Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Conway Signals Trump Ready to Join Ryan on Medicare Phaseout

Kellyanne Conway got asked about Paul Ryan's Medicare Phaseout plan on the NewsHour last night. She started with vague comments about being "open to hearing" Ryan's ideas about alternatives to Medicare. (You can see her at length quotes here.) But the give away is in the precise language she uses. Note here with emphasis added: “In this case, he will go ahead and look at alternatives, Judy, as long as it does not interfere with what he has said, his commitment to keep the promises to those currently relying on them.”

"Currently" is the whole story here.

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Got Questions?

For the Thanksgiving edition of my podcast I'm answering your questions. Got a question? Send it to our main comments email at talk (at) talkingpointsmemo (dot) com - the election, TPM, the Trump administration, the Democrats, whatever you want. Put the subject line: Podcast Question. I'll be recording the next episode tomorrow. So get them in today and I'll do my best to answer.

This is How Dictators Talk

We're seeing yesterday and today that Donald Trump and his advisors are signaling that he doesn't plan to seek the prosecution of Hillary Clinton. "I don't want to hurt them," he told 60 Minutes earlier this month.

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More Details About That Trump/Macri Call

It turns out there's even more behind the story of last week's call between Donald Trump and Argentine President Mauricio Macri, separate from a report on Argentine television that Trump asked Macri for help getting approval for a planned Trump-branded office tower in Buenos Aires. Both parties denied Monday that the two leaders discussed the project on that call.

However, the Argentine press also reported that Macri was able to get through to the President-elect in the first place because Trump's partner in the Buenos Aires project facilitated their connection. That detail was surfaced last night by Susan Simpson, a lawyer who specializes in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and went on a tweetstorm about the Trump project in the capital.

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It's Like a Three Stooges Escapade

Another day, another failure by Trump to navigate even the rudiments of logistics, scheduling and communications. Organizing an international summit conference or bilateral talks? Please. Team Trump is struggling to pull off a meeting with the New York Times.

Note this reassuring gem from the Times' own report on this morning's bumbling:

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New Hires

Given the events of two weeks ago and what has transpired since, we are contemplating increasing the number of new editorial hires we are going to make entering 2017. We think the need is apparent, immediate and increasing. We've been pleasantly surprised at the rush of new sign-ups since the election. We are now in shooting distance of our goal of having a total of 20,000 subscribers by the end of 2016. If you'd like the join us, if you think the work we do is important, please take a moment to sign up.


I guess there's something new in the air in recent weeks, for whatever reason. But it's a bit hard not to notice a certain status anxiety or attempted snobbery in WaPo's and Politico's coverage of the Trump/Macri story. We will see how that develops.

Trump's Meetup with the Press Bigs

You may have seen this account from The New York Post of Donald Trump's meeting with major network media executives yesterday. Needless to say, coming from the Post, we should not necessarily assume any of it is true. The Post had Trump essentially reading the execs and top anchors the riot, yelling, getting red in the face, essentially telling them to fall in line or else. In the memorable words of one Post source, “It was like a f−−−ing firing squad."

So what actually happened? CNN's report on the meeting was quite different.

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Trump Now Grifting in the UK

We've got yet another example. After his surprise election win, Donald Trump met with Nigel Farage, head of the UKIP along with at least one major financial backer of the Brexit campaign. Trump's big ask was to help shut down some big off shore wind farms which Trump believes will mar the view of his Scottish golf course. Farage's direct influence in current UK politics would seem limited. But it's likely a different story for Brexit campaign's major financial backers.The Times has the story.

And There's More!

As we noted earlier, Argentine President Macri says he didn't speak to Trump about the building permits for his new office tower in Buenos Aires. But now we learn from this new report from The Guardian that he did talk to Ivanka during the call. But he didn't talk with Ivanka about the development project either. “He spoke with Ivanka only briefly to say hello because he met her when she
was just a kid,” Macri's spokesman told The Guardian. “They did not speak about it. The president doesn’t speak about city building permits.”

In an interview with Japan's Asahi Shimbun, Macri addressed it himself: "In the call, I also talked with his daughter. I have known her since her infant days."

Here's a deep dive on the background of Trump's Buenos Aires development. And here's more on the two families' history going back four decades.