John McCormack

John McCormack is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

Stories by John McCormack

Trump Won't Say If He'd Appoint Supreme Court Justices Who Disagree with Him on Eminent Domain

8:07 AM, Feb 07, 2016

The February 7 GOP presidential debate was a good one for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. With three days until the New Hampshire primary, where Trump has a commanding lead in the polls, his rivals spent most of the night fighting each other.

The main story in the press coming out of the debate is that Marco Rubio, currently in second place in New Hampshire polls, had a disastrous night because he repeated the same criticism of Barack Obama four times. Rubio had thoughtful and substantive answers on topics like ISIS, religious liberty, and the right to life. But Chris Christie's mockery of Rubio's repetitive remarks about Obama was the highlight of the night in the

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Albright at Clinton Rally: 'Special Place in Hell for Women Who Don't Help Each Other'

4:33 PM, Feb 06, 2016

At a rally before a few hundred people on Saturday, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright suggested that women who vote for Bernie Sanders are buying a one-way ticket to “a special place in Hell."

"There are some that are out there that don't understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton," Albright said as she stood next to Hillary Clinton inside the gymnasium of Rundlett Middle School. "The story is not over. They are going to want to push us back. Appointments to the Supreme Court make all the difference."

"We tell our story about how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women don't think you have to—it's been done. It's not

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Trump Cancels Only N.H. Event Today, Offers Top Prize of $15 Buffalo Wild Wings Gift Card to Get Out the Vote

12:55 PM, Feb 05, 2016

Donald Trump canceled his only scheduled campaign event in New Hampshire on Friday because it is snowing in the Granite State. "Due to the weather and the airports being closed Mr. Trump is unable to attend today's Town Hall at the Londonderry Lions Club," the Trump campaign said in a press release. "This event will be rescheduled and additional details will follow. Mr. Trump will campaign in New Hampshire on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday." Huffington Post reporter Scott Conroy notes that other campaigns stayed on schedule despite the snow.

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Christie Makes Another Donation to Planned Parenthood

Jeb Bush's super PAC chips in too.
9:50 AM, Feb 05, 2016

On Thursday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie attacked Florida senator Marco Rubio from the left on the issue of abortion.

"He's made it very clear that — on the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for rape, incest or life of the mother," Christie said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Now, you know, I think that's the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about."

"I am pro-life, but I believe that rape, incest and life of the mother, as Ronald Reagan did, should be exceptions to that rule," Christie added.

Christie made two claims that are flatly false. First, Rubio has always said that he supports an exception when the life of the mother is endangered.

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Why Trump Lost Iowa

Evangelicals come through for Cruz.
3:18 AM, Feb 02, 2016

All of the televisions in the Sheraton ballroom at Donald Trump's caucus watch party were turned to CNN when the news arrived a little after 9:00 p.m. local time. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Trump was going to lose the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz by 4 percentage points and finish just 1 point ahead of Marco Rubio. One Trump supporter simply raised his hands to shield his eyes from the TV. The crowd remained mostly quiet.

As a trickle of Trump supporters began to leave the ballroom, there were a few misty eyes but no histrionics. Many simply didn't want to talk about Trump's loss. But those who did seemed to take the defeat in stride. "I actually thought Trump would probably Read more

Huckabee's Double Standard for Trump and Cruz

4:13 PM, Feb 01, 2016
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee declined on Monday to cast any judgment on Donald Trump's admission that he's never asked God for forgiveness. Read more

Why the Fourth Most Popular Candidate in Iowa Is in First Place

10:23 AM, Jan 31, 2016
In the final Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll, Donald Trump leads the field at 28 percent with Ted Cruz in second place at 23 percent and Marco Rubio in third at 15 percent. Read more

Huckabee Rules Out Trump Endorsement This Week

5:13 PM, Jan 30, 2016
Donald Trump is holding a campaign rally in Little Rock, Arkansas on Wednesday—an odd location for an event less than a week away from the New Hampshire primary. That stop on Trump's itinerary has prompted some speculation that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee may endorse Trump, but on Saturday Huckabee categorically denied that he would endorse anyone this week. Read more

Debate Without Trump Gets Better Ratings Than Last Debate with Trump

9:19 AM, Jan 29, 2016

Donald Trump's campaign manager predicted that Thursday night's GOP presidential debate on Fox News would only get "about 2 million" viewers because Trump refused to show up. In fact, "Fox News likely had 11 million to 13 million viewers for the debate," CNN's Brian Stelter reports.

Thursday's debate ended up getting higher ratings than the the last debate in which Trump participated. "Fox's Trump-less debate had an 8.4 household rating, according to early Nielsen data from so-called metered markets," reports CNN's Stelter. "The most recent GOP debate, televised two weeks ago on the Fox Business Network, had a household rating of 7.4." It's possible that Thursday's debate had up to 2 million more viewers than the January 15

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Trump Website for Donations to Veterans Funnels All Money to Donald J Trump Foundation

5:55 PM, Jan 28, 2016

Donald Trump is skipping tonight's debate because, according to Trump, Fox News and Megyn Kelly have not been nice to him. Trump plans on holding a rally to benefit veterans instead, but The Federalist reports that Trump is funneling all donations for veterans to his personal Donald J Trump Foundation--a charity that has treated veterans as an afterthought in recent years.

From The Federalist:

"Honor their valor," the website,, states. "Donate now to help our Veterans."
The website, which is nothing more than a single page with stock photos and a credit card donation form, claims that "100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.

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For Years, Trump's Charity Gave Veterans Little More Than Peanuts

Now he wants to use them as political props.
10:11 PM, Jan 27, 2016

Donald Trump says he's skipping the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night because he's upset with Fox News and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Trump will instead hold a "special event to benefit veterans organizations" in Iowa, according to a campaign press release. But the event could come off as a cheap political stunt exploiting veterans, especially because the Donald J Trump Foundation has been far from generous to veterans organizations over the years.

As Emily Canal of Forbes reported in October: "The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available), according to the non-profit's 990 tax forms from those years.

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Pro-Life Leaders Warn Iowans: 'Support Anyone But Donald Trump'

6:03 PM, Jan 26, 2016

Today, a group of pro-life women leaders mailed Iowans a letter warning that Donald Trump is an unacceptable choice for pro-life voters. They write that Trump's record and his statements about abortion, as well as his demeaning treatment of women, give them grave concerns:

Dear Iowans,
As pro-life women leaders from Iowa and across the nation, we urge Republican caucus-goers and voters to support anyone but Donald Trump. On the issue of defending unborn children and protecting women from the violence of abortion, Mr. Trump cannot be trusted and there is, thankfully, an abundance of alternative candidates with proven records of pro-life leadership whom pro-life voters can support.

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Jeb Bush Super PAC's Dishonest Attack on Rubio's Use of GOP Credit Card

5:34 PM, Jan 26, 2016

Here's that Right to Rise ad targeting Rubio on his use of the FLGOP credit card:— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) January 26, 2016

Right to Rise, the super PAC backing Jeb Bush, is out with a new TV ad attacking Marco Rubio over his use of a Florida Republican party credit card.

The ad's narrator says: "Car repairs, home improvements, a family trip. It's not easy to afford them. What did Marco Rubio do? He put $22,000 in personal expenses on a Republican Party credit card."

The ad says Rubio caused a "scandal," and it easily leaves viewers with the impression that Rubio used state party funds for personal gain. But that's not

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Trump: I Tried But Failed to Bulldoze Elderly Widow's Home for My Casino Parking Lot

1:39 PM, Jan 24, 2016

A new Ted Cruz ad attacks Donald Trump for the time Trump "colluded with Atlantic City insiders to bulldoze the home of an elderly widow for a limousine parking lot at his casino."

"He doesn't have no heart, that man," the widow says in the TV ad.

Trump responded to the attack on Meet the Press this morning by pointing out that he merely tried to knock down the widow's home but was ultimately unsuccessful.

"His ad is wrong because I never knocked down that house. I wanted to get that house to build a building that would have employed tremendous numbers of people. But when the woman didn't want to sell, ultimately I said forget about it," Trump said.

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Iowa's Biggest Newspaper Endorses Marco Rubio

6:51 PM, Jan 23, 2016

On Saturday evening, the Des Moines Register endorsed Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination:

Sen. Marco Rubio has the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American dream. We endorse him because he represents his party's best hope.
That hope rests partly in the electoral calculus of the country. Republicans should havelearned from 2012 that they cannot win with Republicans alone. Recent polling shows Rubio has higher favorability ratings among independents than all candidates but Ben Carson, as well as positive ratings among Latinos.
Rubio promises specific answers for the issues in these voters' lives.

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Trump Publishes Op-Ed Critical of Roe v. Wade, Doesn't Say If It Should Be Overturned

12:45 PM, Jan 23, 2016

In December, Donald Trump ducked a question about whether he would seek to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade in order to allow legislators to pass laws protecting the lives of human beings who haven't been born yet. "You're gonna need a lot of Supreme Court justices, but we're gonna be looking at that very, very carefully," Trump said. Yesterday, Iowa senator Joni Ernst called on Republican candidates tell voters where they stand on the issue, and this morning Donald Trump published an op-ed at the Washington Examiner titled "My vision for a culture of life."

Trump's op-ed has some sharply critical words about Roe v.

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Why Joni Ernst Marches

10:07 AM, Jan 23, 2016
Almost all Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate say they're pro-life and vote that way. But few are willing to speak out and lead on the issue. It's controversial. It may alienate members of the donor class and infuriate some Democrats. Iowa senator Joni Ernst doesn't seem to care about any of that. Read more

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst: GOP Presidential Candidates Should Take a Stand on Roe v. Wade

Donald Trump continues to evade the question.
2:24 PM, Jan 22, 2016

Ahead of her speech at the March for Life on Friday, Iowa GOP senator Joni Ernst said that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and other presidential candidates should tell voters where they stand on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared a right to abortion-on-demand.

"It is extremely important—extremely important" to have a president who would "appoint judges that understand that Roe v. Wade really wasn't a decision that was based on the Constitution," Ernst told THE WEEKLY STANDARD during an interview in her Senate office Friday morning.

Trump, who used to support a right to partial-birth abortion and third-trimester abortion, now says he's pro-life.

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Trump on the Stump

With The Donald in Iowa.
Feb 01, 2016

Before Donald Trump takes the stage in Northern Iowa University’s gymnasium, a woman he once fired tries to convince the crowd of 1,000 that Trump's victory is inevitable. "Hop aboard the Trump train. 'Cause let me tell you what, folks. We are going places. And we are going places fast. And we are steamrolling anyone that gets in the way of our next stop, and that is the White House," Tana Goertz, Trump's Iowa co-chair and a runner-up on Trump's reality-TV show The Apprentice, says to fire up the assembly.

Trump is not unstoppable, but says he will be if he takes the state. "If we win Iowa, I think we'll run the table," he tells the crowd in Cedar Falls. He might not be wrong.

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Would Donald Trump Be a Pro-Abortion President?

8:50 AM, Jan 17, 2016

When Ben Carson was rising in the polls, Donald Trump was quick to attack the former neurosurgeon for being "pro-abortion not so long ago."

The attack was more than a bit hypocritical because Trump himself was "very" pro-abortion not so long ago. In 1999, Tim Russert asked Trump if he would support a ban on "abortion in the third-trimester" or "partial-birth abortion."

"No," Trump replied. "I am pro-choice in every respect." Trump explained his views may be the result of his "New York background." Now that Ted Cruz has attacked Trump's "New York values," Trump's views on abortion will be getting a second look by many Republican voters.

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Christie Undermines Core Appeal of His Candidacy

2:04 PM, Jan 15, 2016

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has had a remarkable comeback in the GOP presidential race. Back in November, he was relegated to the undercard debate, but he managed to bounce back in the polls in the wake of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. He is now right in the mix with Rubio, Bush, and Kasich in New Hampshire, where all four men are fighting for a ticket out of Granite State.

The core appeal of Christie's candidacy is that he's a tough, hard-headed executive who will do what it takes to keep us safe and tell it like it is. But during Thursday night's debate, Christie undermined his reputation as a no-nonsense straight-talker when he claimed he never supported Sonia Sotomayor and never donated to Planned

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Why Cruz Is Losing His Lead in Iowa to Trump

Is it time for Cruz to hit back?
10:22 AM, Jan 14, 2016

Cedar Falls, Iowa

Travis Smith came to Donald Trump's latest Iowa rally an undecided Republican caucusgoer, but left a committed Trump supporter. "I was kind of on the fence before coming down. But now I'm pretty much 100 percent" for Trump, he said after the rally Tuesday night. "I liked Ted Cruz as well. But now there's questions about his citizenship. I don't want to wait and see what's going to happen with that."

Earlier in the evening, Trump told the crowd that the Washington Post came out with a "big story" (really, an op-ed) that day: "Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president.

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At Half-Empty Rally, Trump Claims 'Hundreds' Turned Away

7:37 PM, Jan 12, 2016
Trump claimed the room was partially empty because the local fire marshall had warned the floor of the event might collapse, and that "hundreds" of people were being turned away at the door. Read more

Hillary Calls for Free Abortions for Medicaid Recipients

3:29 PM, Jan 11, 2016

At an event to accept the endorsement of Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire on Sunday, Hillary Clinton called for unlimited taxpayer-funding of elective abortions for Medicaid recipients.

“I believe we need to protect access to safe and legal abortion, not just in principle, but in practice. Any right that requires you to take extraordinary measures to access it is no right at all," Clinton said. "Not as long as we have laws on the book like the Hyde amendment, making it harder for low income women to exercise their full rights," she added at the end of a list of restrictions that supposedly deny women a right to abortion.

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Bloomberg Eyes Third-Party Run Against Trump and Clinton

4:21 PM, Jan 09, 2016

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, commissioned a poll in December "testing how he would fare against Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, according to two sources close to Mr. Bloomberg," the New York Times reports.

Bloomberg would have the resources to launch an expensive third-party run, but a hypothetical Bloomberg candidacy against Trump and Clinton still wouldn't offer mainstream Republicans any appealing options. Bloomberg was a longtime Democrat before he became a Republican in 2001 to run for mayor. In 2007, he left the Republican party and registered as an independent, but he has remained consistently liberal on a wide range of issues, including guns, abortion, and immigration. "Clinton vs. Trump vs.

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Will Trump's Flip-Flop on Fighting ISIS Hurt Him?

2:31 PM, Dec 16, 2015

Donald Trump walked into the final GOP debate of 2015 trailing Ted Cruz in Iowa but leading the field in New Hampshire and national polls. It seems unlikely that anything that happened in Las Vegas will change that dynamic.

Trump has slumped after previous debates--most notably after Carly Fiorina attacked him in in the second GOP debate--only to regain whatever was lost and rise even higher as Trump inevitably dominates the media discussion once again.

But on Tuesday night, the only candidate to land a substantive blow against Trump was Jeb Bush, who pointed out that Trump said in September that the United States should stay out of the fight against ISIS. Trump denied he'd ever said such a thing, but that was a

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A GOP Alternative to the Democrats' Terror Watch List Gun Ban

The Democratic case against it relies on false claims and weak arguments.
7:51 AM, Dec 15, 2015

Democratic leaders won't stop talking about their plan to ban anyone on the terrorism watch list from purchasing a gun, and it's not hard to see why. President Obama's approval rating on the issue of terrorism is in the gutter, and talking about the terror watch list gun ban helps shift the debate to an issue on which Democrats have popular support. A Quinnipiac poll released December 3 asked voters: "Do you support or oppose changing current gun laws to ban those on the U.S. government's terrorist watch list from purchasing guns?" The result: 77 percent backed a ban while only 18 percent opposed it.

"Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun," President Obama said in his Oval Office address

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NBC/WSJ Poll: Hillary Leads Trump and Cruz but Trails Rubio and Carson

10:13 AM, Dec 14, 2015

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Hillary Clinton crushing Donald Trump in a head-to-head general election matchup. While Clinton leads Trump by 10 points (50 percent to 40 percent) and Texas senator Ted Cruz by 3 points (48 percent to 45 percent), the likely Democratic nominee trails Florida senator Marco Rubio by 3 points (45 percent to 48 percent) and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson by 1 point (46 percent to 47 percent).

The same poll finds Trump ahead nationally among Republicans:

In the current poll, Trump is the first choice of 27 percent of Republican primary voters (up four points since the last poll).

He's followed by Cruz at 22 percent (up 12 points) and Marco Rubio at 15

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Cruz Won't Say if Trump's 'Ban Muslims' Policy is Constitutional

12:47 PM, Dec 08, 2015

Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz declined on Tuesday to discuss the constitutionality of Donald Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States"--a ban that would also apply to Muslim U.S. citizens living abroad, according to a Trump spokesman. (Update: Trump contradicted his spokesman during an appearance on Good Morning America today. "If a person is a Muslim and goes overseas and come back, they can come back. They are a citizen, that is different," Trump said.)

"I disagree with that proposal. I like Donald Trump," Cruz said at a press conference when asked about Trump's proposed ban.

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For the First Time, Senate Passes Bill Repealing Obamacare and Defunding Planned Parenthood

4:27 PM, Dec 04, 2015

The U.S. Senate voted 52-47 on Thursday night to repeal almost all of Obamacare. The bill also stripped almost all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the billion-dollar non-profit that performs more than 300,000 abortions each year. All Senate Republicans voted for the bill except Mark Kirk of Illinois and Susan Collins of Maine, both of whom support a right to abortion.

Although President Obama will veto the bill whenever it makes it to his desk--the first time he will have to veto a bill repealing Obamacare since it was passed in 2010--Thursday's vote was an important test-run for Republicans.

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