Johnny Isakson avoids criticism of Donald Trump over Gold Star family flap

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Ashburn, Va., on Tuesday. AP/ Evan Vucci

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in Ashburn, Va., on Tuesday. AP/ Evan Vucci

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s extraordinary refusal to endorse two of his own party’s leaders – U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Sen. John McCain – in their primary campaigns ratcheted up a war between the businessman and the GOP’s political establishment.logo-all

“We need very, very strong leadership,” he told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.” Yeah, that last sentence is the same phrase Ryan used on Trump this spring.

The Daily Caller reports that Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is livid over the slights, and ABC News says some top GOP officials are exploring options in case Trump decides to withdraw.

On Tuesday, Rep. Richard L. Hanna of New York also became the first Republican incumbent in Congress to announce he would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton, and prominent GOP fundraiser Meg Whitman, the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, said she would also back the Democrat in November.

And yet, Georgia’s top office-holders have stuck with Trump and stopped short of rebuking him for his recent controversial comments, including a call for Russia to cyber-attack Democratic operatives and the belittling of the Muslim family of a slain U.S. soldier.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., weighed in on Trump’s war of words with Khizr Khan, the father of the U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004. As quoted by his spokeswoman:

“Captain Khan made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him and his family. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am committed to honoring the sacrifice of our fallen heroes and all of our Gold Star families.” 

Oh, wait. It’s hard to say that Isakson weighed in on the actual dispute when he never mentioned the word “Trump.” Right?


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday expounded on his believe that the coming November election might be “rigged.” From the Washington Post:

“If the election is rigged, I would not be surprised,” he told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “The voter ID situation has turned out to be a very unfair development. We may have people vote 10 times.”

…n his interview with The Post, Trump offered that his chief concern about fraud was that states without strict identification requirements would see rampant repeat voters. “If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting,” he said. On Fox News, Trump’s only evidence for fraud consisted of “precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican” in the 2012 election.

Federal courts have recently overturned all or parts of voter ID laws in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, on the grounds that they discourage minority voting.


We have yet to see Jim Barksdale, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, do anything on TV except introduce himself. But his Tuesday call for six debates on the economy with Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson indicates where the self-funding Democrat may be headed.

With President Barack Obama in the White House, how do you talk about economic insecurity and uncertainty? Roy Cooper, the Democratic attorney general for North Carolina, is currently challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Here’s Cooper’s most recent ad, which could serve as a clue to what’s headed Georgia’s way:


Former U.S. senator Max Cleland called Tuesday and pointed to the coming debut of a Mel Gibson-directed film based on the life of Desmond Doss, a devout Seventh Adventist who refused to carry a gun during World War II, and instead served as a medic. Here’s the trailer:

Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor for his rescue of 75 wounded soldiers during the battle of Okinawa. He was born in Lynchburg, Va., but actually spent most of his life as a resident of Rising Fawn, Ga.

“Hacksaw Ridge” opens Nov. 4, four days before Election Day and seven before Veterans Day.

The movie will be based at least in part on “The Unlikeliest Hero,” a 1967 biography of Doss by Booton Herndon. The book is being re-released as well. Cleland reported that he’s just finished a new foreward for the publication.


A hard-line conservative congressman in west Kansas lost his battle for re-election to a more moderate Republican on Tuesday, despite help from two Georgia colleagues.

U.S. Reps. Jody Hice, R-Monroe, and Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, gave money to boost Tim Huelskamp, their House Freedom Caucus colleague, ahead of his primary bid against Dr. Roger Marshall, an obstetrician and political newcomer.

Hice and Loudermilk’s campaign committees sent $1,500 and $2,000, respectively, Huelskamp’s way in recent months, according to federal campaign finance data. The political giving arm of Columbus-based AFLAC also donated $1,000 to the three-term lawmaker’s campaign in May, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Huelskamp wasn’t the only Kansas casualty. From the Associated Press:

A top state Senate leader and at least 10 other conservative Kansas legislators have lost their seats as moderate Republicans made GOP primary races a referendum on education funding and the state’s persistent budget woes.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce was among the lawmakers ousted amid a backlash against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies.

The voting occurred against the backdrop not only of the state’s fiscal woes but ongoing legal and political disputes over funding for public schools. The state Supreme Court could rule by the end of the year on whether the Legislature is shorting schools on their state aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.


Ouch. Ralph Lancaster, the special master assigned to handle Georgia’s water wars case, is not a fan of us ink-stained wretches.

He’s already placed a gag order on the negotiations between Georgia and Florida to settle the long-running legal feud, citing a need to shield the proceedings from a “relentless and ruthless” media.

And now the arbitrator is lashing out at a recent story that detailed how he’s been paid more than $160,000 so far to oversee the case. From the transcript of his latest conference call:

“Let me begin by telling you something that is not the reason for the call. A reporter from the Atlanta Journal called here yesterday saying he’s going to do a piece on this firm’s fees. I don’t know whether he called you or not, but I thought I would give you a heads-up just in case he hasn’t called you. You know, I think, how I feel about the media generally. And I would suggest that you be careful if he calls you because he or someone in his staff may attribute things to you that you didn’t say or may misquote you.”

Georgia can expect to shell out much more for Lancaster’s services. A trial is scheduled to begin October 31 in the presiding judge’s home state of Maine. Click here for an in-depth look at the water wars.

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