September 22, 2016


“Because he’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create… financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from (his father’s) main message.” -- Donald Trump Jr. explaining why his father has not released his tax returns as presidential candidates have traditionally done.

“Mr. Trump has cultivated the persona of a generous man, repeatedly claiming on television he would donate to charity “out of my wallet” and accepting honors from groups he appeared to support. In fact, an exhaustive investigation by Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold shows that Mr. Trump retooled his foundation about a decade ago to act as an intermediary for other people’s charitable giving, a racket from which Mr. Trump gained in reputation and from which he may even have occasionally profited.” -- Washington Post editorial

"His latest target is a pastor from Flint, Michigan, who respectfully asked him not to use her pulpit for political attacks. He called her 'a nervous mess.' That's not only insulting, it's dead wrong. Rev. Faith Green-Timmons is not a nervous mess, she's a rock for her community in trying times. She deserves better than that, and Flint deserves better. In fact, so does America." -- Hillary Clinton criticizing Donald Trump for mocking a pastor who asked him to not give a political speechduring his appearance at her church in Flint, Michigan.

“One result of this conversation (about “deplorables”) is that the country is actually debating how many of Donald Trump’s supporters are anti-Semitic, racist, sexist. In a world where we wish that number was zero, this debate shines a light on the voice that Donald Trump has given to some attitudes that deeply trouble Americans in this election cycle.” -- Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.


"When a man ends up in the White House who boasts about not having a clue and who says that specialist knowledge is elite nonsense, then a critical point has been reached. Then you will have an obviously irresponsible man sitting in a position that requires the utmost degree of responsibility. My worry is that he may inspire copycats, also in Europe. That's why I hope Hillary Clinton wins." --Martin Schulz, president of the European parliament. 9/16/16

"Trump rips off working people with scams like Trump University. And while the people he ripped off suffer, Trump sits at the posh resort he bought with his daddy's money, with no understanding of the misery he caused. Why did Trump appear to use his charity to enrich himself and bribe elected officials who were investigating his scams? Why does Trump refuse to cut ties with business interests that would allow him to exploit American foreign policy to enrich himself? What is Trump hiding in his tax returns?" -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid

“Even when [Trump] admits he lies, he has to tell another giant lie! He says Hillary and her campaign started birtherism in 2008, which is something contradicted only by newspapers, television, Twitter, eyes, ears, and smell. Hillary started birtherism? Oh yes, I think we all remember that. I think it was right after Hillary’s casinos went bankrupt.” -- Bill Maher 9/17/16

“We need ideas, not insults. Real plans to help struggling Americans in communities that have been left out and left behind—not prejudice and paranoia. We can’t let Barack Obama’s legacy fall into the hands of someone who doesn’t understand that, whose dangerous and divisive vision for our country will drag us backwards.” — Hillary Clinton

Clinton controversially described half of Trump’s supporters as “irredeemable.” Trump earlier this year framed the same idea in a more colorful and perhaps more damning way: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Both statements reflect the same underlying truth: Trump enjoys a hard-core support that lies beyond persuasion, utterly immune to even the starkest factual evidence. Clinton committed a gaffe because she acknowledged a reality that literally every other person in America, including Donald Trump himself, is permitted to speak aloud. -- Jonathan Chait pointing to the reality behind the claim that Clinton had made a gaffe. 9/12/16

“Thanks to Mark, we don’t have to watch reality shows anymore, because we’re living in one. Thank you for coming all the way from England to tear us apart with your intricate plot. It worked, you sneaky little crumpet muncher. I’m going on the record: he’s responsible if Donald Trump gets elected, and if he builds that wall, the first person we’re throwing over it is Mark Burnett.” -- Jimmy Kimmel pointing to pointing to British-born producer Mark Burnett, the man to credit for Survivor, Shark Tank, The Apprentice, and, yes, Donald Trump.

“There are millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslim Americans. ... So let’s not get diverted or distracted by the kind of campaign rhetoric we hear coming from the other side. This is a serious challenge. We are well-equipped to meet it. And we can do so in keeping with smart law enforcement, good intelligence, and in concert with our values.” --Hillary Clinton 9/10/16

“Lester (Holt) is a professional, but we’ll see what happens … By the way, Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats. It’s a very unfair system. I’ve worked pretty well within the system.” — Donald Trump. 9/19/16 

“I want to live to see the day that we put the sanctity of life back at the center of American law, and we send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, where it belongs. ... The days of public funding for Planned Parenthood are over when the Trump-Pence administration arrives in Washington, DC." -- Mike Pence at the Vlues Voter Summit. 9/10/16


“If Trump wins, there will be no Ukraine. Listening to Trump talking about the Crimea annexation [which he says he accepts] and Putin’s presidency [which Trump says shows superior leadership]. It made me realize that Trump would not be our friend and that our politicians do not really have a strategy for our life with Trump.” -- Olena Vynogradova, a 27-year-old lawyer supporting Ukrainians displaced by the war. 9.20.16

Trump spreads lies the way terrorists plant bombs: one goes off, and when the first responders rush in, there’s a second, or even a third. -- Amy Davidson 9/20/16




1. Andy Borowitz: Emotional Obama Tearfully Thanks Trump For Granting Him Citizenship
2. Big Majority Say Trump Not Qualified to be President
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
5. From the Late Shows
6. Political Ads/Statements
7. Donald Trump’s new economic policy plan would be devastating to the climate
8. Why Trump isn't actually that close to winning
9. Trump’s bold claims about his new tax plan don’t add up
10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Deplorables
11. Birther Nation: Alive and Well
12. Trump Campaign Spooked by Charity Probe
13. Paul Ryan’s Tax Cuts Would Go to the Richest 1% of Americans
14. Georgia is using an error-riddled database to reject thousands of voter registrations
15. Trump’s Lie-Filled Campaign Sets an Alarming Political Precedent 
16. Late nite jokes for Dems 


1. Nicholas Kristof: When a Crackpot Runs for President
2. Charles M. Blow: Trump, Grand Wizard of Birtherism
3. Garrison Keillor: Hillary Clinton’s concrete shoes
4. Thomas L. Friedman: Donald Trump’s Putin Crush
5. Jonathan Chait: Donald Trump Explains His Plan for Epic Corruption
6. Nicole Hemmer: Donald Trump is what happens when the media chooses ideology over facts
7. Eugene Robinson: Dear Democrats: Stop freaking out
8. John Cassidy: The Big Question About Donald Trump’s Rise In The Polls
9. Gail Collins: Trump Makes His Birther Lie Worse
10. Kathleen Parker: Donald Trump: A con man among heroes
11. Ryan Cooper: Donald Trump's birther speech was 40 seconds of pure garbage


1. Andy Borowitz: Emotional Obama Tearfully Thanks Trump For Granting Him Citizenship

Calling this “the greatest day of my life,” a visibly moved Barack Obama held a news conference on Friday to thank Donald Trump for granting him U.S. citizenship.

“The issue of whether or not I was a U.S. citizen has been a dark cloud over my existence for as long as I can remember,” a tearful Obama told the press corps. “Only one man had the courage, wisdom, and doggedness to make that cloud go away: Donald J. Trump.”

The President, who had to halt several times during his remarks to compose himself, praised the Republican Presidential nominee for “never giving up” in his quest to prove that Obama was born in the U.S.

“A weaker man would have said, ‘I don’t need this in my life,’ but Donald Trump was always there for me,” the President said. “Over the past five years, barely a day went by when he didn’t call me and say, ‘Barack, I don’t care what a bunch of crackpots say. You were born here, and I’m going to prove it once and for all.’ “

The President said he planned to spend the day celebrating his U.S. citizenship with his family. “It’s great to be an American, at last,” he said.

ELSEWHERE: Endorsement Of Trump To Play Key Role In Christie’s Insanity Defense: Christie’s lawyers can argue that he begged Trump to name him his Vice-Presidential nominee, even after it was abundantly clear that the billionaire had no intention of doing so. “Seriously, that was crazy,” Dorrinson said.

If Christie’s legal team succeeds with an insanity defense, the New Jersey Governor could avoid prison and be sent to a psychiatric facility instead, Dorrinson believes. “As long as he’s being held someplace where he can do no harm, the people of New Jersey should be happy,” he said. Read more at

2. Big Majority Say Trump Not Qualified to be President

A new Quinnipiac poll shows that American likely voters say by a 62% to 38% that Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president, but by a 61% to 38% margin that Donald Trump is not. 9/15/16 Read more at


"The last thing I care about is my company. I'll have my kids run it, I'd put it in trust, and be done with it." -- Donald Trump 9/14/16


“You can't set up a real blind trust under the executive branch without it being run by independent trustees, people he has no existing business relationship with." -- Kenneth Gross, a lawyer who advises clients on conflict of interest issues. "It certainly doesn't include your children." 9/14/16


“The audience was saying ‘let him speak, let him speak. The audience was so great.” --Trump saying that most of the people who attended the event at the church welcomed him warmly.


That isn't true. In fact, several audience members began to heckle Trump, asking pointed questions about whether he racially discriminated against black tenants as a landlord. And that's when Timmons — who Trump said Thursday had planned to ambush him — stepped in to defend Trump, saying the Republican nominee was "a guest of my church, and you will respect him." -- The Daily Kos 9/15/16


“You know who started the birther movement? You know who started it? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first? Hillary Clinton. She’s the one that started it. She brought it up years before it was brought up by me.” — Donald Trump , 5/04/16


There’s no evidence to support Trump’s repeated claim that Clinton “started” the birther movement and was one of the first to question Obama’s birth certificate. He could blame the actions of Clinton’s supporters during the 2008 primary or say the rumor has some Democratic roots. But there’s no evidence that she or her campaign questioned his birth certificate or his citizenship. Further, the campaign denounced isolated instances of Clinton’s staffers questioning whether Obama was Muslim. Four Pinocchios. -- Washington Post Fact Checker 5/06/15


“Right now, 92 million Americans are on the sideline outside of the workforce, and they’re not a part of our economy. It’s a silent nation of jobless Americans. “ — Donald Trump in a speech to the Economic Club of New York. 9/15/16


As you can see, it is absurd to claim that 94 million Americans are on the sidelines of the economy and are part of a “jobless America.” You can’t be jobless if you don’t want a job. Only a small percentage of these people want a job, as the rest are retired, in school, on disability or caring for children. No matter how much Trump wants to suggest the economy is on the rocks, the fact remains that the unemployment rate is below 5 percent — which is pretty good by any measure. Four Pinocchios -- Washington Post Fact Checker 9/16/15


"The birther movement was started by Hillary Clinton in 2008. She was all in!"  — Donald Trump tweet on 9/22/15


The idea that Clinton first raised the birther issue is a lie, and it should not be forgotten that this is a lie that Trump has told repeatedly. Beyond that, though, this statement’s suggestion that Trump was the hero who brought this issue to a conclusion, by forcing Obama to show his papers — and let’s face it, this is really about demanding that the first African American president show his papers, just like any other undocumented immigrant Trump would deport because his presence in the U.S. is illegitimate. -- Greg Sargent 9/16/16


“I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. I think they should disarm. Immediately. Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, O.K. It’ll be very dangerous.” -- Donald Trump 9/17/16.


Hey @realDonaldTrump, if you keep suggesting your supporters kill @HillaryClinton, someone will listen. The blood will be on your hands. -- Chris Murphy ✔@ChrisMurphyCT 9/17/16



"Hillary Clinton is the first person in history to run for the presidency who is proposing to abolish the borders around the country that she is supposed to protect." -- Donald Trump 9/17/16


While Clinton believes in a path to citizenship and supports continuing the Obama administration's controversial policy of allowing DREAMers to remain in the country, she has never advocated halting deportations of undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes, or reducing or ending border enforcement.” -- Politico (NOTE: Trump also blamed Clinton for the 13,000 "criminal aliens" the government released back into communities from 2008-14 even though she had no responsibilities for domestic issues like immigration enforcement.) 9/17/16


"At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief." -- Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates 9/17/16


“He’s a nasty guy. Probably has a problem that we don’t know about.” -- Donald Trump attacking former Defense Secretary Robert Gates after Gates' critical op-ed.


“Like knock the hell out of them. And we have to get everybody together and we have to lead for a change because we’re not knocking them, we’re hitting them every once in a while, we’re hitting them in certain places, we’re being very gentle about it, we’re going to have to be very tough.” -- Donald Trump 9/19/16


“Let us be vigilant, but not afraid. We have faced threats before. If you see something or you hear something, report it immediately to local law enforcement authorities. I know we will meet this new danger with the same courage and vigilance. We choose resolve, not fear. We will not turn on each other or undermine our values. We’ll stand together because we are stronger together in the face of this threat and every other challenge.” -- Hillary Clinton 9/19/16


“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” It’s not even remotely true, but it is revealing of the character of the Trumps. --Donald Trump Jr. Tweet


“Let’s say it takes me one minute to grab a handful and eat them. I would hit a poisoned Skittle, on average, every 130 years. I would also be consuming the equivalent of a package of Skittles every minute, which is about 330,000 calories a day.” -- Jennifer Rubin 9/20/16

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox Host: Clintons Have Set Bar So Low, Only "Wearing A Swastika" Would Hurt Trump In Debates.

Trump Ally Alex Jones On Obama's Climate Change Remarks In Africa: “He's The Devil With A Brown Face Sent To Screw You”

On Fox, Former GE CEO Jack Welch Says Watching Hannity Gets You "One Full Hour Of Hating Hillary Clinton.”

As Trump Prepares To Discuss His Birtherism, Top Adviser Roger Stone Says Trump Still Has “Real Concerns” About Obama’s Birthplace. Stone: Many People “Knowledgeable” About "Computerized Graphics" Say Obama’s Birth Certificate “Is Not Real”

Fox News Desperately Rushes To Declare Trump’s Five Year Birther Crusade “Off The Table”

CNN’s Corey Lewandowski Wants President Obama To Apologize To Donald Trump For “The Incendiary Things He’s Said”

On Meet The Press Alex Castellanos: The Real Question About Obama Is Not Where He Was Born But "Has He Considered Himself More Of A Globalist Than An American?"

New Trump Ad Features NRA Board Member Ted Nugent, Who Has Called For Clinton To Be Hanged

Donald Trump On Fox & Friends: "I Have A Set Of Things That I'll Be Doing If" Lester Holt Is Unfair When Moderating The Debate. Trump: “It’s a Very, Very Dirty System, And It’s An Unfair System”

NRA’s Ted Nugent: Victims Of Minnesota Stabbing Spree Were “Pathetic” And “Embarrassing” Because They Were Unarmed. -- Nugent: “Apparently Most Americans Like Being Victims”

Donald Trump Jr. Has Become A Hero To Neo-Nazi Websites with his “gas chamber” reference, retweeting an anti-Semitic author, and compared Syrian refugees to Skittles.

The close-knit relationship between Fox News and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has strengthened in recent days, as several Fox figures have stepped up their participation in Trump’s campaign. Fox’s intimacy with the Trump campaign has been central to the candidate’s overwhelming media presence and his propagation of lies.

5. From the Late Shows

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sarcastic Trump

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Did Trump End The Birther Controversy, Or Is That His Biggest Lie Yet?

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Hillary Clinton on Her Health and Recovery from Pneumonia

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Trump Lies about His Birther Past: A Closer Look

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Too Close for Comfort (Act 1, Part 1)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee: Chief Executive Fear Mongerer (Web Bonus: Act 2, Part 2)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Donald Trump Jr. Might Want To Check His Math

6. Political Ads/Statements

Disclosure | The Briefing

Trump victim: George Hanus | The Briefing

Birther | The Briefing

Donald Trump's birther lies | The Briefing

7. Donald Trump’s new economic policy plan would be devastating to the climate

Donald Trump’s newest economic policy plan released paints a bleak picture of climate action under a potential Trump presidency. The plan would:

• completely eliminate the Clean Power Plan, the United States’ most robust attempt at curbing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

• eliminate the Waters of the United States rule, a rule that protects millions of Americans from water pollution.

• slash the EPA’s new standards for ground-level ozone, meant to combat public health issues like asthma.

• halt any new federal regulations and require an agency-level review of all previous regulations, putting numerous important regulations, like the EPA’s new regulations on methane emissions from new oil and gas operations, or coal ash regulations, in peril.

•  “unleash an energy revolution” through supporting coal production and natural gas production via fracking.

• maintain fossil fuel production on public lands, as well as open up “vast areas of our offshore energy resources” for drilling.

“Put simply, Trump’s energy plan is this: he opposes any policy that will tackle the climate crisis or grow our clean energy economy, and he supports any policy that props up the dirty fossil fuel industry,” Khalid Pitts, the Sierra Club’s political director, said. “Anyone with illusions that he cares about the health of American families just needs to note that a day after he was in Flint for a photo-op, he directly attacked clean water safeguards. American families deserve better than a con-man who cribs his speeches from fossil fuel CEOs.” -- Natasha Geiling

8. Why Trump isn't actually that close to winning

Despite all the breathlessheadlines to the contrary, the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump isn’t really that close right now.

A series of recent polls have showed a tightening of the popular vote, with the occasional survey showing Trump actually ahead. However, for a couple of reasons, it’s not actually all that helpful to look at national polls and try to draw conclusions about how things will stand when the polls close on Nov. 8.

First of all, for better or for worse, the U.S. does not hold a national election. A successful presidential candidate can actually win the presidency with fewer total votes than an opponent because of the way the Electoral College works. George W. Bush did it in 2000, and John F. Kennedy, arguably, did it in 1960. It’s not really that complicated. Landslide victories for a Republican across the Deep South, for example, yield just as many electoral votes as one-point victories for a Democrat in states like New York, California and the Pacific Northwest.

So even when the Real Clear Politics polling average shows Clinton ahead by just 1.8 percent nationally, and barely clinging to a 1.1 percent lead over Trump if third party candidates are included, it doesn’t indicate that the election is close to a coin flip at this point. In the fall of 2012, President Obama was polling just 0.4 percentage points ahead of Mitt Romney on average, and he went on to win the presidency comfortably, with 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

Should Hillary Clinton be sleeping easy? No. She’s facing about a 1-in-3 shot of losing to a man who the vast majority of the American people believe in unqualified to serve as president. But to say that the race is really neck-and-neck at this point seriously overstates the current state of play in Trump’s favor. -- Rob Garver


9. Trump’s bold claims about his new tax plan don’t add up

Trump claims that under this updated plan, “The greatest percentage reduction in tax bill goes to lower income taxpayers.” But it’s hard to see how. Under his original proposal, two different analyses found that, with everything taken together, the rich would make off with the most benefits by far. One found that the top fifth of the richest Americans would get more than two-thirds of the benefits, while the poorest fifth would get 0.8 percent. The other found that the top 1 percent would see its income increase the most, by over 21 percent, while the poorest would get the least.

Making the tax brackets more like the House Republican plan won’t change that picture. The same analysis that found the 1 percent faring best under Trump’s plan found the same for Ryan’s plan, as did another. On a static basis, without making assumptions about how tax cuts might impact the economy, the 1 percent would get a 5.3 percent boost to its income, while the bottom fifth would see it rise by just 0.3 percent.

Trump has also put forward changes to the tax code to help parents pay for childcare, but the wealthy would still see the biggest benefit from them.

Trump also claims that “Trump economists” estimate that his proposals for the tax code, trade relations, the energy industry, and government regulation would bring a huge boost to the economy. He states that they would “conservatively” increase average annual growth to 3.5 percent while creating as many as 25 million jobs within ten years.

That runs contra to what independent analysts have found. Moody’s Analytics found that Trump’s tax, trade, and immigration policies would actually cost 3.5 million jobs and annual growth would average just 1.4 percent. Oxford Economics estimated that his plans would slice $1 trillion off of GDP.

10. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Deplorables

11. Birther Nation: Alive and Well

Many of Donald Trump’s supporters at his raucous rally here Friday night still believe President Obama was born in Kenya. “I know it in my heart,” said Pedro Almeyda, an elevator engineer. Others still aren’t sure. “He doesn’t show love for this country, but who knows?” asked Carmen Suarez, a retired nurse. And still others always knew Obama is a native-born American. “I never took that stuff seriously,” said James Fry, the owner of a real estate firm.

But this much was clear: Trump’s sudden abandonment of his five-year birther crusade on Friday does not seem to have changed how his supporters view either him or Obama. In interviews at the rally, the birthers and non-birthers all seemed to think that Trump has privately agreed with them all along, and all praised his flip-flop as a shrewd political stratagem to change an inconvenient subject. Most of them also trashed Obama as an unpatriotic disaster, whether or not they thought he was really born here.

But for many Republicans, the birther speculation has felt like a satisfying explanation of a president with an African name and an exotic background who always felt alien to their experience as well as hostile to their ideology. Lazaro Lazano, an anti-Castro activist, thinks Obama is pro-Castro, pro-terrorist, and anti-American, and always assumed he was born abroad. He still thinks that, but now that Trump has backed off, Lazano said he must admit that it’s not something he can know for certain.

“I wasn’t there when he was born,” Lazano said. “But I’ll tell you this: I know for a fact that he’s a Muslim.”


12. Trump Campaign Spooked by Charity Probe

Those in Donald Trump’s orbit appear to be nervous about the swirling scandal around the Trump Foundation—and they should be: The stakes are incredibly high.

The allegations of a quid pro quo between Trump and Florida Attorney General, improper use of the charity for personal benefit, and employment of the charity for political purposes have serious penalties beyond mere campaign optics—the possible consequences range from hefty fines to jail time. 9/19/16 Read more at


13. Paul Ryan’s Tax Cuts Would Go to the Richest 1% of Americans 

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimate that the House GOP blueprint for broad income tax reform would reduce federal revenue by $3.1 trillion over the first decade of implementation and by an additional $2.2 trillion in the second decade.

Three-quarters of the tax cuts would benefit the top 1 percent of taxpayers and the highest-income taxpayers (0.1 percent of the population, or those with incomes over $3.7 million in 2015 dollars) would experience an average tax cut of about $1.3 million, 16.9 percent of after-tax income. Households in the middle fifth of the income distribution would receive an average tax cut of almost $260, or 0.5 percent of after-tax income, while the poorest fifth of households would see their taxes go down an average of about $50, or 0.4 percent of their after-tax income. In 2025, the top 1 percent of households would receive nearly 100 percent of the total tax reduction. Households in some upper-middle income groups would have tax increases on average, and households at other income levels would have smaller average cuts, relative to after-tax income, than in 2017. 9/16/16 Read more at

14. Georgia is using an error-riddled database to reject thousands of voter registrations

Tens of thousands of Georgia voters have had their registrations thrown out because of typos in the state’s databases or because their name in the databases may not exactly match the information on their registration form.

Voting advocates filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday alleging that the state’s requirement that voter registration forms exactly match information in state databases violates the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Thousands of voters — disproportionately minorities — have had their registrations rejected because of discrepancies as small as an extra hyphen or accent mark, according to lawyers.

“Would-be voters, including a disproportionate number of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian-American voters are denied the right to register and vote because many of the databases maintained by the state are riddled with errors,” Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said on a press call.

15. Trump’s Lie-Filled Campaign Sets an Alarming Political Precedent

Routine falsehoods, unfounded claims and inflammatory language have long been staples of Mr. Trump’s anything-goes campaign. But as the polls tighten and November nears, his behavior, and the implications for the country should he become president, are alarming veteran political observers — and leaving them deeply worried about the precedent being set, regardless of who wins the White House.

Said former GOP congressman Vin Weber: “It’s frightening. Our politics, because of him, is descending to the level of a third-world country. There’s just nothing beneath him. And I don’t know why we would think he would change if he became president. That’s what’s really scary.

“It’s incredibly depressing,” Stephen Hess, who served in the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations, said of Mr. Trump. “He’s the most profoundly ignorant man I’ve ever seen at this level in terms of understanding the American presidency, and, even more troubling, he makes no effort to learn anything.” 9/17/16 Read more at


16. Late Night Jokes for Dems

In China President Obama had a meeting with Vladimir Putin. And before they started, Obama texted Michelle: 'Going into a meeting, love you.' While Putin texted the same thing to Donald Trump." –Jimmy Fallon

"A lot of people were saying President Obama was snubbed by China when they didn't have the stairs ready for him to get off the plane. In fact, Donald Trump said that if that ever happened to him, he'd just close the plane doors and leave the country. Every other country was like, 'That's all we have to do? Thank you. That's perfect!'" –Jimmy Fallon

"Happy birthday to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. It was the first birthday party where someone jumped into the cake instead of out of it." –Jimmy Fallon

"Did you see Donald Trump dancing at the gospel church? Donald Trump, as part of his new initiative to woo African-American voters, visited the Great Faith Ministries Church in Detroit. He said he was there to listen. I don't know what he was listening to but based on his dancing, it clearly wasn't music." –Jimmy Kimmel

"A national Washington Post survey found that Donald Trump has historically low support among college-educated women. It's from their new segment, 'Stuff You Could Have Guessed.'" –Seth Meyers

"One of the big revelations of this latest email dump is that Secretary Clinton didn't use just one smartphone in office as she originally claimed, she used up to 13 different mobile devices in four years. Madam Secretary, tell the truth. Are you a crack dealer? Because I can't figure out why else you would need 13 phones." –Stephen Colbert

"Last night, Donald Trump said if he's elected, he will employ a 'deportation task force.' It's not really necessary, because if he's elected most people will probably leave voluntarily." –Conan O'Brien

"In his speech last night, Donald Trump proposed new screening to prevent violent extremists from entering the U.S. In response, Trump's supporters said, 'But we're already here.'" –Conan O'Brien

"A new poll reveals that supporters of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are motivated by fear, not excitement. And third-party candidate Gary Johnson supporters are motivated by being related to Gary Johnson." –Conan O'Brien

"On September 26th Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off in a debate at Hofstra University. The Clinton campaign is using psychology experts to create a personality profile of Trump to figure out what his approach might be. I don't know, are they preparing for a debate or trying to catch the Zodiac Killer?" –Jimmy Kimmel

"Hillary Clinton said, 'I'm not taking anything for granted, I don't know which Donald Trump will show up.' She's right, it could be the Donald Trump we see on cable news, could be the Donald Trump we see at these rallies, it could be Donald Trump Jr. … technically still a Donald Trump." –Jimmy Kimmel

"Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday about her preparation for the upcoming presidential debate, and told reporters, quote, 'I do not know which Donald Trump will show up.' Yes — will it be the kind, generous and intelligent Donald Trump, or will it be the one who exists?" –Seth Meyers

"Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said in an interview today that Donald Trump's focus on a border wall is because 'a wall is something very easy for people to understand.' Whereas tax returns, super complicated." –Seth Meyers


1. Nicholas Kristof: When a Crackpot Runs for President

There are crackpots who believe that the earth is flat, and they don’t deserve to be quoted without explaining that this is an, er, outlying view, and the same goes for a crackpot who has argued that climate change is a Chinese-made hoax, who has called for barring Muslims and who has said that he will build a border wall and that Mexico will pay for it.

We owe it to our readers to signal when we’re writing about a crackpot. Even if he’s a presidential candidate. No, especially when he’s a presidential candidate.

There frankly has been a degree of unreality to some of the campaign discussion: Partly because Hillary Clinton’s narrative is one of a slippery, dishonest candidate, the discussion disproportionately revolves around that theme. Yes, Clinton has been disingenuous and legalistic in her explanations of emails. Meanwhile, Trump is a mythomaniac who appears to have systematically cheated customers of Trump University.

I wonder if journalistic efforts at fairness don’t risk normalizing Trump, without fully acknowledging what an abnormal candidate he is. Historically we in the news media have sometimes fallen into the traps of glib narratives or false equivalencies, and we should try hard to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

We should be guard dogs, not lap dogs, and when the public sees Trump as more honest than Clinton, something has gone wrong.

For my part, I’ve never met a national politician as ill informed, as deceptive, as evasive and as vacuous as Trump. He’s not normal. And somehow that is what our barks need to convey .9/15/16 Read more at or


2. Charles M. Blow: Trump, Grand Wizard of Birtherism

So, on Friday the Grand Wizard of Birtherism against President Obama admitted that birtherism was bunk, not by apologizing for his prominent role in the racist campaign — no, that would have been too right — but by suggesting that he deserved credit for dousing the flames he’d fanned.

This man is so low that he’s subterranean.

Donald Trump said Friday: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy.”

That was a lie. There is no evidence Hillary Clinton and her campaign either started or took part in the efforts to question the location of Barack Obama’s birth.

He continued: “I finished it.”

That was also a lie. Well after it had been established that the president was born in this country, Trump continued to traffic in speculation to the contrary, all the way up to and including this year.

And even when confronted with proof positive that his conspiracies are baseless, he often doesn’t back down, or if he does, he does so without apology.

He is not only bending the truth, he is breaking the notion that truth should matter in the first place.

This is what is so baffling about the people supporting him: They know he’s lying, but they so want to believe the lies that they have pushed themselves into a universe of irrationality that is devoid of logic. 9/19/16 Read more at


3. Garrison Keillor: Hillary Clinton’s concrete shoes

Someday, historians will get this right and look back at the steady pitter-pat of scandals that turned out to be nothing, nada, zero and ixnay and will conclude that, almost a century after women’s suffrage, almost 45 years after Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law, a woman was required to run for office wearing concrete shoes. Check back 45 years from now and if I’m wrong, go ahead and dance on my grave. 9/14/16 Read more at


4. Thomas L. Friedman: Donald Trump’s Putin Crush

When it comes to rebutting Donald Trump’s idiotic observation that Vladimir Putin is a strong leader — “far more than our president has been a leader” — it is hard to top the assessment of Russian-born Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, which The Times’s Andrew Higgins quoted in his story from Moscow: “Vladimir Putin is a strong leader in the same way that arsenic is a strong drink. Praising a brutal K.G.B. dictator, especially as preferable to a democratically elected U.S. president, whether you like Obama or hate him, is despicable and dangerous.”

Indeed, Kasparov’s point cuts to the core of what is so scary about a Trump presidency: Trump is what The Economist has called “the leading exponent of ‘post-truth’ politics — a reliance on assertions that ‘feel true’ but have no basis in fact,” and, sadly, “his brazenness is not punished, but taken as evidence of his willingness to stand up to elite power.” When politics becomes “like pro-wrestling,” society pays a huge cost, The Economist added, because any complex explanation of any problem is dismissed as experts just trying “to bamboozle everyone else.”

So Trump just skips from blaming Mexican immigrants for high murder rates, to President Obama for inventing ISIS, to China for creating the concept of global warming, to thousands of Muslims in New Jersey for celebrating 9/11, to Obama for really having been born in Kenya, to an I.R.S. audit for preventing him from showing us his tax returns — which would probably show that he paid no taxes.

Every word of it is a lie that most in his own party won’t call out. Can you imagine the damage Trump could do to the fabric of our democracy if he had the White House pulpit from which to preach his post-truth politics — how it would filter down into public discourse at large and infect every policy debate?

Putin is a leader who is always looking for dignity in all the wrong places — by investing in bullying wars, not in his own people; by jailing and likely poisoning his opponents; and by being so insecure that he just shut Russia’s last independent polling firm after it indicated that many Russians may not vote in the coming parliamentary elections because, among other things, they think they’re “rigged.”

This is the man Donald Trump admires more than our own president. 9/14/16 Read more at


5. Jonathan Chait: Donald Trump Explains His Plan for Epic Corruption

Among the many problems posed by a Donald Trump presidency is the inseparability of his business and public dealings. Normally, elected presidents place their wealth in a “blind trust,” which invests their holdings in assets of which they are not aware, to prevent them from making decisions that might benefit their own portfolio. It would be extremely difficult for Trump to handle such conflicts of interest, since his business is the licensing of his name to hotels, golf courses, fraudulent universities, and so on. The conflict of interest problem is exacerbated by the fact that Trump either does not understand the concept of a conflict of interest or does not care.

When asked during the primary if he would put his assets in a blind trust, Trump replied that he would, and then defined the term to mean that his children would run it:

Amazingly, Trump has managed to blur the distinction between a blind trust and the opposite of a blind trust so thoroughly that the media is now repeating his own terms. “The Republican nominee has previously indicated,” reports Politico, “that he would place the businesses in a blind trust run by his children and executives.” Again, a “blind trust run by his children and executives” is not a thing.  9/20/16 Read more at

6. Nicole Hemmer: Donald Trump is what happens when the media chooses ideology over facts

Fact-checkers have weighed in time and again on the Trump campaign, and – no surprise here — Donald J. Trump doesn't tell the truth. Politifact rates 70% of his statements as somewhere between “mostly false” and “pants on fire.” CNN has taken to checking his speeches in real time, flashing corrections on the chyron as he talks.

Yet Trump and his supporters remain undaunted. His ability to repeat false statements with seemingly few consequences has become a point of political pride, a middle finger raised to anyone who argues that facts are real and that they matter.

Now conservatives, or at least the Republican Party, have doubled-down on post-factualness with Trump. Neither right nor especially right-wing, Trump has been able to triumph because of how thoroughly Fox and company have muddied the line between facts and opinion. If they want the GOP back, conservatives will need to recommit to reality. 9/20/16 Read more a t


7. Eugene Robinson: Dear Democrats: Stop freaking out

Ordinarily, this would be a tough election for any Democratic candidate to win. That is because, historically, a party that controls the White House for two terms in a row has difficulty winning a third. In addition to that headwind, nearly 70 percent of Americans say they believe the country is on the wrong track — an ominous sign for the incumbent party.

Trump, with his soaring unpopularity and general flakiness, is no normal candidate. Many voters — including many Republicans — obviously believe that while it may be the GOP’s turn to take the helm, it will never be Trump’s turn. Still, there are those who have real doubts about Trump but may still vote for him because they want change.

But the Democratic Party has structural advantages in a presidential year, as Barack Obama so vividly demonstrated. The party’s coalition of women, young people, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanics has growing weight in the electorate. Trump’s base — older, whiter, more male — is a shrinking portion of the overall vote.

And the electoral map favors Democrats, giving Clinton more paths to victory than Trump. If she wins Florida, it’s over. Same if she wins Ohio. And she could even lose both and still get to 270.

Angst doesn’t help. Energizing the Democratic Party’s reliable voters, especially in crucial states, can make all the difference.


8. John Cassidy: The Big Question About Donald Trump’s Rise In The Polls

Up to this point, the prospect of Trump entering the White House had been a distant one. But now, the complacent belief that Trump is unelectable has been shattered. On Friday, Five Thirty Eight’s “polls-only” model estimated that the probability of him winning was about forty per cent. Even Democratic polling experts, such as Teixeria, concede that a Trump victory is possible. To be sure, they qualify this in many ways, noting that Trump would need to run the table in his target states, getting a huge turnout of white non-college voters and a low turnout in Democratic-leaning demographics. But, as Teixeria said to me, “there is a path.”

In this new environment, the stakes are a lot higher, and voters will be forced to think more seriously about the consequences of their decisions, including the decision about whether to vote at all. Consider the ten to fifteen per cent of respondents who tell pollsters that they are still making up their minds. Or the roughly one in three millennials who, according to some recent polls, are planning to support Gary Johnson or Jill Stein. Or the fifty-seven per cent of registered Democrats who say that they are less enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. How many of these people will want to have it on their consciences that, either by voting for someone other than Clinton or by not showing up at all they helped to elect President Trump?

Now that the prospect of him sitting in the Oval Office is a more real and salient one, the dynamics of the contest are different. And they could well turn against him. 9/16/16 Read more at

9. Gail Collins: Trump Makes His Birther Lie Worse

Wow. Donald Trump says President Obama was born here. What a concession. No wonder he’s trending up in the polls.

How did we get to this place, people? The big story of the day is that a candidate for president of the United States — a candidate who, according to The Times’s Upshot model, now has a one in four chanceof being elected — admits he spent years telling the American people a stupendous lie. And even now, he won’t say he’s sorry.

“President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again,”Trump said abruptly and briefly on Friday. This was at his new Washington hotel, which he has been promoting with an avidity he has never devoted to, say, getting his immigration policy straight.

Then Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton had been first to spread the rumor that Obama was not a native-born citizen. This is a lie. A lie that all the fact checkers in the world debunked when he started saying it long ago.

People, I know some of you get very frustrated that news coverage of this election does not begin every day with: “In yet another total falsehood, Donald Trump …” This is your moment.

What we have here is a candidate for president of the United States who makes stuff up all the time, but is either incapable of realizing that he’s telling a lie, or constitutionally unable to take blame for being untruthful.

Yet, according to the polls, Hillary Clinton’s biggest problem is that the public thinks she’s dishonest. Amazing.


10. Kathleen Parker: Donald Trump: A con man among heroes

At long last, Donald Trump has set himself free.

At a highly choreographed event Friday, the Republican nominee for president of the United States finally issued his verdict on the birthright of our two-term president, who, it turns out, is a real American!

“Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period,” Trump intoned to the great relief of no one.

Well, howdy-do. Welcome to planet Earth, son.

But Trump’s announcement was merely a curtain call on a theatrical production otherwise known as Free Publicity for Trump. For the preceding 24 hours, Trump gleefully baited and dragged the media through Con Man’s Swamp, first refusing to answer the question posed by The Post’s Robert Costa about whether Trump still thought Obama wasn’t born in the United States, then building suspense Friday morning that he would make a “big announcement.”

In making his announcement, Trump also repeated two familiar refrains that are factually false. One, that Hillary Clinton first raised the question of Obama’s birthright. Even though it was raised by at least one of her supporters in 2008, it was Trump who, for years, led the birther movement and then used the notoriety to launch his campaign.

Trump also said that, thanks to him, Obama was forced to provide his birth certificate. Wrong again. And, by the way, does anyone think that the Clinton machine wouldn’t have produced contrary evidence of Obama’s citizenship had it existed?

It’s good that Trump has finally owned up, if way too late to make any difference. But one should keep in mind that the birther movement was racist to its core. And the man who would be president led the charge. 9/16/16 Read more at

11. Ryan Cooper: Donald Trump's birther speech was 40 seconds of pure garbage

Donald Trump made it into the first rank of national politics by stoking the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. But now this history has become inconvenient, as President Obama is quite popular and Hillary Clinton has been hammering him on the issue. So at a bizarre event at his recently-finished hotel in Washington, D.C., Trump tried to put the birther issue behind him on Friday — by duping the media and lying that Hillary Clinton was responsible for the whole story in the first place.

First of all, Clinton did not remotely start the birther movement. Birtherism is a hardcore conspiracy theory that cropped up during the 2008 Democratic primary in the right-wing fever swamps. Nutty reactionaries, looking for some reason to disqualify the future first black president of the United States, glommed onto the fact that his father was Kenyan and he had lived overseas as a child, and derped themselves into believing he wasn't actually born in Hawaii. From there it passed to higher-profile fringe figures like Orly Taitz and Jerome Corsi, and from there into the Republican bloodstream.

Clinton never once said or implied that Obama was not a citizen, or demanded to see his birth certificate, or argued he was not really president — the basic premises of birtherism.

Donald Trump did all those things, repeatedly.

Trump disavowing the substance of the conspiracy without acknowledging fault and blaming the whole thing on Clinton is a complete snow job. It does not remotely account for the harm he has done — indeed, it was probably meant to be seen by his racist crackpot supporters as a bad faith sop to the media.

Trump is still a racist conspiracy nut, and he always will be.