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Washington Brief: Trump’s Approval Rating Down in Every State Since Inauguration


Top Stories

  • President Donald Trump remains popular with a majority of voters in 16 states, but his approval is underwater in 25 and the District of Columbia, according to a comprehensive survey of voters in all 50 states. Trump has failed to improve his standing, even in states he won handily as the Republican nominee during the 2016 presidential election, according to the poll conducted from Jan. 20 to Sept. 26. (Morning Consult)
  • The Department of Homeland Security said the Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico “is not being extended at this time.” The waiver, which expired on Sunday, allowed the use of foreign vessels to expedite the delivery of relief supplies to the U.S. territory as it recovers from Hurricane Maria. (HuffPost)
  • Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said he will seek the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) next year. The 37-year-old, first-time elected official has received praised from Breitbart, led by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and from former Sen. Jack Danforth (R-Mo.), who has called on the GOP to cut ties with Trump. (The Kansas City Star)
  • Trump said he will “have to compare IQ tests” with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson if the former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive really did call him a “moron.” The president also said many jobs in his administration remain vacant “because you don’t need them.” (Forbes)

Correction: A previous version of this brief misstated the number of states where Trump has support from a majority of registered voters.

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday
Brookings Institution event on North Korea 10 a.m.
Wednesday
Rep. Sinema speaks at Bloomberg Government event on electronic payments 8 a.m.
Reps. Neal, Roskam speak at tax policy event hosted by The Hill 8 a.m.
Third Way event on federal student loans 9 a.m.
Bipartisan Policy Center event on Medicare, Social Security 10 a.m.
Rep. McHenry speaks at Financial Services Roundtable event on tax reform 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic Council event on defensible cyberspace 5 p.m.
Thursday
HUD’s Carson testifies at House Financial Services Committee hearing 9:30 a.m.
Energy Secretary Perry testifies at House Energy and Commerce hearing 10 a.m.
House Oversight Committee hearing on 2020 Census 10 a.m.
Heritage Foundation event on Iran policy 12 p.m.
Friday
AEI event on U.S. agricultural policy 1:30 p.m.
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General

The Jones Act Waiver For Puerto Rico Just Expired And Won’t Be Renewed
Jennifer Bendery, HuffPost

The Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico expired Sunday night, and “it is not being extended at this time,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan told HuffPost on Monday. DHS had temporarily waived the Jones Act ― an arguably outdated law that imposes exorbitant shipping costs on the U.S. island ― on Sept. 28.

Turkish PM says visa dispute with U.S. must be fixed quickly
Ercan Gurses and Tuvan Gumrukcu, Reuters

The United States has punished Turkish and U.S. citizens alike by suspending visa services, Turkey’s prime minister said on Tuesday, accusing Washington of taking an emotional and inappropriate decision against an ally. Binali Yildirim said the dispute should be resolved as soon as possible, but defended Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee last week which prompted the U.S. move, and its reciprocal visa suspension within hours of the U.S. move.

How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics
Nicholas Confessore and Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times

YouTube videos of police beatings on American streets. A widely circulated internet hoax about Muslim men in Michigan collecting welfare for multiple wives.

Presidential

Trump Approval Dips in Every State, Though Deep Pockets of Support Remain
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

Fewer than nine months into President Donald Trump’s White House tenure, a Morning Consult survey in all 50 states indicates that voters have grown bearish on his performance in office. Trump has failed to improve his standing among the public anywhere — including the states he won handily as the Republican nominee during the 2016 presidential election, according to the survey, which was based on interviews of 472,032 registered voters across each state and Washington, D.C., from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration to Sept. 26.

Inside Trump’s Head: An Exclusive Interview With the President, And The Single Theory That Explains Everything
Randall Lane, Forbes

If Trump really did call the White House a “dump,” he’s over it. Inside the small West Wing study–where he stacks his papers and takes his meals atop what he calls his “working desk,” the president talks volubly about a chandelier he had installed and the oil paintings of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Emails Shed Light on Trump Tower Meeting
Rebecca Ballhaus, The Wall Street Journal

Newly disclosed emails shed light on the period leading up to a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin and top campaign aides to President Donald Trump. The new information appears to bolster lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s position that she wanted the meeting to argue her case for overturning the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law targeting Russian human-rights abuses.

Trump hints at executive order on health care with ‘power of the pen’ tweet
Louis Nelson, Politico

President Donald Trump wrote online Tuesday morning that he plans to take unilateral steps to reform the nation’s healthcare system, hinting at signing an executive order without clarifying what that order might be. “Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.

Trump calls for tax law changes for NFL over protests: Twitter post
Susan Heavey, Reuters

President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for changes to U.S. tax law affecting the National Football League, fueling a feud with the league and its players over protests that he says disrespect the nation. “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Trump’s popularity is slipping in rural America: poll
Chris Kahn and Tim Reid, Reuters

According to the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, the Republican president’s popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country’s population lives. The poll of more than 15,000 adults in “non-metro” areas shows that they are now as likely to disapprove of Trump as they are to approve of him.

For some foreign diplomats, the Trump White House is a troubling enigma
Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe, The Washington Post

America’s closest allies have concluded a hoped-for “learning curve” they believed would make President Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen. “The idea that he would inform himself, and things would change, that is no longer operative,” said a top diplomat here.

Senate

Josh Hawley, with praise from Breitbart, challenging McCaskill for U.S. Senate seat
Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is done exploring. In a campaign video Tuesday, the top Republican recruit for the race that could decide control of the U.S. Senate officially announced his intention to challenge Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in 2018.

Bannon: Corker should resign immediately
Brent D. Griffiths, Politico

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Monday that Sen. Bob Corker should “resign immediately” if the Tennessee Republican has “any honor or decency.” “Corker, [Mitch] McConnell and the entire establishment, globalist clique have to go,” Bannon told Sean Hannity on Fox News Monday night.

Inside Steve Bannon’s war against Mitch McConnell
Eric Bradner et al., CNN 

The next step in Steve Bannon’s scorched-earth war against Republican incumbents is an attempt to cut off money to those aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The former chief strategist in President Donald Trump’s White House spent the weekend in Connecticut meeting with top Republican donors, a source familiar with Bannon’s plans said, as he recruits financial support for enough candidates to nationalize an anti-establishment message in 2018 GOP primaries.

White House pressures Rand Paul to back tax plan
Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey, Politico

At a large gathering last week of conservatives and business groups pushing tax reform, one lawmaker in particular was on the mind of President Donald Trump’s top lobbyist: Rand Paul. Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, singled out the libertarian-leaning senator as crucial to the tax reform push, according to two sources familiar with the meeting at the American Action Network.

House

Twitter shuts down Blackburn campaign announcement video
Erik Schelzig, The Associated Press

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign announcement ad has been blocked by Twitter over a statement the abortion rights opponent makes about the sale of fetal tissue for medical research. Blackburn, who is running for the seat being opened by the retirement of Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, boasts in the ad that she “stopped the sale of baby body parts.”

Progressive California Democrat calls for Feinstein primary challenge
Carla Marinucci, Politico

Hours after Dianne Feinstein announced she will run for re-election next year, a prominent California Democratic representative urged primary challengers to unseat the four-term senator. Arguing it’s time for Democrats “to move on” and better represent the progressive grassroots, freshman House Democrat Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley on Monday said he has contacted Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the most liberal members of Congress, and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to urge them to challenge Feinstein’s re-election in 2018.

To take back the House, Democrats ‘arm the rebels’ with new tools and manpower
Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

Reid McCollum, a 34-year-old father of two from Hinsdale, Ill., was barely a month into his first foray into political activism when, on a whim in early March, he attended a protest outside the office of Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.). “I brought a megaphone, and there was another guy with a megaphone, and his was dying,” McCollum recalled.

States

Charlottesville Violence Impacts Virginia Voters’ Views of Trump
Edward Graham, Morning Consult

Sporting a long white beard and with a handgun strapped to his side, John Miska leaned on a cane in front of the covered statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., on a mild afternoon on Sept. 10. It had been almost a month since the deadly Aug. 12 clash between white nationalists who opposed the statue’s planned removal and counter-demonstrators, and since then the 63-year-old retiree from nearby Barboursville, Va., continued to come to the park every Sunday to hang an American flag on the black tarp-covered monument.

West Virginia Voters Becoming More Critical of Trump; Support in Maryland Falls to 33%
Anna Gronewold, Morning Consult

States that emerged strongly for and against Donald Trump in the 2016 election have seen declining margins of approval in the months since he took office, though voters remain divided on whether he has had enough time to fulfill campaign promises. At the beginning of Trump’s term, 62 percent of registered voters in the Republican stronghold of West Virginia approved of the president, while 25 percent disapproved, according to Morning Consult polling data.

Californians will get more information on what’s driving prescription drug prices under law signed by governor
Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown approved a measure Monday to increase disclosure on prescription drug prices, the focal point of growing efforts to clamp down on climbing pharmaceutical costs. Supporters call the law the nation’s most sweeping effort to make prescription drug pricing more transparent.

In their final debate for Va. governor, Northam and Gillespie spar over records, economy, taxes
Gregory S. Schneider, The Washington Post

Virginia’s two major-party candidates for governor went after each other in their third and final debate before the Nov. 7 election but never focused on the one name that has hung over the race from the start: Donald Trump. Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican Ed Gillespie kept a civil tone but clashed over themes of economic progress for rural Virginia in a debate held Monday night in the state’s ailing coal country.

29 states have legal pot. Jeff Sessions wants to stamp it out, and he’s closer than you think
Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times

The 85 words almost seemed an afterthought when Congress hurriedly crammed them into a massive budget bill late in the Obama administration, as if lawmakers wanted to acknowledge America’s outlook on marijuana had changed, but not make a big deal of it. Almost three years later, a multibillion-dollar industry and the freedom of millions to openly partake in its products without fear of federal prosecution hinge on that obscure budget clause.

Advocacy

TransUnion beefs up lobbying presence
Harper Neidig, The Hill

The credit-reporting bureau TransUnion is fortifying its lobbying presence with a spate of new hires as lawmakers are scrutinizing the industry in the wake of the massive Equifax data breach. A disclosure form that appeared online Friday shows that the agency has hired nine lobbyists from the CGCN Group, a Republican lobbying firm.

Alphabet launches U.S. ad campaign to promote driverless car safety
David Shepardson, Reuters

Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit Waymo and several groups are launching a campaign aimed at convincing skeptical Americans of what they say is the value and safety of driverless cars, as Congress considers how it will regulate the technology. The company said on Monday that it was teaming up with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Safety Council, and the Federation for Blind Children in a campaign called “Let’s Talk Self-Driving.”

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Proposed Rail Regulations Could Make Consumers Big Losers
Alan Daley, Morning Consult 

Competing railroad lines have recovered from near-bankruptcy in the 1970s, and today they perform the heavy lifting in our transportation networks. Through an investment of $635 billion since 1980, the railroad freight system has served American consumers very well.

Immigration Bait and Switch
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Does President Trump want a bipartisan deal on immigration, or is his talk merely for cable-TV show? Two weeks ago he suggested the former, but on Sunday evening the White House issued demands that will make any agreement well-nigh impossible.  

On Immigration, Mr. Trump Shows Congress It’s on Its Own
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

It took a lawmaker who is retiring to admit what most Republicans know is their biggest obstacle to getting anything done — a president they can’t depend on or trust. In an interview on Sunday with The New York Times, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said, “Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

What to do with an unfit president
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, says “the vast majority” of Senate Republicans understand the “volatility” of President Trump “and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.” If that is so — and Mr. Corker seems liberated into candor by his decision not to run for reelection next year — how should the Republican caucus make use of that knowledge?

Corker’s Convictions
The Editors, The Weekly Standard

From almost the moment Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency in June 2015, the term “Republican establishment” has been ubiquitous. Sometimes it means Republican moderates, sometimes it means GOP officeholders generally, and sometimes it just means any Republican not named Donald Trump. 

Research Reports and Polling

Trump Presidency Draws Strong Support, Stronger Opposition
Jim Norman, Gallup

A new Gallup question gauging public support for Donald Trump’s presidency shows how far Americans fall on either side of the divide. While a strong majority of Democrats (73%) oppose almost everything Trump is doing as president and a slim majority of Republicans (53%) support most of his actions, neither Democrats’ opposition nor Republicans’ support is absolute.