We have all witnessed astounding and historic churn in the chaotic Trump White House. Hope Hicks, close Trump confidante and his fourth Communications Director, handed in her resignation, only one day after she had been grilled by the House Intelligence Committee for eight hours. At one point during the testimony after being asked a question, she consulted her lawyer and then answered that she had on occasion told "white lies," but had never lied about substantive issues or anything concerning the Russian investigation.
Ms. Hicks has been romantically linked to former White House Deputy Counselor Rob Porter who resigned in the midst of a scandal involving abuse against his previous spouses that blocked his ability to get a full security clearance. In fact, in Trump’s White House, over 100 staffers been working under interim security clearances over a year into the administration, before the scandal shined a spotlight on the situation forcing Chief of Staff John Kelly to deal with it. Presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has now had his security clearance downgraded to the point where it will likely make it hard for him to handle the high-profile foreign policy portfolios that he has been assigned. Meanwhile reports are emerging that Kushner companies received large loans over the past year. And the Meuller probe continues to march along.
Another Tragic Shooting
The country continues to react to the shootings at Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida two weeks ago. Students from the school have been campaigning for action in Florida, Washington, and around the nation and it appears to be moving the needle.
In a free-wheeling, televised discussion with Democratic and Republican lawmakers on possible gun-legislation, President Trump claimed he would deal with bump stocks presumably by executive order. However, he encouraged the Congress to come up with a bill on background checks, and keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental health problems. To the consternation of many, Trump continued to propose armed guards inside schools. He stated support for concealed carry but pushed back on Republican Whip Steve Scalise’s suggestion that concealed carry between states be added to the bill, because that would scuttle chances for the getting the other progress through Congress. Time will tell how serious he is about supporting this initiative.
If nothing else, the corporate world is beginning to believe that sensible restraint is good business. On the same day as the televised White House meeting, Walmart announced it would stop selling guns and ammunition those under 21. Dick’s Sporting Goods will also stop selling guns to buyers under 21 and anything with a high capacity magazine.
The Latest on the Dreamers
The Supreme Court decided on February 26 to reject the administration’s request for immediate review of the case filed by DACA recipients and institutions ... including the University of California in California District Court where the Judge had ruled against the administration. A New York Federal Judge issued a similar ruling. This means it is unlikely that the case will continue through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and likely would not reach the Supreme Court at least until the fall, meaning that deportation proceedings for 690,000 DACA recipients will be unable to start on March 5 as the President’s DACA action had originally ordered.
Prospects for Taking Back the House
Polls are continuing to show that Democrats have a good shot at taking back the House in 2018, with Democrats now holding a 16-point lead on a generic congressional ballot according to a CNN poll taken last month. An early test of strength in 2018 is coming up March 13 to fill the Pennsylvania 18th district seat, open after the resignation of Republican Tim Murphy following a scandal. Republican candidate Rick Saccone is facing off against Democratic Conor Lamb in a district Trump carried by 20 points. Today the race is within 3 points.
California Democratic Convention
The California Democratic Convention was held in San Diego last weekend and turned out to be a lively affair, filled with opportunities to hear candidates for state and national offices. In an attempt to woo delegates, the candidates spoke in the main hall, at the caucuses, at hosted events, and wherever else they could to get across their message. On Saturday afternoon, the delegates voted with a mandatory 60% threshold to endorse candidates.
It turned out that too many candidates were running against each other, splitting the vote. The result was no endorsement for the US Senate seat, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. Incumbent US Senator Diane Feinstein was outpolled by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon 37% to 54%. In the Governor’s race, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom received 39% of the votes, followed by 30% for Treasurer John Chiang, 20% for former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and a dismal 9% for former Los Angeles Major Antonio Villagarosa. Incumbent State Controller Betty Yee, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, as well as Board of Equalization Chairman Ma for Treasurer, and ASM Tony Thurman for State Superintendent of Public Instruction were successful in the endorsement race.
Please do not forget that our spring Ready-to-Run fundraiser will be held on March 10th at the Studio Channel Islands, 2222 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo, at 3 - 6 pm. I hope you will all purchase tickets to meet and hear from candidates, as well as support our Club. I also want to mention that we will be holding our May Pizza fundraiser for our scholarship fund on Thursday, May 3rd.
Our speaker tonight is CFROG (Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas) Executive Director Kimberly Rivers. She will be updating us on developments in Ventura County. I look forward to seeing you all there.