August 24, 2019

Week 145

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week, renewed questions surfaced about Trump’s mental health, as he referred to himself as the “King of Israel,” the “chosen one,” and “hereby ordered” U.S. companies to change their dealings with China. Trump created another unprovoked international crisis with long-time ally Denmark, cancelling a trip he invited himself on, last minute, over the country’s unwillingness to discuss selling him Greenland.

As fears of a recession loomed and his approval rating weakened, Trump went on the attack of the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Jerome Powell, as well as oddly blaming the media for being in cahoots with Democrats to hurt the economy ahead of the 2020 election. As conditions worsened, Trump doubled-down on his trade war with China, claiming presidential power from a 1977 Act which was not meant to address trade disputes.

More than two dozen mass shooting were thwarted by law enforcement since the El Paso and Dayton shootings, yet Trump reversed himself on taking any action on gun control, and tweeted support of a white supremacist hate group at a rally in Portland. Trump’s paranoia, erratic behavior and authoritarian maneuvers seemed magnified by Congress being out of town for their long summer break. The narrative again this week was dominated by Trump and his never-ending series of shiny coins and not normal, authoritarian-like actions.

  1. On Saturday, far-right hate group the Proud Boys held a so-called “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Oregon, with the purpose of getting antifa declared as a domestic terrorist organization.
  2. Trump tweeted support, saying, “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,”” adding, “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”
  3. At least 13 people were arrested in Portland. Joe Biggs, the organizer of the gathering, claimed victory, citing Trump’s tweet and saying, “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted.”
  4. The Proud Boys released a statement saying they would return monthly. Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said such right wing groups are “impacting the entire nation,” adding, “We do not want them here in my city, period.”
  5. On Sunday, James Reardon Jr., 20, a white nationalist living in Ohio, was arrested after making threats to shoot up a local Jewish community center. Reardon was part of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
  6. While raiding the home of Reardon, also an avowed anti-Semite, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force found dozens of rounds of ammo, multiple semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask, and bulletproof armor.
  7. On Sunday, a WSJ/NBC News poll found 36% approve of the way Trump handled the two mass shootings last week, while 52% disapprove. 54% think Trump bears some responsibility due to his language and tweets.
  8. The poll also found that 68% are very or fairly worried about another mass shooting or attack by white nationalists, targeting people because of their skin color or country of origin.
  9. On Monday, CNN reported that two other mass shootings planned by white men were foiled over the weekend. All three, including Reardon, were brought to the attention of authorities through tips from the public.
  10. The other two were Brandon Wagshol, 22, of Connecticut who expressed interest in committing a mass shooting on Facebook, and Tristan Scott Wix, 25, in Florida, who texted his ex-girlfriend about the same.
  11. On Thursday, CNN reported that in all, 28 people have been arrested over threats to commit mass shootings in the weeks since the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings.
  12. Later Thursday, police arrested Jacob Cooper, a 20 year-old man in Tennessee, for threatening a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C. in social media posts.
  13. Cooper was the third man to be charged for threatening violence against Planned Parenthood in the past month. All three used iFunny, an online social platform known for white supremacist content.
  14. On Saturday, Trump tweeted or retweeted close to a dozen references to the size of the crowd at his rally in New Hampshire in Week 144, criticizing “Fake News Media” for hating to see his big crowd.
  15. On Saturday, Trump retweeted an edited Time Magazine cover showing him as president forever, and pinned it to the top of his Twitter account. The tweet was originally sent and pinned June 26.
  16. On Sunday, speaking to reporters, Trump again complained about coverage of empty seats at his New Hampshire rally, saying, “You saw that room was packed,” adding, “they had thousands of people outside.”
  17. On Monday, Trump again tweeted about the crowd size in New Hampshire, saying, “Massive overflow crowds,” and adding, “Couldn’t get into packed SNHU Arena. Fake and Corrupt News would like you to believe otherwise.”
  18. Trump also defended the strength of the U.S. economy despite economic indicators, saying, “I don’t see a recession. I mean, the world is in a recession right now, although that’s too big a statement.”
  19. On Sunday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow appeared on Sunday shows to defend the economy, telling “Meet the Press,” “Let’s not be afraid of optimism. I think there’s a very optimistic economy.”
  20. On Sunday, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro told “This Week” that “We have the strongest economy in the world. Money is coming here for our stock market.”
  21. On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office,” adding they “have Zero credibility,” and falsely claiming they “are losing a fortune.”
  22. Trump also tweeted “Journalism” — in quotes — “has reached a new low,” adding, “It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party” and “reporting is so false, biased and evil.”
  23. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands peacefully marched in Hong Kong under umbrellas in the pouring rain, marching for the 11th week in a row, despite ominous threats of brute force from the Chinese government.
  24. March organizers claimed 1.7 million people marched — more than 20% of Hong Kong’s population. Hong Kong police claimed the number was 128,000, and said they were capable of handling the protests.
  25. On Monday, both Facebook and Twitter said they had taken action against China for using fake accounts as part of a “significant state-backed information operation” to sow discord during the Hong Kong protests.
  26. Twitter suspended nearly a thousand Chinese accounts and banned advertising by state-owned media companies. Facebook removed five accounts, seven pages, and three groups citing “deceptive practices.”
  27. On Monday, Popular Info reported Facebook has taken down multiple ads by the Trump campaign targeting women, saying they violate the company’s rules which prohibits ads that target “personal attributes.”
  28. One ad that was pulled said the “Trump Coalition needs the support of strong women like you!” Recent polls show that more than 60% of women disapprove of Trump.
  29. On Sunday, WAPO reported on Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, and his influence on the regime’s immigration policy. Miller has earned a lead role in shaping policy over loyalty and agreement with Trump on goals.
  30. Miller not only writes Trump’s speeches, which Trump accepts with little or no proofing, but also is obsessed with terminology and dictates how others in the West Wing talk about issues.
  31. Miller has survived longer in the White House than nearly any official other than family members. In recent months as he has faded from public appearances his influence has grown within the regime.
  32. Miller’s allies in the immigration restrictionist movement say he has done more to curb foreigners than anyone. He views his role as “saving American society,” and successfully steers Trump where he wants him to go.
  33. Bloomberg reported Miller was also a driving force behind an effort, starting back as early as 2017, to press cabinet and White House officials to devise a way to block migrant children from going to school.
  34. The push was part of an effort to stem the flow of immigration. Miller’s efforts would be crafted to bypass Congress. Miller abandoned the idea after being repeatedly told it ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court ruling.
  35. On Monday, a spokesperson from Immigration and Customs Enforcement denied separating Maria Domingo-Garcia from her breastfed baby during the raids in Mississippi. She is still being detained.
  36. ICE claimed Domingo-Garcia did not say she was breastfeeding during her medical screening. Her lawyer told CNN she had not been asked about breastfeeding, and she responded “yes” to having a 4-month-old.
  37. On Tuesday, CNBC reported Customs and Border Protection will not vaccinate migrant children in border detention camps against the flu, despite calls from doctors to boost efforts to fight the infection.
  38. At least three migrant children have died in recent months, in part from the flu while in U.S. custody. Before the Trump regime, the U.S. had gone a decade without any migrant children dying in government care.
  39. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is trying to reach a “safe third country” accord with Panama’s government, which would impact migrants who passed through the country en route to the U.S.
  40. The accord would allow the U.S. to reject asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and elsewhere who landed in South America before heading north to Panama, and send them back to Panamanian territory.
  41. On Wednesday, acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan announced a new rule to lift the limit on detaining immigrant families, and hold them through their immigration proceedings.
  42. The rule could affect thousands of migrant families, and is likely to violate the Flores agreement which limits the time children can be detained to 20 days.
  43. The Flores agreement says facilities holding children for longer than 20 days must be licensed by states, but none are. ICE plans to work around this by claiming their facilities are licensed by ICE and hence compliant.
  44. On Thursday, Axios reported Andrew Meehan, a top aide and spokesperson for McAleenan, resigned over frustration with DHS’s handling of major policy rollouts and distrust of McAleenan and his inner circle.
  45. On Friday, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli defended the new rule, telling CNN indefinite detention will be “a deterrent” from migrants wanting to the cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
  46. Cuccinelli said targeting the Flores agreement, which he called “one of the main motivators for the crisis,” is a “critical part of the solution,” saying migrants are released “for us to never see them again.”
  47. On Thursday, Trump told reporters he is “very seriously” looking at ending birthright citizenship, saying you “have a baby — congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. … It’s frankly ridiculous.”
  48. On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit saying Ramon Torres, a Honduran-born U.S. citizen, was held illegally in a Louisiana jail for four days because of his Latino name and skin color.
  49. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported an email sent by the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to a blog post from VDare, a white nationalist website, in its morning news briefing.
  50. A spokesperson for the union said the link had content that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges,” including “racial and ethnically tinged slurs” and references that are “deeply offensive and Anti-Semitic.”
  51. The DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review briefings also included links to right-wing websites the Daily Caller and Breitbart News, even though the content of emails is meant to be neutral.
  52. On Thursday, James Dyer, a British journalist, said he was stopped by a Customs and Border Protection agent at Los Angeles International Airport and questioned by an agent over “being part of the fake news media.”
  53. Dyer tweeted after presenting his journalist visa, the agent “wanted to know if I’d ever worked for CNN or MSNBC or other outlets that are “spreading lies to the American people.””
  54. The agent told Dyer, “journalists are liars and are attacking their democracy.” Dyer said the experience was “unsettling,” adding the agent “let me go after I said that I was just here to write about Star Wars.”
  55. On Monday, parents of a 13 year-old black teen in Texas filed a lawsuit, saying teachers forced him to color his hair with a black Sharpie when he got a “fade haircut with a design line.” He was ridiculed by other students.
  56. On Monday, the Trump regime issued its abortion “gag rule.” Planned Parenthood said it will leave the federal Title X program that helps low-income people access contraception, rather than stop abortion referrals.
  57. The regime’s rule affects the 50-year-old program, which provides $286 million to healthcare providers each year for family planning services such as birth control. Planned Parenthood served 1.5 million low-income individuals under the Title X program.
  58. On Tuesday, Trump backed away again from gun control, after lunch with the head of the National Rifle Association. Trump cited a “great appetite” for tightening background checks in the aftermath of Dayton and El Paso.
  59. On Tuesday, two prominent board members stepped down from the NRA — country music singer Craig Morgan and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress — making a total of seven board departures since May.
  60. On Friday, the Trump regime’s DOJ filed amicus briefs in two cases involving gay workers and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, supporting a position that would allow workers to be fired for being LGBTQ individuals.
  61. The regime argued courts should stop reading civil rights law to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender workers from discrimination, saying it was not originally intended to do so.
  62. On Saturday, WVTM reported Holley Gerelds, a high school senior in Springville, Alabama had her portrait marked as “Not Pictured” in the yearbook after she got the photo taken wearing a tux instead of a drape.
  63. On Monday, Anthony Scaramucci told CNN that he is assembling a team of former Trump cabinet members to speak out against Trump and find a Republican to primary him for the 2020 election.
  64. Shortly after, Trump attacked Scaramucci on Twitter, calling him “a highly unstable “nut job,”” adding, “I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a fool of himself,” and he is “bad on TV.”
  65. Trump also claimed Scaramucci “Abused staff, got fired,” and “Wrote a very nice book about me,” adding, “Said his wife was driving him crazy, “something big” was happening with her. Getting divorced.”
  66. On Monday, Trump ally Rep. Matt Gaetz made a call for civility and said he must do better on social media in a radio interview. Gaetz told listeners in his district he was not meeting them on advice from Capitol Police.
  67. On Thursday, Joe Walsh, a conservative radio show host and former Tea Party congressman from Illinois who in a op-ed in Week 144 called Trump a “racial arsonist,” said he is considering challenging Trump for 2020.
  68. On Thursday, former South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford said he would head to early voting state Iowa next as he weighs a decision for a 2020 presidential run.
  69. On Sunday, Trump repeated his claim, without evidence, of voter fraud, telling reporters, “many, many people voted that shouldn’t have been voted,” adding, “some people voted many times.”
  70. On Monday, Trump falsely claimed in a tweet, “Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!” citing conservative Judicial Watch.
  71. Trump also tweeted, “Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!” Trump incorrectly cited a study by Robert Epstein which claims, without evidence, Google bias shifted votes to Clinton.
  72. On Monday, a Google spokesperson said, “This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016.” In 2017, Google told WAPO it is “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory.”
  73. On Monday, FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub rebuked Trump, calling his repeated claims of voter fraud “damaging to our democracy,” and saying, “There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016.”
  74. On Monday, Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons was quietly removed from his position by Attorney General William Barr, following the death of Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in his prison cell.
  75. On Monday, WAPO reported White House officials are discussing instituting a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to keep the economy from going into a recession.
  76. The White House later released a statement disputing that a payroll tax cut is under consideration. Quietly, the regime is scrambling for ideas to reverse public concerns about a recession and boost business confidence.
  77. On Monday, Trump attacked the Federal Reserve and its Chair Jerome Powell in a pair of tweets, saying, “Our Economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed.”
  78. Trump also claimed “the Democrats are trying to “will” the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election,” and pressured the Fed to cut rates, saying, “The Fed Rate…should be reduced by at least 100 basis points.”
  79. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters the economy is “doing fantastically,” adding the word recession is an “inappropriate” term, used by “certain people and the media…because they’d love to see a recession.”
  80. Trump also said “payroll taxes is something I have been thinking about. Many people would like to see that,” despite the White House asserting that a payroll tax was not being considered.
  81. Trump also said he would respond “very favorably” to a motion that would bring Russian into the G7, saying, “It should be the G8, because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.”
  82. Trump made similar remarks last year before the Group of 7 meeting. French President Emmanuel Macron told Russia President Vladimir Putin on Monday that Russia could rejoin if they ended the conflict in Ukraine.
  83. Trump also said, responding to a question on negotiations with the Taliban, “Nobody can be trusted,” adding, “In my world, in this world, I think nobody can be trusted.”
  84. Trump also said on global threats, “Nothing keeps me up at night,” adding “I’ll tell you, we could wipe out anything we want.”
  85. On Wednesday, Trump again attacked Powell in a series of tweets, saying, “Doing great with China and other Trade Deals. The only problem we have is Jay Powell and the Fed. He’s like a golfer who can’t putt, has no touch.”
  86. Trump again pressured Powell for a rate cut, tweeting: “Big U.S. growth if he does the right thing, BIG CUT — but don’t count on him! So far he has called it wrong, and only let us down.”
  87. Trump also tweeted, “So Germany is paying Zero interest…while the U.S., a far stronger and more important credit, is paying interest,” adding, “WHERE IS THE FEDERAL RESERVE?”
  88. Trump also attacked the media, saying, “the Fake News LameStream Media is doing everything possible the “create” a U.S. recession,” adding, “They would be willing to hurt many people, but that doesn’t matter to them.”
  89. On Wednesday, a new CNN poll showed Trump’s approval dropped to 40%, after holding at 43% since April 25. The poll also showed the first significant drop in perception on the economy since he took office.
  90. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office said the annual U.S. deficit will come close to hitting $1 trillion in 2019, an unusually high number during a period of economic growth, driven by the GOP tax cut.
  91. The deficit is set to expand by $800 billion more than previously expected over the next decade. Economists noted the size of the deficit limits the tools available to policymakers to bolster the economy in a recession.
  92. On Tuesday, Trump again offered, without invitation, to mediate in Kashmir, saying it “is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus, and you have the Muslims, and I wouldn’t say they get along so great.”
  93. On Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stepped down, possibly setting the stage for deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, who has questionable ties and backing from Russia, to take power.
  94. On Tuesday, Trump attacked Rep. Rashida Tlaib for crying at a news conference, tweeting, “Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears,” and “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite.”
  95. Later Tuesday, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump again attacked Rep. Tlaib for crying, saying, “I don’t buy it for a second,” adding at his rallies she was “was violent and vicious and out of control.”
  96. Trump also asked, “Where has the Democratic Party gone?” defending Reps. Tlaib and Omar, adding any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat are showing “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
  97. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and Jewish organizations pointed out that Trump’s use of the word “disloyalty” echoed anti-Semitic tropes accusing Jews of dual allegiance.
  98. On Monday, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest-ranking Latino, and the number 4 House Democrat, announced support for an impeachment inquiry, bringing the count to 127 Democrats.
  99. On Thursday, the WAPO impeachment tracker counted 132 House Democrats for impeachment, including 17 of the 24 members of the House Judiciary Committee.
  100. On Thursday, buoyed by fresh support from House Democrats, Rep. Al Green said he would try for the fourth time to push for impeachment when Congress returns to session in September.
  101. On Tuesday, a motion filed by the House Ways and Means Committee asked the judge to summarily order the Treasury Department to turn over Trump’s tax returns to the committee, citing a tip from a whistleblower.
  102. Chair Richard Neal says he got a tip from a Federal employee on July 29 “setting forth credible allegations of ‘evidence of possible misconduct,’” citing ‘“‘inappropriate efforts to influence’ the mandatory audit program.”
  103. On Thursday, WAPO reported House Democrats are unlikely to get Trump’s tax returns for the 2020 election, as the legal process moves slowly and Chair Neal refuses to pursue Trump’s state tax returns.
  104. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is making a renewed push for Ukrainian officials to investigate Trump’s opponents, after canceling his trip there months back.
  105. Giuliani has spoken on the phone and met in Madrid with a top representative of Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Zelensky, to push for an investigation on Joe Biden, the leading Democrat 2020 candidate.
  106. Giuliani told the Times he was working on his own as a private citizen with assistance from the State Department. He would not say if Trump is aware of his efforts.
  107. On Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark announced in an internal letter that the DOJ will no longer use an enforcement tool to get states and localities into compliance with environmental laws.
  108. The DOJ letter, obtained by E&E News, claimed the tool, regularly used in the Obama administration, went “beyond what is required under federal, state, or local laws.” Republicans have complained enforcement takes away revenue from certain industries.
  109. On Sunday, Trump confirmed his interest in potentially purchasing Greenland, saying, “Strategically, for the United States, it would be nice,” and adding of Denmark, “It’s not №1 on the burner.”
  110. Larry Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday” that “Greenland is a strategic place up there and they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” and noted President Truman offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100 million in 1946.
  111. On Tuesday, the White House canceled Trump’s September visit to Denmark, citing Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments that she would not entertain his proposal to purchase Greenland.
  112. Trump tweeted, “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people,” adding because the prime minister has “no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled.”
  113. Trump also tweeted PM Frederiksen “was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct.” He also canceled his scheduled dinner with Queen Margrethe II.
  114. On Wednesday, PM Frederiksen told reporters it is with “regret and surprise” that she received the news of Trump canceling, adding, “I had been looking forward to the visit. Our preparations were well under way.”
  115. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted a quote from a non-Jewish conservative radio host, calling Trump “the best President for Israel in the history of the world,” and claiming Jews in Israel “love him like he’s the King of Israel.”
  116. Trump also quoted Allyn Root saying, “They love him like he is the second coming of God,” adding “But American Jews…don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore.” “King of Israel” trended on Twitter.
  117. Later Wednesday, Trump lashed out at PM Frederiksen, telling reporters at the White House that she had made a “nasty” comment about his desire to purchase Greenland, having called it “absurd” over the weekend.
  118. Trump also said, “I thought it was not a nice statement, the way she blew me off,” adding, “She shouldn’t treat the United States that way. . . . She said ‘absurd.’ That’s not the right word to use.”
  119. Trump has used the term “nasty” to describe several high profile women, including his 2020 challengers Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, his 2016 challenger Hillary Clinton, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  120. Trump also used “nasty” to describe Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Trump rarely uses the term “nasty” to describe men.
  121. Trump also defended his trade war with China and its impact on the economy, saying, “Somebody had to do it,” then, looking skyward, Trump said, “I am the chosen one.”
  122. Trump also denied he is considering a cut in the payroll tax, saying there is no need to do so because the economy is fine. On Tuesday, Trump had confirmed a payroll tax cut was under consideration.
  123. Trump also doubled-down on his criticism of American Jews who support Democrats, saying, “If you vote for a Democrat, you’re very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people.”
  124. Trump also continued to brag about the job he is doing in office, saying, “I was put here by people to do a great job, and that’s what I’m doing,” adding, “And nobody’s done a job like I’ve done.”
  125. Later Wednesday, Trump again attacked Denmark, this time on defense spending, tweeting, “Denmark is only at 1.35% of GDP for NATO spending,” adding, “they are a wealthy country and should be at 2%.”
  126. On Wednesday, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said she would not be able to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his scheduled stop in September due to “prior commitments.”
  127. Historian Thor Whitehead called the snub “unprecedented for an Icelandic prime minister.” Jakobsdottir, a member of her country’s Green Party, supports abortion and LGBTQ rights, and climate change activism.
  128. Later Wednesday, during a speech at the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans in Kentucky, Trump mused that he wanted to give himself a Medal of Honor: “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify.”
  129. Trump said that he asked his aides, “Can I give it to myself anyway?” and they responded, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Trump never served in the military and was granted five draft deferments.
  130. On Thursday, Daily Beast reported that no formal invitation had been extended by Denmark to Trump, but rather he had invited himself. Over the subsequent days much planning was put in before Trump canceled.
  131. On Thursday, answering Danish press on the use of the word “absurd,” Frederiksen said, “I’m not going to get into a war of words with anyone, including the American president,” adding Greenland said it is not for sale.
  132. NYT reported Trump has also joked with an aide last year about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland, after he sparred with Puerto Rican politicians, including Carmen Yulín, who he calling “corrupt.”
  133. On Thursday, a new AP-NORC poll found Trump’s approval dropped to 36%, while 62% disapprove. Trump got poor grades for his handling of immigration, health care, foreign policy, and guns.
  134. Trump’s approval has remained in a band of 32% to 42% in the poll since he took office. No other president has stayed within so narrow a ban. AP-NORC noted the consistency suggests Trump’s weak standing “is calcified.”
  135. On Thursday, NYT reported the exodus of advertisers for Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show continued, with several companies leaving in the past two weeks over his rhetoric, and calling white supremacy a “hoax.”
  136. Carlson has lost dozens of advertisers in the past year over comments about women, immigrants, and race. His show Monday, the first after returning from vacation, had 13.5 minutes of commercials, versus 16 minutes of ads a year ago.
  137. On Thursday, former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders joined Fox News as a contributor, the latest example of the revolving door between the White House and the conservative cable network.
  138. On Thursday, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced he would be joining the 2019 cast of “Dancing with the Stars,” in what appeared to be an effort to rehabilitate his reputation.
  139. On Thursday, Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, resigned saying he was “far too controversial” after revealing his three-year romantic involvement with Russian agent Maria Butina, who is serving 18 months in jail.
  140. Byrne also said he had been aiding the FBI, whom he called “the Men in Black,” in their “deep state” investigation into the 2016 election, including their “Clinton investigation” and “Russia investigation.”
  141. On Friday, facing a lawsuit by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine over protecting user data, Facebook tried to publicly clarify in a post when it first knew about Cambridge Analytica’s use of data.
  142. The company claimed it learned of data scraping in September 2015, and that Aleksandr Kogan sold data to Cambridge Analytica in December 2015. Cambridge Analytica was not suspended until March 2018.
  143. On Friday, Trump tweeted a poll by Zogby putting his approval rating at 51%, roughly 10 points above the average of other polling, adding, “This despite the Fake News and Polls!” Zogby is not a reliable pollster.
  144. Earlier in the week, when asked about a Fox poll that showed him behind 2020 Democratic candidates, Trump told reporters, “There’s something going on at Fox, I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.”
  145. This week six polls showed Trump’s approval declining, including AP-NORC (36%), Fox New (43%), Gallup (41%), Monmouth (40%), NBC News/WSJ (43%) and CNN/SSRS (40%).
  146. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Economy is strong and good,” adding, “Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party” trying to convince people we are going into a recession.
  147. Trump added they are willing to “lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election,” adding, “But it won’t work because I always find a way to win.”
  148. Later Friday, just before Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech, China announced it would hike tariffs on U.S. products in response to Trump’s tariffs. Trump tweeted, “Now the Fed can show their stuff!
  149. Delivering annual remarks to central bankers in Jackson Hole, Chair Powell pledged to try to keep the economic expansion going, while acknowledging tariffs and other factors are causing growth to slow.
  150. He also spoke of challenges the Fed now faces, saying there is “no recent precedents to guide any policy response to the current situation,” adding, “we are asking whether we should expand” our monetary policy toolkit.
  151. Powell added monetary policy “cannot provide a settled rulebook for international trade,” and gave no clear guidance on whether there would be future interest rate cuts.
  152. Shortly after, Trump attacked Powell, tweeting, “As usual, the Fed did NOTHING!” adding, “It is incredible that they can “speak” without knowing or asking what I am doing.” The Fed is supposed to be independent.
  153. Trump also tweeted, “We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed,” then in another tweet, said, “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?
  154. Trump also tweeted, “We don’t need China.” Trump then tweeted that he “hereby ordered” U.S. companies to immediately look for an alternative to China for supply chains or move their operations to the U.S.
  155. Moments after Trump’s tweet of “hereby ordered,” which overshadowed Powell’s Jackson Hole speech, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 420 points.
  156. As the market plunged, Trump appeared to joke about it, tweeting, “Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!”
  157. The Dow closed down 632 points on the day due to Trump’s “order” for manufacturers to find alternatives to their operations in China. Apple led the way, down 4.6%.
  158. Trump told reporters on Wednesday that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is a “great executive because he calls me” whenever he has a problem, adding, “Others go out and hire very expensive consultants.”
  159. Friday’s down day in the stock market followed a number of sharp moves lower: the Nasdaq has fallen more than 1% six times this month, while the Dow has fallen more than 1% five times.
  160. Later Friday, Trump said he would raise tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods from 25% to 30%, and tax an additional $300 billion of goods at 15% as of October 1, in a fit of rage against both China and Powell.
  161. Trump announced the move on Twitter, saying, “China should not have put new Tariffs on 75 BILLION DOLLARS of United States product (politically motivated!)” adding, “Thank you for your attention to this matter!”
  162. NYT reported Trump’s series of tweets on Friday caught his advisors and staff by surprise. Some privately expressed concern that the new escalation could derail negotiations with China.
  163. With members of Congress on recess, there was little pushback from Republicans to Trump’s flurry of pronouncements. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had yet to comment or issue a statement.
  164. On Friday, Hong Kong protestors formed a 28-mile human chain across 39 train stations, inspired by the 30th anniversary of the “Baltic Wave.” The human chain was a show of solidarity and a plea for international support.
  165. Protestors have expanded their demands from scrapping the extradition bill to now include greater democratic freedoms, the resignation of Lam, and an investigation into claims of excessive use of force by police.
  166. On Friday, Taylor Swift told the Guardian, Trump is “gaslighting the American public into being like, ‘If you hate the president, you hate America,’” adding, “I really think that he thinks this is an autocracy.”
  167. On Friday, ahead of the G7 summit in France, French President Emmanuel Macron called on world leaders to place the massive fires destroying Brazil’s Amazon rainforest at the top of their agenda.
  168. Macron tweeted, “Our house is burning. Literally,” noting the Amazon rain forest “produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen.” Germany and Norway have also weighed in, threatening to withhold funding for Brazil’s forests.
  169. Brazil’s right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, accused Macron of trying to “make personal political gains” with his “sensationalist tone” in a tweet, calling it “an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries.”
  170. Later Friday, Trump tweeted he had just spoken to Bolsonaro and “our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong,” adding if the U.S. can help with the fires, “we stand by ready to assist!”
  171. On Friday, CNN reported that as Trump left for the G7 summit, aides say he has questioned why he must attend over the past weeks, saying he does not view summits with world leaders as a productive use of his time.
  172. On Friday, before leaving for the summit, Trump told reporters, “I’m not happy with Jay Powell,” adding, “I don’t think he’s doing a good job at all,” and “I don’t think he’s much of a chess player, but I’ve got him so…that’s what I have.”
  173. When asked if he wanted Powell to resign, Trump responded, “Do I want him to resign? Let me put it this way, if he did I wouldn’t stop him.”
  174. When asked about him claiming he was the “chosen one,” Trump attacked the reporter, saying, “you know exactly what I meant. It was sarcasm. It was joking,” adding, it was “just fake news. You’re just a faker.”
  175. Trump also called Danish PM Frederiksen a “wonderful woman,” saying, “We had a great conversation. We have a very good relationship with Denmark,” adding, “she was very nice. She put a call in, and I appreciated it very much.”
  176. When asked about North Korea’s projectile launches, Trump said Kim Jong Un “likes testing missiles,” adding the agreement does not cover short-ranged missiles, and Kim has been “pretty straight with me I think.”
  177. On Saturday, Trump claimed he does have the power to “hereby” order companies to leave China, tweeting, “For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers.”
  178. Trump also tweeted, as he arrived in France for the G7, “try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977,” adding, “Case closed!”
  179. Trump appeared to be referencing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, a law which enables a president to isolate criminal regimes. The Act is not meant to deal with issues with trading partners.
  180. Trump also tweeted, “When I looked up to the sky and jokingly said “I am the chosen one,” at a press conference two days ago… little did I realize that the media would claim that I had a “Messiah complex.””
  181. Trump also tweeted the media “knew I was kidding, being sarcastic,” adding, “They knew the TRUTH…And yet when I saw the reporting, CNN, MSNBC and other Fake News outlets covered it as serious news.”
  182. On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Trump believes Macron is structuring the G7 summit into niche areas in a way to isolate and embarrass him, while raising his political standing at home.
  183. U.S. officials claimed France has ignored their input on focusing on economic issues, to instead focus on climate change and inequality, and then blamed the U.S. for blocking consensus.
  184. On Friday, CNN reported the new White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, has yet to hold a daily briefing since she started her position on July 1. It has been 165 days since the last White House press briefing.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, August 24, 2019

Counter-protesters chase a group of people called the Three Percenters during an alt-right rally on August 17, 2019 in Portland, Oregon. Anti-fascism demonstrators gathered to counter-protest a rally held by far-right, extremist groups.