The TAKE with Rick Klein
It’s right where President Donald Trump wants to be: Acting in the face of congressional inaction and casting himself as the hero of a weary nation.
But Trump’s unilateral COVID-19 relief orders were issued under questionable legal grounds and won’t have anywhere near the “very rapid” implementation the president is promising.
They are also coming up against a new dynamic that is fueled by old principles. Republicans are joining Democrats in questioning the wisdom and constitutionality of the president’s actions — with some GOP rising stars thinking about what the post-Trump era might look like.
Sen. Ben Sasse called it “unconstitutional slop,” in a statement referencing the “pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking” that conservatives once mocked former President Barack Obama for espousing.
A range of other Republican lawmakers reiterated their view that Congress, not the president, should be acting. One big reason Congress hasn’t acted, of course, is that Republican senators have raised concerned about out-of-control spending and whether ideas the president favors — ideas including a payroll-tax holiday and expanded unemployment benefits — are sound policy at all.
Trump is practically daring Democrats to go to court to block his actions, saying such a lawsuit is “not going to be a very popular thing.” They will have to make that choice, but Republicans also have to choose whether to support Trump’s if-I-win promise of “permanent cuts” to the taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, not to mention his vow of a “major executive order requiring health insurance companies to cover all preexisting conditions for all companies.”
Trump remains the dominant force in Republican politics and few in his party see an upside in defying him. But the positioning around him is well underway — and could limit any patience for election-season presidential promises.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Former Vice President Joe Biden is on the verge of — perhaps — making history.
Signs point to him choosing a woman of color as his running mate, which would be a first in the nation’s history.
After months of speculation and anticipation, it’s possible young and diverse Democratic voters could feel let down should Biden go in another direction.
In fact, regardless of who he chooses, Biden is running the risk of cannibalizing any bump in enthusiasm and excitement, after asking Democrats to wait so long. Democratic voters, while confident about just how unpopular President Trump is, are still looking for a jolt and a rallying cry.
Over the weekend, Sen. Kamala Harris, a notable front runner in this only-one-vote-matters race, appeared surprising laid back as the hours ticked by.
Biden and his staff have repeatedly come to her defense lately and sought to reinforce the message that he does not hold grudges, lest anyone worry about their primary debate stage tangles.
Harris’ background makes her arguably an interesting foil to Biden’s insensitive comments last week. A biracial African American woman, with family legacy ties to India and Jamaica, she embodies the rich diversity of the black community in the country. Could that give her leverage now?
Biden’s wife, Jill, has been actively involved in the decision and told CBS that in the end it comes down to relationships.
“It’s gotta be Joe’s decision — who he feels most comfortable with,” she said.
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
A candidate who has espoused racist, anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic views and supported the QAnon conspiracy theory is one runoff election away from becoming the Republican nominee in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.
Businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene secured 40% of the vote in the crowded, nine-person June primary, but in Georgia, a candidate must win more than half of the votes in order to avoid a runoff. She’s facing neurosurgeon John Cowan, who received 21% of the vote, in Tuesday’s election. Whichever candidate wins is all but guaranteed to represent the deep red district in the new Congress.
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In June, after POLITICO unearthed the hours of Facebook videos in which Greene expressed her controversial views, members of the Republican leadership condemned her comments, with House Republican Whip Steve Scalise calling them “disgusting,” and announcing he’d be supporting Cowan in the runoff.
But Greene maintains the support of the conservative House Freedom Caucus’ fundraising arm, and the caucus’ first chairman, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy denounced Greene’s comments in June, he’s chosen to remain neutral in the primary, according to McCarthy’s campaign. Both Greene and Cowan have cast themselves as pro-Trump candidates, but the president — who could sway voters toward or away from Greene — has not endorsed either.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Monday morning’s episode features ABC News White House correspondent Rachel Scott, who examines President Donald Trump’s executive actions on coronavirus relief as millions of unemployed Americans continue to struggle. Then, ABC News’ Trevor Ault joins us from Sturgis, South Dakota, to discuss potential fallout from the massive, mostly maskless motorcycle rally held there over the weekend. And, former senior counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission Jacob Frenkel explains why a drug manufacturing deal between Kodak and the federal government is now on hold. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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