* John Wagner reports that somebody’s changing his mind again:
President Trump stepped back Friday from a day-old claim that he was unhappy with a hostile chant by his supporters, lashing out at the media for its coverage of the episode and calling the crowd at the North Carolina rally “incredible patriots.”
“Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots,” Trump said during an event in the Oval Office at which he again attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the Somali-born lawmaker whom he was criticizing at his rally earlier this week when the chants of “Send her back!” rang out.
“She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you,” Trump said. “And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.”
Who could have predicted that such a thing would happen? Oh yeah, pretty much everyone.
* Mark Sherman, Kevin Freking, and Jill Colvin run down the record of Eugene Scalia, Trump’s pick to be the new secretary of labor:
Scalia, 55, served for a year as the Labor Department’s top lawyer, its solicitor, during the George W. Bush administration. But most of his career has been spent as a partner in the Washington office of the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher firm, where he has run up a string of victories in court cases on behalf of business interests challenging labor and financial regulations. “Suing the Government? Call Scalia!” was the headline on a 2012 profile by Bloomberg.
His most prominent labor case helped undo an Obama-era rule to put stricter requirements on professionals who advise retirement savers on investments. He also criticized a Clinton-era rule to protect workers from repetitive stress injuries that was ultimately repealed early in the Bush administration. Scalia defended Boeing from a labor union lawsuit and fought on behalf of Wal-Mart against a Maryland law aimed at improving workers’ health care.
You could hardly find a labor secretary more committed to undermining workers’ rights.
* A new NBC poll shows Joe Biden leading the Democratic primary with 25 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with 16 percent and Kamala Harris with 14 percent.
* Andy Kroll and Jamil Smith break down the latest controversial decades-old quote from Biden being circulated around.
* Timothy O’Brien offers a detailed, useful timeline of Trump’s long history of racism.
* Even as Trump continues to blast Rep. Ilhan Omar, Simon Rosenberg has a Twitter thread detailing that there are big and basic questions about Melania Trump’s immigration to the U.S. that still remain unanswered.
* And Will Sommer traces the provenance of the lie that Rep. Ilhan Omar married her brother, from an obscure post in an online forum to right-wing conspiracy theorists to “mainstream” figures like Rush Limbaugh and inevitably to President Trump.