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John McCain Rebuts ‘Half-Baked, Spurious Nationalism’ — Plus full text of McCain’s remarks while accepting an award honoring his fight for liberty around the world

October 17, 2017
Sen. John McCain took aim at nationalist, isolationist rhetoric that has swept through the Republican party and secured a toehold in the White House, in remarks Monday night accepting an award honoring his fight for liberty around the world.

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Credit: William Thomas Cain—Getty Images

Sen. John McCain took aim Monday night at isolationist and nationalistic rhetoric, saying at his National Constitution Center Liberty Medal ceremony in Philadelphia that abandoning America’s role as an international leader is “unpatriotic.” Photo: Getty

By Siobhan Hughes
The Wall Street Journal
Updated Oct. 17, 2017 12:27 p.m. ET


PHILADELPHIA—Sen. John McCain took aim at nationalist, isolationist rhetoric that has swept through the Republican party and secured a toehold in the White House, in remarks Monday night accepting an award honoring his fight for liberty around the world.

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ’the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” the Arizona Republican told hundreds who gathered and applauded outside the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

It marked a rebuttal of sorts to President Donald Trump, who just hours earlier had painted a picture of a nation on the losing end of international negotiations.

“I’m tired of being taken advantage of as a nation,” Mr. Trump said at a cabinet meeting in Washington. “This nation has been taken advantage of for many, many years — for many decades, frankly — and I’m tired of watching it.”

In Philadelphia, Mr. McCain emphasized the benefits that arise from America’s willingness to engage with the world.

“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil,” Mr. McCain said on Monday night. “That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”

Mr. McCain didn’t mention Mr. Trump by name. The president has criticized and taunted Mr. McCain, most recently for his vote dooming a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act; early in the presidential campaign he said Mr. McCain was “not a war hero” and that “I like people who weren’t captured.” Mr. McCain, a Naval aviator in Vietnam, was captured and held prisoner for more than five years. But in speaking of America as force that engages with, rather than retreating from the world, and a country that embraces immigrants, Mr. McCain’s broadside against Mr. Trump was clear to the people who applauded his remarks and those who spoke about him.

Sen. John McCain’s heroism during the Vietnam War, his longtime service as a lawmaker and his reputation for straight talk on tough issues help explain why the news that he had a brain tumor hit Washington so hard, says WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib. Photo: AP (Originally published July 20, 2017)

“In Congress, Sen. McCain’s conscience and willingness to put country over party have helped to preserve the democracy we have all inherited,” said Starbucks Corp. founder Howard Schultz, who was on hand to honor Mr. McCain. Among other things, the executive cited “the moments that he has really taken great political risk to determine and demonstrate the courage of conviction on the Senate floor, most recently with his vote not to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in haste.”

The Arizona senator referred to his own history as a rebellious teenager nearly kicked out of the Naval Academy and a prisoner of war who eventually became the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

“We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream, the land with the storied past forgotten in the rush to the imagined future, the land that repairs and reinvents itself, the land where a person can escape the consequences of a self-centered youth and know the satisfaction of sacrificing for an ideal, the land where you can go from aimless rebellion to a noble cause, and from the bottom of your class to your party’s nomination for the president,” he said.

Mr. McCain appeared to choke up as he accepted the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, which it says is given each year to “men and women of courage and conviction who have strived to secure the blessings of liberty to people the world over.” Recent recipients include Democratic Congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis of Georgia, the Dalai Lama, Malala Yousafzai, Hillary Clinton, and Muhammad Ali.

The Arizona senator, who is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, delivered his acceptance remarks at an outdoor ceremony on a chilly autumn night in the company of his friend, former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son died two years ago from the same brain cancer that Mr. McCain is now battling.

“Among the few compensations of old age is the acuity of hindsight,” Mr. McCain said towards the end of his remarks. “I see now that I was part of something important that drew me along in its wake even when I was diverted by other interests. I was, knowingly or not, along for the ride as America made the future better than the past.”

Mr. McCain said that the U.S. should still play that role.

“With all its suffering and dangers, the world still looks to the example and leadership of America to become another, better place. What greater cause could anyone ever serve.”

Write to Siobhan Hughes at


Text of John McCain Remarks, October 16, 2017

Sen. John McCain offered a sharp rebuttal of isolationism Monday night during his speech at the 2017 Liberty Medal Award Ceremony.

“We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream,” said the Republican from Arizona, who received the award from the National Constitution Center.

“To refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history,” he declared.

McCain has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump’s isolationist view of America’s role in the world, ever since Trump took office in January. He has often spoken out against Trump’s policies and executive actions, and the two have tradedverbal barbs often.

Here is the prepared version of McCain’s speech, as released by his Senate office.

Thank you, Joe, my old, dear friend, for those mostly undeserved kind words. Vice President Biden and I have known each other for a lot of years now, more than forty, if you’re counting. We knew each other back when we were young and handsome and smarter than everyone else but were too modest to say so.

Joe was already a senator, and I was the Navy’s liaison to the Senate. My duties included escorting senate delegations on overseas trips, and in that capacity, I supervised the disposition of the delegation’s luggage, which could require – now and again – when no one of lower rank was available for the job – that I carry someone worthy’s bag. Once or twice that worthy turned out to be the young senator from Delaware. I’ve resented it ever since.

Joe has heard me joke about that before. I hope he has heard, too, my profession of gratitude for his friendship these many years. It has meant a lot to me. We served in the Senate together for over twenty years, during some eventful times, as we passed from young men to the fossils who appear before you this evening.

We didn’t always agree on the issues. We often argued – sometimes passionately. But we believed in each other’s patriotism and the sincerity of each other’s convictions. We believed in the institution we were privileged to serve in. We believed in our mutual responsibility to help make the place work and to cooperate in finding solutions to our country’s problems. We believed in our country and in our country’s indispensability to international peace and stability and to the progress of humanity. And through it all, whether we argued or agreed, Joe was good company. Thank you, old friend, for your company and your service to America.

Thank you, too, to the National Constitution Center, and everyone associated with it for this award. Thank you for that video, and for the all too generous compliments paid to me this evening. I’m aware of the prestigious company the Liberty Medal places me in. I’m humbled by it, and I’ll try my best not to prove too unworthy of it.

Some years ago, I was present at an event where an earlier Liberty Medal recipient spoke about America’s values and the sacrifices made for them. It was 1991, and I was attending the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The World War II veteran, estimable patriot and good man, President George H.W. Bush, gave a moving speech at the USS Arizona memorial. I remember it very well. His voice was thick with emotion as he neared the end of his address. I imagine he was thinking not only of the brave Americans who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, but of the friends he had served with and lost in the Pacific where he had been the Navy’s youngest aviator.

‘Look at the water here, clear and quiet …’ he directed, ‘One day, in what now seems another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have, and it carried them to a better world.’

He could barely get out the last line, ‘May God bless them, and may God bless America, the most wondrous land on earth.’

The most wondrous land on earth, indeed. I’ve had the good fortune to spend sixty years in service to this wondrous land. It has not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited from a little less of my help. But I’ve tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I’ve been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America. And I am so very grateful.

What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor and anger of our politics, we are blessed.

We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream, the land with the storied past forgotten in the rush to the imagined future, the land that repairs and reinvents itself, the land where a person can escape the consequences of a self-centered youth and know the satisfaction of sacrificing for an ideal, the land where you can go from aimless rebellion to a noble cause, and from the bottom of your class to your party’s nomination for president.

We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and that we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941.

To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.

I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause – the cause of our security and the security of our friends, the cause of freedom and equal justice – all my adult life. I haven’t always served it well. I haven’t even always appreciated what I was serving. But among the few compensations of old age is the acuity of hindsight. I see now that I was part of something important that drew me along in its wake even when I was diverted by other interests. I was, knowingly or not, along for the ride as America made the future better than the past.


Thousands of anti-government protesters rally in Ukraine

October 17, 2017
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Several thousand government protesters rallied outside Ukraine’s parliament Tuesday and some urged President Petro Poroshenko to step down.

Former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, who leads a Ukrainian opposition party, said at the rally that Poroshenko was responsible for “poverty and humiliation.”

“I’m calling on the people of Kiev to join us and demand just one thing: that Poroshenko think about his resignation,” Saakashvili said.

Protest organizers are demanding changes to Ukraine’s election laws to encourage competition. They also want an anti-corruption high court established and say lawmakers should be stripped of immunity from criminal prosecution.

The crowd of protesters that numbered more than 3,000 in the morning dwindled to a few hundred in the late afternoon. Some of those remaining set up tents in front of the parliament building and vowed to continue protesting until the demands are met.

Saakashvili poses a political challenge to Poroshenko, who appointed him as governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region after Saakashvili was termed out of office in Georgia.

They since have had a falling out. The president revoked Saakashvili’s citizenship in July. Saakashvili forced his way across Ukraine’s border with Poland last month.

Saakashvili has teamed up with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other opposition groups, raising the heat on Poroshenko.

12 wounded in bomb attack on Turkish police bus

October 17, 2017


© AFP/File | Mersin, a major port of around one million people, was the site of a bomb attack targeting a police bus

ISTANBUL (AFP) – A bomb attack targeting a police bus rocked the southern Turkish city of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast Tuesday, leaving at least 12 people wounded, local media reported.Ambulances and fire engines were rushed to the scene, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Television footage showed plumes of white smoke rising above.

The initial wounded toll was cited by the private NTV broadcaster, citing sources from the local governor’s office.

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. CNN-Turk channel said the bomb was detonated by remote-control.

Images of the vehicle published by the Dogan news agency showed a white bus with its windows blown out by the force of the blast, a fire burning still in the back of the vehicle and glass scattered on the roadside.

Turkey was hit in 2016 by a succession of attacks that left hundreds dead in the bloodiest year of terror strikes in its history.

The attacks were blamed on IS jihadists who had taken swathes of territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq as well as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who have battled the Turkish state in an insurgency lasting more than three decades.

An attack by a jihadist gunman on an elite nightclub in Istanbul just 75 minutes into New Year’s Day in 2017 left 39 people dead, mainly foreigners.

There has since been a lull in similar attacks, but tensions and security remain high in big cities. The PKK still carry out sporadic attacks against the armed forces in the southeast.

Mersin, a major port of around one million people, lies well to the west of the PKK’s main area of operation in the southeast.

The army has been combating the PKK in the Kurdish-majority southeast, in a relentless campaign to root out the group blacklisted by Turkey as well as its Western partners.

Unity deal at risk if Abbas does not end sanctions: Hamas

October 17, 2017

A man holds a picture of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during celebrations after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City on October 12, 2017. (Reuters)
GAZA CITY: Hamas has warned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s delay in easing sanctions on Gaza was putting at risk a landmark unity deal signed last week.
“The continuation of the punitive measures against our people in Gaza a month after the dissolution of the administrative council spoils the general atmosphere for reconciliation,” a party spokesman said in a statement to Hamas media.
Hamas last month agreed to dissolve its administrative council, seen as a rival government in Gaza, and return civilian power in the enclave to the Palestinian Authority a decade after seizing it in a near civil war.
Chief among their demands, however, was that Abbas drop a series of measures taken against Gaza.
Among these were reductions in energy payments for the territory which left its 2 million residents with only a few hours of mains electricity per day.
Hamas is due to hand over Gaza’s border crossings by Nov. 1 ahead of a full transfer of power by Dec. 1.
The PA’s top border official visited Gaza on Monday.
Previous reconciliation agreements between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank, have collapsed over implementation of specific issues.
Security control of the Gaza Strip is expected to be a major stumbling block, with Hamas refusing to disarm its 25,000-strong armed wing.

UnitedHealth Revenue Grows Despite ACA Exit

October 17, 2017

Health insurer expands in employer insurance programs and delivery of care

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UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s core insurance and health-services businesses grew in its latest quarter, despite a dent in revenue caused by the company’s decision to pull out of most Affordable Care Act markets.

The latest quarterly results from the nation’s largest health insurer come as the market is facing policy changes related to the ACA. President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order seeking to provide lower-cost plans in the individual insurance market, and he is poised to end payments to insurers that offset…

The plan to stop selling plans in ACA marketplaces also reduced pressure on UnitedHealth’s earnings, as the company’s net margin rose to 4.6% from 3.8% a year earlier.

UnitedHealth also on Tuesday raised its adjusted earnings-per-share guidance for the year to between $9.75 and $9.90, from between $9.65 and $9.85 previously.

Some analysts had projected a margin expansion would be due to UnitedHealth’s and other health insurance providers’ firm pricing power in the Medicare business. They also attributed the growth to the exemption from ACA taxes that health insurers like UnitedHealth were granted this calendar year. Credit Suisse analysts said that while the Medicaid market for individuals is still volatile amid Washington’s health-care overhaul talks, UnitedHealth will likely have nearly minimized its exposure to that uncertainty by 2018.

Revenue rose 7.7% to $50.05 billion, slowed by withdrawals from ACA individual markets, combined with the ACA health insurance tax deferral. Revenue from the Medicare business rose 17% to $16.7 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected $50.06 billion in revenue.

U.S. senators have pivoted their plans to overhaul the ACA, and are no longer seeking approval of a new health-care bill in the short term. Monday night, two more senators said they would oppose the GOP-backed measure, leaving the bill just shy of the necessary votes to pass it. This came after the Republican-led Senate said Saturday it would delay a vote on the bill previously scheduled for this week due to the unexpected absence of Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, and the opposition of two other Republican senators. Passage of the law would have eventually eliminated all of the ACA markets UnitedHealth has been withdrawing from.

The Optum unit, UnitedHealth’s health-benefits platform, saw earnings from operations grow 21% to $1.5 billion. OptumRx, the company’s pharmacy benefit manager, saw revenue growth of 5.1% to $15.8 billion.

The insurer’s medical-loss ratio — the percentage of premiums paid in claims — increased as the health-insurance tax deferral was offset by an improved business mix, product performance and favorable reserve development. It rose to 20 basis points year-over-year to 82.2%.

The Minnetonka, Minn.-based company recorded a profit of $2.28 billion, or $2.46 a share, compared with $1.75 billion, or $1.81 per share, a year ago. Excluding certain items, UnitedHealth earned $2.32 a share, compared with $1.96 a year ago. Analysts had anticipated the company reporting a profit of $2.23 a share.

Shares in UnitedHealth, up 32% from a year ago, fell 0.5% to $185.35 in premarket trading.

Write to Justina Vasquez at justina

Prayer and Meditation for Wednesday, October 18, 2017 — “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength” — “I am sending you like lambs among wolves”

October 17, 2017

Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist
Lectionary: 661

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Saint Luke, 1621 – Guido Reni

Reading 1 2 TM 4:10-17B

Demas, enamored of the present world,
deserted me and went to Thessalonica,
Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.
I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
When you come, bring the cloak I left with Carpus in Troas,
the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments.

Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm;
the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
You too be on guard against him,
for he has strongly resisted our preaching.

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18

R. (12) Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Making known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia SEE JN 15:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 10:1-9

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit.
He said to them,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way.
Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.
Do not move about from one house to another.
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”



Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
18 OCTOBER, 2017, Wednesday, St Luke, Evangelist

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ 2 TIM 4:10-17LUKE 10:1-9 ]

Many of us are happy to share in the ministry of Jesus.  We are called to proclaim the Good News in words and deeds.  “Cure those in it who are sick, and say, ‘The kingdom of God is very near to you.’”  But not many realize that our ministry is more than just doing good, healing people, praying over the sick or serving the poor.  As Jesus reminds us, “I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”  We have to deal with enemies from within and without.   When it comes to working together, we will have differences in approaches. We have to contend with different personalities and different views.

Besides dealing with our enemies, we also need to contend with the sacrifices of the ministry; time, resources, energy, sleep and convenience.   We might be rejected and unwelcomed. “Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, ‘Peace to this house!’ And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you.”

It calls for lots of sacrifices and adaptation, like the first missionaries.  That was what Jesus told them.  “Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a town where they make you welcome, eat what is set before you.”   It is not easy to be a real missionary.  We do not have missionaries today who have to suffer what our forefathers had to go through.  Many of our missionaries today even live in comfortable houses and are well taken care of.

It was for this reason that the Lord sent the disciples to go out two by two.   “The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit.”  We need to help each other in the ministry.   We cannot undertake this ministry alone.   We cannot travel alone in this journey.  Dangers and difficulties must be faced together.

But, perhaps the difficult part of being in the ministry is loneliness and abandonment.  Quite often, we would have to carry our crosses alone when no one understands us.  This was the cross Jesus carried in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He was alone in His agony in the garden.  St Paul in the first reading also spoke of his loneliness in the ministry.

His loneliness came from disappointment with those who were supposed to help him but who turned out to be irresponsible.  That was what St Pope Gregory the Great remarked when he reflected on today’s gospel, “The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.”  He said that labourers were few because those few who were chosen as labourers did not commit themselves to the ministry fully.  This was how Paul felt when he lamented, “Demas has deserted me for love of this life and gone to Thessalonika.”  Indeed, this is true even in today’s time.  We have many priests and religious but how many of them are actually laboring in the vineyard for the People of God.  Many have become worldly minded and only take care of their own comforts and enjoyment in life.

Then there are those who are out to oppose us for whatever reasons.  It could be jealousy or envy.   It could be because we did not give them what they want.  It could be because of pride.   That was how lonely Paul felt, “Alexander the coppersmith has done me a lot of harm; the Lord will repay him for what he has done. Be on your guard against him yourself; because he has been bitterly contesting everything that we say.”   He was finding fault with Paul.

Most of all, there is the loneliness of having to stand up alone for what we believe.   “The first time I had to present my defences, there was not a single witness to support me. Every one of them deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it.”  Being alone to stand up for the truth is perhaps the true sign of martyrdom.  Jesus was abandoned by all His friends when He was going through His passion.

In the face of such situations, we need to be like St Paul who depended on God alone.  “But the Lord stood by me and gave me power, so that through me the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear.”   Our fellow brothers and sisters can disappoint us because they are weak and human.  But God will remain our strength and refuge.  That is why the Lord instructed His disciples to “carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals.”  He does not abandon us completely.  In the case of Paul, He sent Luke to be with him.  Later on, Timothy would bring Mark along.  So we are never without assistance.  We need to be patient and wait for His help.

But most of all, we must not become bitter as many do in the ministry.  Those who feel betrayed, misunderstood or rejected become angry, resentful and vindictive.   This happens to many clerical and lay workers in the Church.  They cannot forgive.  They bear grudges.  They act from their wounds and brokenness.   We need to pray for forgiveness and a heart of peace, otherwise, how can we be messengers of peace?

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
Who was St. Luke and what debt do we owe to him? Here are 10 things to know and share . . .
Who was St. Luke and what debt do we owe to him? Here are 10 things to know and share . . .
St Luke: 10 things to know and share

October 18th is the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist.

Who was he and what do we know about him?

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .


1) Who was St. Luke?

St. Luke is mentioned by name in three passages of Scripture:

  • In Colossians 4:14, St. Paul writes: “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you.”
  • In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul writes: “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me.”
  • And in Philemon 23-24, Paul writes: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.”

Since Luke is mentioned in three letters, we can infer that he was a frequent companion of St. Paul.

He also shared in Paul’s labors, since he is referred to as one of Paul’s “fellow workers.”

The fact that Paul says, in his final letter, that “Luke alone is with me” suggests that he was a particularly intimate and faithful companion.

Finally, the reference to Luke as “the beloved physician” indicates that his “day job” (as opposed to his apostolic efforts) was as a medical practitioner.


2) What books of Scripture did St. Luke write?

St. Luke is identified by early (2nd century) tradition as the author of the third Gospel and as the author of the book of Acts.

He also may have had a role in composing some of the letters attributed to St. Paul (see below).

Even if he only wrote Luke and Acts, though, he still wrote more of the New Testament than any other author! Luke and Acts together total almost 38,000 words, or 24% of the whole New Testament.


3) What debt do we owe to St. Luke for his Gospel?

St. Luke’s Gospel is one of the three “Synoptic Gospels,” which means that it covers much of the same territory as those of St. Matthew and St. Mark.

As a result, if Luke’s Gospel had not been written, there would still be a great deal of the Jesus story that would have been preserved (not only by Matthew and Mark but also by John). However, there are certain things that only Luke records.

Among them are these passages (plus a number of others):

  • The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold (1:5-25)
  • The Birth of Jesus Foretold (1:26-38)
  • The Visitation (1:39-56)
  • The Birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80)
  • The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus (2:21-40)
  • The Finding in the Temple (2:41-52)
  • The Widow of Nain’s Son (7:11-17)
  • The Mission of the Seventy (10:01-20)
  • The Good Samaritan (10:29-37)
  • “Mary has chosen the good portion” (10:38-42)
  • The Friend at Midnight (11:5-8)
  • The Parable of the Rich Fool (12:13-21)
  • The Parable of the Lost Coin (15:8-10)
  • The Parable of the Lost Son (15:11-32)
  • The Parable of the Shrewd Steward (16:1-8)
  • Lazarus and the Rich Man (16:19-31)
  • Ten Lepers Cleansed (17:11-19)
  • The Parable of the Persistent Widow (18:1-8)
  • The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:9-14)
  • Dinner with Zacchaeus (19:1-10)
  • Who Is the Greatest? (22:24-32)
  • Jesus Before Herod Antipas (23:6-12)

If these weren’t recorded in Luke’s Gospel, we wouldn’t know about them, because they aren’t recorded elsewhere in the New Testament.


4) Where did Luke get the information for his Gospel?

At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke writes:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you [Luke 1:1-3].

Luke’s reference to narratives of the events in the Gospel that preceded his and his reference to having followed “all things,” with those forming of his own account seem to indicate that he used written sources for some of his information.

Given the similarities that Luke has to Matthew and Mark (the other two Synoptic Gospels), it is likely that he used one or both of these.

He also says that he drew information from “eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.”

One of the eyewitnesses he likely interviewed was the Virgin Mary herself. Luke records the material in the infancy narrative in a way that implies Mary was the source of much or all of it (Luke 2:19, 51; more here).

One of the ministers of the word he likely used as a source was St. Paul. One way of showing this is that the words of institution for the Eucharist in Luke’s Gospel (see Luke 22:19-20) is very similar to the formula used by St. Paul (see 1 Cor. 11:24-25). It is less similar to the formula used in Matthew and Mark (see Matt. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24). It is likely he used the formula used by St. Paul because he frequently heard Paul saying Mass and this was the most familiar version to him.

An individual who was both an eyewitness and a minister of the word that Luke likely interviewed is St. Peter. We have good reason to think that St. Peter was one of the sources of Acts (see below), and if Luke interviewed him for that, he likely interviewed him for his Gospel as well.


5) What debt do we owe to St. Luke for his writing the book of Acts?

Acts covers the earliest history of the Church after the earthly ministry of Jesus.

It covers a period stretching from A.D. 33 to A.D. 60.

Without Acts we would be able to deduce few things about this period from the letters in the New Testament (e.g., that churches existed in the cities that the letters were sent to, a few events in the life of Paul).

However, we would otherwise be completely ignorant of this period. Luke thus did us a huge service by not stopping with the end of his Gospel and by continuing to record the history of the early Church beyond Jesus’ death and resurrection.

He immeasurably enriched our knowledge of this period.


6) Where did Luke get his information for Acts?

As with the Gospel, Luke likely got his information for Acts from both written sources and from interviews with eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.

He also, notably, witnessed many of the events in the Gospel himself. This is indicated by what are known as the “we” passages in Acts—places in which the author speaks of what “we” did and where “we” went, indicating that the author was present for these events.

There are four such passages:

  • Acts 16:10–17
  • Acts 20:5–15
  • Acts 21:1–18
  • Acts 27:1–28

A written source that Luke likely used is a travel diary that was kept of Paul’s journeys. Luke himself may have been the author of this diary, though it may have been kept by someone else in the Pauline circle.

There are also three individuals who likely served as major sources for the book:

  • Peter (featured in Acts 1-6 and 9-12)
  • Philip the Evangelist (featured in Acts 8)
  • Paul (featured in Acts 9, 11, and 13-28)

The “we” passages indicate that he had frequent access to Paul, and we know he had access to Peter and Philip the Evangelist as well:

  • He would have had access to Peter during the two years that Paul stayed in house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30), where Peter was also ministering.
  • He would have access to Philip the Evangelist during the two years that Paul stayed in custody at Caesarea Maritima (Acts 23:33, 24:27), where Philip the Evangelist lived (Acts 21:8-9).


7) When were Luke’s Gospel and Acts written?

They were written as companion pieces and dedicated to the same individual (Theophilius). They were thus likely written at the same time.

Since Acts cuts off suddenly in A.D. 60, before Paul has had a chance to appear before Caesar, this is likely when Acts was finished.

Both Luke and Acts were likely written at Rome in A.D. 59-60.


8) Did Luke have a hand in any of Paul’s letters?

Luke is never named as one of Paul’s co-authors, but Paul frequently used secretaries in the process of writing his letters (see, e.g., Rom. 16:22).

Such secretaries—known as amanuenses—could be tasked with writing a letter on behalf of another, based on talking-points given to him by the one for whom he was writing.

Particularly when he was in prison, Paul may have used Luke in this capacity, and some have noted similarities in the style of Luke-Acts and some of the letters attributed to Paul—particularly the pastoral letters (1-2 Tim., Titus).

The fact that, in 2 Timothy, Paul says that “Luke alone is with me” (2 Tim. 4:11) may indicate that Luke was the scribe that Paul used to write this letter.

Although the book of Hebrews does not attribute itself to Paul, many have noted the similarity of the style of this book to Luke-Acts also, and Luke has been proposed as a possible author for it.


9) Was Luke a Jew or a Gentile?

Though some have argued that he was a Jew, it is normally thought that Luke was a Gentile. One of the reasons is that, in Colossians he is mentioned separately from those “of the circumcision”:

Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, receive him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. . . . Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you [Col. 4:10-14].


10) What do the Church Fathers say about Luke?

We can’t review what the Church Fathers have to say in detail, but here is part of what St. Jerome wrote about Luke in his Lives Illustrious Men:

Luke a physician of Antioch, as his writings indicate, was not unskilled in the Greek language.

An adherent of the apostle Paul, and companion of all his journeying, he wrote a Gospel, concerning which the same Paul says, “We send with him a brother whose praise in the gospel is among all the churches” and to the Colossians, “Luke the beloved physician salutes you,” and to Timothy, “Luke only is with me.”

He also wrote another excellent volume to which he prefixed the title Acts of the Apostles, a history which extends to the second year of Paul’s sojourn at Rome, that is to the fourth year of Nero, from which we learn that the book was composed in that same city. . . .

He was buried at Constantinople to which city, in the twentieth year of Constantius, his bones together with the remains of Andrew the apostle were transferred [Lives of Illustrious Men 7].

Israel advances plans for 1,292 West Bank settler homes in new push

October 17, 2017


JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli authorities advanced plans Tuesday for 1,292 settler homes in a new push by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, an NGO said.

 © Hazem Bader, AFP | A picture shows on October 17,2017 the area of an Israeli army base in the centre of the divided city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank where 31 settlers house are going to be built.

The approvals came after government officials pledged a major boost in settlement home approvals this year, with US President Donald Trump so far much less critical of such plans than his predecessor Barack Obama.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now reported the approvals by a committee overseeing settlement construction in the West Bank.

A list provided by the NGO showed homes to be offered in a number of locations across the territory, including 146 in Nokdim, a southern West Bank settlement near Bethlehem where Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman lives.

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said further approvals were likely on Wednesday, with more than 2,000 units expected to be on the agenda over the course of the two-day meeting.

Separately on Monday, an Israeli committee approved permits for 31 settler homes in Hebron, the first such green light for the flashpoint West Bank city since 2002.

Several hundred Israeli settlers live in the heart of Hebron under heavy military guard among some 200,000 Palestinians.

The Hebron units are to be built on Shuhada Street, formerly an important market road leading to a holy site where the biblical Abraham is believed to have been buried.

The street is now largely closed off to Palestinians.

Settlement building in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.

It is also seen as a major obstacle to peace as the settlements are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

– Two-state solution threatened –

Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government leans heavily on settlers and their supporters to maintain its thin parliamentary majority.

Israel took heavy criticism on settlement construction from Obama’s administration, but that has not been the case with Trump.

Israeli officials say a total of around 12,000 housing units will be given various stages of approval this year, four times the amount in 2016.

Last month, US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, himself a supporter of settlements, enraged Palestinians when he told an Israeli TV interviewer that Israel is “only occupying two percent of the West Bank”.

The Yesha Council, which represents settlers across the West Bank, welcomed the ambassador’s comments.

More than 60 percent of the West Bank is under near complete Israeli control, the UN says, while a further portion of the territory is under Israeli security control.

The portion of the West Bank that is in theory under both Palestinian civilian and security control still sees raids by Israeli soldiers.

About 430,000 Israeli settlers live among 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Trump is seeking to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians frozen since a US-led initiative collapsed in 2014.

The Palestinians have grown increasingly concerned by Trump and his team — including Friedman — who have yet to publicly commit to the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, the so-called “two-state solution.”

Prominent members of Netanyahu’s coalition openly oppose the idea of a Palestinian state and advocate annexing most of the West Bank.

Netanyahu recently said he plans no uprooting of settlements, blaming Palestinian “incitement” and attacks against Israelis, among other issues, for the lack of progress in peace efforts.

by Stephen Weizman

Israel Will Not Negotiate With a Hamas-Based Palestinian Government

October 17, 2017
 OCTOBER 17, 2017 18:02

Israel’s security cabinet stated on Tuesday evening that it would not negotiate with a Hamas-based Palestinian government, as Hamas is a terrorist organization set on destroying Israel.

A statement issued following the security cabinet meeting said Israel’s position would stand until Hamas agrees to disarm and end all its terrorist activities, recognize Israel, return the bodies of Israeli soldiers and living Israeli citizens being held in Gaza and sever all ties with Iran.

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In addition, the Israeli government demanded that any financial and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza be distributed by the Palestinian Authority and the existing networks set up for such actions. Israel also demanded that Gaza security be placed under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority, including border-crossing points to Egypt and Israel as well as the responsibility of preventing the tunnels dug by Hamas to be used for smuggling.


Merkel’s coalition conundrum just got harder

October 17, 2017

By Paul Carrel


BERLIN (Reuters) – She has earned a reputation as Europe’s chief crisis manager. Now Germany’s Angela Merkel must forge a government out of an awkward group of allies bent on nailing down a coalition deal so tight it risks limiting her room to act if crisis strikes again.

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FILE PHOTO: Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavaria State Premier Horst Seehofer address a news conference in Berlin, Germany, October 9, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

The chancellor goes into talks this week about forming a government. But her task, already tough after she lost ground in a Sept. 24 national election, is all the harder after defeat in a regional vote on Sunday further weakened her hand.

The upshot is that she must draw on all her consensus-building skills to form a ruling alliance of her conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.

The terms of a coalition deal, should one be reached, could determine Merkel’s room for maneuver on both the domestic and international stage.

During her 12 years in power, she has been able to steer Europe through its euro zone and refugee crises, in part due to her dominance at home. Any constraints on her ability to swiftly shape and enact policies could compromise Germany’s leadership role.

If the three party groups fail to reach a deal at all, some in their ranks fear this could lead to public disenchantment and fuel further support for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered parliament for the first time last month.

The combination of the groups going into coalition talks is untested at national level and Merkel’s would-be allies are not guaranteeing success. The chancellor’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian allies meet the FDP and Greens separately on Wednesday before they all meet on Friday.

“Now we must gauge whether a platform for common policy can be found. For me, that is undecided,” FDP leader Christian Lindner told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday.

Adding to the complications, the CDU, FDP, and Greens want to put any deal to their grassroots party members for approval. FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki has said “it would be illusory to believe we could conclude negotiations by Christmas”.


One major area of contention is immigration policy.

The CDU and their conservative Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have agreed a limit of 200,000 a year on the number of migrants Germany would accept on humanitarian grounds.

But the other parties reject a cap and instead favor an immigration law with criteria to attract highly educated workers to plug skills shortages. They say the CDU/CSU migrants agreement should not be baked into a coalition deal.

Juergen Trittin of the Greens said pressure on the conservative bloc to shift right – after bleeding support to the AfD – could complicate the talks on forming a “Jamaica” coalition, so-called because the parties’ colors correspond with the Jamaican flag.

“I fear this will make the Jamaica exploratory talks much more difficult,” Trittin told the Passauer Neue Presse.

The three party groups also have deep differences on issues ranging from European Union reform and tax to the environment.

A Jamaica coalition was formed in the tiny western German state of Saarland in October 2009, but collapsed in January 2012. The same formation took power in the far northern region of Schleswig-Holstein after elections there in May this year.


Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the conservative state premier of Saarland who led the former Jamaica alliance there, stressed the need to establish trust between the three national groups.

“It is important that there is a basic understanding among those people negotiating,” she added. Asked how to foster trust and understanding, she replied: “Talk, talk, talk.”

But the size of the negotiating teams – the CDU/CSU and Greens have 28 and 14 people respectively – is undermining trust before the talks have even begun.

Kubicki told Focus magazine it was a “cardinal error” to enter the discussions with such large teams, adding this was “not conducive to building trust and no basis for good and confidential negotiations”.

The result of the mutual suspicion is that negotiators are pushing for “deeper agreements” in a coalition deal than in the 130 pages agreed by the outgoing ‘grand coalition’ of Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

This risks limiting Merkel’s freedom in policymaking. The euro zone and refugee crises, which were not foreseen in coalition agreements, were addressed with ad hoc decisions.

Germany’s budget surplus may help smooth the path in the coalition talks, however. It gives scope to satisfy all sides, to some degree, by paying for both tax cuts and investment in areas such as upgrading infrastructure for the digital age.

But if Merkel is unable to form a three-way coalition with the FDP and Greens, she could try to team up again with the SPD – though the SPD has said it wants to go into opposition. Should the SPD reject her approach and Merkel find herself unable to form a government, she could try to form a minority government, or else call fresh elections – an unprecedented scenario.

“If we don’t get this under control, the political system we’ve had for 70 years – and the stability it has brought – will be threatened,” said one senior conservative, speaking under condition of anonymity.

Editing by Pravin Char

Despite Trump’s Plea, Bannon Isn’t Going to Stop His Campaign Against GOP Incumbents

October 17, 2017


By Justin Sink and  Jennifer Jacobs

  • A Rose Garden embrace for McConnell, epitome of establishment
  • Pleads for Bannon to back off threatened party purge
 Image result for Donald Trump, mitch mcconnell, photos, october 16, 2017
 U.S. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose garden of the White House, Monday, October 16, 2017

Steve Bannon won’t abandon his war against congressional Republican incumbents, not even after President Donald Trump publicly pleaded for a truce that could salvage the tax overhaul at the heart of his legislative agenda.

Trump’s ousted chief strategist will continue to back insurgent candidates who pledge to usurp Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a person familiar with Bannon’s plans said. His message was made plain on Monday on the Breitbart News website he once again runs: “Bitter Mitch! Triggered by Bannon,” one headline crowed.

Trump sought to unite Republicans with a public embrace of McConnell, who stood next to the president in the White House Rose Garden on Monday during an impromptu 40-minute news conference. Trump declared his party “very unified,” described himself as “closer than ever before” with McConnell and said he’d ask Bannon to back off a promised “season of war” against Republican incumbents.

There are deep fears in the White House and among Republicans that the tax overhaul, considered vital for next year’s midterms by the party’s strategists, will follow Obamacare repeal to the legislative ash heap. That would likely leave Trump without a substantive legislative accomplishment after a year in office.

Trump and Bannon have spoken in recent days, said someone familiar with the conversation. But the president’s former chief strategist hasn’t changed his outlook toward his party’s establishment.

The Bannon-allied Great America Political Action Committee on Monday endorsed in its “Trump Ticket” for Republican primaries Kelli Ward, who is challenging incumbent GOP Senator Jeff Flake in Arizona, and in Wisconsin, Kevin Nicholson, who has said he would vote against re-electing McConnell as majority leader.

In a sign of his increasing concern about the tax overhaul, Trump also sought to cover his bases with the opposition party, inviting Democratic senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Deborah Stabenow of Michigan to participate in a meeting at the White House on Wednesday. Both are members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, and both face re-election next year in states Trump carried.

It will take more than a hastily arranged news conference with McConnell to salve ill feeling between the president and GOP lawmakers.

Twitter Foil

Barely two hours earlier, before a private lunch with McConnell, Trump publicly berated congressional Republicans that he said “are not getting the job done.” He launched repeated Twitter fusillades against McConnell as recently as August, blaming the Kentucky Republican for failing to win passage of an Obamacare repeal and making a “mess” of legislation to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

Even as he committed to standing by Republican senators who Bannon eviscerated during an appearance at the Value Voters Summit on Saturday, the president expressed fondness for his former campaign chairman. He told reporters at a Cabinet meeting earlier Monday that some Republicans should be “ashamed” of their votes.

Trump is “frustrated” with Senate Republicans over the health-care failure and the challenges that have surfaced in the process of overhauling the tax code, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Tuesday.

“Republicans need to start figuring out a way to pass stuff, and not look for reasons not to pass stuff,” Mulvaney said on Fox News. “They ran promising tax reform, and we’re sort of hitting a hurdle on that.”

Lawmakers — particularly those facing tough re-election battles — will watch closely to see if Bannon heeds Trump’s public call.

Republicans are defending just eight Senate seats next year, and only one — Nevada’s Dean Heller — is in a state won by Hillary Clinton. That means that for many GOP senators, their biggest risk of defeat comes from a well-financed and organized primary challenge from the right.

The recent primary loss of Senator Luther Strange, an Alabama Republican ousted by challenger Roy Moore, a Bannon-backed former judge who has said Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress and homosexual activity should be outlawed, has deepened incumbents’ anxieties.

Crucial Months

For Trump, keeping those senators in the fold will be crucial in the coming months.

The president is eager to overhaul the nation’s tax code to cut corporate rates, pass legislation to repeal Obamacare, and forge an immigration deal that strengthens border security and provides protection from deportation to those brought to the U.S. as children. He also must accomplish mundane but essential legislative tasks as funding the government for another year and raising the legal debt ceiling, or risk shaking markets and depressing his popularity. In each case, success or failure could come down to a handful of senators.

Attempts to bully lawmakers on a vote to repeal and replace Obamacare led to dramatic embarrassment on the floor of the Senate. The president’s job approval rating — just 36 percent Oct. 13-15, according to Gallup — is lower than any other modern president at this point in his first term.

Trump’s appearance beside McConnell in the Rose Garden was an acknowledgment that his initial approach to Washington had failed and that Bannon’s threat of a party purge wouldn’t be sufficient to prevail in Congress.

Governing Majority

McConnell said his concern was maintaining a governing majority. He offered a pointed reminder of insurgent candidates who won party primaries in 2010 only to cost Republicans Senate seats in the election as their rhetoric repelled swing voters.

“The goal here is to win elections in November,” the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell named four 2010 Republican Senate nominees: Todd Akin of Missouri, who repulsed voters with talk about “legitimate rape”; Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who said pregnancy from rape is “something that God intended to happen”; Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, who said she’d dabbled in witchcraft; and Sharron Angle of Nevada, who said Sharia law — Islamic religious law — had taken over several U.S. cities.

“They were not able to appeal to a broader electorate in a general election,” McConnell said. “The way you do that is not complicated. You have to nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home.”

Wrong Strategy

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump adviser, said Bannon was pursuing “exactly the wrong strategy” and should instead focus on defeating Democrats facing re-election. He said the decision to run far-right candidates in the 2010 election had likely prevented Republicans from building on their majority and achieving goals like the repeal of Obamacare.

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Steve Bannon. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

“My whole career has been focused on, how do I elect more Republicans — not how do I cannibalize Republicans,” Gingrich said in an interview with Fox News. “I think Bannon is going to spend enormous amount of money on the wrong targets in the wrong way.”

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill downplayed Bannon’s threat.

Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Bannon is helping the party in some instances, backing candidates for Democrat-held or open seats who have a good chance of prevailing in their general elections in states like West Virginia and Tennessee.

Despite the president’s public overtures on Monday, his ability to work in partnership with McConnell is unclear as they confront complicated legislative goals such as overhauling the tax code and acting on immigration.

During the news conference, Trump said that he was drafting an economic development bill — but hadn’t yet filled in the top Senate Republican.

“I haven’t even told Mitch because I want to focus on tax cuts and some other things right now,” Trump said.

— With assistance by Laura Litvan, Sahil Kapur, and Toluse Olorunnipa