White House proclaims new rules to limit Trump’s damaging speeches and tweets — but he keeps talking and tweeting

Developments on Day 217 of the Trump Administration:

See also Podcast: Trump v. the GOP Leadership as Budget Battle Looms

Kelly Tries to Control Info to Trump

Allies of the White House Chief of Staff, former general John Kelly, are proclaiming his effort to control the flow of information to Donald Trump to limit the President’s damaging statements.

The sources portray Kelly’s imposition of rules to halt the passage of unvetted material to Trump — who then might publicly cite the memoranda as “facts”. They say similar guidelines were issued by Kelly’s predecessor Reince Priebus, dismissed by Trump last month, but were never taken seriously: “Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, has been treated with a different level of deference inside the building, those aides said”.

However, the summary by Maggie Haberman in The New York Times depicts the likelihood that the effort will fail. It notes that Trump will continue to take much of his “information” from TV — he is a devotee of the early-morning Fox and Friends and of his friend Sean Hannity’s polemics — and immediately react on Twitter.

And the Chief of Staff will not directly confront Trump, according to Haberman:

Mr. Trump has a history of lashing out at advisers who have publicly conveyed their attempts to impose tighter procedures on him. Just before Election Day, for example, Mr. Trump blew up publicly after a New York Times report that his aides had succeeded in keeping him off Twitter for the final stages of the campaign. He tweeted several times to enforce the point.

Despite Mr. Kelly’s fairly deft touch at approaching the president, Mr. Trump has shown signs of rebelling after stories have appeared describing how his chief of staff has put tighter controls in place and is imposing some discipline on White House operations. That included his news conference at Trump Tower in which he doubled down on his blame for “both sides” in the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va., and his campaign rally speech in Arizona on Tuesday when he accused the news media of mischaracterizing his statements.

Kelly and other staff have urged Trump to make restrained public statements amid the controversy over the President’s apparent excusing of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville two weeks ago. However, in an impromptu question-and-answer session in Trump Tower on August 15, Trump shredded the carefully-prepared White House statements and — as Kelly looked about stony-faced and then gazed at the floor — again excused the white supremacy marches and blamed the “alt-left” for violence.

A week later, and a day after he gave a tightly-written script about an increased US military presence in Afghanistan, Trump delivered a rambling, ranting attack on multiple targets — the media, immigrants, Hillary Clinton, and even GOP senators — in his speech in Phoenix, Arizona.

See TrumpWatch, Day 215: On the Defensive, Trump Whips Up Hate in Arizona

Kelly also appears to be unable to hold back Trump’s assault on GOP legislators, as an October 1 deadline to adopt a Federal Government budget looms.

See “Trump Is a Dangerous Figurehead President”

On Tuesday, The New York Times reports that Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have not spoken for weeks, with Trump blaming the legislator for the failure to pass the repeal of ObamaCare, for not stopping the Trump-Russia investigation, and for the passage of new sanctions on Moscow.

The White House and McConnell’s office denied any rift the next day, but on Thursday morning, Trump was again jabbing at the Majority Leader and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan:

An hour later, Trump tried to limit his assault on McConnell, but only compounded the appearance of a rift:

“Congressional sources” said Trump is seeking a meeting with McConnell, Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi soon after the August recess ends.

Trump has tried — unsuccessfully — to pressure several GOP senators into changing their positions on legislation and containing the Trump-Russia inquiry.

“He was clearly frustrated,” a source said of Trump’s call urging Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker to block the sanctions on Russia, before Trump reluctantly signed the measure on August 2.

Corker said, after Trump’s statements on Charlottesville, that he questioned the stability of the Administration.

On August 7, Trump phoned Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, criticizing a draft bill by Tillis and Democrat Chirs Coons of Delaware that would protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from dismissal by the President.

Interior Secretary Proposes Shrinking 4 National Monuments

Interation Secretary Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking four national monuments, in proposals which could strip protections and allow new mining or drilling.

Zinke proposed restrictions on the borders of the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, pushing back on federal protection established at the end of the Obama Administration.

The Interior Secretary would not give details on Thursday but insisted that the restrictions “provide a much needed change for the local communities who border and rely on these lands”.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, also in southern Utah, will also be reduced in size under the proposals.

In April, Trump ordered a review of 27 national monuments that were designated or expanded in recent years under the Antiquities Act. A White House spokesman said on Thursday that Zinke’s submission is a draft and said Trump wants more time to study it.

Senator Duckworth’s Response to Trump’s Attempted Ban on Transgender Military Personnel

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a war veteran, responds to Donald Trump’s effort to ban transgender personnel from military service:

When I was bleeding to death in my Black Hawk helicopter after I was shot down, I didn’t care if the American troops risking their lives to help save me were gay, straight, transgender, black, white, or brown. All that mattered was they didn’t leave me behind.

Duckworth is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and Purple Heart recipient. She lost both her legs and injured her right arm in 2004 when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter which she was co-piloting was strucked by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.

She said the ban would harm military readiness and summarized:

If you are willing to risk your life for our country, and you can do the job, you should be able to serve — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Anything else is not just discriminatory, it is disruptive to our military, and it is counterproductive to our national security.

Without consulting Defense Secretary Jim Mattis or military commanders, Trump announced the ban on Twitter in late July, using the fallacious pretext about high medical costs for transgender personnel. Pentagon sources let it be known that they were in the dark about Trump’s pre-emption of a review of the 2016 Obama Administration policy.

However, sources said that the Pentagon will receive guidance from the White House in the near-future, and that Mattis will have six months to implement the changes.

Conway: Press Should Be “Forced” to Report Favorably on Trump

White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, unsettled by the assessment of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of a “scary” and “unstable” Donald Trump handling nuclear codes, indicates the media should be pressed into coverage supportive of Trump:

They are not compelled. They are not forced. Nobody demands that they actually report facts and figures….They’re not afraid enough here.

Appearing on Fox and Friends, she complained about Clapper, “It’s such an absurd analysis, playing armchair psychiatrist.”

Despite Trump’s “Tear It Down”, All of US Covered by Affordable Care Act Insurers Next Year

Despite Donald Trump’s promise to tear down the US healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act, all areas will be covered by an insurer next year.

The final gap was filled on Thursday with the announcement that regional health insurer CareSource will sell ACA plans in Paulding County, Ohio in 2018, following a pull-out by Anthem in June.

State insurance departments have been working all summer to ensure coverage amid the failure of the GOP to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Florida Hospital is 18th Firm to Cancel Gala at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort

The Bethesda Hospital Foundation of Florida says it has canceled plans for a fundraiser luncheon at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort this November.

The foundation is the 18th charity to cut ties with Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s comments on white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia two weeks ago.

The resort now has only six galas scheduled for 2017/18, compared to 38 in 2016/17.