July 9, 2020


“He’ll say this is a hoax, and it’s a hoax that Russia is 24/7 trying to disrupt our elections like they did in 2016. He says that coronavirus is a hoax. The fact is, the president himself is a hoax.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) needling Donald Trump over his assertion that allegations of Russian bounties on American soldiers is a hoax.

if you’re a woman supporting trump, i feel bad for you. You must really hate yourself. Lots of internalized misogyny... yikes. -- George and Kellyanne Conway’s daughter Claudia

The GOP calls for the White House coronavirus task force to be disbanded so that President Trump’s message is not mitigated or distorted. Dr. Fauci & Dr. Birx “continue to contradict” Trump’s goal of reopening the economy." -- Rep. Andy Biggs {R-AZ).

“I think there’s a significant chance [President Trump] doesn’t run. I mean this thing is going so poorly, he’s so far back. To me it doesn’t make much sense for him to run,” — Democratic Strategist James Carville.

I say this all the time, but it’s worth saying again: Not every—or even most!—Trump supporters are racists. But just about every racist is a Trump supporter." --Jonathan V. Last

“I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ‘em. Thank you.” — Conservative Houston power broker Steve Hotze.

“Trump needs — or thinks he needs — fear of ‘the other’ to motivate his base and create enthusiasm. Right now, people are fearful of Covid-19, but that is inconvenient for Trump, so he is trying to kick up fear about something he thinks will benefit his re-election: angry mobs of leftists tearing down American history.” — GOP pollster Christine Matthews

Trump is a flailing demagogue who sees his grip on power slipping away. With the Republican-controlled Senate serving as his raincoat, the shame of being impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives rolled off him. But the Senate’s refusal to remove him from office did nothing to dispel the clear evidence that the president put his personal interests, and his reelection, ahead of the national interest. America, don’t let your guard down. — LA Times’ editorial board

Fox News cropped Donald Trump out of a photo it broadcast of Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and Melania. (Fox News screencap on left; original photo on right}.— Aaron Rupar

"Today, Donald is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in & synthesize information.” — On the back cover of Mary Trump's new book.

“The question now is: Is the statue shit going to work?” — A person close to the president questioning the benefit of Trump defending statues that honor racist dead Confederates.

We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States. — Kanye West

What really struck me about this speech that the president gave at Mount Rushmore was that he spent more time worried about honoring dead Confederates than he did talking about the lives of our 130,000 Americans who lost their lives to COVID-19, or by warning Russia off of the bounties they’re putting on Americans’ heads. His priorities are all wrong here. He should be talking about what we’re going to do to overcome this pandemic. What are we going to do to push Russia back? Instead, he spent all his time talking about dead traitors." — Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

“He wants to deny the COVID virus. He has from day one. ‘Well it’s just like the flu. Well it’s going to be gone by Easter. It’s going to get warm and disappear like a miracle.’ He’s said all of things, and none of them were true. If he does not acknowledge that, then he’s facilitating the virus. He’s enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement?” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) accusing Trump of refusing to admit the U.S. is experiencing a real surge of coronavirus cases.

“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct. Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now!” — Trump tweet

 But let the young and the healthy go out and live their lives … and spread herd immunity, — Rush Limbaugh

“I was going to vote for Joe Biden, but then I realized he’s not for the Confederate flag.” — Benjy Sarlin tweet

“The fact is, Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he’ll never sit for.”— Mary Trump in her new book.

"I have yet to see the book, but it is a book of falsehoods.” — White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany's interesting take on Mary Trump’s explosive new tell-all book.


Fellow Traveler | The Lincoln Project: https://youtu.be/eUBAAeuBpPQ

He Went to Jared: Jared Kushner's Failure | Meidas Touch:

Rushmore | The Lincoln Project: https://youtu.be/fNS9mxLMnsU

COVID-19 | The Lincoln Project: https://youtu.be/hKYc8VSKA4c

Watch this before You Compare with Lincoln | Lincoln Project: https://youtu.be/-2rggHxrOfc

“Mr. President, it's too much.” | Joe Biden For President:
The Dangerous Ones | Eleven Films: https://twitter.com/i/status/1278733238324932608

#TRE45ON #BenedictDonald | VoteVets: https://twitter.com/votevets/status/1279097817240305670

#FourthOfJuly! | Joe Biden For President: https://twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/1279414665542381568

Whispers | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1280552633955233792

That's Joe | Joe Biden For President: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7kZJ3Rj3NQ&feature=youtu.be

"Has Your Party Left You?” | Republican Voters Against Trump: https://twitter.com/RVAT2020/status/1280486725165502464

Learn. Their. Names. | The Lincoln Project: https://twitter.com/ProjectLincoln/status/1280961056261767168



1. Andy Borowitz: Putin Admits Taking SATs for Trump

The firestorm of controversy swirling around the upcoming tell-all book by the President’s niece exploded on Tuesday, after Vladimir Putin revealed that he took the SATs for Donald J. Trump.Putin said that he had hoped to keep his role in Trump’s college admission a secret, but, with the impending publication of Mary Trump’s book, “it was only a matter of time before the truth came out.”

The Russian President said that, when young Donald Trump was applying to college, in the nineteen-sixties, Putin was making “a few extra rubles” by offering his services as a test-taker to wealthy but academically hopeless American high-school students.

“I recall the day that I took Trump’s SATs as clearly as if it were yesterday,” Putin said. “I totally aced them.”

As the years rolled by, Putin followed with intense interest the career of the man whose SATs he took.

“I often asked myself, ‘How will Donald Trump ever repay me for putting him on the path to Wharton?’ ” Putin said, with a devilish smile. “As it turned out, I found a way.”

At the White House, the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, refused to address the Putin bombshell and instead questioned the authenticity of Mary Trump’s memoir. “No one named Trump has ever actually written a book,” McEnany said. https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/putin-admits-taking-sats-for-trump.” https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him

Trump’s unyielding push to preserve Confederate symbols and the legacy of white domination, crystallized by his harsh denunciation of the racial justice movement Friday night at Mount Rushmore, has unnerved Republicans who have long enabled him but now fear losing power and forever associating their party with his racial animus.

Although amplifying racism and stoking culture wars have been mainstays of Trump’s public identity for decades, they have been particularly pronounced this summer as the president has reacted to the national reckoning over systemic discrimination by seeking to weaponize the anger and resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-racism-white-nationalism-republicans/2020/07/04/2b0aebe6-bbaf-11ea-80b9-40ece9a701dc_story.html

3. Donald Trump views the coronavirus as a political loser

Trump’s advisers are seeking ways to reframe his response to the coronavirus — even as the president himself largely seeks to avoid the topic because he views it as a political loser. They are sending health officials to swing states, putting doctors on TV in regional markets where the virus is surging, crafting messages on an economic recovery and writing talking points for allies to deliver to potential voters.

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.

“They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” said a former administration official in touch with the campaign. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-and-biden-campaigns-shift-focus-to-coronavirus-as-pandemic-surges/2020/07/06/53a4ec50-bd62-11ea-80b9-40ece9a701dc_story.html

4. House Democrats insert language in federal spending bill ordering removal of Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol

The fiscal year 2021 legislative branch funding bill released Monday by the House Appropriations Committee includes a provision directing the Architect of the Capitol to remove statues or busts “that represent figures who participated in the Confederate Army or government, as well as the statues of individuals with unambiguous records of racial intolerance,” according to a summary released by the panel. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-democrats-insert-language-in-federal-spending-bill-ordering-removal-of-confederate-statues-from-us-capitol/2020/07/06/da756382-bfcd-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html

5. Trump-Connected Lobbyists Reap Windfall

Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid, among them five former administration officials whose work potentially violates Trump’s own ethics policy, according to a report.

The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns, and some are prolific fundraisers for his reelection.

While the money is intended as a lifeline to a nation whose economy has been upended by the pandemic, it also jump-started a familiar lobbying bonanza.

“The swamp is alive and well in Washington, D.C.,” said Mike Tanglis, one of the report’s authors. “These (lobbying) booms that these people are having, you can really attribute them to their connection to Trump.” https://apnews.com/2edf8670a491a702ecfb7312f507f83a

6. Trump's Tucker mind-meld

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump’s Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson’s monologues for the past six weeks.

Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president’s opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox. https://www.axios.com/donald-trump-tucker-carlson-monologues-93a5c279-9b53-47a2-bb92-b026f18cbffd.html

7. Sessions Called Black Scholar ‘Some Criminal’

Alabama US Senate candidate and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared to refer to Henry Louis Gates Jr., a celebrated Black Harvard University scholar, as "some criminal" in a New York Times Magazine article published Tuesday.

Gates had been wrongfully arrested by a Cambridge, Massachusetts, police officer in 2009 as he tried to enter his own home. After the incident, then-President Barack Obama invited Gates and the arresting officer to the White House for a "beer summit."

Sessions appeared to cite that meeting as a reason that morale among law enforcement had dropped during Obama's presidency.

"The police had been demoralized. There was all the Obama -- there's a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him," Sessions said, appearing to refer to the 2009 meeting. "Wasn't having a beer with the police officers. So we said, 'We're on your side. We've got your back, you got our thanks.' “ https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/politics/jeff-sessions-henry-louis-gates/index.html

8. Privately Funded Border Wall at Risk of Falling Down

Trump supporters funded a private border wall on the banks of the Rio Grande, helping the builder secure $1.7 billion in federal contracts. Now the ‘Lamborghini’ of border walls is in danger of falling into the river if nothing is done, experts say. https://www.propublica.org/article/he-built-a-privately-funded-border-wall-its-already-at-risk-of-falling-down-if-not-fixed

9. Now This: The world according to Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Guide to American History: https://youtu.be/vtgzVARrPu4

Trump on All the Things ‘Nobody Knew’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uUyiE0fzJ4

10. Trump Campaign T-Shirt Features Nazi-Like Logo

A new Trump campaign t-shirt features an eagle holding a circular emblem in its talons, reminding many of a Nazi logo. https://twitter.com/jilevin/status/1278564336529596416

11. Trump Tries Again to Explain His Second Term Agenda

Eric Bolling asked Trump in a new interview the same question that tripped up the president when Hannity asked it: What is his agenda for a second term.

Here's a transcript of Trump's (very long) response:

Here’s how Trump answered this time: “Well I didn’t hear anybody was upset with it but I will tell you it’s very simple: We’re gonna make America great again. We are doing things that nobody could have done. We’re rebuilt the military; we have a ways to go. We’ve done things for the vets like nobody’s ever seen. We can do even more. We did choice as you know. We did accountability. What we’ve done nobody’s been able to do. But we have more to do. Economic development, jobs, trade deal… the trade deals I’ve made are incredible. We made the great deal with China. Of course, as I said, the ink wasn’t dry before we got hit with the China plague. But we made the deal.” https://twitter.com/aidnmclaughlin/status/1278469519825080320

12. Wall Street is no longer betting on Trump

Betting markets have turned decisively toward an expected victory for Joe Biden in November — and asset managers at major investment banks are preparing for not only a Biden win, but potentially a Democratic sweep of the Senate and House too. https://www.axios.com/wall-street-betting-biden-trump-3f92627c-812f-42a3-a79c-2192787170f9.html

13 Harvard, MIT Sue Trump Administration Over International-Student Policy

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued the Trump administration in federal court Wednesday over new rules barring international students from staying in the U.S. while taking classes entirely online this fall.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from enforcing rules that were laid out Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement governing how foreign students can—and can’t—enroll at U.S. universities. https://www.wsj.com/articles/harvard-mit-sue-trump-administration-over-international-student-policy-11594214579

14. Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale

Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”

The results of Sweden’s experience are relevant well beyond Scandinavian shores. In the United States, where the virus is spreading with alarming speed, many states have — at President Trump’s urging — avoided lockdowns or lifted them prematurely on the assumption that this would foster economic revival, allowing people to return to workplaces, shops and restaurants. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/business/sweden-economy-coronavirus.html


Why does the Lamestream Fake News Media REFUSE to say that China Virus deaths are down 39%, and that we now have the lowest Fatality (Mortality) Rate in the World. They just can’t stand that we are doing so well for our Country! — Trump tweet


As of Tuesday, the United States had the ninth-worst mortality rate in the world, with 39.82 deaths per 100,000 people. -- Johns Hopkins University.


“When Duckworth does speak in public, you’re reminded what a deeply silly and unimpressive person. It’s a very strong charge, and we try not ever to make it. But in the face of all of this, the conclusion can’t be avoided. These people actually hate America. There’s no longer a question about that.” — Tucker Carlson.


Does @TuckerCarlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America? — Tammy Duckworth @SenDuckworth


“Now that the very expensive, unpopular and unfair Individual Mandate provision has been terminated by us, many States & the U.S. are asking the Supreme Court that Obamacare itself be terminated so that it can be replaced with a FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE..... Obamacare is a joke! Deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous. My Administration has gone out of its way to manage OC much better than previous, but it is still no good. I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS,ALWAYS!!!” — Trump, in a pair of tweets, June 27, 2020


In the middle of a pandemic, against the advice of many Republicans, the president is asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act — including its coverage guarantee for patients with preexisting conditions. Trump has offered no plan to replace these, or any, provisions of the law. He has supported legislation to water down protections for people with preexisting conditions, and his administration has issued new rules promoting plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage or charge higher prices to sick patients. Trump is nearing 100 repetitions of thie falsehood. — Washington Post Fact Checker 


The US has now tested almost 40 million people for coronavirus, and by so doing, we show cases - 99% of which are totally harmless.”-- Trump


Experts say the president appears to have seized only on a death rate estimate of 1 percent or less that does not capture the entire impact of the disease, and excludes a multitude of thousands who have spent weeks in the hospital or weeks at home with mild to moderate symptoms that still caused debilitating health problems. -- NY Times


“Has Bubba Wallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers and officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, and were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That and Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” -- Trump


Reality check: Wallace's initial claim was not a "HOAX," as the president described. Wallace was not the one who found the noose in the garage and did not report it. While the FBI determined that the noose had been in place as a garage pull rope in a Talladega garage since October 2019 and thus was not intended for Wallace, NASCAR's president confirmed that it "was real" and that it moved quickly to launch an investigation in order to "protect" its driver. The incident came just after NASCAR banned the display of the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.

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

On June 29, host Michael Savage claimed, “Masks are useless. They’re a mark of submission.” Former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka mockingly referred to masks as “COVID burqas” and bragged about not wearing one in public. Texas-based host Michael Berry: “If people actually believe that the mask keeps them safe, why do you think you have to issue an order to require it? Maybe people don’t believe that the mask is necessary.” https://www.mediamatters.org/coronavirus-covid-19/national-talk-radio-hosts-reject-calls-masks-echoed-local-hosts-least-one

As the country hit record-high new case numbers toward the end of June, Fox News denied that the COVID-19 crisis was worsening. When hosts and guests did admit that cases are rising, they claimed the threat is overblown because death rates are low and young people aren’t as susceptible to the virus. Meanwhile, they continued to push for schools to reopen, with some even suggesting children are not susceptible to COVID-19.  https://www.mediamatters.org/coronavirus-covid-19/fox-doing-all-it-can-deny-coronavirus-pandemic-getting-worse

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Many schools that do plan to reopen will do so under a series of restrictions that have no basis of any kind in science. It's a kind of bizarre health theater. Students will be kept 6 feet apart, everyone will have to wear a mask, class size will be limited and in some there will be scheduled bathroom breaks, etcetera, etcetera.  https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/tucker-carlson-says-masks-and-social-distancing-have-no-basis-any-kind-science

TUCKER CARLSON (HOST):  Changes that profound deserve a debate, not some fake national conversation where they scream commands at you and you get to obey. But a vigorous, reasoned exchange between adults. We wanted to have an exchange like that with Tammy Duckworth tonight. So we called her office and we invited her on the show. Her flack informed us that before even considering our request, we must first issue a public apology for criticizing Tammy Duckworth. In other words, I will not debate you until first you admit you're completely wrong. Keep in mind, Tammy Duckworth is not a child, at least not technically. She is a sitting United States senator who is often described as a hero. Yet Duckworth is too afraid to defend her own statements on a cable TV show. What a coward. Tammy Duckworth is also a fraud. … This is the person lecturing the rest of us about her moral authority as a veteran. Spare us. Tammy Duckworth is a callous hack who ignored the suffering of actual veterans when it actually mattered. She has no moral authority. She is just a politician like the rest of them. She works for us. This is a democracy. She has an obligation to explain herself and answer our question. And our first question would be how can you lead a country you despise? And that's not something we would ask only to Tammy Duckworth, by the way. Hating America is a major theme in the Democratic Party right now. It's everywhere. Turn on the TV.  https://www.mediamatters.org/tucker-carlson/tucker-carlson-calls-purple-heart-recipient-sen-tammy-duckworth-coward-and-fraud

Laura Ingraham says talking about rising COVID infection numbers is selling “panic porn.” So, with the Trump recovery fully underway, Democrats are shifting back to their default position: shut the economy down. Yes, that is where they are now. That includes, of course, our schools. Now, they cite the rising COVID infection rates in certain states to sell their latest panic porn. https://www.mediamatters.org/laura-ingraham/laura-ingraham-says-talking-about-rising-covid-infection-numbers-selling-panic-porn


1. Max Boot: What if Trump loses but insists he won?

On his present trajectory, President Trump is heading for a whopping defeat in November. The Economist says there’s nearly a 99 percent chance that Joe Biden will win more popular votes and around a 90 percent chance that he will win more electoral college votes. But what if Trump won’t concede defeat? That is a nightmare scenario for our democracy that could make the 2000 showdown over Florida’s hanging chads seem like a grade-school dispute by comparison.

Trump is already laying the foundation to dispute the election outcome with his incessant claims that “Mail-In Ballots will lead to MASSIVE electoral fraud and a RIGGED 2020 Election.” Election officials label such concerns as “preposterous” and “false.” But they will serve as an excuse for the Republican Party to purge voter-registration rolls, limit mail-in ballots, close polling stations in minority areas and challenge in-person voting by minorities. Whatever it takes to win.

It’s doubtful that anything Trump does will produce a popular-vote victory; he lost by nearly 3 million votes in 2016 and will probably lose by a greater margin this year. But it won’t matter if, by election night, he is within spitting distance of an electoral college victory.

It is impossible to write off such concerns as far-fetched given how many seemingly far-fetched things have already occurred in the past four years.Trump got himself impeached by trying to blackmail a foreign country into helping his reelection campaign. He will stop at nothing to avoid the stigma of being branded a “loser.” Unless Biden wins by an electoral college margin that no one can credibly dispute, our democracy may be imperiled as never before. We had better start thinking now about how we would handle such an electoral crisis. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/

2. E.J. Dionne: A vicious culture war is all Trump has left

 Trump has decided that what he can give to white middle-class voters whose support he desperately needs to win back is — a culture war.

Trump’s vile speeches at Mount Rushmore on Friday and at the White House on the Fourth of July signal that he sees one and only one possible path to victory: He will tear an already riven nation to pieces.

He will use the classic methods of racist politicians to tie a resurgent movement for racial equality to “a wave of violent crime” and efforts to “destroy” our “very civilization.” It is all, he says, part of a “left-wing cultural revolution . . . designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”

The man who has been selling right-wing nationalism dares to say his opponents advocate “a new far-left fascism.” The politician who has defended Confederate monuments scrambles for cover behind Abraham Lincoln and quotations from Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s true that Trump’s Independence weekend escapades mean we face months of being led by someone so desperate to avoid defeat that he will warp our history, shatter what little unity we have left, and leave it to others to clear the wreckage. But there is hope here, too: Trump is acting like a frightened man who realizes that if his opponents keep their heads and avoid rising to his bait, his days are numbered. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-vicious-culture-war-is-all-trump-has-left/2020/07/05/4ca0986c-bca1-11ea-8cf5-9c1b8d7f84c6_story.html

3. Dan Balz: Trump turned July Fourth into a partisan event. The damage could be long-lasting.

Trump, with two speeches in two days, has turned the Fourth of July from a joyful and unifying patriotic celebration of America’s founding values into a partisan political event. The damage could outlast his presidency.

From near the base of Mount Rushmore on Friday night and from the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday night, Trump tried to write himself into the history of America as an implacable wartime president. His enemy, however, is not the Nazis of the 20th century or terrorists of the 21st century. Instead, it appears to be those in America who disagree with him — a caricatured blue America.

Trump knows his reelection campaign is in trouble. He sees the fight against this enemy of his creation as his pathway to victory in November. His political weapon of choice is exaggerated and at times racist rhetoric designed to pit Americans against Americans. Never in our lifetimes has the Independence Day holiday been used for such divisive and personal ends. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-turned-july-fourth-into-a-partisan-event-the-damage-could-be-long-lasting/2020/07/05/1d268484-bef4-11ea-b178-bb7b05b94af1_story.html

4. Jonathan Lemire and Calvin Woodward: Trump’s leadership is tested in time of fear, pandemic

These are times of pain, mass death, fear and deprivation and the Trump show may be losing its allure, exposing the empty space once filled by the empathy and seriousness of presidents leading in a crisis.

Bluster isn’t beating the virus; belligerence isn’t calming a restive nation.

Angry and scornful at every turn, Trump used the totems of Mount Rushmore as his backdrop to play on the country’s racial divisions, denouncing the “bad, evil people” behind protests for racial justice. He then made a steamy Fourth of July salute to America on the White House South Lawn his platform to assail “the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters,” and, for good measure, people with “absolutely no clue.”

“If he could change, he would,” said Cal Jillson, a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “It’s not helping him now. It’s just nonstop. It is habitual and incurable. He is who he is.”

Over three and a half years Trump exhausted much of the country, while exhilarating some of it, with his constant brawls, invented realities, outlier ways and pop-up dramas of his own making. Into summer, one could wonder whether Trump had finally exhausted even himself. https://apnews.com/8513ec966d26d1c850e7cab0b269997c

5. David Rothkop: ’The Most Ignorant and Unfit’: What Made America’s Worst Ever Leader?

We would need a list of more than twenty-seven complaints if we were to enumerate a lifetime of Trump’s misdeeds, from defrauding US tax authorities and obstructing justice to violating the Constitution. He has invited our enemies to interfere with our elections to help him win, then sought to do it again. He has misused federal resources, inappropriately elevated his own family members, and enriched his own businesses. He has repeatedly attacked the First and the Fourteenth Amendments. He has had infants thrown in cages and denied relief to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria at the cost of thousands of lives. He has gutted environmental protections and attacked alliances that the US spent decades building and maintaining. And now he has mismanaged the worst public health crisis in a hundred years, overseen the greatest economic crisis since the Depression, and attempted to use the US military to crush legitimate protests on the streets of the capital.

He was reportedly briefed about a Russian scheme to place bounties on American and allied troops in Afghanistan, and not only did nothing about it but continued to act as an advocate for Putin. And so it goes on… before we even consider the many complaints about his character—his racism and misogyny, his ignorance and contempt for science and history, his lies, his narcissism, his vulgarity, his demagoguery. Has there ever been a public official in US history so unable to relate to others, show an emotion besides anger, or view the world through any means but his own self-interest?

Trump is a sign that we as a nation have lost our way. Just as Hamilton warned, a confusion of celebrity for leadership, fame for accomplishment, and popularity for genius has given us “a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune.” Seizing the opportunity, unscrupulous “insolent men” have pandered to the lowest common denominators of fear and greed to win power and exploit it for a small elite. November’s election is a judgment day for this nation’s form of republican government. Or else, only “civil commotion” awaits us. https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/07/03/the-most-ignorant-and-unfit-what-made-americas-worst-ever-leader/

6. Robert Costa and Philip Rucker: Trump’s push to amplify racism unnerves Republicans who have long enabled him

Although amplifying racism and stoking culture wars have been mainstays of Trump’s public identity for decades, they have been particularly pronounced this summer as the president has reacted to the national reckoning over systemic discrimination by seeking to weaponize the anger and resentment of some white Americans for his own political gain.

Trump has left little doubt through his utterances the past few weeks that he sees himself not only as the Republican standard-bearer but as leader of a modern grievance movement animated by civic strife and marked by calls for “white power,” the phrase chanted by one of his supporters in a video the president shared last weekend on Twitter. He later deleted the video but did not disavow its message.

Trump put his strategy to resuscitate his troubled reelection campaign by galvanizing white supporters on display Friday night under the chiseled granite gaze of four past presidents memorialized in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He celebrated Independence Day with a dystopian speech in which he excoriated racial justice protesters as “evil” representatives of a “new far-left fascism” whose ultimate goal is “the end of America.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-racism-white-nationalism-republicans/2020/07/04/2b0aebe6-bbaf-11ea-80b9-40ece9a701dc_story.html

7. Mark Mckinnon: Trump’s Reelection May Hinge On Getting Voters To Hate Joe Biden

The Trump campaign has already begun its hate-mongering. The surreal Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday, while woefully underattended, was nonetheless nasty and divisive. And two days before, Facebook declared that it had removed Trump ads (which incorporated Nazi symbolism) from its platform for “violating our policy against organized hate.” The level of double hating, then, is only likely to accelerate. The question is: By November, will more double haters choose Biden or Trump?

Florida governor Jeb Bush called Trump the “chaos candidate.” And even Trump himself would likely agree with that moniker. His brand is disruption. He ran as a radical change agent. That’s tough to do as an incumbent, but up until about January, he was successfully pulling it off. With the pandemic and the protests engulfing the country, however, suddenly the idea of more chaos doesn’t seem so appealing. And the calm and compassion of someone like Biden, who is familiar and, to borrow John Bolton’s phrase, has been “in the room where it happened” may make Old Reliable Joe the better bet for the double-hate crowd.

Most troubling for Trump, perhaps, is the extent to which voters are increasingly worried about the near-term prospects of the nation. According to a recent poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 74% of Americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction. This figure reflects the view of 63% of Republicans polled—up from 42% in May. That’s an increase of 21 points in a single month among members of the president’s own political party. And voters who don’t like the direction their country is going in can easily evolve into haters. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/06/trumps-reelection-voters-who-hate-joe-biden

8. Nicholas Goldberg: Trump is channeling Nixon

Trump, at the end of the day, is more irresponsible and dishonest than either Nixon or McCarthy. But he learned from their examples. He knows they reaped rewards for warning of anarchy, mob rule, disloyalty and subversion. He understands that fear is an effective tool for winning votes.

But he should remember this too: Neither McCarthy nor Nixon ended their careers well. McCarthy took his ugly tactics too far and his power waned after the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, when Army counsel Joseph Welch chastised the senator for his cruelty and recklessness, and asked him on national television: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

Nixon, for his part, was drummed out of office in disgrace in 1974, in the middle of his second term, during the explosive investigation into the Watergate scandal and the subsequent cover-up.

These are Trump’s role models, though there are few politicians in American history less deserving of emulation. They’re bad company. https://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=607a3318-acdd-4e22-b461-b57ab50f15f4

9.  Eric Levitz: Trump Believes That He Is Losing Because He Hasn’t Been Racist Enough

Trump’s approach to the 2020 campaign is no more rational than his approach to COVID-19. The president has as much reverence for political empiricism as he does for the public-health variety. To gauge the efficacy of a given campaign tactic, Trump does not turn to polling crosstabs; he turns on Tucker Carlson. The mogul’s religious devotion to right-wing media was a source of genuine strength in the 2016 Republican primary. Other GOP candidates pandered to Red America’s legions of Fox News grandpas, but only the billionaire was authentically one of them.

In the present context, however, the fact that Trump is a maniacal narcissist and cable-news addict works to his detriment. Other candidates court media attention in order to secure political power. Trump, by contrast, sought political power in order to secure media attention. His highest ambition is to see himself affirmed on his favorite television programs, and to feel himself loved in front of an audience of hooting supplicants.

Convening mask-free, indoor rallies in swing states with soaring COVID-19 infection rates is a poor way to go about trying to win reelection, but it’s a sound strategy for securing an applause junkie a quick hit of validation. When Trump carefully monitors Tucker Carlson’s assessment of his racial politics — while ignoring that of swing voters — he is undermining his own long-term political interests, but faithfully attending to his near-term psychological ones. Of course, the president isn’t inclined to view himself as self-destructively narcissistic, and has thus (reportedly) convinced himself that his favorite infotainers channel the preferences of a “silent majority” too taciturn to make itself heard in opinion polls.

But they don’t.

And if Trump doesn’t accept that soon, then the loud minority he’s been courting will go mournfully quiet on Election Night. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/trump-is-losing-2020-polls-racism-black-lives-matter.html

10. Windsor Mann: Donald Trump Is All Done Caring

Trump is not interested in the actual job of the presidency. He’s interested in the attention the presidency affords him.

After his election, he discovered that running for president was easier and more fun than being president. Which is why he continued to hold campaign rallies even after he was elected. He wasn’t campaigning for anything. He just liked hearing crowds screaming his name. Unlike most politicians, who campaign in order to govern, Trump campaigns as a way to avoid governing.

By the same token, his politics are an extension of his ego—which is why, at his rallies, he tells the crowds how big his crowds are and not what his policies are. Trump says he’ll hold rallies after he wins the 2020 election, too—even though he will be ineligible to run for the presidency again.

Instead of holding rallies for the purpose of getting elected, Trump wants to get elected so he can keep having rallies.

The problem for Trump is that his presidency has no point. It is as devoid of purpose as his days are of work. He doesn’t want to make America great. He wants America to make him feel great. https://thebulwark.com/donald-trump-is-all-done-caring/

11. Eric Boehlert: Russian bounties — Trump threatens the American experiment

Not once has Trump angrily banged a lectern and promised to get to the bottom of the stunning and heartbreaking story that Russian intelligence was paying lucrative bounties for the lives of American troops murdered in Afghanistan. Not once has Trump pledged to bring justice to the fallen. Not once since the story exploded nearly a week ago has Trump taken the side of the United States and vowed to protect and defend her.

The blockbuster bounty revelation is just the latest controversy to confirm Trump's sweeping and ongoing betrayal. "I don't think the Russians can believe their eyes and ears. It's not to be understood," stressed Retired US Army Gen. Barry McCaffery on MSNBC. "It's sickening on so many levels."

Indeed, the entire, centuries-old American experiment is now being threatened. The press needs to grapple with how it's going to cover one of the biggest, most dangerous stories in our history. Incredibly, not a single major newspaper has called for Trump to resign in the wake of the Russia bounty story, which has been confirmed over and over in recent days. Recall that more than 100 newspapers demanded Bill Clinton step down from office because he uttered a single false sentence under oath about his extramarital affair.

The country is approaching a dangerous precipice rarely seen in its history. Facing an economic crisis, a run-away public health crisis, and a social justice crisis, Trump's America stands bare and vulnerable, as the president wages open warfare on the country. By categorically refusing to protect it from a pandemic, while turning a blind eye as an open adversary pays out rewards for the killing of American troops, Trump represents an internal threat unseen in U.S. history — a man whose closest allegiance is not with America, but with open foes and authoritarians. 

This is an existential crisis that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined. Or more specifically, they never could have imagined a U.S. president bowing to foreign powers and the president's political party remaining virtually silent, as today's GOP does with Trump's treasonous behavior.  https://pressrun.media/p/russian-bounties-trump-threatens


12. Michelle Goldberg: Trump’s Re-election Message Is White Grievance

A lot of Republicans are acting puzzled about Donald Trump’s re-election pitch. “He has no message,” one Republican source told Reuters. “He needs to articulate why he wants a second term,” said another. Some have expressed hope that Trump would find a way to become less polarizing, as if polarization were not the raison d’être of his presidency.

It’s hard to know if Republicans like this are truly naïve or if they’re just pretending so they don’t have to admit what a foul enterprise they’re part of. Because Trump does indeed have a re-election message, a stark and obvious one. It is “white power.”

Trump understands that he became a significant political figure by spreading the racist lie that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya. He launched his history-making presidential bid with a speech calling Mexican immigrants rapists and adopted a slogan, “America First,” previously associated with the raging anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh. Throughout the 2016 campaign, he won the invaluable prize of earned media with escalating racist provocations, which his supporters relished and which captivated cable news.

13.  Paul Krugman: Trump’s Virus Is Spreading, and His Economy Is Stalling

Just over two weeks ago The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Vice President Mike Pence titled “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave.’” The article was supposed to reassure the nation.

What it provided, instead, was a clear illustration of the delusions and magical thinking that have marked every step of the Trump administration’s response to Covid-19, producing an epic policy disaster.

Put it this way: By now, according to Trump officials and sycophants, we were supposed to be seeing a fading pandemic and a roaring recovery. Instead, we have a fading recovery and a roaring pandemic. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/02/opinion/trump-covid-economy.html

14. Washington Post Editorial: No Mr. Trump, the virus is not under control. It is in control.

Mr. Trump remains in blissful denial as crisis ripples through the Sun Belt, threatening to create chaos and distress nationwide for months to come. On Wednesday, he said of the pandemic, “I think at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.” On Thursday, in a brief appearance before reporters, without wearing a face mask and refusing to take questions, he said, “We have some areas where we are putting out the flames, or the fires, and that’s working out well.” He went on to assert that the United States, like Europe and China, is “getting it under control.” Some areas are suffering a “flare up,” he acknowledged, “and we are putting out the fires” with a strategy to “vanquish and kill the virus.”

The reality is that the virus is not under control; it is in control. Record-shattering numbers of new cases were reported Wednesday in six states: California, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona and Alaska. New daily cases are increasing in 41 states compared to two weeks ago. Outbreaks and superspreader events are erupting, such as clusters from Myrtle Beach, S.C. In five months, the pandemic has killed nearly 19 times as many Americans as have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Trump — whose early reaction to the pandemic was to wish it away, who failed to muster the logistical support to confront it and who then decided to walk away by leaving the response largely to the states — this week continued to engage in magical thinking, referring to the raging pandemic as “certain hot spots.” In fact, states that opened up prematurely in May are paying the price now, and Mr. Trump bears responsibility for encouraging governors to loosen the restrictions too early. It was a bad miscalculation. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/no-mr-trump-the-virus-is-not-under-control-it-is-in-control/2020/07/02/1aaf4dbe-bc90-11ea-8cf5-9c1b8d7f84c6_story.html

15. Dana Milbank: A massive repudiation of Trump’s racist politics is building

A standard question of racial attitudes in which people are asked to agree or disagree with this statement: “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.”

In 2012, 56 percent of white Republicans agreed with that statement, according to the American National Election Studies. The number grew in 2016 with Trump’s rise, to 59 percent. Last month, an astonishing 71 percent of white Republicans agreed, according to a YouGov poll written by Parker and conducted by GQR (where my wife is a partner).

The opposite movement among white Democrats is even more striking. In 2012, 38 percent agreed that African Americans didn’t try hard enough. In 2016, that dropped to 27 percent. And now? Just 13 percent.

To the extent Trump’s racist provocation is a strategy (rather than simply an instinct), it is a miscalculation. The electorate was more than 90 percent white when Richard Nixon deployed his Southern strategy; the proportion is now 70 percent white and shrinking. But more than that, Trump’s racism has alienated a large number of white people.

“For many white Americans, the things Trump is saying and getting away with, they just didn’t think they lived in a world where that could happen,” says Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist specializing in public opinion at the University of Michigan. Racist appeals in particular alienate white, college-educated women, and even some women without college degrees, he has found: “One of the best ways to exacerbate the gender gap isn’t to talk about gender but to talk about race.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/03/massive-repudiation-trumps-racist-politics-is-building/

16. David Nakamura: In Trump’s new version of American carnage, the threat isn’t immigrants or foreign nations. It’s other Americans

In his inaugural address, President Trump sketched the picture of “American carnage” — a nation ransacked by marauders from abroad who breached U.S. borders in pursuit of jobs and crime, lured its companies offshore and bogged down its military in faraway conflicts.

Nearly 3½ years later, in the president’s telling, the carnage is still underway but this time the enemy is closer to home — other Americans whose racial identity and cultural beliefs are toppling the nation’s heritage and founding ideals.

Trump’s dark and divisive 42-minute speech at the foot of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota late Friday served as a clarion for his campaign reelection message at a time when the nation — already reeling with deep anxiety over the devastating public health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic — is also facing a cultural reckoning over the residue of its racially segregated past. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-trumps-new-version-of-american-carnage-the-threat-isnt-immigrants-or-foreign-nations-its-other-americans/2020/07/04/f1354fa6-be10-11ea-8cf5-9c1b8d7f84c6_story.html

17. Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers: How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President

For Trump, there are two broad pathways to maintaining power. First, we can already see very clearly a strategy designed to suppress voter turnout with the purging of registration rolls of large numbers of mostly urban voters; efforts to suppress mail-in ballots, which are more necessary than ever, given COVID-19; a re-election apparatus that is training 50,000 poll watchers for the purpose of challenging citizens' right to vote on Election Day; and significant efforts to make in-person voting in urban areas as cumbersome as possible in order to have long lines that discourage people from exercising their voting rights.

The second pathway to subverting the election is even more ominous— inspired by HBO’s “The Plot Against America,” based on the Philip Roth novel of how an authoritarian president could grab control of the United States government using emergency powers that no one could foresee. 

Wirth writes that — should Trump lose — he will claim the vote was rigged and rely on a complicated gambit involving emergency powers and the compliance of Republican legislators to stay in the White House. https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975

18. Donald Trump, the unbriefable president

In the wake of reports that Russia offered the Taliban cash bounties to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, the question arises: What was President Trump told by his intelligence briefers, and when was he told it?

Another question may be as important: How does Trump absorb information? For decades, the president’s daily briefs (PDBs) have sounded early warnings on everything from enemy troop movements to pandemics to terrorist attacks. Yet under Trump, the president’s intelligence briefings have almost completely broken down. His oral briefings, given daily to most presidents, now take place as rarely as once or twice a week. These sessions often turn into monologues in which the president spitballs woolly conspiracy theories from Breitbart, Fox News and hangers-on at Mar-a-Lago, say intelligence officials who are familiar with his briefings. Convinced that the intelligence community is a “deep state,” honeycombed with traitors, the president rarely believes anything the CIA tells him.

In short, Trump is unbriefable. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/donald-trump-unbriefable-president/

19. Paul Waldman: Mary Trump somehow manages to make President Trump look even worse

President Trump’s niece, daughter of his older brother, Fred Trump Jr. (who died in 1981), has penned a book about her uncle entitled “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

And while some tell-all books don’t deliver much that’s surprising, Mary Trump has some very interesting information to impart, boosted by the fact that as a clinical psychologist, she can offer insights into how President Trump got to be the person he is.

Here are some of the highlights:

She claims Trump hired a smarter boy he knew to take the SAT for him; the high score helped get him into college.

She describes Trump’s father, Fred, as not just domineering but a “sociopath.” He was verbally abusive to his children, especially Fred Jr., insisting that they become “killers” unhindered by emotion. “Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it,” she writes.

When Fred Sr. died, Mary was told his estate was worth only around $30 million; the portion of that figure that became her inheritance was the subject of the dispute that led to a financial settlement and her NDA. She later gave Fred Sr.’s business records to the New York Times, which published a blockbuster story showing that the patriarch had transferred over $1 billion to his children (a scheme mostly carried out after Fred Jr.’s death), potentially defrauding the U.S. government of half a billion dollars in tax revenue.

In Mary Trump’s account, if the future president ever possessed any virtues as a human being, they were eradicated by a cruel father who wanted to make his children just as ruthless as he was. She calls him the “monster” Fred Sr. created, someone who “would ultimately be rendered unlovable by the very nature of Fred’s preference for him."

“In the end, there would be no love for Donald at all, just his agonizing thirsting for it,” she writes.

Somehow, through a combination of timing, his party’s pathologies, and dumb luck, Trump became the most powerful person on earth. And every new thing we learn about him only increases the horror. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/07/mary-trump-somehow-manages-make-donald-trump-look-even-worse/

20. Robert Redford: This is who gets my vote in 2020

One thing is clear: Instead of a moral compass in the Oval Office, there's a moral vacuum.

Instead of a president who says we're all in it together, we have a president who's in it for himself.

Instead of words that uplift and unite, we hear words that inflame and divide.

When someone retweets (and then deletes) a video of a supporter shouting "white power" or calls journalists "enemies of the state," when he turns a lifesaving mask against contagion into a weapon in a culture war, when he orders the police and the military to tear gas peaceful protestors so he can wave a Bible at the cameras, he sacrifices -- again and again -- any claim to moral authority.

Another four years of this would degrade our country beyond repair.

The toll it's taking is almost biblical: fires and floods, a literal plague upon the land, an eruption of hatred that's being summoned and harnessed, by a leader with no conscience or shame.

Four more years would accelerate our slide toward autocracy. It would be taken as free license to punish more so-called "traitors" and wage more petty vendettas -- with the full weight of the Justice Department behind them.

Four more years would mean open season on our environmental laws. The assault has been ongoing -- it started with abandoning the historic agreement that the world made in Paris to combat climate change, and continued, just last month, with using the pandemic as cover to let industries pollute as they see fit.

Four more years would bring untold damage to our planet -- our home.

I don't make a practice of publicly announcing my vote. But this election year is different.

I believe Biden was made for this moment. Biden leads with his heart. I don't mean that in a soft and sentimental way. I'm talking about a fierce compassion -- the kind that fuels him, that drives him to fight against racial and economic injustice, that won't let him rest while people are struggling. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/07/opinions/trump-biden-presidential-election-robert-redford/