South Carolinians’ opinion of President Donald Trump is on the rise, according to the latest Winthrop Poll. Trump’s job approval rating is at 46 percent in the state, up from 42 percent in February. According to The Post and Courier’s report on the poll, “almost three in four white evangelicals in the state agree with the statement the president is someone who stands for their values is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat accurate.’” This is despite various allegations of infidelity against the combustible, thrice-married president, including widespread allegations he had sex with porn star Stormy Daniels. — Chris Trainor

Graham Says He’ll Support Trump in 2020

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a past foe of Donald Trump, vowed on Twitter to support Trump’s 2020 presidential re-election bid. Graham also tweeted, “I expect we will – at times – continue to have differences. I will continue to speak my mind, just like I know he will. I think that makes us both better.” The show of support came during the same week Nikki Haley’s name has been floated as a possible primary challenger to Trump. It also came soon after a group of congressmen including U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford declined to say they’d support Trump’s 2020 bid. — Eva Moore

Clyburn Sips Jack, Endorses Smith for Governor

US. Rep. Jim Clyburn’s annual World Famous Fish Fry was held in Columbia last weekend, and offered a chance for some national reporters to wring stories from the Palmetto State. Clyburn made national headlines by calling for a Democratic leadership shakeup in Congress if Dems fail to retake control of the House in November. “If we’re still in the minority” after Election Day, he told Politico, “all of us have got to go.” Politico also noted that Clyburn is a Jack Daniel’s man, and WLTX reports that 1,000 pounds of fish were served at the event. The fish fry also offered a chance for Clyburn, the state’s leading national Democrat, to endorse S.C. Rep. James Smith in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Former Vice President Joe Biden also endorsed Smith via a video feed. — Eva Moore

South Carolinians Want Gun Control, Cops in Schools

The State had the Winthrop Poll ask some exclusive questions, and found decent support for both gun control and armed police in schools. For one thing, 86 percent of S.C. residents, including 85 percent of gun owners, told pollsters they would support a law requiring background checks to be completed before a gun sale, and 68 percent said the state should pass a law raising the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21. Stricter gun control is generally seen as a pipe dream in deep-red South Carolina. The poll also found that 8 in 10 South Carolinians want an armed school resource officer in every public school, and nearly that many say they’d accept higher taxes to pay for them. — Eva Moore

Auditors: State Utilities Were “Inexperienced” in Regard to Nuclear Project

Nearly two years before the controversial nuclear reactor construction project at V.C. Summer was shuttered, auditors expressed grave concern about those running the project. The Post and Courier obtained a memo from auditing firm Bechtel that said executives from project partners SCANA and Santee Cooper were “relatively inexperienced or reluctant to act” as the project was going off the rails. The paper reported that the memo from the auditors indicated the power companies “didn’t have experience running such an enormous construction effort, and neither they nor their contractors had ‘basic project management tools and controls.’” — Chris Trainor

Benjamin to Take Lead of National Mayors’ Group May 7

Third-term Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will be inaugurated May 7 as the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He’ll be the 76th president of the nonpartisan group of mayors from cities of 30,000 or more people that advocates on issues affecting municipalities. Benjamin has spent the last year as the vice president of the organization. He will succeed Mitch Landrieu, the mayor of New Orleans, as president. The mayor told Free Times he’s looking forward to being inaugurated in his home city. “It’s exciting,” Benjamin says. “It serves as a recognition by our peers, some of the largest and most innovative cities in the world, that Columbia is a rising star, and that our vision of becoming the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America is no longer just a bold dream, but truly within reach.” — Chris Trainor

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