With Joanie Greve and Mariana Alfaro
THE BIG IDEA: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826 — 50 years to the day after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
It remains one of the most remarkable coincidences in U.S. history, but what’s even more noteworthy is how the two Founding Fathers reconciled in their final years after a long period of estrangement. (Abigail Adams made it happen.) Jefferson, a Southerner with a small-r republican vision, defeated Adams, a New England Federalist who supported a strong central government, in the particularly nasty presidential campaign of 1800.
Both future presidents had been members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. They remained patriotically committed to the preservation of the American experiment, and they worried about the growing sectional divisions that would eventually lead to the Civil War. “I look back with rapture on those golden days when Virginia and Massachusetts lived and acted together like a band of brothers,” Adams lamented in an 1825 letter to Jefferson.
Jefferson was invited to speak at a celebration in Washington for the 50th anniversary of independence. He declined because of his failing health. In an elegant letter from Monticello, he sent his regrets and reminisced on the importance of the day – when colonists chose the sword over submission.
“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government,” Jefferson wrote. “All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. … For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
That’s what July 4 is supposed to be about. Instead, Americans – whose modern-day tribalism would doubtlessly disturb Adams and Jefferson – are squabbling on Independence Day Eve over whether it condones slavery to honor the third president or to put the Betsy Ross flag on Nike sneakers. More significantly, President Trump has ordered tanks and other military assets into the nation’s capital for a new kind of ceremony that critics fear will be as much a celebration of himself as the nation’s birthday.
The red carpet for Trump’s Thursday event has already been unrolled at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. A lectern and a microphone are there for the president, as well. So are giant video screens and loudspeakers.
-- The National Park Service is diverting nearly $2.5 million in entrance and recreation fees primarily intended to improve parks across the country to cover costs associated with what Trump has dubbed a “Salute to America.”
“The diverted park fees represent just a fraction of the extra costs the government faces as a result of the event,” Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Dan Lamothe report. “Administration officials were finalizing aspects of Thursday’s schedule, according to a senior White House official, including a plan to have one of the planes in Air Force One’s fleet zoom overhead as Trump takes the stage. …
“Two Abrams tanks, two Bradley Fighting Vehicles and an M88 recovery vehicle sat on train tracks in Southeast Washington on Tuesday, destined for the Mall. … A U.S. defense official … said the Pentagon was not planning for tanks to be involved … until late last week. But after the president requested them, they were shipped up by rail from Fort Stewart in Georgia.
“The list of fighter jets and other planes involved in Thursday’s military flyover also has grown, with the Pentagon carrying out requests from the White House. … The event will include appearances by the Blue Angels, an F-35 jet from the Navy, at least one aircraft from Marine Helicopter Squadron One, … a B-2 stealth bomber … and F-22 Raptor fighter jets.”
-- Further breaking with the spirit of 1776, the White House is distributing VIP tickets to Republican donors and political appointees. The Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection campaign confirmed that they received special passes to the taxpayer-funded event that they’re giving out to contributors. All involved are unapologetic. They say it’s no different than the White House Garden Tours or the Easter Egg Roll.
-- What’s historically been a relaxing time for national unity will be pocked with protests this year from the left and the right, heightening fears of violence and putting police on edge. “Demonstrations will begin Thursday with a flag burning,” Marissa Lang and Peter Hermann report. “They will continue into Saturday as several right-wing demonstrators, including members of the Western-chauvinist Proud Boys group, host a rally in Freedom Plaza — met by a coalition of progressive groups to show the District is ‘no place for white supremacists,’ organizers of the All Out D.C. counterprotest said. … Of the two days of protests, law enforcement officials appear more concerned about Saturday.
“Hundreds are expected to oppose the president’s presence, with others likely to turn up Saturday to counter an event that features speakers such as Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and embattled former Trump adviser Roger Stone. Several right-wing Internet personalities are listed as speakers on the event’s website, including GOP political operative Jacob Wohl, anti-Muslim activist Laura Loomer, far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and Pizzagate conspiracist Jack Posobiec. … A coalition of more than 20 groups — including Black Lives Matter D.C., immigrants rights group Sanctuary DMV and anti-gentrification organization Keep D.C. 4 Me — will host an all-day counterdemonstration at Pershing Park. …
“Code Pink, which received a National Park Service permit Tuesday to bring ‘Baby Trump’ to its Mall protest, will display the 20-foot balloon alongside another caricature dubbed ‘Dumping Trump,’ a robot that tweets and shouts phrases like ‘No collusion,’ while sitting atop a golden toilet. Code Pink’s permit allows the group to station the imported balloon near the Washington Monument for 15 hours during the day’s festivities. But the agency wouldn’t allow ‘Baby Trump’ to fly. Park Service rules forbid helium-filled blimps, effectively grounding it. … Instead, the air-filled balloon will bob along the ground, where it will be tethered west of the Washington Monument. Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst cited the no-fly zone that includes downtown Washington for keeping the balloon grounded.”
-- Another proofpoint of the polarization: MSNBC announced it will not carry the Trump event live, but Fox News is building a two-hour special around it.
-- This is not the first federal holiday Trump has politicized. Warning in dire terms about what he calls a “war on Christmas” has been a staple of Trump’s stump speech every winter since 2015, Before his presidential campaign, he had wished people “holiday” greetings on Twitter. “People are proud to be saying Merry Christmas again,” the president tweeted on Dec. 24, 2017. “I am proud to have led the charge against the assault of our cherished and beautiful phrase. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!”
Trump lamented this past Christmas Eve that he canceled a trip to Mar-a-Lago in Florida because of the ongoing government shutdown. “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” the president tweeted. Two days later, on Dec. 26, Trump signed MAGA hats and criticized Democrats during a visit to Iraq and Germany.
Last Thanksgiving, Trump was asked what he was most thankful for. He responded by talking about himself. “For having made a tremendous difference in this country,” the president told reporters. “I've made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn't believe it." On what used to be a day just for turkey and football, Trump attacked Chief Justice John Roberts on Twitter.
-- Trump continues to equate strength with greatness. This president thinks his July 4 party will show how he’s made America great again, advisers have said. That’s revealing: Trump seems to sincerely believe that tanks, jets and brute force are what make a country great. He’s been wanting to hold a military-style parade since he flew to Paris in 2017 to watch France’s Bastille Day celebration.
The hard truth is that even the most odious regimes in the world are perfectly capable of rolling tanks into their capitals. There are many reminders of this, from Moscow to Pyongyang. Just last month, we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square, in which the Chinese communists sent tanks into Beijing to crush student protests.
Speaking to Playboy in 1990, Trump said that China’s leaders showed “the power of strength” by using military force to butcher the protesters at Tiananmen. “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it,” Trump told the 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.”
In 2016, Trump referred to the uprising as a “riot” during a Republican debate. It didn’t even dominate a news cycle. He’s never apologized for this, but he won the GOP nomination and the presidency any way.
-- What made America great is not military hardware but the ideals that animated the Declaration of Independence, those sacred principles that inspired Jefferson as he put pen to paper in Philadelphia 243 summers ago and wrote some of the most beautiful words that have ever been written. (Take five minutes to read them. They never get old.)
-- In a sign of the times, the city council in Charlottesville voted on Monday night to no longer recognize Jefferson’s April 13 birthday as a holiday because he owned slaves. This would have been unfathomable a few years ago. After all, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. But it’s not your father’s commonwealth, and the city has been grappling with race since a white-nationalist rally in 2017 to preserve Confederate monuments turned deadly. Going forward, Charlottesville will instead mark Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, according to the Associated Press. That’s the day U.S. Army forces took control of the city from rebels in 1865.
-- Has America lived up to the aspirations of her founding creed? Of course not. It took Abraham Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, and even that only freed slaves in the states that were in open rebellion. Women didn’t even get suffrage until 100 years ago. But one of the things that has made America exceptional is her ability, at times better than others, to reckon with not just our dark history but also our ongoing failures as a society to live up to the promises of the declaration.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said so eloquently in his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered from the same Lincoln Memorial where Trump will speak tomorrow: “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And, so, we’ve come to cash this check.”
-- Silver lining: Perhaps this week’s donnybrook over the July 4 ceremony will become a teachable moment for civics classes. Trump has unintentionally triggered a dialogue about what national greatness means. “We don't roll tanks down Constitution Ave.,” former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said on MSNBC last night.
George Washington commanded our revolutionary army and triumphed at Yorktown. Like Cincinnatus, he voluntary relinquished his command – first of the continental army and later of the presidency. In his farewell address, Washington warned fellow citizens to avoid partisanship and sectionalism. He saw the emerging political parties as a threat to the republic.
Perhaps because Dwight Eisenhower commanded allied forces on D-Day and triumphed at Normandy, he never felt the need for macho displays of American military might on the Mall when he was president. Instead, he warned Americans about the danger of the military-industrial complex.
-- Even if Trump delivers a well-received speech, it’s hard to think of a president who has less of a sense of what the holiday is about, Jeff Greenfield argues in Politico Magazine this morning: “It is true that, on some public occasions, Trump has been able to subordinate this vanity to a sense of occasion, at least in his literal words. His speech in Normandy at the 75th anniversary of D-Day was an unexceptionable tribute to the men who stormed the beaches, although a different White House might have thought better of staging an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham in front of a graveyard filled with the bodies of those men. He has delivered State of the Union speeches without describing Democrats in the House chamber as treasonous, or the media in the press sections as enemies of the people.
“What remains unsettling, however, is the thoroughly reasonable conviction that when the president delivers such homilies, he has no real connection to those words. At any moment, it’s plausible to expect that the id will drive the superego from the podium, and the explosion of grievance, self-pity and rage will erupt—dominating a day that has in recent times been free of political division. To be fair, however, that would not be the worst result of a presidential Fourth. Back in 1845, President James Polk presided over a fireworks display at the White House. During the festivities, 12 rockets were accidentally fired into the crowd, and two people were killed. If the worst thing that happens tomorrow is just a speech, we can be thankful for small favors.”
THE NEWEST FRONT IN THE CULTURE WARS:
-- “The shoes were not designed to offend,” Eli Rosenberg and Michael Brice-Saddler report. “Red, white and blue with the image of a historical American flag stitched on the heel and a July 4 release week, they seemed like an innocuous attempt by Nike to capitalize on the hot dogs and fireworks and patriotism that mark the holiday. Instead, the company found itself at the center of a political firestorm. Former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly complained about the shoes, and Nike canceled the sneakers’ production. Kaepernick, who is a face of the company, told Nike that he found the flag — designed in 1777 with a circle of 13 stars, one for each American colony — offensive because of its connection to the era of slavery. …
“Some conservatives, Fox News hosts and prominent Republican officials such as Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) have lashed out at the company, calling for a boycott and accusing it of being ‘anti-American.’ But more significantly, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said he had ordered state authorities to revoke a modest incentive package it offered Nike to open a factory near Phoenix. He did so because he said Nike ‘bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism,’ he said. ‘It is a shameful retreat for the company,’ Ducey said on Twitter. ‘American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.’ The state’s incentives made for only a portion of the money Nike was scheduled to receive for its new plant in Goodyear, a suburb west of Phoenix. Georgia Lord, the mayor of the 83,000-person city, said Tuesday it would honor the agreement made with the company before the controversy broke.”
-- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would buy the first order of “Betsy Ross” sneakers if they’re put on sale again. (Fox News)
-- MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who has emerged as a staunch Trump critic, warned that the left’s “reflexive Wokeness” threatens to help the president win reelection.
This is a frame from a Facebook video ad for Trump’s reelection campaign. "Tracey from Florida" is actually a model from France. (Trump Make America Great Again Committee/AP)
NOT MADE IN AMERICA:
-- As Trump espouses nationalist rhetoric, his reelection campaign is running Facebook video ads that misleadingly depict foreign models as American citizens who support the president. The AP’s Bernard Condon reports on the president’s team misusing stock images to pretend that they’re testimonials from a young woman strolling on a beach in Florida, a Hispanic man on a city street in Texas and a bearded hipster in a coffee shop in Washington, D.C.: “‘I could not ask for a better president,’ intones the voice during slow-motion footage of the smiling blonde called ‘Tracey from Florida.’ A man labeled on another video as ‘AJ from Texas’ stares into the camera as a voice says, ‘Although I am a lifelong Democrat, I sincerely believe that a nation must secure its borders.’
“The people in the videos that ran in the past few months are all actually models in stock video footage produced far from the U.S. in France, Brazil and Turkey, and available to anyone online for a fee. … Trump campaign officials declined repeated requests for comment on Tuesday. … Trump has used video from abroad before. His 2016 TV ad vowing to build a wall to keep out immigrants from Mexico showed people streaming across the border — but the shots of refugees were taken in Morocco.”
-- Programming note: In observance of Independence Day, the Daily 202 will not publish on Thursday or Friday. We’ll return Monday.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- Seeking to ensure a strong economy as he runs for reelection in 2020, Trump announced he will nominate Christopher Waller and Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board. “Shelton is a conservative scholar and former adviser to the Trump campaign who told The Washington Post last month that she thinks interest rates should be cut ‘as fast as possible,'" Heather Long reports. “Waller is an economist who currently serves as research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He rarely speaks publicly, but his boss, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, was the only member of the Fed’s policy setting committee to vote for an interest-rate cut in June. … Trump’s last four nominees for the Fed board failed to get through the Senate confirmation process as Republicans broke ranks with Trump to kill the nominations. … The Fed is widely expected to cut rates in July or September to counterbalance the harm from Trump’s trade war, which has sent business confidence and investment down. But Trump is likely to want even lower rates.”
-- Earnings forecasts are getting worse by the week. Bloomberg News’s Sarah Ponczek reports: “More than 80% of S&P 500 companies that have revised their profit estimates one way or the other in the lead-up to reporting have slashed them, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Analysts are in on the action too, reducing company projections at the fastest pace in near three years. … In and of itself, a flurry of downward revisions is nothing unusual at this time of year. Companies are always more likely to disclose bad news, and a few may be interested in lowering estimates before they report. But the extent of the negativity this time around is notable and is another burden for investors struggling to formulate views on the economy, global trade and the Federal Reserve.”
GET SMART FAST:
Lee Iacocca, the auto executive who became the face of America’s car industry, died at 94. Iacocca was credited with launching Ford’s Mustang and helping to save Chrysler from bankruptcy. (Bart Barnes)
Vice President Pence abruptly canceled a New Hampshire event to stay in Washington. His office didn’t provide any details on the decision, but the cancellation sparked intrigue after an aide told a New Hampshire crowd that Pence had been on his way but was called back for an emergency. (Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey)
Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL accused of killing an Islamic State captive in 2017, was acquitted of murder. Gallagher was also cleared of all other charges, except for posing for photos with the dead captive’s body in a case that caused a rift within the military community. (AP)
The U.S. women’s national soccer team defeated England, 2-1, advancing to the World Cup final for the third consecutive time. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who has been scrutinized for her lack of experience in major tournaments, proved herself by stopping a crucial penalty kick in the 85th minute. (Steven Goff and Jacob Bogage)
NASA completed a key test on Orion, its spacecraft that Trump wants to use to send astronauts to the moon. A program manager for the ship said it was a “perfect test” that tried Orion’s ability to get astronauts away in case anything were to happen to the rocket below them. (Christian Davenport)
Scientists have determined that a strange object spotted floating around space was probably not created by aliens and is likely a natural formation. The object, however, was the first interstellar object (which means it came from outside our solar system) that we’ve ever been able to observe from Earth. That, in and of itself, is pretty awesome. (Morgan Krakow)
A family court judge in New Jersey said a teenager accused of rape deserves leniency because he “came from a good family” and “attended an excellent school.” Judge James Troiano said a 16-year-old who filmed himself sexually assaulting a visibly intoxicated teenage girl at a party shouldn’t be tried as an adult because he “is clearly a candidate for not just college but probably a good college.” In response, an appeals court has now cleared the way for the case to be moved from family court to a grand jury. (New York Times)
The Dalai Lama apologized for saying a female successor would have to be “attractive.” The Dalai Lama stressed that he supports women’s rights and said he meant “no offense” with his comments. (NBC News)
The baby of the pregnant woman who was stabbed to death in London has died. The baby boy was delivered by paramedics after his mom suffered a cardiac arrest, but he passed away just days after the attack. (Jennifer Hassan)
THE IMMIGRATION WARS:
-- The 2020 Census will not include a citizenship question. Ann E. Marimow, Matt Zapotosky and Tara Bahrampour report: “The decision was made after officials determined that there would not be enough time to continue the legal battle and meet the printing deadlines for the census questionnaire, according to people familiar with the matter. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement Tuesday that ‘I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.’ President Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night that it was a ‘very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census.’ … The Census Bureau has started printing the questionnaires without the question, Ross said. He added that his ‘focus, and that of the bureau and the entire department, is to conduct a complete and accurate census.’”
-- The Trump administration is threatening to impose hefty fines on immigrants who disobey deportation orders by seeking refuge in churches. Maria Sacchetti reports: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Washington headquarters on Monday notified a woman seeking sanctuary in a North Carolina church that the agency intends to fine her more than $300,000. An immigrant in Colorado faces a fine of more than $500,000. The agency generally does not conduct enforcement operations in churches, and although financial penalties for evading deportation have been on the books for years, they were rarely imposed. … ICE said it is issuing two types of fines. One targets immigrants with outstanding deportation orders … threatening them with penalties of up to $799 a day. In a year, an immigrant could accrue fines of more than $291,635. A second fine targets immigrants who agreed to leave the United States voluntarily and then did not. They would typically face a lesser fine of up to $4,792 total, although an immigration judge could increase or decrease the penalty slightly.”
-- A federal judge blocked a plan to deny bail to jailed asylum seekers, saying Attorney General Bill Barr’s policy is unconstitutional. Bloomberg News’s Kartikay Mehrotra reports: “’It is the finding of this court that it is unconstitutional to deny these class members a bond hearing while they await a final determination of their asylum request,’ U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman in Seattle wrote. The judge said immigration authorities must demonstrate in these hearings why applicants aren’t being released. The proceedings must be recorded and a written transcript must be made available, according to the ruling. A group of asylum seekers won an earlier injunction from Pechman in April requiring the government to offer bail hearings. That month, Barr formally prevented asylum seekers from requesting bail hearings. Tuesday’s ruling specifically addresses and prohibits Barr’s policy, which was set to be enforced July 15.”
-- The grim realities of the immigration crisis are colliding with campaign politics as 2020 candidates focus their attention on the distressing accounts of conditions at the border. Nick Miroff, Annie Linskey and Josh Dawsey report: “Some Democrats are questioning the basic legal underpinnings of U.S. immigration enforcement and challenging the long-held consensus that a robust detention and deportation system is necessary to prevent an even bigger wave of illegal border crossings into the United States. … Others in the party are urging caution, saying the push toward decriminalization risks playing into Trump’s hands. … As of Tuesday, the total number of detainees in Border Patrol custody was about 11,000, and a Customs and Border Protection official said the system remained in a crisis state. … Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said that views about immigration are changing among Democratic and independent voters and that the shift is reflected in how Democratic presidential candidates are talking about immigration.”
-- Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones when they visited border facilities, but Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) captured photos and videos anyway. Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis and Reis Thebaut report: “'Our border patrol system is broken. And part of the reason it stays broken is because it’s kept secret,’ Castro said on Twitter. ‘The American people must see what is being carried out in their name.’ He went on to post photos of a dozen migrant women, who sat atop blue sleeping bags on the ground in a small concrete room. In one photo, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is hugging a woman who was separated from her daughters and did not know where they were, the congresswoman said. … Though many members in the delegation, including Ocasio-Cortez, used their social media platforms to describe with words what they were seeing and hearing, Castro’s stealthily captured photos and videos served as a rare window into the Border Patrol stations and detention facilities that the Trump administration has made increasingly difficult to access.” (Here are some additional images of what is happening inside some Border Patrol facilities in Texas.)
-- A Guatemalan toddler who died after being taken into Border Patrol custody suffered “multiple intestinal and respiratory infectious diseases,” a medical examiner's report reveals. Robert Moore and Maria Sacchetti report: “Wilmer Josue Ramirez Vasquez, who was 2½ , died May 14 after several weeks in an El Paso hospital. … CBP apprehended Wilmer and his mother April 3 near the Paso del Norte International Bridge in El Paso … Three days later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said his mother informed agents the child was sick, and they took him to a local emergency room. … Lawyers supporting Wilmer’s family said the boy and his mother were 'subjected to inhumane conditions' during their three days in Border Patrol custody, ‘including exposure to extreme temperatures, being forced to sleep outside on the ground, and other terrible conditions of confinement.’ They called for an independent investigation into why the boy was not taken to the hospital earlier.”
-- Nurses at the border accused immigration agents of delaying taking sick children to the hospital for treatment. BuzzFeed News’s Adolfo Flores reports: “The two registered nurses, who have treated immigrant children at a hospital in the Rio Grande Valley, said young patients arriving in recent months are often in such poor health that they're ‘on the borderline’ of medical staff needing to call a specialized rapid response team of doctors to prevent them from going into respiratory or cardiac arrest. … ‘In some cases they should've been here a week ago and they decided to wait until the last minute,’ the nurse (said). ‘It makes me wonder what Border Patrol is doing. Why is it taking them so long to realize they need to take them to the hospital?’”
-- Migrant children kept in CBP facilities have reported verbal abuse and threats, according to reports made to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Yahoo News’s Caitlin Dickson reports: “The reports relay accounts provided by children about the treatment they encountered while detained at various CBP facilities along the southwest border. In almost all cases described in the reports, ... the minors had been held in CBP custody for longer than the legally mandated 72-hour limit before they were transferred to ORR care. … [A boy] reported being verbally abused by an official in a black uniform who spoke some Spanish and told him and others in the sick bay, ‘Your lives don’t matter to me’ and ‘Don’t act like little a**holes with me because, if I feel like it, I can hit you all with this stick.’”
-- The federal government is looking into housing 500 immigrant children in the Atlanta metro area. U.S. Health and Human Services is requesting a facility of at least 96,000 square feet of space with room for classrooms, bedrooms and outdoor space for play. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
-- Prosecutors said they will retry Scott Warren, the Arizona teacher and volunteer worker who aided migrants. A charge of conspiracy to transport “illegal aliens” made against Warren will be dropped, but prosecutors will retry him on two charges of “harboring illegal aliens.” Warren has been offered a plea bargain, saying they would drop the two charges if he pleads guilty to a misdemeanor charge of aiding illegal entry. His lawyer said it will be up to Warren whether to take the offer or go to trial again, which is scheduled to start in November. (CNN)
-- The longtime maker of license-plate scanners and other border-surveillance equipment was suspended after a cyberattack revealed “conduct indicating a lack of business honesty,” according to federal records. Drew Harwell reports: “The rare punishment temporarily prevents the longtime contractor, Perceptics, from doing business with the federal government and could land the company on a years-long government blacklist. Perceptics was attacked by an unknown hacker and had much of its internal data — including images of travelers’ faces and license plates, surveillance-equipment schematics and sensitive contracting documents — made available for download on the open Web. … Such suspensions are highly unusual and generally come only after an accusation of major wrongdoing, such as an indictment against executives or a crime against the government, said Angela Styles, a government-contracts lawyer at the Washington firm Akin Gump.”
EXTREME WEATHER SHOWS AN EARTH IN THE BALANCE:
-- June was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, according to the European Union’s satellite agency. The data showed that European average temperatures were more than 2 degrees Celsius above normal. (The Independent)
-- The state of Florida is encouraging homeowners to kill green iguanas. A warm winter, combined with recent record-breaking heat, have allowed the nonnative reptile to flourish, leading the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to implore residents to “kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible.” (Lori Rozsa)
-- The Midwest appears brown from space because of heavy rains this season. The region usually looks green by this time of year, but the atypical weather has left some crops waterlogged and others unplanted. (John Muyskens, Laris Karklis and Andrew Van Dam)
-- Monsoons have claimed at least 24 lives in Mumbai. The Indian city received almost 15 inches of rainfall in a day, and the state government has asked residents to remain indoors to avoid flooded streets. (Niha Masih)
-- A New Jersey resident was diagnosed with West Nile virus, the state’s first case of the mosquito-spread disease in 2019 but also the earliest a case has ever been detected there. (Neward Star-Ledger)
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
-- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that Tehran will take a “next step” and increase its enrichment of uranium on Sunday. Loveday Morris reports: “Rouhani’s comments, carried by the state broadcaster, came after Iran breached the 300 kilogram (660 pound) limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under the deal on Monday. That move did not put Iran significantly closer to holding enough high-enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon, whereas increasing uranium enrichment levels could.”
-- Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general and regular Fox News guest, may have influenced Trump’s decision not to carry out a strike against Iran by referencing the United States’ 1988 downing of an Iranian airliner that left 290 people dead. Politico’s Eliana Johnson reports: “Keane’s reference to the United States’ accidental downing of an Iranian commercial airliner in 1988 made a profound impact on the president, who was ‘spooked’ when he learned of the incident, according to two sources briefed on his reaction. The president made repeated comments about the tragedy on the evening of [June 20], leading aides to believe that Keane’s brief history lesson exacerbated Trump’s pre-existing doubts about carrying out the strike. … The president has watched the former Army vice chief of staff on Fox for years. But the two became friendly when Trump — on the recommendation of the late Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes — summoned Keane to Trump Tower shortly after his election in November 2016, according to a member of the Trump transition team.”
-- The deaths of 14 sailors on a Russian submersible vessel have intensified concerns the Kremlin is increasing efforts to intercept data cables from North America and Europe. Amie Ferris-Rotman reports: “[A] fire took place Monday while crew on the craft were conducting topographic measurements of the seabed near Russia’s Severomorsk base in the Barents Sea, the ministry said. The vessel, however, is linked to the Defense Ministry’s unit for underwater intelligence, which is tasked with sensitive missions such as mapping and monitoring ocean depths, Russian media reports said. ... NATO has expressed concern over an increase in apparent Russian undersea activity around data cables in the North Atlantic. The military alliance worries that vessels such as the Losharik are working the ocean floor, allowing Russia to potentially sever or tap the cables.”
-- China is forcing tourists that cross the border into the Xinjiang region to install a piece of malware on their phones that gives all of their text messages, as well as other private data, to authorities. From Vice’s Joseph Cox: “The Android malware, which is installed by a border guard when they physically seize the phone, also scans the tourist or traveller's device for a specific set of files, according to multiple expert analyses of the software. The files authorities are looking for include Islamic extremist content, but also innocuous Islamic material, academic books on Islam by leading researchers, and even music from a Japanese metal band.”
-- European leaders proposed making German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen the first female president of the European Commission. Quentin Ariès and Michael Birnbaum report: “The European Parliament needs to give final approval — not a sure bet — but, if confirmed, von der Leyen, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, would be the first woman to fill the European Union’s top post. European leaders also nominated International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde to helm the European Central Bank, a decision that would give that institution, too, its first female head. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was tapped as the next president of the European Council. And Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell would be charged with supervising the struggling Iran nuclear agreement as the E.U.’s foreign policy chief.”
-- An airstrike killed 40 mostly African migrants in a detention center in Libya’s capital. Sudarsan Raghavan reports: “The death toll represents the highest single day casualty involving civilians in the nearly three month-long struggle over Tripoli between a renegade eastern commander, Khalifa Hifter, and militias aligned with the U.N.-installed, internationally recognized government. … The airstrike hit the detention center in the eastern Tajoura enclave of the capital which is located inside a compound that also houses a military camp for forces loyal to the government. Malek Mersek, a spokesman for the government’s emergency medical services, said the death toll was 40, but local media reports suggested it could rise.”
-- The attacks that killed more than 260 people in Sri Lanka destroyed families, and now survivors are adjusting to living alone. Joanna Slater reports: “During the long month at the hospital, it was always the same nightmare. A deafening noise, followed by the world blasting into pieces. Then suddenly, Naresh Denilson’s eyes would open, his mind frozen with fear. In the daytime, his relatives came to visit. His parents were recovering, they told him, and his elder sister was in the intensive care unit. Just focus on getting better. They could not bring themselves to tell him the truth. His parents were dead, their bodies found at the morgue in Colombo in the hours after the Easter Sunday attacks. His sister clung to life for a week. While Naresh, 20, was in the hospital, all three were buried in a local cemetery, one grave in front and two in back.”
-- Princess Haya, the most visible wife of Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has left him and is seeking refuge in London. From the Times’s Vivian Yee and David D. Kirkpatrick: “Princess Haya, 45, is seeking political asylum in Britain and is asking for a divorce, said the person, who asked not to be identified while speaking about a sensitive family matter. Her defection follows attempts by two of Sheikh Mohammed’s daughters, Sheikha Shamsa al-Maktoum and Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum. They were recaptured by Emirati forces and are said by advocates to be held in Dubai against their will. Princess Haya has been criticized for her role in helping to, in the words of critics, whitewash the disappearance of Sheikha Latifa, by inviting her friend, the former Irish president Mary Robinson, to visit Dubai and testify to Sheikha Latifa’s well-being. Princess Haya has not been seen recently or spoken publicly about her departure.”
THERE'S STILL A BEAR IN THE WOODS:
-- House Democrats sued the IRS and the Treasury Department in an effort to gain access to Trump’s tax returns. Jeff Stein and Rachael Bade report: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, who have denied Democrats’ demands for the returns, are named as defendants. ‘Defendants have mounted an extraordinary attack on the authority of Congress to obtain information needed to conduct oversight of Treasury, the IRS, and the tax laws on behalf of the American people who participate in the Nation’s voluntary tax system,’ the 49-page lawsuit states. … Neal’s subpoenas to Mnuchin and Rettig requested the IRS turn over Trump’s individual income tax returns, all ‘administrative files’ such as affidavits for those income tax returns, and income tax returns for a number of Trump’s business holdings such as the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, an umbrella entity that controls dozens of other businesses, including the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. It is unclear how long it might take for the federal courts to rule on the lawsuit.”
-- Trump will hold a rally on the same day as former special counsel Bob Mueller’s testimony before Congress. The Trump campaign rally is set for the evening of July 17 in Greenville, N.C. (Politico)
-- House Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration hand over information about the president's lackluster response to the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. Colby Itkowitz reports: “The Democrats made the demand in a new letter sent to Mulvaney as a follow-up to one signed by every Democratic member of the [House Oversight Committee] in early May. The initial letter asked the White House to produce all communications about Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria hit, killing thousands of people and devastating the island’s infrastructure. … [Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.)] threatened ‘compulsory’ action if they do not hear from the White House by July 10, but they did not expand on what that would be. A Democratic committee aide said it meant subpoenas.”
MORE ON 2020:
-- A new Post-ABC News poll shows former vice president Joe Biden holding the lead in the Democratic contest even as Kamala Harris continues being praised for her debate performance. Dan Balz and Scott Clement report: “Democrats judge Harris as the standout performer among the 20 candidates who debated over two nights, but she ranks behind Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in preferences for a nominee to challenge President Trump in the 2020 general election. Biden is the leader among Democrats in two separate measures, the first when those surveyed were asked to volunteer the name of a candidate they would support at this point as well as in a more traditional question that identifies the list of those running and asks respondents to select from among them. … When asked to identify their preferred candidate, without being prompted with a list of names, Biden is cited by 21 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, a gain of eight points since late April. Sanders runs second at 13 percent, up four points since April. Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) are tied at 7 percent, both up three points.”
-- Meanwhile, a new poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers shows Harris has surged after her debate performance, chipping away at Sanders’s support and narrowing Biden’s lead. USA Today’s Susan Page reports: “In a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll, Biden continues to lead the field, backed by 24% of those who say they are likely to attend the Democratic caucuses in Iowa that open the presidential contests next year. But Harris has jumped to second place, at 16%, leapfrogging over Sanders, whose support sagged to single digits. At 9%, he finished fourth, behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 13%. … [Biden’s] level of support didn't change from the Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN Iowa Poll taken last month. … Harris, in contrast, saw her support more than double compared to the June poll, to 16% from 7%.”
-- Harris’s three-day trip to Iowa starts today, and she will arrive in the Hawkeye State with a lot of attention now that she’s surging in the polls. But is she running to win the Iowa caucuses? Yahoo News’s Jon Ward reports: “The conventional wisdom before Miami was that Harris would do her best in Iowa on Feb. 3, with her eye on the fourth primary contest in South Carolina on Feb. 29. … Yet since the Iowa caucuses were first held in 1972, the eventual nominee in both parties has finished in the top two in Iowa in all but four contests, and one of those was simply because Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin was a candidate in 1992. … Harris spokesman Ian Sams told Yahoo News that Harris is ‘100 percent playing in Iowa.’ … But the senator has so far spent more time in South Carolina. She will be making her fifth trip to Iowa this week but will then head to South Carolina on Sunday and Monday for her ninth visit as a presidential candidate.”
-- The Iowa numbers are even worse for Sanders when voters’ second choices are factored in, Aaron Blake notes. “Suffolk also asked which candidate people would vote for as their second choice, and just 6 percent picked Sanders. You might think that many Sanders supporters from 2016 would flirt with another candidate, perhaps, and that maybe he was still their backup. But you would be wrong. In fact, when second choices are factored in, Sanders actually drops behind [Pete] Buttigieg, who is the second choice of 14 percent of voters.”
-- A new Quinnipiac poll also indicates Harris has gained on Biden nationally since the debate. NBC News’s Adam Edelman reports: The poll “showed Biden with 22 percent support and Harris with 20 percent — a double-digit jump for her since the university's previous poll last month. [Warren and Sanders] were in third and fourth place in the poll, with 14 percent and 13 percent, respectively. [Buttigieg] was in fifth, with 4 percent support. No other candidate got more than 3 percent in the poll.”
-- Sanders’s campaign announced he raised $18 million during the second quarter, falling short of Buttigieg. Sean Sullivan reports: “Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said Sanders also transferred about $6 million from prior campaign accounts during the second quarter fundraising period. The independent senator from Vermont ended the period with about $30 million in his campaign account, Shakir estimated. [Buttigieg], the only other candidate for the Democratic nomination who has announced his second quarter numbers, raised $24.8 million, according to his campaign — sending a message across the party that he is a formidable fundraiser.”
-- Meanwhile, Trump and the RNC reported raising $105 million over the past three months. Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: “The second-quarter fundraising haul reported by the campaign, the [RNC] and affiliated committees on Tuesday shatters his previous record of $39 million in a three-month period. It brings the money raised for the president’s reelection effort to more than $270 million. … GOP officials said Trump’s reelection campaign had $100 million in cash on hand.”
-- Trump is fixating on drug prices as his 2020 campaign looms. Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey and Laurie McGinley report: “By all accounts, drug prices are a fixation for Trump, who frequently sends advisers news clippings and summons them to the White House to rant about the issue. ‘The guy likes to make money, and he thinks they make too much money,’ said one former senior administration official. Yet even as Trump ratchets up pressure on [Human Services Secretary Alex] Azar and others to deliver wins on an issue he sees as key to his base, sharp clashes within the administration over approach have jeopardized attempts at lowering prices, which polls as a top voter concern, according to more than a dozen current and former administration officials, Capitol Hill aides and lobbyists.”
-- Senior Republicans and the Trump campaign are worried that the NRA’s meltdown will affect 2020 outreach to the group’s members. Politico’s Alex Isesntadt reports: “In recent weeks, the NRA has seen everything from a failed coup attempt to the departure of its longtime political architect to embarrassing tales of self-dealing by top leaders. The turmoil is fueling fears that the organization will be profoundly diminished heading into the election, leaving the Republican Party with a gaping hole in its political machinery. With the Chamber of Commerce and Koch political network withdrawing from their once-dominant roles in electing conservatives, Republicans worry that three organizations that have long formed the core of their electoral infrastructure will be effectively on the sidelines. The predicament has so troubled some Republicans that they are calling on the famously secretive NRA to address its 2020 plans. Within the past week, senators have privately expressed concerns about the group to National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Todd Young.”
-- Trying to please his base, Trump is casting U.S. cities as filthy and crime-ridden. Toluse Olorunnipa reports: “Trump campaign officials have said they plan to use a well-funded data operation to target infrequent voters — including those from rural communities — who can be convinced to turn out for Trump in 2020. With several of the Democratic presidential candidates hailing from major coastal cities, the Trump campaign has seized on their records and policies on issues including immigration, taxes and regulation. ‘President Trump is right — liberal policies have completely destroyed cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have experienced double-digit increases in homelessness, the advent of flea-borne diseases, and streets filled with trash and needles,’ said Trump campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany.”
-- John Hickenlooper’s campaign is in shambles, and senior staffers privately urged the former Colorado governor to drop out of the presidential race to run for Senate against GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. Politico’s Alex Thompson and Nolan D. McCaskill report: “A source said that the campaign only has about 13,000 donors, making it almost impossible to qualify for the next round of presidential debates in the fall. The campaign also only raised just over $1 million in the second quarter — about what he raised in the first 48 hours of his candidacy — and will likely run out of money completely in about a month. At least five staffers have left or are leaving Hickenlooper’s struggling operation, including his campaign manager, communications director, digital director and finance director. Hickenlooper named a new campaign manager on Monday night.”
-- Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet raised $2.8 million for his campaign in the second quarter. (Poliltico)
-- Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona next year, raised $4.2 million during the second quarter. The Arizona Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez reports: “All told, he has raised $8.3 million since announcing his candidacy in February, and he has nearly $6 million cash on hand, according to his campaign. More than 85,000 contributors have donated to Kelly's campaign, and more than 90% of his second-quarter donations were less than $100, highlighting his display of strength among small donors, his campaign said. Kelly's performance likely gives him a financial advantage over McSally, the Republican incumbent who was appointed to the seat once held by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump appeared to leave the door open to trying to get a citizenship question on the 2020 Census:
....to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
A Democratic congressman responded to a Republican congressman urging Trump to defy the Supreme Court on the census:
Hey @chiproytx: Dude, it's not just "the lawyers," there is also a United States Supreme Court ruling. It's another step towards tyranny and abdication of the rule of law when Members of Congress urge Supreme Court decisions to be ignored. https://t.co/CHmLsoSNr7— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 3, 2019
A Daily Beast reporter made a smart observation:
I feel like we're all underappreciating the benefits of a capital city with bridges that can't support a tank column https://t.co/NutCRJWFCk— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 2, 2019
A Politico reporter bolstered his point with this:
A source passed along these photos of flatbed preparing to move Trumps July 4th tanks after it was determined they couldn’t clear the overpass: pic.twitter.com/qsVwcgHbul— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) July 3, 2019
The New Republic's Walter Shapiro, who is covering his 11th presidential campaign, commented on Trump's plans:
I fantasize about one lone man or woman standing bravely in front of Trump's tanks on the Fourth of July in a Tiananmen Square-style reminder that once America was the inspiration to the world.— Walter Shapiro (@MrWalterShapiro) July 2, 2019
Barack Obama's former ambassador to Russia, a professor at Stanford, reacted to the tank photos:
This photo reminds me of parades I used to attend in the Soviet Union. Not the right look for the 4th. https://t.co/hsf3mZLnBo— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) July 2, 2019
From a National Journal editor:
Trump's July 4 extravaganza: Wasting taxpayers' money, canceling commuter flights and risking the infrastructure of DC for partisan purposes...— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) July 2, 2019
if Ds can't translate that into a winning political message...
From NBC News's chief foreign affairs correspondent:
So let's stage a military parade https://t.co/zfVf8IDdry— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) July 3, 2019
From a former CIA analyst:
On 9/11 when I drove home from the CIA to my house in DC, my roommate and I remarked how weird it was to see military vehicles on 495, hoping we wouldn’t have to see it again. In a democracy, a military show of force is an indicator things aren’t going well. https://t.co/tXnzLovNY1— Nada Bakos (@nadabakos) July 3, 2019
Another former CIA analyst quoted from the late author Erma Bombeck:
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics ...”— David Priess (@DavidPriess) July 3, 2019
— Erma Bombeck pic.twitter.com/8vZ3NgdIaQ
A former Republican presidential candidate slammed Nike for pulling its Betsy Ross sneaker:
This will go down as one of the dumbest moves by a company in recent times. Worse, it is offensive to millions. https://t.co/EJ0lp49fJi— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 2, 2019
A Times columnist mocked the debate:
I only wear New Balance because Nike was a goddess in a Greek culture that practiced slavery.— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) July 2, 2019
The National Republican Congressional Committee posted a video of Colin Kaepernick throwing an interception:
Good luck to @USWNT! Win this one for one of America’s first strong, independent women, Betsy Ross. We have no doubt you’ll be more competitive on the field than @Kaepernick7. #USA #USAvENG pic.twitter.com/RjMuXsTboI— NRCC (@NRCC) July 2, 2019
A Timesman quantified Trumpian hyperbole:
The president who loves superlatives: During one news conference on the Asia trip, he used the word “best” nine times, “incredible” 16 times, “tremendous” 28 times and “great” or “greatest” 50 times. https://t.co/tJxDl70Wns— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 2, 2019
The editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight highlighted this from a poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers:
Among voters who *aren't* backing Biden in Iowa, the top reason isn't ideology but *age*. Note that several of these responses refer to age (e.g. "pass the torch"), not just the top one. https://t.co/dZPhAHloqC pic.twitter.com/KZvhb8R0n9— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) July 2, 2019
From a CNN analyst:
I'll say it... At the moment, Harris is putting together an Obama/Clinton like coalition of white college grads African-Americans...— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) July 2, 2019
-- “The perils of empire,” by Rick Atkinson: “As we celebrate our 243rd Independence Day, and the resultant American empire that would come to dominate the modern world, it’s worth considering the 18th-century British Empire against which we rebelled in a bleak and bloody eight-year war. … Comparisons of the British and American empires are easily overdrawn, particularly when assessing an 18th-century imperium with one that flourished in the 20th century. But echoes can be heard. Both were built and sustained with a large, permanent military force, including navies without peer in their respective epochs. Both reflected a devotion to market capitalism that relentlessly sought foreign markets and resources. Both derived from reasonably robust democracies, committed to political liberalism and personal freedoms within cultures that often bent toward conservatism. Both also displayed a penchant for foreign adventures, including expansionist and punitive expeditions sometimes infused with evangelical zeal that could be taken for arrogance. Both could be bullies, demonstrating a knack for alternately alienating and wooing allies. Diplomacy as practiced by America in 2019, which often consists of giving a thumb in the eye to our closest partners, threatens to leave us as friendless as Britain was 243 years ago.”
-- The New Yorker, “The 'Star-Spangled Banner' Controversy That Altered the Course of American Music,” by Alex Ross: “Nothing in the tangled history of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' quite compares to a 1917 incident involving Karl Muck, the music director of the Boston Symphony. … A brouhaha over the anthem led to the public shaming and eventual arrest of one of the world’s leading conductors. Muck, an elegant figure with a coolly disciplined podium style, had arrived in Boston in 1906, having long led the Berlin Court Opera. … His exalted status in German music matched prevalent tastes in Boston, a city with a considerable German-speaking community. But the atmosphere changed markedly after the United States declared war on Germany, in April, 1917. In October of that year, Muck and the Boston Symphony gave a concert in Providence, Rhode Island. Patriotic demonstrations at concerts had become routine, and Henry Lee Higginson, the patrician founder and chief executive of the Boston Symphony, was asked to include ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ on the program. For various reasons, Higginson declined to do so. An arrangement of the anthem was not immediately available, and Higginson felt that patriotic tunes had ‘no place in an art concert.’ The blame fell squarely on Muck.”
-- The Wall Street Journal, “Bad News About Those Constant Campaign Emails—They Work,” by Julie Bykowicz: “One unfortunate side effect of a race bursting with two dozen Democrats seeking to challenge Trump is the spam-level volume of fundraising email it has produced. Since April 1, candidates have sent a combined 1,730 messages, more than 19 a day, to supporters, according to a collection of presidential campaign emails maintained by The Wall Street Journal. … Professional email consultants who have worked on presidential campaigns have bad news: There is no such thing as too much. And the more cringeworthy the content, the more likely you are to click and give money.”
-- The Atlantic, “The Unfulfilled Promise of LGBTQ Rights in South Africa,” by Kimon de Greef: “When apartheid ended a quarter century ago, South Africa’s new rulers rushed to adopt inclusive legislation, passing laws enshrining gender equality and freedom of expression. The country now has some of the most progressive LGBTQ laws in the world, including full constitutional protections against discrimination. This legal environment is unmatched on a continent where colonial-era laws against gay sex are still commonplace, and where offenders in some nations face the death penalty. Cape Town advertises itself as Africa’s gay capital, with dedicated nightclubs, film festivals, and pride events. As a result, many LGBTQ people from across the continent make their way here. … The rights promised on paper in South Africa remain out of reach for many who need them most, particularly those fleeing homophobia elsewhere. For them, a quite different South Africa awaits: morally conservative, hostile to outsiders, and often profoundly violent.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Whatever happened to Breitbart? The insurgent star of the right is in a long, slow fade,” from Paul Farhi: “The site [former Trump adviser Steve] Bannon once described as ‘the platform for the alt-right’ has steadily tumbled from the commanding heights it occupied just 30 months ago. Since Trump became president, monthly traffic has virtually collapsed, plummeting nearly 75 percent. Aggressive conservative competitors have zoomed past it. At the same time, it faces a double financial whammy: the loss of its biggest donor and an ad boycott launched by a liberal group that continues to erode its revenue. And Bannon, once the driving force behind its insurgent editorial focus, is long gone, forced out early last year, a few months after Trump forced him out of the White House.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Mayor de Blasio offers yet another lame excuse for being late...again,” from the New York Daily News: “Mayor de Blasio had another tired excuse for being late on Tuesday. Hizzoner was 41 minutes late for a 7:30 a.m. interview on WPIX 11 because he set his alarm for the wrong time, according to City Hall. The chronically tardy mayor left Gracie Mansion for the station’s studio in Murray Hill a half hour after he was scheduled to appear, according to station host Dan Mannarino who told viewers Hizzoner was ‘on his way.’ ‘Better late than never,’ the anchor said. After de Blasio finally arrived and finished the interview, Mannarino joked, ‘We dragged you out of bed early, I appreciate it.’ The mayor replied, ‘Thank you, man.’ De Blasio told Mannarino that he set his alarm for the wrong time, according to the anchor.”
Trump will receive his intelligence briefing and have lunch with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Model Karlie Kloss, who is married to Jared Kushner’s brother Josh, talked about being a Democrat during Trump’s presidency: “It’s been hard,” she told Vogue. “But I choose to focus on the values that I share with my husband, and those are the same liberal values that I was raised with and that have guided me throughout my life.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- It will be hot and humid today as an occasionally stormy pattern continues through the Fourth and the weekend. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “This hot and humid pattern, with highs near or past 90 and a daily chance of storms, continues straight through the weekend. We may take a bit of the edge off the heat after today, but that still leaves us with a typically hot and humid Fourth of July around here. Scattered storms could very well affect fireworks, but with no specific trigger, such as a cold front or warm front, it’s hard to say where and when they might hit (or miss).” Independence Day is likely to be partly sunny with plenty of humidity and the threat of scattered storms here and there.
-- The Nationals beat the Marlins, 3-2. (Jesse Dougherty)
-- The Virginia General Assembly’s special session on gun control next week has divided the state. Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella report from Virginia Beach: “One evening, one city still reeling from mass gun violence, two separate gatherings. At a recreation center, residents fearful of too many guns. At a hotel conference room, [NRA] members worried about gun restrictions. … The issue has crystallized what’s at stake in elections this fall, when Republicans try to defend their razor-thin majorities and Democrats try to seize control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than two decades. While Democrats see an opportunity to recast the legislature in a blue tint that matches recent demographic changes in Virginia, Republicans are sounding an alarm, warning that the consequences this fall could be extensive.”
-- A D.C. Jewish preschool was warned about policy violations following allegations of child sexual abuse by a staff member at the school last year. Joe Heim reports: “In a 12-page letter sent to the Northwest Washington school last month, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) said Washington Hebrew Congregation failed to ensure the safety of children under its care, failed to properly supervise children and failed to comply with reporting requirements. It said the school’s director ‘failed to properly supervise staff and manage the operations of the facility, and as a result, failed to properly supervise children.’”
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
A rare “total solar eclipse” was visible in Vicuna, Chile: