THE BIG IDEA:
CLEVELAND—You can’t make it up.
Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention bore some significant similarities to Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention eight years ago.
Calling this “amateur hour” – while accurate – doesn’t quite do justice to what a debacle this has quickly become for the Trump campaign. It is the dominant storyline out of the first night of the convention and threatens to swamp day two.
Basic vetting would have set off alarm bells. This is the kind of rookie mistake that a serious congressional campaign would never make.
-- Watch a two-minute video juxtaposing passages from Michelle in 2008 and Melania in 2016:
-- TV news will cover this intensively all day long. Why? Because it’s great television! The cable channels can run the clips of Melania and Michelle side by side. If a staffer gets fired, that will only add fuel to the fire.
-- Making matters worse: Some people who are close to Trump are being hyper defiant while others are criticizing the still unknown staffer who is responsible.
Reince Priebus said at a Bloomberg breakfast this morning that he'd "probably" fire the speechwriter if it were up to him. “I don't blame her...Some of these things are pretty common types of themes,” he said. "The distraction gets you off message a little bit this morning, but I think we'll get back to action this afternoon.”
Sam Clovis, a national co-chair of Trump’s campaign, told MSNBC that, as a college professor, he often uses TurnItIn.com to check for plagiarism. He said it's likely that whoever was writing the speech was consulting similar addresses of the past and probably stick too closely to Obama's original text. “I'm sure action will be taken in the campaign to ensure it never happens again," he said, per Ed O’Keefe. "I'm just surprised that somebody missed that.”
Former Trump adviser Barry Bennett, who formerly managed Ben Carson’s campaign, said on CNN that “horrific staff work” did Melania “a great, great, great disservice.” “If a staffer for me had done this, they wouldn’t be there at the end of the day,” Bennett said. “To embarrass a spouse in front of her first national audience, that’s inexcusable. My guess is he will defend his wife very strongly. The Donald Trump I know is not going to tolerate this.”
Meanwhile, Chris Christie on the “Today” show said it is not plagiarism because “93 percent of the speech is completely different from Michelle Obama’s speech.” Former RNC chairman Haley Barbour called it “a nothingburger.” "If I took the 10 most significant things that happened last night, I would not include this in the list."
-- “I wrote it,” Melania claimed in an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer last night just before delivering her speech, “with (as) little help as possible.”
-- The Trump campaign initially seemed to blame bad staff work in a 1:48 a.m. press release: "In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” said Jason Miller, Senior Communications Advisor. “Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”
-- Campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been adamant in a series of TV hits and at a press conference that no one did anything wrong: “We don't believe there's anything in that speech that doesn't reflect her thinking,” he said. "Obviously Michelle Obama feels very much similar sentiments towards her family."
-- DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz used the incident to make a broader critique of Trump: “Anytime they are caught red-handed engaging in distortions...they blame someone else,” she said. “They should be prepared to be held accountable for the content of anything to be delivered from the stage.”
-- Irony 1: She plagiarized the OBAMAS. It would be slightly less bad if they had cribbed from Ann Romney or Laura Bush. But they took from the Obamas, who are so loathed by the base of Donald's adopted party. A procession of speakers spent hours decrying Barack Obama as inept before Melania cribbed from his wife. As Manafort said, that is crazy…
This tweet from 2012 is making the rounds online:
Very good speech by @MichelleObama--and under great pressure--Dems should be proud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2012
-- Irony 2: The lifted section was all about VALUES.
-- Flashback 1: Joe Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign ended because of plagiarism. Trump has proved to be Teflon and probably will again. This is not campaign ending. But it does raise fresh questions about whether he can pass the threshold test of being plausibly presidential. BuzzFeed notes that Trump last year attacked Biden for plagiarizing. “I’ve had a great record, I haven’t been involved in plagiarism,” Trump said.
-- Flashback 2: “Trump Institute Offered Get-Rich Schemes With Plagiarized Lessons.” Jonathan Martin wrote on the front page of the June 29 New York Times: “Extensive portions of the materials that students received after paying their seminar fees, supposedly containing Mr. Trump’s special wisdom, had been plagiarized from an obscure real estate manual published a decade earlier.”
-- Not that anyone will remember anything but the plagiarized section, but Melania’s underlying speech was actually not very effective: She weirdly referred to her husband and the father of her child as “Donald J. Trump.” There were no humanizing anecdotes from their 18-year relationship to show Americans that Trump is a stand-up guy – just take-my-word-for-it declarations of his wonderfulness. Then she and her husband kissed on the cheek afterward. (Alexandra Petri wrote a funny blog post about it.)
-- The backdrop: Melania is already the least-liked potential First Lady since at least 1992. She’s viewed favorably by 28 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent. “Most candidates' spouses have entered this phase with more than twice as many people liking them as disliking them,” Aaron Blake notes. “Melania’s positive number is lower than all of these potential and eventual first ladies dating back to the early 90’s, and her negative numbers is higher than all of them as well.”
-- Counter-programming his own convention: Trump, a first time candidate, has a reputation as a great showman from his years on “The Apprentice.” But he’s clearly never choreographed a nominating convention before. Arguably, the most viscerally powerful speech last night was by the mother of an American who was killed in the Benghazi. “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son,” Patricia Smith said. But the millions of conservatives watching the convention on Fox News did not see that because Trump chose to call into Bill O’Reilly’s show to preview his own Thursday speech. For some reason, perhaps his love of the spotlight, he was bracketing his own program.
-- Here’s how people are responding to the plagiarism, starting with President Obama’s former chief speechwriter:
Sarah Hurwitz, Michelle's head speechwriter, used to be Hillary's. So the Trump campaign plagiarized from a Hillary speechwriter.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 19, 2016
I was quite moved by Melania's description of her husband's days as a community organizer. #RNCinCLE— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) July 19, 2016
Who's getting fired over this? Melania Trump’s Speech Bears Striking Similarities to Michelle Obama’s 2008 Address https://t.co/1ybXnuTgpM— Steve Kenny (@nytstevek) July 19, 2016
Any other candidate, in any other year, this would likely be a fatal error. It's not any other candidate and not any other year.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 19, 2016
THREE OTHER TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FIRST NIGHT—
-- It felt much more like the Conservative Political Acton Conference or an NRA meeting than a nominating convention. There was very little effort to appeal to voters in the middle. It was almost all about throwing red meat to the base. “Speaker after speaker — including a number of people of color — sounded the theme that ‘blue lives matter,’ in response to the killings of police officers,” Karen Tumulty and Philip Rucker write. “A trio of speakers railed against undocumented immigrants — whom they repeatedly called ‘illegal aliens’ — for killing their loved ones and argued that only Trump could keep the country safe.”
-- The convention played on America’s fears, not its hopes or aspirations. The rhetoric was often dark. Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, a member of Trump’s national security advisory team, came closest to framing the overarching theme. “Our shining city upon a hill is now a city under siege,” he said. Ronald Reagan asked during a 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” McCaul said the question in 2016 should be, “Are you safer than you were eight years ago?”
-- The GOP’s rising stars were overshadowed and given horrible time slots. Many believe that Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst are the future of the Republican Party. You wouldn’t have known that last night. The Arkansas senator’s speech did not get covered live on Fox, and Ernst had a small crowd for her speech because most people dispersed after Melania spoke (and retired Gen. Michael Flynn rambled for so long that she was pushed out of prime-time.)
-- Four good stories about last night:
“In a divided GOP, the lone uniter is Hillary Clinton,” by Dan Balz
“Trump just can’t yield the spotlight,” by Jenna Johnson
“Trump allies slam GOP holdouts hard,” by Sean Sullivan
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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- A 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker suspected of an axe attack on a German commuter train had a hand-painted Islamic State flag in his room, the Bavarian Interior Minister said. And ISIS quickly claimed responsibility. From Stephanie Kirchner and Michael Birnbaum: "The suspect injured at least four people before being shot and killed by police ... According to eyewitness accounts, the young man exclaimed 'Allahu Akbar' -- Arabic for 'God is Great' -- during the attack. ... The suspect, an Afghan national who arrived in Germany as an unaccompanied refugee, lived in a group home for refugees in Bavaria starting in March before moving in with a foster family in a suburb of Würzburg two weeks ago."
-- President Obama and Vice President Biden endorsed California Attorney General Kamala Harris over Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the Senate race to succeed retiring Barbara Boxer.
GET SMART FAST:
- A Maryland judge acquitted Baltimore Lt. Brian Rice of charges related to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Rice was the highest-ranking officer charged in Gray’s death. (Derek Hawkins and Lynh Bui)
- The Murdochs have decided to remove Roger Ailes as the head of Fox News after reviewing the preliminary findings of a law firm's investigation into sexual harassment allegations, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports. But the family is divided over timing, with son James saying Ailes should resign or be fired now, and son Lachlan agreeing with Rupert that the marching orders should wait until after the convention.
Iran's foreign minister is already looking ahead to the expiration of the nuclear deal in 15 years and for ways the country could revive its nuclear program. Mohammad Jarad Zarif called it a "matter of pride" in a document submitted to the IAEA. (AP)
- Nearly a quarter of a million children in northwestern Nigeria are “severely malnourished” after being displaced by Islamic extremists, according to a UNICEF report, with 50,000 children at risk of death unless they receive imminent food and medical attention. (Kevin Sieff)
- An elderly Utah man who died after contracting Zika from traveling abroad may have spread the virus to a family contact who did not leave the country, raising troubling questions about a possible new route of transmission of the mosquito-borne virus. (Lena H. Sun and Brady Dennis)
- The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its immigration program once there are nine justices. The long-shot request is meant to draw attention to the Republican refusal to hold a vote on Merrick Garland. (Robert Barnes)
- The World Anti-Doping agency formally accused the Russian government of complicity in doping, potentially moving forward with steps to ban the country from participating in Rio’s Olympics. (Will Hobson)
- A Disney intern was fired – and then subsequently rehired – after she shared a work flyer instructing employees to lie if asked whether they had seen any alligators. The order to lie to tourists comes after an alligator killed a 2-year-old at Disney’s Grand Floridan resort. (Travis M. Andrews)
The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are probing whether Fiat Chrysler has been fudging sales numbers. Illinois and Florida dealers were already engaged in a civil suit against the company and now the criminal probe will investigate potentially illegal incentives for offloading excess inventory. (Jacob Bogage)
- Kim Kardashian stoked controversy in the years-long feud between Kanye West and Taylor Swift by releasing a secret phone call in which Swift gives permission for West to use her name in a rap song. The post was meant to disprove Swift’s claim that the line was used without her knowledge; she fired back in a lengthy Instagram post. (Emily Yahr)
THE LONG, HOT SUMMER OF DISCORD AND DISCONTENT:
-- Louisiana authorities said the ex-Marine who killed three officers and wounded three more in Baton Rouge “deliberately targeted them,” ignoring civilians as he repeatedly fired his military-style weapon at authorities. (Tick-tock from John Woodrow Cox, Mark Berman and William Wan)
-- A Taco Bell employee in Alabama was fired after she refused to serve two uniformed sheriff’s deputies and told them to leave the restaurant. (Lindsey Bever)
-- The Daytona Beach Police Department is investigating a fire that severely damaged a police cruiser parked outside a mosque. Investigators found an anti-police note at the scene implicating “Black Lives Matter,” but they haven’t concluded that the vandalism was carried out by anyone associated with the movement. (Peter Holley)
-- Protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs briefly blocked all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in downtown Richmond last night. (AP)
-- The University of Maryland released video last night of campus police using pepper spray to break up a graduation party this spring, a response that prompted the department’s chief to apologize to the students involved. "The nation’s campus police officers break up a lot of parties. But the U-Md. department’s response in this case sparked intense criticism from some, who said the use of force was excessive and racist. Most of the party-goers were black; the officer who was disciplined in the case is white," Susan Svrluga reports.
THE POST-COUP CRACKDOWN CONTINUES IN TURKEY:
-- The government has fired or detained nearly 20,000 bureaucrats and suspended annual leave for more than 3 million civil servants. More than 7,500 others have also been detained. From Erin Cunningham and Hugh Naylor: “President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters now say that they face an unprecedented threat and that the campaign to root out traitors is necessary to restore the rule of law. But the sheer scale of the purge in the days since the thwarted coup has alarmed Turkey’s allies in the West and raised fears that the NATO member is on a slide toward ever more authoritarian rule. Rights advocates warned that the swift roundup of so many bureaucrats indicated that the arrests were based on little to no evidence. Such a vast detention or expulsion of employees at key state institutions may encourage rather than prevent more instability.”
-- The foreign policy chief for the European Union said Turkey won't be able to join the E.U. if it reinstates the death penalty against coup plotters. "No country can become a partner state if it introduces the death penalty," she said. (Carol Morello)
MORE ON THE MELODRAMA IN CLEVELAND:
-- The Never Trump activists failed, as expected, but a messy and chaotic scene on the floor highlighted just how thin the veneer of GOP unity is. “The movement ended Monday with shouting, loud boos and angry denunciations. Their failure seemed inevitable, but it succeeded in spoiling Trump’s hope of launching his big week with a show of party unity," Ed O’Keefe and Laura Vozzella report.
-- Protests were rowdy but orderly and non-violent. From Joel Achenbach and Louisa Loveluck: “Local officials and political observers have been concerned about clashes between the pro- and anti-Trump factions, a scenario made more ominous by Ohio’s ‘open carry’ law permitting citizens to carry loaded handguns and rifles. … But on Monday, the scene on the streets continued to reflect the First Amendment rather than the Second. The city was not full of ordinary citizens walking around with assault rifles strapped to their backs. So far. … Hundreds of Trump protesters gathered in Cleveland’s Veterans Memorial Park ... Some had walked all the way to Cleveland from Chicago. But many organizations on the political left have decided to skip the Republican convention, seeing little to gain from the gathering, and to focus instead on the Democratic convention, where protests might conceivably have more influence.”
-- “Paul Ryan is from Venus. Donald Trump is from Mars," Karen Tumulty writes. "On Monday, it sounded as though the highest ranking elected official in their party and the man it is about to nominate for president were planning two different conventions. The one that Trump’s campaign described will be a display of bare knuckles and big messages, with little by way of concrete substance. A few hours later and a few downtown blocks away, many of those same reporters were gathered at a lunch with Ryan put on by the Wall Street Journal. By virtue of being the speaker, the congressman from Wisconsin is also chairman of the convention. … What Americans want to hear from Republicans this week, Ryan said, are specific plans for fixing the nation’s problems.” He also condemned “identity politics” creeping up on the right. “I hope people don’t conclude that’s the way to win elections,” Ryan added. (Last night made it clear that Trump's vision for the week has won out over Ryan's.)
Does the Speaker (who speaks tonight) think Trump is a conservative? "Not my kind of conservative," he said. “I come from a different part and wing of the party,” he explained. “I think he is a conservative. … There are different kinds of conservatives, that’s for darn sure.”
-- Chris Christie is bitter and resentful that he got passed over for V.P. “He is just now coming to terms with the fact that he has flushed his political career down the toilet for, well, not much," Chris Cillizza writes.
-- But the New Jersey governor -- who still wants to ingratiate himself with Trump so that he could become his Attorney General -- nonetheless fabricated a story about Trump donating to Hurricane Sandy relief. From David A. Fahrenthold: “On Monday morning, Christie told a group of Republican convention delegates a story about Trump's generosity. After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Christie said, his wife Mary Pat Christie had asked Trump for a donation to a New Jersey disaster-relief fund. ‘He said, 'How much does the check need to be? Just tell me and I’ll send it,'’ Christie told the crowd. … But then, Monday afternoon, a spokesman said Christie ‘misspoke.’ The spokesman, Brian Murray, appeared to be indicating that Trump had not donated anything to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which was run by Mary Pat Christie. 'Mr. Trump has given to other New Jersey charities, including the Drumthwacket Foundation,' Murray said. But tax records, in fact, show no gifts at all from Trump to his name-branded foundation since 2008. Officials at the Drumthwacket Foundation said that Trump had never given any other gifts, out of his own pocket."
-- So much for being magnanimous: Trump’s campaign ripped into home state governor John Kasich for refusing to endorse or speak at the convention. Manafort lashed out at the Ohio governor during a breakfast with reporters. “He’s embarrassing his party in Ohio,” Trump’s chairman said. “Negotiations broke down because (Kasich chief strategist) John Weaver thinks that (he) will have a better chance to be president by not supporting Donald Trump.” Manafort called that “a dumb, dumb, dumb thing.”
Weaver fired back, highlighting his controversial work for foreign governments: “Manafort’s problem, after all those years on the lam with thugs and autocrats, is that he can’t recognize principle and integrity,” he emailed the New York Times. “I do congratulate him though on a great pivot at the start of the convention after such a successful vice-presidential launch. [That’s a joke.] He has brought great professionalism, direct from Kiev, to Trump world.”
The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party piled on:
Manafort still has a lot to learn about Ohio politics. Doesn't know what he's talking about. Hope he can do better. https://t.co/3i6gBg2ZXD— Matt Borges (@ChairmanBorges) July 18, 2016
-- In A+ trolling, Kasich hosted Mexico's ambassador to the United States and talked about his support for free trade -- an unmistakable repudiation of Trumpsim:
-- Kasich, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio still haven't turned over their valuable voter data information from the primaries to Trump. The data transfer usually occurs as the party's convention begins, but none of the three failed campaigns seem in any mood to help. Trump didn't really rely on data during the primaries. "Many of the other Republican campaigns knew far more about who Trump’s supporters were than Trump's own campaign did,” Bloomberg Politics’s Sasha Issenberg writes.
-- Smart frame: “Trump’s campaign is a resurrection — and second chance — for Dole alumni,” by Philip Rucker and Robert Costa: “A coterie of operatives who reached the peak of their profession when they steered Robert J. Dole to the 1996 nomination, only to be sidelined by a newer generation, has returned to power with Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party. Twenty years later, these Dole lieutenants — most notably Paul Manafort, now Trump’s campaign chairman — are crafting Trump’s strategy and orchestrating this week’s Republican National Convention. … For them, the Trump campaign is more than a reunion. It is a coveted second shot at the ultimate prize that eluded them in 1996 — the White House. And most of them see it as an unexpected opportunity, thanks to an unconventional candidate who climbed atop the wreckage of a broken GOP.”
-- Two former Reagan speechwriters are also helping with Trump's Thursday's acceptance speech. Ben "Elliot, 71, served as Reagan’s chief speechwriter in the White House, while (Peter) Robinson, 59, is best known for contributing to Reagan’s famed ‘Tear down this wall’ speech in 1987," Costa reports. "But campaign chairman Paul Manafort insisted that 'Trump alone is writing his acceptance speech,' with some help from campaign speechwriter Stephen Miller. He described the campaign’s conversations with the former Reagan aides as ‘part of a series of discussions’ meant to provide Trump with thematic suggestions. ‘Trump has looked at a variety of things from past speeches by nominees to presidential speeches. He talks to people. He's taking all of that in and he’s writing it himself,’ Manafort said."
-- Jeff Sessions, who has quickly rocketed from the fringe to Trump's point man on Capitol Hill (and spoke in prime-time last night) is "a symbol of an upside-down GOP in which a largely sideline player can become a heavyweight.” Isaac Stanley-Becker recalls that the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected his appointment to become a federal judge in the 1980's: "Former colleagues had accused him of frequently making racist comments, such as accusing the NAACP of teaching 'anti-American values' and agreeing with a comment that a white civil rights lawyer litigating voting rights cases was a 'disgrace to his race.' ... J. Gerald Hebert, then a Justice Department lawyer based in Washington, recalled visiting the Mobile office while working on voting rights cases and listening as Sessions sounded off on his view of black civil rights groups, at one point calling the NAACP a 'commie pinko organization,' as Hebert recalled in a recent interview. Thomas H. Figures, a black assistant U.S. attorney who worked under Sessions, told the committee that Sessions said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was okay until he learned its members smoked marijuana."
The kicker: "Sessions is seen as a potential Cabinet secretary under a President Trump — perhaps heading the Justice Department or the Department of Homeland Security."
-- The RNC posted the final version of the party’s 2016 platform. Read the 66-page document here.
-- The dearth of establishment figures in Cleveland has allowed fringe activists from the fever swamps to claim a platform for their conspiracy theories. Dana Milbank notes in his column that Roger Stone, a former official Trump adviser, speaking yesterday at a pro-Trump rally, revived allegations that Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons. He was followed by Alex Jones, the infamous radio host who argues the U.S, was behind 9/11 and on whose show Trump has appeared on. Jones argued that globalism will be defeated by Trump. (Jones got in a weird exchange with one attendee who turned out to be comedian Eric Andres.)
-- Jones is a supporter of Michelle Van Etten, an entrepreneur who somehow snagged a prime-time convention speaking role on Wednesday night, according to The Daily Beast's Tim Mak. Etten's company Youngevity sells nutritional supplements that Jones says make him "crazed” and want "to stomp people,” though all in a good way.
-- Trump is worth $3 billion, up from $2.9 billion a year ago, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. Trump took on more debt, but the value of his namesake Manhattan tower and golf courses rose. "Trump’s debt almost doubled, to an estimated $630 million from $350 million, as he drew down on a $170 million line of credit from Deutsche Bank AG for a hotel project in Washington...At the same time, Trump’s liquid assets shrunk to about $170 million from $225 million."
-- A new AP poll finds that Trump voters don't care that their man has backtracked on his pledge to self-fund his campaign. Only 13 percent consider it problematic that Trump is doing exactly what he attacked his opponents for just months ago.
-- Many social conservatives are also willing to give Trump a pass for his messy private life and three divorces, Mary Jordan reports from "deeply conservative" Holmes County, Ohio. “The other day I was thinking: Why doesn’t it bother me that he has had three wives?” said Carole Shetler, 66, a pastor of a Christian church. “We have been desensitized.”
-- Mitt Romney is staying in Wolfeboro, N.H. From the Boston Globe’s Michael Levenson: The 2012 nominee “padded out of his lakefront house Monday in bare feet, shorts, and a rumpled blue golf shirt. He was deeply tanned and his hair was wet, as though he had just taken a dip in Lake Winnipesaukee. Grandchildren zoomed around him on scooters. … Romney did not appear to be ruing his decision (to skip Cleveland). … ‘Just going to be here all week,’ he said, stepping out of his sprawling house to greet two reporters who briefly intruded on his mid-summer idyll … ‘It’s wonderful to be with the grandkids.’ Then he politely told the visitors to get lost.”
HILLARY CONTINUES TO CAMPAIGN:
-- Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told Politico that he would say no if Hillary asks him to be her White House chief of staff. Podesta said he's not interested in a repeat engagement after serving as Bill’s COS, and he said he may not want an administration role at all.
-- Housing Secretary and rumored veep finalist Julian Castro violated the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political activity by federal employees, when he praised Clinton’s candidacy during a Katie Couric interview conducted in his government office. From Anne Gearan: A report from the Office of Special Counsel delivered a mild rebuke to Castro for his handling of an April interview with Yahoo News: “Although he stated during the interview that he was ‘taking off my HUD hat for a second and just speaking individually,’ to indicate he was answering questions in his personal capacity, that disclaimer could not negate the fact that he was appearing in his official capacity for the rest of the interview,' the report stated.
Castro acknowledged his mistake: “My aim was to make clear to anyone viewing the broadcast that, when answering those direct questions regarding candidates, I was not acting in my official capacity,” he told investigators. “I now have watched the recording of the interview and appreciate that, while my intention was to avoid any blurring of roles and make clear that I was not speaking as a representative of HUD, that fact may not have been obvious to viewers.”
-- Virginia is buzzing about who will replace Tim Kaine if Clinton picks him as her running-mate. "In the event of a Clinton-Kaine victory, state law requires Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to appoint someone to fill Kaine’s Senate seat for about a year. After that, a special election would be held, coinciding with the 2017 governor’s race, and the winner would have to run again for a full six-year term the following year,” Jenna Portnoy reports. Names making the rounds include Don Beyer, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott or Gerald E. Connolly. Others say Attorney General Mark R. Herring or Brian Moran. Placeholder candidates could be ex-Gov. Doug Wilder or retired Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. And some mention Kaine’s wife, the commonwealth’s Education secretary.
-- Clinton’s attorneys pleaded with a federal judge to not order her to testify in a lawsuit brought by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch, arguing that any “cluelessness or negligence” by State Department officials about how she managed work-related emails did not equate to evidence that she intentionally thwarted the law. Judicial Watch is trying to fast-track the case, and Clinton's attorneys are trying to slow walk it to push it past the election. (Spencer S. Hsu)
-- Obama will headline a high-dollar fundraiser for Clinton in Atlanta on Aug. 1. (Juliet Eilperin)
-- Clinton began criticizing Mike Pence on the campaign trail, calling him “one of the most extreme vice-presidential picks in a generation.” From John Wagner: “As governor of Indiana, he cut millions from higher education while he was giving huge tax cuts to corporations,” Clinton told a national conference of the American Federation of Teachers in Minnesota. “He turned away millions of federal dollars that could have expanded access to preschool for low-income children and slashed funding for schools that served Indiana’s most vulnerable students.”
She also previewed what will become a frequent attack line, warning parents of a “Trump effect” that could lead to more bullying among children: "What do your children think when he calls women pigs or mocks a reporter with a disability?" Clinton asked.
-- Will Pence release his tax returns? Recent past vice presidential nominees have done so, but it would be weird for him to do so as long as Trump refuses, Rosalind S. Helderman reports. "The audit excuse is unlikely to be available for Pence, given that the percentage of Americans ever audited is low," Roz writes. "That leaves Trump’s campaign with a conundrum: It will have no ready excuse to hold Pence’s returns back.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL LABS VISUAL: Our analytics partners tracked more than 1.5 million mentions of the convention on social and traditional media yesterday.
Here's a word cloud incorporating all of them:
Melania generated more buzz than any other speaker:
Throughout this campaign, Trump has excelled at his ability to dominate social media. But last night, Trump's critics dominated Twitter spotlight. Here is a list of the day's top RNC-related Tweets:
More than 53,000 RNC-related Tweets contained emojis. This cloud shows the evening's most popular ones:
Here's what folks were searching for on Google:
Twitter said this post generated the highest engagement:
Some other choice reaction to last night's speeches:
Rudy is owning the arena.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) July 19, 2016
I've worked for him since 1993, and I've never seen him so fired up.
Where was this passion in 2008? #RNCinCLE
Rudy Giuliani never sounded anywhere near this excited about his own presidential campaign.— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) July 19, 2016
We double checked tape, Rick Perry did NOT utter Trump's name but did say the phrase "make America great again"— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) July 19, 2016
Retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s speech was criticized as boring and long:
Michael Flynn's convention speech yet another clear example that military experience does not make would a good pol.— Craig Robinson (@IowaGOPer) July 19, 2016
Is there a four-star in the audience who can tell Flynn to wrap this up?— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) July 19, 2016
Cash from Moscow? Trump advisor Flynn says "you'll have to ask my speakers bureau" when I ask about $ he got from RT https://t.co/ardIszCtHD— Michael Isikoff (@Isikoff) July 18, 2016
A lot of Never Trump Republicans singled out Reince Priebus for their ire after efforts to force a roll call vote on the rules failed:
You're a shameful and weak man, @reince. To think I ever supported you makes me sick to my stomach.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 18, 2016
.@Reince, do you recognize the optics of a sitting United States senator blasting you on television right now?— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) July 18, 2016
Today is the day the GOP elected Hillary Clinton president of the United States. @Reince I’m embarrassed for you.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 18, 2016
Ari Fleischer did not fare much better when criticizing #NeverTrump:
Trump won fair and square. Get on with it.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 18, 2016
If the Never Trump movement keeps this up, they'll turn into the Helping Hillary movement. It's time to unify. It's time to beat Hillary.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 18, 2016
Here's a response from the communications director on Jeb Bush's presidential campaign:
And from a fellow Bush-Cheney alum:
Trump called our former boss a war criminal. And Mexicans "rapists." He's attacked the Pope, for cryin' out loud. https://t.co/X2hVB3kkQN— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) July 18, 2016
Xavier Becerra posted this selfie with Democratic interns after House Republicans and Paul Ryan were criticized for their nearly all-white summer intern class:
Don King was spotted at the convention:
Don King at media row in Cleveland. And they said this wouldn't be a circus. pic.twitter.com/0Z9rrcjnJQ— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) July 18, 2016
Anyone who follows Virginia politics will appreciate this one:
Ken Cuccinelli shows off his "troublemaker" ribbon on his credential. Helped collect signatures for roll call. pic.twitter.com/PrahLPXHSz— Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) July 18, 2016
A warning to Trump and his VIPs:
This is the sign/warning inside of the Trump campaign's VIP box pic.twitter.com/hJ1F2OdPFx— Robert Costa (@costareports) July 18, 2016
Instagram is partnering with a photographer to snap portraits of major GOP figures backstage at the convention. Here's Haley Barbour and Greg Walden:
Today in convention fashion:
Elephants awaited New Jersey GOP delegates in their hotel rooms:
Awaiting the NJ delegates in their hotel rooms: a towel origami elephant pic.twitter.com/bDy7znscjp— Herb Jackson (@record_dc) July 17, 2016
Reaction from someone not in the hall:
This is a national nightmare. #GOPConvention— Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@OfficialJLD) July 19, 2016
A beautiful sunset photo from Pat Leahy:
Finally, check out photos of this week's SpaceX launch:
Well, that's a hell of a shot of last night's SpaceX launch (Tim Shortt/AP/Florida Today). pic.twitter.com/F66fYFdrGv— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) July 18, 2016
HOT ON THE LEFT:
"“Paul Ryan Says Poor Are Victims, But Blames Them For Being Poor,” from HuffPost: "The Speaker in an NPR interview Monday acknowledged that the poor are victims of our economic system. The interview sounds reasonable, almost soothing, until you examine what Ryan is really saying. After acknowledging that poverty is systemic, he turns around and blames the poor themselves as being personally — even morally — responsible for being poor. ... He cited addiction, lack of skills, and, of course, government handouts as the real causes of poverty."
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Texas Governor: Attacking Police Should Be A ‘Hate Crime’,” from The Federalist: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to make it a hate crime to attack police. On Monday, Abbott called on the Texas legislature to pass a law he called the ‘Police Protection Act,’ which would make any crime committed against a police officer a hate crime. That distinction would increase the penalties imposed against anyone convicted of attacking police."
On the campaign trail: The second day of the convention is focused on jobs and the economy, with speeches from Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Jr., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Carson, Michael Mukasey and soap opera star Kimberlin Brown. (See the full schedule here.)
Clinton is campaigning in Las Vegas.
At the White House: Obama meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Vice President Biden is in Sydney, Australia.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America.” – Rudy Giuliani
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The Capital Weather Gang forecasts that those who stayed behind in Washington will be treated to a brief midweek respite but a "late-week heatwave" will make up for nicer temperatures today. For those in Cleveland, we're looking at 80 degrees today with a zero chance of rain. Check out the forecast for the rest of the week here.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Here's Trump's dramatic entrance to "We are the champions":
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said on MSNBC that white people have contributed more to civilization than other "sub-groups." Read Philip Bump's story. Watch the clip:
Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. went straight from giving his speech on the main stage to doing an interview on ABC, where he said that President Obama is "absolutely" a Muslim. “I don’t believe the guy is a Christian, I don’t believe he follows the God that I love and the Jesus that I love. I think that he has had an agenda from the beginning,” he said. “I believe that he’s on the other side. … He’s with the bad guys.”
Watch chaos unfold on the convention floor as anti-Trump Republicans fail to receive a roll call vote:
How the "Never Trump" movement failed:
Among Monday's speakers were Willie Robertson:
Actor Scott Baio:
Clinton released this ad with voters reading an open letter to Trump:
A crowd booed French politicians at a memorial service for the victims in Nice:
Stephen Colbert mocked Trump on the convention stage and was escorted away by security: