Trump’s new power couple

She’s a strategic adviser in President Donald Trump’s West Wing. He’s a lobbyist who moonlights as the head of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — a key gathering for Trump supporters.

.. Mercedes and Matt Schlapp, a power couple tailor-made for Trump’s Washington.

 .. have embraced their parallel roles as loyal surrogates for a president whose rise has reshaped their party and upended the conservative movement.
.. , Mercedes Schlapp — known as Mercy — is among the leading candidates to become communications director after the resignation last week of Hope Hicks.
.. The move, said to be favored by White House chief of staff John Kelly
.. Other internal candidates under consideration include Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who could take on a dual role, as her predecessor, Sean Spicer, did.
.. Schlapp, a former Fox News contributor
.. Schlapp is also well-liked by the president, in part because her husband is so often on television defending him.
.. A veteran of the George W. Bush White House and the Koch brothers’ Washington operation, Matt Schlapp was elected chair of the American Conservative Union
.. “Matt has successfully been representative of the conservative movement and been able to defend Trump without looking like a sycophant
.. in 2017, when Schlapp invited alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos
.. This year, the conference hosted a range of speakers from what were once the fringes of the Republican Party, and even hosted French nationalist Marion Le Pen.

.. “The sort of personality cult aspect of the Trump presidency … have caused people to have sort of a fire sale on long-established conservative principles,” Goldberg said.

.. “Those conservatives who are dubious about President Trump’s approach have withered down to next to nothing,”

.. “It’s not CPAC’s change of attitude toward Trump, it’s the American conservative activists who have changed their attitude toward Trump. … By the way, we agree with them.”

.. Schlapp’s lobbying firm, brought in more than $1 million in revenue in 2017 — up from $640,000 in 2016 and $600,000 in 2015.

.. “He has professionalized the conservative movement to be the backbone of the Republican president in power,” Lanza said. “I think he would have been equally successful if it were President Jeb or President Cruz

 

I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC

Ask me that at a cocktail party and I will talk your ear off about how the very people who had lectured us about the utter venality of workplace sexual harassment throughout the 1980s became suddenly quiescent when the malefactor was Bill Clinton.

.. How can conservative women hope to have any credibility on the subject of sexual harassment or relations between the sexes when they excuse the behavior of President Trump? And how can we participate in any conversation about sexual ethics when the Republican president and the Republican Party backed a man credibly accused of child molestation for the United States Senate?

I watched my fellow panelists’ eyes widen. And then the booing began.

.. I’d been dreading it for days, but when it came, I almost welcomed it. There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.

.. Just hearing the words you know are true can serve as ballast, steadying your mind when so much seems unreal.

.. A substantial number of people applauded. And as I was hustled out of the building by security, various supporters gave me the thumbs up sign.

.. Just before I reached the exit, a woman approached me and called my name. “That was so brave!” she told me.

She was one of my fellow panelists. I hope she’s encouraged. I am.

Something is deadly wrong in this country

I do not, however, feel the need to pose in pictures wearing a tightfitting dress and heels, while holding my very own AR-15, as NRA spokesvixen Dana Loesch does on the cover of her book. I’m not absolutely sure, but this increasingly common pose among youngish female conservatives seems aimed at sexualizing guns, or metaphorizing weapons to within an inch of their lives.

.. hating the media is how many Republicans pass the buck. Their accusations are a distraction, the roots of which can be traced to evil. You can’t talk about freedom while also making an argument for gutting the First Amendment.

.. LaPierre may have many valid points, but when he, Loesch and others speak in tongues of hyperbole and conspiratorial incantations, they are not to be taken seriously.

The unending campaign of Donald Trump

If there was any doubt that his presidency is an unending campaign

.. Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, the president read “The Snake,” a parable about a tenderhearted woman who takes in an ailing snake and gives it milk, honey and a silk blanket, only to be killed by the revived creature’s poisonous bite.

Trump explained the metaphor: “You have to think of this in terms of immigration.”

.. On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump frequently told the tale of the snake. The crowds at his rallies loved it. Other Americans were appalled and found it racist.

.. A day earlier, Vice President Pence stood on the same stage at CPAC and sounded a call for unity.

.. His boss had a different idea, however.

  • Trump mocked Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a war hero and Republican elder statesman with a terminal form of brain cancer, for his health-care vote.
  • He vowed to “fight” a current Democratic foe, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). And he
  • revived his row with a previous one, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, by encouraging chants of “lock her up” and sounding off about her alleged “atrocities.”

.. He is at his most comfortable on the campaign trail, as a political brawler feeding off the passions of his fans and speaking off the cuff.

.. “You don’t mind if I go off script a little bit?” Trump said during his Friday speech, referring to the teleprompters loaded with words his aides wanted him to read. “Because it’s sort of boring

.. “I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks,” Trump said. “I work hard at it. Doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in.”

.. he derides as “chain migration,” with “a merit system.” Never mind that this week, a lawyer representing Trump’s Slovenian-born wife, Melania, and her family told The Washington Post that the first lady’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs