Donald Trump

Corker gets critical calls after latest Trump commentary, hopes president will ‘grow in his office’

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he’s been inundated with critical phone calls since questioning President Trump’s competence in Chattanooga earlier this week, according to WPLN. In a Nashville appearance, the senator also elaborated a bit on his remarks, saying he isn’t sorry he supported Trump in the general election or for his past praise of the president — but he does want Trump to become a unifier, rather than a divisive figure.

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Former TN education commissioner calls for resignation of DeVos as U.S. education chief

Former Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says Betsy DeVos should resign as the nation’s education chief because of her boss’s ambivalent response to racist violence in Charlottesville undercut her ability to work on behalf of public school students, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Huffman, who was appointed commissioner by Gov. Bill Haslam in 2011 and served through 2014, initially called for DeVos to resign in a series of tweets Thursday, then elaborated.

“There have been a lot of generic calls on people in the administration to resign, but it’s too easy for everyone to duck responsibility,” said Huffman, now an education consultant and writer living in Nashville. “I think it’s appropriate for people to call out specific people in our own field.”

He said the education secretary’s main responsibility is to uphold civil rights in schools — and Trump’s comments mean “she has lost the moral authority to do her job.”

“I can’t imagine Secretary DeVos walking into a room of educators and explaining that your civil rights agenda is to advance all kids, particularly children of color. How would you have the moral authority to have that conversation, given the things your boss has said, particularly when you’re unwilling to call out your boss?” he said.

DeVos posted several tweets over the weekend criticizing the “behavior and the violence and hate-filled rhetoric displayed” in Charlottesville.

Haslam: Trump should be a uniter, not a divider and white supremacy is ‘wrong at all times’

Excerpt from a News Sentinel report on comments by Gov. Bill Haslam after a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Knoxville Thursday:

“I’ll say this, during the campaign when then candidate Trump was interviewed he said people will be surprised that I’m a uniter (sic) not a divider, and I think this is a perfect time for the president to work on uniting the country,” he said.

“We have a country that is very divided, incredibly divided and race is a part of that,” Haslam continued. “It’s not all of that, but it’s part of that. And this would be a great time for the president to lead and unite the country.”

He said white nationalists are just wrong.

“There are certain things that are obvious and there are certain things that are complex,” he said. “To me, it’s obvious that white supremacy and neo-Nazism is wrong at all times (and) everywhere. Period.”

Corker: Nation faces ‘great peril’ without ‘radical changes’ in Trump White House

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker today called for “radical changes” in the White House to bring more stability and confidence to Donald Trump’s presidency, reports the Times Free Press.

“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful — and our nation and our world needs for him to be successful, whether you are Republican or Democrat,” Corker told the Chattanooga Rotary club today.

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Cohen proposes impeachment of Trump over Charlottesville comments

News release from Rep. Steve Cohen

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, today announced that he will be introducing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump following the President’s comments on the horrific events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Citing ‘Trump fatigue,’ Democratic doctor plans run for Congress against Republican Dr. Phil Roe

Dr. Martin Olsen, an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner, says he intends to run for the Democratic nomination to the 1st Congressional District seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, also a physician, reports the Johnson City Press.

“I think I can win,” Olsen said rather earnestly. “Now, am I an underdog? Well, yes, I am an underdog. There’s no doubt about that. But the path to victory is to get about one-third of the (Donald) Trump voters. I think there’s enough Trump fatigue that it’s legitimate.”

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Corker advises Trump to fire everybody involved with leaks to media

Sen. Bob Corker says the Trump administration should fire anyone connected with the leak of information to media such as transcripts of the president’s conversations with foreign leaders that were published Thursday, reports the News Sentinel.

During a press conference in Washington D.C., Corker said he had advised President Donald Trump and John F. Kelley, the new chief of staff, “to fire every single person that’s had anything whatsoever to do with backbiting, undermining other people for their own benefit and leaking – and not to be cautious about it.”

“If there’s even a thought that somebody was involved, get rid of them,” the Tennessee Republican added.

Corker, who has been a staunch ally of the Trump White House, rose his voice and shook his arms while talking about the leaks that have repeatedly brought turmoil to the administration.

“It is unseemly what is happening at the White House right now – or what has been happening,” Corker said. “These people should be fired, they should be out of government — they are disloyal to our government — and I hope that’s what’s gonna happen.”

Nashville crowd of 2,000 hears Pence praise Trump & TN Republicans, voice sympathy for Nashville mayor

A crowd estimated at 2,000 at the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual fundraising dinner Thursday evening heard Vice President Mike Pence hail the Trump administration’s accomplishments, praise the field of GOP gubernatorial candidates, declare U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker “extraordinary” and express sympathy with Nashville’s mayor over the death of her son.

State Republican Chairman Scott Golden says both the crowd and the money collected — about $850,000 — were records for TNGOP.

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Alexander urges Trump to keep Obamacare subsidies, schedules health care hearings

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to drop plans to eliminate government insurance subsidies that help millions afford health coverage in order to give Congress time to “stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market,” reports the Times Free Press.

Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, announced plans he and the panel’s senior Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, will hold bipartisan hearings beginning Sept. 4.

The goal is coming up with a short-term solution so that “Americans will be able to buy insurance at affordable prices in 2018,” Tennessee’s senior senator said in comments to his committee.

“There are a number of issues with the American health care system, but if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is the individual health insurance market,” Alexander added. “Both Republicans and Democrats agree on this.”

See also the New York Times report, which ties the Alexander-Murray move in the Senate to an effort by some House Republicans “to promote incremental health legislation that would also fund the cost-sharing subsidies.”

The moves were a remarkable response to the president’s repeated threats to send health care insurance markets into a tailspin. The offered tangible indications of cooperation between the parties after Republican efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act collapsed in the Senate last week, all but ending the seven-year Republican quest to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Lawmakers from both parties concede that the health law needs improvement, as consumers face sharp premium increases and a shrinking number of insurance options in many states.


Hagerty takes oath as U.S. ambassador to Japan

Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty, a former Tennessee commissioner of economic development, Thursday took the oath of office as U.S. ambassador to Japan in a ceremony at Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to the White House, reports Michael Collins.

His wife Chrissy and their four children were by his side… Vice President Mike Pence introduced Hagerty, who was greeted by the crowd with loud cheers and a double thumbs-up. Pence then administered the oath.

“I look forward to the challenge before us,” Hagerty said in brief remarks afterward.

… Pence said Hagerty has spent a lifetime working to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Japan, including a stint living in Japan on a three-year assignment as a consultant.

President Donald Trump’s choice of Hagerty as ambassador demonstrates the ties between the two countries remains strong, Pence said.

… To Hagerty, Pence said: “Bill, given your integrity, your very good leadership and your distinguished history, the president and I are confident you will excel in this new role to help make the extraordinary friendship and alliance between the United States of America and Japan even stronger.”



Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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