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National Govt & Politics
Republicans, Trump, press economic message for November
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Republicans, Trump, press economic message for November

Republicans, Trump, press economic message for November
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Republicans, Trump, press economic message for November

If there is one message that Republicans in Congress - and President Donald Trump - can agree on in the campaign for the 2018 mid-term elections, it is to remind voters at every opportunity about economic gains made under the Trump Administration, paired with talk about the big GOP tax cut approved at the end of 2017.

"The hope and the optimism has returned," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who faces a tougher than expected challenge in November, as she and other GOP leaders have spent much of the year touting economic gains for regular working Americans.

"They are seeing some of the biggest pay increases right now," Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters last week. "We expect this trend to continue."

For President Trump, taking credit for a better economy has been a constant theme since his early months in office, arguing that his support for lower taxes and less government regulation would put economic growth into a higher gear.

There are some pure metrics which give the President and GOP candidates of all stripes a variety of different statistics to rattle off to voters:

+ Jobless rate - 4.8 percent when President Trump came into office, now at 3.9 percent.

+ The U6 rate, considered the broadest measure of unemployment, was 9.4 percent when President Trump was sworn in - that rate is now 7.4 percent, the lowest point in 17 years.

+ GDP growth in the second quarter was 4.2 percent on an annual basis up from 2.2 percent in the first quarter.

+ Monthly job gains are trending up, averaging 207,000 for the first 9 months of this year, up from 189,000 a year ago, and higher than 2016 as well.

For a party being buffeted by daily stories about President Trump, the economic gains have offered political shelter in an election year storm, as GOP leaders also pound home the President's tax cut.

"It's exciting to see people's attitudes, to see their personal benefits," said House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

"We're on track," Speaker Ryan told reporters last week. "Tax reform is working, families are better off, businesses are hiring, businesses are expanding.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that U.S. businesses created 201,000 jobs in the month of August, continuing a streak of 95 straight months of job growth, which has accelerated since the President took office.

But will those gains - real and/or perceived - allow the GOP to stay in charge in the House? Some polls in recent days show Republicans are under pressure in a number of races across the nation.

The latest generic ballot polls for voters when it comes to control of Congress have not held good news for the GOP, one reason that the President has promised to help GOP candidates as much as he can.

President Trump will be on the road for campaign rallies two days this week - he will be in Missouri on Thursday and Mississippi on Friday.

Election Day is just eight weeks from Tuesday.

Read More

News

  • From a vigil in a Manchester city square to a social media tribute from Ariana Grande, the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing are being remembered and honored two years after the tragedy. >> Read more trending news  The victims lost their lives May 22, 2017, when a suicide bomber detonated a device in the foyer of Manchester Arena after Grande performed. Wednesday, hundreds of mourners gathered at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester to observe a moment of silence, The Guardian reported. Thousands of floral tributes were placed at the site, and people wrote messages in chalk on the ground. Family of the victims attended at invite-only memorial service at St. Ann’s Church, the BBC reported. To mark the anniversary, Ariana Grande posted a bee emoji against a black background to her Snapchat story. The worker bee is a symbol of Manchester, according to The Guardian. The pop star didn’t offer any words, but her mother, Joan Grande, tweeted that Manchester is “with me always, in my heart and in my mind'. While performing at Manchester Arena on Tuesday, K-Pop group Blackpink dedicated their song “Stay” to the victims. A statement was projected behind the group that read, “‘It’s a privilege to be performing here in Manchester, especially at this time. ‘We send our love and prayers to the friends and families who fought through the hard times. We are here for you. #OneLoveManchester,’” Metro reported. At 10:31 p.m. -- the exact time of the attack -- bells will ring out from several buildings around the city.
  • Kevin Hunter Jr., the son of talk show host Wendy Williams and her estranged husband, Kevin Hunter, has reportedly been arrested after punching his father at a store in New Jersey. “Entertainment Tonight” reported that officials with the West Orange Police Department confirmed Hunter Jr. was arrested. >> Read more trending news  According to police, the 18-year-old college student was charged with simple assault Wednesday. “Kevin Jr. was a bit aggressive towards his father and his father tried to control the situation,” an unnamed source said of the incident, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” “Kevin Jr. then punched his father in the face and the cops were called sometime later. Kevin Sr. and Kevin Jr. have always had a great relationship. Not everything is as it appears and Kevin Sr. looks forward to moving past this.” Related: Wendy Williams divorcing husband, manager Kevin Hunter amid rumors of affair “(Kevin Hunter Jr.) was arrested and charged with assault yesterday by the West Orange police. He was given a summons,” a spokesperson for Essex County Family Court told Us Weekly in a statement. “Basically this is a matter that will be handled in family court. … He was processed in West Orange and then released to appear on a summons at a later date.” In a statement to TMZ, Hunter Sr. said, “I love my son very much and I will not be pursuing this matter legally. Things are not always how they appear.” TMZ provided more details on the alleged incident, claiming that unnamed sources said Hunter Sr. and Hunter Jr. were arguing over Hunter Jr.’s demand for spousal support. According to the website, Hunter Sr. put his son in a chokehold and Hunter Jr. punched him in the nose to break away. Related: 'Trying to right some wrongs': Wendy Williams' estranged husband Kevin Hunter issues apology Williams filed for divorce from Hunter Sr. in April, citing “irreconcilable differences between the parties which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months” and “no reasonable prospect of reconciliation,” according to “ET.” The divorce came after months of speculation that Hunter Sr. had an affair and rumors that he has a child with his mistress.  Related: Wendy Williams says she’s dating again, ‘rediscovering’ her love of men On her talk show, Williams has spoken about dating again, saying she’s “rediscovering” her love of men and living in New York, where her show is filmed. “I am working on my divorce pleasantly,” she said on her May 14 show.  “You don’t just throw away 25 years lock, stock and barrel. I’ve gotta tell you something right now, as a mature single -- almost single -- woman, I will tell you this: We do have our son, and he is away at college and he’s home right now. He’s home for college break. He sees me, he sees his dad.”
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Homicide Unit is investigating an infant girl found dead in a van at a day care Wednesday afternoon. >> Read more trending news Police have Ewing's Love & Hope Preschool & Academy on Lenox Avenue roped off. JSO Assistant Chief of Major Crimes Brian Kee said police were called to the scene just after 1 p.m. The child was found in a car seat in the back of the day care van not breathing. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department personnel tried reviving the child, who was later taken to Wolfson Children's Hospital. Police estimate that the child was in the van, which was parked in the sun from around 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kee said the girl's death appears to be heat-related. Kee said the day care picks up some children to transport them to the day care while some are dropped off by their parents. The day care has about 14 children total. No other children were hurt. Investigators are meeting with the state attorney's office to determine what charges are appropriate.
  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday walked out of a planned meeting to discuss infrastructure issues with Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, amid frustrations over ongoing investigations into his presidential campaign and administration. >> Read more trending news Trump walked out of the meeting after three minutes, opting instead to hold a news conference in the Rose Garden. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Trump tells Dems - no legislating until investigations are stopped “I walked into the room and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, ‘I want to do infrastructure, I want to do it more than you want to do it,’” he said. “‘But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with.’” Democrats said the walkout seemed scripted. Pelosi called it all 'very, very, very strange' and said she was praying for Trump and the nation. The meeting at the White House had been set weeks ago, after Trump and the Democratic leaders agreed to talk further about a possible $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. Trump was due to provide the Democrats his ideas on how to pay for it. Schumer said when Trump 'was forced to say how he would pay for it he had to run away.' >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Pelosi accuses Trump of being 'engaged in a cover-up' Earlier Wednesday, after a closed-door hearing with Democrats, Pelosi accused Trump of being “engaged in a cover-up” aimed at blocking oversight related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials.  Mueller completed his probe last month after 22 months of investigation. In a report released earlier this month, Mueller said his team found no evidence that Trump or his campaign officials colluded with Russia to win the election. He did not, however, make a determination around whether Trump obstructed justice in connection to the investigation. >> More on Robert Mueller's investigation Trump has denied all wrongdoing and consistently framed Mueller’s investigation as an expensive and politically motivated “witch hunt” aimed at hurting his presidency.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A man accused of stealing $80,000 from a woman he met on a dating website was arrested Tuesday in Tennessee. John Martin Hill, 34, allegedly told the Alpharetta, Georgia, woman he was a millionaire and convinced her they were in love. Within a week of meeting on Match.com, they agreed to marry, according to officials with the Gwinnett County Police Department. The money was was purportedly going toward the purchase of their first home. Police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera said that once the money changed hands, the woman did not hear from him again. Police released a photo of Hill on Tuesday morning and asked for the public’s help to locate him. Before the day was out, he was behind bars in Franklin, Tennessee, Pihera said in a Wednesday news release. Hill faces a charge of theft by deception in Gwinnett County. Since announcing the charge, Pihera said police have heard from a few other women who said they were in a relationship with Hill or knew another woman who was. >> Read more trending news  Police are hoping the Alpharetta woman’s misfortune will be a cautionary tale for others who seek love online. “When meeting someone online, be very cautious sharing personal information, financial information, or cash with someone in the early stages of a relationship,” Pihera said in a statement. “These types of con men are very good at manipulating their victims. They tend to say everything that a woman wants to hear.” According to investigators, the scheme started March 27. Hill and the Alpharetta woman exchanged messages on the dating site and arranged to meet in person later the same day. The proposal came next. “During their short romance, he convinced her that they were in love and wanted to buy a house together,” Pihera said. “They went house hunting and selected a home they were interested in.” Related: Man meets Georgia woman on dating site, defrauds her out of $80K, police say The woman thought her $80,000 contribution would help with a down payment on the home and buy the couple some furniture. Police said she didn’t know Hill was already living in an apartment in Duluth, Georgia, with another woman and a child.  Investigators learned Hill has changed his name more than five times in the past three years and is accused of committing similar acts in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. They did not quantify the number of cases connected to Hill.  According to officials with the Franklin Police Department, officers tracked Hill to a Marriott hotel Tuesday night, acting on a tip. When they confronted him, Hill allegedly darted into a hotel conference room and hid under a table. He came out on officer’s orders and was arrested.  Hill, who also has a listed address in South Carolina, is being held in the Williamson County Jail in Tennessee in lieu of a $500,000 bond, according to Franklin Police Department officials. He is expected to be extradited to Georgia, officials with the department said.  “By sharing this story, it is our hope that he is not able to victimize any other women using this scam,” Pihera said in a statement. “We are thankful that the victim in our case came forward and reported this crime,” she said. “If any other women have been victimized by Hill, we encourage them to contact their local police department.”
  • A Chicago-area high school is reprinting its yearbooks after students appeared to show hand gestures associated with white supremacy in more than a dozen photos. >> Read more trending news  Students made the upside-down “OK” gesture in 18 photos of the Oak Park River Forest High School yearbook, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said in an email sent after a specially called school board meeting Monday night. The school will pay $53,794 to reprint the yearbooks, The Chicago Tribune reported. The gesture started as part of the “circle game,” a juvenile “made-you-look” game, according to the Tribune. Students making the hand gestures in the yearbook were of “various races, ethnicities, genders and grades,” Pruitt-Adams said. However, the gesture has recently been appropriated by white supremacists. Among those who have publicly flashed the symbol is the suspected gunman in the March 15 New Zealand mosque attack that left 51 people dead, the Tribune reported. School officials worried the gesture will become more closely associated with white supremacy, and could harm students when they’re applying to colleges or jobs. “My understanding is [yearbook staff] followed protocol,” she said. “Things in this country change so rapidly. I don’t want anyone to think we are accusing our students of anything. For us, it was the impact of what the publication could have on the student body.” Options like cutting pages out of the yearbook or placing stickers over the photos were considered, but deemed infeasible, Pruitt-Adams said. It’s expected to take three to four weeks to receive the new yearbooks. In the meantime, the school has ordered 2,200 autograph books for students to collect signatures in.