But let’s set that aside and talk about the other big political stories that happened during the debates.
Trump to Putin: ‘Don’t meddle in the election.’ Except, not really.
You have to watch the video, because my words won’t do it justice. The president of the United States is sitting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Japan on Friday as he jokes about Russia trying to sway U.S. elections.
"Mr. President, are you going to tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?” a reporter asked.
“Don’t meddle in the election,” Trump smiled at Putin and said, pointing his finger for effect. His grin was big, his eyes crinkled and sparkled when he said it, like he was pretending to admonish a child but only pretending.
The message was clear: Trump couldn’t have cared less about sending a message to Putin, at least not in front of the cameras.
The Supreme Court gives something for both sides to hate — and hope for
June is decision month for the Supreme Court, and it released two decisions Thursday with potentially big implications for democracy.
1. Go ahead and gerrymander, politicians: By a 5 to 4 conservative majority, the court said that federal courts have no place in telling politicians to stop partisan gerrymandering, which is when politicians group similar voters together. (Grouping people of similar race together is unconstitutional, the courts have said.) This decision makes it much harder to stop gerrymandering. But not impossible.
The immediate effect: Keeping the gerrymandering status quo intact benefits Republicans, because they control a majority of state legislatures and thus the map-drawing power, which begins anew after the 2020 Census.
2. Don’t use the 2020 Census for political reasons, Trump administration: By another 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court said the Trump administration essentially made up a reason to justify asking whether you’re a citizen on the 2020 Census. Census officials estimate that adding the question could lead to more than 6 million people declining to respond, and thus result in undercounting, particularly in Democratic areas.
The immediate effect: For now, the question is halted, but the administration has a chance to fight the case again in the lower courts and may still have time to add the question under a different rationale.
And coming next year: Did the Trump administration illegally end DACA? The Trump administration has tried to end a federal program to protect immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but lower courts have said that their justification was wrong, and the program remains largely intact.
On Friday, the justices announced that they’ll hear that question next term, meaning by this time next year — a few months before the 2020 election — we’ll be talking about an explosive immigration issue that affects millions of people.
Congress just did something for the border crisis — but was it enough?
The Trump administration has been asking Congress for $4.6 billion in extra funding because the agencies that house and process migrants at the border are desperately short on cash. In a week when that awful photo of a drowned father and daughter landed like a punch to the collective gut, Congress approved the money.
But it required House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to do something she hadn’t done previously with Trump: fold her hand. She and House Democrats wanted to tie the money to better humanitarian standards for the people at the border. Republicans thought that was a step too far and they forced Pelosi to pass their bill.
Liberal Democrats are absolutely incensed. They are accusing their more moderate colleagues of being child abusers for not fighting for better migrant conditions. What happens now?
Since when did the Problem Solvers Caucus become the Child Abuse Caucus? Wouldn't they want to at least fight against contractors who run deplorable facilities? Kids are the only ones who could lose today.— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) June 27, 2019
Trump takes on a U.S. woman’s soccer star. Or is it the other way around?
NOTHING is safe from politics in the Trump era, part 453. As the U.S. women’s soccer team makes a run for another World Cup win, Trump and co-captain Megan Rapinoe are going after each other. Here’s the rundown, in their own words.
RAPINOE, a few weeks ago: “I’m not going to the f------ White House.”
TRUMP, on Twitter this week as Rapinoe’s comments resurfaced: “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!”
RAPINOE, at the national anthem before the games: Silence. She won’t sing it.
RAPINOE, at the World Cup this week: “I stand by the comments I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with the exception of the expletive. My mom will be very upset about that.”
Trump and Rapinoe are two unapologetically fiery, passionate people who thrive in the spotlight. As she said Thursday: “I like those big moments; those are the most fun for me.” She was talking about soccer, but she might as well have been talking about taking on the president of the United States, while she and her team sue U.S. soccer for gender inequality, while she and her team try to take on the world and win the World Cup. Again.