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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

The Presidency and Prejudice

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I have been out of touch for 24 hours eclipse chasing (I’ll put pics at the end of this post) but note as I peruse the news that little changed in my 24 hours far, far away in horrific traffic from Wyoming to Colorado.  President Trump is under unprecedented scrutiny.

There is not nearly as much fake news as the president accuses there of being, but there is a lot of spun news, interpreted news, incomplete news and just plain old biased news.  Every good thing he does is downplayed and every misstep is depicted as the mistake that will end mankind as we know it.

If one is honest it should be obvious that from the morning after the election the man has suffered under a prejudice, even bigotry, from many quarters that not only expects his failure but does everything it can to aid it.  I do not have my blinders on and far from support every breath the man takes, but I hope and pray for his success, and am just fed up with a press so willing, and so prejudicially willing, to destroy a presidency.

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Senator Tom Cotton On President Trump’s Afghanistan Policy

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Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton joined me this morning to discuss President Trump’s speech last night and the policy going forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan:

Audio:

08-22hhs-cotton

Transcript:

HH: Senator Cotton, good morning, it’s great to speak with you.

TC: Good morning, Hugh, good to be on with you.

HH: A lot of people have opinions on the Afghanistan policy and the speech, but very few people have experience there. You deployed there in Laghman Province from April of 2008 to June of 2009. From that perspective, Senator Cotton, what did you make of President Trump’s speech last night?

TC: The President made a good speech, which resulted from a very good policy making process driven by General McMaster. And I think he reached the right conclusion. We cannot allow Afghanistan either to fall the way Mosul fell to the Islamic State in 2004, nor can we allow it to be, come under the influence of Iran the way Iraq increasingly has. Those are two critical objectives in Afghanistan. You know, we’ve had a lot of twists and turns over the last 16 years. There’s been some drifts in recent years in Afghanistan because of the last administration, but we cannot allow either radical Islamic terrorist groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda to reestablish Afghanistan as a base against which to plot attacks on the United States or Iran to use it as another proxy state.

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NBC’s Steve Kornacki On President Trump’s Hidden Support

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NBC’s Steve Kornacki joined me this morning to expand on his MSNBC piece on the difficulty of accurately gauging the size of President Trump’s real support:

Audio:

08-22hhs-kornacki

Transcript:

HH: I’m joined now by Steve Kornacki, chief political correspondent for NBC News where, and we want to talk about three things – last night’s speech by President Trump, today’s trip by President Trump, and the bigger issue behind all this, which is what’s going on with President Trump. Good morning, Steve, how are you?

SK: Good morning, Hugh, I’m doing well.

HH: Now you have a great piece, which I’ve gotten to read in preview. Has MSNBC posted this, yet, on the media?

SK: No, unfortunately, the speech last night has pushed the timetable back a little bit, but in a few hours, it will certainly be up on the website.

HH: Well we’ll weave it in here, a preview. People need to read this, because Steve raises a question which I’ve been grappling with, and he does it with much more data than I am used to using. But let’s first talk about last night’s speech, Steve Kornacki. How did you respond to it?

SK: I thought it was interesting, because obviously, yes, it’s a clash there between the themes, or some of the themes that Trump campaigned on versus the realities that he confronts as president and the realities, obviously, that we’ve seen a few presidents confront right now. My instant reaction was just trying to look at how this might affect his, how this might go over with the folks who elected him. You see, obviously, there’s a lot of popular frustration with how things have gone in Afghanistan over the last 16 years. The President talked about that last night, although I was looking through the polling numbers, and there was an interesting finding that jumped out at me. It was when you really start putting some options on the table for voters. Their frustration of the war doesn’t necessarily hold up in terms of calling for a pullout. If you give them an option of a more aggressive strategy, even if it means adding more troops versus pulling all the troops out, even if it potentially risks emboldening ISIS and the Taliban, they side with the idea of a more aggressive strategy, add some more troops. So that’s sort of the case Trump was trying to make last night. I think he might have a little bit more room to run with it politically right now, but obviously, like with anything else, and like with his predecessors, the ultimate question then will become results.

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House Budget Chair Diane Black

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Congressman Diane Black, Chair of the House Budget Committee (and candidate for governor of Tennessee) joined me this morning:

Audio:

08-21hhs-black

Transcript:

HH: I’m joined now by Congressman Diane Black, chair of the House Budget Committee. She is also going to be the next governor of Tennessee if I have my prognosticator hat on, and she is going to be the Republican nominee, though it’s a crowded field. She’s going to win in that red state, and she’s going to be a great governor. Congressman Black, welcome, good to talk to you.

DB: Well, good morning, Hugh, it’s great to be with you this morning.

HH: It was good to see you in the basement of the House a few weeks back. You had not yet declared. You are now officially a candidate for governor, correct?

DB: I am, thank you.

HH: And what is the key part of what will be your platform about a year from now when the primary is held, and then of course in November of ’18 when the general election is held?

DB: Well, jobs and the economy are always very important, although we are doing very well in the middle part of the state in Nashville. We have a lot of areas, especially in our rural areas, and so I want to be sure that everyone has an equal opportunity. And looking for those opportunities in those rural areas is looking outside the box, which I like to do. And then also, our education system is good, again, pockets of excellence. And we want to be sure everybody gets that same equal opportunity. Always health care, you know, my background is nursing. I’m an emergency room nurse, and we can do better here in our state, especially with dealing with the opioid issue that’s become an epidemic. And the President has acknowledged that as well. Our state is no different than other states that are dealing with this, and we’ve got to think outside the box on that one. But you know what more than anything that I think will differentiate me from many of my opponents is that I love the state of Tennessee for its values. And we are one of those places people come because they say wow, this is like it was in my state ten years ago or twenty years ago. And so I want to keep Tennessee values. That’s going to be important as we do have more people move into the state. It’s fine to come to our state and adopt our values and our principles that we love here, where we know right is right and wrong is wrong. God is God and life is life. So we want to keep that here, and we’re not going to allow others from the outside to change that. Welcome to our state, but honor and respect what we’re about.

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