Special Easter Edition
Carolina-Canada Connections — Vol. 9, No. 8
A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
Gimme a Break! Congress is on a two-week recess with Easter Sunday on the horizon. But news out of Washington, DC never stops.
Justice Serving. In a big victory for President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans this week, Neil M. Gorsuch was sworn in on Monday as the 113th justice of the Supreme Court. Gorsuch now sits in the seat once occupied by Justice Antonin Scalia giving Trump a victory in delivering a key campaign promise and shaping the court for decades to come. Gorsuch served as a clerk for sitting Justice Anthony Kennedy who is now 80. It is the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that a sitting justice will serve with a justice who had been his clerk.
Klose Kall In Kansas. Pols and pundits had their eyes fixed on Kansas where Democrats and the media were hoping for a big upset Tuesday in a special election to replace the seat of former GOP Rep. Mike Pompeo, who now serves as the head of the CIA in the Trump administration. The first race in the post-Trump era was said to be a referendum on the new administration and there is good news and bad news for both political parties. The good news for Republicans is that Ron Estes won the Kansas’ 4th Congressional District by some 7 points over Democrat James Thomas. Meanwhile, Democrats and the media (including some conservative press) are claiming this is a big win for Dems, citing the close margin of the race in the heavily GOP district and predicting it represents a major warning sign to Republicans because Estes won in a state that voted for Trump overwhelmingly in November. Trump won with 56.2% of the vote while Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton took only 35.7% of the vote, according to The New York Times. Both parties have their eyes on recent history: Eight years ago Barack Obama won his first election sweeping Democrats into both the House and Senate with supermajorities. By the end of his second term, Democrats lost more than 1,030 seats across the country, with Republicans now controlling the majority of state legislatures and governorships, as well as the US Congress and the White House.
Mr. Wall Goes to Washington
Last week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall spent four days in Washington, DC with your former US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins and the team, visiting with officials at the highest levels of the Trump administration and Congress to talk critical issues of bilateral trade and economics.
Here’s some of what reporter Adrian Morrow said about the visit in the April 7 edition of the Globe and Mail under the headline, “Brad Wall May Well Be Trudeau’s ‘Trump Whisperer’”:
In Canada, Brad Wall is a thorn in Justin Trudeau’s side, threatening to take the federal government to court over its plan to bring in a carbon tax. But in Washington, the Saskatchewan Premier is the Prime Minister’s secret weapon.
Mr. Wall spent four days in the U.S. capital this week as part of Canada’s full-court press to head off U.S. President Donald Trump’s promised turn to economic nationalism – and his conservative bona fides were a key part of his pitch to the rightwing administration and its congressional allies.
For a subnational leader, he gained impressive access, landing sit-downs with such heavy hitters as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Mr. Trump’s point-man on the North American freetrade agreement, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt…
One Republican insider said Mr. Wall’s reputation as a rightwing stalwart helped him open doors in Washington. The Saskatchewan Premier is already known to many conservatives inside the Beltway, said the source, pointing out that Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Tom Rice have previously visited Saskatchewan…
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry and David Wilkins at the Department of Energy in Washington last week.
Among the many other leaders Wall and Wilkins encountered in and around Capitol Hill included Canada’s Ambassador to the US David MacNaughton; South Carolina Senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham; Senator John McCain (R-AZ); Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA); Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC); USTR’s John Melle and others!
David Wilkins, Presidential budget director and former South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney, and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall talk dollars and sense last week in DC.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Wilkins and Wall talk clean coal and carbon capture technology last week.
While in DC, Premier Wall also gave a speech at the historic Heritage Foundation and enjoyed a luncheon discussion with esteemed experts and interested stakeholders on the US-Canada relationship including the Wilson Center’s Laura Dawson and Jim Dickmeyer and former US diplomat Tom Huffaker who is now a vice president with Imperial Oil.
Living in the Hall of Fame
Cue The Script and will.i.am cuz David Wilkins is now living in the “Hall of Fame”. While the world may not know his name (per the rockin’ song), the Clemson faithful are well familiar with his various public works from the state house to diplomacy to chairing the Clemson board for six years, of course.
Wilkins’ total devotion to all things orange was reciprocated last month by his beloved Clemson University when the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities inducted him into its new Hall of Fame during a festive dinner ceremony.
The 17 inductees that night also included former Clemson President Dr. Jim Barker, as well as Harvey Gantt who was the first African-American student to enroll at CU back in 1963, and Colonel Beverly N. “Ben” Skardon who was born on Bastille Day, 1917. One of four brothers who graduated from then Clemson College, he entered the US Army in 1939. During WWII, he was captured by the Japanese Army at the fall of Bataan. He is a survivor of the Bataan Death March and the POW camps. He was liberated in 1945 by units of the Russian Army in Mukden, Manchuria.
He Is Risen!
On behalf of all of us here at Team Wilkins, we’re wishing all our Carolina-Canada Connections readers a blessed Easter as you celebrate and rejoice on this sacred day with those you love the most!
They Said What?
- “With all due respect, with all due respect, I didn't see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban. I didn't see you three days ago when people were gassed to death, when civilians were gassed to death. I didn't see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn't see you raising your voice against President Obama's inaction in Syria that led us refugees, that made us refugees get kicked out of Syria. If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please, help us stay in our -- in our country. We don't want to come to United States. We want to stay in our country, with all due respect. This is hypocrisy. If you really care, if you really care, help us stay in our country. We don't want to become refugees. We want to stay in our country. Help us establish safe zones… and if you just give me a few seconds just to tell President Trump once again, please, sir, what you did was amazing, what you did was powerful message of hope for a lot of people inside and outside of Syria. Please, don't stop on this. Please, help Syrians stay in their country. Please establish safe zones and please take out Assad owned air force so they won't be able to commit more atrocities committing traditional weapon. Just so people can know what we've suffered in the past six years…” – Syrian refugee Kassem Eid, who survived a 2013 chemical gas attack in Syria, giving dismayed CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin an answer she wasn’t expecting after she cued up Eid to push back against President Trump’s immigration policies.
- "This strike was a game changer, there is a new sheriff in town. I hope North Korea's watching! Let me tell you this…I would be real reluctant to take Trump on if I were an adversary of the U.S. He is very unpredictable. He is subject to using military force when he thinks it is justified. I would not dally at all with Trump,” – Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who supports the president’s strike on Syria, warning America’s adversaries this week – in particular North Korea, Iran and Syria – that Trump will take them on.
- “We accept that these allegations about Mrs. Trump are not true and we retract and withdraw them. We apologize to Mrs. Trump for any distress that our publication caused her. To settle Mrs. Trump’s two lawsuits against us, we have agreed to pay her damages and costs,” – Daily Mail lawyer Andrew Nicol at the Royal Courts of Justice in London this week after the newspaper apologized to First Lady Melania Trump for falsely smearing her in a story last year.
- “The border is not open. Please don't come,” – Attorney General Jeff Sessions on FOX News Tuesday where he discussed his trip earlier that day to the Mexican border in Arizona and addressed Trump administration plans to stop illegal immigration.
- “According to Open Doors USA, Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world, and the oppression of those who believe in Jesus reaches nearly every corner of the globe. The group says at least 215 million Christians around the world faced some level of persecution in 2016, and the trend is only getting worse. Each month, more than 300 Christians are killed for their faith and approximately 200 churches are destroyed…The world’s oldest Christian populations have been driven from their homes and have become nearly extinct in the Middle East. The persecution is so extreme the State Department officially declared last year that ISIS is carrying out genocide against Christians in the Middle East and North Africa…little has been done by the United States or the United Nations to uphold the 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Further, requirements to issue protections for the victims of genocide have gone unfulfilled…It’s far past time to protect those who are persecuted most for their faith,” – Townhall.com editor and political pundit Katie Pavlich writing in The Hill this week leading into Easter Sunday.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.