Donald Trump’s artful dodge about the KKK is making the GOP nervous

In conversations with nervous Republicans, what worries them is not just what Donald Trump didn't say about the KKK and white supremacists; it's what he did say. In his interview with Jake Tapper, they saw the Republican front-runner calculating, dodging, playing for time and not giving a straight answer. The politicians in the GOP recognize this because they've all used similar tactics. But there is a big distinction: they duck when the issue is ethanol support or immigration or some other topic on which they want to appear to be on both sides or where they want to build a back door in case they say something that gets them in trouble with a powerful group. They wouldn't think of deploying the artful dodge in response to any question that includes the letters "KKK" or the words "white supremacist." For a candidate who gets so much credit for telling it like it is, Donald Trump was extraordinarily careful in answering Tapper's question. He told the CNN host he didn't want to say something bad about groups until he could look at a list of the ones he was being asked about. When he gave that answer, the only thing he knew about those groups were that they had been mentioned in a conversation with the KKK, David Duke and white supremacists. Given how toxic those ideas are, every politician would provide a provisional opinion for fear of any association with such hatred. The bias would be to not show bias. Donald Trump: Republican party "not treating me right" Donald Trump didn't want to be hasty. It's a laudable general principle, but his entire campaign has been founded around the opposite instinct. He launches opinions with gusto and without restraint. It's what voters cite when you ask them why they like him: he doesn't pause and offer mush. He tells it like it is. This careful answer is why nervous Republicans are not comforted by the fact that Trump disavowed Duke on Friday or disavows him now. What Republicans saw in his answer was a dangerous Continue Reading

Editorial: What happened to Donald Trump’s ‘art of the deal’?

When Donald Trump last visited Wisconsin in the afterglow of his unlikely victory in the presidential election, there was deep concern about his fitness for office. Suffice to say as he returns to Wisconsin Tuesday, there still is.Trump became the first Republican to win Wisconsin in a presidential race since Ronald Reagan did it in 1984. Trump carried the state in November by about 22,000 votes. By winning Wisconsin (along with Michigan and Pennsylvania), Trump became president by beating a disorganized, befuddled and shocked Hillary Clinton campaign.Given Trump’s lack of government experience, his famously short attention span and lack of intellectual curiosity, we’re not surprised he’s had such a steep learning curve. Or that he’s run into a congressional buzz saw on both health care reform and tax policy. Expect more of that. The Freedom Caucus, the far-right group in the House of Representatives that bedeviled former House Speaker John Boehner, is going nowhere. Especially after its members just stared down Trump and his (soon-to-be-former?) chief adviser Steve Bannon. House Speaker Paul Ryan may appreciate Trump's visit to his district Tuesday (he's visiting Snap-on Inc. in Kenosha) — or maybe not. During the campaign, Trump brought up Ryan's name at a rally in Janesville and got a chorus of boos.Trump has made reinvigorating American manufacturing one of his goals, and we say amen to that. A resurgence in manufacturing could be a boon to Wisconsin, one of the most manufacturing-intensive states in the union. While in Kenosha,  Trump is expected to sign an executive order limiting the H-1B visa program for foreign workers and encouraging federal agencies to buy American products.Snap-on CEO Nick Pinchuk, for one, thinks the president is on the right track. In a February interview with Bloomberg, he said Trump’s election had inspired more confidence among small business owners, the kind Continue Reading

Donald Trump visits Ben Carson’s boyhood Detroit neighborhood

Presidential candidate Donald Trump made a brief stop Saturday in fellow Republican Ben Carson's boyhood neighborhood in southwest Detroit where he chatted with residents.“I met Mr. Trump and shook his hand,” Felicia Reese said outside her home on South Deacon. “And he told me that the house looked nice.”She said Trump, accompanied by Carson, told her the house was valuable.“And I said ‘I wish it was and maybe he could come up with something associated with 'The Art of the Deal,' so I could sell it for something,’” Reese told the Free Press after Trump left. ►Related: Trump to parishioners at black Detroit church: 'I'm here to listen' ►Related:  Duggan blasts Trump as phony candidate without solutions ►Video: Protests outside Donald Trump appearance at a black Detroit churchReese lives in the 1800 block of South Deacon, near I-75 and Schaefer Highway, in Carson's former boyhood home and said Trump took some pictures during the brief visit.“We were polite. We were cordial. He’s a guest of the city of Detroit,” Reese said, adding “Dr. Carson is a native son of our neighborhood and of this house, and he’s always welcome.”Reese, 58, a Democrat, said she was not surprised by Trump's visit and thought he might come.Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate who threw his support behind Trump after dropping out of the Republican primary race in March, was also with the Trump at Great Faith Ministries International church in Detroit earlier in the day and hung around his old neighborhood after Trump left."I just wanted him to get a good idea of where I grew up and wanted him to see some of the more blighted areas of Detroit also over near the church,” Carson said, standing outside Reese's house.Some people in the neighborhood said Continue Reading

Phoenix theaters take on the Donald Trump phenomenon

Donald Trump’s proclamations that the presidential election is being “rigged” aren’t backed up by any, you know, facts. But one thing is certainly true: The GOP’s nominee is taking a beating in popular culture.In addition to “Saturday Night Live” and Michael Moore’s surprise documentary “TrumpLand,” the dogpile is getting down to the local level with a pair of stage performances taking on the Donald: Stray Cat Theatre’s “The Trump Card” and New Carpa Theater’s “American Pastorela: The Trumpifornication Tour,” both opening less than two weeks before Election Day.RELATED:  All eyes on Wallace for Trump, Clinton debate | Trump the TV critic: 'SNL' skit a 'hit job' | Debate gets ugly, then normal (almost) | Reaction to Trump's lewd comments different this time | Bias? Not when McKinnon's Clinton steals 'SNL' debate | Republic's endorsement of Clinton is making waves“The Trump Card” is a solo show written by monologue artist Mike Daisey. It will be performed by Stray Cat founder Ron May, who starred in Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” for Actors Theatre four years ago.May says the show is more than just an anti-Trump screed. Instead, Daisey examines the Trump phenomenon as a reflection of the culture at large.“He started writing it even before Trump decided to run, and he wanted to do it just because Trump was a fascinating figure," May says. “It’s certainly not pro-Trump, but he talks how even if you’re not voting for Trump, here’s how this guy got where he got, and how everybody is complicit in it, people on the left, people on the right. …“It weirdly plays more like stand-up than ‘Agony’ did,” he adds. “It’s a lot funnier.”Latino troupe New Carpa’s contribution to the Trump conversation is the Continue Reading

Arizona university professors: Donald Trump’s immigration executive order is un-American

More than 75 professors from Arizona's three state universities have signed a national petition denouncing President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration as discriminatory and detrimental to the country.Officials at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona are advising international students and scholars to postpone any international travel for the time being.The petition, Academics Against Executive Immigration Order, said the president's actions unfairly target a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants based on their countries of origin, where the majority populations are Muslim. The professors write that "the ethnic and religious profiling" are in stark contrast to the country's values and principles.They are concerned the order will tear apart families by restricting entry for family members who live outside the United States and limiting travel for those who live and work in the United States."This measure is fatally disruptive to the lives of these immigrants, their families, and the communities of which they form an integral part. It is inhumane, ineffective, and un-American, " the petition states. MORE: AZ react to Trump's immigration ban | Colleges brace to shield students from immigration raids | Families, students, scientists: 5 people affected by the banProfessors at the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University and dozens of other universities are concerned the executive order will damage U.S. leadership in higher education and research. The petition, which has signatories from the nation's most prestigious universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and University of Chicago, notes that more than 3,000 students from Iran have received Ph.D.s from American universities in the past three years. The petition carried the names of more than 8,800 faculty members as of Monday afternoon.The executive order also could Continue Reading

Lupica: Donald Trump probably won’t run in 2016, but he would make race interesting

Now Donald Trump says that he will announce on June 16 whether or not he will run for President, and that when he does make his announcement, he will make a lot of people "happy." If it turns out that he is sitting the whole thing out again, the happiest people of all will be the other Republicans running for President, who keep piling out of cars in places like Iowa like clowns at a circus. Because here's who those other candidates don't want on the stage when the debates start, and we all get the idea that they need the outfield at Yankee Stadium just to fit everybody: They don't want Trump on the stage, saying all the things to their faces that he says on Twitter. It's why everybody else should want him to run, if only for the prospect of seeing him go at such as Lindsey Graham or Carly Fiorina or Mike Huckabee. Are you kidding? DONALD TRUMP TEASES ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT Do I think he's going to run for the highest office in the land? I don't, for a lot of reasons, starting with this one: Donald Trump already has what he honestly believes is the best job in the whole world, which is being Donald Trump About a year and a half ago the subject with Trump was about whether he was going to run for governor of New York. I happened to be with him in Florida one night and asked if I thought he should do it. "Absolutely," I said. He asked why and I said, "Because it would be great." "For the state?" "No," I said. "For me!" Even people who don't like Trump have to understand how brilliant he's been at being Trump, keeping himself relevant, being so far out in front of one of the growth businesses in this country — being famous — that even the Kardashians act like players on the junior varsity team. And the best part of this, whatever you think about him, is that he doesn't care what you think about him. He certainly wouldn't care what Scott Continue Reading

Readers sound off on police, guns and Donald Trump

Cops must have clean records Manhattan: In his June 18 column “Blue gems in the rough” Denis Hamill interviewed a retired NYPD deputy inspector who believes that the commissioner should accept recruits who once had trouble with the law. As a detective with 30 years of NYPD service, I think that is wrong. There are many cops who were raised in bad neighborhoods under equally bad circumstances but made the conscious decision to stay out of trouble and join the NYPD. I grew up in the Howard Houses in Brooklyn, in a working class family, and every day I witnessed young males in the community committing acts of violence against our own people. As a teenager in Brownsville, I made the decision to live my life as my parents had taught me, so I decided to become a police officer. If a candidate is willing to break the law prior to becoming a police officer, what’s to say he is going to be any different behind the badge? When elected officials, community activists and others talk about police reform, hiring candidates who have criminal pasts goes against the standards of our profession. This only opens the department to corruption. Dennis Gonzalez, president, NYPD Hispanic Society Just curb the guns Clearwater, Fla.: We can never stop those like Dylann Roof from hating. Nor will we change their narrow-minded, racist views. But what we can do is to try to stop these bloody massacres by making it more difficult to purchase guns. Our current watered-down gun laws have made it easier for felons like Roof to purchase firearms. What’s holding our nation back is our elected legislators — who would rather cozy up to the National Rifle Association than keep Americans safe. JoAnn Lee Frank Attack the real problem Staten Island: President Obama said that mass gun violence doesn’t happen anywhere else but here. I guess he forgot about Charlie Hebdo in France as well as Sweden and Norway, all of which have strict gun control. Strict gun Continue Reading

Full transcript of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential announcement

Billionaire mogul Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential run Tuesday. Below is the text of his speech: Last quarter, it was just announced, our gross domestic product - a sign of strength, right? But not for us. It was below zero. Who ever heard of this? It’s never below zero. Our labor participation rate was the worst since 1978. But think of it, GDP below zero, horrible labor participation rate, and our real unemployment is anywhere from 18-20%. Don’t believe the 5.6. Don’t believe it. That’s right - a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs. But the real number, the real number, is anywhere from 18-19 and maybe even 21% and nobody talks about it because it’s a statistic that’s full of nonsense. DONALD TRUMP IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the day and we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work. It came out recently. They have equipment that’s 30 years old and they don’t even know if it works. And I thought it was horrible when it was broadcast on television because boy does that send signals to Putin and all of the other people that look at us and they say ‘OK, that is a group of people and that is a nation that truly has no clue. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.’ We have a disaster called the big lie - Obamacare, Obamacare. Yesterday it came out that costs are going, for people, up 39, 39, 49 and even 55%. And deductibles are through the roof. You have to get hit by a tractor, literally a tractor, to use it because the deductibles are so high it’s virtually useless. It’s a disaster.N NEW YORKERS WITH MEXICO ROOTS SLAM DONALD TRUMP And remember the $5 billion website, 5 billion Continue Reading

Boob Donald Trump off the tube

Donald Trump is fast discovering an inconvenient truth about running for President. It’s more than a cheap reality show. Upon announcing his presidential run, the Mouth that Foamed described Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists, while so graciously allowing that he assumed some were “good people.” The only thing fact-based about Trump’s slur was bigotry toward tens of millions of taxpaying people living in the United States. Univision, the country’s largest Spanish-language TV network, broke its deal to air the Trump-affiliated Miss USA Pageant. NBCUniversal cut the Trump-affiliated Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Plus “The Apprentice” will get a new host. Trump pegged his net worth at $8,737,540,000 when he declared. In two weeks, he’s cut his brand’s media value to just about zero. Call it the art of the heel. Continue Reading

Greenman: If only we could just fire Donald Trump and focus on issues

A dutiful observer of presidential politics is forced to comment on what we witnessed Tuesday: a piece of performance art masquerading as a campaign launch by a bloviating buffoon who thinks he’s God’s gift to the American electorate. I wish I could pretend that Donald Trump didn’t exist. Without his smug mug sucking up so much media oxygen (yes, I’m part of the problem), the world would be a calmer, smarter, less garish, if slightly more boring place. But ignoring him is no longer an option. This Trump train — spewing acrid smoke — is on the tracks, and the tracks run through our living rooms. Over the years, Donald Trump created and promoted his obnoxious brand. We rewarded him. We took selfies in front of his ugly buildings. We watched his stupid shows and pageants. For three-quarters of an hour Tuesday, the beast we created roared and rambled, offering himself as the heroic solution to all the world’s problems. It had the feel of a candidate for grade school president promising a total ban on homework. TRANSCRIPT: DONALD TRUMP'S 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ANNOUNCEMENT  “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” He said that. In another breath, he insulted Mexico and Mexican-Americans in the worst way: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best . . . They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Nice little caveat there: “I assume,” not even “I know.” He dangerously made China, our strategic competitor, out to be an enemy with which we might go to war: “You have a problem with ISIS. You have a bigger problem with China.” And there was this, during a free association about how he will Continue Reading