The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Daily 202: Pompeo’s strong statement on Tiananmen underscores Trump’s situational approach to human rights

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters on Monday after a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok at The Hague in the Netherlands. (Phil Nijhuis/AP)

with Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s clarion call for democracy and human rights in China on the 30th anniversary of the bloody massacre at Tiananmen Square, however futile it might be, illustrates the power and possibility of American moral leadership.

Foggy Bottom released a 444-word statement at 12:01 a.m. Beijing time to mark the events of June 4, 1989, when tanks violently repressed student-led protests. It was one of the darkest days of a century that had a lot of dark days.

“We salute the heroes of the Chinese people who bravely stood up … to demand their rights,” Pompeo said. “Today, Chinese citizens have been subjected to a new wave of abuses, especially in Xinjiang, where the Communist Party leadership is methodically attempting to strangle Uighur culture and stamp out the Islamic faith, including through the detention of more than one million members of Muslim minority groups. Even as the party builds a powerful surveillance state, ordinary Chinese citizens continue to seek to exercise their human rights, organize independent unions, pursue justice through the legal system, and simply express their views, for which many are punished, jailed, and even tortured.”

-- Highlighting the value of using the bully pulpit, the statement clearly got under the skin of the Chinese government. The embassy in Washington issued a rare, and angry, response to Pompeo overnight. “Under the pretext of human rights, the statement grossly intervenes in China’s internal affairs, attacks its system, and smears its domestic and foreign policies,” the unsigned news release said. “The Chinese government and people reached the verdict on the political incident of the late 1980s long ago. … China’s human rights are in the best period ever. … Whoever attempt to patronize and bully the Chinese people in any name or preach a ‘clash of civilizations’ to resist the trend of times will never succeed. They will only end up in the ash heap of history.”

-- It's possible the protracted and escalating trade war emboldened Pompeo to issue such a stinging rebuke of the world’s second biggest economy. The secretary, traveling in Europe, said that the United States hoped after Tiananmen that China’s integration into the international system would lead to a more open, tolerant society. “Those hopes have been dashed,” he said.

Here's what led to the 1989 student demonstrations and military crackdown in Beijing. This video was originally produced for the 25th anniversary of the event. (Video: Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

-- As a point of contrast, the tenor of Pompeo’s statement serves to highlight the Trump administration’s uneven approach to other ongoing human rights atrocities around the globe. He has spoken poignantly and directly about the need for human rights and democracy when it comes to U.S. adversaries such as Venezuela, Iran and China. But he and other administration officials have largely looked the other way or excused abuses by the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and Russia. Previous administrations struggled to call out allies for human rights abuses while protecting the national interest, especially during the Cold War, but historians and veteran diplomats say that the Trump administration has been more sporadic and situational in its approach.

-- President Trump himself has spoken favorably about autocrats, from Vladimir Putin to Kim Jong Un and Abdel Fatah al-Sissi. He’s joked about Xi Jinping being president for life and said maybe the U.S. should try it. He praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job” fighting illegal drug use, even though that meant condoning thousands of extrajudicial killings. At a news conference in February after the failure of the Hanoi summit, Trump said he did not believe Kim knew about Otto Warmbier’s death because the leader would not have allowed it to happen.

-- Trump faced criticism as a presidential candidate for tone-deaf comments he made in the wake of the Tiananmen massacre. Speaking to Playboy in 1990, for example, he said that Chinese leaders showed “the power of strength” by using military force to squash the protests. “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it,” Trump told the adult magazine. “Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak ... as being spit on by the rest of the world.”

-- Asked about this quote during a Republican debate in March 2016, Trump referred to the protest as a “riot,” a word typically used in Chinese propaganda. “I was not endorsing it,” Trump told moderator Jake Tapper. “I said that is a strong, powerful government that put it down with strength. And then they kept down the riot. It was a horrible thing. It doesn’t mean at all I was endorsing it.”

John Kasich fired back at Trump. “The Chinese government butchered those kids,” he said, his words dripping with disgust. The then-governor of Ohio called for a monument to honor the courage of the man who stood in front of the approaching tanks. The conservative crowd in Miami applauded.

-- The death toll at Tiananmen Square, estimated in the hundreds or possibly thousands, remains unknown because of coverups and censorship. The military put down protests in the countryside, as well, but there weren’t Western reporters to bear witness. In his statement, Pompeo said these events of 30 years ago “still stir our conscience, and the conscience of freedom-loving people around the world.”

“We urge the Chinese government to make a full, public accounting of those killed or missing to give comfort to the many victims of this dark chapter of history,” said the nation’s chief diplomat. “Such a step would begin to demonstrate the Communist Party’s willingness to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We call on China to release all those held for seeking to exercise these rights and freedoms, halt the use of arbitrary detention, and reverse counterproductive policies that conflate terrorism with religious and political expression. China’s own constitution stipulates that all power belongs to the people. History has shown that nations are stronger when governments are responsive to their citizens, respect the rule of law, and uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

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-- The majority owners of the former Trump Panama hotel — who last year removed Trump’s name and cut ties with his company — say they’ve discovered old financial records showing the Trump Organization was evading Panamanian taxes, according to a new legal filing. David Fahrenthold reports: “That filing was made Monday in federal court in New York by Orestes Fintiklis, a Cypriot investor whose company is the majority owner of the building that once housed the Trump Ocean Club in Panama City. In March 2018, Fintiklis sought to fire the Trump Organization as the hotel’s manager — setting off an odd 10-day standoff that included visits from the police, shoving matches between Fintiklis’s staffers and Trump loyalists, and occasional piano concerts by Fintiklis in the lobby. Eventually, a Panamanian judge gave him control. Now, the hotel is a Marriott. … Trump’s company on Monday denied any wrongdoing. …

Last year, after Trump lost control of the hotel, an attorney for Trump’s company wrote directly to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, appealing for his help and suggesting that the Panamanian government could be blamed for the loss. Varela said he did not take any action as a result, and Trump’s lawyers later said they had done it without asking the Trump Organization first.

-- The president’s campaign continues to rent space in Trump Tower for $37,500 a month even as its Northern Virginia office goes underused. HuffPost’s S.V. Date reports: “No more than 'four or five' campaign staffers work at Trump’s Manhattan base, according to an informal adviser close to the White House, where the campaign rents a few thousand square feet as its ‘headquarters.’ The per-square-foot cost is likely at least triple what the Republican National Committee pays for the much larger space it shares with the campaign in Arlington … [Trump Tower] has been shedding commercial tenants since he became president, and currently has 41,271 square feet available for rent across five floors.”

Residents gathered June 3 at the Virginia Beach municipal center to honor the 12 victims killed there on May 31. (Video: The Washington Post)


  1. Virginia Beach officials released DeWayne Craddock’s resignation letter, which appeared to show no sign of his imminent shooting rampage. “I want to officially put in my (2) weeks’ notice to vacant my position of Engineer III with the City of Virginia Beach,” Craddock wrote. “It has been a pleasure to serve the City, but due to personal reasons I must relieve my position.” (Michael E. Miller, Ian Shapira and Julie Zauzmer)
  2. The Republican majority leader of the Virginia Senate said he's open to “a meaningful discussion legislatively and in the community about gun control” after the massacre. Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring, all Democrats, expressed frustration over the weekend that Republicans who control the General Assembly have repeatedly stifled efforts to consider any form of gun control. Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. told a crowd of protesters outside his office he expected Virginia’s General Assembly to reconsider limiting extended magazines. (Gregory S. Schneider)
  3. A small group of House conservatives is attempting to reinstate Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on his committees despite his racist remarks. GOP leaders, however, have no plans to reverse course on King, who maintains that his defense of white nationalism and white supremacy was misinterpreted. (Politico)
  4. Authorities investigating Flint’s water crisis have seized the state-owned phone of former Michigan governor Rick Snyder (R) and the phones of 65 other former and current officials. The investigation has led to charges against 15 current or former government officials, but no one has been jailed. (AP)
  5. The Dallas police chief asked the FBI for help after a third transgender woman was found slain in the city. The body of Chynal Lindsey was recovered from a lake, and her death is being treated as a homicide, Police Chief U. Reneé Hall said. (Tim Elfrink)
  6. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) reportedly used foul language and was aggressive during a meeting with Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr (R). Orr said Gordon’s physical presence during the meeting made her feel threatened. Gordon has apologized but denied using intimidating body language, saying he’s “deeply offended” by the mayor’s characterization. (AP)
  7. Quest Diagnostics revealed a data breach that affected 12 million patients. The company said an “unauthorized user” gained access to patients’ financial data, Social Security numbers and medical data, but not their lab test results. (Christopher Rowland)
  8. Attorneys for parents implicated in the college admissions scandal argued the alleged bribes were straightforward charitable donations. The argument, made during status conferences in Boston’s U.S. District Court, could preview the defense strategy of the parents who have pleaded not guilty, a group including actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli. (Karen Weintraub and Nick Anderson)
  9. The Baltimore Orioles used their first overall MLB draft pick to select Oregon State slugger Adley Rutschman. The switch-hitter was considered by many to be the best position-player prospect since Bryce Harper in 2010. (Dave Sheinin)
  10. James Holzhauer’s historic “Jeopardy!” run has come to a dramatic end. He was just about to break the 15-year-old earnings record of Ken Jennings when he lost to University of Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher over a question about Shakespearean literature. (Emily Yahr)
  11. Walmart, desperate to recruit workers in a competitive labor market, is offering high school students perks such as free SAT and ACT prep, as well as debt-free college degrees. The company is expanding its $1-a-day college education program to include degrees in cybersecurity and other STEM fields. (Abha Bhattarai)


-- Congressional Republicans have begun discussing a potential vote to try to block Trump’s planned new tariffs on Mexican imports. Erica Werner, Seung Min Kim and Damian Paletta report: “The vote, which would be the GOP’s most dramatic act of defiance since Trump took office, could also have the effect of blocking billions of dollars in border wall funding that the president had announced in February when he declared a national emergency at the southern border. … Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on Mexico — with which the United States has a free-trade agreement — rely on the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the border. But the law gives Congress the right to override the national emergency determination by passing a resolution of disapproval. Congress passed such a resolution in March after Trump reallocated the border wall funds, but he vetoed it. Now, as frustration on Capitol Hill grows over Trump’s latest tariff threat, a second vote could potentially command a veto-proof majority to nullify the national emergency, which in turn could undercut both the border-wall effort and the new tariffs.

Republican lawmakers aren’t eager to be drawn into a conflict with the president. But some feel they might have to take action following a growing consensus within the GOP that these new tariffs would amount to tax increases on American businesses and consumers — something that would represent a profound breach of party orthodoxy ...

Some Senate Republicans said they would wait for the results of a major meeting between Mexican trade officials and [Pompeo] on Wednesday before deciding what to do. But GOP lawmakers are growing anxious. ‘We have a lot of members who are very concerned, I think, about where this is headed,’ said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). … Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told reporters on Monday that she had spoken to Trump about his tariff threat over the weekend and urged him to back down, but he appeared to be unmoved. ‘He’s a tariff guy,’ said Ernst, who added that she was ‘not pleased.’”

-- A federal judge rejected a House lawsuit to block Trump from diverting money appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said the House lacks the legal standing to sue the president because it's not the job of the judicial branch to referee such disputes. Spencer S. Hsu reports: “The decision is at odds with a May 24 ruling by a federal judge in California that temporarily blocked part of the plan because it was using money Congress never appropriated for that purpose. … McFadden granted that the case ‘presents a close question’ and added that his ruling ‘does not imply that [the full] Congress may never sue the Executive to protect its powers.’ Still, he said, the Constitution provides the House other levers to use against the executive, including specifically denying funds, passing other legislation, conducting hearings and investigations, or overriding a president’s veto.”

-- When Trump feels overwhelmed, he often falls back on his two crutches: immigration and trade policy, the Atlantic’s Elaina Plott writes: “‘Whenever a negative story comes around, his instinct is to pivot to immigration or trade,’ a senior campaign adviser told me. ‘It’s kind of like his safety blanket. He knows that Fox and conservative media will immediately coalesce and change what the base is talking about.’ That tactic often works: By the end of a week in which the lies of the White House’s representation of the Mueller report became more apparent than ever, reporters, pundits, and the stock market were all responding instead to Trump’s latest attempt to curb immigration at the southern border.”

-- The House Oversight Committee plans to vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to provide documents related to the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Felicia Sonmez, Tara Bahrampour and Rachael Bade report: “The panel’s chairman, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), announced the move in letters to Barr and Ross on Monday. He gave them until Thursday to comply and raised the possibility of delaying the vote if they cooperate. ‘Unfortunately, your actions are part of a pattern,’ Cummings wrote to Barr and Ross in the letters. ‘The Trump administration has been engaged in one of the most unprecedented coverups since Watergate, extending from the White House to multiple federal agencies and departments of the government and across numerous investigations.’ If Barr and Ross fail to comply, a vote on contempt could come next week in the committee.”

-- The Justice Department said allegations it hid its true motives for adding the citizenship question are “frivolous,” even though new evidence links the question to the late Republican redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller. Bahrampour reports: “In a filing to U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York’s Southern District, Justice Department attorneys accused lawyers challenging the question of trying to ‘derail’ a Supreme Court ruling on the case, which is expected by the end of this month. … It called any link between Hofeller’s study and the 2017 Justice Department letter ‘imagined.’ The letter filed on Monday also argued that it is ‘too late to reopen the evidence in this already-closed case,’ adding, ‘Plaintiffs are not entitled to a do-over.’”


-- George Nader, a key witness in special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation, has been charged with transporting child pornography last year. Devlin Barrett and Rachel Weiner report: “Officials said Nader, 60, was charged by criminal complaint over material he was traveling with when he arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport on Jan. 17, 2018, from Dubai. At the time, he was carrying a cellphone containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, officials said. The charges were unsealed after his arrest Monday morning at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. … [Nader] helped arrange a meeting in the Seychelles in January 2017 between Erik Prince, a Trump supporter who founded the private security firm Blackwater, and a Russian official close to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. The purpose of the meeting was of particular interest to Mueller’s investigators, and some questions about it remain unanswered, even after Mueller issued a 448-page report on his findings.”

-- The full House will vote June 11 on whether to hold Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt related to the Russia probes. “This Administration’s systematic refusal to provide Congress with answers and cooperate with Congressional subpoenas is the biggest cover-up in American history, and Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight on behalf of the American people,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement. (Felicia Sonmez)

-- The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the special counsel’s report, without Mueller in attendance. Felicia Sonmez and Rachael Bade report: “The panel announced Monday that it will convene on June 10 for a hearing titled 'Lessons from the Mueller Report: Presidential Obstruction and Other Crimes.' Former U.S. attorneys and legal experts are expected to attend, as is John W. Dean III, the former White House counsel under President Richard M. Nixon who accused Nixon of being directly involved in the Watergate coverup and later served four months in prison for obstruction of justice. … The House Judiciary and Intelligence committees are continuing to negotiate with Mueller, hoping to change his mind to testify.”

-- Paul Manafort will be sent to New York’s Rikers Island. Trump’s former campaign manager will be transferred from a federal prison in Pennsylvania to a solitary confinement cell in Rikers Island after the Manhattan district attorney requested the change. (New York Post)

-- House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 in Democratic leadership, walked back his remarks on the Sunday shows suggesting that Democrats will impeach Trump. Politico’s Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris report: “I’m probably farther away from impeachment than anybody in our caucus,’ Clyburn (D-S.C.) told reporters Monday night. ‘We will not get out in front of our committees. We’ll see what the committees come up with. I’ve said that forever.’ Asked ... whether he thought impeachment proceedings were inevitable, Clyburn simply said no.”


-- House lawmakers are planning an expansive antitrust investigation into tech giants such as Facebook and Google. Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin report: “The probe, announced Monday by Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.), the leader of the House’s top anti-trust subcommittee, is expected to be far reaching and comes at a moment when Democrats and Republicans find themselves in rare alignment on the idea that the tech industry has been too unregulated for too long. The sentiment spurred a sharp sell-off in tech stocks to start the week. Cicilline said the investigation won’t target one specific tech company, but rather focus on the broad belief that the ‘Internet is broken,’ he told reporters. In doing so, he pointed out problematic practices at tech giants such as Google, which has faced sanctions in Europe for prioritizing its own services in search returns over those of its rivals, and Facebook, which Cicilline criticized for acquiring competitors or copying their services to ensure its continued dominance in social networking.”

-- The Justice Department is weighing an antitrust investigation into Apple, according to Reuters, as the company holds its annual developer conference. Reed Albergotti reports: “Antitrust concerns have already been raised over the way Apple runs its App Store, which Apple touts to developers at its conference. Critics say the 30 percent cut Apple collects on all revenue earned by developers on the store is unreasonably high and leads to higher consumer prices. App developers have also complained that Apple competes unfairly with apps that offer services similar to Apple’s. … On Monday, Apple showed no signs of backing off its expansion into services that are offered by third parties within the App Store. At least a dozen of its announcements could offer serious threats to companies that have built business at least in part around the Apple economy.”

-- Trump took his long-running attacks against CNN to a new level by suggesting that a consumer boycott of its parent company, AT&T, could force “big changes” at the news organization. Craig Timberg, Taylor Telford and Josh Dawsey report: “The comment, which Trump tweeted in response to seeing CNN coverage while traveling in London during a European tour, fueled criticisms that the president was using his power inappropriately to intimidate critics. Historians struggled to cite an equivalent threat even from presidents such as Richard Nixon renowned for their hostility toward the press. When AT&T sought to acquire Time Warner, then the parent company of CNN, Trump repeatedly complained about the deal, publicly and privately. He instructed aides such as Gary Cohn, John F. Kelly and Rob Porter to call the Justice Department to block the deal, people familiar with the matter have told The Post. …The Justice Department, however, did seek to block the $85 billion merger over allegations that the deal violated federal antitrust laws before losing in court to AT&T. Department officials denied that their decisions were influenced by the White House.”

-- Appearing on CNN, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) pressed the cable news network to consider moving its headquarters out of Georgia over the state’s new abortion law. “There’s a lot of young women who work for CNN who could be affected,” Swalwell said. (CNN)

-- Tech giant Oracle accused Amazon of negotiating a job offer with a then-Pentagon official who helped shape the procurement process for a massive federal contract for which the online sales leader is a key bidder. The Intercept’s Alex Emmons reports: “Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are now the two finalists to win the highly contested $10 billion contract for what is known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure … The deal, one of the largest federal contracts in U.S. history, would pay one company to provide cloud computing services in support of Defense Department operations around the world. But the contract has been hotly contested since the department began soliciting proposals last year.”

-- YouTube’s automated recommendation system has allowed pedophiles to cultivate a collection of videos that experts say sexualize children. The New York Times’s Max Fisher and Amanda Taub report: “Christiane C. didn’t think anything of it when her 10-year-old daughter and a friend uploaded a video of themselves playing in a backyard pool. … A few days later, her daughter shared exciting news: The video had thousands of views. Before long, it had ticked up to 400,000 — a staggering number for a video of a child in a two-piece bathing suit with her friend. … YouTube’s automated recommendation system — which drives most of the platform’s billions of views by suggesting what users should watch next — had begun showing the video to users who watched other videos of prepubescent, partially clothed children, a team of researchers has found.”

-- Videos showing what it’s like to live in prison are the latest YouTube craze. Peter Holley reports: “'Everyone in America right now has a family member or a friend or knows someone in prison,’ said Shaun Attwood, a former drug dealer whose YouTube channel focused on the brutality of prison life has more than 175,000 subscribers. ‘Look at the incarceration rate — it’s off the scale compared to the rest of the world, and that’s a function of the insane war on drugs.’ Collectively, the four most popular prison channels on YouTube have more than 2.1 million subscribers and about 342 million page views.”

-- Dating app Tinder denied sharing Russian users’ data with Russia’s Federal Security Service. Russia asked Tinder to hand over user data and messages to law enforcement agencies, which means Tinder will be required to store users’ metadata on servers in Russia for at least six months. (The Moscow Times)


-- The House finally passed the $19 billion disaster aid bill. Erica Werner reports: “The legislation passed by a wide bipartisan margin, 354 to 58, and now goes to President Trump. The president has described the bill as ‘great’. … In its final form, the legislation will fund numerous federal programs that provide aid and rebuilding assistance to local communities, farmers, service members and others nationwide. … Painstaking negotiations persuaded the White House to go along with the money in the bill, which includes $600 million for Puerto Rico’s food stamp program and $300 million for block grants.”

-- Government hunting programs that virtually wiped out red and gray wolves were partially blamed for triggering a surge in coyote populations near major cities. Scientists say the events demonstrate how humans interfering with wildlife can have unintended consequences — a lesson to keep in mind as the Trump administration considers removing legal protections for the last remaining wolves. (Darryl Fears)

-- The Food and Drug Administration won a lawsuit against a Florida-based stem cell company whose treatments blinded at least four patients. The groundbreaking case will send chills through the stem cell industry, which the government has tried to constrain partly because of its attempts to sell treatments unproven by science and unapproved by authorities. (William Wan and Laurie McGinley)

-- The FDA is also moving to further streamline its “expanded access” program to help doctors get unapproved drugs for cancer patients with no other treatment options. An official said that the agency has taken steps in recent years to ease access to the program but that it may still be confusing to doctors trying to submit drug requests for patients with immediate life-threatening illnesses. (Laurie McGinley)

-- Virginia College students sued Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for reinstating a controversial for-profit college accreditor. Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports: “No accrediting agencies believed Virginia College had a solid enough footing to participate in the federal financial aid program. The chain had no luck finding a new accreditor after the Obama administration stripped the school’s previous accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, of the power to give colleges access to federal student aid. But once DeVos granted the council a reprieve, Virginia College was allowed to remain in the federal aid program and prolong what many saw as an inevitable demise. The chain abruptly closed in December, leaving students in the lurch.”

-- Experts say the U.S. economy will continue to grow but is likely to face risks from trade wars, interest rate mistakes and a ballooning budget deficit. The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Hilsenrath reports: “Though the U.S. expansion has been a long one, it has lacked vigor. The growth rate has been the most anemic on record, and the jobless rate took years to recede, with lower-skill workers seeing their main gains in just the past couple of years. Wage growth also has been slow, though when adjusted for very low inflation real wages have grown more robustly than in other expansions. For many households, meanwhile, growing student debt loads have been a burden, and many of the gains from a strong market and recovering home prices went to the highest-income households.”

2020 WATCH:

-- “Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate,” by the Times’s Matt Flegenheimer: “Joe Biden was riffing again — an R.F.K. anecdote, a word about ‘civil wrongs,’ a meandering joke about the baseball commissioner — and aides knew enough to worry a little. ‘When I marched in the civil rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program,’ Mr. Biden thundered, testing his presidential message in February 1987 before a New Hampshire audience. ‘I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes. And we changed attitudes.’ More than once, advisers had gently reminded Mr. Biden of the problem with this formulation: He had not actually marched during the civil rights movement. And more than once, Mr. Biden assured them he understood — and kept telling the story anyway.

“By that September, his recklessness as a candidate had caught up with him. He was accused of plagiarizing in campaign speeches. He had inflated his academic record. Reporters began calling out his exaggerated youth activism. ‘I’ve done some dumb things,’ Mr. Biden conceded at a stop-the-bleeding news conference at the Capitol. ‘And I’ll do dumb things again.’ He vowed that day to fight on. He quit the race within a week.”

-- Biden’s climate plan aims well beyond Barack Obama’s goal. The Times’s Coral Davenport and Katie Glueck reports: “Mr. Biden’s plan calls for the United States to entirely eliminate its net emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution by 2050, the same goal put forth in the Green New Deal … By comparison, Obama had pledged to the world that the United States would lower its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.”

-- Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner sees a problem in the president’s reelection campaign’s fundraising system. The Times’s Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni report: “At a dinner he organized last month in the White House residence, Mr. Kushner brought together [Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna] McDaniel; Brad Parscale, the campaign manager; and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who ran Mr. Trump’s fund-raising in 2016, along with a group of big donors like Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, to discuss the fund-raising strategy for 2020. But there was no broad agreement among the people there that the campaign is having any trouble raising money from large donors, as Mr. Kushner suggested. … Mr. Kushner, allies said, is eager to take control of the fund-raising for personal and strategic reasons. … By positioning himself as the point person on raising money for the campaign, he prevents antagonists and potential rivals from taking over a job that comes with great power and proximity to the president.”

-- Pete Buttigieg said during an MSNBC town hall that he would not have called for former senator Al Franken to resign. CNN’s Dan Merica and Donald Judd report: “The comment puts Buttigieg at odds with a number of his opponents in the Democratic primary, including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was the first to issue the call, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. ‘I think it was his decision to make, but I think the way we basically held him to a higher standard than the GOP does their people has been used against us,’ Buttigieg said at a MSNBC town hall. Pushed on his answer, Buttigieg said, ‘I think it is not a bad thing that we hold ourselves to a higher standard,’ but he later added, ‘I would not have applied that pressure at that time before we knew more.’”

Gillibrand shot back: “Eight credible allegations of sexual harassment, two since he was elected senator, and one from a congressional staffer,” she said in a statement. “That is not too high a standard, regardless of how the Republican party handles this behavior, and worse. Yes, it was Senator Franken's decision alone to leave the Senate -- a path he ultimately chose -- but for many senators, including myself and others in this primary field, that was not too high of a bar to raise our voice and make clear we value women.”

-- Democratic candidates have participated in at least 30 town halls hosted by the three main cable news networks. Their performances don’t seem to be doing much to boost their standing. With one exception. Philip Bump calculates: “In most cases, there has been very little change [in polling numbers] whatsoever. In part, that’s because many of the candidates started out with very low poll numbers and then didn’t see those numbers change. … So where’s the exception to all of this, the example of a town hall event in which a candidate seems clearly to have benefited? … It’s that first CNN town hall with [Buttigieg]. He went from zero in the polls to 1.6 percent three weeks later, effectively getting onto the map for the first time. A month after that town hall, he was near 3 percent; another month later, and he was over 6.”

-- Julián Castro released a plan to overhaul policing, the third policy proposal of his campaign. The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reports: “The former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor outlined three goals: end ‘over-aggressive policing’ that disproportionately targets racial minorities, do more to hold cops accountable in such cases and begin to bridge the divide between communities and law enforcement.”

-- Beto O’Rourke and Trump held rallies in El Paso on the same day. Only O’Rourke’s has paid the city’s invoices for services rendered. ABC News’s Sasha Pezenik reports: “The bills came due for both. Beto For America owed the city $28,630.50 for his March campaign launch; he had already paid $7,609.14 of that as a deposit. The remainder was due May 24. They paid on time -- just under the wire -- with a check dated the day prior to the deadline. El Paso also billed Donald J. Trump for President Inc. for his ‘Make America Great Again’ rally -- for nearly half a million dollars. The invoice was sent to the campaign's Fifth Avenue offices in New York on March 27. It was due April 26, and El Paso has yet to see a dime. … A month overdue and no check in sight, El Paso sent a warning to the Trump campaign of its looming penalty -- a letter, coincidentally, sent the same day Beto's check was cut.”


-- Queen Elizabeth II welcomed Trump with a tour of some of the royals’ treasures and a lavish banquet. She even brought out the good china. Nothing went wrong. William Booth, Toluse Olorunnipa and Anne Gearan report: “The British monarch and her retinue are very good at this, and this is why Britons keep them around. Her majesty and her family — known to insiders as ‘the Firm’ — are highly skilled professionals in the deployment of soft power. They are players. Trump won’t get to stay overnight at the palace (renovations were cited). And he didn’t get a golden carriage ride down the Mall (security risk). But he did land on the lawn at Buckingham Palace in Marine One. And how awesome is that? The lawn. No protesters. … As the queen rose to give a toast, Trump appeared to lightly touch her back with his left hand, as seen on the televised pool feed to reporters. Protocol dictates that one doesn’t touch the queen (though Michelle Obama famously did — and was forgiven).”

In her speech, the queen declared her confidence “that our common values and shared interests will continue to unite” the U.S. and Britain: She “concluded by inviting the room to toast the ‘continued friendship between our two nations.’ Hear! Hear! And the 170 guests did gulp. The palace served English and French wines, along with steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears and chervil sauce, and new-season Windsor lamb with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and port sauce.”

-- Several high-profile British politicians, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, chose to skip the Buckingham Palace banquet for Trump last night. Adam Taylor reports: “John Bercow, the high-profile speaker of the House of Commons, has also said he would not attend, as did Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrat Party. Cable wrote in the Financial Times this week that ‘no amount of pomp, circumstance and royal regalia can disguise the fact that Mr Trump poses a real risk to the world, and to Britain.’ It is unusual for high-level British politicians to publicly decline attendance to a state banquet, although not unprecedented. Cable refused to attend a state banquet with the king of Saudi Arabia in 2007, for example.”

-- While in London, Trump — who has previously called himself “Mr. Brexit” — has shown little interest in spending his political capital rallying for the Brexit movement. Robert Costa and Olorunnipa report: “Instead, Trump spent the day tending to grievances with his critics on Twitter — he called the mayor of London a ‘stone cold loser’ — before visiting with [the queen] and touring Westminster Abbey. He mostly avoided talk of Brexit … Trump’s approach leaves him as the world’s most famous nationalist, but one who is somewhat distant from the debates destabilizing Europe.”

-- Trump took a break from his London schedule to tweet a puzzling remark on Russia’s presence in Venezuela. Karen DeYoung reports: “Trump said Monday that Russia has informed his administration that it had ‘removed most of their people in Venezuela.’ … It was unclear from Trump’s Monday tweet which Russians he was referring to, and Russia made no direct response. … Earlier in the day, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had referred questions about Rostec, the Russian state defense contractor, to the company itself, after the Wall Street Journal reported it had cut its staff of defense advisers in Venezuela, once totaling about 1,000, to a few dozen. Rostec, in a statement, denied the report. ‘The composition of the mission has remained unchanged for years,’ the statement said, noting that technical specialists also cycled in and out of Venezuela to maintain and repair Russian-supplied defense equipment.”


-- Mexico said it would reject a White House proposal to take in all Central American asylum seekers if the Trump administration raises that idea during talks this week. Reuters’s Alexandra Alper and Frank Jack Daniel report: “Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the country was committed to continuing to work to keep migrants from Central America from reaching the U.S. border. Pushing back against Trump’s charge that Mexico was doing ‘nothing’ to help, the government said 250,000 more immigrants would reach the United States in 2019 without its efforts. Ebrard said, however, that a proposal favored by some U.S. officials to designate Mexico a ‘safe third country,’ which would force Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States to apply for it instead in Mexico, was not an option.”

-- Catering to Trump's demands over the past few weeks, Mexico has doubled down on its efforts to stop migrants before they reach the U.S. border. Last week, Mexican authorities launched several raids in Tapachula, a city on its southern border, to sweep up migrants, an effort that’s part of a broader crackdown on caravans that includes round-the-clock roadblocks along common routes into the United States. (New York Times)  

-- The number of people who became naturalized U.S. citizens reached a five-year high in 2018. Abigail Hauslohner reports: “USCIS naturalized 756,800 people in fiscal 2018, a 16 percent increase from 2014, with approval rates for applications processed declining slightly — to just below 90 percent. A foreign national has to be a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least five years before applying for citizenship. … USCIS said that it processed more naturalization applications in 2018 than in any of the past five fiscal years — nearly 850,000, an 18 percent increase from 2014. According to government statistics, the agency has received more than 2 million naturalization applications in the past two fiscal years, through the end of 2018. More than 730,000 applications are pending.”

-- Dozens of migrant children scheduled to be reunited with their parents spent up to 39 hours — including two nights — waiting in a van under the blistering Texas sun last July as they waited for agents to process them. NBC News’s Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley report: “At 10:30 p.m. local time Sunday, Andrew Carter, the BCFS regional director responsible for the children, e-mailed Kevin Dinnin, the company's president and CEO, to alert him to the fact that the 37 children had been waiting for eight hours and not a single one had been processed for reunification. … Despite two notifications from HHS that the children would be arriving, ICE officers kept to their regular schedule, clocking out for the day while the parking lot filled with children eager to see their parents again. There was no one present to greet the arriving children and they were not equipped to process them in a parking lot, the BCFS official (said), describing the scene as ‘hurried disarray.’”

-- Because of HHS overcrowding, migrant children are getting stuck at border stations, where they are forced to sleep on concrete. From Soboroff and Ainsley: “Officials say some children … have had to sleep on concrete slabs, on floors with no mats, or even outside as they wait to be processed and sent to HHS care. Once at an HHS facility, children sleep in bunk beds, attend school and are assigned social workers who check in with them about their well-being and the status of their case.”


The president's daughter and adviser accompanied him to London:

The president's son also shared a photo from the visit:

The U.S. ambassador to Britain welcomed the president and first lady:

This picture from a Times photographer captured the Internet's attention:

From a New York Post writer:

A Democratic lawyer compared a photo of Trump and the queen to a similar photo from Obama's presidency:

A Press Association reporter caught this Trump blimp before it made it to the skies:

The Post's Beijing bureau chief went around the city to see how it commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre:

An editor at the Center for Public Integrity shared this comparison:

A former senior adviser to Mitt Romney criticized Trump for going after AT&T:

From George Conway, who is married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway:

Presidential candidate John Delaney defended his health-care proposals after fellow Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), criticized him for dismissing Medicare-for-all:

AOC previously tweeted this:

In response, Delaney's press secretary said: “The only person Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez helped with her tweet about Congressman Delaney was Donald Trump. ... 2016 should have taught us that if we allow this primary to become a popularity contest on Twitter rather than a debate of ideas in the public square, the country will lose.”

Another 2020 candidate mocked Trump's past comments on wind energy:

And presidential candidate Andrew Yang joked about being on TV so much:


-- Montgomery Advertiser, “'Where was the Lord?': On Jefferson Davis' birthday, 9 slave testimonies,” by Brian Lyman: “Today the state of Alabama marks the birthday of Jefferson Davis, who served as president of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. A state holiday, state offices are closed throughout Alabama. Davis, who at one point owned more than 100 slaves, led a government resting on the principle of white supremacy. … [Here], the testimonies of nine African Americans held in human bondage, all interviewed in Alabama in 1937.”

-- New York Times, “How New York’s Elite Public Schools Lost Their Black and Hispanic Students,” by Eliza Shapiro and K.K. Rebecca Lai: “In interviews, more than a dozen black and Hispanic students who graduated from New York City’s specialized high schools from 1975 to 1995 described the schools as oases for smart children from troubled neighborhoods. But the alumni said they were anguished that the schools have since lost nearly all of their black and Hispanic students. White enrollment has also fallen while Asian enrollment has ballooned. Among the most drastic shifts: Brooklyn Technical High School’s black population dropped to 6 percent in 2016 from 51 percent in 1982.”

-- New York Magazine, "Before, and After, the Jogger: Survivors of the real ‘Central Park Five’ attacker speak for the first time," by Sarah Weinman: "The public reckoning almost always centered on the injustice to the five men themselves, who were innocent boys whose lives were destroyed by shoddy police work and systemic racism. Less examined are the other lives destroyed by the case: Reyes’s many victims, who waited so long for justice, some who might not have been victims at all but for law enforcement’s staunch belief it had the right assailants. ... This wasn’t about one young, white affluent woman raped while jogging in Central Park, but about nine young women, some affluent, some less so, assaulted, raped, or murdered all around the Upper East Side. The story crafted within hours of that April 19 night was the splintered mirror image of the real narrative: that the man who attacked the Central Park Jogger was a serial rapist and murderer who struck before and after." 

-- “Gen Z kids are the stars of their parents’ social media — and they have opinions about that,” by Caitlin Gibson: “An infant can’t object to a soft-filtered selfie with mama; a toddler won’t know if their tantrum becomes a topic of online commiseration. But when, exactly, does it start to change? Is there a turning point somewhere between first steps and first school dance, a clear moment when one’s offspring becomes an independent being whose experiences belong to them, too, and not just to a proud (or confounded, or frustrated) parent who just wants to boast (or inquire, or vent)? The stakes of this particular familial conflict are poised to increase as more members of Gen Z — a generational cohort that the Pew Research Center defines as those age 22 and younger — come of age.”


“The California State Bar has taken the first step to disbar Michael Avenatti,” from CNN: “The move is the first step toward disbarment, said Teresa Ruano, program supervisor for the Office of Strategic Communications for the State Bar of California. The filing comes after Avenatti was indicted on 36 counts by a federal jury in California in April. The charges include embezzlement, wire fraud, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and bank fraud connected to his alleged theft of tens of millions of dollars from five clients, one a paraplegic. ... Ruano says there are still several steps before Avenatti would be disbarred but a change to ‘inactive involuntary status’ would prevent him from practicing law in the state of California. Avenatti has 10 days to file a response and request a hearing. If no response if filed, he will have waived his right to a hearing. The State Bar must file a status decision within 30 days of the hearing.”




“NRA responds to Gillibrand put-down by posting her 2008 letter praising gun-rights group,” from Fox News: “One day after Kirsten Gillibrand slammed the National Rifle Association (NRA) as the ‘worst organization in this country,’ the group on Monday posted an effusive letter it received from Gillibrand in 2008 in which she praised ‘the work that the NRA does to protect gun owners rights’ and said she hoped to work with it ‘for many years in Congress.’ At a fiery Fox News town hall in Dubuque, Iowa Sunday, Gillibrand charged that the NRA cares ‘more about their profits than the American people’ and ‘lies’ for the sake of profit. … ‘Gillibrand called us the worst org in the country, but when she represented NY20, she wrote us: “I appreciate the work that the NRA does to protect gun owners rights, and I look forward to working with you for many years,” the NRA wrote on Twitter.”



Trump is still in London, where he and the first lady will participate in a reciprocal dinner with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. 

Justice Clarence Thomas on June 3 dismissed rumors that he is planning to retire from the Supreme Court. (Video: C-SPAN)


“I don’t have a lot of stress. I cause stress.”  Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who dismissed rumors of his retirement. (Robert Barnes)



-- Enjoy this sunny day before the humidity strikes back tomorrow. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Today is the day to really enjoy this wonderful spring-like weather with exceptionally low humidity and high sunshine as temperatures remain in the pleasant zone. Humidity begins its rebuild tomorrow with 80s to near 90 in play through Thursday, as scattered showers and thunderstorms also return to the forecast. Friday doesn’t look too bad as of now, with the weekend picture a bit more complicated.”

-- A Muslim school board candidate in Northern Virginia was pepper-sprayed during a traffic stop, an incident she decried as police brutality. Police said she resisted arrest. Debbie Truong reports: “Abrar Omeish said she was traveling March 5 between campaign events when she was stopped by a police officer after turning right on a red light at a Fairfax intersection. Omeish, who is seeking an at-large seat on the Fairfax County School Board, pleaded no contest in May to failing to exhibit her driver’s license, according to court records ... In an interview with The Washington Post, Omeish took responsibility for the traffic violation but said the police officer used excessive force. … A Fairfax County police spokeswoman said Omeish defied more than a dozen requests to provide proper identification. The officer who stopped Omeish chose to deploy pepper spray because the candidate ‘actively resisted arrest,’ according to Emilie Voss, the police spokeswoman.”


Stephen Colbert thinks this season of "The Crown" has jumped the shark: 

Trevor Noah thinks the queen might have been trolling Trump when she gifted him a book:

The president and first lady laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in London's Westminster Abbey:

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in London's Westminster Abbey on June 3. (Video: Reuters)

The Duchess of Cornwall went viral after being caught winking at the cameras following a photo op with Trump:

The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, went viral June 3 after she winked toward the cameras following a photo opportunity with President Trump. (Video: Reuters)

And a Democrat challenging Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) released this video mocking Ernst's famous 2014 campaign ad showing her castrating hogs: