Yes, Madame Speaker, they noticed. The public has not quite forgotten about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent decision to strategically tear up a copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address shortly after it ended, and while the news cameras were rolling.
While some wondered about the legality of compromising a federal document, many journalists and Democratic strategists were filled with praise and mirth. But what about the public? Their reaction has been not exactly positive.
New research finds that 87% of Americans have heard about Mrs. Pelosi “ripping up her printed copy of the text of President Trump’s State of the Union speech”; 94% of Republicans, 80% of independents and 92% of Democrats agree.
A near majority — 48% — of Americans overall disapprove of this action; 83% of Republicans, 51% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree. Only 38% overall approve of Mrs. Pelosi’s action; 14% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 70% of Democrats agree. Last but not least, a mere 14% overall are not sure about the whole thing — that includes 3% of Republicans, 22% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.
The source is an Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 9-11.
U.S. MILITARY ON TASK
The U.S. Northern Command has revealed it’s preparing for “a potential pandemic” of the coronavirus, now called COVID-19. Both the Navy and Marine Corps have issued servicewide messages for “prudent planning” in the matter; specifically, the Department of Defense Global Campaign plan for “Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13” will get underway.
But not to worry.
“In no way does the planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing. As military professionals, planning for a range of contingencies is something we owe the American people,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield told The Military Times. “The military profession fosters a culture of planning.”
So what is the military facing? The world is paying attention to COVID-19, and the people are plenty nervous. A new Ipsos poll of 8,000 people in eight major nations finds that 86% of the respondents have seen, heard of read a “great deal” or “fair amount” about the outbreak.
Close to 9-out-of-10 say COVID-19 poses a threat. Across the board, 54% say the virus poses “a high or very high threat to the world” while a third deem it a “moderate threat.” The other 12% say the virus is of a lower threat.
Japan appears to be the most unnerved by the ongoing health challenge, with 66% of the population declaring the situation to be a high or very high threat. Australia is second on the nervousness scale with 61%, followed by the U.S. (55%), Germany (47%), Britain (43%), and Canada and Russia (both 42%).
Only 19% feel the virus has been contained and “will soon be over.”
On average, more than 4 in 5 (85%) people support mandatory screening of those traveling from infected countries, and a mandatory quarantine of those who could have the infection.
“This data shows that most people are closely tracking the coronavirus outbreak and are also worried the health epidemic will continue to worsen before it gets better” Ipsos said in its analysis of the findings.
THE REAL WHITE HOUSE BATTLE
So is it White House or fight house? Best-selling author and presidential historian Tevi Troy chronicles the combative side of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in “Fight House, Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.” The book has just arrived just from Regnery Books, a conservative publisher.
“There has been a lot of talk in recent years about White House infighting, so I decided to explore the history to see if White House infighting has been a perennial issue. Turns out it has, and I uncovered many fantastic stories about previous generations of aides doing really nasty things to each other in the White House,” Mr. Troy tells Inside the Beltway.
“This White House, and all future White Houses, can learn about the three levers I found that will enable presidents to limit White House infighting, if they so desire: ideological comity, rigorous process, and presidential intolerance for infighting,” he notes.
The author outlines the common-sense remedies to White House infighting and the huge role technology now plays in such entanglements. Yes, texts and emails play a role these days.
“The book provides context on the administrations, the players, and their infighting, but also show how those fights shaped the administrations in question, the presidents’ historical reputations, and the policy landscape of modern America. The book highlights tough tactics used by sharp-elbowed operatives to prevail in bureaucratic disputes, from leaks to delays in submitting items for review, to moving rivals out of cherished office spaces,” the publisher advises.
Mr. Troy is currently CEO of the American Health Policy Institute, and served as a senior policy adviser in the administration of PresidentGeorge W. Bush.
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POLL DU JOUR
• 96% of U.S. adults would vote for a qualified black presidential candidate; 91% of Republicans, 97% of independents and 99% of Democrats agree.
• 94% overall would vote for a qualified Hispanic presidential candidate; 90% of Republicans, 94% of independents and 99% of Democrats agree.
• 80% would vote for a qualified evangelical Christian candidate; 88% of Republicans, 77% of independents and 77% of Democrats agree.
• 66% would vote for a qualified Muslim candidate; 42% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 88% of Democrats agree.
• 45% overall would vote for a qualified socialist candidate; 17% of Republicans, 45% of independents and 76% of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1.003 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 16-19 and released Tuesday.
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