THE BIG IDEA:
PHILADELPHIA – This weekend at Netroots Nation, the largest annual gathering of liberal activists, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called upon Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor to do everything he can to close a nearby federal detention center for immigration families. “Shut it down,” she said. “Shut. It. Down.”
Former housing secretary Julián Castro said President Trump traffics in cruelty. “Instead of breaking up families, we should break apart ICE,” he said, referring to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee criticized fellow presidential candidates who have not called for ending the Senate filibuster because he said that’s the only way to save the “dreamers.”
But the biggest cheers of the day, by far, came when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) promised that, if she’s elected, her Justice Department would bring criminal charges against government officials who are currently mistreating immigrants, either by not providing required medical care or physically abusing people in their custody. “Donald Trump may be willing to look the other way, but President Elizabeth Warren will not,” she said, prompting a standing ovation from a crowd of about 3,700 in the convention center.
The immigration issue animates the right and the left, and the presidential candidate forum at Netroots on Saturday afternoon turned into a contest of who could preach loudest to the choir. Dozens of attendees marched across downtown Philadelphia to occupy the lobby of Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters to highlight deportations during the Obama administration.
Even Warren, a fan favorite, wasn’t fully spared the ire of the far left after proposing an immigration plan that stopped short of advocating the full abolition of ICE. Instead, she wants to “reshape” the agency “from top to bottom.” As the senator talked about mass incarceration, she was interrupted by hecklers who demanded that she commit to do something by the end of her first day in office to legalize the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Warren assured the protesters – who obscured the view of the cameras on the press riser with a large banner before being escorted out – that she is with them. Then she explained that she would create a Justice Department task force to investigate all accusations of potential criminal misconduct by border agents. She said she will give this task force independent authority to pursue any substantiated criminal allegations. “This is our moment to live our values,” she said.
-- The fact that Warren’s advocacy for locking up government agents who break the law got such a raucous response compared with her calls for expanding legal immigration, building a pathway to citizenship and reuniting families speaks volumes about the mood of the Democratic base right now. Seeking catharsis for their boiling anger, many on the left seem hungry to lock people up. On Sunday, perhaps emboldened by the standing ovation, Warren sent an email to her fundraising list that said she will direct the Justice Department to “hold perpetrators accountable” for “the Trump administration’s criminal abuses at the border.”
The resonance of Warren’s push for criminal charges illustrates why both she and her style of pitchfork populism are ascending in the Democratic nominating contest. Indeed, this is not the first issue Warren has found success on by calling for incarcerating people she portrays as villains. She routinely complains that Wall Street bigwigs were not jailed after the 2008 financial crisis, even when that requires criticizing Barack Obama, and she rolled out a plan in April that would make it much easier to prosecute individual executives for corporate wrongdoing. In May, she promised that she would appoint people to the Justice Department who will overturn the long-standing policy that sitting presidents cannot be charged with federal crimes.
“If Donald Trump were anyone other than the President of the United States right now, he would be in handcuffs and indicted,” Warren wrote in a blog post on Medium, two days after Bob Mueller cited the policy during a news conference as he explained his report. “Congress should make it clear that Presidents can be indicted for criminal activity, including obstruction of justice. And when I’m President, I’ll appoint Justice Department officials who will reverse flawed policies so no President is shielded from criminal accountability.”
-- The hyper-politicization of the Justice Department is one of the many norms that have eroded since Trump called for Hillary Clinton to be jailed repeatedly throughout the 2016 campaign. Chants of “Lock her up!” still break out at the president’s rallies, more than two and a half years after the election.
Politicians are responding to their bases. “I don’t want to see him impeached, I want to see him in prison,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats during a meeting last month, per Politico.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “yes” when asked by NPR last month if she would want her Justice Department to prosecute Trump for obstruction of justice. “I believe that they would have no choice and that they should,” said Harris, a former state attorney general. “There has to be accountability. The president is not above the law. … I’ve seen prosecution of cases on much less evidence.”
Pete Buttigieg was asked the same question by the Atlantic: “To the extent that there’s an obstruction case, then yes, DOJ’s got to deal with it,” said the mayor of South Bend, Ind. “I would want any credible allegation of criminal behavior to be investigated to the fullest.”
Former congressman Beto O’Rourke told ABC’s “This Week” that he believes Trump committed crimes that could be prosecuted. “I would want my Justice Department, any future administration’s Justice Department, to follow the facts and the truth and to make sure, at the end of the day, that there is accountability and justice,” said the Texan.
In stark contrast to this rhetoric, Barack Obama rejected clamoring from his left flank to prosecute members of the George W. Bush administration related to their conduct during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” Obama said as president-elect in 2009.
-- Compared with this crop of candidates, Obama seems exceedingly cautious on a host of issues, including immigration. As president, he rejected calls to give federal health subsidies to undocumented immigrants. But all 10 candidates onstage for the second night of last month’s first debate raised their hands when asked if they favor offering health insurance to undocumented immigrants, though some later clarified that they didn’t support offering full coverage.
Nine of the 10 raised their hands to say they backed Castro’s plan to treat border crossings as a civil offense rather than a crime. “I wouldn’t be truthful if I said I was not concerned,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), who won in 2018 in a conservative district that Trump carried. “That’s another way of saying we’re going to just have open borders,” he told Matt Viser. “That’s not good for the country. We can’t have endless people coming in. I do believe we need borders, and the border even needs to have physical structure.”
Castro has been ripping Biden for the past two weeks after the former vice president told CNN that he opposes decriminalizing border crossings. “I saw that Vice President Biden said that he does not want to repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act,” Castro said in Milwaukee last Thursday. “It is clear that between him and me, one of us has learned the lessons of the past and the other hasn’t.”
-- My colleague Dave Weigel, who was also at Netroots, followed the attendees who marched to Biden’s HQ. “Members of Movimiento Cosecha occupied the lobby, some of them standing behind a banner (BIDEN: WE HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN 3 MILLION DEPORTATIONS) and some speaking through a bullhorn,” Weigel reports. “‘We can't forget Obama's legacy,’ said Florida-based immigrant rights activist Catalina Santiago, who was born in Mexico. ‘He promised the immigrant community papers, an ability to have a dignified life. Yet eight years later, he deported 3 million people, and Biden was complicit in that.’ … Santiago received protections under the Obama administration's DACA program for some young undocumented immigrants, but he was fixated on what they hadn't gotten. Biden attended Netroots only once, in 2014, when he was interrupted by protesters furious at the administration's deportation policy — a policy designed to set up an immigration restructuring compromise that never happened.”
-- Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), one of the four lawmakers attacked by Trump on Sunday, said during a panel at Netroots that she and other liberals who recently visited immigrant detention facilities in Texas encountered hostility and resistance from Customs and Border Protection officers. She sought to diagnose why some of the hostility came from people of color.
“It’s not that people are averse to change. They are resistant to loss,” Pressley said on Saturday. “People were angry at us because we were taking away their neighbor’s jobs with our calls to abolish ICE and to not want to continue to feed a system that criminalizes people for doing something that is a legal and human right, and that is to seek asylum. So, disproportionately, black and brown people, because you don’t even need a high school diploma to be a CBP officer, their only pathway to the middle class is to work for CBP. And they are now a part of this larger machine – a cog – in the oppression and incarceration of people who look just like them.”
-- Meanwhile, an armed man was fatally shot Saturday after throwing what authorities called “incendiary devices” at an immigration detention center in Washington state and trying to set a commercial-size propane tank on fire, according to Tacoma police. “About 4 a.m., 69-year-old Willem Van Spronsen threw ‘lit objects’ at buildings and at cars in a parking lot, police said, causing a vehicle to go up in flames,” Hannah Knowles reports. “Court records show the man was arrested last year at a protest at the same detention center. He pleaded guilty to obstructing a law enforcement officer, court records show.”
The Northwest Detention Center on the Tacoma Tideflats is owned and operated for ICE by a private company called the GEO Group. The company said in a statement that it is concerned that “outrageous and baseless accusations that have been leveled against our facilities have led to misplaced aggression and a dangerous environment for our employees.” “Contrary to the images of other facilities on the news, our facilities have never been overcrowded, nor have they ever housed unaccompanied minors,” said GEO spokesman Pablo Paez.
No ICE employees or detainees were hurt. The agency called the man an “anti-immigration-enforcement protester”: “This could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees housed at the facility had he been successful at setting the tank ablaze,” said Shawn Fallah, who heads the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility. “These are the kinds of incidents that keep you up at night.”
Deb Bartley, who said she was a longtime friend of Van Spronsen’s, told the Seattle Times she believes he intended to die by attacking the detention center: “He was ready to end it. I think this was a suicide. But then he was able to kind of do it in a way that spoke to his political beliefs.”
-- The nationwide immigration raids that Trump said would begin Sunday failed to materialize on the streets of major U.S. cities, even as his statement cast a cloud of fear that kept many families indoors. Abigail Hauslohner and Nick Miroff report: “Immigration enforcement authorities said their plans to track down migrants with deportation orders would continue, but their operations over the weekend appeared more akin to routine actions rather than the mass roundups the president promised. Immigrants and advocates had been bracing for the arrests, which Trump last warned of on Friday, saying he wanted agents ‘to take people out and take them back to their countries.’ But federal law enforcement officials said they worried that the unusual public disclosure of the plan endangered officers and threatened their effectiveness.
“Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva went on television to say ‘unequivocally’ that his department would not cooperate with ICE, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms urged undocumented immigrants to stay in their homes Sunday. … Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot on Friday terminated ICE’s access to Chicago Police Department databases and increased the city’s Legal Protection Fund by $250,000 to support legal aid to immigrants. … New York City officials said Saturday night that ICE agents were spotted conducting ‘enforcement operations’ in two neighborhoods but that no arrests were made after residents declined to answer their doors. … ‘All quiet in Houston,’ Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Sunday. ‘I expect ICE will conduct routine removal operations during the week.’”
-- The Trump administration moved this morning to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president’s battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The Associated Press reports: “According to a new rule published in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect on Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone. There are some exceptions … But the move was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border. The policy is almost certain to face a legal challenge.”
-- More on the immigration wars:
- Maria Sacchetti: “Former Southwest Key leader who ran migrant child shelters for U.S. government earned $3.6 million in 2017.”
- Politico: “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli refused to say Sunday whether children caught up in deportation raids would be separated from their parents.”
- The Post’s Editorial Board: “Trump’s planned deportations are mainly for show. That’s all.”
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot op-ed for The Post: “Why Chicago police will not assist ICE in its raids.”
- The Rev. Randall Keeney, the vicar at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greensboro, N.C.: “Want to provide sanctuary to an undocumented person? This is what it takes.”
- ProPublica: “Border Patrol Agents Are Passing Around A Commemorative Coin Mocking Care for Migrant Kids. The coin declares ‘KEEP THE CARAVANS COMING’ under an image of a parade of migrants crossing the border.”
- The Intercept: “Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost was a member of the secret Facebook group.”
- Adweek: “Ogilvy Leadership Confronts Staff Concerns Over Customs and Border Protection Contract. Chairman John Seifert addresses work for client in internal email.”
-- Sebastian Smee encourages D.C.-area readers to go check out a new exhibition about migration and the global refugee crisis at the Phillips Collection. Our in-house art critic says “The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement” restores good faith — along with nuance, the perspective of history and human feeling — to a subject more often today used cynically, so that people with heart-rending stories are reduced to hollow numbers.
GET SMART FAST:
- Barry, a storm that briefly became the first hurricane of the season, delivered torrential rain to Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday as it migrated at a lazy pace northward toward Arkansas. This has been a big, soggy tropical storm, but it underperformed most forecasts. New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other waterlogged communities seem to have dodged the kind of full-blown natural disaster that seemed possible just a few days earlier. (Tim Craig, Ashley Cusick, Mark Berman and Joel Achenbach)
- Investigators in Louisiana worked through the weekend, despite the storm, to determine how the founder of the Baton Rouge African American history museum founder ended up dead in the trunk of a car. Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, was discovered in the trunk of a car Friday afternoon about three miles from her home. An autopsy is scheduled for today. (The Advocate)
- Airlines are planning for the possibility that Boeing’s beleaguered 737 Max commercial jetliners will remain out of commission late into the fall, as the company works to fix a host of technical problems that have rendered the planes grounded since early March. The three U.S. airlines that operate Max jets — American Airlines, United and Southwest — announced in recent days they will cancel 737 Max flights through Nov. 2, Nov. 3 and Oct. 1, respectively, affecting hundreds of flights every day. (Aaron Gregg and Douglas MacMillan)
- India called off its much-awaited second lunar mission an hour before the scheduled launch, citing a “technical snag,” in a setback for the country’s growing ambitions in space. (Niha Masih)
- China’s economy decelerated to its slowest growth rate in 27 years, partly because of a slump in exports. The data is likely to bolster Trump’s belief that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, is under pressure to strike a trade deal to shore up the world’s second-largest economy. (Anna Fifield)
- Protests in Hong Kong expanded in terms of geographical reach and demands as thousands of people marched in the streets of a populous suburb, calling not just for the complete withdrawal of a bill allowing extradition to China but also the right to vote for their leaders. Violent clashes broke out between riot police and a small group of protesters. Police said that more than 40 people were arrested, and Hong Kong’s hospital authority said 22 people were injured. (Shibani Mahtani)
- Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s cost-cutting spree is generating chaos and leading to political backlash. In just 7½ months, the leftist president has achieved the kind of cost-cutting revolution that conservatives in Washington can only dream of. Thousands of federal jobs have been eliminated, and overseas travel has been slashed. But what started as a popular attack on official privilege has led to judges rebelling over salary cuts, public hospitals canceling surgeries and forest fires blazing out of control because of a lack of firefighters. (Mary Beth Sheridan)
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he granted a visa to Iran's foreign minister to visit New York primarily to meet U.S. obligations to the United Nations, but the official's movements will be sharply curtailed. Pompeo said in a telephone interview last night that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his delegation will be permitted to travel between U.N. headquarters and the Iranian mission six blocks away, and to the residence of Iran’s U.N. ambassador nearby. The group arrived in New York on Sunday morning. (Carol Morello)
- Britain said it will work for the release of an Iranian supertanker seized near Gibraltar if Iran guarantees the ship will not travel to Syria in breach of European Union sanctions. British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said he held a “constructive call” with Zarif. (Erin Cunningham)
- The Congolese health ministry confirmed an Ebola case in Goma, the first time the virus has reached the city of more than 2 million people since the epidemic began nearly a year ago. (Stat)
- Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest is reverberating in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party are calling for a criminal probe into former prime minister Ehud Barak’s personal and business ties with the accused sex trafficker. (Miami Herald)
- Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in a marathon fifth set to win his second straight Wimbledon title. (Liz Clarke and Ava Wallace)
RACE IN AMERICA:
-- Trump tweeted Sunday morning that four minority, liberal congresswomen who have been critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis report: “Trump’s remark swiftly united a House Democratic caucus that had been torn apart in recent days by infighting between Pelosi and the four freshman women of color — Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib was born in Detroit and Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York — about 20 miles from where Trump was born. Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia; her family fled the country amid civil war when she was a child, and she became a U.S. citizen as a teenager. All four women won election to Congress in 2018.
“By Sunday evening, at least 90 House Democrats [plus independent Justin Amash (Mich.)], had denounced Trump’s remarks, with more than half of them using the words ‘racist’ or ‘racism’ to describe his tweets. Some Democrats went even further. ‘This is white nationalism,’ said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), who is running for president. Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, stayed largely silent.”
-- “Trump fans the flame of a racial fire,” Peter Baker writes on the front page of today’s New York Times. “Trump woke up on Sunday morning, gazed out at the nation he leads, saw the dry kindling of race relations and decided to throw a match on it. It was not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last. He has a pretty large carton of matches and a ready supply of kerosene.”
-- Conservative blogger John Hinderaker calls this “the single stupidest act of Trump’s presidency.”
-- Beto O’Rourke, who supports reparations, revealed last night that both he and his wife recently learned that his ancestors owned slaves. “O’Rourke’s revelation, which was sparked by the Guardian’s investigation into his roots, comes as reparations have emerged as a litmus test for Democrats seeking the White House,” Tim Elfrink reports. “Last week, reports that ancestors of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) owned slaves raised questions about whether those historical crimes are relevant for politicians weighing the issue today. McConnell, who opposes reparations, has denied that his family’s legacy should impact his stance, noting that tracing the history of slaveholding is complex enough that even former president Barack Obama had forebears who owned slaves. But to O’Rourke, learning of his own familial ties to human bondage crystallized the benefits slave trading bestowed on his clan — and the need to correct those lasting effects today.”
“I benefit from a system that my ancestors built to favor themselves at the expense of others,” O’Rourke wrote on Medium. “That only increases the urgency I feel to help change this country so that it works for those who have been locked-out of — or locked-up in — this system.”
-- The past is not past. It’s not even past: By a proclamation of the governor, Saturday was Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee. Gov. Bill Lee (R) called the slave trader, Confederate general and first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan a “recognized military figure in American history.” The history: “Forrest Day has been a holiday in Tennessee since 1921. Since 1969, Forrest has been honored with a day of observation,” Hannah Knowles reports. “The state code enshrining Forrest Day says the governor must also proclaim commemorations including Robert E. Lee Day on Jan. 19 and Confederate Decoration Day on June 3. … ‘I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that, and I haven’t looked at changing that law,’ Lee said. … Lee has said he doesn’t support removing a similarly controversial bust of Forrest from the state Capitol. He says he does not want to ‘whitewash history.’”
“We shouldn’t be issuing proclamations today honoring Klansmen,” tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who did not weigh in on Trump's comments about the Squad.
-- Among the top four Democrats in national polls, Biden is the only one who has vocally opposed ending private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is particularly alarmed by the shift in the debate. “Donald Trump, you can see it in his face. He thinks the game is coming to him. You can see it in his face every day,” Bennet told Matt Viser for a broader story in today’s newspaper on the party’s leftward lurch. “If we nominate someone that is for that plan, we will not win the presidency and we will have no hope of winning a majority in the Senate. We should be on offense on health care. But if we’re going to go into this election talking about taking away [employer-based] health insurance for 180 million people, I guarantee we will be on defense.”
-- Biden unveiled a proposal this morning to expand the Affordable Care Act with an optional public health insurance program, teeing up a fight that aides say he’s eager to have with Bernie Sanders over Medicare-for-all. “Biden’s plan, which campaign officials estimate would cost $750 billion over 10 years, would also expand tax credits to pay for health premiums, and it would create a new coverage option to help people living in states that have resisted the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid,” Sean Sullivan reports.
“I understand the appeal of Medicare-for-all, but folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that,” Biden says to the camera in the video embedded above. “I was very proud the day I stood there with Barack Obama, and he signed that legislation. … Starting over makes no sense to me at all.” (Biden will talk health care with “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski in Des Moines today for an interview that will air in the 6 a.m. hour tomorrow on MSNBC.)
-- Sanders plans to deliver a detailed speech on Wednesday to criticize Democrats who don’t support the single-payer, government-run plan he’s championed for decades.
-- Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will release a proposal later today to allow more people to be eligible for Medicaid services.
PERSONNEL IS POLICY:
-- Mick Mulvaney is building a fiefdom as acting White House chief of staff. Seung Min Kim, Lisa Rein, Josh Dawsey and Erica Werner interviewed 32 White House aides, current and former administration officials, lawmakers, and legislative staffers for an in-depth exploration of his rising influence: “Mulvaney spends considerably less time with Trump than his two previous chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John F. Kelly. And the president has sometimes kept him out of the loop when making contentious foreign policy decisions, advisers say. At a recent donor retreat in Chicago, Mulvaney told attendees that he does not seek to control the president’s tweeting, time or family, one attendee said. Priebus and Kelly had clashed with the president over his Twitter statements and the influence of his eldest daughter and her husband.
“Instead, Mulvaney has focused much of his energy on creating a new White House power center revolving around the long-dormant Domestic Policy Council and encompassing broad swaths of the administration. One White House official described Mulvaney as ‘building an empire for the right wing.’ He has helped install more than a dozen ideologically aligned advisers in the West Wing since his December hiring. Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove. Policy and spending decisions are now made by the White House and dictated to Cabinet agencies, instead of vice versa. … Mulvaney — who has acknowledged to other advisers he knows little about foreign policy — has installed a deputy for national security, Rob Blair, who regularly battles with [national security adviser John] Bolton and his allies. Mulvaney and Bolton are barely on speaking terms, and Blair has regularly challenged Bolton’s subordinates.”
Mulvaney and Russ Vought, an ally he installed at the OMB, have sought to persuade Trump to care more about cutting spending and the deficit. But Trump has rebuffed many of their proposed cuts as deficits soar: "Trump recently told West Wing aides that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told him no politician had ever lost office for spending more money. Two people with direct knowledge confirmed that McConnell delivered that message in a June phone call about budget sequestration. ...
“Mulvaney faces significant obstacles on Capitol Hill, where he made enemies on both sides of the aisle during his three terms as a bomb-throwing House conservative. Democrats openly disdain him as a saboteur, while many key Republicans distrust his willingness to compromise, particularly on fiscal policy. GOP aides routinely trash Mulvaney in private. … Some GOP senators freely signal they would rather deal with any other administration official than him. In a recent interview, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) paused for 10 seconds when asked whether Mulvaney was a productive force. Shelby finally responded that Mulvaney was ‘engaged’ before pointing out that (Treasury Secretary) Mnuchin was the lead negotiator on behalf of the administration in the fiscal talks.”
Alexander Acosta’s resignation is the most recent illustration of Mulvaney’s power: “Weeks after he was named acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney summoned the labor secretary for a tense January encounter that became known inside the West Wing as ‘the woodshed meeting.’ Mulvaney told Acosta in blunt terms that the White House believed he was dragging his feet on regulation rollbacks desired by business interests and that he was on thin ice as a result. … Soon after, Acosta proposed a spate of business-friendly rules on overtime pay and other policies. But it wasn’t enough to save Acosta from Mulvaney’s ire — and helps explain why the former federal prosecutor had such tepid administration support last week.”
-- Connecting the dots: “No other U.S. president has lost so many Cabinet members in his first term to ethics issues. After Acosta, the total number of ethics-related Cabinet-level departures in the Trump administration has reached five,” Paul Blumenthal notes on HuffPost. The others are Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, David Shulkin and Ryan Zinke.
-- With Acosta gone, Patrick Pizzella will take the reins today as acting secretary at the Labor Department. The Center for Responsive Politics scrutinizes his record as a lobbyist: “In the late 1990s, his clients included a Russian front group, the government of the Marshall Islands and a trade association fighting against the minimum wage in a U.S. commonwealth,” per Reid Champlin and Jessica Piper. “For these and other clients, he worked with Jack Abramoff, who was at the forefront of a corruption scandal in the 2000s that ultimately resulted in 21 convictions and major reforms to lobbying laws. Pizzella was never accused of any wrongdoing.”
-- “Pizzella’s ascendance to the top of the agency tasked with enforcing labor protections is something unions have long feared,” Politico reports.
-- Many Republicans who signed those “never Trump” letters in 2016 are expressing regret because they’ve been shut out from administration jobs. “Of the 149 experts who signed at least one of the two letters warning that Trump was unfit for office … just one has been hired by the Trump administration,” David Nakamura tabulated for a story in Sunday’s paper. “James Jeffrey, a Middle East expert who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was named the State Department’s special representative for Syria last summer and in January was given the additional role of special envoy to counter the Islamic State. Neither of Jeffrey’s roles required Senate confirmation, which would have risked Democratic lawmakers reading from the never Trump letters at a public hearing.
“Some of the never Trumpers expressed hope that the blacklist will erode around the edges; even if the White House refuses to hire them, they said, perhaps a determined Cabinet secretary can bring them on. Along with Jeffrey, they pointed to Elliott Abrams, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations who did not sign the letters but wrote an op-ed in 2016 saying Trump should not be president and would lose the election. Trump foiled then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s attempt to name Abrams as his deputy in spring 2017. But Pompeo succeeded in January of this year in appointing Abrams as special envoy for Venezuela. Mary Kissel and Brian Hook, two other senior State Department officials, also were vocal critics of Trump during the campaign, though neither signed the letters. Like Jeffrey, Abrams, Kissel and Hook were named to positions that do not require Senate confirmation.”
-- The hot topic on the D.C. cocktail party circuit right now is: Who will be the next Cabinet secretary to go? NBC reports this morning that it might be Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing [him] after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census,” per Hans Nichols, Kayla Tausche and Hallie Jackson. “While Trump has previously expressed frustration with the 81-year-old Ross, in particular over failed trade negotiations, Ross's long personal relationship with the president has allowed him to keep his job. Frustrated by Ross' leadership of the Census Bureau, which is within the Commerce Department, Trump has been making calls to allies outside the White House musing about replacing Ross.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Our Pentagon correspondent drew attention to a fallen service member in Afghanistan:
This is Sgt. Maj. James G. Sartor. He was killed by small-arms fire in Afghanistan on Saturday, July 13 while deployed with 10th Special Forces Group.— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) July 14, 2019
Between Iraq and Afghanistan, Sartor was deployed in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2019.
Nancy Pelosi said Trump proved that he always cared about “making America white again,” not great:
When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to “Make America Great Again” has always been about making America white again.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 14, 2019
Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. https://t.co/ODqqHneyES
Tlaib replied to the president’s attack:
Yo @realDonaldTrump, I am fighting corruption in OUR country. I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman. Detroit taught me how to fight for the communities you continue to degrade & attack. Keep talking, you’ll be out of the WH soon. #TickTock— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 14, 2019
AOC responded to Trump by highlighting her office's work to help immigrants prepare for ICE raids:
As the President showed off his white nationalism for the world to see, #TeamOcasio dispatched Know Your Rights teams to show our neighbors how to protect their civil liberties w/ ICE & others.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2019
Local businesses asked for stacks of flyers, too.
Thank you to all who came out 💜🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/38RFzUwM4b
HRC weighed in:
They're from America, and you're right about one thing: Currently their government is a complete and total catastrophe. https://t.co/NvsnFSN8mb— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 14, 2019
Another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Ted Lieu (Calif.), who was born in Taiwan, talked about growing up with people who told him to “go back to China”:
Growing up in America, I had people tell me to go back to China. Those folks did not understand America.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 14, 2019
What makes America great is that an immigrant like me can serve in our military & now serve in Congress where I will question Mueller about the felonies committed by @POTUS. https://t.co/szdmc1a60e
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) responded to Trump by recounting how, despite being born in the United States, he was repeatedly told to “go back to Mexico” throughout his life, regardless of his service in the Marine Corps or how well he did in school:
Growing up I used to hear “go back to Mexico” from many kids, though I was born in the USA. I thought then that it was just kids. https://t.co/BguGAwQP0S— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) July 14, 2019
Another House Democrat defended her colleagues and slammed Trump's tweets as racist, adding that the views of women of color would not be ignored:
OMG, here we go again. My sisters in Congress are Americans. The voices of women of color have been ignored for far too long — but not anymore. This disgusting and racist attack won’t stop us. https://t.co/YfYGkiesPq— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) July 14, 2019
A former special agent at the FBI who now teaches at Yale said the tweets were hypocritical:
Two generations later, his grandson is POTUS.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) July 14, 2019
It’s truly sad that rather than use his family story to celebrate the immigrant experience and celebrate others whose families have followed a similar path here, he obscures his own humble beginnings and attacks others’.
A House Democrat from Northern Virginia added:
Only one of the Members of Congress pictured below was born outside the United States.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) July 14, 2019
It’s me, also the only one who was not the subject of a racist tweet by the President today. All of us — including those like @Ilhan and me born elsewhere — are proud Americans. pic.twitter.com/EOUCCj7Ldx
A white congressman from Philly made a similar point:
Like some of my Democratic colleagues, I’m young, from an immigrant family, also very critical of Trump. Funny thing though, he never tells me to “go back where I come from.” Hmm I wonder why? 🤔 https://t.co/wdzsKG3Ptm— US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) July 14, 2019
Responding to a Trump campaign spokesman's defense of Trump’s tweet, a CNN fact-checker pointed out the flaw in his argument:
The Trump campaign says people are lying for accurately saying Trump told members of Congress to go back to where they came from because Trump also said they should subsequently come back to the United States. pic.twitter.com/rOBtmEbYZX— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 14, 2019
Trump golfed with three Republican senators after his tweetstorm:
Really enjoyed playing golf with President @realDonaldTrump, @RandPaul and @sendavidperdue.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 14, 2019
Reminded President Trump how dumb it was for President Obama to ignore sound military advice by pulling out of Iraq, creating ISIS. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/rvQbwOF4Gl
After a day of criticism, the president escalated his attacks on the Squad last night:
....and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged. If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
The president was back at it again this morning:
When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
A freshman Republican congressman from Texas reacted to the president's tweets:
POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S. But I just as strongly believe non-citizens who abuse our immigration laws should be sent home immediately, & Reps who refuse to defend America should be sent home 11/2020.— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) July 15, 2019
An observation from a Times reporter:
On the silence from GOPers today, when the president called Judge Curiel a "Mexican" judge, Paul Ryan called it "the textbook definition of a racist comment." Ryan and others were silent today.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 15, 2019
Monica Lewinsky shared the worst career advice she’s ever received:
an internship at the white house will be amazing on your resume. 😳— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) July 14, 2019
A former state legislator from South Carolina encouraged CNN to book him and former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum together after the Daily Caller confused the pair:
The comedian Conan O'Brien joked about Eric Swalwell's absence from the race:
Ever since Eric Swalwell dropped out of the presidential race, my life has had no meaning.— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) July 12, 2019
The California congressman replied — and so did Warren:
I sure do! Conan, DM me and we'll get it sorted out.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 14, 2019
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of state,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said at Netroots. “I haven't asked her yet, so this could be a surprise to her. I actually believe this because what I think what she has said that has inspired us so much is such an antithesis of the president's foreign policies.”
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
After riding down the Champs-Elysees in a military vehicle, escorted by a cavalry procession, French President Emmanuel Macron watched the Bastille Day parade:
Nice held its first Bastille Day fireworks ceremony since a truck attack left 86 people dead in the French Riviera city in 2016:
Jimmy Kimmel talked with Seth Rogen:
The hosts of “Fox & Friends” laughed about Trump's offensive tweets:
Fox and Friends hosts laugh about Trump’s tweets this am telling Reps. AOC, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib to “go back” to the "crime infested places from which they came"— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) July 14, 2019
Finally, here is a clip that will make you feel better about the world: