1) A Pew Research Center poll finds that 62 percent of Americans say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation.” That’s down six points from September, driven entirely by Republicans changing their views. Since last fall, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points to 57 percent, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points to 37 percent, according to the Pew survey, which was conducted Wednesday through Monday.
For better or worse, presidential leadership can shape public opinion. Trump’s full-throated embrace of identity politics is changing his adopted party. Pew’s poll, in the field mostly before the latest donnybrook, shows that Democratic attitudes are unchanged compared with last fall: 86 percent say America’s openness is essential.
2) A USA Today-Ipsos poll finds that 68 percent of Americans who were aware of Trump’s tweets about the four liberal minority lawmakers said they are offensive. But 57 percent of Republicans polled said they agreed with the president, and a third said they strongly agreed. Overall, 59 percent called the president's tweets “un-American,” including independents by a 2-to-1 margin, and 65 percent of those surveyed said telling minority Americans to “go back where they came from” is a racist statement. Among Republicans, however, 45 percent agreed and 34 percent disagreed. Seven in 10 Republicans say that “people who call others 'racist' usually do so in bad faith,” compared with 17 percent of Democrats.
3) An Economist-YouGov poll shows that members of “the Squad” are more strongly disliked by Republicans than all the Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders. The survey tested the images of 26 Democrats. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) are already hugely unpopular among Trump voters. For example, AOC is viewed “very unfavorably” by 74 percent of voters who supported Trump in 2016, while Omar is at 65 percent and Tlaib is at 58 percent.
“All of them are better known among Republicans than Democrats, which suggests that a steady stream of coverage in conservative media has elevated them as potential Democratic bogeywomen,” Aaron Blake observes. “Trump is tilling fertile soil. … If you adjust their ‘very unfavorable’ ratings for the percentage who have actually heard enough to rate them, the picture becomes clearer. By this measure, Trump voters already rate them as three of the four Democrats they dislike the most. … Only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is tied with Tlaib for third-most-disliked, prevents them from monopolizing the top four spots. (Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) was the fourth congresswoman Trump targeted. She remains less well known and less despised than the other three members.)”
-- Trump attacked all four members of the self-professed Squad during a 90-mintue speech. A vote for Democrats, Trump told the crowd, is a vote for “frankly, the destruction of our country.” But he saved his wrath for Omar, the only one of the four who was not born in the United States.
-- Contrast Trump’s rhetoric this week to the moment that the late John McCain challenged a woman who falsely called Barack Obama a Muslim during the 2008 campaign. That rally took place in a Minnesota congressional district that neighbors the one represented by Omar. But, as Trump never tires of pointing out, McCain lost.
-- Last night’s rally underscored that the “Send her back!” sentiment is a feature, not a bug, of Trumpism. Trump’s poll numbers went up after he called for a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States in December 2015. His Republican primary opponents chastised him, but his crowds loved it. And Trump has said he sees crowds at his rallies as his focus groups. On “Fox & Friends,” Eric Trump said “95 percent” of Americans agree with his father’s message.
-- As thousands chanted “Send her back” last night, the president paused to let it amplify: “He listened for 13 seconds, as the stray shouts stretched into a uniform roar,” Meagan Flynn reports. “Some raised campaign signs or fists to the rhythm of the crowd as they yelled. Some only murmured along. A few were children, following the lead of the adults sitting in front-row seats.”
-- Omar responded by quoting a Maya Angelou poem:
-- As Trump refashions the GOP into more of a European-style nationalist party, he’s accelerating a once-in-a-generation political realignment that is re-sorting the two major parties. There was a stark racial divide in Pew’s poll, but there’s also a breakdown by class: Seven in 10 whites with at least a four-year college degree say America’s openness is essential, compared with half of those who do not have a degree. In other words, blue-collar, less-educated whites in the industrial Midwest gravitate toward the messaging while college-educated suburban women and the rising American electorate are turned off by it. This could speed up the underlying tectonic shifts that are making places like Ohio redder and places like Arizona bluer.
“Trump’s reelection campaign has boasted about efforts to expand the 2020 electoral map and compete in far-flung Democratic territory from Oregon to New Mexico while along the way winning over some of the voters who have been turned off by aspects of his presidency. But the president has held all his campaign rallies this year in states he won in 2016 — including Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. And he has shown no interest in toning down the incendiary rhetoric that has made him unpopular among black, Hispanic and female voters,” Toluse Olorunnipa and Ashley Parker reported. “The plan includes solidifying and maximizing the support of Trump’s base in a handful of key states while making marginal inroads with some of the constituencies wary of the president.”
Trump may win a second term in 2020 by going after the Squad – just as embracing Proposition 187 allowed Pete Wilson to get reelected in California in 1994 – but doing so could inflict immense long-term damage on the Republican brand.
-- Trump is forcing everyone in the party he didn’t join until 2009 to pick a side. Most who hold elected office fear his wrath – and possible primary challenges – so they have picked his side. History almost certainly will not judge them kindly for it. But politicians, by necessity, think more about the next election than the next generation.
-- Trump acknowledged yesterday that he’s been emboldened by the fact that only four House Republicans voted for the resolution to condemn his racist remarks. “I do think I’m winning the political fight, I think I’m winning it by a lot,” he told reporters. “I think the story is that 187 Republicans voted in favor of Trump and four voted against. There is great unity in the Republican Party.”
-- But it is significant that one of the four Republicans who broke ranks, Will Hurd from Texas, is the House GOP’s lone African American. “There is no room in America for racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia and hate,” Hurd tweeted after the vote, adding that he hopes Pelosi “also considers holding members of her own party accountable to the same degree to which she holds the President.”
After the 2018 elections, Hurd is one of three House Republicans left who hold a seat in a district Trump lost in 2016. Hurd won reelection last November by just 1,150 votes. The same Democratic challenger, Gina Ortiz Jones, is running again. She out-fundraised the incumbent in the second quarter. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Hurd’s vote for the resolution won’t save him. The DCCC has been running Spanish-language ads on Facebook and Instagram to accuse Hurd of falsely labeling himself a centrist. “Congressman Hurd kicked off this Congress by pledging his 2020 vote to President Trump,” said DCCC spokesman Cole Leiter. The *National Republican Congressional Committee did not respond to a request for comment.
-- Also in Texas: A retired judge who is Hispanic announced that she’s leaving the Republican Party because of Trump’s racist tweets. “Even accepting that Trump has had some successes (and I believe these are few), at his core, his ideology is racism,” Elsa Alcala, 55, wrote on Facebook. “To me, nothing positive about him could absolve him of his rotten core.” Alcala, who spent 20 years on the bench and was appointed by then-Gov. Rick Perry to the criminal appeals court, told the Austin American-Statesman: “Every day with the Republican Party seemed worse than the day before. Trump speaks about brown people like me as lesser beings. It’s cliche to say, but the Republican Party left me.”
-- Trump is certainly making many Republicans uncomfortable, even if they voted against the resolution. Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina who was in the crowd at last night’s rally, expressed discomfort with the chanting:
-- But several movement conservatives who do not hold elected office went much further. The communications director on Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential campaign, who has been critical of Trump throughout his presidency, lamented “the hatred”:
The political editor at the conservative website Townhall.com:
-- Other Republicans have rationalized Trump’s comments. Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) argued that Trump’s sentiment is not racist. “It’s more narcissism than anything else,” he told reporters at the Capitol, per Fox News. “I really do believe that if you’re a Somali refugee who likes Trump, he’s not going to say go back to Somalia. A racist says go back to Somalia because you’re Somali or Muslim or whatever. That’s just the way he is.”
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said it’s Democrats who are being divisive, not Trump. “I think we’re going way beyond the pale right now. They talk about people of color. I’m a person of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo-Saxon,” Kelly told Vice News at the Capitol. “Has anybody ever told you to go back to your country?” the reporter asked. “Yeah, they have actually: With a name like Mike Kelly, you can’t be from any place else but Ireland,” Kelly replied, adding that it does not offend him. Kelly said in a statement to our Colby Itkowitz that his broader point was lost. (Vice posted the audio of the five-minute interview, so you can judge for yourself.)
GET SMART FAST:
- Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized a foreign tanker and 12 crew members that it accused of smuggling Iranian fuel. The seizure is the latest in a series of attacks involving ships and tankers, mostly in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf, that have sent tensions soaring between the United States and Iran. (Liz Sly)
- The United States is sending about 500 troops to Saudi Arabia as a show of force toward Iran. (New York Times)
- The Pentagon authorized the additional deployment of 1,100 active-duty troops and 1,000 Texas National Guard soldiers to the U.S.-Mexico border. They will join some 2,500 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops already there, for a total force of 6,600 on the border mission. (Politico)
- Opioid death rates soared in areas where pain pills flowed. An analysis of previously undisclosed DEA data reveals corresponding spikes in deaths and pill shipments at the height of the epidemic. (Sari Horwitz, Steven Rich and Scott Higham)
- As lawyers zero in on drug firms, a reckoning may be coming. Nearly 2,000 communities hurt by the opioid crisis are suing drug companies for staggering sums to cover the costs of treatment, education and law enforcement. (Lenny Bernstein and Christopher Rowland)
- A man shouted “Die!” as he sprayed a flammable liquid throughout an animation studio in Japan and set the building alight, killing more than two dozen people. (Akiko Kashiwagi and David Crawshaw)
- The World Health Organization took the rare step of classifying an ongoing Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo as a “public health emergency of international concern,” just days after a first case of the virus was confirmed in the major city of Goma on the border with Rwanda. (Max Bearak)
- Some of Puerto Rico's biggest stars rallied a crowd of many thousands in San Juan to call on the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to resign. It was the fifth day in a row of protests following a leak of hundreds of pages of misogynistic and homophobic texts between the governor and his main advisers. Ricky Martin was among the protesters that marched to the governor's mansion. The civil unrest has forced multiple cruise ships to alter their itineraries, per Fox. (NPR)
- The Ohio House and Senate voted to move the state’s 2020 primary elections to St. Patrick’s Day, to allow the Republican Party to award its delegates on a winner-takes-all basis. Democrats, particularly in Cleveland, worry that celebrations could dampen voter turnout. Republicans say the state can handle it. (Dayton Daily News)
- South Korea’s central bank unexpectedly cut interest rates for the first time in three years. The economy is faltering and faces risks from a trade dispute with Japan. (MarketWatch)
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS:
- The Democratic National Committee announced who made the cut for the next debates. The only change to the lineup is that Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.) will be replaced by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock. The lineups for the July 30 and 31 matchups in Detroit will be decided by a random draw tonight that will air on Anderson Cooper’s show on CNN at 8 p.m. Eastern. The candidates will be split into three tiers, based on public polling, before being randomly split across the two nights. (John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz)
- Omar and Tlaib are planning a visit to Israel and the West Bank in the coming weeks, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to decide whether they are allowed in the country. “Israel's Foreign Ministry can recommend diplomatic exceptions for law denying entry to [divestment] supporters, but due to visit's sensitivity, the premier would have to make the call,” according to Haaretz.
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the moment stalled legislation providing compensation to 9/11 workers. Although lawmakers for several weeks generally declared broad support for the measure to extend a victims compensation fund, Paul objected when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tried to approve the bill by unanimous consent. (Devlin Barrett)
- Mitch McConnell and Republican senators are pushing Trump to accept an agreement with Democrats that would avoid stiff budget cuts and steer clear of a potential default. Trump has been warm to the proposal as it’s taken shape, but GOP backers fear he will change his mind and reject a deal under pressure from hard-liners in the White House. (Politico)
- JT Lewis lost his brother in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting seven years ago. Now, he’s running for state Senate as a pro-Trump, pro-gun-rights Republican. He would be one of a growing number of teens joining their state legislatures. (Isaac Stanley-Becker)
- Prosecutors dropped an indecent assault and battery case against Kevin Spacey. The actor was accused last year of groping a young man at a Massachusetts restaurant in 2016. The district attorney cited the “unavailability of the complaining witness” as the reason for abandoning the case. The news comes two weeks after the accuser dropped a lawsuit against Spacey that he had filed in late June, seeking damages for “mental distress and emotional injuries.” (Sonia Rao)
- Paul McCartney is adapting “It’s a Wonderful Life” into a stage musical. It will debut in late 2020. (BBC)
IMPEACHMENT SUMMER THIS IS NOT:
-- House Democrats joined with Republicans to kill an impeachment resolution against Trump. “The vote was 332 to 95, with 95 Democrats voting to keep the resolution alive and 137 of their colleagues siding with Republicans,” Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis report. “Rep. Al Green (D-Tex.) put Democratic leaders in a bind Tuesday night by filing articles of impeachment accusing Trump of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. So far, 86 House Democrats favor opening an impeachment inquiry, although several were reluctant to endorse his effort. Senior Democratic leaders favored a procedural vote to table, or effectively kill, the resolution, avoiding a direct vote on the impeachment articles. Republicans supported that step, receiving the sign-off from the White House. Shortly after the vote, Trump claimed victory, casting the move as a straightforward decision on impeachment when it was a vote to put off any action — at least for now. …
“Rather than tabling the resolution, several Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee tried to persuade [Nancy] Pelosi and other leaders to refer the articles of impeachment to their panel. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), a private supporter of impeachment, said that is how such matters are historically handled, but was rebuffed. Nadler and several of his committee members who are in Pelosi’s leadership circle voted against the motion to table.” (Here’s a list of the 95 Democrats who broke with Pelosi on the floor.)
-- But the House did vote on party lines, 230 to 198, to hold Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt for failing to provide documents related to the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. “The impact of the contempt vote is largely symbolic. Those found in criminal contempt are normally referred to the Justice Department for prosecution; in this instance, the Justice Department would not prosecute itself,” Felicia Sonmez notes.
TRUMP’S BEHAVIOR TOWARD WOMEN:
-- “Behind the scenes the night Trump partied at Mar-a-Lago with Jeffrey Epstein and NFL cheerleaders,” by Rosalind S. Helderman and Beth Reinhard: “In November 1992, eager for a comeback, Trump threw a raucous party with NFL cheerleaders at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and invited NBC to tape the event. Footage of that party, unearthed and aired by NBC News on Wednesday, shows Trump grabbing dancing cheerleaders and socializing with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested last week and charged with sex trafficking. … The two men appear chummy, chuckling as Trump appears to point out women on the dance floor. At one point, Trump can be seen whispering in Epstein’s ear, causing the financier to double over in laughter. … Trump can be seen putting his arm around the waist of one of the women, yanking her toward him and patting her on the backside as she laughs.
“The footage was taken for a feature on Trump that aired on the NBC talk show ‘A Closer Look’ that month. On the segment, host Faith Daniels described Trump’s agreeing to come on the show after he kissed the news anchor on the lips in front of photographers at a charity dinner in New York while her husband’s back was turned. … During the wide-ranging interview, Trump told Daniels that he didn’t think he would ever run for president, saying his relationship with women was a likely obstacle. ‘I mean, I’m so controversial, I love beautiful women, I love going out with beautiful women, and I love women in general, and people would say, “Oh, that’s a horrible thing,”’ Trump told Daniels, according to a transcript of the show that Daniels provided to The Washington Post.”
-- Federal prosecutors in New York ended their investigation into the Trump Organization's role in hush-money payments made to women who said they had affairs with Trump. The prosecutors have been ordered by a judge to release additional information connected to their related probe of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. (CNN)
THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF TECHNOLOGY:
-- The DNC warned presidential campaigns against using the viral face-transforming FaceApp, citing the software’s Russian developers. It urged campaign staff to “delete the app immediately.” Hannah Denham and Drew Harwell report: “The app allows users to upload photos of their faces and have them automatically edited to look like their future selves, replete with wrinkles and graying hair — a popular trick that filled the social media feeds of millions of users, including celebrities such as Drake, LeBron James and the Jonas Brothers. But concerns over how the photos could be misused by the company, whose developers are headquartered in St. Petersburg, raised alarms among many users as well as DNC officials, who urged 2020 campaign staff and ‘people in the Democratic ecosystem’ not to use the app.
“The app’s terms of service say users grant the company a ‘perpetual, irrevocable (and) worldwide’ license to use a user’s photos, name or likeness in practically any way they see fit. If a user deletes content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, the terms say. FaceApp also says it can’t guarantee your data or information is secure and that the company can share user information with other companies and third-party advertisers, which aren’t disclosed in the privacy terms. FaceApp’s terms of service say it can share information with a government agency if a subpoena, court order or search warrant is issued and that the company has 'a good faith belief that the law requires' it to do so. This information can also be shared with any country that FaceApp maintains facilities in, including Russia.”
-- Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has unveiled another high-concept project, one that he says puts humans on a path to “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” In other words, allow them to control computers with their minds. Taylor Telford reports: “His start-up Neuralink said it has tested its elaborate interface of ultra-thin ‘threads’ — which connects with a chip embedded in the skull — on rats and wants to begin human trials as soon as next year. The company said the device could eventually be used to treat such neurological disorders as paralysis and blindness. Musk and the company outlined their plans, which require Food and Drug Administration approval, during a presentation Tuesday at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. He said the trials would be done in partnership with neurosurgeons at Stanford University and other academic institutions. The procedure involves drilling four tiny holes in the skull to insert the threads. Eventually, Musk said, the goal is to implant the device with less-invasive laser surgery.”
-- Uber passengers in multiple cities were startled last night when they were charged 100 times the advertised fare for short trips, a glitch that sparked jokes about surge pricing gone wild. Faiz Siddiqui reports: “Riders in cities including Washington and San Diego took to social media to post about the sky-high rates, a problem that Uber confirmed, although it declined to say how widespread the issue was. Some who ordered food for quick delivery said they were also overcharged. One social media user reported that Uber maxed out her husband’s card with a charge of $1,905, when it was supposed to be $19.05. … The charge was so high it triggered a fraud alert. Uber said the glitch has been fixed. The company said the fare would be corrected so riders are charged only the amount for their actual trip, though they may temporarily see an inaccurate trip fare on their credit or debit cards.”
-- Progress toward a trade deal with China has stalled while the Trump administration determines how to address Beijing’s demands that the United States ease restrictions on Huawei Technologies, which many view as a national security threat. No face-to-face meetings have taken place and none have been scheduled since Trump and Xi Jinping met last month in Japan and agreed to resume talks, the Wall Street Journal notes.
-- Another norm threatened: Trump is signaling that he may seek to meddle in the awarding of a defense contract, possibly to punish someone he views as a critic. Bloomberg News reports: “Trump recently demanded more information about how the Pentagon crafted a massive cloud-computing contract it’s poised to award to Amazon.com Inc. or Microsoft Corp., in order to decide whether he should intervene. The Defense Department is set to give the contract, worth as much as $10 billion over ten years, to one of the two companies next month. Amazon, whose cloud-computing technology leads the market, is seen as the favorite. …
“Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican who recently wrote to the Pentagon to express concerns about the contract, said in an interview that he discussed it with the president aboard Air Force One last week. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, sent a letter to National Security Adviser John Bolton on Thursday asking him to delay the contract award. … Trump and Rubio spoke about the contract by phone the next day. A person familiar with the call said that it sounded as if Trump was thinking about canceling the contract. … Oracle lost a legal challenge last week contesting the terms of the bid and alleging the Pentagon had crafted unfair requirements … Republican lawmakers have taken up Oracle’s cause. Oracle at one point coordinated with at least seven other companies including Microsoft and SAP America to try to block Amazon from winning the entire contract.” (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump pouring kerosene on the fire of racial resentment he’s already done so much to stoke has caused alarm that he’s endangering the safety of the four congresswomen he’s attacking. From the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League:
A Democratic senator from Hawaii:
The president continues to dominate the conversation, sucking up all the oxygen:
The Democratic presidential candidates condemned Trump’s comments at his rally last night:
Joe Biden clowned around in Iowa. From an aide:
A CNN journalist experienced this in a cab last night:
A BBC reporter said the 1992 footage of Trump should be getting more attention:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reopened the door to running for Senate:
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), elected in 1974, cast his 16,000th vote:
Leahy reminisced with reporters:
Congressional Republicans expressed support for Trump's move against the Turks:
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“I’ve discovered that a show like 'Veep' is more realistic than most Americans would care to imagine.” — Pete Buttigieg talks to Mark Leibovich for a New York Times Sunday magazine profile.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Late-night hosts had a lot to say about the House vote condemning Trump's tweets:
For the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, images of the Saturn V rocket that carried astronauts to the moon were projected on the Washington Monument: