Things got plenty strange in Arizona last night. From the Associated Press:
President Donald Trump opened his political rally in Phoenix with calls for unity and an assertion that “our movement is about love.” Then he erupted in anger.
He blamed the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to violence at a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest organized by white supremacists. And he shouted that he had “openly called for healing, unity and love” in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and had simply been misrepresented in news coverage.
He read from his three responses to the racially charged violence — getting more animated with each one. He withdrew from his suit pocket the written statement he’d read the day a woman was killed by a man who’d plowed a car through counter-protesters, but he skipped over the trouble-causing part that he’d freelanced at the time — his observation that “many sides” were to blame.
Vice President Mike Pence was there for the 75-minute speech, as was Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King Jr., and evangelist Franklin Graham. But neither of Arizona’s two U.S. senators, nor its governor, were in the audience. Again, from the Associated Press:
[Trump] went on to skewer both of Arizona’s Republican senators, insisting that his coy refusal to mention their names showed a “very presidential” restraint. He said his aides had begged him, “Please, please Mr. President, don’t mention any names. So I won’t.” Yet he’d clearly described Sen. John McCain as the reason Congress didn’t repeal and replace the much-maligned Affordable Care Act, and he labeled Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake as “weak” on borders and crime.
Want to know what U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake made of President Donald Trump’s appearance last night? He’ll be on GPB’s “Political Rewind” (88.5FM in Atlanta) at 2 p.m. this afternoon with host Bill Nigut and myself, to discuss his new book. Of course, there’s this, too:
But Jeff Flake isn’t the only incumbent Republican senator with a target on his back. Freshly ousted from the White House, Steve Bannon apparently sees a twofer in Luther Strange of Alabama, who has been endorsed by President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Bannon’s Breitbart.com appears to be siding with former Alabama supreme court chief justice Roy Moore in a Republican runoff next month:
[A] poll from JMC Analytics provided to Breitbart News ahead of its public release shows Moore with 51 percent, a majority, supporting him, while Strange trails nearly 20 points behind with just 32 percent—and 17 percent are undecided.
Moore’s commanding lead comes after he outperformed polls to finish around 39 percent in a multi-way primary this past Tuesday. Strange finished the first round of voting with just under 33 percent, and this poll seems to indicate that Moore is the only candidate gaining more votes while Strange is stuck with a ceiling of what he got on primary day before the runoff.
Hillary Clinton considered Donald Trump to be something like a stalker as he hovered over her in their second debate last year, according to her new book on the campaign. Excerpts were read this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:
The debate over Confederate nomenclature can have policy implications, as evidenced by the brief essay published Tuesday by former Gov. Roy Barnes, who noted the awkwardness of having Georgia State Patrol headquarters on a street named Confederate Avenue.
But then there’s ESPN, who has pulled broadcaster Robert Lee from University of Virginia’s football season opener in Charlottesville, because of his name. The broadcaster is Asian-American.
Qualifying for mayoral races in Atlanta and other Georgia cities continues today, opening up races in other venues as well. At midnight last night, John Eaves resigned as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in order to qualify for the Atlanta mayoral race today. Democrat Robb Pitts and Republican Gabe Sterling are said to be the leading candidates to replace him.
The next legislative session will be a doozey. Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s campaign said he’s not planning on stepping down next year to focus on his run for governor. Neither will Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and, as far as we can tell, neither will state Sens. Hunter Hill of Atlanta and Michael Williams of Cumming.
That means the four leading Republican candidates will all be under one Gold Dome next year – and three of them will share the cozy confines of the state Senate. The two Democrats in the race – state Reps. Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans – have also yet to abandon their seats, though both have resigned leadership posts.
Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue will make an appearance in Buckhead on Friday, speaking at a lunch about U.S. foreign aid.
The Republican is scheduled to address the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a group of businesses and nonprofits that advocate for bolstering development and diplomacy abroad, about “the positive impact of global affairs programs in Georgia.” The nonprofit CARE, which is run by his onetime Senate opponent Michelle Nunn, is notably listed as an event co-sponsor.
Perdue until recently led the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, which has oversight of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, a perch he used to frequently discuss the need for more private-public partnerships in the field. We’re told the event will be open only to conference attendees.
The millennials are coming: A group of Donald Trump protesters plan a march through Atlanta on Saturday at 4 p.m. The symbolic starting place? The Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.