Items filtered by date: Thursday, 24 August 2017

7 Female Empowerment Books Every Woman Should Read by


Original Graphic by Viviana Duron

It’s Women’s Equality Day tomorrow—a holiday commemorating women’s right to vote—so it got us thinking about the great female empowerment books out there. Since the passage of the 19th amendment (and before), women have done amazing things for society, including writing inspirational books. We know what it’s like to hit a point in life where you just need a spark of motivation—and thankfully, these female-penned books will give you just that. (We swear, everyone needs a little prompting sometimes).

So we went on to find seven books that will inspire you in every area of your life. The authors range from journalists to social scientists to doctors and even a Nobel Peace Prize Winner (#goals). Follow along with us as we introduce you to the top women’s empowerment books that we think deserve a place on your bookshelf. Cancel your plans—you won’t be able to put them down.


Roxane Gay Bad Feminist ($11)

In a collection of essays, author Roxane Gay explores what it means to be imperfect in this day and age (and why it’s okay). She doesn’t leave anything out—covering race, friendship, feminism, and even Lena Dunham. (FYI: The title speaks to how, as a black woman, she believes in the tenets of feminism, but she feels like it was created to primarily benefit the white community). If you think the tone is going to be preachy, think again. Sitting down with this book will kind of be like having a thought-provoking conversation with your cooler, smarter best friend.

You’ll also like: Gloria Steinem Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions($8); Ngozi Adichie We Should All Be Feminists ($6).


At the beginning of Redefining Realness, author Janet Mock writes, “We need stories of hope and possibilities, stories that reflect the reality of our lived experiences.” Mock’s narrative goes on to detail how she grew up impoverished, multiracial, and transgendered, all with the ultimate goal of finding herself. It wasn’t until the People editor fell in love with a man she was dating that she had to dig deep and open herself up to him—and the possibility of rejection.

You’ll also like: Jennifer Finney Boylan She's Not There ($10); Dorothy Allison Two or Three Things I Know for Sure ($8).


If you’re a fan of social scientist Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, then you need to preorder her new book Braving the Wilderness, which is out September 12. If you’re familiar with her work, then you know the author has the amazing ability to seamlessly weave stories with science, and the same is done in this new piece of literature. The premise revolves around Brown’s belief that we’re all disconnected from reality, so she goes on to prescribe four ways to find belonging every day.

You’ll also like: Gretchen Rubin The Four Tendencies ($15); Brooke McAlary Destination Simple ($13).


Rebecca Solnit Men Explain Things to Me ($9)

Rebecca Solnit’s collection of seven essays begins by recalling a conversation in Aspen with a successful businessman who assumes her opinion about something is wrong simply because she’s a woman. The book’s essays go on to range from the silly (like “mansplaining”) to the serious (gender equality). Solnit’s opinions about feminism, marriage equality, and our society are nothing less than bold (and sometimes totally necessary). But hey, there’s no use in sugarcoating things, right?

You’ll also like: Sloane Crosley I Was Told There’d Be Cake ($9); Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique ($15).


Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb I Am Malala ($12)

This memoir penned by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize tells the tale of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who stood up for education. But more than just that, the book—co-written by British journalist Christina Lamb— doesn’t shield you from Malala’s flaws as she pushes for the right to attend school even in the face of the Taliban. From cover to cover, readers not only see Malala’s true power amidst the political strife but that of her whole family.

You’ll also like: Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn Half the Sky ($8); Michael J. Sandel Justice ($8).


Qanta A. Ahmed, MD In the Land of Invisible Women ($10)

This compelling true story revolves around Quanta A. Ahmed, MD, a British doctor of Pakistani descent who takes a job in Saudi Arabia when her U.S. visa renewal is denied. The book’s plot is woven with positive moments like Ahmed rediscovering her Islamic religion on a pilgrimage and cons that include seeing co-workers celebrate during the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Things aren’t always black and white, as Ahmed comes to realize on her two-year stint in Riyadh, but sometimes you just have to find the silver lining.

You’ll also like: Ayaan Hirsi Ali Infidel ($9); Omar Saif Ghobash Letters to a Young Muslim ($12).


Jena Lee Nardella One Thousand Wells ($10)

Author Jena Nardella shares how she set out after college graduation to save the world with the hope of building 1000 wells in Africa. The fact of the matter is that she succeeded—as the co-founder of Blood:Water, she’s helped give more than one million African residents access to clean water. But along the way, Nardella faced many challenges, including corruption and serious setbacks that cause her to question herself and her mission. Thankfully, the activist found a way to embrace the world—flaws and all (a lesson for all of us).

You’ll also like: Bob Goff Love Does ($13); Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner Find Me Unafraid ($9).

  • Published in Media

What Is Women’s Equality Day? Twitter Urges Trump To Recognize August 26

Women’s Equality Day has been traditionally observed in the United States since 1973 after Congress declared Aug. 26 a celebration of women’s suffrage in 1971.  Every president since then officially recognized the importance of the day. Ahead of the Saturday celebrations, Twitter users are urging President Donald Trump to do the same.

The day commemorates the inclusion of 19th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920, which gave American women the right to cast votes and have a voice in deciding the future of the nation.  According to the National Women’s History Project, the amendment “culminated a 72-year, nonviolent campaign to extend the right to vote to women, as a symbol of the continued fight for equal rights.”

Prior to winning the suffrage movement, women were barred from signing contracts, serving on juries, inheriting property and voting in elections. Marriage remained the only form of economic security available to them as the only job opportunities for women were in the service industry and wages were far lower than men.

According to historian and author Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, “[W]oman suffrage supporters advanced the belief that women were more moral beings than men; therefore, women would make more effective reformers if armed with the ballot.”


However, even after 19th Amendment became a part of the constitution, African-American women and those of Japanese origin did not have the right to vote. It was only after Voting Rights Act was passed by the Congress in 1965 that race was ruled out as a discriminating factor when it came to women’s right to vote.

When former President Barack Obama officially declared Women’s Equality Day last year, he stated: “Nearly one century ago, with boundless courage and relentless commitment, dedicated women who had marched, advocated, and organized for the right to cast a vote finally saw their efforts rewarded on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was certified and the right to vote was secured. In the decades that followed, that precious right has bolstered generations of women and empowered them to stand up, speak out, and steer the country they love in an equal direction.”

This year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was the first one to point out that the POTUS was yet to officially announce Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

"Saturday we mark Women's Equality Day,” Cuomo told Refinery29. “In New York, we protect and value women's rights every day. We will always push women’s rights forward. Our economy and soul depend on full equality.”

He further added: "I am calling on President Trump to issue a proclamation, affirming this nation's belief that all men and women are created equal, and that the right to vote is genderless.‎ To say less is against every value we as New Yorkers hold and protect."

After Cuomo took to Twitter to request Trump to give Aug 26 its due recognition, other social media users followed suit, echoing Cuomo’s sentiments.

It is still not clear if the Trump administration will recognize Women’s Equality Day as its track record has been inconsistent so far when it comes to handling historically important days. According to Refinery29, the president declared March as Women’s History Month but failed to issue a statement on International Women’s Day. In the end, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer had to do damage control as he read out the official statement by the White House during the press briefing.


PAO lawyers file murder, torture raps vs 3 cops in Kian death

Kian delos Santos’ parents Lorenza and Saldy link arms as the murder charges were filed against the three Caloocan City policemen by lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office during an appearance before the Department of Justice on Friday, Aug. 25. PHOTO / TETCH TORRES-TUPAS
A criminal complaint has been filed on Friday against the police officers reportedly involved in the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos.
Filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a complaint for violations of the Revised Penal Code for murder and Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law specifically for torture leading to death and involving children.

PO1 Jeremias Pereda, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO3 Arnel Oraes take their oath during the Senate inquiry into the killing of Grade 12 student Kian Loyd delos Santos during an anti-drugs operation last August 16, 2017 in Barangay 160, Caloocan City. The policemen claimed they were forced to shoot back at Delos Santos after he fired at them while trying escape.
The three police officers behind Kian’s death were identified as Police Officer 3 Arnel Oares and Police Officers 1 Jeremiah Pereda and Jerwin Cruz.
The three policemen and their superior, police community precinct 7 commander Chief Inspector Amor Cerillo, were already relieved from their posts and placed under restrictive custody.
Kian’s parents, Saldy and Lorenza delos Santos, are represented in the case by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) through its chief Persida Rueda-Acosta. JPV



Gilas Pilipinas wards off gritty Malaysia ahead of SEA Games basketball knockout stages

The Philippine national men’s basketball team warded off a hard-fighting Malaysian squad, 98-66, to remain unbeaten heading into the knockout stages of the 2017 Southeast Asian Games basketball competition on Wednesday at MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Christian Standhardinger led Gilas Pilipinas with a double-double of 18 points and 18 rebounds while Kobe Paras added 16 points and eight boards.

Troy Rosario and Kiefer Ravena each chipped in 12 markers apiece as Baser Amer contributed 10 points.

Gilas Pilipinas had to overcome a sluggish start and some chippy plays from the Malaysians before coming up with the blowout.

The Filipinos had a sloppy start to the game, committing eight turnovers against the energetic Malaysians who stunned Gilas Pilipinas by leading 20-15 in the first period.

Gilas Pilipinas got its bearings back, unleashing a 17-4 run to grab a 40-27 lead.

The hosts were still hanging tough against the Filipinos in the third quarter when a scuffle erupted between the two teams after a highly physical sequence which saw Amer exchange heated blows with some Malaysians.

Amer and Carl Bryan Cruz, who was away from the main action as he tried to pacify other players in the situation, were ejected from the game. Curiously, no one from Malaysia was thrown out.

But that only lit up the Filipinos who, after that incident, dropped a 16-4 bomb to end the third quarter with a huge 73-46 advantage that was enough to stave off Malaysia.

Gilas Pilipinas, now 3-0 after also beating Thailand and Myanmar earlier, takes a break on Thursday and returns to action on Friday for the knockout semifinals.

  • Published in Sports

Star outshines Phoenix to remain unbeaten

PBA Media Bureau
The Star Hotshots stretched their unbeaten run in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup after thumping the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 100-81, on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Malcolm Hill paced Star with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists while Paul Lee contributed 18 points, two boards and three dimes for the Hotshots who improved to 4-0 and remained the only squad which has yet to taste a defeat in the tournament.

Aldrech Ramos (13 points), Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca and Allein Maliksi (11 points apiece) also breached the double-digit mark to help Star continue its mastery of Phoenix, a team they dominated in all of their five encounters this season.

Star rampaged in the second half after turning a 49-44 halftime lead into a commanding 70-53 edge in the third quarter.

The Hotshots maintained their lead for the rest of the way to hand Phoenix which slid to 2-5 after losing its fifth straight game.

The scores:

STAR 100 – Hill 20, Lee 18, Ramos 13, Sangalang 11, Maliksi 11, Barroca 11, Brondial 4, Reavis 4, Dela Rosa 3, Melton 3, Simon 2, Mendoza 0, Javier 0, Pingris 0, Abundo 0.

PHOENIX 81 – Brown 33, Chan 14, Intal 8, Jazul 6, Eriobu 5, Dehesa 4, Alolino 4, Kramer 4, J. Wilson 2, Hayes 1, Ababou 0.

Quarterscores: 24-17, 49-44, 77-64, 100-81.

  • Published in Sports

Star’s Marc Pingris not rushing return to peak form

PBA Media Bureau
After being sidelined with a hip injury for almost six months, Marc Pingris finally returned to action for the Star Hotshots in their 100-81 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night.

Pingris only played for more than two minutes during garbage time of the lopsided game. Despite the short playing time, he’s happy that he was finally able to hit the court.

“Natutuwa ako sa mga fans na kahit two minutes lang nilaro ko pinapalakpakan ako. Sobrang miss na miss nila ako. Miss na miss ko rin yung liga natin. I’m happy kahit pakonti-konti lang. Nakakabalik naman kahit paano,” Pingris said.

The many-time all-defensive team member who won seven championships with the franchise said he doesn’t want to fast-track his comeback as he tries to regain his peak form.

“Nangangapa. Kanina sobrang excited ako. I think magsi-six months na yata or five months. I’m very excited. Sobrang na-appreciate ko yung ginawa ni (physical therapist) Nic Ocampo sa akin,” said Pingris who last played in February during Game Seven of their Philippine Cup semifinals series against Barangay Ginebra.

“Wala akong ginagawa. Tapos nung nawala yung maga parang lumiit yung muscle niya. Ngayon talagang workout.”

Another reason for Pingris not to rush things is that the Hotshots are doing well even without him. Star remains as the the only unbeaten team in the current tournament after winning its first four games.

“Konti-konti lang. Sinabi ko rin kay Coach (Chito Victolero) yan. Alam ni Coach yun. Dating player yun eh. Alam niya pakiramdam kapag na-injure ka. Talagang pagpasok mo kailangan dahan-dahan lang,” added Pingris.

“Maganda rin itinatakbo ng team ngayon. Maganda chemistry ng team. Sa practice talagang inuunti-unti ako ni Coach. Sa depensa iniintindi ko pa rin kahit alam ko na.”

Pingris, who went to the United States for treatment, said his rehab is still ongoing.

“Mayroon pang konting sakit na nararamdaman. Kasi kailangan ko pa siyang i-rehab. Everyday katulad kanina nagwo-workout ako. Talagang tuluy-tuloy na yun,” he said.

“Hinahabol ko kasi yung isang leg ko. Medyo pumayat siya talaga eh. Nagpahinga ako ng two months nung andito ako.

  • Published in Sports

$75,000 up for grabs in 2017 Siargao Int’l Surfing Cup in September

One of Siargao Islands best, professional surfer Rodolfo “Osot” Alcala is a favorite to compete against the international surfers. PHOTO BY ERWIN MASCARIÑAS, INTERAKSYON

SIARGAO ISLAND, SURIGAO DEL NORTE – A total of 75,000 US dollars in prize money will be up for grabs in this year’s Siargao International Surfing Cup men’s competition, which is expected to draw more interest from top surfing competitors after its international Qualifying Series (QS) ranking was upgraded in time for the event here in September.

“This year the Siargao International Surfing Cup will be the biggest after it has been upgraded to a World QS3,000 with the total prize money of 75,000 US dollars to be given to the top winning surfers. So far we are expecting around 90 professional surfers from all over the globe to come and compete this year here in Cloud 9, General Luna, Siargao Island which will open on September 23, 2017,” said Gerry Degan, event director for the surfing tilt.

Degan, who has been the surfing competition’s director for the past 15 years, expressed his enthusiasm for this year’s event.

“Since the QS ranking has been upgraded, surfers are expecting more WQS points, and with more points we expect more big names from the international surfing circuit, as they will be going after the higher WQS ranking points. Everyone wants a slice of the points, the prize money is more of an added icing on the cake,” said Degan.

Degan said that the top eight local surfers from the national competition will qualify for the international event, adding that “I do think three to four local surfers have the chance. They know the waves so very well and they are fantastic surfers. Who knows, with their knowledge of Cloud 9, they might be able to take home the top prize.”

“We are looking to have professional surfers competing here in Cloud 9 from countries such as Australia, Japan, Mexican, mainland United States, Hawaii, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain, France, England and Tahiti,” he added.

Carlito Nogallo, one of the local professional surfers from Siargao Island, shared both optimism and concerns about the upcoming competition.

“I’m sure this year will be bigger, more exciting and with far better international surfers that will be competing as the competition has been upgraded to QS3,000 but this means that it will be harder for local surfers and we have to work extra harder just to get into the top spot,” he said.

Nogallo added that, “it will be harder for us and a huge challenge but if we will be able to read the waves properly and ride the big waves, then we will be able to showcase the Cloud 9 surfing we have grown with here in Siargao.”

Mary Jean A. Camarin, officer in charge of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Caraga Region, revealed that the DOT has allocated 10,000 million pesos for the entire year with several events in Siargao Island.

“This includes the recently concluded the 1st Siargao International Marathon, which was done last July. Then we has the 10th Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament back in April, the 10th Siargao International Women’s Surfing Cup 2017 last May and then right before the Men’s International Surfing Cup with be the Men’s National Surfing Competition,” said Camarin.

She explained further that the provincial government of Surigao del Norte has also been supportive in finding for local sponsors that would hopefully help out to further make the event bigger.

The World Surf League (WSL) announced on their website on August 15, 2017 that the Siargao International Surfing Cup on September has been upgraded from a QS1,500 event to QS3,000.

“Upgrading from a QS1,500 to a QS3,000 will mean not only more qualifying points on offer for competitors but increased prize money and a larger field that will be broadcast live on the WSL website. With this in mind, there will no doubt be a hungry pack of QS surfers heading to the famed peak of Cloud 9 for this year’s event,” as posted on their website.

Australian professional surfer Sandon Whittaker who took the 2016 Cup expressed on the WSL website his eagerness to return to Siargao and defend his title.

“I’m stoked the Siargao Surfing Cup is going to be a QS3,000 this year. I can’t wait to get back there it is an amazing place. Cloud 9 is an incredible place and is so much fun to surf in all conditions which makes it great for a contest. Siargao is a tropical paradise, the waters warm, it’s really clean, the food is so good and the waves are epic, plus the locals are really friendly and helpful. It’s going to be a great contest,” said Whittaker.

  • Published in Sports

McGregor and Mayweather trade praise not profanities

Conor McGregor (R) of Ireland stares down Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the U.S. during a news conference in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. on August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus
Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. declared a truce on Wednesday after weeks of vicious verbal attacks, offering praise instead of profanities at the final press conference ahead of their much anticipated fight.

Since the fight between undefeated boxer Mayweather and mixed martial arts champion McGregor was announced in June, the two men took part in a profanity laced world tour to hype a bout that has been met with both skepticism and excitement.

The final press conference ahead of Saturday’s fight, however, was closer to a love-in than a battle field with Mayweather, in particular, complimenting the man who has questioned everything from his manhood to his fashion sense.

“Conor McGregor had a hell of a career, he’s still got a hell of a career,” said Mayweather. “He’s a hell of a fighter, he’s a stand up guy, a tough competitor.

“It’s not going to be an easy fight. There will be blood sweat and tears Saturday.”

McGregor was far less effusive in his compliments but after months of mercilessly attacking Mayweather said he welcomed the pause in hostilities.

“There’s been a lot of crazy press conferences, this is a lot more subdued, a lot more business like the way I like it … sometimes,” said McGregor.

After the two had turned the air blue with profanity during the earlier media tour, Mayweather went the entire press conference on Wednesday without swearing.

McGregor could not hold his tongue but saved his venom for a member of Mayweather’s “Money Team” who taunted him from the audience, telling him he was going to be knocked out.

“Not by you, whoever you are,” countered McGregor. “Tell that bitch to shut up,” the Irishman growled while looking at Mayweather, who later chastised the member of his team.

The restrained tone of Wednesday’s media conference underscored the high stakes of what is expected to be the richest fight in boxing with McGregor in line for $100 million payday and Mayweather as much as $200 million.

While boxing purists and pundits have denounced the fight as nothing more than a laughable cash grab it has nonetheless captured the fascination of fans.

Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza said the fight, which will be distributed in more than 200 countries, is on pace to smash pay per view records.

While the fiery rhetoric was toned down, both remain confident of the outcome.

“I will go forward, I will put the pressure on him and break this old man,” said McGregor, who said he expected to end the 12-round bout inside two rounds. “Trust me on that.

“I am going to out box this man at his own game.”

The only message Mayweather had for McGregor was his record reminding him that he was trying to do something that no one has ever been able to do; beat him.

“I know one thing I can do I can fight,” said Mayweather. “I can give it and I can take it

“But for me to be 49-0 it is obvious I have been giving it and not receiving it.

“Anything and everything in boxing that can be done, I’ve done it. I was born a fighter, I will die a fighter.”

  • Published in Sports

Commentary: Why Donald Trump stinks at bromances

In this Feb. 16, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., during a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

If we lived in a different world, the joke could begin in a familiar, guy-goes-into-a-bar way: "So the president walks into a convention center in Phoenix and …"

But this is the Trump era. Only slices of White House life are just comic. Much more of what the president serves up to American voters, legislators, policymakers and the rest of the world routinely smacks of the tragicomic, at best.

The president's speech Tuesday night in Phoenix, is just the latest case in point. It had the requisite elements of vaudevillian propaganda (he accused CNN of not broadcasting his speeches as he spoke into a CNN camera broadcasting his speech); damaging cant (he misrepresented his statements following this month's neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Va., to repackage himself as the morally sensitive leader he isn't); flagrant lies (he hasn't obtained a "historic increase" in military spending); and saber-rattling (he threatened to shut down the federal government unless Congress funds his Great Border Wall).

Trump's Phoenix “rantathon” also deployed personal broadsides against two members of his own party who are also Arizona's senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake. He slammed McCain for not supporting a Senate effort to repeal and replace Obamacare and he dismissed Flake as a nonentity ("Nobody knows who the hell he is").

Pounding on McCain and Flake lacks political decorum, of course, and the shabbiness of it is only enhanced by the fact that McCain is struggling with brain cancer. And Trump, who managed to secure five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, once questioned whether McCain, who spent more than five years in a Vietnamese prison, was a war hero.

But beyond Trump's seediness looms the larger issue of why he habitually attacks natural allies, even when contrary to his own self-interest.

Remember, Trump's trolling of McCain and Flake is far less perilous to his legislative agenda than taking on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Yet our man is fearless. He's been trying to slap McConnell around so much of late that the two men stopped talking for weeks.

You'd expect Trump to do all that he can to reel in McConnell. The majority leader holds sway over various Senate committees that Trump needs for such things as re-engineering the tax code or keeping fallout under wraps from various investigations into links to Russia.

Yet Trump, after bungling his own role in the Obamacare debacle, found it simpler to blame McConnell than to take responsibility himself. He's been on the warpath with McConnell ever since, so focused on avoiding blame for a losing effort around one piece of legislation — health care — that he's willing to jeopardize the rest of his White House stay.

This, as it always does with Trump, follows a pattern. Back in the late 1980s, Trump was trying to build a mega-development on the west side of Manhattan. He blew the deal in part because he got into a needless public brawl with the mayor of New York at the time, Ed Koch.

Trump needed Koch's support to get zoning approval and tax abatements for the West Side Yards deal, a project that would have rivaled Rockefeller Center in scale and would have launched Trump into the top tier of New York developers. Plans for the property included a rocket-shaped skyscraper that would have been the world's tallest building.

But Trump antagonized local residents, planning boards and Koch, raising the ante every time he didn't get exactly what he wanted and publicly accusing Koch of "ludicrous and disgraceful behavior." Koch, noting that he thought Trump was being "piggy, piggy, piggy," warned the young developer not to try to "influence the process through intimidation."

Trump kept jousting, however, and the Yards project stagnated. Trump ultimately couldn't afford to carry the property while waiting out City Hall, and as his financial problems worsened in the early 1990s he was forced to sell it to Hong Kong developers.

Had Trump been patient and methodical, had he been interested in outcomes as much as he was interested in being seen as the winner at center stage, he might have done better with the Yards.

That's not who the president is, though.

He doesn't build strong teams, doesn't cultivate sophisticated partnerships and doesn't do his homework. Instead, he stays locked on fostering his own celebrity and guarding against any perceptions that he's not a "winner."

Trump the Developer was so focused on besting Ed Koch and doing things his way that he let a promising development slip from his grasp. Trump the President is so focused on besting Mitch McConnell that he runs the risk of alienating a legislative body that could otherwise help him craft a political legacy and protect him from folks like Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Trumpworld's links to Russia.

Trump doesn't care about outcomes. He has his money and the whole world's bounteous attention. As long as he has those things, he's willing to forfeit more enduring accomplishments while he fosters the illusion of personal strength. By that standard, defeats feel like triumphs, achievements leave him cold and allies are a waste of time.


Timothy L. O'Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Gadfly and Bloomberg View. His books include "TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald."

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune


Trump distances himself from GOP lawmakers to avoid blame if agenda stalls

The Fix's Amber Phillips explains the tight deadlines Congress faces this fall, and how President Trump's shutdown threat over funding his border wall and his criticism of the debt ceiling "mess" threaten their agenda. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

President Trump is strategically separating himself from Republicans in Congress, an extraordinary move to deflect blame if the GOP agenda continues to flounder.

Trump deepened the fissures in the party on Thursday when he accused the top two leaders on Capitol Hill of mismanaging a looming showdown over the nation’s borrowing authority. Republican lawmakers and aides responded to the president’s hostility with broadsides and warnings of their own.

Frustrated by months of relative inaction at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and emboldened by his urge to disrupt the status quo, Trump is testing whether his own political following will prove more potent and loyal than that of his party and its leaders in both houses of Congress.

The growing divide comes at an inopportune moment for Washington, however. In addition to having to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a fiscal crisis, Republicans face September deadlines to pass a spending bill to avert a government shutdown, as well as pressure to fulfill a key Trump campaign promise to rewrite the nation’s tax laws.

Behind the scenes, some Republican staff members described a more functional relationship between aides and lawmakers on Capitol Hill and White House officials. But in public, Trump is waging war against lawmakers. With a pair of morning tweets, he said he asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to include a debt-ceiling increase in a recent veterans bill.

“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,” he wrote. “They . . . didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy — now a mess!”

In a later tweet, the president slammed McConnell for not being able to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. “That should NEVER have happened!” he wrote.

Trump is railing against Republicans because he thinks it will help him politically down the road, for instance during a 2020 reelection bid, said one outside adviser to the White House.

If Republicans lose the House in the 2018 midterm elections, as several White House advisers have warned the president, Trump can say, “See, I told you these guys wouldn’t get anything done. I’ve been saying this for months. They’re not following my agenda,” said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private talks.

Roger Stone, an ally of and former political adviser to Trump, put it this way: “The Trump brand and the Republican brand are two different things. What happened the last time the establishment tried to face him down? They got crushed.”

If Republicans lose the House, however, Trump could face greater peril than a difficult 2020 election: a Democratic majority eager to pursue impeachment and with subpoena power to conduct investigations.

Trump-McConnell tension bursts into the open
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Trump's relationship is fraying amid Trump's repeated public attacks and controversial statements. For many GOP lawmakers, the justification for not fully breaking from Trump has been the promise of trying to salvage key parts of the party’s agenda. But now, they are increasingly resigning themselves to the reality that they will be largely on their own. One Senate GOP aide likened it to “being handed the keys to the car.”

As a result, they have grown increasingly hostile toward the president.

“It doesn’t help at this point, with a September coming up that is very consequential, to be throwing rocks at one another,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). He added: “You don’t, I think, do a lot of good by torching your teammates, particularly by name, individually.”

Said the Senate GOP aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid: “The sense you get is ‘We’re going to have to figure this out.’ We’re just going to assume we’re not going to get any help from the White House.”

Some White House aides have shown little sympathy toward GOP lawmakers who have made harsh remarks about Trump. Asked Thursday to respond to recent comments by Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) doubting the president’s competence and stability to lead, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded, “I think that’s a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn’t dignify a response from this podium.”

The relationship between Trump and McConnell, meanwhile, has become increasingly acerbic in recent weeks, in private and public. But as details have surfaced in news reports, McConnell has tried to project unity even as some Republicans have said tensions are still raw.

In remarks Thursday morning at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual Country Ham Breakfast, McConnell praised the president and his administration for making strides on regulatory reform, the Supreme Court and looking out for rural Americans.

But he acknowledged differences on trade, saying he was “a little concerned” about some of Trump’s protectionist rhetoric. He also cracked a joke that underscored the challenges he faces with a narrow majority in the Senate.

“I’m often asked, ‘What is being the majority leader of the Senate like?’ ” he said. “The best answer I’ve been able to think of is, ‘It’s a little bit like being a groundskeeper at a cemetery. Everybody’s under you, but nobody’s listening. That’s what you get with 52-48.’ ”

McConnell sees a 2018 Senate map ripe with opportunities to expand the GOP majority. For this reason, Republicans in his orbit have been particularly pained by Trump’s attacks against Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a critic of the president who is up for reelection. They see the leader of their party, Trump, potentially sabotaging a chance to make it easier to pass the legislation he has complained about stalling.

The Trump administration has warned that Congress must raise the federal debt limit before October to avert a fiscal crisis. The government spends more money than it brings in through revenue, and it borrows money to cover the difference by issuing debt.

During an event in Everett, Wash., on Thursday, Ryan said he is confident that Congress willraise the debt limit and avoid a federal default.

“We pay our debts in this country, and we’ll continue to do so,” he said. “I’m not worried that’s going to get done, because it’s going to get done.”

Ryan acknowledged discussions about attaching the debt issue to the veterans bill, but said the maneuver ultimately “wasn’t available to us.”

Several House aides expressed exasperation Thursday about Trump’s claim regarding that proposal. They called that a misrepresentation of what had actually happened: White House and congressional aides had informally discussed the possibility that the Senate could attach a debt-ceiling extension to a House-passed veterans bill in late July, but it was never clear that the Senate would act before the House was scheduled to break for the summer — and many conservative House Republicans had warned GOP leaders not to pursue the maneuver.

Trump’s threat this week to shut down the government if a spending bill to keep it running past the end of next month does not include funding to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has compounded worries about the September to-do list.

“We don’t need a government shutdown. That never ends well,” Flake told Fox News Channel on Thursday. “We don’t save money doing it.”

The House Freedom Caucus stands to play a pivotal role in the fall’s legislative drama. On one hand, the bloc of hard-liners has been among the most fervent backers of Trump’s agenda, and its top leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.), frequently consults with the president. On the other hand, the caucus and other conservatives have been reluctant to compromise on their principles to accomplish it — at least not without a fight.

“Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House,” Rep. Mark Walker (N.C.), a member of the Republican Study Committee, wrote in an opinion piece published this month. “Any legislation signed into law needs to reflect unified government.”

Congressional Democrats are expected to stand firmly in opposition to Trump’s attempt to secure more federal funding for the border wall, as they did in the spring during similar spending talks.

On the debt limit, Democrats are taking a more hands-off approach, thinking the issue is entirely up to Republicans to resolve, given that in the past they called for spending reductions to be coupled with any debt-limit increases.

Some congressional aides are anticipating that Trump will hold a White House meeting with top House and Senate leaders shortly after lawmakers return from their recess.

If a meeting is held, it would be the first face-to-face exchange between Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) since the president hosted a cocktail reception for top lawmakers in late January. The last time he saw Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) in person was the day after that reception, at a meeting about Supreme Court nominees.

Some Republicans hope that private negotiations on tax reform, the debt ceiling and keeping the government running won’t be weighed down by ugly public feuds.

One senior Republican involved in the process said Thursday that a relatively drama-free extension of the debt limit and a resolution to keep the government open until the end of the year are both likely to pass next month, with discussions about a border wall pushed into the next round of budget negotiations.

A second Republican, who has spoken with the president, said Thursday that Trump sees benefits from fighting GOP leaders but is not yet convinced that a showdown over a wall in September is necessary and is open to hearing options about how to proceed. The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

Still, the long-term political upside that many in Trump’s inner circle see in going after congressional Republicans and the hard-line stances Trump is fond of taking are expected to complicate the delicate talks. They also raise the possibility that Trump will never ease up in his attacks.

“This is where the base already was. They hate Washington,” said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser. He added: “They don’t need the president to tell them that Congress isn’t doing its job. They already understand that.”

Ed O’Keefe, Damian Paletta and Robert Costa contributed to this report.

  • Published in U.S.
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