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Tipsheet

President Trump Reportedly Reverses Course on Issue That Could've Cost Him the 2020 Election

AP Photo/Francois Mori

President Trump has reportedly changed his mind about an all-out ban on some e-cigarette flavors, according to The Washington Post.

Everything had been ready to sign off on, which would’ve taken the flavors off the market in 30 days, but the president abruptly reversed course on Nov. 4, the night before a scheduled news conference, the Post reports. The reason had to do with the president's fear over the job losses a flavor ban would create had he moved forward with the plan, which had been set into motion at his wife and daughter’s request over the rise in youth vaping.  

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As he had done so many times before, Trump reversed course — this time on a plan to address a major public health problem because of worries that apoplectic vape shop owners and their customers might hurt his reelection prospects, said White House and campaign officials. He also believed job losses tied to the ban would cost him as he sought to trumpet economic growth. It was the latest example of the chaotic way policy is made — and sometimes unmade — in a White House where the ultimate decider often switches gears after making a controversial vow, whether on combating gun violence, pulling troops from Syria or promising to deliver an Obamacare replacement plan.

Officials said the blowback to Trump’s vow to ban most flavored e-cigarettes had rattled him. In an aggressive social media campaign — #IVapeIVote — advocates claimed the ban would shut down thousands of shops, eliminating jobs and sending vapers back to cigarettes. The president saw protesters at events and read critical articles. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, privately warned the ban could hurt him in battleground states, said a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Trump was now upset with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who had taken the lead in rolling out the plan, said three officials familiar with the discussions.

“He didn’t know much about the issue and was just doing it for Melania and Ivanka,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share the discussions. (WaPo)

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Conservatives warned him it would be a huge mistake not just in principle and for public health, but also politically. Americans For Tax Reform was more blunt, writing: "A Trump Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Will Cost Him the 2020 Election: Data on 12 Important Swing States." The article pointed to the number of people using the product across battleground states--many of whom have successfully quit smoking cigarettes as a result.

"To ignore that these adults have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes, something that they're proud of and strongly believe in would be among the biggest political miscalculations of the presidential campaign in 2020," the article states. 

Fortunately, for now, it seems he has listened. 

Late last week he said he will be holdings meetings to explore a new way to address the issue. 

 “Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma,” Trump tweeted. “Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!”

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