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His stand is to take no stand. A man who doesn’t hold back his opinions has found a reason to go all but silent.
That reason is named Roy Moore. His candidacy has been enough to force some discipline on President Donald Trump, with a refusal to comment that speaks louder than the contradictions among his own White House staffers.
Political motivations are the obvious explanation, as Kellyanne Conway’s attack on Democrat Doug Jones makes clear.
But the president has hurt his own political fortunes more often than not with ill-timed or unfortunately directed tweets.
It’s also plausible that the fear of the Trump base extends to Trump himself. Moore wants Trump’s support, but he could survive even without it – as his primary victory made clear.
As for the president, he wants the votes in Congress, yes. But he also wants those voters.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
“It was a rhetorical response,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said yesterday as she tried to dismiss and explain away the president’s recent comment that he regretted advocating for the expedited release of UCLA basketball players from a Chinese jail.
Of course President Trump’s tweet was just a “rhetorical response.” A physical or legal response to criticism from one of the athlete’s fathers would have been even weirder.
What raised eyebrows in the first place was that the president seemed to have demands for helping a group of U.S. citizens — he said the players better be “grateful” — and that he bothered to engage with a father online who wasn’t heaping praise on the president’s handling of the situation.
This could have been a quiet win for President Trump, a nice end to his trip to Asia.
Instead, a few tweets that read like stream-of-consciousness venting resulted in West Wing staff, once again, insisting to the country that the president does not mean what he says.
The TIP with Elizabeth McLaughlin and Luis Martinez
What are U.S. troops eating for Thanksgiving? Nearly 100,000 pounds of turkey!
The Defense Logistics Agency is providing the following Thanksgiving meals to U.S. service members in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan this year:
98,820 pounds of turkey
47,880 pounds of beef
31,650 pounds of ham
30,384 pounds of shrimp
10,173 pounds of stuffing mix
6,588 pounds of marshmallows
21,651 pounds of various nuts
918 gallons of eggnog
3,110 gallons of grape juice
9,378 cakes (which includes 382 cheese cakes)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY:
President Donald Trump pardons the national Thanksgiving turkey for the 70th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at 1:00 p.m. ET.
President Trump departs Washington D.C. around 3:45 p.m. ET to head to Mar-a-Lago, where he’ll spend the holiday.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets Peruvian Foreign Minister Victor Ricardo Luna Mendoza at the State Department at 8:55 am ET.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The position of the White House hasn’t changed and we feel the people of Alabama should make a determination on who the next senator should be.” — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in response to a question asked about the Alabama Senate race.
NEED TO READ
President Trump designates North Korea as ‘state sponsor of terror.’ President Donald Trump has announced his intent to again formally designate North Korea as a “state sponsor of terror,” a move designed to ramp up pressure on the rogue nation’s aggressive acts in the region and further development of its nuclear program. (Alexander Mallin) http://abcn.ws/2AVt3vB
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page met with Hungarian officials in Budapest. The travels by onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to meet with senior officials in Hungary during the 2016 Presidential election are being closely examined by congressional investigators. (Matthew Mosk) http://abcn.ws/2hQ3gAX
Republican tax plan would spur growth, add to deficit, new study shows. The tax plan advanced by House Republicans last week will spur economic growth, but still add more than $1 trillion to the deficit, according to a new study released Monday. (Benjamin Siegel) http://abcn.ws/2zUYGst
President Trump’s charitable foundation is being shut down. President Donald Trump’s namesake charitable foundation is being shut down, in keeping with previously announced plans. (John Santucci and Meghan Keneally) http://abcn.ws/2z7tEtJ
DHS official resigns amid controversy over comments. Department of Homeland Security official Jamie Johnson resigned Thursday, stepping down from his role as director of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships for the DHS after his past comments on the black community and Islam surfaced. (Matt Seyler) http://abcn.ws/2AhvHPQ
Justice Department suing AT&T to block purchase of Time Warner. The Justice Department is suing AT&T to block the telecommunications giant from buying Time Warner, the media conglomerate with such television networks as CNN, TBS and HBO. (Mike Levine) http://abcn.ws/2hNob7T
Who is the Saudi crown prince who has been arresting cousins and consolidating power? Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, has grabbed, consolidated and inherited much of the power over the kingdom, still officially ruled by his father, King Salman, 81. (Molly Hunter) http://abcn.ws/2zSC1Nd
Associated Press: US ending temporary permits for almost 60,000 Haitians. http://abcn.ws/2B0NW8q
Associated Press: 2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of improper conduct. http://abcn.ws/2B9uac4
FiveThirtyEight: Why Menendez is still a favorite in New Jersey’s Senate race. Despite a recent federal corruption trial and an impending Senate ethics investigation, Menendez has little competition. http://53eig.ht/2AYvltL