- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 1, 2018

President Trump and Melania Trump returned to the very church in which they were married for Easter morning services. The couple sat in the third row of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, the Episcopal church in Palm Beach — where they tied the knot on Jan. 22, 2005 — and were photographed looking relaxed and happy despite press accounts from news organizations, gossip publications and at least one pollster addressing possibilities that the first couple’s marriage is on the rocks, or that Mrs. Trump was “unhappy with her life” — this reported by US Weekly. That did not appear to be the case Sunday. The first lady was smiling and radiant.

Meanwhile, the Trumps have a full schedule in the nation’s capital on Monday, when some 30,000 parents and children arrive in waves at the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll. The cheerful event begins at 7:30 a.m. and features egg and cookie decorating, making greeting cards for U.S. troops, and lawn bowling — especially requested by Mrs. Trump, who will also read aloud to the kids — along with a whole pantheon of Trump administration stalwarts.

They include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Small Business Administrator chief Linda McMahon, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and his wife, Marsha Coats, acting National Security adviser retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, Medicare and Medicaid Service administrator Seema Verma, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short and Susan Pompeo, wife of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Celebrity entertainment is not emphasized at this event. The music will be supplied by the U.S. Marine Band, along with the Army Band, Air Force Band and Navy Band. All four orchestras are, in a single word, superlative.

FOR THE LEXICON

“Obandonment.” This is a handy new term originated by Vanity Fair culture critic James Wolcott, who appears to wonder about the whereabouts of certain former president.

“Can Obama rescue the Democrats? While Barack Obama revels in the perks of post-presidency, the Democratic base longingly wonders if he’ll ever again direct his gaze their way. This is strictly, sketchily anecdotal, so don’t strap me to the wall and drill for data, but listening to fellow liberal neurotic Democrats over the last year, I detect a sense of abandonment. Of Obandonment, to be more precise. Obama, Obama, where art thou?” asks Mr. Wolcott.

Another analyst has advice for him.

“Okay, James. Apparently you actually bought into that community organizer shtick about caring about the community,” writes Newsbusters.org contributor P.J. Gladnick.

JUST TO BE CLEAR

Merriam-Webster has tweaked its definition of “assault weapon” following the Parkland school shooting, this according to astute Bre Payton, an analyst for The Federalist who noticed the dictionary’s previous online definition for the term was simply “any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use.”

On Saturday it was changed to read “any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semiautomatic fire.”

Cultural moment?

“‘Assault weapon’ and ‘assault rifles’ are malleable terms often used in public discourse to scare people. After all, all guns are designed to ‘assault’ something. The usual proper use of this term is to describe fully automatic machine-gun-style weapons, which in the United States have been banned from civilian use for years. Notice that the Merriam-Webster change stretches this definition to include anything that looks like such a gun regardless of whether it shoots like one,” writes Ms. Payton. “Yet media and politicians often use this term inaccurately, as doing so furthers their desire of getting Americans to support gun-control policies.”

MOTIVATION: WHAT’S ‘GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY’

“For both Republicans and Democrats, the top reason to belong to a party is a belief that its policies will benefit the country. But sizable majorities in both parties cite the other party’s harmful policies as a major factor,” writes Hannah Fingerhut, an analyst for the Pew Research Center, which has conducted a poll which found that about three-quarters of Republicans and Democrats alike say a major reason for belonging to their party is that its policies are good for the country. See more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

DON’T WAIT NINE MONTHS

Analysts were busy following North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s recent reported call for concessions from “both sides” in proposed meetings between his nation and the U.S. — and longer negotiations. Sen. Lindsey Graham wonders about Mr. Kim’s proposal.

“We don’t want to give him nine months or year to talk — and build a missile at the same time. I had dinner with John Bolton a couple of nights ago. His big fear is that they’re just buying time,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News Sunday moderator Chris Wallace. “They’re about nine months to a year away of having a missile with a nuclear weapon on top that can hit America. He sees these negotiations as a way of buying time. That’s what they’ve done in the past. So, I’d cut them off at the pass there. I would make sure the negotiations were very focused and get quick action. Here’s the goal in negotiations: to make sure that North Korea gives up their nuclear program.”

POLL DU JOUR

75 percent of Republicans cite GOP policies that are “good for the country” as their motivation to identify as Republican; 72 percent of Democrat’s cite their own party policies as motivation.

71 percent of Republicans cite “harmful” Democratic policies as their motivation; 63 percent of Democrats cite “harmful” GOP policies.

45 percent of Republicans say common bonds with other GOPers motivate them; 51 percent of Democrats cite bonds with their own party.

37 percent of Republicans cite not having “common bonds” with Democrats as a motivation; 36 percent of Democrats cite their lack of bonds with Republicans.

25 percent of Republicans stay with the party because they have “always been Republican”; 37 percent of Democrats stay because they have “always been Democrats.”

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 4,656 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 29-Feb. 13 and released Friday.

Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on twitter at @HarperBulletin

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