- The Washington Times - Monday, May 28, 2018

The art of the campaign rally has always worked for President Trump. Those cheerful, bodacious get-togethers are a reliable and effective weapon in the Trump arsenal, and certainly one of his favorite forms of outreach.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump heads for Tennessee and some friendly territory indeed, off to Nashville for an early evening rally with all the trimmings. An enthusiastic, affectionate audience awaits him; Mr. Trump won 94 of the state’s 95 counties in the 2016 presidential election and most continue to look kindly on the president.

There is also considerable celebrity draw for the event. Trace Adkins — the towering, 6-foot-6-inch country music star known for his powerful baritone — will be on stage as well.

The pair have known each other for a decade. Mr. Adkins was a finalist on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008, hosted by a famous reality TV star by the name of Donald Trump.

“As a huge supporter of the Wounded Warriors Project that helps our great veterans, and so many other important charities, Trace will help set the perfect patriotic tone for the rally. This will be a special treat for President Trump’s supporters Tuesday night,” says Michael Glassner, CEO of Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

Mr. Trump will also headline a fundraiser during his visit for Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is now pursuing Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seat — of pivotal interest in party circles since Republican Sen. Bob Corker will be retiring at the end of his term. Democrats would like nothing more than to move in on the vacancy.

“Democrats sense an opportunity to flip a Senate seat held by Republicans for two decades,” an Associated Press analysis noted Monday.

One of Mrs. Blackburn’s opponents is former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen who bests her in two statewide polls conducted by Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State universities.

In the meantime, the Tuesday rally marks Mr. Trump’s second visit to Nashville in 2018. In January, the president was in Music City to address the American Farm Bureau Federation. They liked him, and the feeling was mutual.

“You embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance and sheer determination,” he told them in his visit five months ago.

WONDERING, WONDERING, WONDERING

They are still paying attention. The majority of voters — 51 percent — now are convinced that “high-level federal law enforcement officials tried illegally to stop Donald Trump from being president,” according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey.

It also found that GOP voters appear particularly suspicious: 72 percent of likely Republican voters agree with the aforementioned statement, up from 66 percent in a similar survey conducted in February, the pollster says.

Even Trump critics are beginning to wonder. The survey found that 29 percent of Democrats say officials broke the law in order to stop Mr. Trump’s win, up from 22 percent in the prior poll.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted May 22-23.

MITT GETS MIGHTIER

Things appear promising for former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his quest to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah. A new UtahPolicy.com poll reveals that 67 percent of likely GOP voters in the state favor Mr. Romney, 24 percent prefer his opponent, state Rep. Mike Kennedy. The two men bidding to replace Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring, will duke it out in a public debate at Brigham Young University on Tuesday evening.

C-SPAN will be there at 8 p.m. EDT to provide live coverage.

Much of the press would savor a Romney win overall, anticipating the inevitable rancor between Mr. Romney, the Republican establishment lawmaker, and President Trump; the pair had open disdain for one another during the 2016 presidential race. CNN has already declared that if he wins the Senate seat, Mr. Romney would be a perfect “foe” to the White House.

Voters themselves are iffy about the whole thing,

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted earlier this year found that 42 percent of Americans are unsure whether Mr. Romney should even run for the U.S. Senate; 41 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 37 percent are convinced that if he were elected, Mr. Romney would oppose Mr. Trump and his policies. Another 30 percent would prefer that Mr. Romney not run for the office while 28 percent approve of the idea.

And Mr. Trump? He’s already endorsed Mr. Romney, as has Mr. Hatch.

A CLAPPER MOMENT

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has some positive words for President Trump regarding the back-and-forth over the U.S. North Korean summit on June 12, which has gone from “likely” to “doubtful” and back to “likely” in the last week.

“I support the letter that President Trump sent to Kim Jong-un. I think it was a good thing to do. This is typical North Korean, two steps forward, one step back. That’s what they always do. And in some ways, Kim Jong-un may have met his match here with our very unconventional president,” Mr. Clapper told CNN on Sunday.

“There’s value having gone this far. There’s value in meeting and greeting, gripping and grinning and just establishing rapport. I think it would be important to have this summit,” he observed.

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of Americans say the U.S. “has a responsibility” to accept refugees into the country; 26 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats agree.

67 percent of blacks, 59 percent of Hispanics, and 46 percent of whites agree.

48 percent of men and 54 percent of women agree.

43 percent of Americans overall say the U.S. does not have that responsibility; 68 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of Democrats agree.

23 percent of blacks, 34 percent of Hispanics, and 48 percent of whites also agree.

46 percent of men and 40 percent of women agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,503 U.S. adults conducted April 25-May. 1 and released Friday.

• Murmurs and asides to [email protected]


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