THE BIG IDEA: The four-page resolution of disapproval that the House will take up this week to condemn President Trump’s racist tweetstorm quotes at length from Ronald Reagan’s final speech in the White House.
“This, I believe, is one of the most important sources of America's greatness: We lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people – our strength – from every country and every corner of the world,” Reagan said in January 1989. “And, by doing so, we continuously renew and enrich our nation. … Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we're a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”
Thirty years later, the man who now occupies the White House tweeted that four minority lawmakers – three of whom were born in the United States – should “go back” to “the crime infested places from which they came.” A reporter asked Trump on Monday, “Does it concern you that many people find that tweet racist?”
“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” the president replied, adding that the four women “hate our country.”
House Republican leadership aides expect few of their members to defect from Trump to support the resolution of disapproval, which could come up for a vote as soon as today. It also says that Trump’s tweets “have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
Trump’s targets held a news conference at the Capitol last night to respond to the president’s comments. Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) each took turns speaking. Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib was born in Detroit, and Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York. 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.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, remembered when she was a girl and her dad brought her to the Reflecting Pool on the Mall. He told her to look around. Then he told her that the monuments she saw, and the nation they represented, belonged to her just as much as anyone else. “I want to tell children across this country,” the congresswoman said last night, “no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you, and it belongs to everyone.”
Here are eight takeaways from this firestorm:
1) Trump’s rhetoric is creating a more dangerous climate and corroding the public discourse.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked the Capitol Police last night to provide extra protection for the four lawmakers, citing a growing threat profile, per Fox News.
There are also longer-term impacts to consider. For better or worse, the president is a role model. Modeling bad behavior sends signals to young people just as much as good behavior.
Conservative columnist George Will argues that this is why Trump is worse than Richard Nixon. “I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse, you cannot unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream,” the consistent Trump critic said on a New York Times Book Review podcast last week. “This will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon's surreptitious burglaries did."
2) Trump’s “go back” rhetoric is consistent not only with his own long history of attacks on people he perceives as the other but also the nation’s oscillating attitudes toward immigration throughout its history. Marc Fisher traces the etymology: “The Know-Nothings wanted German and Irish immigrants to get out because they were allegedly subversive and diseased people who were stealing American jobs. White preachers and politicians of the 1820s urged freed blacks to move to West Africa, supposedly for their own good. From that drive to encourage blacks to go back where they came from to waves of nativist attacks on Catholics, Jews, Asians and Hispanics in nearly every generation that followed, ‘go home’ rhetoric is as American as immigration itself. …
“There is hardly any ethnic or racial group in the country that hasn’t been told to go back where they came from. In collections of voices from the Japanese American internment camps of the World War II era, in diaries of the earliest Italian and Irish immigrants, in Jewish novels and memoirs from the turn of the 20th century, the slur is a mainstay. … From Calvin Coolidge’s warnings in the 1920s that the country was becoming ‘a dumping ground’ and that ‘America must remain American’ to the ‘America: Love it or leave it’ rhetoric that surrounded Richard Nixon’s presidency, the nation’s leaders have struggled for two centuries with a central ambivalence about its core identity as a magnet for immigrants.”
-- The news media is grappling with how to label Trump’s Sunday tweets, but The Washington Post decided Monday afternoon to use the word racist because of the well-documented history. “The ‘go back’ trope is deeply rooted in the history of racism in the United States. Therefore, we have concluded that ‘racist’ is the proper term to apply to the language he used Sunday,” Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement.
-- Conservative lawyer George Conway, the husband of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, explains in an op-ed for The Post why this episode caused him to conclude that Trump is a racist – after years of giving him the benefit of the doubt.
3) White identity politics is driving Trump as 2020 approaches, and the Republican Party that he’s remaking in his image. Trump is making clear that his reelection campaign will feature the same explosive mix of white grievance and anti-immigrant nativism that helped elect him, Michael Scherer explains: “Trump’s combustible formula of white identity politics has already reshaped the Republican Party, sidelining, silencing or converting nearly anyone who dares to challenge the racial insensitivity of his utterances. It also has pushed Democratic presidential candidates sharply to the left on issues such as immigration and civil rights, as they respond to the liberal backlash against him. Left unknown is whether the president is now on the verge of more permanently reshaping the nation’s political balance — at least until long-term demographic changes take hold to make nonwhite residents a majority of the country around 2050. …
“Ashley Jardina, a professor at Duke University who recently wrote a book called ‘White Identity Politics,’ said that a majority of white Americans express some racial resentment in election-year surveys. Between 30 and 40 percent embrace a white racial identity. It is the latter group, with concerns about growing immigration threatening their racial status, who gravitated strongly to the president. The feeling of white identity is much stronger among non-college-educated whites than those who went to college, she said. ‘We do know that it is politically mobilizing,’ Jardina added. ‘Those who feel racial solidarity have more likelihood to participate in politics.’ …
“A December 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that 46 percent of white Americans said having a majority nonwhite nation in 2050 would ‘weaken American customs and values.’ … Asked whether having a majority nonwhite population would strengthen American customs and values, 42 percent of Democrats said it would, while only 13 percent of Republicans agreed.”
“Trump is proposing a giant swap: Republicans can no longer count on suburban women and we will continue to lose college-educated men and women, while we increasingly pick up working white Americans without college degrees,” said Ari Fleischer, who was a White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and who has spoken with Trump campaign advisers about their strategy for increasing turnout. “Nobody knows who will come out ahead in the swap,” he told Scherer. “That’s what the campaign will tell us.”
4) Trump’s increasingly incendiary rhetoric is being met with fading resistance from Republican and corporate leaders.
Making the case that the president’s behavior is being normalized, Toluse Olorunnipa compares the applause Trump got at the White House on Monday to what happened after Trump said Mexican immigrants are rapists, called for a Muslim ban and insisted there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville. “The president, who has grown more comfortable in Washington as he has surrounded himself with assenting voices, has learned over the past three years that there is little consequence within his party or from aligned corporate and religious leaders for embracing incendiary rhetoric and pugilistic attacks,” Toluse writes:
“The business world largely shrugged off Trump’s words, a shift from the kind of forceful response that industry leaders provided after Charlottesville. After Monday’s event at the White House — during which Trump accused members of Congress of hating Jews and loving al-Qaeda — business leaders gathered for the event circled around the president as he signed an executive order. Standing with Trump was Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson, one of the business leaders on Trump’s manufacturing council before it disbanded after the Charlottesville violence. Lockheed spokesman Bill Phelps did not answer questions about whether Hewson approved of Trump’s comments before or during the event.”
-- The New York Times looks at how senior staffers at the White House have grown emboldened as Trump blusters his way through scandals. After Trump defended the neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville, Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser at the time, told the Financial Times that “this administration can and must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups,”” Annie Karni notes. “On Monday, Mr. Cohn’s successor in the West Wing, Larry Kudlow, steered clear of the latest flare-up of Mr. Trump’s inflammatory language. ‘That’s way out of my lane,’ Mr. Kudlow said when asked about the president’s weekend tweets. ‘He’s tweeted what he’s tweeted,’ Mr. Kudlow said. ‘You’ll have to talk to him about that.’
“After Charlottesville, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a White House adviser, issued her own statement on Twitter, saying there was ‘no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.’ It was a notable corrective to her father. On Monday, Ms. Trump declined to comment on her father’s latest remarks. … Administration veterans said they had long ago become immune to thinking anything Mr. Trump said would stick to him for more than one news cycle. Indeed, even a year after Charlottesville, Republican lawmakers who distanced themselves from the president had come back to embrace his tax overhaul and his selection of Brett M. Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.”
-- “Melania Trump is only the second first lady of the United States not born in America; the first, Louisa Adams was born in England. Yet she's remained silent as her husband tweets racist and xenophobic attacks,” CNN notes.
-- Speaking of Charlottesville: Two weeks after being sentenced to life in prison by a federal judge, the avowed neo-Nazi James A. Fields Jr. received a similar sentence in a Virginia court on Monday for ramming his car into counterprotesters during the white-supremacist rally. In ordering terms of life plus 419 years in state prison, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore imposed the punishment recommended in December by a jury that convicted Fields of first-degree murder and nine other charges, per Laurel Demkovich and Paul Duggan.
5) Trump wants to make “the Squad,” as the four women he attacked call themselves, the face of the Democratic Party.
The president suggested that he’s attacking these women to elevate them. “The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embrace them,” he wrote after their presser last night. “That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!”
A Trump campaign adviser told Jackie Alemany for her Power Up newsletter that Trump's tweets “yet again reinforced in the minds of many Americans that the Democratic Party is the party of AOC and Omar.”
-- But even if there’s some strategy, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one. Trump has united Democrats after they spent a week in disarray. “Inside the White House, there was some frustration that the president had inserted himself into what was an internal Democratic feud, offering Nancy Pelosi a convenient off-ramp from her disagreements — generational, philosophical and tactical — with the four liberal lawmakers,” Ashley Parker, Rachael Bade and John Wagner report.
Dana Milbank notes that Trump’s latest comments made Democratic bickering over Joe Biden’s relationship with James Eastland in 1973 look small in comparison, a dynamic that could help the former vice president.
-- Looking forward, this gives some momentum to liberals who want impeachment. There is lots of speculation that Trump welcomes impeachment proceedings because he knows Senate Republicans are not going to remove him from office, and he has said his base would rally behind him if Democrats impeach.
Despite the speaker’s opposition, 85 Democrats have publicly called for starting impeachment proceedings against Trump, more than one-third of her caucus. All four of the lawmakers in question have already called for Trump’s impeachment. Omar mentioned impeachment during the news conference. “It’s time for us to impeach this president,” Omar said. “It is time for us to stop allowing him to make a mockery out of this Constitution.”
Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) said he plans to force a vote on the House floor this month on impeaching Trump. The House voted 364 to 58 in December 2017, with Republicans in the majority, on a motion to table Green’s previous impeachment resolution. Green said Monday that “the American people are fed up” with his racism and bigotry and that the Sunday tweets brought everything “to a boiling point.”
-- Congressional Republicans were left largely to chart their own course Monday in the absence of any unified messaging effort by their party. “One Senate Republican chief of staff … said that there was only ‘commiserating’ at such moments, ‘no coordination,’” Felicia Sonmez, Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane report. “‘Every man for themselves,’ said a House Republican close to party leadership. … But common themes quickly emerged. In responding to Trump’s tweets Monday, several Republicans echoed the president’s claim that the four women ‘hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion,’ while others cast them as lax on border security.”
6) The world is watching. Trump’s comments hurt America’s standing in the world.
“British politician David Lammy branded Trump’s comments ‘1950s racism straight from the White House,’” Jennifer Hassan reports from London. “Prime Minister Theresa May, who has just days left in office, also condemned the tweets. ‘The prime minister’s view is that the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable,’ a Downing Street spokesman said. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the tweets ‘totally offensive.’ Former London mayor and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said the president’s comments were ‘unacceptable.’ One of the two men will be selected prime minister next week. …
“Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, who was born and raised in the city and has frequently clashed with Trump, told a British radio station that this is the type of language he has heard for much of his life — though never from such a source. ‘I’ve heard it from racists and fascists. Never from a mainstream politician,’ he said. ‘Here you have the president of the U.S.A. using that same sort of language.’”
-- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern criticized Trump on Radio New Zealand. “Usually I don’t get into other people’s politics, but it will be clear to most people that I completely and utterly disagree with him,” she said.
-- The Palestinian Authority, which has cut off ties with the White House over a succession of Trump policies that have favored Israel, called Trump’s statement an “insult” to the concept of American rule of law, according to the AP. “It’s an insult to the Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous symbol, an insult to the American values where migrants from all over the world are united as one nation under one law,” said Ibrahim Milhim, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority.
7) This will make it more difficult for Trump to advance his agenda on Capitol Hill. Moderate Democrats have a harder time explaining to their liberal base why they’re voting with the president each time he picks a fight like this.
Pelosi spoke late last night with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as they tried to broker a debt ceiling and budget deal with just days left before Congress leaves until after Labor Day. “The talks took on new urgency after Pelosi shot down a White House fallback plan that would have Congress raise the debt ceiling — potentially for just a short period of time — by late next week if they failed to reach a budget agreement,” Damian Paletta and Erica Werner report. “Pelosi said the idea of raising the debt ceiling on its own and not in conjunction with a budget agreement was not ‘acceptable to our caucus’ and therefore did not stand a chance of passage in the House. …
“People involved in the negotiations said they were not panicking and that there were still multiple options to avoid a full-blown crisis, and they also said that all sides were working hard to reach a resolution. One option would be for lawmakers and the White House to reach an agreement in principle on the budget before the August recess, temporarily raise the debt ceiling, and then agree on specifics in the intervening months. White House officials also remain unsure whether Pelosi will be able to whip up enough Democratic votes to pass a budget compromise, and some congressional aides remain wary of whether Trump will ultimately agree to whatever budget deal Mnuchin brings to him."
8) Irony is dead: Attorney General Bill Barr spoke yesterday at a Justice Department summit on combating anti-Semitism. He was not talking about Trump, of course, but his warnings about divisiveness seem applicable to this situation. “My concern today is that under the banner of identity politics, some political factions are seeking to obtain power by dividing Americans,” Barr said. “They undermine the values that draw us together, such as shared commitment to our country’s success. This is the breeding ground for hatred, and we must reject it.”
“We are a pluralistic nation composed of very distinct groups, each bound together by ethnicity, race, or religion – each group proud of its identity and committed to its faith and traditions,” he continued. “Yet despite these differences, we can be bound together into a broader community. Not one that seeks to grind away our distinctive identity. … But one that respects, indeed delights in, the freedom of each of us that give meaning to our lives – that help us understand our place and our purpose in this Creation. This real sense of community cannot be politically mandated. It arises from the genuine affinity, affection, and solidarity that grows out of a shared patriotism and that spontaneous feeling of fellowship that arises from a shared sense of place, shared experience, and common local attachments. These bonds are the surest safeguard against racial hatred.”
-- Read more:
- CNN fact check: “Trump falsely accuses Ilhan Omar of praising al Qaeda.”
- Karen Tumulty pens an open letter to Barack Obama, pleading with him to speak out against Trump and to speak up for American values that she says are under attack.
- Eugene Robinson: “Republicans embrace Trump’s racism. Blame them as much as him.”
- Max Boot: “I may not agree with AOC’s squad, but they are better Americans than Trump.”
- David Remnick in the New Yorker: “A racist in the White House.”
- David Graham in the Atlantic: “Trump Goes All In on Racism. The president’s tweets are an invitation to a racial conflict that pits citizen against citizen, under the calculation that racism itself is a winning political strategy.”
WHILE YOU WERE IN YOUR MORNING MEETINGS:
-- Tan. Rested. Ready? Mark Sanford is considering a primary challenge against Trump. Sanford, the former South Carolina congressman who lost a GOP primary last year after Trump came out against him, told the Charleston Post and Courier this morning that he will take the next month to formulate whether he will mount a potential run against Trump as a way of pushing a national debate about America’s mounting debt, deficit and government spending. He said he would run as a Republican. “Sometimes in life you’ve got to say what you’ve got to say, whether there’s an audience or not for that message,” Sanford told the paper. “I think the Republican Party has lost its way on debt, spending and financial matters.
“Sanford conceded he had been waiting to see if any other high-profile Republicans, such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, would primary the president,” Caitlin Bird reports. “If he finds a presidential run is not viable, Sanford said he might pursue setting up a think tank aimed at addressing the deficit. Sanford also said he has no interest in running for Charleston’s congressional seat, a post he held from 1995 to 2001, and again from 2013 until 2018.”
-- Thousands of protesters marched on the capital of Puerto Rico for a third day to demand the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Police used pepper spray overnight to disperse marchers who had massed in front of the governor’s mansion in San Juan. The AP’s Michael Weissenstein and Joel Colon report: “Nearly two years ago, Hurricane María exposed the raw dysfunction of Puerto Rico, collapsing long-neglected infrastructure and leaving several thousand dead on watch. Last week, two of his top former officials were arrested by the FBI on corruption charges. But the scandal that is threatening to buckle the boyish 40-year-old governor centers on a profanity-laced and at times misogynistic online chat with nine other male members of his administration in which some of the U.S. territory’s most powerful men act like a bunch of teenagers. The leak of at least 889 pages of the private chat has sunk Rosselló into the deepest crisis of his career.
“In the chats on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, Rosselló calls one New York female politician of Puerto Rican background a ‘whore’ … and makes fun of an obese man he posed with in a photo. The chat also contains vulgar references to Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin’s homosexuality and a series of emojis of a raised middle finger directed at a federal control board overseeing the island’s finances. … The leaders of the U.S. territory’s house and senate said they weren’t planning impeachment proceedings, but an influential association of mayors from Rosselló’s pro-statehood party said he had lost their support.”
-- North Korea warned that planned military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces would jeopardize proposed disarmament talks with Washington and hinted it might respond by resuming nuclear and missile tests. Min Joo Kim reports from Seoul: “In a statement, the North’s Foreign Ministry accused the United States of violating the spirit of negotiations between President Trump and dictator Kim Jong Un by proceeding with military maneuvers scheduled for next month. At their first meeting in Singapore last year, Trump agreed to suspend major exercises with South Korea to avoid provoking Pyongyang. The North said its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests was a commitment it made in return to improve bilateral relations, ‘not a legal document inscribed on paper.’”
-- The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against any police officers involved in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man whose videotaped takedown in New York in 2014 helped coin a rallying cry for those concerned about law enforcement’s treatment of minorities, two people familiar with the matter told Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett: “For Garner’s supporters, the decision is a disappointing — albeit long expected — end to a case that had languished for years as various components of the Justice Department disagreed about what to do.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Two women who say they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein stood just feet from the multimillionaire in a federal courtroom, urging a judge to reject his bid to be released on bail and briefly describing what they said he had done to them. Prosecutors portrayed Epstein as a flight risk, noting that investigators had accessed a safe that morning in which he kept piles of cash, dozens of diamonds and a passport from the 1980s that had a photo of Epstein’s face but a different name. It listed the holder’s residence as Saudi Arabia. The judge said he’ll make a decision Thursday. (Renae Merle and Matt Zapotosky)
- A white police officer who fatally shot a black man last month in South Bend, Ind., resigned. The incident hurt Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign and highlighted his problems with the local black community. The police union president said job-related stress, a lawsuit, national media attention and “hateful things said on social media have been difficult” for Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, who had been on the force for 19 years. O'Neill shot Eric Logan, 54, on June 16 after he allegedly approached the officer with a knife. (NBC)
- Even though legal defeats forced Trump to abandon his pursuit of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, nearly a quarter of a million households continued receiving questionnaires that posed the controversial query: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The form, part of the Census Bureau’s 2019 Census Test, was designed to measure the impact a citizenship question would have on the survey’s respondents. The bureau began mailing the questionnaires shortly before the Supreme Court halted the administration’s effort, saying the government had provided a “contrived” reason for wanting the information. (Reis Thebault)
- An email account set up by the Colorado government for reports of child abuse and neglect went unchecked for four years, leaving more than 100 messages about mistreatment concerns unanswered and allowing five cases that needed follow-up to go without investigation. The email account was set up in 2015 to support a phone hotline and then forgotten, allowing reports to slip through. A May 15 internal audit discovered the problem. (Hannah Knowles)
- Apple preaches privacy. Lawmakers want the talk to turn into action. As states introduce privacy legislation, the tech giant is either absent from those efforts or backs industry groups that actively lobby against them. (Reed Albergotti and Tony Romm)
- Facebook said it won’t move forward with its Libra cryptocurrency without full approval and regulation. Libra has sparked global concern from politicians since Facebook announced its plans for the new technology in June, provoking questions about how the company will navigate government regulation and oversight, existing government-backed currencies, criminal use, and privacy. On Monday afternoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that criminal misuse of cryptocurrency is a “national security issue.” Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress that Libra raises “serious concerns.” (Hannah Denham)
- European diplomats who gathered in Brussels to try to save the Iran nuclear deal warned that the agreement was close to unraveling, but several held out hope they would be able to lure Tehran back into compliance. “We think there is a closing but small window to keep the deal alive,” said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. “What we’re looking for is to give Iran a way out of this.” (Michael Birnbaum)
- The two leading candidates to replace Theresa May as British prime minister said in a debate that they want to abandon proposals for managing the Irish border after Brexit, setting up a clash with the European Union that raises the risk of an abrupt and messy split with the bloc. Front-runner Boris Johnson and rival Jeremy Hunt said they weren’t willing to accept the backstop provisions of a Brexit withdrawal package negotiated between May and Brussels. (Wall Street Journal)
- Anti-terrorism police in northern Italy seized an air-to-air missile and other sophisticated weapons during raids on far-right extremist groups. Three people were arrested. Neo-Nazi propaganda was also seized. The raids were part of an investigation into Italian far-right involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The missile originated from the Qatari armed forces. (BBC)
- New documents reveal that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange received in-person deliveries, potentially of hacked materials related to the 2016 U.S. election, during a series of suspicious meetings at the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. The surveillance reports suggest that couriers may have brought hacked files to Assange at the embassy. (CNN)
- The House passed two measures last night aimed at cracking down on Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including a bill to impose sanctions on the people who ordered or carried out the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But despite the strong bipartisan backing of the House, the measures face a difficult road ahead in the Senate, where Republican leaders are sparring with members of their own party and Democrats over how forcefully to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s killing, the humanitarian disaster in war-torn Yemen, and a documented practice of jailing and torturing activists. (Karoun Demirjian)
- Lawyers for the state of Oklahoma urged a judge to find Johnson & Johnson culpable for the consequences of the state’s opioid epidemic and to assess the company as much as $17.5 billion to help clean up the damage. State and company lawyers delivered spirited closing arguments that capped the landmark seven-week proceeding — the first state trial in what has become a nationwide effort to recoup money from the drug industry for the cost of the crisis. The judge is expected to issue a decision near the end of August. (Lenny Bernstein)
- Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker announced that he will not run for governor or Senate in 2022. He’s ruling it out so that he can lead the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth group. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Ex-“Fox & Friends” co-host Clayton Morris has fled the country amid more than two dozen lawsuits from investors who say he defrauded them in real estate deals involving properties in Indianapolis. Morris has moved with his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal. His wife, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, said they plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad. They deny responsibility for investor losses. (Indianapolis Star)
- An investigation into what caused the SpaceX capsule to blow up in April during an engine test has pinpointed a faulty valve that caused a propellant leak. The valve is being replaced by a disc that would eliminate the possibility of such a leak. The company said achieving its goal of launching a flight with a crew by the end of the year has become “increasingly difficult.” (Christian Davenport)
- Hispanics are experiencing the largest homeownership gains of any ethnic group in the United States. African Americans are struggling, and their rate of homeownership hit its lowest level on record. (Wall Street Journal)
- More than 100 people have been killed and millions more affected by devastating floods and landslides across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. (The Guardian)
- The Beijing Zoo promised to improve security around its giant panda enclosure after stones were hurled at Meng Da, one of the creatures. A video of the incident was posted to China’s version of Twitter, where it drew more than 100 million hits. (South China Morning Post)
- Alan Turing will be the face of Britain's new 50-pound note. The World War II code-breaker saved countless lives because of his mathematical genius, but he was convicted of engaging in homosexual activity under Victorian-era gay laws. Turing killed himself in 1954 after he was chemically castrated. (CNN)
- Over-the-counter eyedrops and ointments sold at CVS are being recalled over concerns the products may not be sterile. Altaire Pharmaceuticals issued a voluntary recall for CVS-branded products following its recent recalls of drops sold at Walgreens and Walmart stores. (USA Today)
-- Last night was the deadline for presidential campaigns to file their FEC reports for the second quarter. Perhaps most striking was how many of the low-polling candidates spent more than they took in, portending a third quarter that could winnow the field.
“Twelve Democratic candidates spent more than 80 percent of the money they raised in the second quarter,” Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy tabulate. “Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey raised $4.6 million and spent $5.2 million; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee raised $3 million and spent $3.25 million; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York raised $2.3 million and spent $4.2 million; former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper raised $1.15 million and spent $1.6 million; self-help guru Marianne Williamson raised and spent $1.5 million; Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio raised $889,264 and spent $541,111. Each of those candidates registered at 1 percent or lower in the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey.”
-- Nearly 40 percent of the $2.8 million raised by former housing secretary Julián Castro from April through the end of June came during the last four days of the month after his debate performance. His campaign still spent 83 percent of the money he raised in the quarter, mostly on digital ads.
-- Five Democrats raised more than $10 million: Buttigieg ($24.9 million); Joe Biden ($22 million); Elizabeth Warren ($19.2 million); Bernie Sanders ($18 million); and Kamala Harris ($11.8 million).
-- Warren and Sanders both spent heavily on staffing and other expenses related to payroll: “Warren spent $3.8 million — some 36 percent of second-quarter spending — on staffing expenses as she continued to build an expansive ground operation in the early states. Her campaign said it has amassed a staff of at least 300, with 60 percent based in the four early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Sanders spent $4.3 million — 31 percent of second-quarter spending — on staffing.”
-- Altogether, the 22 Democratic candidates who filed fundraising reports raised $148 million. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $105 million in the same stretch.
-- The biggest loser: Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign raised a paltry $3.7 million in the second quarter this year — far less than the roughly $6 million that his campaign said it collected on the first day of his candidacy. The former Texas congressman raised $80 million for his Senate race last year, which created high expectations. In all, O’Rourke has raised $13 million since launching his presidential campaign, and he entered the third quarter with $5.2 million in cash.
“O’Rourke’s haul is comparable to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who drew $3.9 million,” Jenna Johnson and Lee report. “During the first debate in late June, O’Rourke was attacked by fellow Democrats and struggled to directly answer questions, leading to widespread criticism and concern among his top donors. He started attending high-price fundraisers and privately courting donors — things that his aides had once bragged to reporters that their candidate didn’t need to do.”
-- Warren has built her campaign around calling herself an advocate for consumers and a critic of corporations, but a new investigation into her private legal work casts fresh doubt on whether she’s practiced what she preaches. Annie Linskey explores Warren’s work for a company that was intent on limiting its liability to minimize the amount of money paid to women who received defective breast implants. Linskey reveals that the spin offered by Warren’s campaign is at odds with reality:
“When Dow Corning faced thousands of lawsuits in the 1990s from women saying they had become sick from the company’s silicone gel breast implants, its parent firm, Dow Chemical, turned to one of the country’s leading experts in corporate bankruptcies: Professor Elizabeth Warren. ... Her campaign said that she was ‘a consultant to ensure adequate compensation for women who claimed injury’ from the implants and that a $2.3 billion fund for the women was started ‘thanks in part to Elizabeth’s efforts.’ But participants on both sides of the matter say that description mischaracterizes Warren’s work. … A person familiar with Warren’s role who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe litigation strategy said the future senator was part of a Dow defense team that had containing the company’s liability as a goal. …
“‘She was on the wrong side of the table,’ said Sybil Goldrich, who co-founded a support group for women with implants and battled the companies for years. Goldrich said Dow Corning and its parent ‘used every trick in the book’ to limit the size of payouts to women. The companies, she added, ‘were not easy to deal with at all.’ … Shortly after The Post contacted Warren’s campaign for comment on this story, a lawyer from Warren’s campaign called Goldrich … to ask her to make a positive statement about the settlement. ‘They asked, “Could I make a comment about whether the deal was fair? Would I say it was a fair deal? Was it fair?”’ said Goldrich, recalling her conversation. ‘I wouldn’t say that.’
“Warren’s campaign pointed out that the vast majority of the women approved the fund. Plaintiffs’ lawyers noted that many women signed on because they were enticed by a promise of extra payments from any money left over in the fund. But the company has been resistant to making those payments, even though there is money remaining in the fund, said Ernest Hornsby, an Alabama-based attorney for plaintiffs. He and others on both sides of the case said Warren’s expertise was used by a company fighting in court to limit its liability and payments to the women. ‘There weren’t any voices on Dow Corning’s side saying we should pay these woman as much as possible,’ Hornsby said. ‘Nobody ever said, ‘Well, we have a law professor out of Massachusetts who says we ought to pay women more.’’”
This is not the only time that Warren took the side of big business for hefty legal fees: “In many cases, she was hired to argue motions, swooping in to offer her analysis and persuade a judge with her knowledge of bankruptcy law. These include her work on behalf of plane manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft after a crash that killed four people, including NASCAR star Alan Kulwicki. Warren argued that Fairchild should be shielded from liability because the plane that went down was made by a company that had gone bankrupt. (She lost.) In another case, Warren represented Southwestern Electric Power Company, a firm that relied on Warren when its bid to buy power plants from a bankrupt energy co-op was jeopardized by allegations of vote buying. (She won.)”
-- Watch what she does, not what she says: Kamala Harris called last week on top Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from any matter related to Epstein’s case. She said their former law firm’s work on his behalf “calls into question the integrity of our legal system.” Yet the very same day, Harris’s husband headlined a Chicago fundraiser for her campaign that was hosted by six partners of that same firm — Kirkland and Ellis, the Associated Press’s Brian Slodysko scoops. Harris’s spokesman said it was okay because it’s a big firm and the six partners weren’t involved in the Epstein case, but the same spin could be offered to defend the people the senator attacked.
PERSONNEL IS POLICY:
-- “The Trump administration plans to relocate most of the Bureau of Land Management’s D.C. workforce to west of the Rockies, part of its broader push to shift power away from Washington and shrink the size of the federal government,” Juliet Eilperin and Lisa Rein report. “The proposal to move roughly 300 employees from a key Interior Department agency — among them the majority of top managers — comes as Trump officials are forcibly reassigning career officials and upending operations across the federal government. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue finalized plans this summer to move about 550 jobs at two of his department’s scientific agencies from the nation’s capital to greater Kansas City. The White House is trying to abolish the Office of Personnel Management, the government’s human resources agency, and has threatened to furlough as many as 150 employees if Congress blocks it.”
“If I wanted to dismantle an agency, this would be in my playbook,” said Steve Ellis, who retired as the BLM’s deputy director in 2016 after nearly four decades in government service.
“Trump’s government has shed thousands of employees overall since he took office, with gains at the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs but an exodus of civil servants at several other agencies, including Labor, Education, and Housing and Urban Development,” Juliet and Lisa note. “In many cases, reassigned federal staffers have chosen to leave the government because they hail from two-career families or for other personal reasons. A majority of scientists and researchers at the USDA agencies slated to move to Kansas City are choosing not to move, and Perdue’s plan has been dogged by questions about its cost and the motivation behind it. … Some of the BLM top employees slated for a job transfer will move to Grand Junction, Colo. … But many affected workers — who include some top officials, Senior Executive Service staffers and low-level managers — will move to other cities in the West.”
Why Grand Junction? It’s 280 miles west of Denver — but right next to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s hometown. Denise Sheehan, who worked at Interior for 33 years before retiring last month from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told my colleagues that the reassignments have had a “chilling effect,” limiting what career officials are comfortable saying to political appointees. “I don’t know if that was intended or not, but that was definitely the effect. It’s the most toxic thing in the senior executive corps I have ever seen,” she said.
-- A fresh reminder of why government is bad at picking winners and losers: Trump signed an executive order yesterday to mandate a greater use of U.S.-made steel and iron in federal infrastructure projects. “Despite the federal support, the U.S. steel industry — a key priority for the Trump administration — has yet to see the kind of lasting prosperity Trump promised,” Taylor Telford reports. “While the tariffs did fuel a short-term rise in steel prices and production, the import taxes didn’t lead to a major increase in manufacturing jobs, largely because modern mills don’t require more manpower to operate at a higher capacity. And as the dawn of 2019 brought the beginnings of a global economic slowdown, steel prices have nose-dived, just as demand among key consumers has broadly weakened.”
White House counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway will ignore a congressional subpoena at Trump’s request, refusing to testify about a government watchdog’s findings that she broke the Hatch Act dozens of times. Last month, the House Oversight Committee authorized a subpoena for Conway after special counsel Henry Kerner said she blatantly violated the law that bars federal employees from engaging in politics during work. (Rachael Bade)
-- Sixty-two U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees and eight former workers have come under investigation for possible misconduct for their alleged participation in a secret Facebook group. Members of the group shared racist and sexist memes, cracked jokes about migrant deaths, and made derogatory remarks about Latina members of Congress. CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility began an investigation into the posts on July 1, after ProPublica published a story about content posted to the private online forum. (Abigail Hauslohner)
-- House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said he is expanding an investigation into the use of personal email by Betsy DeVos. Cummings told the education secretary that his move follows “disturbing new revelations” released by the department's inspector general in May about the extent of her personal email use while on the job. (Politico)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump complained this morning about the House resolution condemning his tweets:
.....Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%. Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
An author mocked Joe Biden’s claim that Trump is the most racist president ever:
Woodrow Wilson’s ghost has to be pissed about this snub, but Andrew Johnson probably wants a permission slip from Hell to come back and fight Joe over it. https://t.co/WbJ9NJi9kq— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) July 16, 2019
The Post’s in-house historian added:
Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the previously desegregated federal workforce.— Gillian Brockell (@gbrockell) July 16, 2019
One guy, bc of the work he did, couldn’t be separated from his white coworkers, so a cage was built around his desk.
Source: W.E.B. Du Bois: https://t.co/ZGWusUaUPL https://t.co/UOOjdwhfq8
A CNN White House correspondent said Trump is trying to redefine what he initially said:
The president and his allies continue to try to rebrand his racist attack as something about “socialism” when in fact his original tweet claimed that four American lawmakers should return to the “crime infested” “countries” they came from. That has nothing to do with socialism. https://t.co/ad8eNcSRDk— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) July 15, 2019
CNN did not mince words in its chyrons:
Our in-house book critic, Carlos Lozada, immigrated from Peru and won the Pulitzer Prize this year:
There is a clear progression:— Carlos Lozada (@CarlosLozadaWP) July 15, 2019
*Mexicans should be kept out by a wall.
*Foreign Muslims should be banned.
*A U.S.-born judge can’t do his job b/c of his Mexican ancestry.
*4 CITIZENS of color should just leave the country.
At every step, the circle of unacceptables grows wider.
A CNBC reporter highlighted this episode from the Trump family’s past:
a 1927 news report showed that Trump’s dad, then 21, was arrested at a brawl in Queens that pitted members of the KKK against police officers— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) July 15, 2019
when the NYT asked him about it in 2015, Trump said, “it’s unfair to mention it, to be honest, because there were no charges.” https://t.co/jzCQNTN3te
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) stopped short of using the word racist, but he criticized the tweets:
People can disagree over politics and policy, but telling American citizens to go back to where they came from is over the line.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) July 15, 2019
A longtime Republican consultant who was chief strategist for Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign likened Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to Strom Thurmond:
Strom Thurmond is looking down on Lindsey and thinking, “You done good, boy. I knew you had it in you.” https://t.co/zgQTFJZGtE— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) July 15, 2019
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is up for reelection next year in a red state, sided with Trump:
Montanans are sick and tired of listening to anti-American, anti-Semite, radical Democrats trash our country and our ideals. This is America. We’re the greatest country in the world.— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) July 15, 2019
I stand with @realdonaldtrump. 🇺🇸
A HuffPost editor poked fun at Mnuchin’s excuse for not answering questions about Trump’s tweets:
For some reason I find "We’re focused on cryptocurrencies” to be the funniest possible response and I plan to use it in the future when I don’t want to talk about something https://t.co/40YT0MiDIF— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) July 15, 2019
Reporters scoured the FEC filings for nuggets like these:
Jeff Bridges is a Marianne Williamson donor pic.twitter.com/dLNFiBljQB— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) July 15, 2019
Jay Inslee's campaign paid $30,225 for fundraising to a firm named Banana Stand LLC (!) last quarter. https://t.co/zjeX15NaoW— Maggie Severns (@MaggieSeverns) July 15, 2019
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’m not a monk. I’m just a congressman.” — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in a Mother Jones profile.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Stephen Colbert talked about Trump's tweets:
Divers off the British coast captured footage over the weekend of a barrel jellyfish as big as a human:
A child’s iPhone began sparking. Then it burned holes in her blanket:
Norah O’Donnell wrapped up her first night as the anchor of “CBS Evening News” by quoting Edward R. Murrow: