WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
THE TAKE with ABC News’ Rick Klein
Unrigging the economy is one thing. Unraveling the political thicket is something else entirely. There was something disingenuous about President Trump’s using an official White House event to explicitly call for the defeat of a Democratic senator if she doesn’t support a tax bill that doesn’t even actually exist. (Launching a political attack on Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., while Harvey’s devastation continues, is just something to add to the pile of never-before-Trump cards.) But there was also something disciplined about the president’s tax speech, in its deference to congressional leaders and acknowledgements of their urgencies and priorities. Pressuring McCaskill instead of GOP Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona or Dean Heller of Nevada, say – that’s a start, so far as Capitol Hill Republicans are concerned. In principle – and that’s all there is to go on at this point – tax overhaul is something that can get bipartisan buy-in down the line. If there’s some follow-up next – backing off shutdown talk and budget brinksmanship, as even Freedom Caucus members are saying, and quick action on Harvey relief – the daunting September agenda may suddenly seem manageable for the Trump White House.
Trump wades into the 2018 fray
While his visit to Missouri Wednesday may have centered around a speech on tax overhaul, it’s no coincidence that the state has a vulnerable Democratic incumbent up for re-election in 2018. Trump’s willingness to use the bully pulpit to go after Sen. Claire McCaskill by name Wednesday shows he’s more than willing to insert himself into contested 2018 races. Trump is actively courting…