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Morning Briefing: Trump Sons Miserable, Resent Kushner; No One Is Scared of Donald Trump

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 20, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | July 20, 2017 |

It looks like the First Lady of Japan pretended not to speak English for two hours to avoid talking to Donald Trump. HA!

— Trump is alienating his foreign policy and national security aides, including H.R. McMaster, over his behavior toward Putin and Russia, according to the AP.

The three foreign officials who have spoken with top Trump advisers described a disconnect, or “mixed signals,” between Trump and his team over Russia, highlighting a lack of a clear policy. U.S. officials echoed that sentiment, with one saying diplomats and intelligence officials were “dumbfounded” by the president’s approach, particularly given the evidence of Russia’s election meddling.

McMaster expressed his disapproval of Trump’s course to foreign officials during the lead-up to his trip to Germany. The general specifically said he’d disagreed with Trump’s decision to hold an Oval Office meeting in May with top Russian diplomats and with the president’s general reluctance to speak out against Russian aggression in Europe, according to the three foreign officials.

— The Times is reporting that part of the failure of the health care bill has to do with the fact that no one fears Donald Trump, not even the pages.

“Right now, nobody’s afraid of Trump, and that’s a real problem,” said Rob Jesmer, the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and once a top aide to Senator John Cornyn of Texas.

A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it more bluntly. The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity kind of undercuts the Senator’s claim, but this Republican representative went on the record:

— Another reason why is that he still has no fucking clue how health insurance works. For the second time, he has confused health insurance for life insurance:

So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.

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— If you’re looking for motive in the Russian investigation, Paul Manafort was $17 million in debt to pro-Russian interests before he joined the Trump campaign, and recall: He worked as Trump’s campaign manager for free.

— Finally, People magazine is reporting that, according to friends of the Trump family, “the president’s sons Don Jr. and Eric are miserable and want the next three years to be over.” But also, they kind of resent Jared Kushner. “All the attention to Jared is a bit of a sore point and they feel left out of the fun in D.C.,” a source close to the family says of Eric, 33, and Don Jr., 39. “They miss being at the center of the action.”

Good. Their misery is the only solace the rest of us can take at the moment.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.