Trump reacts to Justice Kennedy retirement

President Donald Trump responds to news that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court.

Posted: Jul 2, 2018 7:18 AM
Updated: Jul 2, 2018 7:41 AM

On Wednesday night, speaking to a packed house in North Dakota, President Donald Trump seemed to suggest that this whole being President thing wasn't so tough.

"The Heritage Foundation came out with a report, and this was as of two months ago, we've already implemented 64% of our top agenda items," Trump told the cheering crowd. "And that's at a much faster pace than even Ronald Reagan. That's pretty good, right?"

That bravado was apparent, too, in Trump's barrage of early morning tweets on Thursday. Breaking with his past refusal to impugn special counsel Robert Mueller personally, Trump tweeted, "When is Bob Mueller going to list his Conflicts of Interest? Why has it taken so long? Will they be listed at the top of his $22,000,000 Report...And what about the 13 Angry Democrats, will they list their conflicts with Crooked H? How many people will be sent to jail and persecuted on old and/or totally unrelated charges (there was no collusion and there was no obstruction of the no collusion)...And what is going on in the FBI & DOJ with Crooked Hillary, the DNC and all of the lies? A disgraceful situation!"

The reason for all that confidence? Donald Trump is, to borrow a favorite Trump word, winning -- at least as he sees it.

His takeover of the Republican Party is complete. He made history in his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He overhauled the judiciary with a series of conservative appointments. And now he has the chance to change the judicial future of the country for decades to come thanks to the Wednesday retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Remember that the President believes himself to be a great man -- someone who bends the arc of history, who changes the course of a country or maybe the world. Sure, that's a very big thing to think of yourself. But Trump has never lacked confidence.

It's that confidence -- many would say hubris -- that led him to boast at the Republican National Convention: "Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it." It's that confidence that allowed Trump to be unintimidated by the office of the President. It's that confidence that allows him to insist that "the one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be. You've seen that, you've seen it strongly."

Trump looks out at the country and sees events conspiring to make him a deeply consequential President. The chance to nominate two Supreme Court justices within his first 18 months in office is a ready-made legacy maker for a man obsessed with how he is perceived -- both now and going by the light of history. The stunning decision from Kim to put denuclearization on the table, and to even sit across the table for the first time with an American president, was history in the making. The lowest unemployment rate in decades -- including for women and African-Americans -- is history. His standing among fellow Republicans makes him the most popular or at least one of the most popular Republicans ever.

"You know, a year and a half ago, they said I was an interloper," Trump recounted on Wednesday night. "How bad is that? An interloper. And now they say, and you will admit, a thing comes out, a big poll, and a couple of polls. A number of polls that, 'He's the most powerful, most popular Republican in the history of the party.' And a little while ago I was an interloper."

Yes, the country Trump looks out on is more divided -- and angrier -- than we've been in a very long time. Yes, Mueller's probe continues, with five people including Trump's former deputy campaign chairman and national security adviser having already pleaded guilty. Yes, Trump's approval ratings -- when viewed for the entirety of his presidency -- are historically low.

Trump may not even see those less positive elements of his first 18 months in office. Or, and this is much more likely, he simply doesn't care.

Remember that his guiding principle is simply to be talked about. Through the light of history, that desire to be relevant translates into a desire to be remembered. To make the history books. To have an impact that no one can take away from you. The haters and the losers? They'll always be there. But the winners write the history. And Trump is absolutely convinced that he is a winner.

You can dispute his own calculation of his own successes. But what is becoming more and more difficult to dispute is his import. Past presidents have openly pined for circumstances that allowed them to sit astride history, emerging as the great men they believe themselves to be. (Remember: Many "great" men are not "good" men.

Trump, whether through luck, his own actions or some of both -- now sits at a potential crossroads of history. That's an idea that cheers Republicans and terrifies liberals. But that moment is upon us. And Trump knows it.

Terre Haute
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Robinson
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Indianapolis
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 30°
Rockville
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 32°
Casey
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Brazil
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Marshall
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 33°
Clear and cold evening.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 705063

Reported Deaths: 12685
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook2988706476
DuPage44035777
Will37864560
Lake36375629
Kane31136461
Winnebago18509262
Madison14013242
McHenry13979156
St. Clair12956257
Champaign1061957
Sangamon993799
Peoria8880129
Rock Island8444134
Kankakee8438103
McLean819054
Tazewell6625102
Macon6370131
Kendall613347
LaSalle5975133
DeKalb488147
Adams465148
Boone383633
Vermilion380150
Whiteside3668109
Williamson351080
Coles326458
Clinton324761
Ogle279135
Knox275462
Effingham269621
Grundy269418
Jackson261136
Henry260615
Marion241751
Stephenson241534
Livingston221226
Randolph218826
Morgan215636
Macoupin211517
Bureau207842
Monroe202045
Franklin199525
Lee196334
Christian185443
Jefferson183159
Woodford170627
Logan165813
Fayette165029
Iroquois163426
McDonough156240
Fulton141611
Shelby135026
Douglas132716
Jersey120924
Union116428
Montgomery112619
Crawford109813
Saline109025
Jo Daviess106217
Warren106220
Perry105423
Carroll104724
Bond102110
Lawrence101710
Pike99427
Cass94823
Hancock94012
Wayne87633
Moultrie87510
Clay81820
Greene80929
Clark78620
Edgar77815
Piatt7645
Richland73819
Ford73222
Mercer73010
Mason70219
Johnson7016
Washington6712
Jasper63411
Cumberland60916
De Witt60017
White5878
Massac5833
Wabash5348
Menard4571
Unassigned4270
Pulaski4072
Marshall3926
Hamilton3783
Brown3203
Henderson2790
Schuyler2661
Alexander2522
Stark2523
Putnam2420
Calhoun2310
Scott2310
Edwards2233
Gallatin1883
Hardin1461
Pope971
Out of IL110

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266