Good morning and welcome to what is (hopefully) your abbreviated Fourth of July week! Tips, comments, recipes... you know what's up. Thanks for waking up with us 🇺🇸
🚨: "Combative protesters tried to break into the Hong Kong legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands were marching in that direction on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China," per The Associated Press's Ken Moritsugu. "...Both the combative protesters and the marchers oppose a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial. The proposal has increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory that was returned to China in 1997."
At the White House
TBD: President Trump made history when he became the first sitting U.S. president to cross into North Korea during a brief encounter Sunday with Kim Jong Un in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
- “Speed is not the object. We want to see if we can do a really comprehensive, good deal,” Trump said after the meeting, adding the two leaders agreed to form teams to resume stalled talks over North Korea's nuclear program. “Nobody knows how things turn out, but certainly this was a great day. This was a very legendary, very historic day.”
- “We want to bring an end to our unpleasant past and bring in a new future, so this is a very courageous and determined act,” Kim told Trump. “This handshake of peace itself serves to demonstrate that today is different from yesterday.”
Knee-jerk reactions: Trump's allies and critics alike were quick to release snap assessments about the encounter.
- “President Trump's coddling of dictators at the expense of American national security and interests is one of the most dangerous ways he's diminishing us on the world stage and subverting our values as a nation,” Joe Biden's campaign team put out in a statement.
- “Our President shouldn’t be squandering American influence on photo ops and exchanging love letters with a ruthless dictator. Instead, we should be dealing with North Korea through principled diplomacy that promotes U.S. security, defends our allies, and upholds human rights,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted.
- “Let’s be clear. Trump isn’t negotiating with North Korea. He is normalizing North Korea. That’s what’s happening here,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted.
Some of Trump's rhetoric was eyebrow raising: He spoke warmly of his friendship with the North Korean dictator and told Kim it was “just an honor to be with you.” He also cited the return of U.S. hostages as a sign of goodwill from North Korea, without mentioning Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after spending 17 months in captivity in the rogue nation.
But some experts say the reality of the situation lies somewhere in between the hyperpartisan analyses on cable news, in reporters' inboxes and in the Twittersphere, which fails to address the deeper reasons U.S.-North Korea diplomacy continues to hit an impasse.
- “Once again breathlessness of media/polarization of our politics has turned DMZ meet into a historic accomplishment or a key to an empty room,” Aaron David Miller, a Wilson Center scholar who helped with preparations for three presidential summits when he worked at the State Department, tweeted. “It’s neither. Instead it’s [a] potentially important step toward a negotiation in which neither side has yet shown requisite will or skill.”
- "[The] Idea [of] Trump’s stepping into North Korea cemented its status as a nuclear power is absurd,” Miller added. “NK has been, is now, and will remain a nuclear weapons state. [The] Key will be whether this reality can be reconciled with securing security; stability and peace on Korean Peninsula.”
Mintaro Oba, a former Obama State Department diplomat, told Power Up he viewed the visit as a way to “imperfectly” address some of the tactical problems resulting from how the Trump administration has conducted diplomacy with North Korea. He believes the meeting left the U.S. “with a small net positive.”
- “By framing the summit as just a handshake, President Trump avoided raising higher substantive expectations that he and Kim would have had to meet,” Oba told us. “And by reaching out in such a high-profile, if unusual, way to propose the summit, Trump helped the United States regain the initiative in diplomacy and create a public narrative where it was trying to advance diplomatic progress instead of hampering it through its inflexibility.”
- “But as a Democrat, I have always felt our party has a proud history of prioritizing diplomatic solutions that reduce the threat of war and pragmatic thinking that advances U.S. interests, and we are neglecting our own values as a party by opposing the current North Korea diplomatic process in such a knee-jerk way,” Oba added. “I have been deeply frustrated by the lack of meaningful, serious debate about North Korea in our party. It's a huge missed opportunity for our candidates to show the public they have smart, creative ideas about how to deal with North Korea in a way that draws contrasts with President Trump but maintains diplomacy.”
Hmmm: And the Trump administration may have more of a strategy than Trump let on. The New York Times's Michael Crowley and David Sanger report that weeks before Trump's drop by the DMZ, an idea “has been taking shape inside the Trump administration that officials hope might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations.”
- “The concept would amount to a nuclear freeze, one that essentially enshrines the status quo, and tacitly accepts the North as a nuclear power, something administration officials have often said they would never stand for,” per Crowley and Sanger.
- “It falls far short of Mr. Trump’s initial vow 30 months ago to solve the North Korea nuclear problem, but it might provide him with a retort to campaign-season critics who say the North Korean dictator has been playing the American president brilliantly by giving him the visuals he craves while holding back on real concessions.”
- “While the approach could stop that arsenal from growing, it would not, at least in the near future, dismantle any existing weapons, variously estimated at 20 to 60. Nor would it limit the North’s missile capability.”
Kim Jong Un has Donald Trump totally figured out: "If your excellency takes a step forward, you will be the first U.S. president to cross the border." https://t.co/kLQN2gS1xG— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) June 30, 2019
IVANKA-PLOMACY: At the middle of Trump's historic and whirlwind trip through Asia, providing commentary to the public on Twitter, appearing alongside world leaders in group photos, and even briefly crossing into North Korea herself, was Ivanka Trump.
- She was front-and-center at the G-20: In one video posted by the White House, Ivanka provided a debrief of Trump's meeting with Prime Ministers Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi in Osaka, which she described as “a really important meeting” that featured a “a productive discussion — everything from Iran to national security was covered.”
- “It's been a productive morning to say the least,” she concluded vaguely, her third use of the word productive in the 47-second video.
- And in a video gone viral posted by the French government, Ivanka is seen trying to insert herself into a conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.
- “Lagarde’s impatient side-eye as Ivanka Trump interjects in what appears to have been a back-and-forth between Macron and May suggested irritation at finding herself standing alongside the daughter of the U.S. president — rather than the president himself,” my colleague Anne Gearan writes of the episode.
- At the DMZ: The first daughter was also one of the few who followed her father and crossed into the demilitarized zone, an experience she called “surreal.”
- The visit was capped by an appearance before U.S. forces station at Osan Air Base: “What a beautiful couple,” Trump exclaimed as Ivanka and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined him onstage. “Mike! Beauty and the beast.”
“A constitutional monarchy”: The ubiquity of Trump's eldest daughter and adviser elicited heated responses and renewed outrage from observers, who think a diplomat or first lady was more fitting for such meetings.
“It was not appropriate for Trump to bring his kids to this meeting,” Jenny Town, a North Korea specialist at the Stimson Center and editor of 38 North, told Anne. “But it was a weird mix of people on the U.S. side to begin with. What’s notable, however, is who wasn’t there: Bolton.”
“It looks to the rest of the world like we have a kind of a constitutional monarchy,” Christopher R. Hill, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea under the George W. Bush administration, told Anne. “It’s increasingly problematic in terms of our credibility . . . it says to our allies, to everyone we do business with, that the only people who matter are Trump and his family members.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was perhaps the loudest voice who took aim at Ivanka's awkward and near-constant presence among some of the world's most powerful leaders:
- “It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “It hurts our diplomatic standing when the President phones it in & the world moves on. The US needs our President working the G-20. Bringing a qualified diplomat couldn’t hurt either.”
Ivanka Trump appears to be trying to get involved in a talk among Macron, May, Trudeau and Lagarde (IMF head).— Parham Ghobadi (@ParhamGhobadi) June 29, 2019
The video is released by French Presidential palace. pic.twitter.com/TJ0LULCzyQ
HARRIS DOUBLES SUPPORT AFTER DEBATE: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) saw an explosion in fundraising after her debate performance and now it appears that has translated into more support for her campaign in a national poll of the 2020 Democratic race.
A Morning Consult national poll released Sunday had Harris in third place behind Biden (33 percent) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) (19 percent). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who was also praised for her debate performance was tied with her Senate colleague at 12 percent.
- Biden down: Biden dropped five percentage points from Morning Consult’s previous poll conducted from June 17-23.
- Hold on to your takes: As CNN’s Harry Enten points out, we have yet to see a live-interview poll.
- Methodology: Morning Consult contacted 2,407 registered voters nationwide who said in an online interview they may vote in their state’s Democratic primary or caucus. It has a 2 percent margin of error.
- Why it matters: We're still seven months before the Iowa caucuses, but campaigns rely on moments like the debates to reach new supporters and also expand their war chests. Sunday marked the end of the second quarter for 2020 campaigns, meaning you can expect to see some campaigns soon release preliminary totals before they file their reports with the Federal Election Commission.
- There's also additional pressure to qualify for the September-October debate round: "The largest presidential field in modern Democratic politics could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates," The AP's Steve Peoples and Brian Slodysko report.
FELLOW CANDIDATES CONDEMN RACIST ATTACKS ON HARRIS: More than half of the two dozen Democrats also running for the White House slammed Donald Trump Jr. and other conservatives on social media for pushing racist and false attacks that questioned her ethnicity and whether she was truly American, our colleague Colby Itkowitz reports.
- Booker responds: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the only other African American candidate in the field, wrote on Twitter, ‘@KamalaHarris doesn’t have s---- to prove.’”
- The rest of the field: Warren was the first 2020 candidate to condemn the attacks, and Biden, Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Booker were among those who issued their own condemnations.
- Trump Jr’s role: “President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted, and then deleted, an alt-right commentator named Ali Alexander, stating, “Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves. She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period,’” Colby writes.
- One expert said the attacks were timed: “Caroline Orr, a behavioral scientist who studies the spread of disinformation online, noted on Twitter a surge of related anti-Harris tweets that posted within minutes of each other during the debate,” Colby writes. “‘Efforts to attack Kamala Harris’ race have been around for a while, but a huge volume of tweets pushing this manufactured narrative appeared tonight right after Kamala pointed out that she was the only Black woman onstage,’ Orr wrote, with images of the tweets questioning Harris’s racial credentials.”
- A new form of “birtherism”?: President Trump for years pushed the false and racist theory known as birtherism that President Obama was not an American citizen.
Outside the Beltway
NYC PRIDE PARADE 'ONE OF THE LARGEST IN HISTORY': “Exuberant crowds carrying rainbow colors filled New York City streets Sunday for one of the largest pride parades in the history of the gay-rights movement, a dazzling celebration of the 50th anniversary of the infamous police raid on the Stonewall Inn,” the Associated Press' Sabrina Caserta and Rebecca Gibian reported.
New York was also simultaneously home to WorldPride for all of June, the sixth iteration of the international LGBT event and the first one to be hosted in the U.S.
“It’s beautiful to see something like this happen, especially at a time like this and where our country is at politically,” Joanna Fanizza, who watched the parade with her friend, told the New York Times's James Barron.
Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg, was in New York for the festivities. Here he is with former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, president of the Victory Fund, a PAC aimed at electing LGBTQ officials, which endorsed Buttigieg on Friday. That's the first time in the group's nearly three-decade history that it has waded into a presidential primary.
Behold Kamala Harris's Pride bedazzled Levi's jean jacket:
In the Media
IN OTHER HEADLINES:
- Paging Cheri Bustos: Former Bernie Staffers Launch Consulting Firm to ‘Primary the Consulting Class.’ By The Daily Beast’s Gideon Resnick.
- Alaska's heat wave fuels dangerous smoke, melts glaciers. By Reuters’s Yereth Rosen.
- ICYMI: Civic Responsibility: The Power of Companies to Increase Voter Turnout. By Sofia Gross and Ashley Spillane for Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
- What Kanye's reading: Kim Kardashian West, Esq. in 2022? You better believe it. By CNN's Chloe Melas.
- NBA free agency is upon us: "The East Just Became a Kaiju Royal Rumble." By The Ringer's Dan Devine.
- Buckle up: "Unhappy With Their 2016 Coronation, the Democrats Start a 2020 Circus." By Politico Magazine's Tim Alberta.
- In an astonishing turn, George Soros and Charles Koch team up to end US ‘forever war’ policy. By The Boston Globe’s Stephen Kinzer.
- Flashback: How a Young Joe Biden Turned Liberals Against Integration. By Politico’s Jason Sokol.