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Frontline charts GOP friction, shift in 'Trump's Takeover'

The dizzying pace of Trump administration flare-ups, as more than one pundit has opined, has sometimes made context a...

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 2:20 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 2:20 PM

The dizzying pace of Trump administration flare-ups, as more than one pundit has opined, has sometimes made context a casualty as news organizations race to keep up. In that regard, PBS' Frontline continues to provide a welcome service with take-a-deep-breath dives into the headlines, the latest being "Trump's Takeover," a methodical tick-tock of the president's uneasy relationship with the Republican Party establishment.

Admittedly, even this latest report from producer Michael Kirk somewhat runs afoul of the current news cycle, including as it does an interview with Trump associate Roger Stone, the subject of new revelations regarding his possible role in the probe of Russian meddling in the U.S. election. There's also scant mention of tariffs and trade wars, a new point of friction between the president and fellow Republicans.

Still, the larger takeaway, from both Trump allies and opponents, is that despite the vocal "Never Trump" contingent prominently featured on cable news, the GOP's fractious relationship with the president has largely turned in his favor, with the party having been "Trumpified," as political commentator Charlie Sykes puts it.

It's Stone, among the supporters interviewed, who observes that Donald Trump securing the nomination represented "the hostile takeover of the Republican Party."

Much of the one-hour documentary unfolds through the experience of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, whose early reservations about Trump stemmed from his support of the "birther" movement, a campaign to undermine President Obama that Flake deemed "unseemly."

"Trump's Takeover" proceeds through several defining moments in the first year of Trump's presidency, from the failure to pass an overhaul of the healthcare system -- and the president's subsequent criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- to his response to the march by white supremacists in Charlottesville, a situation that Flake characterizes as "a layup," politically speaking, which Trump blew.

The Trump supporters interviewed, including Corey Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway, can't resist a bit of gloating about the current state of play, with the latter noting that Trump had to "beat the establishment of two parties" in order to become president. Yet part of Republican frustration with the president has stemmed from his apparent indifference to policy, with journalist Robert Draper citing sources who were struck by "how little Trump understood or really cared to understand" details of the healthcare proposal.

Frontline will continue the conversation, in part, the following week with "McCain," a look at the life and career of John McCain, which will also explore the veteran senator's relationship with Trump.

According to Sykes, a "Never Trump" voice, those within the GOP who have embraced the president have made "a Faustian bargain," one that will ultimately exact a price.

Whether that happens, Frontline has again established its credentials as a primary forum to contemplate such matters -- a relatively sedate venue intended to cut through the cacophony of that fast-moving history.

Frontline's "Trump's Takeover" and "McCain" premiere April 10 and April 17, respectively, at 10 p.m. on PBS.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 65436

Reported Deaths: 1848
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5487116
DeSoto352328
Madison238763
Harrison237835
Rankin222032
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Jones184258
Forrest172155
Washington158237
Lauderdale139090
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Warren100731
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Holmes86348
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Yazoo80712
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Leake77925
Simpson77930
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Winston60415
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Tippah32513
Clarke32425
Tunica3176
Montgomery3073
Yalobusha30710
Lawrence3067
Humphreys28211
Carroll25411
Quitman2401
Greene23111
Kemper22815
Jefferson Davis2266
Amite2206
Perry2207
Webster21612
Jefferson1946
Wilkinson19413
Sharkey1903
Stone1633
Benton1330
Choctaw1304
Franklin1162
Issaquena251
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 94827

Reported Deaths: 1674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12486232
Mobile9420204
Montgomery6449148
Madison516130
Tuscaloosa405769
Baldwin338023
Unassigned319060
Shelby316432
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Morgan229517
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Franklin123820
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Colbert114113
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Jackson9244
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Chambers83538
Dale80223
Blount7593
Butler75635
Chilton7456
Coffee7365
Covington71620
Pike6877
Lowndes56724
Barbour5655
Marion56224
Marengo53614
Clarke4949
Hale46426
Bullock45011
Winston44011
Perry4364
Wilcox41410
Bibb4134
Monroe4084
Randolph39410
Conecuh37810
Pickens3779
Sumter36018
Lawrence3321
Macon32013
Washington32012
Crenshaw3123
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Greene24911
Henry2493
Geneva2480
Clay2375
Lamar2122
Fayette1835
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