Sarah Huckabee Sanders To Join Fox News As A Contributor

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As White House press secretary, Sanders often fed the media false and misleading information.

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will join Fox News as a contributor, the company disclosed on Thursday.

She’ll make her first appearance on the Sept. 6 airing of “Fox & Friends,” a show that President Donald Trump favors and to whom he has given a rare interview from time to time.

With Sanders’ hiring, the number of high-profile former Trump communications officials on the payroll at Fox News or its parent company is up to three: Former White House communications director Hope Hicks now serves as the parent company’s chief communications officer; former White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah was hired as a senior vice president; and now Sanders joins their ranks.

Sanders departed the Trump administration at the end of June, roughly two months after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report found that she had lied to reporters in 2017 about the circumstances surrounding James Comey’s ouster as FBI director.

During her tenure in the press secretary’s office, Sanders repeatedly fed the media false and misleading information and obscured the truth. Her press briefings gained a reputation as performances for “an audience of one,” seeking mainly to appease Trump.

The president encouraged Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas, her home state, in a tweet confirming her mid-summer departure. It’s unclear how her new role at Fox News might impact any political aspirations she has, but given that current Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) was reelected in 2018, Sanders has time to spare.



Mayor Pete: 'We've Got to Make It More Affordable to Not Go to College in This Country'

Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he supports expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, arguing that it's "almost impossible to take advantage of" in its current form.

"You can't miss a payment for 10 years. It only qualifies on certain kinds of loans and it's really difficult to line up all the pieces to apply," Buttigieg said at a recent "Bully Pulpit Series" interview at the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. "If we made it more generous, I think we would help more people do away with their college debt and inspire more people to do things, not only traditional public service, but stuff like becoming a health care provider in rural areas that lack health care or getting involved in teaching."

Buttigieg said his college affordability plan includes working with states to make college tuition-free for students from low- and middle-income families and making Pell Grants "more generous" by allowing students to use them to cover living expenses.

"You're not really free if you are under this crushing load of debt just as a consequence for doing what society told you to do, which is go to college and get all these skills," Buttigieg said. "We propose eliminating the debt of students who have been eligible for Pell Grants when they start businesses that employ people within a few years after leaving college."

During a campaign rally in Alexandria, Va., in June, Buttigieg said the U.S. government should also work to "make it more affordable to not go to college in this country and that will never happen if we don't have stronger organized labor, which is something I think we need to do."



Trump's approval remains weak despite economy: Poll

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About six in 10 Americans disapprove of President Trump's overall job performance, according to a new poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which finds some support for the president's handling of the U.S. economy but gives him weak marks on other major issues.

Just 36% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president; 62% disapprove.

The numbers may be ugly for a first-term president facing reelection in 14 months, but they are remarkably consistent. Trump's approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% in AP-NORC polls since he took office. By comparison, President Barack Obama's approval never dropped below 40% in polling by Gallup.

The poor grades extend to Trump's handling of several key issues: immigration, health care, foreign policy and guns. Views of the Republican president's handling of the economy remain a relative bright spot despite fears of a potential recession, but at least 60% of Americans disapprove of his performance on other issues. The consistency suggests the president's weak standing with the American people is calcified after two years of near-constant political crises and divisive rhetoric at the White House.

The new survey was conducted shortly after back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left dozens dead and renewed calls from Americans for answers from their elected officials. Trump pledged immediate action in the immediate aftermath of the attacks but has since shifted back and forth on whether to push for stronger background checks on people seeking to buy guns.

"He does whatever's politically expedient. He's awful," said 60-year-old Robert Saunders, a retired police officer from New Jersey who's not registered with either major political party and vowed not to vote for Trump in 2020.

According to the poll, 36% approve of Trump on gun policy, while 61% disapprove, numbers that mirror his broader approval rating.

In response to the shootings, Trump said that he would pursue policy options with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and that he would like to see "very meaningful background checks." Earlier this week, however, Trump said the U.S. already has significantly strict background checks in place and that many of his supporters are gun owners. On Wednesday, however, he again backed tighter background checks while speaking to reporters at the White House.

Seven in 10 Republicans express approval of Trump's handling of gun policy in the new poll, among his lowest ratings from the GOP. Self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans were slightly less likely than conservative ones to express approval, 64% versus 74%.

Beyond guns, Trump remains overwhelmingly popular within his own party.

Nearly 8 in 10 Republicans approve of Trump's overall job performance, while 20% disapprove. As has been the case for his entire presidency, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose his leadership: 94% of Democrats disapprove in the new survey.

Independents remain decidedly low on Trump as well, with about two-thirds disapproving of Trump's performance.

Significantly more Americans approve of Trump's handling of the economy, although even on that issue he remains slightly underwater: 46% approve and 51% disapprove of his performance.

Trump's current economic rating represents a 5 percentage point drop from the same time last year, but for a president who has struggled to win over a majority of American voters on any issue, the economy represents a relative strength.

Even some Democrats approve: Just 5% of Democrats approve of his job performance overall, but 16% approve of his handling of the economy. Independents are closely divided — 44% approve and 47% disapprove — while 86% of Republicans approve of his economic leadership.

"He's kind of a bully, but I've seen some improvement," said Mandi Mitchell, a 38-year-old registered Democrat from North Carolina. "Our unemployment rate has definitely dropped."

Mitchell, who is studying for her doctoral degree, said she didn't vote for Trump in 2016 but might in 2020.

"I'm not going to be too hard on him," she said. "I just think he doesn't address America properly."

Amid regular distractions from the president's social media feed, Trump's team has worked to highlight rising retail sales and the solid labor market with its 3.7% unemployment rate as sources of strength. The U.S. economy appears to be showing vulnerabilities after more than 10 years of growth, however. Factory output has fallen and consumer confidence has waned as Trump has ramped up his trade fight with China.

Trump rattled the stock and bond markets this month when he announced plans to put a 10% tax on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. The market reaction suggested a recession might be on the horizon and led Trump to delay some of the tariffs that were scheduled to begin in September, though many others remain.

"The economy is doing OK, but he's doing a horrible job for the country," said 67-year-old John Sollenberger, of Philadelphia.

He said he left the Republican Party after Trump's rise and is now a registered independent.

"To me, it's the vitriol that comes out of him," Sollenberger explained. "He's obviously a racist. He's anti-immigrant. He foments discontent with so many people it doesn't matter what the economy's doing really."

Those who remain in the Republican Party do not share the negative assessment.

Greg Traylor, a 53-year-old small businessman from North Canton, Ohio, acknowledged that Trump is "rough around the edges," but he praised his work on immigration and his support for Israel. On the economy, Traylor cheered Trump's hard-line stance with China, while acknowledging it may cause some short-term pain.

"He's got balls of steel," Traylor said.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,058 adults was conducted Aug. 15-19 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later were interviewed online or by phone.



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