Donald Trump

Top TN donor to Trump inauguration a longtime Democrat?

President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee reports raising more than $107 million for January swearing-in events, more than double the amount raised for any previous president’s inauguration. Prior presidents put limits on inaugural donations. Trump did not.

Nationally, the top donor was casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon G. Adelson with a $5 million contribution, reports the New York Times. The biggest donation from Tennessee was $1 million sent by a Chattanooga company linked to veteran Democratic donor Franklin Haney.

Excerpt from the Center for Public Integrity’s review of the disclosure:

A few of the big-dollar donors listed were obscure limited liability companies, the leaders of which weren’t easily deciphered.

One such Trump inauguration donor, HFNWA LLC of Chattanooga, Tennessee, gave $1 million. The Center for Public Integrity previously reported that HFNWA LLC gave Democratic super PAC Senate Majority PAC $1 million in 2014. HFNWA LLC has addresses in Arkansas and Washington, D.C., and is managed, according to Arkansas Secretary of State records, by Franklin L. Haney, a Democratic political patron and real estate mogul.

Memphis-based Federal Express chipped in just over $500,000, according to the disclosure document. If you add things up, as did Nashville Post Politics, there was an overall like donation from the Knoxville-based Haslam family and its business operations.

Combined, Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam and his wife, television CEO Dee Haslam, contributed $200,000. Pilot itself donated $300,000 to the effort. Gov. Bill Haslam, brother to Jimmy Haslam and a fellow heir to the Pilot fortune, was notably non-supportive of Trump during the campaign, going so far as to call on Trump to step aside during the last month of the campaign.

CCA of Tennessee gave $250,000.

Note: If you want to wade through the full report, it’s HERE.

TN attorney general backs Trump travel ban in court filing

Attorney General Herbert Slatery has made Tennessee the 15th state to join in filing a legal brief that supports President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban during  court challenge, reports The Tennessean.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who last year led efforts to have a private law firm file a lawsuit against federal refugee policies after Slatery declined to do so, made the announcement to reporters on Thursday.

The president’s revised order, which was issued in March, restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen. A federal judge in Hawaii halted Trump’s travel ban, which was his second. The federal judge’s ruling is being appealed in 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

…Last month, attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia, as well as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, filed the amicus brief with the 9th Circuit. The states argue that Trump’s travel ban is legal. North Dakota also joined the coalition of states that filed the amicus brief this week.

The coalition of states conclude that the appeals court should ultimately reverse the halt of the travel ban.

Muslim group opposes Green as Army secretary

News release from Council on American-Islamic Relations

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/12/17) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslims civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced its opposition to the confirmation of Mark E. Green as President Trump’s new Army secretary because of his past Islamophobic statements.

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Green’s Army secretary nomination draws national LGBT activist criticism

State Sen. Mark Green’s selection by President Trump as U.S Secretary of the Army, formally announced Friday, is drawing criticism from LGBT activists in national media reporting. If confirmed, the Clarksville Republican will succeed Eric Fanning, a 2016 Obama appointee who became the first openly gay person to be named as head of any branch of the U.S. military services.

A sampler from reports over the weekend:

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Trump announces Sen. Mark Green as Army Secretary

President Donald Trump formally announced his intention to nominate state Sen. Mark Green as U.S. Secretary of the Army on Friday in a White House news release that also covered nominations to five other federal government positions.

Green is expected to resign from the Senate when the nomination is confirmed and the new job will also end his planned run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, announced in January. The pending presidential nomination had been widely but unofficially reported earlier.

Here’s the portion of the White House release dealing with Green: Continue reading

Trump picks Bill Hagerty as ambassador to Japan


The White House announced Thursday that Bill Hagerty, former commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development, will be nominated as U.S. ambassador to Japan by President Trump.

Excerpt from the Japan Times report:

Hagerty, 57, who as director of presidential appointments helped select Cabinet members and other administration personnel, is expected to assume the diplomatic post following Senate approval. He will succeed Caroline Kennedy, who left Tokyo in January.

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Trump budget ax would slash lots of fed spendng in TN

Dozens of programs that provide funding or services in Tennessee are targeted for elimination or drastic cuts under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, reports Michael Collins.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Delta Regional Authority all would be impacted by Trump’s spending plan, released early Thursday and dubbed “America’s First” budget by the White House.

Other programs that reach into the state yet would get no funding under Trump’s budget include Community Development Block Grants, which provide resources to cities for a variety of activities such as affordable housing and anti-poverty initiatives; the Meals on Wheels food-delivery program for the elderly; the Minority Business Development Agency, which works to help minority-owned businesses grow and stay competitive; and heating assistance for low-income residents.

“The list of important programs cut or eliminated is huge,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis. “President Trump’s budget will thrust America into social and cultural deterioration, a new Dark Ages.”

 

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Roe doesn’t expect Congress to go along with Trump eliminating ARC

The Appalachian Regional Commission is one of 19 current federal agencies that would be defunded under President Trump’s proposed budget, but Republican Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District says that’s probably not going to happen, reports the Johnson City Press.

The president’s proposal, subtitled “A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” provides increases to defense spending and law enforcement while eliminating the ARC’s $120 million appropriation, $3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program — used by rural communities to provide housing, build infrastructure and stimulate job growth — and a slew of other domestic agencies and programs.

… In an emailed statement… Roe, R-Tenn., applauded the Trump budget proposal’s support for national defense and assured the safety of programs benefitting rural Appalachia.

… “In the weeks and months ahead, Congress will decide whether or not to adopt the president’s recommendations. Programs like the Appalachian Regional Commission, which does tremendous good for rural Appalachia, have bipartisan support in Congress and I don’t expect they will be eliminated. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and the president to work toward getting our fiscal house in order and balancing our budget.”

Note: The Atlantic has a list of the 19 defunded agencies, including in its report this observation on eliminating the ARC: Its inclusion is notable, because it serves a region that largely supported Trump, and which he has promised to revive economically.

Sen. Mark Green dropping run for governor to become Army secretary?

Former Army flight surgeon and Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R-Clarksville) is the leading pick to take over as President Donald Trump’s Army Secretary, reports Military Times, quotinq “sources close to the process.”

Green, best known as the special operations soldier who interviewed former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein after his capture by American forces in 2003, would be the second person nominated by Trump for the post. Last month, billionaire veteran Vincent Viola dropped out of the confirmation process citing numerous conflicts of interest with his family businesses.

…If confirmed, the 1986 West Point graduate will make the jump from local politics to the highest levels of military planning, overseeing Trump’s promised build-up of Army end-strength and equipment modernization.

Green was elected to state office in 2012 and for the last seven years has served as founder and CEO of Align MD, an emergency department staffing company. The firm operates in 30 hospitals in six states.

Further from The Tennessean:

The move would abruptly halt the former Army officer’s bid for governor of Tennessee just two months after it launched.

… Green is nearing the nomination and going through background checks, another source close to the search said. Green has been a candidate for weeks, the source said.

All of Green’s bills that had been set for discussion in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday were instead sent back to a subcommittee. That’s generally a sign the legislation is either dead for the year or may be carried by a different lawmaker.

UPDATE from Politico: Green, a Republican state senator from Tennessee and a West Point grad, met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday during his trip to a rally in Nashville where they solidified the deal. 

“We do not have any personnel announcements at this time,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

A source close to Green said that he’s currently filling out intensive background checks that the White House personnel office and FBI will review.

Trump in Nashville: Time to ’embrace our glorious national destiny’

President Donald Trump touted his first 60 days in office as the most productive ever for a president during a Nashville rally Wednesday and, drawing roars from the thousands in attendance, slammed a Hawaii federal judge’s decision that temporarily halted the administration’s new attempt to ban most travel from six majority Muslim countries.

Further from The Tennessean:

He also promised to repeal Obamacare while throwing his support behind a House Republican effort to overhaul the controversial law and vowing additional changes of his own.

“It’s time for us to embrace our glorious national destiny,” Trump said at the conclusion of his 40-minute speech.

Trump took the stage Wednesday evening later than expected as long lines of supporters waited in the cold to get into Municipal Auditorium because of a security bottleneck and confusion. Over the course of the day, the line of people grew several blocks long, circling the perimeter of the state Capitol.

At the lawn of the Metro courthouse, thousands of protesters jeered as the president arrived in downtown Nashville. Inside the 1960s-era arena, multiple protesters interrupted Trump’s speech and were escorted out — including one woman holding a sign that read, “Medicare for all.”

Trump’s loyalists responded with chants of “Trump!” and “USA!” that were akin to his many stump speeches last year.

Trump, escorted by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the state’s two Republican U.S. senators, began his afternoon in Nashville at The Hermitage, historic home of Jackson, the nation’s seventh president whose populist appeal has drawn comparison to Trump.

“He understood that great leadership was about putting America first,” Trump said shortly after taking the stage for his rally. “It’s time that America heard your voice, and believe me, on Nov. 8, they heard your voice.”

ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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