Morning Briefing: The World Hates Our President, and The Healthcare Bill Still Looks Shaky
— I have no idea what’s going on with this Syria/Assad business. Last night, the White House released a statement saying that Syria was preparing another chemical weapons attack. Trump — after chastising Obama for drawing a red line — drew his own red line, and threatened a military attack if Assad used chemical weapons.
The only thing is: No one in the Defense Department was given a heads up, which is odd because the Defense Department would be responsible for carrying out the military attack against Syria. According to Buzzfeed and NBC, defense officials don’t even seem to know what the White House statement is about.
I’m not so cynical that I believe the White House just made up this threat to distract America from the failing Senate bill, but Trump is not exactly acting like a guy who just threatened to take military action against a country. Since the statement was released, Trump has been silent on the matter on Twitter, although he has Retweeted Fox and Friends five times and attacked CNN and other news organizations four times.
I have no idea if this is a wag-the-dog situation, or if there are neocons trying to convince Trump to start a war in order to increase his popularity, or if Syria is actually preparing a chemical attack (Syria and Russia have issued denials, not that either country can be trusted).
Update: The Pentagon issued a statement saying that it has seen chemical weapons activity.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Pentagon says US has seen chemical weapons activity at Syrian air base used in past chemical attack.— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 27, 2017
— As for that Senate Health Bill, its prospects (thankfully) do not look any better this morning than they did last night. With Dean Heller, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul and Susan Collins standing against it, there are still not enough votes to get it to the debate stage. Murkowski is not looking like a yes, and Capito and Portman have been silent.
However, there’s an all-GOP lunch today, and Mike Pence is meeting with the Republicans tonight to try and work some magic. Apparently, McConnell has $200 billion to play with, so he will almost certainly offer some sweetheart deals to the Senators standing against the bill. I’m not sure what kind of sweetheart deals could win those Senators over without alienating others, but McConnell is an evil wizard, so he may yet pull it out.
Meanwhile, Pence is going to Cleveland tomorrow, so he’s not going to stick around and whip votes, whatever that might mean.
And if he does, 15 million people will lose their health insurance next year, including 4 million people on employer-based healthcare (that’s many of us!) and guess what? Donald Trump — who will ultimately sign this law — will still blame his own party. He will throw Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell under the bus, so I have no idea why House or Senate Republicans are willing to vote for a massively unpopular piece of legislation knowing that the White House will not give them cover.
— Here’s an interesting chart: Pew asked folks around the world whether they had more confidence in Obama or in Trump, and 35 of 37 countries favored Obama (by a very large margin in may cases). The two countries that prefer Trump? Russia, unsurprisingly, but also Israel, which might sound like a surprise unless you know a lot of people in Israel. (My wife spent two weeks in Israel in April, and she was surprised at the number of Trump supporters).
— This is fun. Note who Hannity retweeted here.
— I hate using photos of Trump in these political round-ups, so I’m going to start pulling photos from the Pajiba 10 FYCs in the Pajiba Facebook group. Today? Michael Mando, from Better Call Saul, as put forward by Lyona T. Voting begins on Friday.
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