With Joanie Greve
YORK, Pa. — President Trump has ordered that Elena Aguilar must return to El Salvador next year. The 46-year-old, who owns a popular clothing boutique on West Market Street here, has lived in the United States for two decades. Since an earthquake devastated her homeland in 2001, she’s been allowed to stay because of a program called temporary protected status that’s been extended a dozen times. Despite rampant gang violence, the Trump administration argues the country is no longer so unsafe as to justify letting 200,000 Salvadorans stick around.
Aguilar and her two 20-something children, who she brought with her as a single mother, are not U.S. citizens. But her 6-year-old grandson Dylan, who she’s raised since he was an infant, earned citizenship because he was born here — something else the president hopes to put an end to soon via executive order. The first-grader, who loves to fish, is one of 192,700 American children born to Salvadoran TPS recipients.
“I can’t leave him here,” Aguilar said. “It’s going to be hard for him because he’s never been to my country. This is his country. He’s an American.”
Earlier this month, a federal judge in California issued a temporary injunction to block Trump from terminating the legal status of about 300,000 immigrants who have fled violence and disaster in El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan and Nicaragua. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said there are “serious questions as to whether a discriminatory purpose was a motivating factor” in the administration’s decision to cut off TPS, which he said would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. Chen noted that beneficiaries with U.S.-born offspring, such as Aguilar, are “faced with the Hobson’s choice of bringing their children with them (and tearing them away from the only country and community they have known) or splitting their families apart.”
Anxious about the uncertainty, fearful for the future and not confident that the judicial system will ultimately protect her — especially now that Brett M. Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court — Aguilar prays that the midterm elections might somehow bring a reprieve. She cannot vote next week, but many of her customers at Variedades Latinas can. In 2016, she leased a downtown storefront where a shuttered bike shop had been. She sells clothes, candies, shoes and other wares that are popular in the Caribbean and Central America.
York has become a haven for Hispanics because of the low cost of living. There are many warehouses and distribution centers nearby where workers don’t need to speak English well to get hired. It’s become a magnet for Puerto Rican refugees since Hurricane Maria devastated the island last year. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, so they’re eligible to vote as soon as they arrive on the mainland. Aguilar said most of her customers now are “puertorriqueños.”
“I tell all the people who can vote that I can’t, but they can vote for me. And for Dylan,” she said, referring to her grandson.
Aguilar has kept a stack of voter registration forms on the counter next to the cash register and has asked shoppers as she rings them up if they’re eligible to vote. By her count, 20 people who didn’t realize they could do so registered before the Oct. 9 deadline. Aguilar freely admits 20 new voters isn’t that many in the grand scheme of the election, but she believes that in America every vote counts. She thinks a Democratic-controlled House could find a way to thwart Trump’s plan to send her to El Salvador, perhaps as part of a bigger immigration compromise or by inserting a provision into a must-pass spending bill.
York is in the heart of Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, which has unexpectedly become competitive in the home stretch. A Siena College-New York Times poll published over the weekend found that Rep. Scott Perry (R) — a member of the House Freedom Caucus and a pro-Trump hard-liner on immigration — only leads Democratic challenger George Scott — a Lutheran pastor who served with the Army in Iraq — by two points, 45 percent to 43 percent, which is within the margin of error. Court-ordered redistricting is a big reason the seat is now in play. Trump carried the district in 2016, adjusted for the new boundaries, by nine points.
Voter data shows that only 4.5 percent of registered voters in the district are Hispanic, but that could prove decisive in an especially tight race — especially if the diaspora turns out to vote in a lower-turnout, nonpresidential election. Aguilar is encouraging everyone she knows to vote, regardless of whether they’re Latino. But whether Latinos are energized to turn out, and for whom, remains an open question as the midterms near.
Casa in Action, the political arm of the immigrant advocacy group, has an aggressive door-knocking campaign in York that’s focused on neighborhoods with high Latino density. The group has also done several TPS-focused canvasses in Virginia’s 10th District, which includes the D.C. suburbs, where Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is vulnerable.
“It’s like a ripple effect,” said Grecia Lima, the national political director at the Center for Community Change Action, which is also trying to mobilize Latino voters from Nevada to Florida around the TPS issue. “The pain that is felt in the families that are experiencing anguish … is now being felt throughout the community.”
Aguilar plans to knock on doors around the community and urge her neighbors to vote in the coming days. We spoke in her shop this past Friday afternoon as a young woman tried on three pairs of jeans — all selling for $10 each — before deciding not to buy any. Then a middle-aged man stopped in to transfer some of his Friday paycheck to relatives back home in San Salvador.
Trump’s references to Central American migrants as “invaders” deeply disturb her. After coming to Long Island, Aguilar worked as a loan officer at a bank, saved up her money and then moved to central Pennsylvania because everything was cheaper. She’s purchased a few inexpensive homes and rents them out, mostly to fellow immigrants.
“I’ve been paying my taxes all these years, and I do everything I’m supposed to do,” said Aguilar. “I don’t know the reason they don’t want us here. We’re not on welfare. We work. I’ve never been on a food stamp. I’ve always worked to pay for my own food. The president thinks everybody is in gangs. We’re not!”
Trump’s appointees at DHS argue that life-threatening conditions no long exist in El Salvador, despite experts inside the government who insisted otherwise in private debates that have become public only because of discovery related to the pending litigation. The Trump Justice Department promises to fight to the Supreme Court, and a spokesman said there was nothing discriminatory about DHS’s action. He added that the judge’s preliminary injunction “usurps the role of the executive branch in our constitutional order.”
Aguilar — who stands just 4-feet, 9-inches tall — thought about returning to El Salvador because the money she’s saved up here might go a long way there. But a 2011 trip dissuaded her. “It was so scary,” she said. “I thought I could start a business, but it couldn’t work because of the gangs. Before you even start a business, they ask for money. It’s extortion. … My fear is, if I have to go to El Salvador, I’ll have to sell everything pretty much.”
When there aren’t customers shopping at Variedades Latinas, Aguilar has been going through the contacts on her phone and calling anyone she knows to be a U.S. citizen. She tells them that what Trump says about the people trying to immigrate here, including in the caravan that’s been getting so much attention on cable news, isn’t true. On Thursday, she phoned a Caucasian woman she used to work with in the Big Apple who has since moved to Buffalo, where there’s a House race that’s winnable for Democrats because the incumbent has been indicted on a charge of insider trading. “I called her up,” Aguilar recounted, “and I said, ‘Do me a favor. Go and vote. For me.’”
AN ESCALATION IN THE IMMIGRATION WAR:
-- Trump announced plans to sign an executive order aimed at removing the right to citizenship for babies of noncitizens born on U.S. soil, a move that would face certain legal challenges on 14th Amendment grounds and likely end up before the Supreme Court. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't,” Trump told Axios in a video interview that will air on HBO.
The president said he’s run the idea by the White House counsel and plans to proceed, despite the legal risk. “You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order,” he said. “We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States ... with all of those benefits. … It's ridiculous. And it has to end. It's in the process. It'll happen ... with an executive order.”
-- Troops to the border. “Homeland Security and Pentagon officials said Monday that they will send 5,200 troops, military helicopters and giant spools of razor wire to the Mexican border in the coming days to brace for the arrival of Central American migrants President Trump is calling ‘an invasion,'" Dan Lamothe and Nick Miroff report.
“Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the chief of U.S. Northern Command, told reporters Monday that the deployments, dubbed ‘Operation Faithful Patriot,’ already are underway. He said the military … will focus first on ‘hardening’ the border in Texas, followed by Arizona and California ...
“The activation of such a large contingent of active-duty forces at the border — as opposed to National Guard troops — has no modern precedent and appeared to be the largest of its kind in a century during peacetime. … The Trump administration's selection of active-duty service members for the new operation also will eliminate complications with governors who do not want their National Guardsmen involved in the operation. In June, several governors called home Guardsmen from the border amid outrage about the Trump administration's separation of migrant children from their parents at the border.
“The White House has put significant pressure on the government of Mexico to block the caravan’s advance. The group has diminished from a peak of nearly 7,000 migrants, as some footsore travelers and parents with children have dropped out or fallen behind. At least 1,000 caravan members have applied for asylum in Mexico, authorities say. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Friday offered temporary work permits, medical care and other benefits to migrants if they agree to register with authorities and remain in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, far from the U.S. border. But the core group of mostly Honduran migrants has rejected his entreaty and continued heading north toward the U.S. border. The caravan remains at least 900 miles from U.S. territory, so its arrival is not imminent.”
-- Trump was tentatively scheduled to deliver a fiery speech today on immigration in which he was considering announcing a plan to at least temporarily ban the entry of Central American migrants at the southern border. But he canceled the nationally televised address in favor of a visit to Pittsburgh, where he is expected to meet with law enforcement officials involved in the response to Saturday’s synagogue shooting. “The speech is now expected to take place after the midterms, a senior White House official said, in part because of a recognition that the political moment has changed,” Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey report.
-- What about the Latino vote? “Latinos haven’t fully turned against Trump and his Republican Party,” the Associated Press's Nicholas Riccardi reports from Las Vegas. “About 25 percent of Latino voters are reliable Republicans, but others seem willing to support the GOP amid the solid economy. … The relatively tepid showing for Democrats so far from some Latino voters was evident this month when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee … trimmed its financial support from candidates trying to oust Republican congressmen in one west Texas district and another in California’s Central Valley. In Texas, polls indicate enough Latinos are sticking with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that he is likely to fend off a challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.”
“Donald Trump is the most hostile president to Hispanics in American history, yet Donald Trump has between a 25 percent and 35 percent approval rating among some Hispanics — higher than 40 percent in Florida,” said Fernand Amadi, a Florida-based Latino pollster. “From their perspective, this Trump’s crazy and a bigoted loudmouth, but we deal with people like this in every day of our lives.”
“Still, there are positive signs for Democrats among Latinos,” the AP adds. “Gil Cisneros, a former Naval officer and philanthropist, more than doubled Latino turnout when he won the June primary for a formerly GOP open House seat in Southern California. Democrats report initial signs that Latinos are requesting ballots at a higher clip in California — home to several competitive House races — and that early Latino voting is strong in a district in southern New Mexico that has long been held by the GOP.”
GET SMART FAST:
The Dow closed down 250 points after swinging more than 900 points over the course of the day. Tech stocks dragged down the market after Britain proposed an unprecedented tax on tech giants’ revenue. Boeing’s share price also dropped 7 percent after one of its newest planes crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta. (Thomas Heath)
An American citizen was released after being held for more than a year without charges on suspicion of being a member of ISIS. The man was turned over to the U.S. military last year after he was captured at a rebel Syrian Democratic Forces checkpoint. (Spencer S. Hsu)
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to delay a trial over the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The trial is supposed to start next week, but the administration argues it should be postponed until the Supreme Court rules on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s potential deposition in the case. (Tara Bahrampour)
Trump, his family and his business were sued for allegedly defrauding investors in a marketing scheme. The lawsuit centers on promotional videos and speeches Trump did for the marketing company ACN. Trump received $450,000 each for three speeches he gave for ACN, but he told the potential investors that his endorsement was “not for any money.” (Jonathan O'Connell)
The National Institutes of Health will pause a stem-cell trial for heart failure after questions were raised about the treatment’s scientific foundation. The laboratory of researcher Piero Anversa, who identified the heart stem cells being used in the trial, has been accused of submitting “false and/or fabricated data” in 31 scientific papers. (Carolyn Y. Johnson)
More than 200 engineers at Google are organizing a walkout over recent revelations that the company protected employees accused of sexual misconduct. The “women’s walk” is expected to occur on Thursday. (BuzzFeed News)
A new study found Bitcoin’s greenhouse-gas emissions may already rival those of a midsize country. But one critic warned the study “makes much too coarse and even wrong assumptions.” (Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson)
NASA set a world record for its successful test of a parachute slated to be used during its 2020 mission to Mars. The 180-pound parachute deployed in four-tenths of a second, the fastest inflation ever for a parachute that large. (USA Today)
The Cleveland Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was promoted to interim head coach as the team strives to recover from a three-game losing streak. (Mark Maske and Matt Bonesteel)
-- The first funerals will be held in Pittsburgh today for victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting as Trump visits the mourning city. Tim Craig, Mark Berman and Joel Achenbach report: “Mayor William Peduto (D) told reporters that the president should wait, citing security considerations and sensitivity for those who are suffering. ‘If the president is looking to come to Pittsburgh, I would ask that he not do so while we are burying the dead,’ Peduto said, noting that the city does not have enough public safety officials to provide protection at the funerals while focusing on a presidential visit. Chuck Diamond, a former rabbi at Tree of Life, said during an appearance on MSNBC that Trump should wait a week to visit Pittsburgh.
“The first funeral — of two brothers, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, who had been going to Tree of Life synagogue since they were young boys — is expected to take place Tuesday. Peduto asked the White House to consider ‘the will of the families’ before deciding to visit and to contact them to see ‘if they want the president to be here.’” Trump’s visit also comes after more than 35,000 people signed an open letter discouraging him from traveling to Pittsburgh unless he denounced white nationalism.
-- Vice President Pence attracted criticism for appearing at a Michigan rally alongside a religious leader who casts himself as a “rabbi” but argues that Jesus was the messiah. Isaac Stanley-Becker reports: “[T]he man who shared a stage with Pence, Loren Jacobs, preaches Messianic Judaism, a tradition central to Jews for Jesus, a group condemned by Jewish leaders as a form of Christian evangelism. The major Jewish denominations join the state of Israel in viewing followers of Messianic Judaism as Christian, not Jewish. His appearance drew outrage on social media.”
-- The synagogue shooting suspect appeared in court for the first time. Craig, Berman and Achenbach report: “Robert Bowers, a 46-year-old truck driver, was using a wheelchair because of injuries he incurred in a gun battle with police … Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell read the charges against him, including obstruction of exercise of religious belief resulting in death. Bowers, dressed in a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants, appeared coherent and alert. He said little, answering ‘yes’ when the judge asked whether he had requested a public defender because he could not afford an attorney. He was being held without bail. It did not appear that Bowers had any friends or family members present at the courthouse.”
-- “Until recent years, many Jews in America believed that the worst of anti-Semitism was over there, in Europe, a vestige of the old country,” the New York Times’s Laurie Goodstein reports. “American Jews were welcome in universities, country clubs and corporate boards that once excluded their grandparents. They married non-Jews, moved into mixed neighborhoods and by 2000, the first Jew ran for vice president on a major party ticket. … But [the synagogue shooting] did not come out of nowhere, said experts in anti-Semitism. At the same time that Jews were feeling unprecedented acceptance in the United States, the climate was growing increasingly hostile, intensifying in the two years since [Trump] was elected president.”
-- A Holocaust survivor scheduled to give a presentation about her experiences around the corner from Tree of Life still chose to travel to Pittsburgh in the hours after the shooting. Dan Zak reports: “Magda Brown was packed and ready to fly [to Pittsburgh] when she heard the news. … Was it all too much? Her daughter asked if she wanted to bow out or reschedule. Staff at the Illinois Holocaust Museum, on whose behalf Magda regularly gives speeches, wondered if it would be safe for her to take the stage at such a foreboding time, in such a raw place. Magda did not hesitate. ‘Now the world needs to hear the message even more,’ she said. ‘Let’s go.’”
-- “Pittsburgh cartoonists reflect a city’s pain and compassion ... ” by Michael Cavna: Rob “Rogers initially wasn’t going to draw a rapid response to the tragedy. As a syndicated freelancer, he faced no imminent deadline in the way he did during a quarter-century at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, before the left-leaning cartoonist was fired in June amid the paper’s ideological shift. … The longer Rogers watched the news coverage, however, the more his sense of urgency increased. ‘I realized it wasn't just a mass shooting but a hate crime of historic proportions,’ he says. ‘I knew I couldn't wait.’”
-- Authorities intercepted another mail bomb addressed to CNN and revealed the man suspected of sending the pipe bombs to Trump critics kept a list of more than 100 possible targets. Matt Zapotosky, Danielle Paquette and Devlin Barrett report: “The FBI recovered the list during its investigation of 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc and has been notifying those on it so they can take precautions in checking their mail ... The list includes high-profile celebrities and media personalities similar to those who already were sent possible bombs ...
“Sayoc appeared in federal court in Miami for the first time Monday, his demeanor relaxed as he sat behind seven other inmates who were there for hearings. Dressed in tan jail clothes, he said his name in a raspy voice and nodded that he understood his legal rights.”
-- Michael Moore released footage, taped by his film crew, of Sayoc at a Trump rally last year. Alex Horton reports: “Sayoc stood in the throng of shouting, teeth-gnashing Trump supporters and joined a chant directed at news cameras. ‘CNN sucks! CNN sucks!’ they screamed. ‘Tell the truth! Tell the truth!’ Sayoc had seemingly found his tribe at the Trump rally in February 2017. … [T]he sleeveless shirt Sayoc wore that day in Melbourne, Fla., featured a collage of pro-Trump imagery, and his sign, like his chants, derided CNN … [The footage] appears to show Sayoc in perhaps the first video document of his apparent and budding political extremism. Moore said the footage was left out of ‘Fahrenheit 11/9,’ his recent documentary about the rise of Trump.”
-- Trump and his team are struggling to balance their highly partisan closing message for the midterms with calls for unity on recent violence. Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey report: “The White House’s fraught balancing act was on display Monday during the afternoon press briefing — the first in nearly a month — where press secretary Sarah Sanders alternately sought to soothe national divisions and to inflame them. Sanders choked up while decrying the ‘heinous acts’ in Pittsburgh and said that Trump had 'risen to that occasion’ and helped bring the country together. Simultaneously, however, she parroted Trump’s scathing indictment of the media as partly responsible for the hateful atmosphere and vowed the president would continue to go after Democrats to highlight ‘the differences between the two parties.’ …
-- After Trump was criticized for his “enemy of the people” tweets about the media, he pushed back by claiming he was only referring to the “Fake News (Media).” He wrote in a pair of tweets last night, “CNN and others in the Fake News Business keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the ‘Media is the Enemy of the People.’ Wrong! I said that the ‘Fake News (Media) is the Enemy of the People,’ a very big difference. When you give out false information — not good!”
-- “Sanders blasts the press for being too political — but has little to say when asked about policy,” by David Nakamura: “Sanders punted when presented the opportunity to change the subject and talk about what she implied was more important: policy. … [E]ven on [the migrant caravan], Sanders had little new to offer. Asked if the administration would act to seal the southern border by issuing a blanket denial of asylum protections to the migrants, she demurred. ‘We have a number of options on the table,’ she said, without spelling them out. ‘We’re exploring each one of those. When we have a decision on that, we’ll let you know.’”
-- Trump’s response to the synagogue shooting has heightened a sharp divide among Jewish Americans in their views of the president. Michael Kranish and Michelle Ye Hee Lee report: “Trump declared the mass shooting an act of ‘pure evil.’ But his words have met with scorn from some leaders of the Jewish community who say they remain deeply disturbed that he declared last year that there were fine people on ‘both sides’ of a protest in Charlottesville in which white supremacists chanted that ‘Jews will not replace us.’ … Jewish supporters of the president — including many top Republican donors — say the doubts about the president’s commitment to fight anti-Semitism are unfair. They said he is one of the best friends that Jews have had in the White House, noting that his daughter and son-in-law and their children are Jewish and citing his decisions to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and his withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, actions long sought by conservative Jews.”
-- Republicans continue to attack billionaire philanthropist George Soros as a Democratic threat despite accusations of anti-Semitism after he was targeted with a mail bomb. Mike DeBonis reports: “The National Republican Congressional Committee continued airing an ad Monday criticizing a Minnesota Democratic candidate and Iraq War veteran over his job at a foundation funded in part by Soros. The Michigan Republican Party promoted a digital ad depicting Soros among forces ‘looking to rig Michigan’s elections.’”
-- The U.S. Agency for Global Media is investigating how a Spanish-language program describing Soros as a “multimillionaire Jew” made it onto the air earlier this year. Felicia Sonmez reports: “The 15-minute segment was aired in May by Radio and Television Martí, which broadcasts news and other programs promoting U.S. interests to audiences in Cuba. The program calls Soros a ‘nonpracticing Jew of flexible morals,’ claims that he was involved in ‘clandestine operations that led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union’ and describes him as ‘the architect of the financial collapse of 2008.’ … John F. Lansing, CEO and director of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees Radio and Television Martí’s parent office, said in a statement Monday that a probe is underway and described the video segment as ‘inconsistent with our professional standards and ethics.’”
-- The Pittsburgh suspect's anti-Semitic rants on social media have rekindled a debate about regulating social media platforms. Tony Romm reports: “Days before the Pittsburgh attack, an account matching the suspect’s name … published violent, anti-Semitic posts on Gab, a social networking site that’s become a haven for the alt-right. The site has billed itself as a hub for ‘free speech’ with few rules on what users can say and share. ‘Hate speech is free speech,’ Gab’s leaders previously have said. For lawmakers already concerned about incendiary, extreme content online, the posts offered the latest reason to consider new regulation of the tech industry writ large. Some questioned whether Silicon Valley’s prized legal shield — a decades-old law that protects social media giants from lawsuits — might be in need of an overhaul.”
-- The bigger picture: “Over the last 10 years, Silicon Valley’s social media companies have expanded their reach and influence to the furthest corners of the world. But it has become glaringly apparent that the companies never quite understood the negative consequences of that influence nor what to do about it — and that they cannot put the genie back in the bottle,” the New York Times’s Sheera Frenkel, Mike Isaac and Kate Conger write.
South Daytona PD Investigating someone shooting the windows out at the Volusia County Republican Headquarters. Worker arrived and noticed the damage pic.twitter.com/3egfAMzqX4— Mike Springer WFTV (@mspringerwftv) October 29, 2018
-- Four shots were fired into the Volusia County Republican Party office in Florida. Eli Rosenberg reports: “[The office] in South Daytona was empty at the time of the shooting, and no one was injured, South Daytona Police Capt. Mark Cheatham [said]. A volunteer arrived at the headquarters, which is located in a small strip mall, on Monday morning to find that a front window was smashed into pieces. Police determined that the window had been shot through after finding four bullets inside the office, in the wall and on the floor, Cheatham said.”
-- Police in Kentucky are treating the shooting deaths of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones, who were black, as a hate crime. The Louisville Courier Journal’s Thomas Novelly reports: “Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers told the congregation at First Baptist Church on Sunday that the shooting was motivated by racism. He called it ‘the elephant in the room that some don’t want to acknowledge in this case’ and said it needed to be addressed as part of a larger dialogue. ‘I won’t stand here and pretend that none of us know what could have happened if that evil man had gotten in the doors of this church,’ Rogers said, noting the alleged shooter told one man ‘whites don’t kill whites’ before his capture. … According to police, [the suspect, Gregory Alan Bush,] tried to break in to First Baptist, a predominantly African-American church, just 10 to 15 minutes before the shooting.”
-- Lawyers for a Kansas man who was convicted of plotting to kill Muslim refugees urged a judge to consider the political “backdrop” to the case when determining a sentence. HuffPost’s Ryan J. Reilly reports: “Patrick Stein was one of three right-wing militiamen found guilty in April of a conspiracy to kill Muslim refugees living in rural Kansas. Ahead of the 2016 election, Stein and two others plotted with an FBI informant and an undercover agent to bomb an apartment complex that housed Muslims in Garden City. … Stein’s attorneys, James Pratt and Michael Shultz, argued Monday in a sentencing memo that … the judge should factor in the ‘backdrop to this case’ when crafting an appropriate sentence.
-- A Texas incident went viral after a man was caught on video yelling to a Houston mother, “Trump’s deporting your illegal cousins, today, b----.” Michael Brice-Saddler reports: “The incident took place in Houston’s Spring Branch neighborhood, just a half-block from a voting location where Janet Sabriu, a U.S. citizen and nine-year Houston resident, hoped to hit the polls early Thursday. In the video, the man, who appears to be white and is driving a silver Nissan, is shown screaming out of his window while accusing Sabriu of driving in two lanes. ‘That’s not how we drive in America,’ the man yelled from his window as she pulled up next to his vehicle. ‘Trump’s deporting your illegal cousins, today, b----.’"
-- “Sully” Sullenberger, who captained the emergency landing of a US Airways flight onto the Hudson River, wrote an op-ed for The Post today encouraging voters to support “leaders who are committed to the values that will unite and protect us.” “For the first 85 percent of my adult life, I was a registered Republican. But I have always voted as an American. And this critical Election Day, I will do so by voting for leaders committed to rebuilding our common values and not pandering to our basest impulses.”
MORE ON THE MIDTERMS:
-- “Trump goes all in on Florida,” by Matt Viser: “More than any other state, [Trump] has staked his reputation and his political clout on Florida, a state with one of his most prominent political acolytes running for governor, the place where he spends perhaps more time than anywhere else outside of the White House, and a state he’ll return to twice this week in an effort to stave off an embarrassing loss. But beset by natural disasters, alleged bombmakers, and a race-inflected campaign, Florida is at risk of becoming a problem for Republicans that could have implications that reach far beyond the election taking place in seven days. …
“The slash-and-burn tenor of the gubernatorial race, which has had racial overtones since the start, was further amplified on Monday morning when Trump tweeted about the two candidates. Former congressman Ron DeSantis, he wrote, is ‘a Harvard/Yale educated man . . . who will be a great Governor,’ while Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum is ‘a thief who is Mayor of poorly run Tallahassee, said to be one of the most corrupt cities in the Country!’ When asked about the justification for calling Gillum a ‘thief,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, ‘That individual’s under FBI investigation. I would refer you to that.’ The FBI has been investigating a redevelopment agency in Tallahassee, but Gillum has repeatedly said that he did nothing wrong and that the FBI told him in June 2017 that he was not a focus of its investigation.”
-- In the final six days before the midterms, Trump will hold 11 rallies across eight states:
- Oct. 31: Fort Myers, Fla.
- Nov. 1: Columbia, Mo.
- Nov. 2: Huntington, W. Va..; Indianapolis
- Nov. 3: Bozeman, Mont.; Pensacola, Fla.
- Nov. 4: Macon, Ga; Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Nov. 5: Cleveland, Fort Wayne, Ind., Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Trump’s political advisers say the president will have spoken at 53 rallies across 23 states since he took office last year. Since Labor Day, Trump has already held 19 rallies. The president has also headlined 70 fundraising events since taking office, including 28 for national and state Republican parties and 42 candidate-focused fundraisers.
-- Trump’s schedule shows he is focused on helping Republicans in statewide races, virtually ignoring competitive House races that could keep the chamber in GOP hands. Bloomberg News’s Alyza Sebenius and Shannon Pettypiece report: “In several states in which there are both competitive Senate and House districts, Trump is shunning swing districts for areas where his support is strongest — a strategy that could help maximize his potential impact on statewide races. The White House has grown particularly nervous in recent days about the Senate races in Florida, Missouri and Arizona — states that a month ago they were confident Republicans would win, said an outside adviser. In those states, Trump won’t go to areas such as the suburbs of St. Louis or Miami where there are competitive House races. He won’t make any stops in Michigan or Pennsylvania, two states that helped propel him to victory in 2016.”
-- Which Senate race will be closest? “At least one U.S. Senate race has been decided by less than a point during nine of the last 11 cycles since 1996 and in 33 of the 52 election cycles since the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913,” the University of Minnesota’s Eric Ostermeier notes on his SmartPolitics blog. “Two of this cycle’s toss-up states top the leader board for hosting the most cycles with the nation’s tightest race: Indiana has led the country four times (1916 special, 1926, 1938, 1970) and Nevada three times (1914, 1964, 1998). … Arizona may be best poised to set a new state record next month among the nearly three-dozen states with elections this year. The closest race in the Grand Canyon State took place in 1980 when Senator Barry Goldwater eked out a 1.1-point win against businessman Bill Schulz.”
-- The final midterm ad from Trump’s campaign committee does not mention the president’s name. John Wagner reports: “The $6 million buy focuses solely on the economy. Narrated by the mother of a young child, it features news footage of economic reports before and after Trump took office and seeks to make the case that an improving economy is benefiting her family. … The ad — described by Trump’s campaign as his ‘closing sale to the American people’ — makes no mention of immigration, an issue that Trump has been highlighting in rallies as he campaigns for members of Congress on the ballot, or of the recent Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh[.]”
-- The map of competitive House races has expanded further into conservative strongholds, complicating Republican decision-making on where to focus their resources in the final run-up to Election Day. Sean Sullivan and David Weigel report: “[Paul Ryan] will be in Kentucky on Tuesday to campaign for Rep. Garland ‘Andy’ Barr, whose 6th District stretches from Lexington to more rural areas. Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath has given Democrats hope of flipping the seat, despite the district’s naturally conservative tilt.
- “Meanwhile, the NRCC plans to launch ads Tuesday in South Carolina’s 1st District, an area along the coast including Charleston ... But Republican nominee Katie Arrington has had trouble putting away her Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham. Arrington, who defeated Rep. Mark Sanford in a primary defined by her support for Trump and the incumbent’s criticism of the president, has lost some GOP support to Cunningham ... "
- “In Virginia’s 5th District, the main House GOP super PAC went up on television for the first time last week. The Congressional Leadership Fund ad sought to help distillery owner Denver Riggleman (R) against journalist Leslie Cockburn (D) in a sprawling district that includes rural areas and the college town of Charlottesville. Trump won there by 11 points.
- “The NRCC hit the airwaves for the first time last week in Washington’s 3rd District in the southwest corner of the state. Trump won there by seven points. Democrat Carolyn Long capitalized on a strong primary vote by outraising Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler by nearly $1 million.
- “The NRCC also hit the airwaves for the first time last week in Georgia’s 6th District in the Atlanta suburbs, where Democrat Lucy McBath has received help from well-funded gun control groups. Trump narrowly won the district.
- “Even in Florida’s 18th District, where Trump won by nine points and Rep. Brian Mast outraised his Democratic challenger, former diplomat Lauren Baer, Republicans are not taking any chances. The NRCC went up with an ad in the district that stretches north from Palm Beach County last week.
-- House Republicans are expected to hold leadership elections the week after the midterms. Politico’s Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan report: “[The] quick turnaround … favors the current leadership structure. House Republicans are eyeing Nov. 14 for leadership elections … The quick GOP leadership vote stands in stark contrast to Democrats’ own timeline. The party will not vote for their leaders until after Thanksgiving[.]”
-- Former president Jimmy Carter is calling on Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, to resign. Felicia Sonmez reports: “Carter, who still lives in his Georgia hometown with his wife, Rosalynn, sent [a] letter to Kemp last week. Kemp’s role as candidate and secretary of state ‘runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority,’ Carter said in the letter.”
-- A glitch in some Texas voting machines caused a handful of residents who tried to cast a straight-ticket ballot to select the opposite party's candidates. Deanna Paul reports: “The Texas secretary of state has been aware of the issue for at least a week.” The president of a voting integrity organization estimated that the glitch would impact at least 5 million Texas voters.
-- Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke’s past support for a development project in El Paso, spearheaded by his father-in-law, has led some to question his populist credentials. The New York Times’s Stephanie Saul reports: “At a special City Council meeting in 2006, a billionaire real estate investor unveiled his vision for redeveloping downtown El Paso. To replace tenements and boarded-up buildings, he proposed restaurants, shops and an arts walk rivaling San Antonio’s River Walk. … Not only had [O’Rourke] married the investor’s daughter, but as a member of City Council, he represented the targeted area, including a historic Mexican-American neighborhood. … Over the next two years, Mr. O’Rourke would defend the plan before angry barrio residents and vote to advance it. At other times, he would abstain. … Mr. O’Rourke was perceived by many as siding with the moneyed elite against angry barrio residents, small business owners and even the Jesuit priests who ministered to the immigrant community at Sacred Heart Church.”
-- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is hoping he can secure reelection by nationalizing his race, focusing on his role leading the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe. NPR’s Tim Mak reports: “Meanwhile, Nunes has been hard to reach for his ordinary constituents. He has not held a town hall since before the last election. … Neither Nunes' campaign nor his congressional office responded to an interview request. And when NPR tried to visit his taxpayer-funded office in the most populated region of Nunes' district, it was closed and unstaffed at 2 p.m. on a weekday. Phone calls to that office go straight to voicemail. The only other office in the district is more than 45 minutes away by car.”
-- Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is enjoying a surprisingly high level of support from black Marylanders. Paul Schwartzman and Ovetta Wiggins report: “Hogan’s black support has more than doubled since his first campaign for governor in 2014, from 14 percent to 33 percent, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll earlier this month. … Motivated by [Democrat Ben] Jealous’s progressive platform and civil rights record or party fealty and anger toward [Trump], a preponderance of Maryland’s black voters are expected to support the Democrat. Still, the growth of Hogan’s black support is noteworthy, particularly because Jealous is a nationally known civil rights leader who once led the NAACP.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Angela Merkel’s announcement that she would step aside as leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union and not seek reelection as chancellor in 2021 has set off a scramble to determine her successor. Griff Witte reports: “The battle to succeed her is likely to become a referendum on her reign, with whoever emerges atop the CDU becoming the instant favorite to take over as chancellor. Merkel’s preferred heir, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, wants to continue in the chancellor’s tradition of moderation and big-tent centrism. But with Germany, and Europe, becoming ever more polarized, challengers are likely to push for the party to tack hard to the right. Either way, Merkel stepping down will mark a major transition for a continent she has shaped for the past 13 years, through her handling of multiple debt crises, her decisions on nuclear energy and, most of all, her fateful choice to allow more than 1 million asylum seekers to enter Germany.”
-- Trump said he had an “excellent call” with Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, whose far-right campaign sparked comparisons to Trump’s 2016 bid. “Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won his race by a substantial margin,” Trump said in a tweet. “We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!” (John Wagner)
-- Turkey warned Saudi Arabia against trying to stall the investigation into the death of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Erin Cunningham reports: “[Turkey’s foreign minister urged] the kingdom to accept its ‘very large’ responsibility in investigating the writer’s death as the Saudi chief prosecutor arrived in Istanbul for talks. Saud al-Mojeb, who is leading the Saudi government’s inquiry, met with his Turkish counterpart for the first time Monday, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported. The outcome of the talks was not immediately clear.”
-- Trump predicted there would be “a great deal” with China on trade but warned of additional tariffs if not. “I think that we will make a great deal with China and it has to be great, because they’ve drained our country,” Trump told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham. He added, “And I have $267 billion waiting to go if we can’t make a deal.” (Reuters)
-- If Trump’s trade war with China continues to escalate, Beijing may consider cracking down on travel to the United States in a move that could cost businesses billions. David J. Lynch reports: Such a move “would risk alienating millions of middle-class Chinese who put a premium on American education and thirst for American vacations. But a consumer embargo could deprive the U.S. travel industry of its most lucrative customers — Chinese tourists spend an average of $6,900 on each trip — and hurt American universities that have enjoyed a surge in enrollment by Chinese students.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette put the names of the synagogue shooting victims on its front page:
A former DHS spokesman under John Kelly criticized Trump calling the media “the enemy of the people”:
Over 30 years as a U.S. Marine, I defended our country against its true enemies. In 20 years as a USMC, Pentagon and DHS spokesman, I dealt w/ the news media nearly every day. I know quite a bit about the press and know this -- they are NOT the enemy of the American people. https://t.co/PoacbNeKGc— David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC) October 29, 2018
From a Democratic senator:
This is, for all practical purposes, a call for more violence against the press.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 29, 2018
My god....what is happening??? https://t.co/7G6fWNZmYE
From the moderator of NBC's “Meet the Press”:
If you actually believe media is the problem then the last thing one should do is respond with your own hate and anger... Try leading; try setting an example; Try living by the mantra “two wrongs don’t make a right.” But then that would mean cutting back on stoking the division.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) October 29, 2018
From a New York Times reporter:
Imagine the conclusions you’d draw about another country & its president, if you read that bombs had been mailed to a list of that president’s favorite political targets, including a news organization, and that president had soon after called news media the “enemy of the people”— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) October 29, 2018
From a conservative Daily Beast columnist:
Trump is playing with fire with this “enemy of the people” nonsense. It’s utterly dangerous—and irresponsible. Republicans should publicly condemn this rhetoric. https://t.co/CswjK6XI55— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) October 29, 2018
CNN's communications team pushed back on a comment from Trump's press secretary:
No @PressSec, CNN did not say @realDonaldTrump was directly responsible for the bomb sent to our office by his ardent and emboldened supporter. We did say that he, and you, should understand your words matter. Every single one of them. But so far, you don’t seem to get that. pic.twitter.com/ZbH5DQggWq— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) October 29, 2018
A Post reporter fact-checked another statement from Sanders:
Sarah Sanders says the president got elected by an overwhelming majority of 63 million Americans. He lost the popular vote by three million.— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) October 29, 2018
A Cook Political Report editor made this argument about the mail bombs and synagogue shooting:
Two things can be true at the same time: 1) Trump is not responsible for the bombings and terror attacks; 2) his words and lack of leadership on these issues matters.— amy walter (@amyewalter) October 29, 2018
The Drudge Report founder criticized Fox News for its coverage of the recent violence:
A segment on Fox News this morning where hosts laughed and joked their way through a discussion on political impact of terror was bizarre. Not even 48 hours since blood flowed at synagogue? Check your soul in the makeup chair!— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) October 29, 2018
A writer for The Atlantic compared comments on “Fox and Friends” to old political cartoons:
Fox News this morning 19th cartoon drawn at the height of Irish immigration to America: pic.twitter.com/hHtUwac3CV— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) October 29, 2018
This June tweet from the DHS secretary has recirculated amid Trump's attacks on the migrant caravan:
You are not breaking the law by seeking asylum at a port of entry.— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) June 17, 2018
A former NSC senior adviser under Obama added this:
Exactly. International law actually mandates that @UN member states provide asylum processing. If we fail to provide this processing, we will be violating international law.— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) October 29, 2018
A Post editor noted this of the military buildup at the southern border:
Data point: When Trump's border plus-up is complete, the number of military personnel tasked with defending the United States from Central American migrants will be approximately half the size of the force fighting Taliban and ISIS militants in Afghanistan. https://t.co/5gw3v9FcBa— Andrew deGrandpre (@adegrandpre) October 29, 2018
A New York Times reporter commented on recent moves in global politicals:
Brazil elects Bolsonaro. Germany turns the page on Merkel. Hungary’s Orban forces out a university funded by George Soros. Trump is having a good midterm overseas.— Mark Landler (@MarkLandler) October 29, 2018
And a Center for Responsive Politics researcher highlighted this questionable use of government funding:
Government waste of the day: Attorney General Brad Schimel spent $10,000 in Wisconsin state taxpayer money on coins bearing his new WI Department of Justice motto: K.A.E.D. — which actually stands for “Kicking Ass Every Day.” pic.twitter.com/4wqyDjhKZg— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) October 29, 2018
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
-- New York Times, “Is the Case Against Harvey Weinstein in Jeopardy?” by Jan Ransom: “[T]he case against Mr. Weinstein appears to be fraying. A detective failed to turn over important evidence to prosecutors. A judge dismissed part of the indictment. Evidence has emerged undermining the allegation of one of the accusers. In addition, [Manhattan district attorney Cy] Vance’s assistants thought that once they filed charges, a flood of new complaints might lead to more victims being added to the case. It has not worked out that way.”
-- Politico, “Why Republicans actually like Maxine Waters,” by Zachary Warmbrodt: “Trump has mocked Maxine Waters as a ‘low IQ person,’ and she has called for the president’s impeachment. But Republicans who work with the California Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee see something different: a rare deal-maker in a polarized Congress. Waters, who would chair the committee if Democrats win the House, has shown a surprising willingness to work across the aisle and with industry groups, even helping to deliver White House-backed legislation to ease regulations and crack down on China.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Land O’Lakes faces boycott calls over its donation to GOP Rep. Steve King,” from Maura Judkis: “According to the [FEC], Land O’Lakes, the purveyor of grocery store staples such as butter, milk and cream, gave $2,500 to U.S. Rep. Steve King’s campaign on June 29. King is an Iowa Republican who is the member of Congress most openly affiliated with white nationalism. He has retweeted a Nazi sympathizer and has displayed a Confederate flag on his desk. The news about Land O’ Lakes’s donation was amplified by prominent liberals: Former presidential candidate Howard Dean and former ThinkProgress editor in chief Judd Legum tweeted about it, as well as TV host Soledad O’Brien. Each of their tweets has hundreds of replies calling for a boycott.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“‘Well, I’d like to be president’: Hillary Clinton sends mixed signals on a 2020 White House bid,” from John Wagner: “Hillary Clinton appeared to leave the door open to another presidential bid during comments made during a podcast taped over the weekend. Asked by Recode’s Kara Swisher about a 2020 bid, Clinton initially said ‘no’ and then paused, before saying ‘no’ again. But after Swisher noted the pause, Clinton didn’t sound so sure. ‘Well, I’d like to be president,’ she said at the taping Friday in front of a live audience at the 92nd Street Y in New York. ‘I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there’s going to be so much work to be done.’”
Trump and the first lady will travel to Pittsburgh today to meet with members of the Jewish community affected by the synagogue shooting.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I imagine this is probably just another bump along the way.” — New Hampshire state Rep. Frank Sapareto (R-Derry), who was accused in a lawsuit of producing and starring in an adult film and assaulting his business partner in the venture. Sapareto is seeking reelection and plans to run for House speaker if he wins next month. (AP)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Temperatures will be a little higher today as the District continues its sunny streak. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “High pressure drifts across today, helping to calm those pesky winds and offering lots more sunshine. Mostly sunny skies with highs ranging in the upper 50s to almost middle 60s. Light breezes drift in from the west at 5 to 10 mph.”
-- Fairfax County police released reports indicating Bijan Ghaisar was not armed when he was fatally shot by two Park Police officers last year. Tom Jackman reports: “Both the Park Police and the FBI, who took over the investigation shortly after the Nov. 17 shooting, have declined to say whether Ghaisar was armed or posed a threat to the officers. The reports released Friday by Fairfax County police, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Washington Post, said the Park Police officers had to smash open Ghaisar’s driver’s side window to free him from his vehicle after they shot him.”
-- Supporters of Initiative 77, the ballot measure that would have raised the minimum wage for the District’s tipped workers but was overturned by the D.C. Council, want to hold a referendum vote on the repeal. Fenit Nirappil reports: “To hold a referendum on the bill, proponents need to collect signatures from 25,000 eligible voters during the 30-day congressional review period. That window counts only days when Congress is in session, so signature collectors could have as long as two months. If the referendum qualified for the ballot, the repeal bill would be blocked from taking effect until voters had another say during a special election. If the referendum passes, the council cannot amend it for at least one year. After that year ends, the council could again try to halt Initiative 77, keeping the fight going.”
-- Metro’s budget proposal is aimed at offering more service to win back riders. Martine Powers reports: “The catch is that the changes [Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld] is proposing would require more money from the jurisdictions that fund the transit agency. Among the proposals included in the budget released Monday are expanding rush hour, extending Yellow Line service to Greenbelt, running all Red Line trains to Glenmont, and expanding all trains to eight cars. Wiedefeld also proposed a flat $2 fare for weekends.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Stephen Colbert expressed support for the Jewish community as the country mourns the victims of the synagogue shooting:
Jeff Sessions was heckled by a priest while speaking to the Boston chapter of the Federalist Society:
A Fox News host corrected some misleading statements about the migrant caravan:
Shep Smith on the migrant caravan: "There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about." pic.twitter.com/4dLmPuZem0— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 29, 2018
Charlotte police have filed charges against a white woman who threatened two black women as they waited for a tow truck:
And Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) formed an impromptu band on the campaign trail:
We were 20 mins early to a Lexington event, so @timkaine says, “Let’s stop by the music store!” We pop in, he buys a new harp in D, owner says: let’s play something! Impromptu band was formed. No press, no crowd, just five of us in the shop. Kaine calls this “trail magic.” It is. pic.twitter.com/EGJvAZlTmQ— Ian Sams (@IanSams) October 29, 2018