The Note: Trump's 'gut' sees pushback from 'brains' home and abroad

Lots of "brains" are telling the president he's just wrong.

November 29, 2018, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Donald Trump said this week, "My gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else's brain can ever tell me."

But as Trump heads to the G-20 in Argentina, lots of "brains" are telling the president that he's just wrong.

Waiting for him in Buenos Aires are a Russian president taking provocative steps against Ukraine and a Chinese president girding for a trade war.

In Washington, Republican senators are pushing back on Trump's stance toward Saudi Arabia. A government shutdown is a real possibility, too -- even before divided governance becomes a reality.

Trump, of course, is also venting his anger at special counsel Robert Mueller. And he's holding out the possibility of a pardon for Paul Manafort, whom he praised in an interview with the New York Post as among the "very brave" men who aren't cooperating with Mueller.

Trump's gut has gotten him this far. But while the world has grown used to Trump and Trumpism, that's not the same as agreeing with him.

The RUNDOWN with John Verhovek

PHOTO: Poll manager Larry Greer hands holds a roll of "I Voted" stickers given each person after voting in a runoff election Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 in Ridgeland, Miss.
Poll manager Larry Greer hands holds a roll of "I Voted" stickers given each person after voting in a runoff election Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 in Ridgeland, Miss.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Forty seats.

That's how large a swing Democrats could be looking at when it's all said and done, pending the result in California's 21st Congressional District, where the Democrat has overtaken a Republican incumbent as mail-in votes continue to be counted and all major news networks have retracted their projections from Election night.

Much was made heading into the 2018 cycle about a Democratic wave from coast to coast and -- historically speaking -- the party delivered.

Earlier this month, Trump complained on Twitter about the news coverage of the 2018 midterms, saying the results were "better than other sitting Presidents." But by the numbers, the results in the House were the worst for any first-term Republican president in more than 80 years.

In the 13 midterm elections since World War II held after a president's first election, only four sitting presidents -- all Democrats -- fared worse than Trump when it comes to the number of seats lost in the U.S. House: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman.

Tuesday's result in Mississippi may have further cemented the GOP majority in the Senate, but the final result in the House delivered a historically bruising repudiation to the president and his party.

The TIP with Adam Kelsey

The 2018 election cycle didn't end Tuesday in Mississippi -- there's one more race to keep an eye on that has the potential to affect future contests as well.

PHOTO: John Barrow
Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.
United States House of Representatives, FILE

Early voting in Georgia's secretary of state runoff began this week and Trump has already weighed in, endorsing Republican Brad Raffensperger via Twitter in his race against Democratic former Rep. John Barrow.

Not only is the office a potential stepping stone to the governor's mansion, as Gov.-elect Brian Kemp demonstrated this year, but the position will be at the forefront of the state's ongoing voter disenfranchisement battle -- one which became a major storyline amid Kemp's gubernatorial victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams.

On Tuesday, supporters of Abrams filed a federal lawsuit against Kemp's secretary of state successor, alleging that Georgia engaged in voter suppression via the purging of voter rolls and by allowing untoward wait times at polling places, among other impediments.

Though remedies for the issues won't come to pass before the secretary of state runoff concludes next week, its winner will oversee elections for the next four years. That's more than enough time to implement changes that could allow for greater turnout, and, perhaps, a greater challenge for Kemp and other Republicans in the increasingly blue Peach State.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Senior National correspondent Terry Moran, who sifts through the latest headlines surrounding President Donald Trump, Paul Manafort and special counsel Robert Mueller. And, ABC News' Conor Finnegan explains why senators on both sides of the aisle are not satisfied with the briefing they received from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Jamaal Khashoggi.


  • Trump travels to Argentina to attend the 2018 G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., discusses his political legacy and future in an interview with the Washington Post at 9 a.m.
  • The House Oversight Committee holds a hearing to evaluate federal disaster response and recovery efforts with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, at 10 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks to American University students about foreign policy at 3:30 p.m. in Washington.
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