The Morning Briefing: The NFLOL, Healthcare on Life Support and Much, Much More
Good Monday Morning.
Here is what's on the President's agenda today:
- In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
- In the afternoon, the President will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
- The President will then make an announcement on the Trump Administration’s commitment to equipping the American workforce for jobs of the future.
- In the evening, the President will have dinner with grassroots leaders.
Trump v. NFL
If you shut off your television and internet on Friday evening and are just now powering them up, you missed the great battle between President Trump and the NFL. The short version goes a little like this: On Friday at a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange, Trump asked the audience: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b---h off the field right now?'” referencing the players who "take the knee" while the national anthem plays before a football game.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Saturday saying “divisive comments…demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
Several owners, including Trump-friendly team owners, criticized the president for his remarks. On Sunday, many team members "took the knee" or refused to come on the field during the anthem.
Among those teams that saw players demonstrating on Sunday were the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.
The NFL, like Hollywood, is dependent upon its audiences and fans. And like Hollywood, the NFL is not a place people turn to get a face full of political statements. So those millionaire athletes, like the millionaire Hollywooders, are risking their livelihood by alienating those people who do not want to see the flag disrespected, particularly those who feel strongly that respecting the flag and our country includes respecting those in our military and public servants and their families who have lost their lives or family members so rich jackass athletes can speak freely here. Are any of these rich athletes doing anything to help fix the problem they are trying to highlight with their protests, or are they content to make a spectacle of themselves with televised symbolic gestures?
Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin made an important point, saying these athletes "can do free speech on their own time."
"I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem," Mnuchin said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "This isn't about Democrats, it's not about Republicans, it's not about race, it's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time. That this is about respect for the military and first responders in the country."
The NFL has many rules for the players. Remember there was a controversy when the Dallas Cowboys wanted to show their respect to the Dallas Police Department with a helmet decal after a black supremacist shot and killed numerous Dallas police officers. The NFL refused to allow it. So it would seem the NFL is picking and choosing its causes. Don't think their audience hasn't noticed.
NASCAR gets ahead of the controversy.
In related news, we have the first MLB player "taking the knee" during the national anthem.
Bonus thought: do you ever notice how so many liberals are concerned about the free speech rights of NFL players but not so much about the free speech rights of conservatives to speak on college campuses?
Travel ban update
President Trump has added several countries to the list of nations included in his travel ban. Chad and Venezuela and North Korea have been added to the original list of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
The administration is taking a tailored approach, providing a variety of conditions, ranging from suspended immigrant and non-immigrant travel to allowing travel for nonimmigrants with additional scrutiny.
Since the travel ban is condition-based, if and when the conditions change for any of the eight countries, the proclamation can be changed. Also, at any time, the Secretary of Homeland Security can recommend that countries be added. The restrictions are indefinite, however, since they don't have a 90- or 120-day limit like the previous travel bans Trump issued in January and in March.
The new travel restrictions are effective immediately for those subject to the two earlier travel bans, and take effect Octoberr 18 for those subject to these new provisions.
Said Trump about the new changes to the policy, "The travel ban -- the tougher the better."
The healthcare battle continues
A Saturday deadline looms for the resurrected GOP healthcare bill and the situation looks bleak. In addition to holdout Senators McCain, Murkowski, Collins and Paul, Ted Cruz said on Sunday he's not fully on board and neither is Mike Lee. It only takes three senators to kill the bill.
As early as Monday, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to produce a preliminary analysis of Graham-Cassidy that would assess the bill’s impact on budget deficits.
More time is likely needed for the CBO to gauge how the bill could affect Americans’ access to health insurance.
Despite the deepening skepticism, Graham pledged on Sunday to keep pushing for passage. During an interview on ABC, Graham said that if his bill was defeated, he would aim to use his seat on the Senate Budget Committee to keep the effort alive.
An aide to Graham said in an email that the senator was looking to extend the September 30 deadline.
FBI opens civil rights investigation over Nashville church shooting
On Sunday a masked gunman shot up a church in Nashville, Tennessee, killing one person and leaving seven others injured. The shooter is a 25-year-old man who is a legal immigrant from Sudan. The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.
"The Memphis FBI Field Office's Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee," a statement from the office said.
It added, "The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time."
Samson is in police custody after being treated for a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Historical picture of the day:
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!