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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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
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Franklin1098
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Carroll933
Daviess8416
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Wayne756
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Jefferson431
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Owen351
Sullivan341
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Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 115833

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook753063519
Lake7933281
DuPage7460350
Kane6083167
Will5356268
Winnebago209153
McHenry148870
St. Clair105077
Kankakee83644
Kendall75119
Rock Island63923
Champaign5957
Madison54557
Boone42416
DeKalb3704
Sangamon34328
Randolph2674
Jackson25610
McLean21613
Ogle2002
Stephenson1992
Macon19219
Peoria1918
Out of IL1831
Clinton18017
Union1519
Unassigned1490
LaSalle14113
Whiteside13412
Iroquois1314
Coles12313
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox960
Grundy952
Monroe9311
McDonough847
Lee791
Tazewell704
Cass690
Henry670
Williamson602
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin442
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion381
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Menard190
Mason180
Washington180
Woodford182
Hancock160
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
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Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Brown100
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Wayne91
Alexander80
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Johnson70
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Marshall50
De Witt40
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Richland30
Stark30
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