Make Nepotism Great Again: 20 Families Got Jobs in Trump Administration

Most people have heard of Ivanka and Jared, but the first family is far from the only group of relatives staffing the Trump administration.

A Daily Beast examination of public records reveals that there are at least 20 families, joined by either blood or marriage, in which multiple members hold some federal post or appointment. They include the families of some of Trumps most prominent campaign supporters and agency officials, including one cabinet officer. The posts range from senior White House staff to more ceremonial and advisory positions.

A few of the most prominent cases came to the fore in recent weeks with the hiring of Eric Trumps brother-in-law to be chief of staff at the Department of Energy and the nomination of Brett Talley to a federal judgeship in Alabama. In paperwork filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Talley failed to disclose that his wife is the chief of staff to the White House senior counsel Don McGahnpresenting a potential conflict of interest if the administration ever argues a case in Talleys court.

But McGahn too has a direct relation in the administration. His wife, Shannon McGahn, was hired in May as a policy adviser to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. In March, Trump tapped former Ford Motor Company lawyer Jim Carroll to join McGahns team. Carroll has since moved over to the Office of Management and Budget, where he serves as general counsel. But before he did, the White House hired his son, James Carroll IIIwhose previous professional experience consisted of a stint as the sports editor of his college newspaperas a staff assistant.

Such staffing choices arent necessarily novel for this administration. From John Adams to John Kennedy, U.S. presidents and their teams have drawn on families for high-level staffing. A lack of comprehensive records for previous administrations makes it difficult to gauge whether the Trump administration is staffed by more families than his predecessors.

But Trumps administration is, more than any since perhaps Kennedys, defined by blood relations, with daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner occupying senior posts and other members of the family, including sons Don Jr. and Eric and daughter-in-law Lara Trump, serving as prominent public faces of the presidents political and business arms. And the degree to which other families supply the administration with top talent only further illustrates the insularity of the current group controlling the levers of power in Washington, D.C.

Though not technically a federal employee, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani serves as an informal adviser to the president. In March, his son Andrew joined the White House Office of Public Liaison as associate director after his professional golfing career petered out. The younger Giulianis LinkedIn page listed him as a former sales intern at investment firm CapRok.

As secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos is one of the administrations most senior officials. But her family has also provided tremendous financial support for the president and the Republican Party, shelling out more than $200 million in Republican campaign contributions. Donors are frequently rewarded with administration posts and the DeVos were no different. In September, Dick Devos Jr., Betsys husband, was appointed to the Federal Aviation Administrations Management Advisory Council. The next month, Pamella DeVos, Betsys sister-in-law, landed a spot on the advisory board for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. DeVos brother, Erik Prince, the founder of notorious military contractor Blackwater, was also said to be informally advising Trumps incoming administration after last years election.

Other intra-family administration posts have been more prominent and filled more direct policy-making roles. Often, these appointments have illustrated another ongoing trend in the Trump administration: the tasking of high-level officials to regulate or oversee industries in which they formerly worked.

Former House Financial Services Committee Oversight Counsel, Uttah Dhillon, was appointed as a senior assistant to the president in January. In June, his wife Janet Dhillon was tapped to be an Equal Employment Opportunity commissioner, which puts her on a body that previously took enforcement actions against at least two of her former employers, United Airlines (PDF) and JCPenny, for allegedly discriminatory action that took place while she served in legal roles for the companies.

Pamela Patenaude, Trumps deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, didnt work in industry. But she led the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation, which promotes U.S. housing policy reforms. When she was nominated in April, her daughter Meghan was already a deputy assistant for scheduling to Vice President Mike Pence. By the time she was confirmed to the HUD post in September, another of her daughters, Caitlin Patenaude, had been hired as a policy adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Other Trump administration families appear to have followed their principals into the federal government. Sisters Millan and Sydney Hupp both worked on Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitts campaign for Oklahoma attorney general. Sydney Hupp is now Pruitts executive scheduler, and her sister is EPAs director of scheduling and advance.

Jennifer Pavlik likewise followed her former boss into the administration. She was Pences chief of staff in the Indiana governors mansion, and now serves as the vice presidents deputy chief of staff. She joined the administration in January, and a few months later her husband followed. Brian Pavlik, a former concessions program manager for the Indiana State Parks system, was hired as a special assistant to the National Parks Service.

At least one familial Trump official is no longer in the job. A few months after former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka joined the administration, his wife, Katharine Gorka, landed a job at the Department of Homeland Security. She remains in that post, but her husband was unceremoniously ousted in August.

As she continues advising high-level government officials, Sebastian Gorka has been relegated to an advisory position at a group run by Pizzagate conspiracy theorists. He was recently pictured parking his car on a sidewalk in Virginia.

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Senate GOP tax plan guts key Obamacare provision

Senate Republicans are expected to include a repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act into its overhaul of the tax code, reviving a healthcare fight that appeared to be dead following an intense public backlash against the plan earlier this year.

President Donald Trump on Monday urged Republicans to end the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires nearly everyone to have health insurance that meets minimal standards.

Repeal of the individual mandate would help with the math involved with the Republican tax plan, but eliminating it risks having more Americans without health insurance.

“I’m pleased the Senate Finance Committee has accepted my proposal to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax legislation,” said Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, according to the New York Times. “Repealing the mandate pays for more tax cuts for working families and protects them from being fined by the IRS for not being able to afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable in the first place.”

The elimination of the ACA mandate does help the Republican tax plan be protected from a Democratic filibuster. As the Times points out, the tax bill cannot add more than $1.5 trillion to the federal budget without facing a likely Democratic filibuster. Repealing the mandate would free up $300 billion over the next decade.

On Monday, Trump floated the idea of getting rid of the mandate in a tweet.

“I am proud of the Rep. House & Senate for working so hard on cutting taxes {& reform.} We’re getting close! Now, how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular Indiv Mandate in OCare & reducing taxes even further? Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?” Trump wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was “optimistic” the individual mandate repeal would be “helpful,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Republican tax plan is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday evening. Several efforts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed earlier this year

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Dont write off Texas shooter’s violence against women as a mental health issue

On Sunday morning, Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire into a Sutherland Springs, Texas, Baptist church, killing 26 people, including 14 children and a pregnant woman. President Donald Trump, who is in Japan on business, said at a press conference that the shooting isn’t about access to guns. Instead, he said, “I think that mental health is your problem here.”

“This was a very, based on preliminary reports, very deranged individual, a lot of problems, over a long period of time,” he said. “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation.”

However, investigators haven’t released any information about Kelley’s mental health history yet. And given that Trump wasn’t his personal psychiatrist, nor is he trained to give armchair diagnoses, he isn’t qualified to speak to those issues. But one thing we do know about the shooter, whom Trump called “deranged,” is that Kelley was a violent man. He was a man, like many mass shooters, who was violent toward women.

In 2012, Kelley, who served in the Air Force, was court-martialed and convicted on two counts of assaulting his then-wife and stepson, whose skull he had cracked, according to the New York Times. He was sentenced to 12 months in custody and subsequently discharged from service—which made it illegal for him to buy firearms under the federal Gun Control Act. He was also investigated but not charged on a rape complaint.

Authorities Monday afternoon also said the church shooting was possibly motivated by a “domestic situation,” as the mother of his estranged wife usually attended the church. “We know that he had made threatening texts,” said Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, according to the New York Times.

“This was not racially motivated. It wasn’t over religious beliefs. It was a domestic situation going on,” he added.

Domestic violence, harassment, and a contempt for women cannot be explained away by mental illness. When 57 percent of mass shooters have a history of being violent toward women, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, what is clear is that we live in a country that is accepting—expecting even, and then dismissive—of men’s anger and violent outbursts.

The Las Vegas shooter, the man responsible for the largest mass murder in modern U.S. history, was alleged to have been at least verbally abusive to his girlfriend in public. The wife of the Pulse shooter said she was physically abused by her husband. The Virginia Tech shooter, the Sandy Hook shooter, the Planned Parenthood shooter—all had histories of either abuse, hatred, or harassment toward women. Then there is the most blatant: The Santa Barbara, California shooter who admitted in a video: “All those girls I’ve desired so much… I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.”

That isn’t to say there isn’t a mental health problem in this country. Indeed, there are two: There is a grand stigma associated with getting treatment for mental health—and that stigma is definitely stronger for men, who are supposed to just “tough it out” and are often conditioned to bottle their feelings until they express them through anger and violence. Furthermore, it’s ironic to hear our president bring up the nation’s mental health “problem,” when affordable mental healthcare is harder to access in this country than guns and when he hoped to slash mental health services even further with an Obamacare repeal.

And yeah, I would like to deal with our “gun situation,” too. Because what is clearer than Kelley’s mental health status is that if he didn’t have access to the gun that was illegal for him to own, 26 people would not be dead in Sutherland Springs.

But before we dismiss white male shooters as mentally ill and brown-skinned religious shooters as terrorists, and before we condense the national dialogue into one about gun rights that will soon be forgotten, we need to look at why many white men in our country think it’s OK to take out their anger and contempt on innocent people they believe they can have control over. We need to address why it is still hard for a country run by powerful white men to admit we have a violence-against-women problem.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to include the latest comments from Texas authorities.

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We FOIAd every Trump Cabinet members travel recordsheres what we got back

How much does it cost for President Donald Trump‘s Cabinet members to travel? We’re about to find out.

Earlier this year, several Cabinet secretaries came under fire for using private or government aircraft for business travel. Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, used a private plane to go to Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he attended a meeting and watched the eclipse.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (who is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) took government planes seven times this year. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent $12,000 on a private plane so that he could go to an event hosted by a campaign benefactor

Then, of course, there’s Tom Price, who left his position in September following revelations that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on private air travel during his tenure as head of the Department of Health and Human Services.

While it’s not illegal for high-level government officials to use private or government aircraft, it’s certainly frowned upon. Most Cabinet secretaries, with the exception of the secretary of state, as well as members of Congress and high-ranking military personnel, fly commercial unless there is no way they can get where they need to go in the timeframe they need to be there—or if they need to access secure communications while traveling or other security concerns. Price took private planes 24 times between May and September, putting his domestic travel expenses over $400,000, according to Politico. His international travel on military aircraft put the total bill for his travel around $1 million.

Price pledged to pay the department back for his seat on the domestic flights, but that figure adds up to only $51,887. While no other secretaries have chartered flights to the extent that Price did, it’s important to keep in mind that federal funds pay for their travel, and these officials have a responsibility to use that money judiciously.

In the interest of transparency, the Daily Dot has requested the travel records for all military and private chartered travel request for all Cabinet secretaries through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A request for the travel records of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who travels on a government plane, is currently in the works.

Thus far, the Daily Dot has received records from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, as well as a statement from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) claiming that no records exist related to Secretary Ben Carson’s military or private charter air travel. The Daily Dot has requested information related to his commercial travel as well, but we have not yet received any response to that request. You can see the documents we have received below:

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer

The records obtained through FOIA show that Rep. Lighthizer’s office spent $44,841.92 total (including per diems and hotels) on five trips abroad between May and September of this year. In some cases, Rep. Lighthizer requested business or first-class accommodations, rather than coach. For travel to Ottawa, Canada, to attend NAFTA talks, Lighthizer was approved for first-class travel, since he would need “sufficient time and space to prepare appropriate comments, actions (discussion points, etc.) and subsequent debriefings on the return that a coach seating will not accommodate,” according to the records.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta

Secretary Acosta’s travel records show a few instances of government aircraft usage, on the first page of the document below. Many of the instances show the secretary riding on Air Force One with President Trump, or on Air Force Two with Vice President Mike Pence.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson

As the letter below states, the Department of Housing and Urban Development stated that it had no records responsive to the Daily Dot’s requested search. We have requested records relating to Secretary Carson’s commercial air travel.

Editor’s note: We will update this article as more departments respond to our FOIA requests.

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‘He is failing’: Trump strikes out solo as friends worry and enemies circle

As a report says he hates everybody at the White House, the president has taken his own radical steps on Iran and healthcare

Donald Trumps decision to go it alone with rapid fire announcements on healthcare and Iran reflects his boiling frustration with the limits of presidential power, analysts say.

The US president made a brazen move on Thursday night to halt payments to insurers under Barack Obamas healthcare law. Democrats accused him of a temper tantrum and spiteful attempt to sabotage legislation he promised but failed to replace. Less than 24 hours later, he condemned the fanatical government of Iran as he decertified his predecessors nuclear deal, defying his own cabinet and disquieting European allies.

The one-two punch showed Trump straining to assail Obamas legacy but stopping short of terminating either the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, or the Iran nuclear accord. Both are back in the hands of Congress, a source of constant exasperation for the property tycoon turned novice politician, who finds himself isolated and lashing out.

The Congress has been frustrating to him, John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told reporters on Thursday. Of course, our government is designed to be slow, and it is. His sense, I think, as a man who is outside the Washington arena, a businessman, much more of a man of action, I would say his great frustration is the process that he now finds himself [in].

Because, in his view, the solutions are obvious, whether its tax cuts and tax reform, healthcare, infrastructure programmes, strengthening our military. To him, these all seem like obvious things that need to be done to protect the American people, bring jobs back.

Since taking office 10 months ago as the first US president with no previous political or military experience, Trump has been given a crash course in the workings of government and the delicate balance of power between the White House, Capitol Hill and the courts. That his writ only runs so far has come as a rude awakening. His executive orders can only achieve so much, and frustrations have sometimes spilled out in impetuous speeches and tweets.

Rick Tyler, a political analyst and partner at Foundry Strategies, said: He is acutely aware of the limits of presidential power. Its not like being the CEO of a company where you just do what you want to do.

By using executive orders, Trump is making something happen on healthcare. Hes prevented from changing it himself, but will force another branch of power to react. Its the same on Iran.

Having repeatedly vented his anger at the Republican-controlled Senate for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare, despite seven years of promises, Trump has now thrown a spanner in the works by ending the so-called cost-sharing subsidies that help people on low incomes. The White House claims the government cannot legally continue to pay the subsidies because it lacks formal authorisation by Congress.

Donald Trump has responded by his inability to govern as he likes by throwing red meat to his base. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/Reuters

The president explained on Friday: Its step by step by step and that was a very big step yesterday Were going to have great healthcare in our country. Were taking a little different route than we had hoped, because Congress forgot what their pledges were. So were going a little different route. But you know what? In the end, its going to be just as effective, and maybe it will even be better.

The intervention, however, could backfire. It was condemned by Democrats including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters: The president single-handedly decided to raise Americas health premiums for no reason other than spite and cruelty. Senator Chris Murphy tweeted: Trumps decision to stop ACA payments is nuclear grade bananas, a temper tantrum that sets the entire health system on fire. My god.

Doctors groups also warned of dramatic, if not catastrophic, increases in premiums across the country and millions of Americans losing coverage. Nineteen states plan to sue.

Trump has previously blamed the lack of healthcare fixes on Obama or Congress, but he now risks being held personally responsible for cutting the system off at the knees. Robert Shrum, a Democratic consultant, said: The healthcare thing is madness in both policy and politics. Hes wilful, hes angry, hes clearly lashing out. He was better off leaving healthcare to Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, the senators working on a bipartisan deal.

Trumps claim that Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the nuclear deal and his threat to terminate it also put him at odds with his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and his defence secretary, Jim Mattis. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said he welcomed what he called a courageous decision, but the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said they stood committed to the agreement.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and independent presidential candidate, wrote via email: I think the presidents actions on healthcare and Iran are the latest examples of his standing political strategy, which is to throw red meat to his base in order to maintain his base, as evidence of his unfitness and inability to govern mounts.

If anything, his use of this tactic seems to be accelerating as it becomes increasingly clear, even to some of his closest friends and political allies, that he is failing.

This acceleration coincides with reports of a darkening in Trumps mood. A report in Vanity Fair magazine, citing two sources, claimed he had vented to his longtime security chief, Keith Schiller: I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!

The journalist Gabriel Sherman also wrote that several people close to the president told him that Trump was unstable, losing a step and unraveling. Such concerns appear to be reaching a critical mass. NBC News reported that Tillerson had referred to Trump as a moron. The president insisted the story was false, but challenged Tillerson to an IQ contest.

Senator Bob Corker set off a political firestorm when he responded to tweeted attacks by Trump. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

Then Senator Bob Corker became one of the few Republicans on Capitol Hill to openly denounce Trump, though it is widely suspected that he speaks for many colleagues. During a Twitter clash last Sunday, Corker wrote: Its a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

In an interview with the New York Times, the senator from Tennessee said: I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, its a situation of trying to contain him He doesnt realise that we could be heading towards world war three with the kind of comments that hes making.

He also told the Washington Post on Friday that Trump had castrated Tillerson with remarks about his attempts to talk to North Korea.

Thomas Barrack Jr, a billionaire who was the top fundraiser for Trumps election campaign, said he has been shocked and stunned by some of the presidents incendiary rhetoric and tweets.

He thinks he has to be loyal to his base, Barrack told the Washington Post. I keep on saying, But who is your base? You dont have a natural base. Your base now is the world and America, so you have all these constituencies; show them who you really are. In my opinion, hes better than this.

If anyone can get through to Trump, it may be Barrack, one of his oldest friends. Rich Galen, a Republican strategist, said: That got everybodys attention because hes a buddy and spoke at the Republican convention. So there seems to be some change. Thats part of whats feeding it.

McMullin agreed that Trump seemed rattled by the recent criticisms from Tillerson, Corker and Barrack. He probably understands their remarks represent a new stage of acceptance setting in across the country, even among his supporters, that he is unfit and incapable.

That, I think, is inspiring his accelerated efforts to throw red meat to his base to shore up their support. I expect that to continue, if not intensify, and to result in increasing political challenges for the GOP as 2017 and 2018 elections approach and in years to come.

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The liberal-left divide reshaping American politics

The long read: Trumps opponents are bitterly split. You cant understand US politics today unless you understand the rift between liberals and leftwingers

It has been almost a year since the catastrophic election of Donald Trump. In his first year in office, the president has governed as cruelly and ineptly as his critics predicted. But while anti-Trump sentiment has never been more fierce and widespread, his political opponents are more divided than ever. And this faultline which has parallels in Britain with divisions among the Labour party could, if left unaddressed, compromise efforts to resist and defeat Trumpism.

Roughly speaking, these two sides could be characterised as the populist wing and the establishment wing of the Democratic party, but even this terminology is a point of controversy between the feuding sides. The partys left wing, for example, wants to call the conflict the left-liberal divide. Loyalist Democrats want to play down the divide, calling for unity by insisting that Democrats are all members of the left (if those calling for unity are younger, millennial types), or that they are all liberals (if they are older, Clinton-era types). The right, meanwhile, does not understand the divide, continuing to believe in a monolithic radical left filled with radical liberals. This leads to the funny situation, as one commentator noted, in which members of both the left and the right reach for the same I made it through college without becoming a liberal T-shirt.

The present conflict surfaced, as many intra-party feuds do, during a presidential primary. But unlike past internal conflicts, this one is sticking around. Centrist John Kerry supporters, for example, did not take potshots at insurgent Howard Dean supporters deep into 2005. This year, however, a full ecosystem replete with duelling podcasts, magazines and candidates has kept the divide alive. Skirmishes are popping up, like clockwork, every few weeks; from Februarys bitterly contested election of a new Democratic National Committee chair, to leftist scepticism about potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris; from the launching of the Clinton-fawning website Verrit to the latest harangue from the liberal-bashing podcast Chapo Trap House.

Supporters of Keith Ellison and Tom Perez, the two candidates for Democratic National Committee Chair. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Discussing a resolution to this conflict is difficult, because even calls for resolution can be interpreted as ideological statements. Wanting the Democratic party to survive and unify can be taken as an endorsement of the establishment, because the quickest path to intra-party peace is for the conflicts leftwing instigators to get in line. Meanwhile, treating the intraparty divide as substantive arguing that there is, in fact, a significant difference between, say, Medicare for All and Obamacare can annoy liberals who believe that the so-called divide has been manufactured by a few disgruntled purists.

To resolve our intra-party conflict, we must first understand it. I believe the two sides concerns can be grouped into three divides: the first over party loyalty, the second over how to win elections, and the third over the gap between Democrats and Republicans. Each divide may not be relevant to every partisan in the conflict, but most partisans have divided over at least one of these three.

The divide over party loyalty

Liberals accuse leftwingers of not being loyal to the party in general elections. This began with the vilification of leftwing third-party voters, such as Ralph Nader voters in 2000 and Jill Stein voters in 2016. What made this past election special is that accusations of disloyalty were launched at a Democratic primary challenger. Hillary Clinton supporters feel that Bernie Sanders attacked Clinton excessively during the primary, stayed in the primary too long, and did not do enough to support her in the general election. Many loyal Democrats around the country have analogous feelings about leftwing rebels in the party generally: they think criticisms should be kept inside the family, and that it is important to be a team player in order to win elections and pass legislation. Some may call these loyal Democrats boring conformists, but from their perspective, it is party loyalists, not insurgent critics, who staff the party booth at the county fair and knock on doors every year to help get Democrats elected.

Leftists, on the other hand, believe this disloyalty accusation is bunk. First, they think establishment-wing leaders follow what the political blogger Jonathan Schwartz has called the iron law of institutions, which says that the people who control institutions care first and foremost about their power within the institution rather than the power of the institution itself. If party leaders were loyal to the party, leftwingers believe, then they would have learned from recent electoral losses and shaken the party up, even if it meant stepping aside themselves to make room for fresh faces and new ideas.

Second, insurgent leftwingers care less about catering to the dwindling group of grassroots party loyalists around the country, and more about activating the masses of non-voters and independents who are not yet loyal to any party. That is why they are less concerned about candidates, like Sanders, who are not technically Democrats. They see them not as selfish traitors, but rather as opportunities to build the partys base.

Loyalty to the party generally is often bound up in loyalty to party leaders. The partys liberal wing tends to get excited about party leaders personalities, and is more likely to share, say, Obama or Hillary memes, watch West Wing fantasies about party staffers and follow the path of rising stars. This loyalty extends to the wider network tied to the party, too, such as liberal-leaning news anchors and commentators, and party-aligned Hollywood stars such as Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton in Washington DC in 2012. Photograph: Kevin Wolf/AP

Leftwingers think this level of loyalty is bizarre, especially when it comes to politicians they believe do not deserve it. Leftwingers are generally less likely to express loyalty to leaders, and more likely to pledge themselves to issue campaigns that bubble up from extra-party institutions, such as labour unions or racial justice and environmental groups. They respond to liberal attacks of Why arent you knocking on doors in the general election? with Why arent you joining the Fight for $15? (a national grassroots campaign for fairer wages led by fast-food workers). Leftwingers believe liberals cannot think for themselves on issues that they wait to get the go-ahead from the party establishment before they offer any support. To leftwingers, the liberals shorter-term issues, such as the Russia investigation, are just distractions unless they are embedded in more fundamental issue campaigns.

Establishment Democrats often see leftwingers enthusiasm for disjointed issue campaigns over the party platform as further evidence that they do not understand how real politics works. As Slate writer Stephen Metcalf describes: I see a social movement left that protests then goes home; and a Democratic party that stays on and does the hard, boring work. Loyal Democrats see their friends forming phone-banks to urge members of Congress to oppose Republican attacks on Obamacare, and wonder why there are not more leftwingers pitching in. To loyal Democrats, either you call yourself a Democrat, be a team player and move issues forward as part of a concerted, directed party strategy or you believe in the power of, to use one common liberal phrase, Bernies magic elves, who will mysteriously and effortlessly accomplish all the hidden work that it takes to make policy goals a reality.

Leftwingers, on the other hand, believe liberals have delusions of their own: namely that party politicians will naturally push important issues forward without any prodding. Party loyalists, they believe, fail to see that without popular agitation, party priorities are set by powerful interests. Leftwingers, they insist, are team players, but their teams are outside groups and issues, and they put in the work earlier in the policy process than establishment Democrats.

This divide over party loyalty played out earlier this year in a skirmish over Jon Ossoffs candidacy in a special congressional election in Georgia. Ossoff did not come out strongly for any issues that werent dictated by party leadership, but he was a loyal Democrat and would have been a reliable Democratic vote in Congress. His campaign was powered in large part by teams of suburban Atlanta moms grassroots party loyalists who earnestly cared about resisting Trump. Liberals poured passion into the campaign while leftwingers criticised his bland message. When Ossoff lost, many loyalists viewed it as another example of the left not getting on board for a critical team project. Leftwingers, meanwhile, saw it as evidence that the party was still failing to understand the issues that really mattered to voters.

The divide over strategy

The divide over what we are trying to win is coupled with a divide over how we win. The first part of this strategic divide is over what policies a losing party should adopt to win back power. Liberals go-to strategy is often thus: if you are losing, tack your policies to the centre to win; once you win back power, you can enact what you want.

Liberals believe that the left too often chooses ideological purity over victory. They think leftwingers are not serious about power: if populist leaders, they argue, ever had to actually lead the party if they had to win elections and pass legislation they too would be forced to be more pragmatic. Many establishment Democrats buy into the Republican talking point that the US is a centre-right country, and that Democrats need to adjust their strategy to that reality.

Leftwingers have the inverse policy strategy: if you are losing, you need a more differentiated, passionate policy vision to win. The writer Adam Johnson points to how Jeremy Corbyn succeeded with this strategy: Corbyns campaign caught fire because he offered a clear moral vision of justice they call it ideology But ideology is simply pragmatism over a longer timetable.

Bernie Sanders supporters in Philadelphia in July 2016. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Leftwingers like Johnson believe liberals have been conned by the right into playing on their rhetorical turf. When Democrats couch their proposals in Republican rhetoric such as when they refer to Russian interference as communist infiltration or pitch social welfare programs as helping entrepreneurs they, in the lefts mind, commit the double error of appearing like inauthentic Diet Republicans and diluting the power of the Democrats own potentially inspiring ideals. At their most sceptical, leftwingers wonder whether Democratic leaders are tacking to the centre not simply as an electoral strategy, but because they do not believe in leftwing ideas in the first place. These leftwingers point to examples of times when Democrats had power and still did not advance their stated ideals in what leftwingers considered to be a sufficiently ambitious manner.

In short, the partys liberal wing believes winning leads to idealism, whereas the partys left wing believes idealism leads to winning.

The divide over the gap between Democrats and Republicans

Perhaps the root of these first two divides is a third divide: how much difference leftwingers and liberals believe there is between Democrats and Republicans.

Party loyalists believe the gap between the two parties is huge. The Republican party is so egregiously horrible, they argue, that it is imperative to remain loyal to our only hope of stopping them: the Democratic party. This viewpoint is captured in a recent Democratic Campaign Coordinating Committee sign reading Democrats 2018: I mean, have you seen the other guys? This belief explains why liberals tend to focus on the outrages of the other guys and downplay the left-liberal divide: given the constant threat of Republican power, any internal differences are miniscule. Whats more, the threat of Republican power, liberals point out, is especially acute to marginalised communities: whereas privileged idealists can afford to say it has to get worse before it gets better, immigrants at risk of deportation, black people at risk of police brutality and gay couples at risk of having their rights rolled back do not have the same luxury.

Leftwingers, on the other hand, see the gap between Democrats and Republicans as smaller. They like to point out examples of silent bipartisanship: the complicity of Democrats in the disastrous war in Iraq and the racist war on drugs, for example, or the Obama administrations continuation of Bush-era, corporate-driven education reform. They criticise party loyalists for letting Democratic leaders steer them towards formerly Republican positions, such as when some Democratic loyalists began criticising administration leakers such as Chelsea Manning a figure they would have lionised if she had committed her leaks while Bush was president.

Behind this divide is a failure to see eye-to-eye over certain larger narratives narratives that leftwingers talk about more than liberals do. The left often situates both parties within broader conceptual frameworks, such as neoliberalism, corporate power and imperialism. To defeat these larger, nefarious societal structures and historical trends, leftwingers argue, we must identify them and prepare a plan to conquer them a task more difficult than just defeating the Republicans at the ballot box.

Many liberals, meanwhile, either have not thought about, do not believe in, or do not prioritise addressing these forces. Some have even made fun of leftwingers for talking too much about neoliberalism a phrase many centrists believe has no meaning, but that leftwingers insist is analytically useful. (Ironically, this is the same dynamic at play as when conservatives snarkily dismiss phrases such as white supremacy and patriarchy as being meaningless, despite the insistence by both leftists and liberals that you could fill an entire library with books explaining each phrases depth of meaning.)

From divides to tribes

These divisions may have started the left-liberal conflict, but it has been sustained by the fact that both sides are developing into integrated political tribes. As social psychologist Jonathan Haidt argues, political tribalism begins with shared intuitions: we first feel what is politically right, then later muster arguments to support our intuitions. When people who share some intuitions about politics find each other and discover they share other intuitions, they begin to form political communities to collaborate on mustering arguments for their bundles of shared intuitions. Out of these political communities emerge leaders and institutions. The tribal formation is complete when these communities establish a unified tribal narrative complete with stories of the past, present and future; heroes and villains; and direction for what members should be doing.

Todays left wing of the party emerged as a bundle of intuitions about the Democratic establishment: scepticism of the Clintons; concern about the Obama administrations response to the financial crisis and wars in the Middle East; and curiosity as to why working-class issues have been less trumpeted by the party in recent decades than they might have been in the past. In recent years, leaders and institutions emerged to articulate these intuitions: media ventures such as Jacobin, the Intercept and Chapo Trap House; politicians such as Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders; and organisations fighting for causes such as a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All and a ban on fracking. A narrative has coalesced of a party that has been corrupted by corporate campaign donations; that is complicit in conservatisms rise, through its capitulation to Reaganomics and Bush-era militarism; that has displaced its working-class base to make room for a professional, managerial class; and, most damningly, has replaced its democracy-enhancing New Deal ambitions with a minimalist grab-bag of meritocracy-enhancing, technocratic band-aids.

The loyalist wing of the party has had a tribe-building process, too one likely accelerated by the party rebels rise. They started out with a different bundle of political intuitions: more trust for leaders like Obama and Clinton; more credit given to what Democrats were able to accomplish in the age of conservative ascendance; more inspiration taken from the racial and gender diversity of party leadership; and more appreciation for the progressive causes the party has begun to articulate over the past decades. A network of party-friendly institutions, journalists and leaders, old and new, has emerged to articulate and defend these liberal intuitions: media entities such as MSNBC and Slate; the DNC itself; the leaders and staffers of the Obama administration and Clinton campaigns; mainstream liberal thinktanks; and writers such as the economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, and Clara Jeffery, editor of Mother Jones magazine. A narrative has emerged to unify this wing as well: a story that casts the Democratic party as the entity that has overcome unprecedented Republican attacks to give voice to and fight for the interests of marginalised people in American politics.

Elizabeth Warren at a news conference for pro-immigrant advocacy groups in Washington DC earlier this month. EPA/SHAWN THEW Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

These political tribes build a network of trust between their individual members and the complexities of national politics. As individuals, we cannot know everything about national politics, but we can collect trustworthy people who do know about different areas of politics. Take Elizabeth Warren, for example: leftwingers believe she shares their deep politics regarding Wall Street, so they look to her when they want to know, say, if a recent regulation is effective or toothless. Or take Barack Obamas foreign policy: many liberals are less critical of it than leftwingers are, because they trust that Obama is similar, deep down, to them, and therefore believe his decisions would be similar to the decisions they would make if they were privy to his information. Trust explains why each side is preoccupied with showing how different surface-level moves by national figures are windows into some alien or familiar deep politics: it validates their trust or distrust in each sides establishment or counter-establishment.

These political tribes have their benefits. They help draw people into politics, bring people together and give members purpose. But political tribalism can also be hazardous. At its worst, it creates enemies out of neighbours, turning complex people into sell-outs or purists. Tribes trick us into thinking that political participation is about being well-versed in tribal rhetoric say, being able to list the correct takes on past inter-tribal skirmishes rather than about pursuing tangible goals. They encourage confirmatory, self-validating thought, rather than the exploratory thought that helps our politics stay aligned with reality. The focus that comes with tribalism can lapse into myopia, such as when some liberals can see Trumps wickedness regarding immigration so clearly, but were unable to support immigration activists protesting Obama; or when some leftwingers can see the corporate corruption of Democrats so clearly, but fail to articulate the massive gap in corruption between the two parties.

A final danger of political tribalism one specific to the intra-party divide is that it is a danger to the coalition-building required to gain power through electoral politics. If a party coalition is divided against itself come election day, it may not stand. And if the coalition loses, both tribes lose. And with each passing of month of Trumps presidency, the stakes get higher.

Resolving the conflict

So, who is right? Fortunately, a peace process need not declare one sides narrative as supreme. However, it does require each side to come to terms, at least a bit, with the best insights of the other side.

The liberals best insight is that todays Republican party is an exceptionally dangerous political organisation. It denies catastrophic climate change, is an almost-pure vessel for the corporate takeover of public power, has based its electoral coalition on aligning with white ethnic nationalism and authoritarian theocracy, and has instigated disastrous decision after disastrous decision over the past decades.

Democratic party leaders over the past decades may have been cowardly in the face of Republican cruelty but they were, for the most part, not the instigators of the most callous developments in modern American politics. Winning general elections against the Republican party matters and putting in the work to defeat them at the ballot box is a responsibility of all progressives.

The leftwingers best insight is that the end-goal of electoral politics is not winning; it is the advancement of certain programmes and policies. As anyone who has watched the conservative ascendancy within the Republican party knows, internal criticism of party leaders is what makes leaders listen. As Frederick Douglass said: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

A productive peace process for the intraparty war would merge these insights, advancing a practice that would help defeat the Republican party while keeping Democratic leaders on their toes. You could call this practice vigorous critical loyalty. Vigorous critical loyalty would work by separating the times for vigorous party loyalty and the times for vigorous internal criticism. A Democrat practising vigorous critical loyalty would, near the general election or a critical vote in Congress, demonstrate vigorous loyalty to the party, mustering support for the Democratic candidate or bill while holding criticism for later. But during a primary campaign, and during ordinary legislative time, a vigorous critical loyalist would fight vigorously for her ideals, unafraid of criticising party leaders, supporting primary challengers, and advancing outside issue campaigns.

For this to work, both sides need to give a little. Liberals need to accept that primary challenges to beloved party leaders are not only legitimate, but desirable, in order to keep the party aligned with its people. Liberals also need to accept that outside issue campaigns are legitimate. If an important issue such as immigrant rights and universal health care is having a difficult time breaking through to the party, interrupting speeches and writing harsh critiques of party stars becomes necessary. Liberals should balance their loyalty to party figures with respect for this difficult, messy and effective work of pushing peripheral issues on to the national stage.

Leftwingers, on the other hand, first need to bring their passion into mainstream party projects especially general election campaigns. They should supplement their respect for the ideological activists pushing important issues into the mainstream with respect for the loyal, grassroots Democrats who make sure there are enough Democratic votes in Congress to make any policy matter. If leftwingers are asking liberals to respect the distinction between leftwingers and liberals, they should return the favour by respecting the distinction between liberals and their Republican adversaries and act on that distinction by taking seriously the role the Democratic party has played as a bulwark against the extremes of Republican power.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama at an election rally in 2012. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

Second, leftwingers need to understand that the way to gain the respect of the other half of the party is to not just say they would have won, but rather to actually win. The biggest problem with the Sanders campaign is the same problem that the Clinton campaign had: it lost. In turn, the biggest asset of the Sanders campaign is that it almost won. Obama was able to change the party because he won. The Fight for $15 was able to change the party because it has won in cities and states across the country. A rebellious vision gains followers when it shows it can win.

In sum, an ideal Democratic party would arbitrate internal divides through a flurry of vigorous issue campaigns and primary challenges during ordinary time and then, during general election time and critical Congressional votes, rapidly unify to win.

This would move our conflicts away from neverending shadow-boxing and toward resolution in the court of public opinion. Primaries, for example, will help resolve the strategy divide, by showing whether pragmatism or idealism wins in general elections, as candidates of different persuasions win primaries and test their pragmatist/idealist orientation in general elections. Issue campaigns, meanwhile, will show the extent to which the party has been corrupted by nefarious structural forces. One need not endlessly discuss whether this or that politician is a neoliberal shill if you can resolve the question by launching issue campaigns that dramatise these larger forces at play and see whether said politician supports the campaign. If they do, they may be worthy of more trust. If they do not, they may be worthy of a primary challenge.

And finally, by agreeing from the start that everyone, no matter their level of criticism during ordinary time, is fully on board to support the party when general election time comes, concerns about party loyalty are reduced. All intraparty fights are tolerated and even encouraged because everyone can trust that we will be unified when it counts.

Vigorous critical loyalty presumes that people can change, and that there is a potential to re-integrate the left and liberal tribes. As issue campaigns gain support from current party leaders and improbable primary challengers become party leaders, party sceptics become more loyal, while party loyalists start showing loyalty to leaders and issues formerly seen as heretical.

Most importantly, vigorous critical loyalty could help rebuild trust. Primary challengers that win become closer to the people they represent. To have an issue emerge from a trusted outside group and then have that issue enter the mainstream of the party is to build loyalists trust in that outside group while building populists trust in the party.

This is how two tribes could eventually merge into one without either side compromising on their ideals and loyalties. It may seem like a longshot. But I take hope from a point that Washington Post assistant editor Elizabeth Bruenig raised at a talk earlier this year: You dont argue with people who are nothing like you you argue with people who are almost like you [Arguing] is a pretty good sign of the possibility of coalition.

A longer version of this article first appeared in Current Affairs, a bimonthly print magazine of culture and politics.

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

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Trump challenges Tillerson to ‘compare IQ tests’ after reported ‘moron’ dig

Trump calls Tillerson report fake news but says: But if he did [say] that, I guess well have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you whos going to win

Donald Trump has challenged his secretary of state to compare IQ tests, if Rex Tillerson did call the president a moron as reported.

Trump told Forbes magazine: I think its fake news. But if he did [say] that, I guess well have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win.

The president spoke to the magazine on Friday and the interview was published online on Tuesday. Last week, an NBC story claimed Mike Pence, the vice-president, had to talk Tillerson out of resigning this summer, and that Tillerson had called Trump a moron. Some reports said he called the president a fucking moron.

Tillerson said he never considered resigning but did not deny calling Trump a moron. His spokeswoman said he never used such language.

In brief comments to reporters in the Oval Office hours after Trumps comments to Forbes were published and ahead of a meeting with Henry Kissinger, the president was asked if he had undercut Tillerson by questioning his IQ.

No, I didnt undercut anybody, he said. I dont believe in undercutting people.

Later, at the daily White House briefing, the press secretary, Sarah Sanders, insisted: The president never implied the secretary of state was not incredibly intelligent. He made a joke nothing more than that. He has full confidence in the secretary of state Theyre working hand in hand to move the presidents agenda forward.

She chided reporters: Maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it some time Hes got 100% confidence in the secretary of state. Were trying to move forward and talk about the agenda whereas you guys are trying to talk about who likes who.

Speaking to Forbes, Trump also claimed to have had just about the most legislation passed of any president, in a nine-month period, thats ever served. We had over 50 bills passed. Im not talking about executive orders only, which are very important. Im talking about bills.

Trump has made such claims of unprecedented legislative success before and had them debunked. He added: I also have another bill an economic development bill, which I think will be fantastic. Which nobody knows about. Which you are hearing about for the first time.

Under that bill, he said, companies that kept jobs in America would be rewarded while those sending operations offshore would get penalized severely.

Its both a carrot and a stick, Trump said. It is an incentive to stay. But it is perhaps even more so if you leave, its going to be very tough for you to think that youre going to be able to sell your product back into our country.

In a volley of four tweets issued on Tuesday morning, meanwhile, Trump seemed to say he was about to issue an executive action on healthcare. Since Congress cant get its act together on HealthCare, he wrote, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people FAST.

Republican attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have repeatedly failed in the Senate amid widespread opposition to plans that, nonpartisan analysis has said, would take access to health insurance away from millions of Americans.

Trumps threat of executive action he has said he may sign an order to allow people to buy insurance across state lines stood at odds with what he told Forbes. The Democrats want to make a deal, he said. At the same time, I think I have a deal with the Republicans. So I have the best of both worlds. Thats business to a certain extent. Im very able to make deals with Democrats if I have to.

Members of the presidents own party have voted down the ACA replacement plans and one deficit hawk, Bob Corker of Tennessee, has emerged as an establishment voice against planned tax reform. Over the weekend, Trump and Corker engaged in a bizarre exchange of insults on Twitter and, in Corkers case, through the pages of the New York Times.

The failing New York Times set Liddle Bob Corker up by recording his conversation, Trump tweeted on Tuesday, coining a new nickname based on Corkers height (5ft 7in) and accusing the newspaper of malpractice. [Corker] was made to sound a fool, and thats what I am dealing with!

On Sunday one of the Times reporters, Jonathan Martin, tweeted that Corker had planned his attack. He had two aides on line, one taping us, Martin wrote. Corker is effectively staging a slow-rolling public intervention with Trump.

Sanders joined the fray on Tuesday, telling reporters: Senator Corker is entitled to his own opinion but hes certainly not entitled to his own facts.

She also elaborated on Trumps claim that Corker is responsible for the Iran nuclear deal, which the president has fiercely criticised. Senator Corker worked with Nancy Pelosi and the Obama administration to pave the way for that legislation and basically rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal, she said.

Sanders was challenged over the claim as reporters noted that Corker had opposed the deal. But she dug in, saying: He worked with them on the legislation that rolled that out. Thats what helped I think put things in motion. He may have voted against the deal ultimately, but he not only allowed the deal to happen, he gave it credibility. I stand by my statement.

Asked if Corker should resign, as Trumps former chief strategist Steve Bannon has demanded, Sanders replied: I think thats a decision for Senator Corker and the people of Tennessee, not for us to decide.

Also on Twitter on Tuesday, Trump turned his fire on Democrats over the possibility of a deal to protect Dreamers, young undocumented migrants brought to the country as children and previously protected by the Obama administration.

Democratic leaders expressed strong opposition to a list of hardline demands the White House issued on Sunday. Among other measures, the White House said funding for a border wall with Mexico would be part of any accord. Democrats and Dreamers reacted with horror; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said no deal could proceed if a wall was included.

The problem with agreeing to a policy on immigration is that the Democrats dont want secure borders, Trump wrote on Tuesday. They dont care about safety for USA.

Trump also complained again about the NFL, in which player protests during the anthem continue. Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our anthem, flag and country? he wrote. Change tax law!

The NFL gave up its federal tax-exempt status a few years ago and files tax returns as a taxable entity.

The final tweet of the early morning sequence took aim at ESPN and an anchor suspended over the anthem controversy. The tweet also returned to one of Trumps main preoccupations: ratings.

With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have tanked. In fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!

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Most Americans think the U.S. is at its lowest point in history

The current state of affairs in the United States has Americans really stressed out. 

A new poll by the American Psychological Association found that 63 percent of Americans are stressed about the future of the United States, and 59 percent of Americans think it is currently the lowest point in the nation’s history.

The poll found that, essentially, most Americans are wringing their hands and grinding their teeth with the way the country is currently headed.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans polled said the future of the country is a “very or somewhat significant” source of stress—more than money and work. Meanwhile, 59 percent of Americans said the country is at its lowest point in history that they’ve lived through–including World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Specifically, 59 percent of Americans said the current social divisiveness causes stress, and a majority of adults from both major political parties said the country’s future was a source of stress. However, the feeling was higher among Democrats (73 percent) compared to Republicans (56 percent). Almost 60 percent of independent voters said they felt the same way.

“We’re seeing significant stress transcending party lines,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, the American Psychological Association’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The uncertainty and unpredictability tied to the future of our nation is affecting the health and well-being of many Americans in a way that feels unique to this period in recent history.”

The issues giving Americans stress, the poll found, are likely what you’d expect: 43 percent said healthcare, 35 percent said the economy, 32 percent said trust in the government, 31 percent said crime and hate crimes, 31 percent said wars with other countries, and 30 percent said terrorist attacks in the United States.

Unemployment and low wages (22 percent) and climate change (21 percent) also give Americans stress, the poll notes.

Current events are also a cause of stress, according to the poll. While 95 percent of adults said they follow the news regularly, more than half of them said it gives them stress. Two-thirds of those polled said the news often “blows things out of proportion.”

However, the stress has spurred some people into action. The poll found that around half of the country has volunteered in response to the state of the nation, and 28 percent have signed a petition.

The American Psychological Association surveyed 3,440 adults online from Aug. 2 to Aug. 31 to compile their results.

You can read more about the American Psychological Association’s poll here.

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John McCain takes aim at Donald Trump over Vietnam medical deferment

Arizona senator says it is wrong that some avoided war draft, saying: The highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur

John McCain took another shot at Donald Trump on Sunday night, with an angry reference to Americans who avoided the draft for the Vietnam war.

Speaking to C-Span 3s American History TV, the Arizona senator did not mention the president by name. But he said: One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur.

That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.

Trump received five deferments from service in Vietnam: four for academic reasons and one for bone spurs calcium buildups in his heels. In 2015, he said at a news conference he couldnt remember which heel the bone spurs had affected. His campaign said it was both.

In July 2016, Trump told the New York Times: I had a doctor that gave me a letter a very strong letter on the heels. The problem had been temporary and minor, he said, adding: Over a period of time, it healed up.

He also said: You know, it was difficult from the long-term walking standpoint.

American History TV (@cspanhistory)

TONIGHT – @SenJohnMcCain talks about the Vietnam War’s legacy on C-SPAN, at 6 & 10pm ET.

October 22, 2017

The Vietnam war has been a source of tension between Trump and McCain since July 2015, when Trump, then a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, questioned whether McCain was a war hero.

McCain, then a naval aviator, was badly injured in a crash in 1967, captured by the North Vietnamese, held for five years and tortured. He refused opportunities to be released for propaganda purposes.

Hes not a war hero.Hes a war hero because he was captured? I like people who werent captured, Trump said, at a campaign event in Iowa.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweets about $4,000 ‘raise’ from Trump tax planand it completely backfires

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Sunday asked Twitter users what they would do with money President Donald Trump’s administration believes the “average” American family would save under his tax plan–and the responses were brutal.

“The average American family would get a $4,000 raise under the President’s tax cut plan. So how could any member of Congress be against it?” Sanders wrote in a series of tweets. “What would your family do w/ a $4,000 raise from the President’s tax cut plan? REPLY & I’ll share your family’s story in the press briefing. Do you stand w/ the Democrats for higher taxes & bigger government? Or w/ @POTUS for lower taxes & thousands more $$$ in take home pay?”

Some people were quick to point out that the suggestion that every “average American family” would be receiving $4,000 was misleading. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent would mostly help people who made at least $465,626 annually.

But other people played along with the idea that a magical $4,000 check would land in their laps. As one Twitter user put it, “this isn’t gonna go well for you, Sarah.”

They were right.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem likely Sanders will be sharing any of those ideas during the next press briefing.

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