Donald Trump arrives to a campaign rally this week at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

THE BIG IDEA:

By David Fahrenthold, filling in for James, who is on vacation.

I’ve spent the last few months trying to prove Donald Trump right about something important.

So far, I’ve failed.

Trump has promised to give millions of dollars of his own money to charity. Trying to find evidence of them, I first looked at the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Dead end. Tax records show no gifts from Trump to his namesake foundation since 2008. Then I looked at the Trump campaign's official list of his donations. Dead end. That list included thousands of free rounds of golf, given away by Trump's golf courses. But no gifts of cash from Trump's own pocket. His campaign said those gifts did exist. It just wouldn't say who got them. 

So I kept looking, starting with the individual charities that Trump seemed closest to. He'd attended their galas. Praised them on Twitter. Given them cash from the Trump Foundation's dwindling pot of money.

I've tried 259 of those charities so far. 

I've found one gift, out of Trump's own pocket, between 2008 and this May. 

In 2009, he apparently gave a gift worth less than $10,000 to the Police Athletic League in New York. (In May, under pressure from the media, Trump made good on his own pledge to give $1 million to a veterans' charity).

But in all those dead ends, I’ve learned a few lessons about Trump, and the way he seems to view charity. 

So here’s what I found, when I wasn’t finding anything:

1. Trump does see charity — or at least the appearance of charity — as an important part of his public image

This started back in the 1980s, when Trump first became a national star with his book, "The Art of the Deal." Even then, his public persona had two very different sides. On the one hand, Trump portrayed himself as a walking avatar of wealth, so rich he didn't need more money. On the other hand, here he was, asking for your money, trying to sell you a book. Trump split the difference by promising to give the book's proceeds to charity.

In the 2000s, when Trump returned to the national spotlight, he picked up the habit again. At various times, he promised to give away the proceeds of "The Apprentice," "Trump University" and a real-estate rental to Moammar Gaddafi. As much as Trump cultivated the image of himself as a hard-nosed, high-living businessman, he seemed not to think that one dimension was enough. Until recently, Trump's corporate biography summed his life up into two parts: "a deal-maker without peer, and an ardent philanthropist."

 2. But Trump seems to want to acquire his reputation for charity as cheaply as possible, and with other people's money if he can

In all, I've identified about $7.8 million that Trump has given to charity since 1984. That's a great deal of money, but it is a rather paltry sum for a billionaire. If Trump is worth $10 billion now, as he claims, then his lifetime charity would be equal to 0.08 percent of his current net worth. Star Wars' George Lucas, who is tied with Trump on Forbes's list of billionaires, gave $925 million to charity in a single recent year.

Despite this relatively low total, Trump has employed a pair of strategies to make his charitable impact seem more impressive.

For one thing, he frequently attends charity galas and events, where attendance carries the implication (but not the requirement) that guests have made donations to the cause. I've even found galas where Trump was given a title like "honorary chairman" — with the implication of an even bigger gift — but actually gave nothing. In fact, Trump often *made* money on these galas, since they were held at his Florida clubs. Several of the charities said they were glad to have Trump as the honorary chairman anyway, since Trump's name drew a crowd.

Separately, Trump seems to exploit the assumption that the money in the Donald J. Trump Foundation came originally from Donald J. Trump's pocket. It doesn't, and hasn't for years. Instead, the foundation's biggest recent gifts came from wrestling moguls Vince and Linda McMahon, who gave a total $5 million (and won't comment about why). Since then, Trump has been effectively giving the McMahons' money away, but — because his name is on the foundation — the recipients often give Trump the credit.

3. Trump is left with a charitable legacy that is small and scattershot, with little sustained commitment to any one cause

The two biggest gifts of Trump's life have been to veterans' groups: $1 million for the New York City Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1984, and the $1 million he gave to a veterans' charity this May.

In between, however, his public giving showed little focus on veterans' issues, or any other specific causes. The largest gifts from the Donald J. Trump Foundation have been split among local New York charities, Palm Beach galas, conservative political groups — and one-off gifts, like one Trump apparently paid to settle a lawsuit at one of his golf courses. By spreading out his money this way, Trump has increased the short-term visibility of his charity, but diminished its long-term impact in any one place.

The result is that — although Trump has put his name on commercial ventures from steaks to books to casinos — he has left few monuments to himself in the world of philanthropy. Trump's son Eric, by contrast, started a foundation focused on children's cancer research. Now, at age 32, Eric Trump has a surgical center named for him at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. 

The only things I've found that a charity named in honor of Donald Trump are far less impressive. There's a bench in Central Park, and a single chair in a theater in New Jersey.   

One last thing, readers: If you know of any donations Trump gave to a charity out of his own pocket — or if you've spotted another monument to his giving — please let me know! I'm at fahrenthold@washpost.com.

Watch this to see more of what we know on Trump's charitable giving:

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) Sign up to receive the newsletter.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Trump continues to tank in a round of fresh polling. A sign that his problems may go to the heart of his candidacy: While Hillary Clinton is crushing The Donald with nonwhite voters, she is also closing in on him among his core constituencies — whites and men.

-- Clinton surged to a FIFTEEN-point lead in a fresh McClatchy-Marist poll of national voters. She now has a 48 to 33 percent advantage over Trump, who fell six points since the last survey.

  • Clinton also made notable gains among whites and men, closing in on several of Trump’s key constituencies: Trump’s lead among men fell eight points since last month, down from 14 percent to just 6 percent. And he now leads Clinton by just two points among white voters.
  • 90 percent of Democrats now support Clinton — up from 83 percent last month — in another sign of increasing unity for Dems. Trump, meanwhile, gets the nod from just 79 percent of GOP voters. 
  • In a four-way matchup with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and likely Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Trump finishes LAST among voters under 30.
  • And 53 percent of voters said they find Clinton an acceptable president, while just 39 percent said the same of Trump.

-- Hillary jumped to a NINE-point lead in an NBC-WSJ poll, nearly doubling the five-point advantage she held over Trump ahead of the party’s nominating conventions.

  • Clinton leads Trump 91 to 1 percent among African Americans, 69 to 17 percent among non-white voters, 46 to 34 percent among young voters, and 47 to 40 percent among voters with a college degree.
  • Meanwhile, Trump retains a five-point lead over Clinton among white voters (45 to 40 percent) and a 13-point lead over voters without a college degree.

-- And she’s also gaining among Trump in key swing states: Clinton holds a six-point lead in Florida, according to a new Suffolk University survey, up 48 to his 42 percent. Regionally, Clinton is strongest in heavily Latino south Florida, where she hold a 24- point lead. Meanwhile, Trump polls best in northern Florida, where he leads Clinton 54 to 39 percent.  

-- The Post looked at an average of the major recent polls, compiled by RealClearPolitics. Per that aggregation, Clinton has gained four points and now leads in the average by seven points  putting Trump further back than Romney ever was, Philip Bump observes. “Relative to Election Day in 2004, 2008 and 2012, Clinton's lead is more than twice that of the eventual victor at this point. In 2004, [Bush] had a 6-point lead for a few weeks; in 2008, Obama led by 6 points or more for the final month or so. Other than that, though, Clinton's lead is exceptional. Trump now trails Hillary Clinton in the polling average by more than Mitt Romney ever did in the final 150 days. In fact, Romney never trailed by that much for the last year of the campaign.”

“The smartest thing Trump could do when asked about his poll problems is to note that Clinton is enjoying a very traditional convention bounce and that the race will eventually settle down.…” Chris Cillizza writes. “But Trump rarely does the politically smart thing — particularly when he feels betrayed by the same polls that were so good to him for so long. And there are already indications that Trump — a friend spurned — is going to burn the bridges of his past close relationship with polls. ‘I think these polls — I don't know — there's something about these polls, there's something phony,’ Trump said Tuesday at a rally in Loudoun County, Va. Right.”

Correction: We inaccurately stated in the original version that Clinton had a 10-point lead over Trump in the new McClatchy-Marist poll. Her lead is actually 15 points.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) announces her plans to seek a second term Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE FEELING THE HEAT:

-- “There is good news in this volatile election year for Senate Republicans struggling to hold on to their seats: There is mounting evidence that voters are willing to support them even if they won’t back Trump. The bad news is that still may not be enough to save the Republican Senate majority.” From Mike DeBonis: “New polls released in several battleground states this week show incumbent GOP senators consistently outperforming [Trump] among general-election voters. But Trump’s unpopularity threatens to swallow that advantage. The GOP currently enjoys a 54-seat Senate majority, but they are defending a dozen competitive seats, while Democrats are defending just two. A four-seat swing toward the Democrats would flip control of the Senate if Clinton were to beat Trump on Nov. 8. That math and the new surveys are why Trump’s recent polling nosedive is triggering Klaxon horns in Republican circles around Washington.”

  • A fresh Pennsylvania survey shows Sen. Pat Toomey down by 1 percentage point against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty, while Trump trails Clinton by 11 points statewide. In Florida, Trump remains just six points behind Clinton, and Rubio is topping his Democratic challengers by double digits.  “Together, the surveys paint a picture where Senate Republicans could run near-flawless campaigns and still get swamped in a Clinton landslide …”
Osama bin Laden. Mana Rabiee reports.

If you read one story that’s NOT about Trump or Clinton today:

From Souad Mekhennet and Greg Miller: “Bloodline: He’s the son of Osama bin Laden’s bombmaker. Then ISIS wanted him as one of their own:” “He was still a teenager when he wandered into one of the buildings at the dusty hilltop complex looking for the cages where rabbits were kept. Inside, he found a crudely equipped laboratory.… ‘I asked my father, ‘What are you doing here?’’ [Mohammed al-Masri] said.… His father’s response was cryptic: ‘When you grow up, God willing, you will learn for yourself.’ After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Masri’s father would be regarded as one of the most ominous figures in al-Qaeda: an Egyptian with a degree in chemistry who was put in charge of the terrorist network’s effort to develop mass-casualty weapons. Mohammed Masri, now 35, left Afghanistan shortly after that mid-1990s exchange … and never saw his father again. But that notorious lineage has clung to the younger Masri like a toxic residue, complicating his efforts to make his own mark as an Islamist militant, most recently in Syria. 

  • “Name recognition helped him build a following of several hundred fighters after he arrived in Syria in 2012,” he told The Post. 

  • But since then, “he has been caught in a violent struggle between those loyal to his father’s organization and followers of a bolder, more brutal group determined to supplant it — the Islamic State. [Now] … the two organizations are now locked in a fierce competition to determine which will prevail as the dominant brand in global jihad. At one level, their fight is over resources and recruits. But they also have competing visions for how to achieve a new era of Islamist rule, and their rivalry has the potential to fuel a terrorism arms race targeting the West.” 

MORE ON THE WAR AGAINST ISIS:

-- Obama met with his National Security Council at the Pentagon Thursday to discuss the war against the Islamic State. From Greg Jaffe, David Nakamura and William Branigin:  In a news conference following the briefing, the president warned that ISIS isinevitably going to be defeated,” but predicted that the dispersed terrorist networks it spawns are likely to persist with attempted attacks, even after the group loses its major strongholds in Iraq and Syria. “Obama pointed to a string of battlefield defeats, suffered by the Islamic State in the last year, as proof that the group is ‘not invincible,’ and said that U.S.-backed Iraq forces would use a recently recaptured air base as a hub to take back Mosul.… ‘ISIL has not been able to reclaim any significant territory that they have lost,” Obama said. “I want to repeat, ISIL has not had a major successful offensive operation in either Syria or Iraq in a full year. Even ISIL’s leaders know they’re going to keep losing.’”

  • He denied that a $400 million cash payment to Iran in January was a “ransom payment” for four American hostages. "We do not pay ransom,” he said. “We didn't here, and we won't in the future." (CNN)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. A North Carolina man arrested on terrorism charges had been in in “close contact” with the man who plotted an attack on a Texas cartoon exhibition last year, according to police. The man, 35-year-old Erick Jamal Hendricks, was charged by prosecutors with conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. (Adam Goldman)
  2. Gunmen in Rio ambushed three Swedish tourists on Thursday, temporarily holding one captive after the trio stopped to snap photos outside a nearby slum. Though the tourists escaped unharmed, the incident has underlined wider safety concerns during the Rio games. (Joshua Partlow and Dom Phillips)
  3. Meanwhile, Olympic officials announced they approved 271 Russian athletes to compete in the Rio games – barring nearly 120 from the roster due to doping allegations. Legal challenges to the decision remain likely, creating further confusion on the eve of the Games. (New York Times)
  4. The FBI has arrested nearly 50 alleged members of New York mob families as part of a sweeping racketeering indictment. The mobsters are accused of using threats and arson to expand a “vast array of illegal business dealings,” including gun trafficking, credit card and health care fraud, and old-fashioned extortion. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  5. Dylann Roof, the alleged Charleston gunman accused of shooting nine people in a racially-motivated church massacre, was assaulted by a black inmate in prison. The man reportedly chased Roof down the stairs and into the shower area, where he punched him “a number of times.” (Sarah Larimer)
  6. George Zimmerman, the Florida man who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin – and later attempted to auction off the gun used in his death -- was punched in the face at a restaurant in Sanford. Officials said Zimmerman was reportedly bragging to diners about shooting the 17-year-old when he was hit. (The Orlando Sentinel)
  7. Six people were injured in western Afghanistan after Taliban militants attacked a busload of foreign tourists, including three Americans. Meanwhile, seven Pakistanis were taken hostage by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan when their helicopter crash-landed. The two separate attacks, both highly unusual, illustrate the “wide geographical range and aggressive opportunism of the Taliban militants, who quickly capitalized on two unexpected foreign targets at opposite ends of the country.” (Pamela Constable)
  8. Law enforcement officials in Maine are working to determine whether the religious rights of two Muslim women were violated after mugshots showing them without their hijabs were released to the media. Officials said they consider the move a form of “public shaming,” and believe it may have violated their First Amendment rights. (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
  9. Ex-Virginia police officer Stephen Rankin was convicted of manslaughter after fatally shooting an unarmed 18-year-old black man last year while investigating a shoplifting report at a Walmart. It was Rankin’s second fatal shooting of an unarmed man in the city. (Reuters)
  10. A new study found that Tinder users were more likely to report signs of low self-esteem than their pals that avoided the dating app. Users reported lower levels of self-worth, less satisfaction with their looks, and more body shame, the American Psychological Association found. (Time) 
Donald Trump speaks in Portland, Maine. (Sarah Rice/Getty)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort sought to tamp down controversy surrounding Trump’s refusal to support Paul Ryan in his Wisconsin Republican primary, suggesting his behavior is “not unusual or newsworthy.” From Jenna Johnson: “We've sort of had a rule of not getting involved in primaries because it's usually not a good situation for the presidential candidate," campaign chairman Paul Manafort said on ABC News' "Good Morning America.” "Of course he's going to work with Paul Ryan. Of course, he's tried to bridge the party together with Paul Ryan. But Ryan's also running against somebody who's not going to win — but, nonetheless, he's a strong supporter of Mr. Trump's. And so it's not just in Paul Ryan's district. That gets all of the notoriety because it's the speaker."

-- Former House speaker and close Trump adviser Newt Gingrich endorsed Sen. John McCain’s reelection campaign, breaking ranks with the Republican nominee as he touted McCain as a “national treasure.” “I strongly endorse Senator John McCain," Gingrich said in a video address. "A genuine American hero, a man who has endured a great deal for his country … I know how hard John works for veterans, for the military, for our national security -- and I know that John McCain is a national treasure.” Trump has repeatedly hit McCain on the campaign trail, accusing him of “not doing enough” to help military veterans. Last year, he suggested the Arizona senator was only a war hero “because he was captured.” (Jenna Johnson)

--Trump's running-mate, Mike Pence, was engaged in his own mini-controversy yesterday over whether he backs Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) in their reelection campaigns. Bottom line: he does, but it took him awhile to say so. The incident highlights the problems for Pence in running with Trump, whose positions verge so often with GOP elders with whom Pence has close ties. Here's how things played out:

  • From ABC’s Alana Abramson“Earlier in the day, Pence avoided a direct response when asked if he would diverge from Trump and support the two senators in their reelection campaigns. ’I look forward to supporting Republican candidates in the days and weeks ahead all over the country, and so does [Trump],’ he told traveling press aboard his plane.” 
  • But Pence eventually clarified that he did back Ayotte and McCain, with a spokesman saying he had given a "non-answer" earlier.
  • At a rally on Thursday, Trump said Pence had called him to ask for his permission to endorse Ryan. ‘I say, 'Mike, you like him, yes. Go ahead and do it. 100 percent.' And he endorsed him,’ Trump said.” 
  •  At a North Carolina rally, Pence was confronted by an 11-year-old boy who asked him why he was “kind of softening up on Trump’s policies and words”: “I’ve been watching the news lately, and I’ve been noticing that you’ve kind of been softening up on Mr. Trump’s policies and words. Is this going to be your role in the administration?” “This boy has got a future!” Pence quipped, before saying he is “absolutely determined” to work together with Trump. (Jose A. DelReal and Sean Sullivan
  • “I was a little worried about him, and I just wanted to make sure he was totally loyal to Mr. Trump and the Republican Party,” the boy said after the event had ended. “And now I think he is.”

-- LET MIKE BE MIKE? “In the opening weeks of their partnership, Trump has granted his running mate broad leeway with no precedent in recent presidential campaigns, amplifying [their] differences in style and substance,” Jose A. DelReal and Sean Sullivan report. “For a campaign whose mantra long has been ‘Let Trump be Trump,’ the guiding principle that has formed around Pence is, as one of the aides put it, ‘Let Mike be Mike.’ The strategy amounts to a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Trump advisers believe Pence could help repackage the ticket for voters turned off by Trump: Where Trump is brash and bristly, Pence is cool and collected. Trump shoots from the hip, but Pence is cautious. But at times Trump and Pence deliver contradictory, even awkward messages … It has become clear that the two men are intentionally speaking to different groups of voters — Trump to frustrated and restive outsiders and Pence to mainstream conservatives and Republican establishment figures."

-- Paul Ryan sent an urgent fundraising appeal Thursday, warning supporters that should they fail to protect the Republican majority in Congress, “we could be handing President Hillary Clinton a blank check.” “Whether or not it was intentional, the phrase ‘blank check” has a political echo,” Jenna Johnson and Karen Tumulty write, “one that suggests a deep fear by congressional Republicans that a sinking presidential candidate could take their majorities in the House and Senate with him, and that they are getting ready to desert him.” Ryan used the words “blank check” at least THREE times Thursday, repeatedly invoking the loaded phrase as Trump sought to rebound from weeks of self-inflicted wounds.

-- Trump’s campaign is holding nearly two dozen high-dollar fundraisers in conjunction with the RNC this month, Sean Sullivan and Matea Gold report. Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the RNC, “Trump Victory,” has 21 finance events on the book for August alone. On Saturday, Trump is set to headline events in Nantucket and on Cape Cod, the latter of which will be held at the home of billionaire energy executive Bill Koch.

  • Then, the cross-country push begins, with events scheduled in Ohio, New York, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. Towards the end of the month, Western states will be the focus, with a spate of events throughout California, Washington and Oregon.

 “The whirlwind-pace full calendar, coming during what is typically a relatively sleepy late summer period in the political world, highlights the urgency with which Republicans are trying to keep pace with [Clinton] in the money chase,” Sullivan and Gold add. “And it shows that there is a continuing appetite among party donors to back the billionaire real estate mogul, despite his stumbles on the campaign trail.”

A Trump supporter plugs his ears while passing protesters in Denver. (AP/Brennan Linsley)

PROMINENT REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO DUMP TRUMP:

-- Several Republicans are among a group of former cabinet officers, senior officials and career military officers who denounced Trump on Thursday, slamming his recent remarks on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia as “disgraceful.” “’These are disgraceful statements that betray our long-standing values and national interests embraced by presidents of both parties,’ said the letter, signed by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former CIA director and defense secretary Leon Panetta. ‘We find Trump’s comments to be reckless, dangerous, and extremely unwise.’” “America needs a president who will strengthen our alliances,” it concludes, “not denigrate and destroy them.” (Anne Gearan)

-- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says Trump should refrain from attacking McCain, Ayotte, Ryan, or the Khans: “If you shoot somebody in politics, they shoot back at you,” Giuliani said on Kilmeade and Friends. “My advice to Donald in private is the same as it is in public. Keep your eye on the ball and the ball is Hillary Clinton.” (Buzzfeed)

-- New York Times, “Donald Tru mp Risks Alienating Military Communities in Swing States,” by Alexander Burns, Noah Remnick and Nick Corasaniti: “...he has also risked alienating an even more pivotal constituency in the swing states that will decide the presidential election: military communities dismayed by his crude and at times offensive comments about the armed services. These missteps threaten Mr. Trump in the heart of the electoral map. In several important states, his most realistic path to victory hinges on areas with close ties to the military, including northern Florida, coastal Virginia and New Hampshire, and a cluster of towns near military bases in North Carolina, Colorado and Arizona. Should even a segment of Republican-leaning military voters recoil from Mr. Trump, it could badly undermine him in states where he is already struggling because of his deep unpopularity with women and racial minorities …”

-- The Harvard Republican Club announced it will NOT be backing Trump, urging voters to withdraw their support from the man they deigned a “threat to the survival of the Republic.” From the Harvard Crimson: "His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy," read a statement from the group. "He hopes to divide us by race, by class, and by religion, instilling enough fear and anxiety to propel himself to the White House."

Trump attends a campaign event in Portland. (Reuters/Eric Thayer)

...THE PUNDITS WEIGH IN, continuing to call into question Trump's SANITY:

-- NYT’s David Brooks calls Trump a “political rampage, charging ever more wildly out of control:" “With each passing week he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, aggression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about," Brooks writes. "His speech patterns are like something straight out of a psychiatric textbook. As one trained psychiatrist said to me, compare Donald Trump’s speaking patterns to a Robin Williams monologue, but with insults instead of jokes ..."

But Brooks also warns Republicans who have sided with Trump that their positions are untenable and history will not regard them kindly: "Events are going to force Republicans off the fence. For the past many months Republican leaders have been condemning Trump’s acts while sticking with Trump the man. Trump is making that position ridiculous and shameful. You either stand with a man whose very essence is an insult to basic decency, or you don’t. Those who don’t will have to start building a Republican Party in Exile. They will have to tell the country what they honestly think of Donald Trump. They will have to build a parallel campaign structure that will survive if Trump implodes, a structure of congressional and local candidates ... There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame."

-- Trump’s attack on the Gold Star family was not a mistake, Charles Krauthammer writes: “It was a revelation. It’s that he can’t help himself. His governing rule in life is to strike back when attacked, disrespected or even slighted. To understand Trump, you have to grasp the General Theory: He judges every action, every pronouncement, every person by a single criterion — whether or not it/he is ‘nice’ to Trump. Treat him ‘unfairly’ and you will pay. House speaker, Gold Star mother, it matters not. I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him.”

-- “Trump is many things, some of them dark and dangerous, but at his core, he is a B.S. artist,” Fareed Zakaria writes: “He boasts — and boasts and boasts — about his business, his buildings, his books, his wives. Much of it is a concoction of hyperbole and falsehoods. And when he’s found out, he’s like that guy we have all met at a bar who makes wild claims but when confronted with the truth, quickly responds, ‘I knew that!’ … As the crazy talk continues, standard rules of fact, truth and reality have disappeared in this campaign. Donald Trump has piled such vast quantities of his trademark product into the political arena that the stench is now overwhelming and unbearable.”

Clinton tours a small business, Mojave Electric, in Las Vegas. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HRC:

-- “Clinton broadens campaign effort to target wary Republicans,” by Anne Gearan, Abby Phillip and John Wagner: “Clinton’s campaign is quietly broadening its outreach to potential Republican converts, including donors, elected officials, and business and foreign policy leaders. The message is simple: Even if you have never before considered voting for a Democrat, and even if you don’t like Clinton, choosing her this year is a moral and patriotic imperative. The recruitment is a continuation of the campaign’s efforts to sway influential Republicans and independents …” The recruitment appeal reportedly includes personal appeals by senior Democrats, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The campaign is also tracking Republicans who have spoken out against Trump in public."

  • Sen. Harry Reid, who stumped alongside Clinton in Las Vegas, expressed optimism that Clinton could expand the electoral map into “deeply red” states of Georgia, Arizona and Utah. “I hope the map is expanded,” Reid said, though he urged Democrats not to be “overconfident.” “It would be good for the country.”

-- Clinton’s campaign removed its state-specific ads in Virginia and Colorado, showing signs of confidence in both battleground states. From Abby Phillip: “According to a Democrat tracking media buys, the Clinton campaign has renewed its ad buys in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. But it allowed its state-specific ads in Virginia and Colorado to lapse … The decisions come as a slew of new national and battleground state polls gives Clinton wide leads over [Trump].” Her super PAC also will not advertise in either state for the next two weeks.

-- Tim Kaine defended Clinton on her private email server, saying he trusts that his running-mate is being honest when she answers questions about her email practices at the State Department. “Hillary and I have talked about this personally and we sat down within minutes after I was rolled out as her running mate to do a ‘60 Minutes’ interview and she said, 'I made a mistake. I screwed up and I learned something and I'll do it differently,” Kaine said on “CBS This Morning.” “That's been the way she's pitched it to me and I think that's the honest response and I've heard her say that a number of times."

-- New York Times, “With Billionaires Backing Her, Hillary Clinton Must Confront How to Deploy Them,” by Amy Chozick: “Now that Hillary Clinton has assembled a bipartisan cadre of billionaires to support her candidacy, how does she disperse the moneyed elite to help her in a campaign focused on income inequality? Warren E. Buffett … was easy. The low-key billionaire has been at the forefront of efforts to rewrite the tax code so that he does not pay a lower rate than his secretary. Meg Whitman, the technology executive and former Republican candidate for governor in California, said she would hold a fund-raiser to help elect Mrs. Clinton. Reed Hastings, the outspoken chief executive of Netflix, and Eric Schmidt, of Google fame, have both expressed support for Mrs. Clinton’s technology and business plans.” And Mark Cuban, the co-host of ABC’s entrepreneurial “Shark Tank,” hopes to focus on income inequality and a tax plan offering incentives for companies who share profits with employees."

The Olympic Rings are displayed at the Copacaba beach in Rio de Janeiro. (Alexander Hassenstein/Getty)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- “Rio may be the glummest city ever to host the Summer Olympics,” by Joshua Partlow and Dom Phillips: “On Oct. 9, 2009, when the International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Summer Games, confetti fell over a delirious crowd on Copacabana Beach … This was a country poised to knock on the First World’s door, an economic powerhouse with boundless natural wealth, the leader of a peaceful region  ...“[Now] … the mood is apprehensive, almost queasy. A recent poll found that nearly 2 out of 3 Brazilians expect the Olympics to bring more losses than benefits. Soldiers wearing camouflage are posted at bridges, subway platforms and beaches. ‘There was a moment of megalomaniacal euphoria,’ [said former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso]. ‘As if Brazil … already belonged in the First World. ‘Now we are in doubt: Are we really capable or not?’”

--  An online petition is urging Khizr Khan, the father of an Muslim American Army captain killed in Iraq, to run for Virginia legislature. From Jenna Portnoy: “In the week since Khizr Khan … made an impassioned call to elect Clinton, some of his supporters have found another person they’d like to see in public office: Khan. Thomas Keefe, a Vietnam veteran and longtime Democratic activist, watched the Khans from backstage at the convention and thought of his son’s friend who died while serving in Afghanistan … By the time Keefe, 67, had returned home to Knoxville, Tenn., he had resolved to send a message to Trump about the kind of leadership he believes Americans deserve. So he started a digital crowdfunding campaign intended to recruit Khan to run for the Virginia House of Delegates, complete with a bumper-sticker-ready slogan: ‘Yes We Khan!’ Through the platform Crowdpac, 123 individuals pledged more than $13,000 in less than two days. Keefe hopes to reach $20,000 by Monday …” (So far, Khan appears unlikely to take the bait – he declined comment Wednesday night, saying only “We are grateful for the pouring of love, support and respect.”)

Paul Nehlen, a Republican primary challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan, yesterday accuses Ryan of betraying the party in an "act of sabotage" against Donald Trump.. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

DISPATCHES FROM JANESVILLE...NEHLEN AS 'MINI-TRUMP:'

-- Politico, “Mini-Trump goes after Ryan in his own backyard,” by Rachael Bade: “In an abandoned parking lot on the outskirts of Paul Ryan’s hometown, Paul Nehlen railed against what he called the House speaker’s ‘open borders policies; and claimed Ryan is ‘giving American jobs to foreigners.’ “I was on CNN last night and this morning! Lot of shows,’ the 47-year-old longtime factory manager exclaimed in Trump-like fashion to the small crowd. ‘It’s going to be full-court press.’ A yellow construction dump truck behind him was painted with, ‘Dump Paul Ryan’ and ‘Get the dirt on Ryan.’

It turns out that Ryan — who’s been plagued by Trump on Capitol Hill for the better part of a year — can’t even avoid the guy in his own backyard. Ryan may be one of the most popular figures in the Republican Party, but Nehlen, a remarkably well-financed gadfly running a mini-version of the real estate tycoon’s campaign, is forcing the House speaker and nine-term congressman to have to defend himself in a primary for the first time in years. Despite his obvious deficiencies (Ryan is expected to clobber him in the primary) Nehlen has seized on the same working-class discontent that Trump rode to the nomination, forcing Ryan to face down the GOP’s new, populist brand of Republicanism at home …”

-- Ann Coulter is also planning to hit the campaign trail for Paul Nehlen: She is slated to appear alongside Nehlen at two televised rallies in the state, per a media advisory from the campaign.  

-- “On the ground here in southeastern Wisconsin in a district dotted with factories and cornfields, there are few signs that the news media glow surrounding Mr. Nehlen has rubbed off on voters,” the New York Times reports. “This is one of those campaigns that looks big on social media and in certain conservative media, but when you get down on the ground in Racine, in Kenosha and Janesville, it’s just not there,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative radio host who holds sway among Republicans here. “The grass-roots Republican activists are not divided on Paul Ryan.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

After a delay, Pence endorsed McCain and Ayotte's reelection bids. Here was some of the Twitter chatter in the interim:

Coming soon to Ryan's district:

One hashtag taking off? #HillaryAccomplishments:

A difference between this year and 2012:

Case in point -- Pennsylvania:

Harvard Republicans are not supporting Trump:

A lesson in expectation-setting:

Just a thought:

Social media is loving news about Sasha Obama's summer job:

Melania Trump is defending her immigration history:

Notes from Trump's stop in Maine:

Poor turnout at a Pence rally in Virginia:

Clinton tweaked Trump over his comment over appointing women as president:

Lots of celebrations for Obama's birthday:

Former colleagues remembered Steve LaTourette:

Susan Brooks posted about our local corpse flower:

GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:

HOT ON THE LEFT:

“Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson Sues Baton Rouge Over Mass Arrests,” from New York Magazine: “DeRay Mckesson, the prominent Black Lives Matter activist, has filed suit against the city of Baton Rouge [and others] … McKesson was arrested on July 9 in Baton Rouge during a protest against police brutality, four days after the police shooting of Alton Sterling – which sparked demonstrations nation-wide.  The protests in Baton Rouge were almost entirely peaceful, but on the night McKesson was arrested 184 other people were taken into custody too...McKesson claims that police ‘employed unconstitutional tactics to … infringe upon and criminalize … constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly.’”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

-- “Antonio Sabato Jr. Says Hollywood is Blacklisting Him for Supporting Donald Trump, from Variety: “Antonio Sabato Jr. claims that he’s been bullied endlessly in the days following his appearance at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Not only online, but by Hollywood directors who have blacklisted him. On July 18, the actor opened the RNC in Cleveland with a speech about why he’s supporting Donald Trump, calling him the ‘unity’ candidate, who would secure borders and protect citizens.” Sabato Jr. reached out to Variety to share his thoughts: ‘On Twitter, there’s been name calling, and celebrities attacking me. That’s fine. I see it, but I don’t read it. I block them and delete them and move on.  … Hollywood is very liberal, but they contradict themselves all the time,” he said. “I choose Trump. I support everything he’s going to do. A lot of people in America feel the same way.”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Trump and Pence campaign in Des Moines, Iowa and Green Bay, Wis. Clinton is Washington, D.C. for the joint convention of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Kaine stops in Milwaukee, Wis. and Grand Rapids, Mich.

At the White House: Obama has no public events scheduled.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re not going to forget where we came from, but we know there is a window to reach beyond our traditional supporters, and we’re going to try very hard to reach these folks,” a Clinton aide said about attracting Republican voters.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- A tropical-feeling Friday with some potential shower chances on the horizon in the afternoon, per today’s Capital Weather Gang forecast: “Filtered sunshine may be best we can do at times. Clouds battle the sun effectively. By midday, shower and storm chances appear, and stay with us through sunset. Perhaps around a 40 percent chance you might get wet. A few storms could be strong, but this doesn’t seem like a significant severe weather day. 5-10 mph southerly breezes blow at times. Mugginess inches closer to oppressive range … as high temperatures top out in the mid-80s in most spots.”

-- The Federal Transit Administration postponed federal funding for Metro’s Purple Line, indefinitely holding off the $900 million light rail project until Maryland recalculates the ridership forecasts to reflect Metro’s falling ridership. (Katherine Shaver

-- The parents of 27-year-old Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who was killed in Bloomingdale last month, made a tearful, urgent appeal Thursday for anyone with information about the attack to come forward. “We want to find out who killed our son,” his mother Mary Ann Rich said during a news conference. “Next time something like this happens, it might be someone you love.” D.C. police have declined to provide further information on the attack, but said robbery as a motive remains a “strong possibility.” (Peter Hermann

 

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Video emerged of an apparent road-rage incident that led to a man's death:

McCain responded to a question about Trump and nuclear weapons:

Here's a recap of McCain's up-and-down relationship with Trump:

Secret Service rushed to surround Clinton during a rally:

A sting operation revealed it is too easy to buy radioactive materials for a dirty bomb:

Obama responded to Trump's "rigged election" accusation:

Seth Meyers thinks Democrats should stop commenting on the GOP nominee for a while:

Aziz Ansari talked about Trump's feud with the Khans:

Finally, what would it be like if you competed in the Olympics? (warning: adult language)