With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro
THE BIG IDEA: Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, one of the 14 presidential candidates who got seven minutes to speak at the California Democratic Party State Convention this weekend, wasn’t surprised when the crowd booed him. And he has no regrets.
“If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” Hickenlooper said on Saturday afternoon in San Francisco. As many in the crowd of 4,500 jeered, he added: “You know, if we’re not careful, we’re going to end up helping to reelect the worst president in American history.”
Referring to Medicare-for-all, Hickenlooper said: “We shouldn’t try to achieve universal coverage by removing private insurance from over 150 million Americans.”
Speaking about the Green New Deal, he added, “We should not try to tackle climate change by guaranteeing every American a government job.”
-- Hickenlooper’s remarks evoked another Democratic presidential candidate’s intentionally provocative speech 27 years ago. In May 1992, Bill Clinton chastised hip-hop artist Sister Souljah for suggesting that killing white police officers might not be so bad in the wake of the Los Angeles riots. Speaking at a convention organized by Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the then-governor of Arkansas said: “If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ and reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech. We have an obligation, all of us, to call attention to prejudice whenever we see it.”
A Sister Souljah Moment has become shorthand for when a candidate directly challenges a core constituency in their party. Clinton, of course, did not invent this. At the 1990 California Democratic Party convention, for instance, a candidate for governor touted her support for the death penalty knowing she would get booed. She used the clip in commercials that autumn to reassure independent voters that she wouldn’t be cowed by the left.
-- Hickenlooper called me on Sunday as he crossed the Bay Bridge to attend services at a black church in Oakland. “There's certainly a liberal element that shows up at these state conventions, so I wasn't surprised. I was aware that there might be some pushback,” he said. “I was careful not to call any of the other candidates socialists. What I was trying to do is make sure that we recognize – all of us, all 23 candidates – that it's our responsibility to define who we are but also who we are not. The Republicans are going to use this against us, and we have to draw a clear line that we are not socialists. … Is guaranteeing everyone a federal job socialism? We can debate that, but certainly I guarantee you that Republicans are going to call it socialism.”
-- Taking the stage immediately after Hickenlooper walked off, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took an unmistakable shot. “I am a governor who doesn’t think we should be ashamed of our progressive values,” he said. The crowd roared.
-- Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only candidate in the 2020 field who has identified as a democratic socialist, spoke to the party convention on Sunday. He didn’t mention Hickenlooper or use the word socialism, but he said that there can be “no middle ground” when it comes to pulling U.S. troops out of wars, lowering prescription drug prices and enacting universal health care. “We cannot go back to the old ways,” Sanders said.
-- Despite his popularity in Colorado, and eight years as the chief executive of a purple battleground state, Hickenlooper has struggled to break beyond 1 percent in the national polls. But Hickenlooper is gambling his candidacy on the assumption that the nominee won’t be determined by far-left activists in San Francisco. The 67-year-old is a self-made millionaire. Laid off as a geologist in the 1980s, he started a successful brewpub that helped revitalize a downtown neighborhood and then expanded. In 2003, he became mayor of Denver. He was elected governor in 2010 and reelected in 2014, despite Republican waves both years.
-- This isn’t some academic debate. Accusing Democrats of falling under the spell of socialism has become one of Trump’s favorite lines on the trail. Gallup polling released last month showed that 43 percent of U.S. adults say socialism would be a good thing for the country, while 51 percent say it would be bad. The survey found that 47 percent of Americans said they would vote for a qualified presidential candidate who is a socialist.
Last summer, another Gallup poll revealed that Democrats hold a more positive image of socialism than capitalism for the first time: 57 percent of self-identified Democrats have a favorable view of socialism while only 47 percent see capitalism positively. This delta is driven mainly by young people. Overall, a 51 percent majority of all Americans aged 18 to 29 see socialism positively. Only 45 percent of that cohort feels positively about capitalism, down 12 points from 2010.
Public opinion research and interviews with voters have revealed that the term means different things to different people, and that its perceived definition has changed over time. Generations ago, people understood socialism to mean government control over the means of production. Nowadays, many see it as something akin to social equality. But it remains overwhelmingly unpopular with Republicans and many older people.
“There's an awful lot of baggage in this country attached to the word socialism,” Hickenlooper said. “Those of us who grew up in the Cold War saw firsthand the slow, continuous deterioration of the quality of life of people that lived under socialism and communism. That's an experience that some of the younger Americans haven't had.”
Hickenlooper said young people are also understandably hungry for dramatic change because they have been let down by society. “You've got to remember that 65 to 70 percent of our kids are never going to get a four-year degree,” he said. “That's been true for 40 years. We have to recognize that we haven't been giving them the skills that they're going to need to compete in this new economy.”
I asked Hickenlooper if he sees Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal as socialist ideas. “Well, I think they're massive government expansions,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things that Republicans will try to turn into ‘socialism.’ They're going to call it ‘socialism,’ and they're going to say this is taking away the freedom and independence of the individual. They're going to try and twist it in every way they can because that's about the only card they're left holding as long as they're still supporting Trump.”
But are the Republicans correct on that point? “Well, it depends,” Hickenlooper replied. “If you're going to guarantee everybody a job and that's a basic fundamental characteristic [of your economy], you're certainly moving toward socialism.”
-- Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, has long identified as a democratic socialist. “Donald Trump is going to say that about every single candidate in the field, whether you’re Kamala Harris or Beto O’Rourke or Pete Buttigieg,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s campaign manager, told Bloomberg News last week. “The only difference is that Bernie Sanders is going to lean into it. He’ll talk about the corporate socialism of Trump.”
-- While Sanders seldom uses the s-word of his own volition anymore, he continues to vigorously critique the failures of capitalism. “We must understand that unfettered capitalism and the greed of corporate America are destroying the moral and economic fabric of this country, deepening the very anxieties that Mr. Trump appealed to in 2016,” the senator writes in an op-ed for today's New York Times. “We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world and, according to Trump, the economy is ‘booming.’ Yet most Americans have little or no savings and live paycheck to paycheck. … If we are to defeat Mr. Trump, we must do more than focus on his personality and reactionary policies.”
-- Hickenlooper said he shares the same goals as many of the people who jeered him, and he thinks his approach — which includes trying to work with Republicans to seek bipartisan consensus — can accomplish what they want more effectively. “Most Democrats share this notion of universal coverage. Most Democrats really understand the urgency of climate change. But I think we'll get to better solutions faster by recognizing that big, massive government expansions are not going to be as successful,” he said in our interview.
“We're in a national crisis of division, and Trump is fueling it but he's not the cause of it,” he added. “He's the symptom. He's not the disease. My whole point is that I'm the one person who's actually done all the progressive things the other people are talking about. As such, I think I can I can win in Ohio, North Carolina and Michigan. But, almost more importantly, I've demonstrated that after we beat Trump, I can bring people together. We've got a national vision for climate change and a national vision for universal health care that we can get to rapidly with relatively modest investments. A lot of what we've done in Colorado is a template of what will work nationally.”
-- Hickenlooper pinpoints 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected president, as “an inflection point” that sent America on the path toward today’s “crisis of division.” This weekend’s convention took place at the George R. Moscone Convention Center, which was named for the murdered San Francisco mayor and which also hosted the 1984 Democratic National Convention, where Walter Mondale declared so self-destructively that he would raise taxes if he defeated Reagan. Mondale carried only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Hickenlooper is determined not to repeat the mistakes that have made Democrats unelectable in the past.
That’s partly why running to save capitalism for future generations has become a central rationale for his candidacy. “From 1946 to 1980, literally almost every person in this country doubled their income. Since then, roughly half of Americans have had no increase and, if anything, have lost ground,” Hickenlooper said. “The shrinking, some would say the evisceration, of the middle class is a real concern. … Our system historically has been a place where a middle class has not only security but opportunity. If people could get a hold of that latter, they could pull themselves up. That's no longer the case.”
The governor said it’s crucial to raise the minimum wage, expand the earned income tax credit and invest in community colleges to improve skills-based training. But he’s calling for more than incremental fixes. “In my first term as governor, we had wildfires, floods and the [movie theater] shooting in Aurora,” Hickenlooper recalled. “One of the things I learned is if someone has lost everything, you can't go back to people and say we're going to rebuild it back the way it was. That's not going to be sufficient to inspire them to recover and to be resilient. So what I said during those disasters, and what I say in terms of the damage that Trump has done, is that we’re going to rebuild and be much better than we were back then. … A Hickenlooper presidency is really kind of bringing a whole different approach to a lot of these issues.”
As with several of his Democratic rivals, antitrust has become a focus. Hickenlooper faults the Reagan administration for taking steps in 1981 to scale back enforcement of the antitrust laws, which led to an era of consolidation that he believes has hurt small businesses. He endorses collecting data and looking at whether the biggest technology companies have too much power, but he says the problem is bigger than tech.
“Capitalism will only work if you've got open, fair and competitive markets to be sure that we get the best choices at the lowest prices,” Hickenlooper said. “Over 80 percent of hardware sales are from two companies. No wonder people aren't starting hardware stores or neighborhood stores on Main Street. These consolidations are happening in so many industries. We get distracted by saying, 'What about Google and what about Amazon?' Those are legitimate questions to be asking, but I think in a broader sense, we need to ask: How do we get more start-ups? For the last 20-plus years, every year there have been fewer businesses started than in the previous year. That's not healthy for capitalism.”
-- Colorado is a must-win state for Democrats in 2020, and Hickenlooper does not think someone who gets defined as a socialist can prevail there. Geography might be a factor that helps explain why Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who served as Hickenlooper’s chief of staff when he was mayor of Denver, has also made opposition to socialism part of his presidential bid. Bennet likes to point out that he stood to applaud Trump during the State of the Union when the president declared that America will never be a socialist country.
“When he said we're never going to be a socialist country, I was the first Democrat out of their chair,” Bennet said at a March house party in New Hampshire. “I didn't know this at the time, but Bernie is sitting right behind me and he's sitting in his chair scowling while I'm standing up and applauding. ... The reason I was on my feet is that I’m not going to let him disqualify us that way. I know what he’s trying to do. … I want to show that Democrats don’t feel that way. Most Democrats don’t.”
-- If Hickenlooper was trying to get attention, his gambit worked. He generated significant cable conversation on Sunday. It was a hot topic during the roundtable on CNN’s “State of the Union,” for example. Former Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, the liberal who won an upset in last year’s Democratic primary to be Florida governor but lost the general election to Ron DeSantis, criticized Hickenlooper for “parroting a Republican trope.” “There is not a single Democrat … who is running as a socialist,” said Gillum, who campaigned with Sanders in the Sunshine State. “Social democracy is different than socialism.”
“It was an important statement to make,” countered Joe Lockhart, who was White House press secretary for Clinton. “There are some people in the Democratic Party who believe in socialism. A very small number. If the Republicans are able to brand a Democrat as a socialist, then they’ll be very successful. None of them are, but I give Hickenlooper credit for going in and saying that’s not right. He may not have said it precisely right, but it is an important message.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- The leading liberal candidates — including Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — used their speeches in San Francisco to take digs at Joe Biden, who continues to lead in early national polls and skipped the convention to campaign in Ohio. “Some say that if we just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses,” Warren said, referring to the former vice president. “But our country is in a crisis. The time for small ideas is over.”
“Leftist candidates and activists have concluded they can no longer wait for Biden to fade on his own, as some once hoped,” Sean Sullivan reports from San Francisco. “Nor can they count on Democratic congressional leaders to fight Trump with all the tools at their disposal, without some prodding. … But the power of their newly emboldened movement remains unclear. Even here in deep blue California, it faces hurdles. Late Saturday, the state party overwhelmingly elected a labor leader from the mainstream ranks of the party as its new chairman. He defeated a liberal activist backed by many Sanders supporters.
“Interviews with current and former elected officials, strategists and donors in California revealed a relatively high level of confidence in Biden’s ability to defeat Trump. Many Democrats see that as the most important quality in a candidate. ‘This is not a normal presidential election,’ said former U.S. senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who called beating Trump a ‘moral imperative.’ Asked who fits that bill, she replied, ‘I think the only one right now is Joe.’ That could change with time, said Boxer, who has not endorsed a candidate.”
-- “Bernie's clout in the party might be overrated,” Dave Weigel writes in his list of takeaways from the weekend: “Kamala Harris doesn't have California locked up … but most other candidates can't compete for it. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Rep. Eric Swalwell — whose district was a short 30-minute BART ride away — had the most distracted crowds. … Pete Buttigieg did well without surprising anyone. … Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota out-hustled a number of stronger-polling candidates, appearing at every caucus and reception she could, but didn't leave with one strong theme.
“Just a couple of candidates performed in a way that had Democrats talking about a possible breakout: Cory Booker and Jay Inslee. The senator from New Jersey, one of the most dramatic orators in the party, used his speech to declare ‘the normalization’ of gun violence ‘the challenge of our generation,’ and got a standing ovation.
“Warren's very good month was capped off by a series of Bay Area coups. She drew the largest crowd of her campaign in Oakland, where at least 6,000 people came to hear her, and thousands waited in line to get a photo with her. … She got the best reception at the convention on Saturday, with a speech that subtly but unmistakably pitched her as the alternative to a race-to-the-middle Biden candidacy.”
-- Harris has fallen out of the top tier of 2020 candidates. The Los Angeles Times’s Melanie Mason and Mark Z. Barabak report: “There is a prevalent sense that for all her seeming potential, California’s charismatic U.S. senator has fallen short of expectation. The disappointment, observers say, stems in part from Harris’ failure to present a compelling case for her candidacy beyond her background as a prosecutor, her buoyant personality and a deep contempt — shared by others in the contest — for Trump. … Backers say Harris’ slow-and-steady approach is the right one for this early stage of the campaign, arguing that consistency on the trail and fundraising matter more than catchy sound bites or viral moments.”
-- Strapped for cash, several Democratic hopefuls who talked a big game about rejecting big money are now going hat in hand to Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: “Last month in Manhattan, Beto O’Rourke held a private reception for supporters who had paid the maximum amount to his campaign or brought in as much as $25,000 by persuading others to do the same. It was the first such fundraiser of O’Rourke’s presidential bid — and a contrast from the early days of his campaign, when he emphasized that he had ‘no large-dollar fundraisers planned, and I don’t plan to do them.’ … Many of the candidates previously had held a handful of high-dollar fundraisers or avoided them altogether. … But after a disappointing fundraising haul in the first quarter of the year, and as the primary drags on with no clear front-runner, many of the candidates are turning their focus to wealthy donors.”
Several candidates held fundraisers in the Bay Area this weekend, including Buttigieg, Gillibrand and Klobuchar. Booker, Gillibrand and Klobuchar also recently schmoozed with the “Hillblazers,” who raised at least $100,000 for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, at a gathering at the D.C. home of Esther Coopersmith. And on Wall Street, a group of Democratic donors recently met with Buttigieg. In New York, a group of wealthy and prominent Democratic donors recently opened their homes and offices in Manhattan to host private “salons” with O’Rourke, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Booker and Bennet. “Many of those donors have made maximum donations to multiple candidates,” Lee reports. “One of those donors is Robert Wolf, a former investment banker and an Obama supporter. He said he has met with about a dozen candidates, which included a recent one-on-one with O’Rourke, and has given money to 10 presidential contenders.”
-- During a town hall on Fox News last night, Gillibrand attacked the network for spreading a “false narrative” about abortion rights. Politico’s Elena Schneider reports: “‘We want women to have a seat at the table,’ Gillibrand said. At that, [Chris] Wallace jumped in and asked: ‘What about men?’ ‘They’re already there — do you not know?’ Gillibrand said, greeted by one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. ‘It’s not meant to be exclusionary, it’s meant to be inclusionary,’ she said. ‘All right, we’re not threatened,’ Wallace responded.”
-- The DCCC policy that bars consultants from working for primary challengers may undermine women of color who are trying to emulate the success of rising stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y) or Ayanna Pressley (Mass.). “Of the 50 longest-serving House Democrats, two-thirds are white and about the same share are men. Insurgents are often female, often young and often nonwhite,” Jennifer Steinhauer notes in the New York Times.
-- Wisconsin Democrats elected a longtime leader of the liberal group MoveOn.org to chair the state party. Madison native Ben Wikler held a string of national political positions within MoveOn, where he helped lead the successful organizing push to halt the repeal of Obamacare. (Wisconsin State Journal)
-- In case you missed it: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he will not challenge Trump in the GOP primaries. Hogan’s decision dashed the hopes of conservative Trump critics who envisioned the popular governor as a viable alternative to the president. But Hogan said he wanted to focus on his role as governor and as the incoming chair of the National Governors Association. “I have a commitment to the 6 million people of Maryland and a lot of work to do, things we haven’t completed,” Hogan told Bob Costa. But he also criticized the direction of the Republican Party, saying, “We need to have a bigger tent and find a way to get things done.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Elaine Chao, Trump’s transportation secretary and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, has boosted the profile of her family’s shipping company through her political connections. The Times’s Michael Forsythe, Eric Lipton, Keith Bradsher and Sui-Lee Wee report: “Chao has no formal affiliation or stake in her family’s shipping business, Foremost Group. But she and her husband … have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, James, who ran the company until last year. And Mr. McConnell’s re-election campaigns have received more than $1 million in contributions from Ms. Chao’s extended family … Over the years, Ms. Chao has repeatedly used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile of the company, which benefits handsomely from the expansive industrial policies in Beijing that are at the heart of diplomatic tensions with the United States, according to interviews, industry filings and government documents from both countries. … The Times found that the Chaos had an extraordinary proximity to power in China for an American family, marked not only by board memberships in state companies, but also by multiple meetings with the country’s former top leader, including one at his villa. … Public records show that she has benefited from the company’s success. A gift to Ms. Chao and Mr. McConnell from her father in 2008 helped make Mr. McConnell, the Republican majority leader, one of the richest members of the Senate.”
GET SMART FAST:
A 65,000-ton cruise ship slammed into a dock in Venice, injuring four. A video of the incident shows the MSC Opera bumping a riverboat before ramming into the dock, sending panicked onlookers running. The cruise company blamed the incident on a “technical issue.” (Lindsey Bever)
The Golden State Warriors beat the Toronto Raptors 109-104 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, evening the series. Golden State struggled to get much from star Steph Curry, but it was enough. (Ben Golliver)
A Rhode Island bishop urged Catholics not to participate in Pride Month activities, sparking outrage among the LGBTQ community and causing other Catholics to worry the message will push members of that community further from the church. The Rev. Edward L. Pieroni begged LGBTQ members of his congregation not to leave the church, despite the tweet by Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Providence. (Boston Globe)
- Pope Francis apologized to the Roma people for the centuries of “discrimination, segregation and mistreatment” they've faced. The Pope offered the apology during the final day of his trip to Romania while speaking at a newly consecrated church in Transylvania, where he was welcomed by a priest of Roma ethnicity. (New York Times)
The Federal Aviation Administration said that it has found potentially defective parts on Boeing 737 jets but that they don’t pose an accident hazard. The air-safety regulators found nearly 150 parts inside the wings of more than 310 of Boeing’s 737 jets, including the grounded Max models, that need to be replaced. (Wall Street Journal)
The world’s longest flight will probably be less comfortable than expected. Qantas Airways ditched plans of rolling out beds, gyms and even creches for passengers enduring their marathon 20-hour nonstop flight from Sydney to London. (Bloomberg News)
Two Americans are among eight missing mountain climbers feared dead in the Himalayas. The climbers went missing a week ago, and an aerial search-and-rescue team has photographed “four or five” dead bodies. A local government official said there’s “no chance” the climbers would be found alive. (Niha Masih)
New research indicates the Affordable Care Act helped reduce racial disparities in the care of cancer patients. Before Obamacare, African Americans with advanced cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely to start treatment for their disease within 30 days of being given a diagnosis. Black adults in states that expanded Medicaid have almost entirely caught up with white patients in getting timely treatment, according to a study released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting. (Laurie McGinley)
Amazon could face heightened antitrust scrutiny thanks to a new agreement between regulators that puts it under closer Federal Trade Commission watch. The move is part of the FTC and the Department of Justice’s plans to divvy up oversight of two of the country’s top tech companies — Google and Amazon. The DOJ is expected to have more jurisdiction over Google. (Tony Romm)
A judge rejected Facebook’s request to dismiss a case brought by the D.C. attorney general challenging the social-networking giant’s privacy practices. Karl Racine, the attorney general, can now begin to obtain evidence regarding allegations Facebook broke city law and didn’t follow its own policies to protect the privacy of hundreds of thousands of D.C. users. (Tony Romm)
Sephora will close its stores on June 5 for diversity training after singer SZA said she was racially profiled while shopping at one of its California locations. In April, SZA said a Sephora employee called security to make sure she wasn’t stealing Fenty Beauty products, a makeup line she has modeled for. (NBC News)
U.S. News released its annual list of the country’s best high schools. The top 10 schools on the 2019 list are noticeably different from last year's top 10, which were mostly charter schools. Seven of the top 10 schools in this year’s list are from traditional public school systems. (Valerie Strauss)
TRUMP IS IN LONDON:
-- The president's state visit to Britain this week, the first of his presidency, is missing some of the traditional trappings of past U.K. trips by American leaders. Karla Adam and Griff Witte report: “There will be an official greeting ceremony at Buckingham Palace, a lavish banquet with the queen’s best china, a gun salute fired from Green Park and the Tower of London. It will all be suitably over-the-top. But there is also a sense that British officials are slightly less than enthusiastic about this particular round of state visit grandeur. Some of the traditional trappings — such as staying over at Buckingham Palace, a royal welcome at the Horse Guards Parade and a gold carriage procession down the Mall — are notably absent. … After the invitation, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said Trump would not be welcome to address lawmakers at the Palace of Westminster, as other presidents had done.”
-- London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote that it is “un-British to be rolling out the red carpet” for Trump. Khan writes in an op-ed for the Observer: “This is a man who tried to exploit Londoners’ fears following a horrific terrorist attack on our city, amplified the tweets of a British far-right racist group, denounced as fake news robust scientific evidence warning of the dangers of climate change, and is now trying to interfere shamelessly in the Conservative party leadership race by backing Boris Johnson because he believes it would enable him to gain an ally in Number 10 for his divisive agenda. … That’s why it’s so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president whose divisive behaviour flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon – equality, liberty and religious freedom.”
-- From Air Force One, Trump punched back on Twitter and drew attention to an op-ed we might have otherwise missed:
....Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job - only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019
-- Khan’s spokesman responded to Trump’s Twitter attack Monday, saying that “childish insults” should be “beneath the president of the United States.”
-- In an interview with the Sunday Times, Trump was critical of the British government’s Brexit negotiations and said the U.K. should prepare to leave the E.U. with no deal. From the BBC: “Trump also said Johnson would be an 'excellent' Conservative Party leader. Breaking with diplomatic convention, Mr. Trump said the leader of the Brexit Party — an arch critic of Prime Minister Theresa May — ‘has a lot to offer’ in negotiations with the EU, and should be included. … He also said the UK should walk away if it does not get what it wants from EU negotiations. ‘If you don't get the deal you want, if you don't get a fair deal, then you walk away.’”
-- Trump denied calling the Duchess of Sussex “nasty” for her criticism of him — even though his comments are on tape. Rick Noack reports: “During the 2016 election campaign, the duchess — then Meghan Markle — called Trump ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive.’ The American actress also said she might move to Canada if Trump was elected president. … Suggesting that he had been unaware of the duchess’s 2016 remarks ... Trump said in an audio recording released by the Sun: ‘I didn’t know that she was nasty’ … On Sunday, Trump suggested that his remarks on Meghan had been taken out of context.”
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during an off-the-record meeting that Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East is “unexecutable” and might not “gain traction.” But he said he hoped the deal, which is being negotiated by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, isn’t simply dismissed out of hand. John Hudson and Loveday Morris scoop: “‘It may be rejected. Could be in the end, folks will say, “It’s not particularly original, it doesn’t particularly work for me,” that is, “It’s got two good things and nine bad things, I’m out,”’ Pompeo said in an audio recording of the private meeting obtained by The Washington Post. ‘The big question is can we get enough space that we can have a real conversation about how to build this out,’ he said. The remarks are the most unvarnished comments to date from a U.S. official about Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ …
“The unveiling of the plan has been repeatedly delayed, a point Pompeo noted. ‘This has taken us longer to roll out our plan than I had originally thought it might — to put it lightly,’ he said at a meeting on Tuesday of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. … He also recognized the popular notion that the agreement will be one-sided in favor of the Israeli government. ‘I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love,’ he said. ‘I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit.’”
-- Asked about The Post's story, Trump said Pompeo “may be right.” Politico’s Matthew Choi reports: “‘We'll see what happens,’ Trump told reporters before leaving for a state visit to the United Kingdom. ‘We're doing our best to help the Middle East.’ … Still, Trump did not completely dismiss his son-in-law's work Sunday. ‘If we can get a Mideast peace plan that would be good,’ Trump said. ‘And when Mike says that, I understand when he says that, because most people think it can’t be done. I think it probably can. But as I say often, we’ll see what happens.’”
-- Not helping matters, Kushner questioned whether Palestinians can govern themselves. Bloomberg News’s Josh Wingrove and Kim Chipman report: “'The hope is that they over time will become capable of governing,’ Kushner said in an interview with Axios … Kushner repeatedly criticized Palestinian leaders, drawing a distinction between their drive for an independent state and what he said was the Palestinian people’s desire to live in peace and prosperity. Kushner is notoriously press-averse and the interview represents some of his most extensive public remarks since joining his father-in-law’s administration. ‘There are some things the current Palestinian government has done well, and there are some things that are lacking,’ Kushner said. ‘And I do think that in order for the area to be investable, for investors to want to come in and invest in different industry and infrastructure and create jobs, you do need to have a fair judicial system, you need to have freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions.’”
-- Kim Yong Chol, the top North Korean official believed to have been banished to a forced labor camp by Kim Jong Un after the failure of the Hanoi summit with Trump, reappeared. But he seems to have been demoted. The Times’s Choe Sang-Hun reports: “The conservative Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest daily newspaper, reported on Friday that [Kim Yong Chol] had been sent to a re-education camp as part of a political purge of senior North Korean officials held responsible for the breakdown of the second summit meeting … But some analysts in South Korea quickly questioned the report. By Monday, it appeared that the skeptical analysts’ assessments were correct. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Monday included Kim Yong-chol’s name on a list of officials who accompanied Kim Jong-un to an art performance given by the wives of military officers. … But on a roster of officials attending the event, Kim Yong-chol’s name was listed 10th among 12 officials named.”
-- The United Nations’ bid to curb North Korea’s missile tests and revive its air traffic was delayed amid U.S. concerns. Reuters’s Allison Lampert, Hyonhee Shin and Michelle Nichols report: “The U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) met North Korean officials last year to discuss Pyongyang’s hopes for a new route that would pass through South Korean airspace following a dramatic detente between the two sides. ICAO had planned to conduct its first aviation safety audit in North Korea in more than a decade this year, but it has been delayed until 2020 amid U.S. concerns that it could include sharing technology that could also be used to advance North Korea’s weapons programmes, the sources said.”
-- Russia withdrew defense support to Venezuela, a blow to Nicolás Maduro. The Wall Street Journal’s Thomas Grove reports: “Russian state defense contractor Rostec, which has trained Venezuelan troops and advised on securing arms contracts, has cut its staff in Venezuela to just a few dozen, from about 1,000 at the height of cooperation between Moscow and Caracas several years ago, said a person close to the Russian defense ministry. … Russia has been among Mr. Maduro’s biggest international supporters, but the winding down of Rostec’s presence shows the limits of Russia’s reach in the South American country at a time when Moscow is facing economic difficulties—in part due to the impact of U.S. sanctions—at home. Venezuela has been one of Moscow’s largest customers in South America.”
-- Furthering the economic chaos: Inflation in Venezuela is expected to hit 130,000 percent. (Financial Times)
-- Mexico’s leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his party consolidated power with two governorship wins and a slew of seats in local elections. Mary Beth Sheridan reports: “Going into the election, the party had governors in five of 31 states, and held a majority in about two-thirds of state legislatures. The results show the remarkable rise of a movement that didn’t even exist as a party six years ago. Mexico was governed for 70 years by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) before transitioning to full democracy in 2000. ‘This demonstrates the capacity of López Obrador to rebuild essentially a dominant party system,’ said Denise Dresser, a political scientist at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico.”
-- The Trump Organization had high hopes for a condominium development in Uruguay, but the project has been long delayed. The Times’s Jesse Drucker and Manuela Andreoni report: “The problems in Uruguay are a microcosm of the challenges facing the president’s company as it stakes its future on projects outside the United States. … A key figure in the early stages of the Punta del Este deal, who also tried to sell condos in the building, is now Argentina’s economics minister. The minister, Nicolás Dujovne, negotiated last year with the International Monetary Fund, whose biggest funder is the United States government, for a bailout for Argentina. In addition, some of the people who have agreed to buy condos have faced legal problems in their home countries, including allegations of tax evasion.”
-- Security forces in Sudan killed at least nine people during raids against protesters occupying parts of the nation’s capital. Max Bearak reports: “A broad swath of Sudanese society has staged a sit-in in Khartoum since April 6, just days before the military toppled former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who had led the country for 30 years. Tens of thousands of protesters remained in place after his ouster to demand civilian control over the transitional period in this North African country of 40 million.”
MORE FROM THE LATEST MASS SHOOTING:
-- Authorities said DeWayne Craddock quit his job as a city employee in Virginia Beach just hours before killing a dozen people at a municipal building on Friday afternoon. Michael E. Miller, Peter Jamison and Rachel Weiner report: “Some killers leave behind manifestos, YouTube videos or social media profiles that display a mind moving inexorably toward violence. What Craddock left was a resignation letter, according to city officials, and a work history that gave no hint of his intentions. ‘Right now we do not have anything glaring,’ Police Chief James A. Cervera said at a news conference Sunday. He cautioned that investigators are still trying to determine a motive. Officials would not discuss what Craddock wrote in his resignation, but a person familiar with the email said it was short and there was ‘nothing out of the ordinary.’”
-- The victims of the shooting were mostly government employees. Their names were Ryan Keith Cox, Tara Welch Gallagher, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Joshua O. Hardy, Missy Langer, Richard H. Nettleton, Katherine A. Nixon, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Bert Snelling, Laquita C. Brown and Bobby Williams.
-- Survivors said Craddock entered the building near the end of the workday and started firing a gun with a silencer attached to it. Paul Duggan, Patricia Sullivan and Ian Shapira report: “The boss, Bob Montague, ended a meeting in his office a little before 4 p.m. and turned to some last-minute paperwork. It was right then, near quitting time, that Craddock … opened fire on his colleagues with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun, police said, spraying bullets around the second floor of a three-story, red-brick building on the campus of the Virginia Beach municipal center. ‘I heard rapid pop pops, but they weren’t very loud,’ Montague said. … ‘Suddenly, a kind of hole exploded in my wall,’ Montague said. ‘I had bits of dry wall and dust hit me. That’s when I made a connection of what was happening.’”
-- Craddock’s neighbors and co-workers said he displayed no warning signs before the shooting. Michael E. Miller, Lynh Bui and Julie Zauzmer report: “He was a seasoned engineer, a military veteran with a shaved head and body builder’s physique. He had an all-business — but not off-putting — demeanor, one co-worker recounted. And a reserved but not peculiar presence, several neighbors said. The director of his department said there were no red flags.”
-- “Virginia Beach wants to be known for its boardwalk, SEALs and strawberries — not its tragedy,” by Laura Vozzella, Sullivan and Zauzmer: “Virginia Beach always has been just a sandy sliver of itself in the minds of most Americans, even most Virginians. But there’s a whole city — the state’s largest — beyond the ocean waves, boardwalk and hotel towers. It’s the place where Navy SEALs train, in a region with 75 federal and defense installations and more than 86,000 active-duty military personnel. It’s the spot where televangelist Pat Robertson built an 11,000-student university. It’s the place where most of the state’s strawberries grow. Friday’s mass shooting threatens to shove that reality aside.”
-- Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney warned against getting “too deep into politics too soon” after the shooting. “We have too many of these shootings, and every time the first thing we talk about is politics,” Mulvaney said Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “The mourning period hasn't even stopped yet, let alone the healing process. So, let's not get too deep into politics too soon. Let's think about the families.” (Politico)
THE TRADE WARS:
-- Trump’s top economist, Kevin Hassett, is leaving the White House. Jeff Stein reports: “Hassett, 57, who has served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers since September 2017, is leaving as Trump confronts an increasingly hostile trade war ... Historically, he has been an advocate of open trade policies, although in recent months he has been put in the position of defending Trump’s most confrontational approach. … Hassett’s tenure may be defined by his role in crafting the tax law, which he cited as his top accomplishment on the job along with improving the transparency of the economic models published by the Council of Economic Advisers. … Hassett declined to comment on his conversation with Trump about a replacement, but noted that the Council of Economic Advisers was ‘chuck full’ of good advisers. ‘CEA will be in good hands,’ he said. ‘There are plenty of great candidates, and he’ll have an announcement.’”
-- Trump considered imposing tariffs on Australian imports last week, but he backed down after pushback from the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom. The Times’s Ana Swanson, Maggie Haberman and Jim Tankersley report: “Some of Trump’s top trade advisers had urged the tariffs as a response to a surge of Australian aluminum flowing onto the American market over the past year. But officials at the Defense and State Departments told Mr. Trump the move would alienate a top ally and could come at significant cost to the United States. The administration ultimately agreed not to take any action, at least temporarily.”
-- China and Mexico are both signaling a willingness to set up trade talks with the U.S. The Wall Street Journal’s Josh Zumbrun and Yoko Kubota report: “Beijing released on Sunday a government policy paper on trade issues, accusing Washington of scuttling the negotiations, which broke down in all but name in May. It said the Trump administration’s ‘America First’ program and use of tariffs are harming the global economy and that China wouldn’t shy away from a trade war if need be. But throughout the document and at a briefing, the government suggested a willingness to return to negotiations. … Mexico, meanwhile, rushed a delegation to the U.S. to discuss immigration issues, following the Trump administration’s threat last week to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods.”
-- On the Sunday shows, Trump surrogates struggled to defend the president’s threats to impose new tariffs on Mexican imports in the face of complaints from the business community and Senate Republicans. Christopher Rowland reports: “The administration wants Mexico to crack down on illicit businesses that profit from transporting migrants through the country on their trip north, allow more migrants to seek asylum in Mexico instead of the United States and stop migrants from entering Mexico from Central America in the first place.”
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- “The wave of border policies flowing from the White House offers a clear signal that Trump’s reelection bid is likely to focus on immigration more than any other topic — a cause that animates his base but also highlights his failure to contain the flow of Central American migrants coming to the United States in record numbers,” Toluse Olorunnipa reports. “Many Democratic presidential candidates have struggled with how to respond. Most have sharply criticized Trump’s immigration rhetoric and approach, including the administration’s policy last year of separating children from their parents and the humanitarian conditions surrounding the deaths in recent months of Central American children in U.S. custody. Out of nearly two dozen major candidates, only three — former housing secretary Julián Castro, [O’Rourke and Inslee] — have released detailed plans for reforming the immigration system. Most have kept their focus on health care and other issues.”
-- A transgender woman from El Salvador died in U.S. custody after falling ill at a private detention center. Robert Moore reports: “Johana Medina Leon, 25, died on Saturday at Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, ICE officials said. She had been taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains on Tuesday at the Otero County Processing Center. Earlier that day, she had requested an HIV test, which came back positive. ‘This is yet another unfortunate example of an individual who illegally enters the United States with an untreated, unscreened medical condition,’ Corey A. Price, field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in El Paso, said in a statement. … Nathan Craig, a member of Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chihuahuan Desert, said he has been communicating for months with two of the four transgender women detained at Otero; he said they frequently complained about conditions at the facility. He did not meet with Leon, but he said another transgender woman told him on May 24 that all four transgender women at the facility were sick and weren’t given adequate medical attention.”
-- The U.S. is increasingly using dental exams to help determine the age of young migrants. But the accuracy of these tests is the subject of much debate. The Los Angeles Times’s Brittny Mejia and Kate Morrissey report: “Federal law prohibits the government from relying exclusively on forensic testing of bones and teeth to determine age. But a review of court records shows that in at least three cases … the government did just that, causing federal judges to later order the minors released from adult detention. … As the government grappled with an influx of the number of families and children arriving at the border in fiscal year 2018, approvals of ORR age determination exams more than doubled. … The government’s standard refers migrants to adult custody if a dental exam analysis shows at least a 75% probability that they are 18 or older. But other evidence is supposed to be considered.”
THERE’S STILL A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said he would recommend issuing a subpoena to special counsel Bob Mueller. “I think he has one last service to perform,” Schiff told ABC News’s “This Week.” “It's not enough merely to speak for 10 minutes and say I'm not going to answer questions for Congress and the American people. There are a great many things that aren't in the report.” House Oversight Committee ranking Republican Jim Jordan (Ohio) said that he would also not be opposed to having Mueller testify but would question the special counsel about why it took nearly two years to complete his investigation. (ABC News)
-- House Democrats who support impeachment say June could be a critical month in swaying Nancy Pelosi. Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio report: “A month packed with subpoena fights, hearings on obstruction of justice and legal battles over Trump’s financial records is certain to provide fresh ammunition to grow the pro-impeachment ranks. … In one of the clearest indications that the tide may be shifting in favor of impeachment proceedings in the House, Majority Whip James Clyburn said Sunday that he thinks the House will eventually launch an official impeachment inquiry. ‘It sounds like you think that the President will be impeached, or at least proceedings will begin in the House at some point, but just not right now?’ CNN ‘State of the Union’ host Jake Tapper asked Clyburn. ‘Yes, that's exactly what I feel,’ Clyburn replied.”
-- Support for impeaching Trump rose slightly even as the president’s approval rating held steady, according to a new CNN-SSRS poll. Trump’s approval rating is the same as it was in late April: 43 percent approve and 52 percent disapprove. But support for impeachment rose from 37 percent to 41 percent, mostly because of an uptick among Democrats. While 69 percent of Democrats said in April that they would back impeachment, that figure has rebounded back up to 76 percent. (CNN)
-- Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt: “We knew who Trump was but elected him anyway. We can’t impeach him for that.” Here's the kicker of his column: “Trump should not be impeached for inclinations, no matter how vile, that were not acted upon. He should not be impeached out of frustration with the pusillanimous failure of Republicans in the House and Senate to stand up for congressional prerogative and constitutional norms. And Congress should think very hard before impeaching Trump for the high crime of being who we knew he was before we elected him.”
-- Mick Mulvaney said it was “probably someone on the advance team” who asked that the USS John S. McCain be hidden during Trump’s Japan trip, a request the acting White House chief of staff said was not “unreasonable”: “The fact that some 23, 24-year-old person on the advance team went to that site and said, 'oh my goodness, here's the John McCain, we all know how the president feels about the former senator, maybe that's not the best backdrop, can somebody look into moving it?' That's not an unreasonable thing.” (NBC News)
-- Amid the continuing fallout, the Pentagon is trying to get the White House to stop politicizing the military. The AP’s Lolita Baldor reports: “A U.S. defense official said Patrick Shanahan, Trump’s acting defense chief, is also considering sending out formal guidance to military units in order to avoid similar problems in the future. … Shanahan told reporters traveling with him to South Korea on Sunday that he is not planning to seek an investigation by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog into the matter ‘because there was nothing carried out’ by the Navy. He added that he still needs to gather more information about exactly what happened and what service members did. … Shanahan also said that he spoke with McCain’s wife, Cindy, a few days ago.”
-- Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), facing criminal charges following allegations that he misused campaign money, said his unit in Iraq “killed probably hundreds of civilians.” CNN’s Caroline Kelly reports: “Hunter defended his support of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy SEAL facing a premeditated murder charge in the stabbing death of an injured person in Iraq. Trump is considering pardoning Gallagher. ‘I was an artillery officer, and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killed probably hundreds of civilians, if not scores, if not hundreds of civilians,’ Hunter said. ‘Probably killed women and children, if there were any left in the city when we invaded. So do I get judged, too?’ When pressed on a specific killing differing from collateral damage, Hunter argued that it was simply a matter of how people were killed.”
-- Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a dark-horse presidential candidate, discussed his experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder. On Sunday, he recounted leaving behind a young Iraqi boy injured during a confrontation between Marines and enemy combatants. “At that moment, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my entire life, which was to drive around that boy and keep pressing the attack because the stop would have stopped the entire battalion's advance. It would have endangered the lives of dozens, if not hundreds, of Marines.” Moulton told CNN's Jake Tapper. “But there is nothing I wanted to do more at that moment than just get out of my armored vehicle and help that little kid. … I'll remember his face until the day that I die.”
THE REST OF THE AGENDA:
-- Jereme Whiteman, a retired Marine and the national director of clinic practice management at the Department of Veteran Affairs, said there’s a secret wait list for patients seeking health care at VA. The department says it’s not true. From columnist Joe Davidson: “Whiteman said figures from internal reports indicate the actual number of veterans waiting for VA health care could be much higher than the numbers VA makes publicly available. Whiteman provided copies of the internal reports to The Washington Post. From May 1, 2018, through May 1, 2019, the monthly average on the department’s public electronic wait list (EWL) was 14,971. During that period, the monthly average on the internal electronic wait list was 44,478. In a Wednesday night email to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, Whiteman said, ‘I discovered a secret VA wait list’ in September and that ‘the agency has taken steps to conceal this wait list from the public.’ … VA press secretary Curt Cashour said Whiteman’s allegations are false.”
-- Some economists are unhappy that Trump will give economist Arthur Laffer the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Elizabeth Popp Berman writes: “Economists tend to roll their eyes when the Laffer curve is mentioned. A panel of elite academic economists across the political spectrum found in 2012 that none of its respondents agreed that the United States was on the wrong side of the curve. Even George Stigler, a leader of the Chicago School of Economics who disliked taxes at least as much as Laffer, described the Laffer curve as ‘more or less a tautology.’ Yet the idea has been influential for more than 40 years. The Laffer curve did not begin as a formal economic theory, but as a simple depiction of the relationship between tax rates and government revenue. Legendarily, perhaps apocryphally, it was scribbled onto a napkin after dinner.”
-- The White House’s north driveway has become the unofficial site of interviews with Trump officials as the administration eschews the more traditional briefing room. Paul Farhi reports: “The north driveway has become the only place to grab [press secretary Sarah] Sanders or officials such as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway for a few on-camera comments. The White House, of course, has a very nice room for press briefings located just a few steps from the driveway. But these days, the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room is like a Blockbuster video store: dusty, cobwebbed and abandoned. The last time Sanders showed up for a press briefing there was 83 days ago, a record period for not briefing the press. … Nowadays Sanders only shows up for driveway drive-bys, many of which last no more than five or six minutes and are held seemingly by chance.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Shortly after touching down in London, Trump went on a rant against CNN:
Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2019
A Post opinions editor marked a sad milestone:
8 months ago today, @washingtonpost writer Jamal #Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi govt agents.— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) June 3, 2019
The Trump admin has yet to impose any meaningful consequences for Saudi Arabia regime’s reckless behavior. Congress has not been able to do much, either.
Don’t let them forget.
The New Yorker poked fun at Trump after the Navy confirmed that a “request was made” to “minimize the visibility” of the USS John S. McCain during the president's Japan visit:
McCain’s daughter reviewed HBO’s new show “Chernobyl”:
Truth is more horrifying than fiction. Blown away by #ChernobylHBO - beyond being a dire warning from history, it is a powerful lesson on what could happen in the future if the truth fades out of importance to blind loyalty. Absolutely one of the best things I’ve seen on tv, ever— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) June 3, 2019
Roger Stone, Trump’s former associate who’s been told to stay away from social media, was active on Instagram again:
Roger Stone has posted an Instagram Story saying John Brennan "must be" charged and convicted and "hung for treason." Wonder how court officials and Instagram moderators will react.— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 2, 2019
Trump claimed credit for a project approved by his predecessor:
Guess what -- the Obama administration approved this facility in 2014 (though Trump keeps falsely saying he did). https://t.co/TAlds2Bvk0— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) June 3, 2019
A presidential historian shared this note from Eisenhower:
General Dwight Eisenhower’s handwritten note before D-Day saying that if the landings fail, the "blame or fault...is mine alone”—75 years ago this week: pic.twitter.com/XBdYPJyBTT— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) June 2, 2019
Brexiter Boris Johnson launched his campaign for the leadership of Britain’s Conservative and Unionist Party:
Meanwhile in Italy, the deputy prime minister shared a picture of his breakfast:
Ovetto dedicato a voi Amici!😊 pic.twitter.com/mq8HZj2m8a— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) June 3, 2019
-- “One of D-Day’s most famous, heroic assaults may have been unnecessary,” by Scott Higham: “The battle for Pointe du Hoc became of one the most heroic moments of the D-Day invasion. It was lionized by the legendary Hollywood film ‘The Longest Day’ and by President Ronald Reagan, who stood on this hallowed ground to deliver one of his most famous speeches, extolling the bravery of the ‘Boys of Pointe du Hoc’ on the 40th anniversary of the largest amphibious assault in the world’s history. But a little more than three miles down the windswept Normandy coastline, an archaeological dig on a vast swath of farmland is starting to tell another story about what took place that day.”
-- Wall Street Journal, “Amazon Didn’t Cripple Bed Bath & Beyond. Its Own Leaders Did,” by Suzanne Kapner: “Its leaders built a superstore for housewares, with more than 1,500 locations that had so much merchandise that products hung from the ceiling. But they were ill-equipped, former employees say, to transition to a world where consumers can access thousands of items by tapping a smartphone screen. … Blaming the likes of Amazon.com Inc. for the troubles of traditional retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Sears Holdings Corp. and Toys “R” Us Inc. glosses over the strategies and decisions of the people who ran these companies for years. Other chains, from Walmart Inc. to Best Buy Co., are adapting by turning their stores into showrooms and buying digital startups.” (Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns The Post.)
-- New York Times, “Plenty of Fantasy in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl,’ but the Truth Is Real,” by Henry Fountain: “The first thing to understand about the HBO mini-series ‘Chernobyl,’ which concludes its five-part run on Monday, is that a lot of it is made up. But here’s the second, and more important, thing: It doesn’t really matter. The explosion and fire at Chernobyl’s Unit 4 reactor on April 26, 1986, was an extraordinarily messy and grim event, a radioactive ‘dirty’ bomb on a scale that no one — certainly not anyone in the Soviet Union — was prepared for. It remains the worst disaster in the history of nuclear power, killing more than 30 people initially (and more in the years that followed, though the numbers are much disputed) and spreading radioactive contamination across large swaths of Soviet and European territory.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Taylor Swift publicly rejects Trump’s stance on LGBTQ rights in letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander,” from Travis M. Andrews: “Taylor Swift’s newfound political streak was on full display Saturday when she posted to Instagram a lengthy letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), imploring him to protect LGBTQ rights by voting to support the Equality Act. The act, which was passed by the House last month, would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, education, jury service and federal financing. ‘I’ve decided to kick off Pride Month by writing a letter to one of my senators to explain how strongly I feel that the Equality Act should be passed,’ Swift wrote in a caption accompanying the post. … In the letter, she wrote: ‘For American citizens to be denied jobs or housing based on who they love or how they identify, in my opinion, is un-American and cruel.’”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Woman arrested for battery for throwing drink at Rep. Matt Gaetz,” from the Tallahassee Democrat: “A Pensacola woman who ran for Rep. Matt Gaetz’s seat was arrested Saturday and charged with battery after she threw a drink at the congressman during his ‘Won’t Back Down’ town hall. Gaetz was leaving Brew Ha Ha restaurant when Amanda Kondrat'yev allegedly threw a drink at him. Kondrat'yev, 35, was one of several candidates running against Gaetz for Jeff Miller’s seat in 2016 before she withdrew from the race. Kondrat'yev is also one of four plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city of Pensacola to force the city to remove the Bayview Park cross. … During the campaign, Gaetz challenged Kondrat’yev to a debate about the cross, which she accepted. The debate never happened. Kondrat’yev was released on a $1,000 bond.”
Trump and the first lady arrived in London, where the president will meet with the queen before visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. He will then meet with the Prince of Wales before returning to Buckingham Palace for a banquet with the queen.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Look, I wasn’t really involved in that,” Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, after Axios reporter Jonathan Swan asked him whether it was racist for Trump to question if Barack Obama was born in the U.S. (Isaac Stanley-Becker)
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- The weather today is nearly perfect. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “If it felt like a short spring, these next two days help make up for it. We’ll enjoy beautiful sunshine and refreshing temperatures in the 70s. By midweek, though, we’ll return to more mugginess and an unsettled weather pattern that offers an on-and-off chance of showers and storms through the weekend.”
-- The Nationals beat the Reds 4-1, the struggling team’s seventh win in its past nine games. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- One of Metro’s express shuttles bypassed the Pentagon and took riders straight to … Anacostia. Kery Murakami reports: “Jim Garamone knew right away something was amiss Tuesday morning when he boarded a shuttle bus at Huntington that was supposed to be bound for Pentagon station. It was the first workday morning of the summer-long shutdown of six Metro stations, including the one at Huntington. He figured there might be some kinks, as the Academy express bus chartered by Metro left the station at around 7:15 a.m. for what he thought was going to be a 40-minute ride. But he was imagining bad traffic, not ending up in the wrong state. In the days leading up to the shutdown, Metro had warned there were bound to be problems at first. It delivered, as there were complaints about not enough shuttles and buses getting lost. But of all this week’s ‘hiccups,’ as Metro put it, the most bizarre was the Huntington shuttle to Pentagon that ended up in Anacostia.”
-- Virginia Tech is so popular this year it is starting to offer incentives to delay enrollment. Susan Svrluga reports: “Faced with the prospect of a gargantuan freshman class of about 8,000 students — more than 1,000 above what they would like to have — school officials are getting creative. They’re offering scholarships to students who take gap years, grants for those who start with community college classes, study-abroad programs and internships, and free tuition for summer classes.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
John Oliver called for more oversight and regulation of the medical device industry:
Hasan Minhaj updated us on the results of the Indian election:
Univision reporter Jorge Ramos shared his full interview with Venezuela’s Maduro, which the countrys government confiscated months ago:
Espero que en Venezuela hayan podido ver la entrevista completa con Maduro -17 minutos- y no solo las partecitas editadas en el programa de VTV. Irónico que le dediquen tanto a algo que ellos censuraron. La pueden ver aquí toda o en Facebook Watch. https://t.co/I1DF0Rjjjt— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) June 3, 2019
Britain's Sky News is advertising coverage of Trump's state visit with this ad:
How seriously does the rest of the world take Trump? Well, here’s how Sky News is advertising his UK state visit. Watch. pic.twitter.com/wEa0EedoxJ— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) June 1, 2019
And a former president was in Toronto last night: