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Inside the Beltway: ‘I watched the president unite people’

November 18, 2018

Multiple polls have revealed that Americans are tired of political discord and partisan attacks, which started when President Trump ran for office, and continue as he approaches his second anniversary in office. The public associates this rigid negativity with the “do-nothing Congress” and gridlock. Civility which often proves more efficient and productive than combat in fostering compromise is rare indeed.

But it has not disappeared altogether. It surfaced in the midst of the terrible California fires as Mr. Trump, California Gov. Jerry Brown and incoming Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom set an example of cooperation and empathy in troubled times.

“So many people from so many different places and backgrounds and services have pulled together. And I can say: Thanks to the firefighters and first responders, and thanks to the federal government. FEMA has been terrific. And I really appreciate the president himself being here and putting the focus and the spotlight on probably the worst tragedy that California has ever faced,” Mr. Brown said during a brief press event at a command post in Chico, California.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was there as well.

“We have Gov. Brown and Gov.-elect Newsom with us. It was the four of us in the car driving, talking, seeing ways that we can work together. And I listened to Gov.-elect Newsom and Gov. Brown thanking this president for how fast he signed to declare a disaster so the federal funds can be there, working to make sure we can rebuild it,” Mr. McCarthy told Fox News in the aftermath.

“You’ve got a divided nation. And here we had a tragic situation, I watched this president unite people that have difference of opinion. Because the first thing we are, we are all Americans. And the one thing I look for in my leader, especially in a time of need, is to show the statesmanship that I watched this president do today,” Mr. McCarthy said. “And not only did he deal with these fires, he went and dealt with the recent shooting, meeting some of the families, meeting the first responders. The way this president reacts and the way the first responders react to this president because of the respect he gives them, I tell you it is a moving situation if you’ve ever been in it to see it.”

NOT HAPPY ABOUT A RELEASE

Craig Shirley, a best-selling author who has written four biographies of Ronald Reagan, is appalled at new release conditions for John Hinckley Jr., who shot the 40th president in 1981, also wounding press secretary Jim Brady, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, and police officer Thomas Delahanty.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled that Hinckley, who had been in a mental hospital until he was allowed to live with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia, two years ago can live by himself or with roommates or a family member within 75 miles of the city.

“If John Hinckley is sane enough to return home, that he is sane enough to serve the life sentence he deserves for the agony he inflicted on Jim Brady, his family, Ronald Reagan, the Reagan family, and everyone else affected by that day. Judge Paul Friedman, an odious and revolting Clinton appointee, deserves to be investigated and possibly brought up on charges for his shameful and potentially illegal handling of Hinckley, who is guilty of capital crimes,” Mr. Shirley said in a statement. “This ruling is so disgusting and dishonorable that there needs to be an immediate investigation into why District Judge Paul Friedman would even consider it. If he can’t provide good cause, he should be removed from his position and disbarment should be considered.”

IS IT THEIR TIME?

Justice Democrats, a Tennessee-based activist group, has just launched a new project called “Our Time,” and they are determined to “nominate the next generation” when the time comes a rallying cry which might make establishment Democrats a little nervous.

“Our mission is to elect a new type of Democratic majority in Congress, one which will create a thriving economy and democracy that works for the people, not big-money interests,” says the group, which also hosted a 2020 “strategy call” with incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.

“We’re recruiting candidates who will help usher in a new generation of diverse, working-class leadership into the Democratic Party,” the organizers advise.

LOGGING IN

A national logging organization is offering support to President Trump following catastrophic wildfires in California and a political debate over the causes of the destructive blazes.

“President Trump blamed poor forest management for wildfires in California and throughout the West, and there is truth to statements he has made. It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” says Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers.

The organization says that 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advises Mr. Trump and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem.

“The federal government does not have resources to treat every forest by itself. Yet America’s forest sector has the infrastructure to manage and improve the health of our federal forests. The raw excess material from overgrown forests can provide renewable energy and a number of American-made products and provide thousands of family-wage jobs,” Mr. Dructor notes.

“Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” observe Chris Potts, president of the logging council.

POLL DU JOUR

87 percent of Americans say people “make accusations or start arguments” on social media without having the facts.

74 percent say content on social media “does not present an accurate picture of how society feels about important issues.”

71 percent say they get “angry” by the content, 71 percent say they feel “connected.”

69 percent say they feel “inspired,” 49 percent feel “depressed” and 31 percent feel “lonely.”

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 4,594 U.S. adults conducted May 29 June 11 and released Friday.

Facts of interest to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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