The U.S. economy added just 38,000 jobs in May, far fewer than expected. And though the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, the labor force shrank by nearly 500,000 workers. Hillary Clinton previewed her general election strategy against Donald Trump. In a foreign policy speech Thursday, she called Trump’s ideas “dangerously incoherent.” Clinton addressed an audience in California, where she is in a dead heat with Bernie Sanders ahead of that state’s primary. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan finally endorses Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee. And Gov. Rick Scott warns of an imminent “disaster” in Florida without more federal funds to fight the Zika virus. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.
- Jeanne Cummings Political and White House editor, The Wall Street Journal
- Reid Wilson Congress editor and chief political correspondent, Morning Consult
- Abby Phillip National political reporter, The Washington Post
What Should We Take Away From Donald Trump's Reaction To Hillary Clinton's Foreign Policy Plan?
What Happens If Bernie Sanders Wins California?
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Hillary Clinton slams Donald Trump in a foreign policy speech ahead of next week's crucial California primary. Federal regulators propose new rules for payday loans and Florida Governor Rick Scott appeals to the White House for help in fighting the Zika virus. Here for the domestic of the Friday News Roundup, Jeanne Cummings of The Wall Street Journal, Reid Wilson of Morning Consult and Abby Phillip of The Washington Post.
MS. DIANE REHMYou are, as always, welcome to join us. You can watch our streaming video of this hour's Friday News Roundup. You can call us, 800-433-8850. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. And it's good to see all of you.
MR. REID WILSONGood morning.
MS. JEANNE CUMMINGSGood morning.
MS. ABBY PHILLIPGood morning.
REHMGood to see everybody here. Jeanne Cummings, we have new job numbers. Not so good and even the drop to 4.7 percent unemployment is not necessarily good news.
CUMMINGSNo, no, no, no. This report is not filled with any good news really. The wage numbers held up a little bit, but that might be, you know, a tiny silver lining, but the rest of it is not good news. It's, you know, job creation of less than 40,000. This comes after they had already downgraded numbers so last couple of reports so we're clearly in a soft spot and it's important that the economy find its way past this.
CUMMINGSThis does indicate that the Fed is unlikely now to raise rates later in the year or this summer because they were looking for stability and growth to move to regular order and to get interest rates moving back up. But this is not going to be an indicator that propels them to do that.
WILSONYeah. Over the last three months, the economy has added an average of just 116,000 jobs. That's down from 219,000 as the average over the last year. The labor force participation rate has ticked down again after ticking up for the last few months and that is sort of the driver of this -- of the drop in the unemployment numbers. It's not that they are fewer people who are unemployed. It's that there are fewer people who are being counted as unemployed because they're not actively looking for the jobs.
WILSONI supposed, as Jeanne mentioned, the one silver lining is that the Fed is probably not now going to raise rates in their June 14 and 15 meetings coming up. They might push that off to September.
REHMWhat about Verizon and the strike there? Wouldn't you think, Abby, that maybe that played some role here?
PHILLIPAnd, in fact, the numbers in that sectors were down a little bit, but those numbers were not entirely a reaction to the Verizon strike. They didn't help, but there is general softness in the telecom industry reflected in the numbers and it also just reflects a larger sentiment in the economy that things are on a clear slowdown. And I think people have been feeling that for quite some time.
PHILLIPThese numbers continue to confirm that sentiment.
REHMWould you agree with Jeanne and Reid that the Fed is likely then to postpone any rise in interest rates?
PHILLIPI do. I think the economy is very clearly not strong enough to sustain a rise in interest rates and the Fed has been -- I think the Fed has been hesitant to do it, waiting for these numbers to strengthen and they're not.
WILSONOne thing to consider over the long term, there have been a few academic studies over the last several election cycles that suggest that the economy about -- the way voters feel about the economy about six months out from an election is the way they're going to feel about the economy on election day, barring some kind of massive upheaval. And we're about six months out right now.
WILSONSo we've gone through a period in which, you know, we've seen President Obama's job approval rise, people starting to feel better about the economy and now we hit this soft spot right in that window where voters are starting to tune in and think about the economy in connection with the forthcoming election. So, you know, how does that play out?
REHMAt the same time, isn't a 5 percent unemployment rate pretty good in the overall picture?
CUMMINGSWell, the number looks good, but as we noted, it's because many people have stopped looking and so they're not counted anymore and the Verizon workers that are on strike were counted as not working, too, so they are oddities within the numbers.
CUMMINGSBut that said, consumers were starting to feel better.
CUMMINGSIt is. And, you know, hitting a soft spot is not great and if you were President Obama and you wouldn't want to see a soft spot. But consumers take a while to adapt to their circumstances. One report is unlikely to change their sentiment. It took them a long, long time to start to feel better about the economy so we'll see, as the summer goes on, if the numbers can improve. But really, for the last few months, we've been downgrading, not moving forward. We're definitely in a soft spot.
REHMAll right. And what do you think that could mean for November, Reid?
WILSONEvery time we've had a two-term president in modern political history, voters have kicked out the incumbent party in all but one case and that was when George H.W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan. There is generally a sense of, you know, after eight years of one party controlling the White House, there's a sense that it's time to give the other guys a shot. Well, at the moment, the incumbent is actually popular.
WILSONI mean, job approval ratings...
REHMRatings going up.
WILSON...are more than 50. And I mean, I think a big part of that is he is being compared in the mind of voters to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton who are two very unpopular candidates so the alternative, the incumbent looks pretty good by comparison.
REHMYeah, but don't take away from him. I think he stands on his own as rising in popularity..
WILSONAnd I mean, he's been trading in sort of a range. It's not as if he's converting people who did not approve of his job performance. It's that the people who were sort of soft on, you know, didn't necessarily love the guy are now -- now say that they approve in the long run. So as the economy starts to get better, as President Obama's job approval numbers look better, this is all good news for Hillary Clinton.
WILSONYou know, granted they're not as strong as Bill Clinton's approval ratings. You know, he left office at 60 percent and Al Gore still couldn't win in 2000. But if things are looking good and voters feel good about the incumbent, they're more likely to stick with the incumbent's party over the long run. But if we hit a soft spot, well, that calculation starts to change.
PHILLIPIn some ways, this jobs report seems to be a little bit of a metaphor for the complications of President Obama's legacy just overall, that the number itself, the top line looks good, that people are employed more than they were eight years ago, but the jobs that are available are different. Many people have left the job market and are not looking anymore.
PHILLIPAnd I think that those two things mean that it's a little bit of good news and a little bit of bad news and for someone like Hillary Clinton trying to basically say things are good and I want to make it better, that's a complicated situation to be in. I mean, the president this week was in a place where that was exactly the case, where it's a town, Elkhart, Indiana, where people are doing better than they were eight years ago, but the types of work that they are employed in, the economy overall is not the way that it was eight years ago.
PHILLIPAnd they don't feel the same. And I think he takes some of the blame for that, whether it's fair or not.
REHMAbby, talk about Hillary Clinton's "foreign policy" speech yesterday.
PHILLIPWell, this was really, I think, a sort of watershed moment for the election cycle because I think it marks the transition to the general election. The Clinton campaign has been thinking about this speech for several weeks now. They've been working on a draft. A few months ago, she did another foreign policy speech in California as well that was also aimed at Trump, but it was a little bit different. What we saw yesterday was a decision to go for a little bit of snark and a little bit of scorn to mock Trump in way that they believed would get under his skin.
PHILLIPAnd it wasn't necessary so much about policy. It was about sort of undermining him in the minds of voters, undermining the core of his image in the minds of voters. And so, you know, she came out very hard against him, going after all of his past statements on foreign policy issues and made a clear statement that she was not going to be afraid to go there with him. I think some people had questioned whether the campaign was willing to take Trump on in sort of his arena, which is more personal.
REHMInteresting that she said, "Donald Trump's ideas are not just different. They are dangerously incoherent. They are not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies."
WILSONAnd in the last few weeks, Donald Trump has taken on the Republican governor of New Mexico, who is the first Hispanic woman to lead a state in the U.S., a federal judge who is overseeing the case against him in the Trump University issue, and a host of everybody else because why not? It's throwing fists, if you will, is the Donald Trump style. The Clinton campaign is going to have a very -- and I think they're still struggling to sort of figure out how to deal with this.
WILSONThey're going to have a very difficult time running against a campaign that is -- a candidate who is so unconventional. You know, how do you take on a street fighter, if he's just coming out throwing fists?
REHMAll right. And we'll talk more about the aftermath, the backlash from that speech after we take a short break. Stay with us.
REHMAnd once again, welcome back to the domestic hour of our Friday News Roundup. Don't forget, you can watch this hour. We are video streaming. Go to drshow.org if you'd like to see our wonderful panelists, Abby Phillip of The Washington Post, Reid Wilson with Morning Consult, Jeanne Cummings of The Wall Street Journal. Before the break we were talking about Hillary Clinton's speech and then Donald Trump's reaction to it, Jeanne.
CUMMINGSYes. It was almost like what -- Clinton sought a couple of things through her speech. She wanted to establish herself as superior on foreign policy. In the speech, twice she mentioned how she was in the Situation Room when they went to get Osama bin Laden. So she touted her own credentials. She undermined his at both a temperament level and a knowledge level. She asked, you know, she sort of rhetorically asked -- talk to him about the Iran deal, talk to him for only a few minutes and you'll discover he doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't know what's in it. So her criticism of him on foreign policy was temperament, lack of knowledge, unsophisticated thinking.
CUMMINGSShe went at him at a variety of ways and then she also mocked him. And her crowd that clearly was revved up for this speech laughed at him. And it got under his skin.
CUMMINGSAnd his reaction last night was anger.
REHMAnger how, Abby?
PHILLIPHe said he's not been skinned. He responded directly to her in a way that I think Donald Trump tries not to. His usual retorts are more offensive and aimed directly at the person. And he was reacting to her in a way that I think the Clinton campaign was quite pleased with, frankly. You know, I think Donald Trump is going to pivot very quickly back to Crooked Hillary, Liar Hillary. He's already done that. But he also, I think, is going to be forced to address the very specific concerns that she raised in that speech yesterday.
REHMAnd he certainly did not do that last night. He called her speech a hit job against him. He also said her address was phony. He said, it wasn't a foreign policy speech, it was a hate speech. She can't talk about foreign policy because she's made so many mistakes. And then, again, railed about her use of the email server saying, Hillary Clinton has to go to jail. Reid.
WILSONAnd this is -- there are many ironies in here, first of all. This is a guy who has been talking nonstop about Bill Clinton's infidelities and then a critique of his foreign policy as a hit job. That seems a little incongruous. He also criticized Hillary Clinton for using a teleprompter. Donald Trump's only real serious foreign policy speech, which he gave to the American-Israeli Political Action Conference, he gave using a teleprompter. This is clearly -- the foreign policy is clearly something in which Donald Trump is not comfortable speaking.
WILSONA story came out this week published by Michael Wolff in, was it Vanity Fair, I think it was, in which the author asks Donald Trump what he believes about the Brexit, this referendum happening in the U.K. as to whether or not Britain should leave the EU. And Trump appears not to understand the term Brexit and then finally says, oh, well, I think they should leave, which is contrary to the last, what, 60 years of U.S. foreign policy. Not to say that breaking with U.S. foreign policy is necessarily a bad thing. But...
REHMHe's done that on other occasions...
REHM...speaking about nuclear weapons for Japan and the like.
WILSONYeah. And it is clear though that he is not comfortable talking about foreign policy.
WILSONAnd he has evinced very little evidence -- very little interest in learning more.
REHMAll right. And in reality, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are vying for California and they're very, very close. What happens, Abby, if Sanders does win there?
PHILLIPIt gives him the justification that he needs to continue an aggressive campaign, whether it's in the media or in the remaining primaries -- Washington, D.C. comes after California -- leading in to the Philadelphia convention. Bernie Sanders wants, win or lose, wants to accumulate as many delegates as he can coming out of California. That's about maximizing the influence he has on the floor of the Philadelphia convention.
PHILLIPYou can argue about whether that is a meaningful thing or not. I think many Democrats at this point are saying, give him what he wants at the convention. This is not something that is going to dramatically make a difference one way or another in November. But Bernie Sanders wants to make a point in Philadelphia. And I think that California is a big part of that. He has to get closer to her.
CUMMINGSThe other part and related -- related to the convention is that the number of seats on the platform committee and the rules committee and all of these influential committees at the convention are based on percentage of vote. So if he wants his number of backers on those committees to go up, he needs to perform well. Now, we should all bear in mind that in 2008, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in California. So leading into that convention, she had whatever momentum there is that comes out of California with her...
REHMBut she did not have the number of delegates...
CUMMINGS...but she did not, no.
REHM...back then as she has now.
CUMMINGSActually, he, then, got the super delegates to move. He accomplished what Bernie says he wants to accomplish. Barack Obama stole her super delegates in 2000 -- I mean, 2008. So, you know, Bernie Sanders is playing with that playbook. The trouble is Bernie Sanders has, you know, spent months criticizing super delegates and saying they should have no part in the process and then says, oh, and by the way, how about you leave Hillary and come on over here and back me. That's not going to happen.
WILSONAnd yet the Clintons are putting a lot of effort into California, let's...
CUMMINGSThey want the momentum.
WILSONThey need it.
CUMMINGSThey want to stop him.
WILSON475 delegates available. Clinton -- Bill and Hillary Clinton, together or combined, will hold 30 events over a five-day swing that started on Thursday.
CUMMINGSMm-hmm. They want it.
WILSONIn five days, that's a lot.
WILSONNow there are other state -- and, by the way, Jeanne raises a good point that Clinton won in 2008. California is a state that Clinton should win. It is a semi-closed primary, which means Independents have to take an extra step or two to get a Democratic ballot. It is a very diverse Democratic electorate...
WILSON...only like 52 percent of the Democratic electorate is white. Clinton does much better among non-white voters. And it is a place where she's got the -- as close as you can get to the establishment. Even Jerry Brown, who has feuded with the Clintons for a quarter century or more...
REHMHas now come out and endorsed Hillary.
WILSONIn perhaps the most tepid endorsement that I've ever seen, but...
WILSONBut did, in fact, endorse.
REHMAll right. And let's talk about endorsements on the Republican side, because you've got House Speaker Paul Ryan now saying he's going to vote for Donald Trump. How come?
PHILLIPTalk about tepid endorsements. I mean, this is long awaited. I think most people expected him to do this. But I think Paul Ryan has gotten to the point where the timing was right. I mean, it's notable that the endorsement of Donald Trump came out at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time yesterday, almost perfectly timed to coincide with Hillary Clinton's speech that was aimed directly at Donald Trump. It was an endorsement that was supposed -- that is supposed to start this process of the Republican Party unifying. They know they have to do that.
PHILLIPI think Paul Ryan is caught between a rock and a hard place. They need a Republican president in order to move forward, as he says, his House agenda. But I think one thing in his endorsement that I thought everybody raised their eyebrows at, which was the idea that Donald Trump is going to move forward his House Republican agenda, is I think questionable at best. I don't think Donald Trump has given any indication that he will do any such thing.
REHMThere's an email here from Charles in Houston, who says, Speaker Ryan's endorsement of Trump proves to me, once and for all, politics is purely partisan all the time. Trump does not embrace many principles that Republicans hold dear. But since he is a Republican, that seems to be all that matters.
PHILLIPI think the Republican Party is facing an existential moment here. They have to decide about the future of the party as it currently exists. And Paul Ryan's statement is about saying, I want to preserve the Republican Party and I'm willing to do this in order to do that. You saw Marco Rubio essentially do the same thing. And I think we'll see a lot more Republicans go down that road.
REHMAnd another question, there was violence outside a Trump rally in San Jose, Calif., last night, both pro- and anti-Trump people. Our caller, Ari, wants to know whether this could be an indication of more violence to come in the campaign, particularly at Trump events?
WILSONAnd I think that -- we've seen violence occurring at Trump events over the last several months. It is both Trump supporters and Trump opponents who are inciting this violence. In various different cases it's been different people. But, yeah, I mean this makes -- this gets on the news and it makes television. And it is some -- and that is something that is Donald Trump's goal, to get on -- to dominate the news cycle and the news media. You know, I don't think Donald Trump is actively encouraging violence. But, if it happens, it gets on TV.
REHMAnd of course, there's more news this week about Trump University. And, Jeanne, where is that going to go? Is that going to have traction among people who think about whether Trump is trustworthy, whether he's an honest businessman and whether he would carry those same principles into the White House?
CUMMINGSYeah, I think the Trump University issue is the rare item that we've seen come up around Donald Trump that might have some staying power. And that's because he didn't, you know, he didn't scam a foreign country, he didn't scam other billionaires, he didn't, you know, outthink a bank. He took regular people and he took money from them. And they say -- they say, he didn't deliver what he promised. And that is what's different.
REHMBut don't you think you'll see a lot of counterargument from people -- they will gather -- who will say, I had a great time at Trump University?
CUMMINGSThey already have. They...
CUMMINGS...put those ads up. They have three people who say it was fabulous. Look, this is a court fight and there are going to be arguments made on both sides.
REHMAnd that's where Trump wants the judge in this case removed.
WILSONJeanne was talking earlier about Clinton's success in getting under Trump's skin with the speech yesterday. Trump University is another one of the things that really gets under his skin. It was the only thing during the Republican primaries, when this came up during a debate, where he really went off and yelled and screamed and made a big point to push back. It seems like it's his knowledge...
CUMMINGSHe sees -- it's -- he's vulnerable on this.
WILSONYeah. It's his knowledge, Trump University and his wealth are the three things that seem to really get to Donald Trump. The attacks on Trump University are the easiest political advertising to write in the world. You put somebody who thinks they've been scammed in front of a camera. They talk about that. And there you've got your 30-second spot that can play over and over in, you know, Rust Belt Ohio or wherever you need to win X-number of votes. So that's -- this is a huge vulnerability. It is something the Clinton campaign will exploit. And if they didn't exploit it, it would be political malpractice.
REHMAnd Hillary Clinton reacted to a release of Trump University testimony saying, Donald Trump is a fraud. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." We have some callers waiting. I want to go to Will in Miami Beach, Fla. You're on the air.
WILL(word?) Diane. My question is regarding the poor job growth this month, 38,000 jobs and revisions, the prior revisions. Are we perhaps at the start of another recessionary period and we just don't know it yet? A recession doesn't happen overnight.
REHMWhat do you think, Reid?
WILSONWell, what I think is happening is that the U.S. is once again in a position in which it is the global economic engine. And the rest of the car, if you will, is sort of falling apart. China has got -- experiencing massive slowdowns of growth. Europe looks like it's -- I don't know if it's dipping towards a recession or it's -- it is -- the growth is extremely slow. We're essentially the only ones doing anything economically. But because we're such a globalized world, it doesn't quite work like that. We can't be, you know, growing and expanding by leaps and bounds while the rest of the world is shrinking, you know? So I think this is probably a part of, you know, a larger function of the global economy finally dragging us down a little bit.
REHMAll right. And to Herman in Ann Arbor, Mich. You're on the air.
HERMANThank you, Diane. And hello to you and your panel.
HERMANI have a theory about the present state of the economy I'd like, though, for you and your panel to explore.
HERMANWhile Republicans have heavily pushed the idea that the Exxon -- XL Pipeline will create -- generate jobs, significant jobs. I've always thought that that was a fallacy and that it was a ruse just to help the oil producers, not the people, because it would only be regional in probably three states. And that if they really wanted to create well-paying jobs throughout the economy, they would have supported President Obama's infrastructure bill.
REHMWhat do you think, Reid?
WILSONOne of the fascinating things to watch over the last several months has been the decline in oil and energy jobs in some of those key areas that were the economic drivers during the recession -- North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota. As commodity prices have fallen, unemployment rates in some of those states, which were the best during the -- the lowest during the recession, have started to inch up. Now, for the first time in I think it's like 25 years, Wyoming's unemployment rate is higher than the national average.
REHMBut if Republicans had approved an infrastructure proposal for the entire country, wouldn't that have helped unemployment?
CUMMINGSIt would have helped. It would have created some jobs. And it's interesting that that's one of the few places where Donald Trump agrees with President Obama. Donald Trump talks about the need to rebuild bridges and to rebuild airports. And he talks about that in the context that -- of his promise to create new jobs. So he, too, supports an infrastructure bill.
CUMMINGSJeanne Cummings, she's political and White House editor at The Wall Street Journal. Short break here. More of your comments, your email. We'll be right back.
REHMWelcome back. Let's talk about the other candidates who apparently want to enter the Presidential race. Bill Clinton, Editor of the Weekly Standard...
CUMMINGSBill Kristol. Kristol.
REHMWhat did I say?
REHMBill Kristol. Thank you very much, Jeanne, for listening carefully. He is the Editor of the Weekly Standard. He'll be amused that I called him Bill Clinton. He is zeroing in on conservative writer David French. How come?
CUMMINGSBecause no one else will say yes. He desperately wants a conservative. He's part of the Stop Trump Movement, kind of, a leader of that. And they want a conservative alternative. They want someone they can vote for and they can't -- they can't support Hillary Clinton, because they are conservative Republicans. And they can't support Donald Trump. So, he wanted to get Mitt Romney, he wanted to get Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse. He couldn't get them to take on the job, so he floated the name of David French.
CUMMINGSWho is an author, who appears in National Journal often. He's not well known, and the donors, that Kristol had lined up, that would have stepped in and -- billionaires, would have stepped in to support a third party conservative Republican candidate, are balking. They're, they're not prepared to go there, because they see it as just too much of a long shot.
REHMAnd meanwhile, you've got Libertarians putting forth their own candidate.
WILSONAnd the Libertarians, for the second time in a row, I think, nominated Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. As his Vice President, Gary Johnson picked, well, picked -- the convention nominated Bill Weld, the former Governor of Massachusetts. So, we finally have a ticket that has two Republicans on it.
WILSONAnd it's the Libertarian ticket.
REHMYou know, we may smile as we talk about these names, but what kind of impact could they have?
PHILLIPThe polls that we have so far show that, unquestionably, these third party candidates are going to draw more from the Republican side than from the Democratic side. I think this is probably where you get a lot of shakiness, among sort of establishment Republican types and donors who say, you don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you draft someone who is going to draw away from the Republican ticket, that essentially elects Hillary Clinton. You may feel better about your vote, but it will essentially give her the White House, and I think there's a lot of concern about that.
CUMMINGSWell, the Green Party also has a candidate, who could draw from the Democrats. So, we're going to have -- the independent parties are looking for, frankly, a banner year. I mean, the Libertarians, Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, they think they're going to have their best year ever. They're going to be on ballots in every state, I believe, this time. Last time, they were on almost every state. And one to watch will be Utah, because the Republicans in Utah, led by Mitt Romney, are seriously struggling with where they are right now.
CUMMINGSAnd it is conceivable that the Libertarians could actually win a state. Because the Republicans in Utah cannot back Hillary Clinton. She's not their cup of tea and they are adamantly part of this Stop Trump.
CUMMINGSSo, this year has been full of surprises.
CUMMINGSWe may have more to come.
WILSONI think we're gonna see, this is -- the growth of the Libertarian Party and this possible independent bid along with Paul Ryan's endorsement of Donald Trump, which we were talking about earlier. This all sort of hints at the longer term evolution that the Republican Party's going to go through. Even if Donald Trump loses, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, they're reinvention as a party is not complete. It's not gonna be, you know, they're still going to be at each other's throats.
WILSONAnd something like the Paul Ryan endorsement, I mean, the Washington Post editorial page eviscerated Paul Ryan for backing Trump. You know, essentially believing him for saying that he would support House Republican principals. So there are going to be long term consequences.
WILSONWhether it's like -- whether it's something like the diminishment of Paul Ryan as a, you know, as a serious national policy figure or the rise of some of these third party movements. And the blame that Bill Kristol and the Stop Trump people are going to inevitably get if Hillary Clinton is, is -- wins the Presidency.
PHILLIPAnd in all of this, we should be mindful that Presidential elections are won with the Electoral College, not the popular vote. So if a third party is able to do well in a state like Utah, a Republican state, that just takes Electoral College votes off of the board for Republicans. That's a huge problem for Trump as the party's nominee, who already is facing a map that was put in place by Obama in 2008 and 2012 that disadvantages Republicans. Democrats start with about 240 something Electoral College votes going in to this election based on the elections that they've won for the last six times. And Republicans need to undo that in order to win.
REHMAll right. To Durham, North Carolina. Hi there, Ellen. You're on the air.
ELLENCould you please talk about why the media has given so little attention to the actual facts of Trump's trustworthiness, like in taxes, not giving money to veterans until we found out he had not. All the lawsuits, more about Trump University. And why has the media not let these things be really covered? Working class people who say he speaks for them, he understands them, will clean up government need to know this.
REHMEllen, I hope you'll go online, perhaps, and listen to our first hour yesterday, when we talked about these exact issues. Trump University and the apparent donations to veteran's organizations. I agree with you that certainly people want to know more, need to know more, and in fact, they can know more. Let's go to Andrew in Climax, Michigan. You're on the air.
ANDREWHi Diane. Thanks for taking my call.
ANDREWI wanted to push back a little bit on one of the panelists who suggested that Trump is not -- is actively inciting violence. And I was curious to hear the panel's thoughts about if Trump were to win the Presidency, the possibility of a sort of extended divisiveness and/or violence as a result of that.
CUMMINGSWell, I -- he is not advocating violence. And, but, but he assumes a persona at his rallies that doesn't condemn it either. So, like even last night, he was -- he had some protestors inside of the rally. And he did what he often does where he says, get them out. Get them out. You know, and starts screaming and that sort of thing. And then, sometimes, he'll say, but don't hurt them. Treat them nicely. These are really conflicting messages. But you know, he is not -- there are many things people might want to lay at his doorstep, but I don't think he's saying come and rally and get violent outside of my rally.
CUMMINGSHe's not. This is happening, though, in part because people feel, at least when we interview the protestors, they feel as though he is -- he's attacking them. And they are coming to protest his positions, especially when it comes to immigration.
REHMHere's, here's an email from Chris. Why do the press and various politicians blame the attendees at Trump events for the violence they face for merely attending an event for the apparent Republican nominee? That's unfair. More unfair, un-Democratic. If this were happening to Democrats, the press would be up in arms. Abby.
PHILLIPI think it's worth noting that there have been some very high profile incidents caught on tape in which attendees at Trump rallies have been violent toward protestors who have not been violent. At least two incidents come to my mind in which attendees have punched protestors or physically assaulted them. And have, as a result, faced criminal charges for that. So, it is happening. I agree that violence on both sides, like what we saw last night outside of the rallies where anti-Trump protestors were pelting eggs and water bottles at pro-Trump supporters.
PHILLIPThose two things, neither of them should be happening. But I think it is not true that there have been no instances in which Trump supporters have been violent or physical.
REHMAll right. Let's move on. On Tuesday, a woman with Zika gave birth to a baby with microcephaly in New Jersey. Tell us what the latest is, Abby, on that issue?
PHILLIPWell, this woman is yet another case of someone who did not contract Zika in the United States, but rather contracted it on a trip outside of the country. And gave birth to a baby who has microcephaly. It is, in some ways, I think, a wake-up call, not just because of the threat of people contracting Zika, but also because microcephaly is a very expensive disease to treat. It's something that has long term consequences for the United States in terms of our healthcare costs.
PHILLIPWe will have more babies like this born and more mothers taking care of these children, and that's something that Congress is going to have to deal with. One of the reasons why you saw Florida Governor Rick Scott come out and say, we need this money, is because Florida is essentially ground zero. You have a lot of transit from Latin American countries where Zika is ravaging. And including territories, US territories like Puerto Rico. And not only will they be dealing with the influx of passengers who may have contracted the virus, but the potential for mosquitoes who have the virus to spread it in their state.
PHILLIPAnd also when babies are born. That's a cost that the state and private insurance companies are going to have to bear.
REHMHere's an email from Barb in Arlington, Virginia. Why doesn't Florida's Governor Scott make his request for more Zika virus funds, not to the President, but to the Republicans in Congress, since they're the ones who reduced the funding request of the NIH and the President. Jeanne.
CUMMINGSWell, to Governor Scott's great frustration is he already did that. He came here about a month ago and urged his fellow Republicans to approve the funding and they didn't.
REHMThey left town without doing it.
CUMMINGSRight. Right. And his letter to the President was born of that frustration. He's got over 150 cases down there in Florida. About 40 of them involve pregnant women. All of them contracted the disease outside of the country. But at any rate, the cost, the problems, and everything are now on Florida's back.
REHMAnd now, medical experts are telling people who have travelled in those parts of the world that they must refrain from sex for eight weeks. Now, you're gonna have lots of luck with that. And it really worries me that people are taking this awfully lightly, it seems to me, and I would be certainly -- if I were a Republican on Capitol Hill listening to Governor Scott. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." And now, let's go to Del Rey Beach, Florida. Hi Chris, you're on the air.
CHRISHey, how are you? I called in earlier when you were discussing the previous topic.
CHRISBut I wanted to ask your guests how they feel about the current Presidential race with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and now this kind of new found excitement over the Libertarian candidate. Do you feel a Libertarian candidate coming to the forefront could open the doors for Bernie Sanders to run as an independent in the event that he doesn't win the nomination?
REHMHe's already said...
REHM...he would not do that. He said he would support...
WILSONAnd, and this is the problem that someone like a David French or any other conservative alternative would have, is that we're getting past the point at which you have to be submitting signatures to actually appear on ballots as an independent candidate. I think, correct me if I'm wrong, I think it's two states' deadlines have already passed. I think it's Illinois and Texas. There are several other states that are coming -- in which deadlines are coming in the next few days.
WILSONThe bottom line is, they're out of time. They don't have -- no independent candidate is going to have the ability or time to gather all these signatures to appear on a ballot. This is something you gotta start planning for six, eight, nine months ago.
REHMAll right, and to Jack in Worthington, Massachusetts. You're on the air.
JACKYeah, hi Diane. Thank you. I guess two points, it's just that I'm listening to so much negativity coming across, and a lot of it out of commentators from NPR. And basically talking about the low job rate and things like that. Without the relevance of what's going on in the world. But certainly, nobody is talking about the fact that the last eight years have definitely improved everything that almost everybody's doing. I mean, I work for myself, I have my own business. And believe me, it's better than it was.
JACKThe other thing that I'd really like...
REHMJack, I just want to interrupt you for one moment. Have you listened to the entire hour this morning, because I raised that exact point?
JACK...I, I don't doubt that, because you do raise good points that I'm very cordial to, so I did not get a chance to hear the whole thing.
REHMOkay. Thank you.
JACKBut I just tuned in.
JACKBut the other -- the only other thing is that, as far as Donald Trump is (unintelligible) , by not condemning it, the man is condoning it. He is soliciting the type of people that are coming in.
REHMAnd that's a fair point.
CUMMINGSThey are definitely mixed signals. And Jack, you make a valid point there. And, you know, there is pressure growing, now, on Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to issue statements saying protest his positions, if you wish.
CUMMINGSBut leave the eggs at home. Right.
CUMMINGSSo, you know, I think everybody needs to kind of step up here so that we don't have more violence. And the other point Jack made that the economy improving, that certainly explains President Barack Obama's improving ratings, as well.
CUMMINGSSo, it is recognized by others.
WILSONAnd, and yet, Abby said something earlier in this hour that I think illustrates why the better top line numbers are not translating into more optimism among average Americans. And Abby said, in Elkhart, Indiana, the jobs have come back. And, you know, the unemployment rate shrank from like...
REHMDifferent kinds of jobs.
WILSON...they're different kinds of jobs.
WILSONAnd the economy is undergoing a fundamental change.
REHMAnd that's happening all over the country.
WILSONIt's happening all over the country. And it makes people nervous and worried and that's why even though the unemployment rate looks good, even though we've had 70 some straight months of job growth, the bottom line is people are nervous because those jobs aren't the same jobs they used to have.
REHMChange is underway.
WILSONAnd, and that change makes people very unsettled.
REHMVery uncomfortable. Reid Wilson with Morning Consult. Jeanne Cummings with The Wall Street Journal. And Abby Phillip with the Washington Post. Have a great weekend, everybody.
REHMAnd enjoy everybody a peaceful, quiet weekend. Thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.