Why Claire McCaskill Is Holding Her Fire

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BRANSON MO NEWS: BRANSON, Mo.—Senator Claire McCaskill was 17 minutes into her first town hall of the week when she got her first question about President Donald Trump. Health care is usually tops on the minds of her rural voters, but there’s still plenty of interest in how she’s handling the chaos of the still-new Trump administration.
“We have rules that presidents have honored that covered nepotism, financial disclosures, etc.,” McCaskill said, reading the question out loud. “Have we as Democrats made an effort to install stronger laws to make sure such rules are followed in the future?”Story Continued Below

If the person in the audience who lobbed this softball at McCaskill was hoping she’d knock it into Arkansas, he had to be disappointed. McCaskill could have brought up Ivanka Trump taking her father’s seat during a G-20 meeting. Or the ever-expanding portfolio of wicked problems assigned to political novice Jared Kushner. Perhaps the Midwestern populist secretly wanted to slam two ultra-wealthy New York real estate scions as out-of-touch, incompetent princelings, but that’s not what she did.
“The American people see it all, and a lot of people don’t mind,” McCaskill said, explaining why new laws won’t happen. And before you know it, she was actually praising the president’s daughter and her husband, even indirectly comparing them to a liberal icon. She’s met with Kushner on IT acquisition reform, and with Ivanka Trump on paid paternity leave. “They’re contributing, and they’re working, and they’re not taking the salary. And I know it makes some people uncomfortable. It made some people uncomfortable when John Kennedy made Bobby Kennedy attorney general. Remember that? So that door has swung both ways.”
When Trump speaks to a crowd about an hour away in Springfield …


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