowd?”


We already know that the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has been targeted by some news organizations and Hollywood performers who won’t attend the April 29 event because President Trump is, well, president. Vanity Fair, The New Yorker and cast members of “House of Cards,” “Veep” and “Scandal” are on the no-show list, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But the activist urge seems to be spreading.

United Talent Agency — a global concern that represents everyone from Toby Keith and Angelina Jolie to Kanye West and Anthony Hopkins — has decided to forego its famous Oscar Awards Party. The mammoth agency will instead donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is among those challenging Mr. Trump’s executive order to ban travel to seven Muslin-majority nations. It also plans to host a pro-immigration rally in Los Angeles on Feb. 24.

“If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America,” CEO Jeremy Zimmer told his staff.


Yes, the experience, gravitas and steel-clad charisma of a U.S. Marine Corps general is an asset indeed. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis has received some very nice reviews during his first overseas visit in Asia.

“In his debut abroad as the first retired general to lead the Pentagon in more than half a century, Jim Mattis found that in Japan and South Korea his experience in uniform is seen as an asset,” noted Robert Burns, national security writer for The Associated Press who says the leatherneck was “an instant hit” during his visit and drew “effusive” praise from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“I was very encouraged to see someone like you who has substantial experience, both in the military and in security, defense and diplomacy, taking this office,” Mr. Abe told his guest.


19 percent of Americans had a positive job approval rating of Congress in January; 28 percent approve of Congress as of Feb. 5.

20 percent of Republicans approved of Congress in January, 50 percent approve this month.

19 percent of Democrats approved of Congress in January, 11 percent approve this month.

17 percent of independents approved of Congress in January, 25 percent approve this month.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,035 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 1-5; plus comparative January data.

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