Author: John Wagner

Trump dresses as himself for major donor’s Saturday night costume party

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the first stop of his post-election tour last week in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/AP) President-elect Donald Trump ventured out Saturday night to attend a “Heroes and Villains”-themed costume party dressed as … himself. The Long Island gathering was hosted by the Mercer family, among Trump’s biggest donors, and attended by some of his top aides, including former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who appeared as Superwoman. Honoring the ultimate hero at the Mercer “Heroes and Villians” party on Long Island. Crowd thrilled w/ surprise! pic.twitter.com/VQAyaKvs6i — Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) December 4, 2016 Billionaire hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer and his wife pumped millions into a pro-Trump super PAC run by their daughter, Rebekah Mercer, who emerged this year as a highly influential player in Trump’s orbit. Trump arrived at the family’s estate shortly after 8:30 p.m., according to a pool report, wearing a dark suit, an overcoat and a checkered tie. Asked whom he was dressed as, Trump pointed at himself and mouthed “me.” He ignored other questions shouted at him by reporters, including some about his phone conversation Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that broke with decades of U.S. policy toward China. [Trump’s emerging Cabinet is looking less Trumpian than expected] Neither Trump’s wife nor other family members attended the annual party, according to an aide, but Steve Bannon, his White House...

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Clinton knocks Trump for buying Chinese steel as she courts Rust Belt voters in Michigan, Ohio

Hillary Clinton arrives in Detroit for a rally the day after the second presidential debate. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post) DETROIT — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, riding high as the Republican Party sank into a historic internal crisis over Donald Trump’s candidacy, strode into the nation’s Rust Belt on Monday, pledging to push a “renaissance” of advanced manufacturing and sharply questioning Trump’s commitment to blue-collar workers. In her first campaign event since Sunday’s debate, Clinton acknowledged the ugliness of the face-off with Trump, telling an enthusiastic crowd of 3,500 at Wayne State University: “Bet you haven’t seen anything like that before.” She derided Trump for continuing to dismiss his lewd comments about women that surfaced on a 2005 video as mere “locker-room talk,” saying that’s “really just a weak excuse.” “Donald Trump spent his time attacking when he should have been apologizing,” Clinton said of a debate in which Trump brought up allegations of sexual conduct by President Bill Clinton, called Clinton the “Devil” and suggested he’d jail her if president. [Clinton plans new effort to win over white, working-class men] But Clinton soon turned her attention to an issue that her campaign says could undermine Trump’s appeal to working-class voters here and in other states that have shed manufacturing jobs: reports that the real-estate developer used dumped Chinese steel for construction projects rather than acquiring it from companies in...

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In Ohio, Clinton draws what appears to be her largest crowd to date

Hillary Clinton earlier Monday in Detroit. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post) COLUMBUS, Ohio — Coming off the best stretch of her campaign, Hillary Clinton on Monday drew what appeared to be her largest crowd to date: 18,500 people, according to the U.S. Secret Service. Some of the traveling press corps members who cover Clinton were skeptical of the figure, pegging it at closer to 10,000. But in any case, the rally at Ohio State University was more reminiscent of those put on by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Clinton’s rival during the primaries, than those of the Democratic nominee, who tends to stage more modest events aimed at getting television news coverage. .@HillaryClinton on the campus of The Ohio State University. pic.twitter.com/gRpPGuZwDk — Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) October 10, 2016 Monday night’s rally had several things going for it, including being held at night. Most of Clinton’s events take place during the late morning or afternoon, when most people are working. The outdoor event was also held on a large college campus, which are popular destinations for campaigns because of the large turnouts they can produce. Clinton has also been buoyed in recent days by a bump in the polls as Republican Donald Trump’s campaign has become mired in the controversy over a 2005 video in which he spoke about women in extremely crude terms. And the race is nearing its...

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WATCH: Hillary Clinton greets her traveling press corps aboard her new plane

IN THE AIR EN ROUTE TO CLEVELAND — Hillary Clinton, who has had a standoffish relationship with the traveling press corps that follows her, made a point Monday of venturing to the back of her new campaign plane to offer greetings shortly before its maiden voyage — and promised a “more formal” conversation later. “Hey, guys, welcome to our big plane,” Clinton told about three dozen members of the news media occupying the plane’s final seven rows. “It’s so exciting.” “I am so happy to have all of you with me,” she said in response to a question about sharing a plane with the press corps. “ I have just been waiting for this moment.” Before Monday, Clinton and the press corps had been traveling the country on separate charter planes, with limited interaction between the Democratic presidential nominee and those who cover her on a daily basis. The plane is a Boeing 737 that the Clinton campaign noted was manufactured in the United States. The color scheme is described as scion blue and white, and it is prominently adorned with Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan and the campaign’s “H” logo. Clinton’s motorcade arrived Monday at the airport in Westchester County, N.Y., not far from her Chappaqua home, shortly after 10 a.m. The plane was soon en route to Cleveland, the first of two cities the candidate plans to visit on Labor Day. Her ticket has a...

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Sanders suggests lowering the bar for third-party candidates to take part in presidential debates

Hillary Clinton appears with Bernie Sanders at a rally in July in Portsmouth, N.H. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post) Bernie Sanders, the runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday that the threshold should probably be lower for third-party candidates like Libertarian Gary Johnson to take part in the fall debates. Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, was asked about the current 15 percent polling threshold during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Probably too high,” said Sanders, who is set to return to the campaign trail Monday in New Hampshire on behalf of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. [Sanders pledges to support Clinton] Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, has reached double digits in some national polls but does not appear likely to clear the bar of 15 percent set as a participation requirement by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The commission looks at an average of recent polls to make a determination. Green Party candidate Jill Stein is likely to fall well short of meeting the participation requirements before the first of three debates between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, scheduled for Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The commission also requires candidates to be on ballots in enough states to have a mathematical chance of winning the presidency. During his “Meet the Press” appearance, Sanders did not suggest a different polling figure to...

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Clinton, Trump agree to square off at a ‘commander-in-chief forum’ next month

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donal Trump. (AP photos) Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are scheduled to appear on the same stage early next month at a “commander-in-chief forum” devoted to national security, military affairs and veterans issues. The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees will appear back-to-back Sept. 7 in New York at an event sponsored by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and broadcast live in primetime on NBC and MSNBC, the sponsors announced Thursday. Preparedness to be commander in chief has become a major issue in the presidential race, with Clinton and Trump questioning the other’s fitness. On Monday, in a speech about fighting the Islamic State, Trump said Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS and all of the many adversaries we face.” Clinton, meanwhile, has touted the endorsements of a growing number of Republican military and national security figures who question Trump’s temperament and knowledge of international affairs. The joint forum is scheduled ahead of the three more traditional debates between the two major-party candidates, the first of which is scheduled for Sept. 26. Forum organizers said Clinton and Trump will field questions from NBC News personnel as well as an audience comprised mainly of military veterans and active service members. Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive officer of the veteran’s group sponsoring the forum, said it...

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Clinton: Trump’s ‘casual inciting of violence’ is another reason Republicans should support her

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, and Republican presidential candidate Donal Trump in these 2016 file photos. (AP photos) DES MOINES — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday chided Donald Trump for making “casual comments” the day before that she said amounted to inciting violence — and argued the episode is another reason Republicans should support her. “Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament to be president and commander in chief of the United States,” Clinton said during a rally in a high school gym here in this general-election battleground state. “We may not agree on everything, but this is not a normal election,” Clinton said, directing her appeal to Republicans who reject Trump’s “values.” She pledged to “work hard over the next three months to earn the support of anyone willing to put our country first.” [From Trump’s controversial words, a pattern: Outrage, headlines and then denial] Clinton was referring to comments Trump made in Wilmington, N.C., on Tuesday afternoon after accusing Clinton of wanting to strip Americans of their gun rights. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug, adding:  “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” While many interpreted his remark as threatening — perhaps in a joking manner — Trump’s campaign later insisted he was trying to rally Second Amendment...

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Most VP hopefuls passed over by Clinton tout her choice of Kaine

Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine at a July 15 campaign rally in Annandale, Va. (Pete Marovich/Bloomberg News) The runners-up in Hillary Clinton’s veepstakes have started to rally around her pick of Tim Kaine as a running mate, in a bid to show party unity heading into the Democratic National Convention. With a few exceptions, most of those mentioned as possible picks had weighed in on social media or elsewhere by Saturday morning to praise the senator from Virginia, often in effusive terms, as a vice-presidential candidate. Among those notably silent, however, was Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), a favorite of the party’s progressive wing, among which there was some grumbling about Kaine’s pick. [Sen. Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia chosen as Hillary Clinton’s VP] Other runners-up besides Warren who remain silent, as of midmorning Saturday, include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and James Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral. By contrast, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) was quick to react shortly after Kaine was announced Friday night, offering a Biblical play on words on Twitter: “KAINE IS ABLE!!!” On Saturday morning, Booker also responded on Twitter to a user who said he had “lost faith” because Booker was not Clinton’s pick and suggested he wouldn’t vote for the ticket in November. “Sincerely, Tim Kaine is 1 of the most honorable men in politics,” Booker wrote in response. “I admire & am inspired by...

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