THE BIG IDEA: Reports of Stephen K. Bannon’s death might be greatly exaggerated. President Trump’s wholehearted embrace of Confederate monuments as a new wedge issue underscores how much juice the White House’s chief strategist still has. Bannon has been in the doghouse, and Trump resents how much credit he’s gotten for his victory last November. But even if he loses his government job, which is still a possibility, the former chairman of Breitbart News’s brand of populism and scorched-earth tactics will continue to heavily influence Trump’s approach to governing.
Trump’s sudden decision to become the leading cheerleader for preserving Confederate memorials is a strategic political maneuver designed to change the terms of the post-Charlottesville conversation. There’s vastly more public support, especially among Republicans, for preserving monuments than for the false moral equivalencies Trump espoused earlier in the week. It’s also a distraction from the failure to follow through on his biggest promises and the mounting Russia investigations.
Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
...the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
-- Bannon welcomes a fight with Democrats over Confederate monuments because he sees it as a fight Trump can win.
“President Trump, by asking, ‘Where does this all end’ — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln — connects with the American people about their history, culture and traditions,” he told the New York Times. “The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it’s all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can’t get enough of it.”
“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” Bannon added in a separate interview with the liberal American Prospect. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
Bannon, described in 2011 by the late Andrew Breitbart as “the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement,” argues that Democrats do not understand Trump and continue to underestimate his appeal. “This past election, the Democrats used every personal attack, including charges of racism, against President Trump,” Bannon wrote in an email to The Post’s Robert Costa last night. “He then won a landslide victory on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism. As long as the Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose. But leftist elites do not value history, so why would they learn from history?”
-- One of the reasons Trump’s move is so cynical is that, until very recently, he held another position: In 2015, Trump endorsed then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to remove a Confederate flag from the statehouse after the shooting in Charleston. “I would take it down, yes,” he said. “I think they should put it in a museum and respect whatever it is you have to respect.”
But Trump can never turn down a good wedge issue, if he’s convinced it will gin up conservatives: In November 2012, Trump said Mitt Romney lost the election because he was too “mean-spirited” on immigration and toward Hispanics. “He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” Trump told Newsmax. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote. … He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.” Just months later, though, Trump was convinced by his advisers that an especially hard line on Mexican immigration was crucial to win the GOP nomination. So he went vastly further than Romney ever did.
-- “On the right, Trump’s political opponents have seen him benefit tremendously in moments of protest and conflict, when blame could be shifted to a violent left,” Dave Weigel notes. “The defining moment came on March 11, 2016, when Trump was scheduled to appear at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Protesters swarmed the room where he was supposed to speak, and the event was canceled, with images of cheering left-wing activists and brawling Trump supporters covered live on television. … According to strategists with knowledge of internal polling, the mess in Chicago … moved his numbers up, helping secure razor-thin victories in Missouri and North Carolina over (Ted) Cruz.”
-- In this vein, the Bannonites believe they are laying a trap that Democrats are unknowingly walking into. An NPR-PBS survey conducted earlier this week by Marist College found that 62 percent of Americans think statues honoring Confederate leaders should remain as a historical symbol. Only 27 percent said they should be removed because they are offensive to some people. Our Scott Clement flags that the survey found a large partisan divide: Republicans prefer to keep statues by 86 percent to 6 percent, while Democrats split 44 percent for keeping them and 47 percent for removing them.
Other polling testifies to the deeper cultural resentments and anxieties that Trump is trying to tap into. A survey by PRRI earlier this year found that 48 percent of white working-class Americans agreed with the following statement: “Things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.” Seven in 10 believe the United States “is in danger of losing its culture and identity.” A feeling of cultural displacement was one of the strongest predictors of whether someone supported Trump in the 2016 election, stronger than any economic factor.
-- Good morning from Palo Alto, Calif. I’m at Stanford University for a media roundtable at the Hoover Institution. On the flight out yesterday, I read Joshua Green’s “Devil’s Bargain.” The Bloomberg Businessweek reporter persuasively makes the case that Trump could not have won the presidency without the advice he got from Bannon over the years, even before he formally joined the campaign in August 2016. It’s a good, quick read that shows how Bannon formed his worldview.
-- Trump is reportedly frustrated by coverage of the book, which is high on bestseller lists, because he believes Bannon is trying to take credit that he does not deserve. “It would certainly be ironic for the alt-right conscience of the White House to be dismissed at the moment of his triumph,” Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for George W. Bush, notes in his column today. “Now the operative question is not ‘Should Bannon leave?’ It has become: ‘Why should anyone not named Bannon stay at the White House?’”
-- Trump’s willingness to pick the fight over Confederate monuments may pay some short-term political dividends, but it could also cement the president’s brand in a way that will make it harder long-term to win back suburban moderates who reluctantly backed him over Hillary Clinton.
— Consider these three magazine covers that will be on newsstands next week:
My first cover for The New Yorker entitled "Blowhard." pic.twitter.com/OjnjELalVP— David Plunkert (@plunkert) August 17, 2017
MEANWHILE, MORE STATUES ARE COMING DOWN:
-- “Workers dismantled a 145-year-old statue of Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney outside the Maryland State House shortly after midnight Friday,” Josh Hicks reports from Annapolis. “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said his revulsion at what happened in Charlottesville … prompted him to change his mind about the Taney statute and push for its removal, an act long sought by civil rights groups. The State House Trust board voted Wednesday to remove the memorial to Taney, a former chief justice who defended slavery in the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision. Taney’s ruling said blacks, whether slaves or not, could never be U.S. citizens. Police blocked off the streets around the State House complex Thursday evening. A crane and two flatbed trucks arrived shortly after midnight, and a crew soon began the process of removing the memorial from its base, with more than two dozen bystanders looking on … As the crane’s arm started extending toward the monument shortly after 1 a.m., sprinklers erupted on the State House lawn, sending crew members scrambling and briefly disrupting their work, as though Taney was making a last stand atop his perch. After work resumed, the crane lifted the statue and maneuvered it to a flatbed truck, where the memorial was wrapped in a tarp and driven away around 2:20 a.m. Hogan’s spokesman, Doug Mayer, said the monument would be placed in an undisclosed state storage facility. The perch remained on the lawn, covered by a wooden box.”
-- Eight people were charged for toppling a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., as scores line up to confess. (Janell Ross)
-- Authorities in Arizona are investigating two Confederate statues that were vandalized in recent days, including one dedicated to Jefferson Davis, which was tarred and feathered. (Arizona Republic)
-- Paul Ryan said he will not intervene to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) proposed legislation to remove at least a dozen statues of Confederate soldiers in the building. Each state gets to send whichever two statues it wants. A spokesman for the Speaker of the House said congressional Republicans will not remove any statues without the consent of the states. “These are decisions for those states to make,” Ryan spokesman Doug Andres said.
-- The Post’s local editor, Mike Semel, interviewed Robert E. Lee V, the great-great-grandson of Gen. Robert E. Lee, about why his family is happy to have monuments to their ancestor taken down. The D.C. resident is the longtime boys’ athletic director at the Potomac School in McLean, Va. “First and foremost, if it can avoid any days like this past Saturday in Charlottesville, then take them down today,” he said. “That’s not what our family is at all interested in, and that’s not what we think General Lee would want whatsoever. … And maybe the second step is put these statues in some place where there is historical context, like a museum, and people can talk about the context. Put it in context of the 1860s and the 1800s, so people better understand the times they [Civil War figures] lived in.” (Read the full Q&A here.)
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
TERROR STRIKES BARCELONA — TWICE:
-- “One of Europe’s top tourist destinations shuddered under coordinated terrorist attacks when a van drove down Barcelona’s iconic Las Ramblas promenade, killing at least 13 … while police shot dead five men in car also attacking pedestrians several hours later outside the city,” James McAuley, Michael Birnbaum and Paul Schemm report. The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State and are the worst to hit Spain in more than a decade. “The Las Ramblas carnage and the killing by police of five suspects in the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils as they tried to mow down pedestrians in the early hours of the morning are connected, said Catalan region’s top security official ... [A senior] Catalan police official told reporters that two men were arrested in connection with the attack, a Moroccan national and a Spanish citizen from the enclave of Melilla. The driver is still thought to be at large, he said. A third suspect was arrested in the northern Catalan town of Ripoli.”
“It was around 1 a.m. on Friday that police responded to an attack near the boardwalk of the beach town of Cambrils … where an Audi had plowed into a crowd. The police exchanged fire with the men in the car, killing four immediately while a fifth later died … Six others, [including a police officer], were injured … Amateur video [from the attack] showed several police cars speeding along what appeared to be a seafront boulevard as people screamed, followed by a brief volley of about 10 bullets. A second video showed three bodies on the ground in front of the town’s yacht club. Authorities carried out controlled detonations of what they thought were explosive belts worn by the men, but turned out to be well made fakes.”
“Whitney Cohn, a mathematics teacher from Montebello, N.Y., was walking along [Barcelona's Las Ramblas] with her husband and two daughters … when the van came careening through the crowd, throwing people aside like dolls as screams pierced the air,” the New York Times’s Anne Sophie Bolon and James C. McKinley Jr. report: “She grabbed her daughters and started running. ‘It was flying,’ Ms. Cohn said ... ‘The van missed us by a sec.”
“A national police official … said at least three vans had been rented under [one suspect’s] name,” the Times reports. “As night fell, the Barcelona police were frantically searching for the two other vans, combing the streets and underground parking garages … [And] a counterterrorism expert, who was briefed on the details of the investigation, said late Thursday night that the police now believed the plot initially involved the use of explosives and a large truck. ‘Part of the plan was they tried to rent a larger truck, but they didn’t have the right permit and so they ended up getting’ smaller vans, said the expert …”
-- Trump, who waited two days to assign blame in the Charlottesville attack because he likes to “have all the facts,” responded to the terrorist attack in Barcelona by instructing his 36 million Twitter followers to study a highly discredited story about killing terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump said. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” “The story has been found to be unsubstantiated by numerous fact-checkers in the media,” David Nakamura reports: “But Trump first told the story during a campaign rally in February 2016, as he defended his position of supporting methods of torture, such as waterboarding, on terrorist suspects. Trump also tweeted messages of support for the victims, in which he said the United States ‘condemns the terror attack.’” That stands in sharp contrast to Trump's reaction Saturday to the protests in Charlottesville.
GET SMART FAST:
- Two top officers of the USS Fitzgerald are among about a dozen sailors who are slated to be disciplined for the ship’s June 17 collision with a container ship near Japan, which killed seven crew members. (Dan Lamothe)
- A massive search remains underway for the five soldiers onboard an Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter after it crashed into the ocean Tuesday night off the coast of Hawaii. No one has been located or identified, but officials said they remain hopeful they’ll find the crew. (Andrew deGrandpre)
- The online activist group known as Anonymous has posted what it says are the private cellphone numbers and emails for 22 GOP congressional lawmakers — as part of a bid to push for Trump's impeachment. (Todd C. Frankel and Craig Timberg)
- The ACLU announced it will no longer defend hate groups that plan to protest with firearms — bowing to pressure from its more liberal donors who are concerned about white supremacists. “The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero. (Wall Street Journal)
- OkCupid said it has kicked off Chris Cantwell, a white supremacist who attended the Charlottesville rally and spoke at length about his views for a Vice documentary. In that documentary, he advocates for the alt-right’s use of violence to create a white “ethno-state,” and says his ideal leader would be someone “a lot more racist than Donald Trump.” (Lisa Bonos)
- A state-run Chinese media agency is facing backlash after demeaning India’s Sikh community in a “flagrantly racist” propaganda video. The video is titled the “7 Sins of India,” features a Chinese actor dressed in a turban and phony beard, and criticizes India’s role in the Doklam border dispute. (Andrew deGrandpre)
- Veterinarians at SeaWorld San Diego euthanized the matriarch of its killer whale clan this week, after Kasatka, nearly 42 years old, fell ill from a lung infection. She is the third orca to die in SeaWorld’s care this year. (Lindsey Bever)
- After medaling in the long jump at the world championships last weekend, Team USA’s Tianna Bartoletta shocked fans by announcing she’s been homeless for the past three months. Bartoletta, who received the gold medal for the long jump in Rio de Janeiro last year, says she fled her home to escape an allegedly abusive marriage. And though the bronze she received last weekend is not her best finish, she says it is her “most significant.” (Marissa Payne)
TRUMP VS. SENATE REPUBLICANS:
-- Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday questioned Trump's fundamental fitness for the job of president. “The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker told reporters in Tennessee. “And we need for him to be successful.” Trump, he added, “recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation … He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today.” “I don’t think that the president has appropriately spoken to the nation on this issue,” he added, referring to language Trump has used about white supremacists. (Sean Sullivan)
-- Trump attacked Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Twitter yesterday after they expressed concern about his response to Charlottesville. David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe report: “Trump [called] Graham ‘publicity-seeking’ and Flake ‘toxic’ and endorsing a primary challenger to Flake in his reelection bid next year. Flake recently published a book that was highly critical of Trump. Trump [also] appeared to throw his support behind former Arizona state senator Kelli Ward, who is already mounting a primary challenge against Flake. ... In going after Graham, Trump suggested the senator, who also ran for president in 2016, was still smarting from his loss to Trump in the Republican primaries. … Graham responded with a statement in which he said Trump's handling of the Charlottesville violence was being praised by ‘some of the most racist and hate-filled individuals and groups in our country. For the sake of our Nation — as our President — please fix this. History is watching us all.’”
-- Democratic strategist J.B. Poersch, the president of Senate Majority PAC, would not rule out that his group may spend in the Arizona Senate GOP primary to boost Flake’s primary challenger, Kelli Ward, next year. If Trump’s favored candidate toppled Flake, Democrats might have a much better chance of picking up the seat. “We’re interested in winning, and we do what we need to in order to win," he said during an interview with The Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan and McClatchy’s Alex Roarty yesterday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.” The complete interview will air this weekend, but Sean emailed the highlights. “That said," J.B. added, "there’s an awful lot that’s going to have to play out in Arizona. I’m not even sure I can tell you who would be our best opponent right now.”
-- Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) continued to question Trump’s “moral authority,” telling Vice News that he is not going to “defend the indefensible.” “[Trump’s] comments on Monday were strong,” said the lone African American Republican senator. “His comments on Tuesday started erasing the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happened.”
-- Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) tweeted yesterday: “Anything less than complete & unambiguous condemnation of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK by the @POTUS is unacceptable. Period.”
-- All of this is going to make it harder for Trump to put points on the board in the coming months, including an overhaul of the tax code. From Abby Phillip: “Among Republicans in Washington, the spectacle seemed to confirm a growing feeling that Trump’s presidency is unlikely to get on track, leaving the party’s leaders in Congress feeling ‘demoralized,’ according to one Republican with close ties to GOP leadership.”
- “It think it’s fair to say that many of my colleagues are frustrated by the lack of focus on the issues at hand,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). “To the extent that we’re all having to answer questions on these other matters is unhelpful and is distracting, frustrating, and it’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to the American people, too.”
- “This has done irreparable damage in some ways,” said Josh Holmes, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who remains close to him. “There have been lingering tension between the president and Capitol Hill here for months. This clearly made it significantly worse. I don’t know of any Republican who is comfortable with where we’re at right now based on the president’s comments.”
TRUMP'S INCREASING ISOLATION:
-- Three giants canceled fundraising galas planned for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club on Thursday — signaling that the Charlottesville blowback may start to affect the president's bottom line. Drew Harwell and David Fahrenthold report: “The American Cancer Society, a high-dollar client at the club since at least 2009, cited its ‘values and commitment to diversity’ in a statement on its decision to move an upcoming fundraising gala. Another longtime Mar-a-Lago customer, the Cleveland Clinic, abruptly changed course on its winter event only days after saying it planned to continue doing business at Mar-a-Lago … The American Friends of Magen David Adom, which raises money for Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross, also said it would not hold its 2018 gala at the club ‘after considerable deliberation’ … The charity had one of Mar-a-Lago’s biggest events last season, with about 600 people in attendance. The cancellations will undoubtedly squeeze revenue for the private club … where similar-size events have often brought in fees of between $100,000 and $275,000 each. But the Florida club may face an even deeper crisis of confidence from the local business community. The head of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which Mar-a-Lago is a member, called the business ‘morally reprehensible’ on Thursday and said she expected more charities to defect. ‘The glitter, the shine has gone from the club,’ chamber executive director Laurel Baker said, ‘and I can’t help but think there will be more fallout from it.’”
-- Facing more corporate defections, the White House announced that it is disbanding the Presidential Advisory Council on Infrastructure. John Wagner reports: “Two other outside corporate advisory groups were disbanded Wednesday after an exodus of business leaders upset with Trump’s controversial statements … Shortly after taking office in January, Trump tapped two Manhattan real estate developers, Richard LeFrak and Steven Roth, to head up a council aimed at guiding Trump’s promised $1 trillion infusion into roads, bridges, airports and other aging infrastructure.”
-- 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, Rupert's son, blasted Trump's response to Charlottesville in a note to employees last night and pledged a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League. "[W]hat we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people,” Murdoch said. “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so.” (Yahoo News’s Sam Ro)
-- Kevin Durant said that he has no plans to visit the White House to celebrate the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship if Trump invites the team, remarking on ESPN that he “[doesn’t] respect who’s in office right now.” Durant also said he doesn’t suspect any of his team members would say yes to the invite either: “If I know my guys well enough, they’ll agree with me,” he said. (Marissa Payne)
-- The White House annnounced yesterday that Gary Cohn is not resigning from his position as National Economic Council chairman, an unusual clarification intended to reassure jittery markets. Damian Paletta and Renae Merle report: “Cohn, who funded the Cohn Jewish Student Center at Kent State University in 2009, was mortified by Trump’s comments … and he has been bombarded with calls from friends asking him if he will leave. Instead, the White House said that Cohn plans to stay put … It was unclear, though, how long Cohn would remain in the job or if he is still a leading candidate to be nominated as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Worries on Thursday that Cohn might join the exodus of business leaders … helped send the Dow Jones industrial average down 274.14 points … the largest sell-off in three months. Investors feared that the Trump administration might lose a leading architect of the president’s economic agenda just as it approaches a critical juncture."
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Jim Mattis and Rex Tillerson tried to clarify the Trump administration’s policy on North Korea, reiterating during a news conference Thursday that America’s focus is on applying diplomatic and economic pressure on the rogue nation. But they said the country is willing to use force if Pyongyang steps out of line. “In close collaboration with our allies, there are strong military consequences if the DPRK initiates hostilities,” the secretary of defense said. “In the event of a missile launch towards the territory of Japan, Guam, the United States, [South] Korea, we would take immediate specific actions to take it down.” Karen DeYoung writes that Mattis's remarks fell somewhere between Trump’s bombast last week and Bannon's comments this week that North Korea is a "sideshow" for which there is "no military solution." Tillerson declined to comment directly on Bannon’s remarks, saying only: “I think we have been quite clear as to what the policy and the posture towards North Korea is.”
-- “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by [Mike Pence], with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run,” BuzzFeed's Tarini Parti reports: “American Bridge 21st Century — a Democratic opposition super PAC and nonprofit funded by liberal mega-donors — is leading the effort, which started earlier this summer … The group, which will simultaneously continue its focus on targeting Trump, has three staffers dedicated to Pence more than three years before the 2020 election. Through a [FOIA] request, American Bridge has a document signed by Pence that holds him responsible for ‘Transition Procedures, Identification of Transition Contacts, and Access to Non-public Government and Transition Information.’ Because former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian officials during this period are under investigation, the group is seeking to connect Pence, who was in charge of the transition, to the Russia probe.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The debate over Confederate monuments continued on Twitter. From Slate's chief political correspondent:
To repeat this point again, the reason to take down Confederate monuments is they were erected explicitly as monuments to white supremacy.— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) August 15, 2017
From a Post reporter:
No ambiguity: POTUS "sad" monuments celebrating those who fought to keep black Americans in chains being removed from public places pic.twitter.com/LrE8vrlIXp— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 17, 2017
re: "erasing history" - I don't know anyone who wants Confederate monuments gone who doesn't also want *more* public education about slavery— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 17, 2017
From a Post opinion blogger:
This isn't hard. The Founders are honored despite their sins. Confederate figures are honored precisely because of their sins.— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) August 17, 2017
A writer for the "Daily Show" shared this fun fact:
In 1980 Trump demolished two historic sculptures bc removing them intact would have delayed construction of Trump Tower by a week and a half https://t.co/HyFFUvhLs4— Dan Amira (@DanAmira) August 17, 2017
Others thought of some fun relocation spots for those monuments:
Win/win solution: remove statues from public spaces & put them in the lobbies of Trump Hotels. Controversy ends; Trump Inc gets free decor. https://t.co/XjUNohYXfu— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) August 17, 2017
This message from Johnny Cash's family was widely shared:
God bless the family and the memory of Johnny Cash pic.twitter.com/y2pfGXZleJ— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 17, 2017
The Obamas offered their condolences following the Barcelona attack:
Michelle and I are thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona. Americans will always stand with our Spanish friends. Un abrazo.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 17, 2017
So did Hillary Clinton:
Barcelona, you have our resolve and support in the face of this cowardly attack. We stand together against terrorism wherever it strikes.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 17, 2017
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai got into Oxford:
So excited to go to Oxford!! Well done to all A-level students - the hardest year. Best wishes for life ahead! pic.twitter.com/miIwK6fNSf— Malala (@Malala) August 17, 2017
And Mitch McConnell came to Jeff Flake’s defense:
Jeff Flake is an excellent Senator and a tireless advocate for Arizona and our nation. He has my full support. -MM— Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) August 17, 2017
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- New York Times, “A 2:15 Alarm, 2 Trains and a Bus Get Her to Work by 7 A.M.,” by Conor Dougherty and Andrew Burton: “Like many in the housing-starved San Francisco region, Sheila James has moved far inland, gaining affordable space at the price of a brutal commute.”
-- New York Times, “As Vehicle Attacks Rise, an Ordinary Object Becomes an Instrument of Fear,” by Amanda Taub: “If anything — even something as ubiquitous as a car — can be a weapon, that adds a sense of menace to daily urban life. Years of research has found that fear can eventually divide and poison societies, hardening people against perceived outsiders, even causing them to abandon key values. This kind of attack, using one of the most ordinary objects of daily life, could heighten that effect. [Political scientists], for instance, have found that when people who are usually open and trusting toward outsiders feel they are at risk of a terrorist attack, they become more likely to support harsh, authoritarian policies and more willing to sacrifice civil liberties in exchange for perceived safety. By twisting the purpose of a commonplace machine, attacks like the one in Barcelona create a sense that public life is tinged with inescapable danger. It does not take any special skills or resources to obtain a van and drive it into a crowd of innocent people. All it takes is motivation.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“A billionaire-owned restaurant charged a ‘minimum wage’ fee. Outrage ensued,” from Maura Judkis: “A customer dining at D.C.’s Oceanaire restaurant noticed an unusual line at the bottom of his receipt: ‘Due to the rising costs of doing business in this location, including costs associated with higher minimum wage rates, a 3% surcharge has been added to your total bill.’ [He posted the picture online, and] the outraged comments started rolling in. The Oceanaire is owned by Landry’s, [whose CEO], Tilman Fertitta… has spoken out numerous times about increases to the minimum wage. ‘I have no issue with raising minimum wage,’ Fertitta said to CNBC in 2014, ‘but then the customer can’t say to us, ‘Why are you raising your prices?’’ But instead of raising menu prices, Fertitta’s restaurant appears to have tacked on the 3 percent surcharge — along with language that some interpret as shifting the blame to employees.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“ [Claire] McCaskill, [William Lacy] Clay and others call for Mo. senator to resign after post hoping for Trump's assassination,” from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “With five written words Thursday morning, one of Missouri’s most controversial state lawmakers spawned a U.S. Secret Service investigation, potentially endangered her own political career — and flung St. Louis squarely into the middle of America’s raging racial-political debate in the wake of the unrest in Charlottesville, Va. ‘I hope Trump is assassinated!’ Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, wrote during a morning Facebook exchange … She quickly deleted her post, but not quickly enough. In an interview, [she] acknowledged she wrote the offending line on her personal Facebook page ... ‘I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not. I was very frustrated,’ [she said, adding later]: ‘I am not resigning … What I said was wrong, but I am not going to stop talking about what led to that …’”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Talk is fear to them," said Susan Bro, referring to the white nationalists who have apparently directed death threats at her after she eulogized daughter Heather Heyer, who was killed protesting them in Charlottesville. (Alex Horton)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- TGIF! It’s going to be another day of muggy weather and possible PM storms on the horizon, per today’s Capital Weather Gang forecast: “It’s August and the reemergence of a hot and humid pattern may feel familiar. Near-90 to low-90s look probable by mid-to-late afternoon, right around the same time showers and storms should start to develop. As we head into evening, a period of strong to severe storms, with heavy downpours and gusty winds are possible at times. Some flooding could pop up in spots if storms linger.”
-- The Nationals beat the Padres, 2-1.
-- A former bank vice president in Virginia pleaded guilty Thursday to wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft, after he was accused of using his job to forge documents, falsify signatures, and approve loans that did not meet the bank’s lending criteria. Officials say his actions led to more than $3 million in losses. (Rachel Weiner)
-- “Republican Ed Gillespie has been fighting to keep the focus of his campaign for Virginia governor on state issues and away from [Trump],” Fenit Nirappil reports. “That task grew more challenging this week after Trump defended some of the white nationalists who marched in Charlottesville and bashed efforts to remove Confederate statues — directly injecting national politics into the Virginia governor’s race. While Trump is highly unpopular in Virginia, and lost the state by five points to [Clinton] … Gillespie needs support from some Trump voters in November if he is to beat Democrat Ralph Northam, who has a slight lead on Gillespie in recent polls. ‘Gillespie seems to be faced with one hurdle after another that Trump is actually placing in front of him in Virginia,’ said Bob Holsworth, a retired Virginia Commonwealth University professor … ‘In each of these hurdles, he is trying not to directly criticize Trump, but to significantly distance himself in some fashion from Trump. That’s quite a tightrope to walk.’”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Tina Fey, a U-Va. alumna, says instead of fighting with neo-Nazis, Americans should stuff their faces with sheet cake:
Trump calls Obama to talk Charlottesville (on Conan):
Watch Stephen Colbert roast a Confederate statue:
And shows us White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s 18 days of discipline: