ESSENTIAL #1: “THE PRESIDENT SHAPES THE PUBLIC CHARACTER OF THE NATION. TRUMP’S CHARACTER FALLS SHORT.” MITT ROMNEY, THE WASHINGTON POST
From the article: “The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.
It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “CHANGES MAY BE AHEAD FOR CRITICIZED GEORGIA ELECTION SYSTEM” KATE BRUMBACK, ASSOCIATED PRESS
From the article: “Georgia’s outdated election system has drawn criticism from cybersecurity experts and voting integrity advocates, and now a commission tasked with examining potential replacements is preparing to make recommendations to lawmakers.
The paperless system was closely scrutinized during last year’s nationally watched gubernatorial race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who was Georgia’s secretary of state and chief elections official. Abrams and her allies accused Kemp of suppressing minority votes and mismanaging the election, including by neglecting elections infrastructure. Kemp, now governor-elect, has vehemently denied those allegations.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “CHARLIE BAKER, THE INCREMENTALIST” JOSHUA MILLER, THE BOSTON GLOBE
From the article: “Baker’s comfort with the weeds, his emphasis on nonpartisan data rather than ideology, his step-by-step style of governance, conciliation with Democrats — it’s all part of what helped him notch consensus victories on opioid and energy laws, and earn a big reelection win in November.
But as he begins his second term on Thursday, the governor’s managerial style means the man himself remains something of an enigma.
And in this Trump era, the nation’s most popular governor has found political safety and success in speaking in muted tones of disappointment and writing wonky letters of dismay to national Republicans.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “TRUMP INVITES CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS TO BORDER SECURITY BRIEFING” AMANDA BECKER AND DAVID MORGAN, REUTERS
From the article: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday invited Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to a border security briefing at the White House as the federal government remained partially shut down over his demand to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.”