June 13, 2020

Week 187

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

This week Trump seemed to fade into the background, unsure of how to respond to a triple set of crises that gripped the nation: continuing social unrest, a second wave of coronavirus, and the stock market plunging with the economy officially entering a recession.

Trump spent most of the week locked up in the White House, behind the layers of fencing he had constructed, which protestors in turn decorated with signs reading “Black Lives Matter,” “Fuck Trump,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and other such posters. Trump finally emerged on Thursday, heading to Dallas, but still without addressing the killing of George Floyd whose funeral was in Houston days earlier, or coming up with any policies or plans despite one of the most rapid shifts in opinion in our country’s history: support for Black Lives Matter and the need for police reform.

The military continued to turn on Trump, as the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley, publicly apologized for his role in Trump’s photo op at St. John’s. He and Defense Secretary Mark Esper were called out in a letter signed by more than 700 West Point alumni, as Trump delivered a commencement address there Saturday. More than 1,250 former Justice Department officials also called for an investigation of Attorney General William Barr for his role in gassing peaceful protestors.

  1. On Saturday, more than 100,000 protested in various locations around Washington, D.C., the largest crowd yet. Protests also took place in cities and towns across the country and around the world.
  2. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “LAW & ORDER,” and falsely claimed, “Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated. National Guard, Secret Service, and D.C. Police have been doing a fantastic job. Thank you!”
  3. Trump also blamed the media, tweeting, “@CNN & MSDNC are doing everything possible to “inflame” the crowd. Fortunately they have a very small audience!”
  4. On Saturday, NBC News reported in Klamath Falls, Oregon a group of counter-protesters showed up at a protest rally wearing military fatigues, bulletproof vests, and carrying flags and guns to counter antifa.
  5. The counter-protestors in the small rural town said they came with guns to protect their downtown businesses from outsiders, after false rumors about antifa. The 200 peaceful protestors protested without incident.
  6. On Saturday, WAPO reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has barred at least two Black journalists from covering the George Floyd protests, because they are seen as being biased by being black.
  7. On Sunday, the U.S. passed 2,000,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, accounting for nearly 28% of worldwide cases. While New York cases ebbed, several states saw new surges after reopening.
  8. On Sunday, an NBC News/WSJ poll found 80% of voters say things are out of control in the U.S., 15% said in control — including 92 % of Democrats, 78% of Independents, and 66% of Republicans say out of control.
  9. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr told “Face the Nation” pepper spray was used on protestors, and it is “not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.” This is false according to the CDC website and other sources.
  10. On Sunday, in a flurry of tweeting, Trump wrote, “Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to “DEFUND THE POLICE,” repeating his mantra, “I want LAW & ORDER!”
  11. Trump also ordered the National Guard to leave D.C., tweeting, “I have just given an order for our National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, D.C., now that everything is under perfect control.”
  12. NPR reported the National Guard force from D.C. and states totaled more than 5,000, although just one-third were on the streets at a time. The Army said guardsman from 11 states would leave in the next 2 to 3 days.
  13. Trump also tweeted, “Not only will Sleepy Joe Biden DEFUND THE POLICE, but he will DEFUND OUR MILITARY! He has no choice, the Dems are controlled by the Radical Left.”
  14. On Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council voted 9-4, a veto-proof majority to defund and dismantle the city’s police department after the killing of George Floyd — an acknowledgement the current system is not working.
  15. On Sunday, conservative journalist Peggy Noonan wrote an op-ed at WSJ titled, “On Some Things, Americans Can Agree,” citing Trump’s handling of the Floyd killing and civil unrest, and called on Trump to resign.
  16. On Sunday, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told “State of the Union” he would back Joe Biden in the presidential election, saying Trump has “drifted away” from the U.S. Constitution.
  17. Powell also called out Republicans, saying Senators were asked about last Monday by reporters and they “would not react,” adding, “we’re not a country of just the president. We have a Congress. We have a Supreme Court.”
  18. Shortly after, Trump attacked Powell, calling him “a real stiff,” adding, “he was “very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars…Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction?””
  19. Later, Trump retweeted that tweet about Powell, and also tweeted that Powell was “highly overrated,” and later tweeted, “Colin Powell was a pathetic interview today on Fake News CNN,” calling him “weak.”
  20. Trump also bragged, “I built the greatest economy in the World, the best the U.S. has ever had. I am doing it again!” and falsely claimed, “Wow! 96% Approval Rating in the Republican Party…Thank you!”
  21. Trump also tweeted, “If I wasn’t constantly harassed for three years by fake and illegal investigations, Russia, Russia, Russia, and the Impeachment Hoax, I’d be up by 25 points on Sleepy Joe,” adding, “very unfair.”
  22. Trump also attacked the NFL, asking if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement means it “would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?”
  23. On Sunday, NYT Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned over the controversy of publishing Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed last week, noting the significant breakdown in the editing process.
  24. Publisher A.G. Sulzberger cited progress made on diversity and inclusion, adding, “we must increase our efforts to ensure that this is a place that welcomes, supports and reflects the contributions of all of our employees.”
  25. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator @TomCottonAR. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom.”
  26. On Sunday, GoFundMe suspended conservative activist Candace Owens’ page, saying it violated its policies on “intolerance.” Owens raised funds for a cafe owner who insulted Floyd and called protestors “idiots.”
  27. On Sunday, CNN reported after a weekend of mostly peaceful protests, Trump is considering giving a speech to the nation on race and unity. Trump remained inside the White House all weekend, out of sight.
  28. On Sunday, Sen. Mitt Romney marched in a Black Lives Matter protest march in D.C., and later tweeted images, saying, “Black Lives Matter.” He also tweeted images of his father, George, marching in the late 1960s.
  29. On Monday, Trump mocked Romney, tweeting, “Tremendous sincerity, what a guy. Hard to believe, with this kind of political talent, his numbers would “tank” so badly in Utah!” This claim on polling was false.
  30. On Sunday, Politico reported Sen. Jim Risch, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will drop the requirement for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify for a routine annual budget hearing.
  31. According to an aide, the committee has sought Pompeo’s testimony for the hearing for at least four months, but had been stiff-armed by the State Department as Pompeo faces an outcry over firing the inspector general.
  32. On Sunday, WAPO reported former national security advisor John Bolton plans to publish a tell-all book about his time in Trump’s White House in late June, despite the White House not having signed off yet.
  33. On Monday, a CNN poll found Trump down 55-41 to Biden — Trump’s lowest support level in polling. The poll also found Trump’s approval fell seven points to 38% approve, 57% disapprove.
  34. The poll also found 63% disapprove of Trump’s handling of race relations, and 65% say his response to the protests was more harmful than helpful. Also, 67% say peaceful protests were justified.
  35. Two-thirds said racism is a big problem in America, up from 49% who said so in 2015, before Trump took office. The increase came from Black people (66% in 2015 to 88% now), Latinos (64% to 79%), and whites (43% to 60%).
  36. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “CNN Polls are as Fake as their Reporting. Same numbers, and worse, against Crooked Hillary. The Dems would destroy America!” Biden’s lead in polling was larger than Hillary in 2016.
  37. Trump also blamed the media, tweeting, “The Lamestream Media refuses to talk about our Country’s record setting Jobs Numbers, which are indicating GREATNESS, and soon!”
  38. Later Monday, Trump tried to discredit CNN and other polls, tweeting, “I have retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze todays CNN Poll (and others), which I felt were FAKE.”
  39. Trump attached a memo by McLaughlin which claimed without evidence, “The latest skewed media polls must be intentional.” Trump added, “They are called SUPPRESSION POLLS, and are put out to dampen enthusiasm.”
  40. On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and two dozen lawmakers knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds in Emancipation Hall in a tribute to George Floyd.
  41. Democrats said they would unveil a package of sweeping police reforms in response to the killing of African Americans with “meaningful, structural change that safeguards every Americans’ right to safety and equal justice.”
  42. On Monday, the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the U.S. is officially in a recession, finding the expansion peaked in February after a record 128 months.
  43. On Monday, the Courier Journal reported the bronze statue of Confederate soldier John Castleman, which has been in Louisville, Kentucky’s Cherokee Triangle for 107 years, was removed.
  44. On Monday, the Army reversed course and said it will consider renaming bases and facilities named after Confederate leaders. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy supported the discussion.
  45. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported Trump is “malignantly crazy” about the bad poll numbers, and is thinking of replacing Jared Kushner and campaign manager Brad Parscale.
  46. Trump called New York friends and outside advisors in hopes they would validate his belief the polls are biased, but no one did. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told GOP senators not to abandon Trump.
  47. On Monday, WTVR reported Harry Rogers, a self-described KKK leader, was arrested for driving his car into protestors at a Black Lives Matter march in Richmond, VA. Prosecutors are investigating it as a hate crime.
  48. On Monday, Politico reported Trump plans to restart campaign rallies in the next two weeks, despite the pandemic. Trump aides are still determining the venues and what safety measures will be implemented.
  49. On Monday, a federal judge in Detroit dismissed a lawsuit against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over her coronavirus stay-at-home order, citing a Constitutional ban on federal lawsuits against states.
  50. On Monday, Trump held a meeting with law enforcement at the White House, declaring as many as 99.9 percent of the nation’s officers are “great, great people,” and rebuffing protests over racism nationwide.
  51. Trump added, “There won’t be defunding. There won’t be dismantling of our police. There’s not going to be any disbanding.” Biden earlier said he was not for defunding, taking the air out of Trump’s planned attack.
  52. Officials said Trump will stick with his law and order message, and ignore the issue of race. Trump did not have a single Black person with him last Monday when he held up the Bible. He had one with him at the meeting.
  53. Also Monday, while Trump met with police, Biden met with the family of George Floyd in Houston ahead of Floyd’s funeral on Tuesday. A lawyer for the family said Biden “listened, heard their pain and shared in their woe.”
  54. On Monday, CNN reported that two weeks after Floyd’s death, Trump still has not met with protestors or visited Minneapolis to speak to the community, as past presidents have done.
  55. Vice President Mike Pence has held a series of listening sessions with African Americans, but the invitees have been carefully curated so as not to include Floyd’s family, Black Lives Matter, or civil rights activists.
  56. During his time in office, Trump has had little direct exposure to Americans who disagree with his politics, nor does the White House put him in a position to be directly challenged by everyday Americans.
  57. On Monday, AG Barr told Fox News he understood “the history of racial injustice in this country,” but said dismantling police departments would result in an increase in “vigilantism” and “more killings” in U.S. cities.
  58. Barr also said there was a “focused investigation” of antifa underway, saying, “It’s a very loosely organized group,” and “There are people who can be characterized as leaders,” and “There appear to be sources of funding.”
  59. Barr claimed without evidence about last Monday, “I personally saw projectiles thrown, and two were thrown at me and the police officers there,” and said that Trump “should be able to walk one block from the White House.”
  60. Barr also contradicted Trump’s version of events about what led him to go to the bunker, saying, “Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker.”
  61. On Monday, Daily Beast reported that despite Trump and Barr’s repeated assertions, antifa is not mentioned in any of the first 22 criminal cases related to the protests.
  62. On Monday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the regime has “no regrets” about forcibly moving peaceful protestors, adding, “I’d note that many of those decisions were not made here within the White House.”
  63. McEnany blamed Barr, telling reporters, “It was [Attorney General William] Barr who made the decision to move the perimeter. Monday night Park Police had also made that decision independently.”
  64. McEnany also defended the U.S. Park Police using chemical agents on protestors, saying, “That was unacceptable. Park Police acted as they felt they needed to at that time in response,” and “We stand by those actions.”
  65. McEnany also pointed to a fire set at historic St. John’s Church as a rationale for expanding the White House perimeter. Notably, the church is outside the expanded perimeter.
  66. McEnany also attacked Sen. Romney for saying Black Lives Matter, claiming he “can say three words outside on Pennsylvania Avenue,” but “Trump won 8% of the black vote. Mitt Romney won 2% of the black vote.”
  67. On Monday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski brushed off Trump’s Twitter threat to campaign against her for speaking out, saying she stands by her comments last week, and “I cannot live in fear of a tweet.”
  68. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson faced backlash after falsely claiming, “This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives.”
  69. Carlson also said in a 25 minute rant on Black Lives Matter and the movement to defund police, a foreboding, “Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.”
  70. On Monday, Carrie Maxwell, a teacher in Bakersfield, California issued an apology after a video showed her yelling and swearing at protestors, and telling them they were not welcome and she was going to call the police.
  71. On Monday, a video captured a middle-aged woman in Arizona telling a Native American woman who was being helped at the counter of a gas station convenience store to “go back to Mexico.”
  72. On Monday, Reuters reported a U.S. Navy investigation into the spread of coronavirus on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt found that of the approximately 400 sailors who were tested, 60% were positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  73. On Monday, CNBC reported Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said in a Q&A session that asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus is “very rare.”
  74. On Tuesday, after criticism from epidemiologists across the world, Dr. Van Kerkhove walked back her comments, saying asymptomatic spread is a “really complex question,” and added, “We don’t actually have that answer yet.”
  75. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory that originated on an anonymous blog and aired on One America News Network, tweeting, “Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur.”
  76. Trump added, “75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment.” OAN had claimed Gugino used “common anifa tactics.”
  77. Trump said, “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” There was no evidence of this claim. The reporter Kristian Rouz previously worked for Russia state-media Sputnik.
  78. Gugino was a Catholic peace activist who advocated for multiple causes on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised. He has no affiliation with the antifa movement.
  80. Shortly after, Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington tweeted an even more elaborate version of the conspiracy, claiming the blood on Gugino’s head was a prop. She later deleted it.
  81. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of Trump’s tweets, “How reckless. How irresponsible. How mean. How crude,” and said Trump should apologize to Gugino, who was in the hospital. However, no Republican lawmakers condemned Trump’s tweet.
  82. On Tuesday, the Atlantic reported OAN has also been promoting anti-Biden conspiracy theories for several months, including saying it has secret recordings of conversations of Biden speaking with Ukrainian officials.
  83. If such recordings exist, they were likely obtained by pro-Russian interests in Ukraine and a Russian intelligence operation, and would be part of an operation to hurt Biden and impact the 2020 election.
  84. On Tuesday, as the country watched the funeral of George Floyd, Trump tweeted a dystopian video of Minneapolis, adding, “Should have let police do their job and brought in National Guard on Day One, not Day Four!”
  85. On Tuesday, AP reported video evidence increasingly disproves police narratives, including saying the Buffalo protestor “tripped and fell,” and Floyd died after a “medical incident during a police interaction.”
  86. In a third incident, a Philadelphia police officer was seen striking a Temple University student in the head and neck with a metal baton. Police claimed the student had assaulted an officer, but video showed it to be untrue.
  87. On Tuesday, ABC News reported the National Park Service will start removing fencing around the White House. After saying Lafayette Park would reopen on Wednesday, they said it would remain closed.
  88. The National Museum of African American History and Culture and other Smithsonian museums say they are in discussion on how to preserve signs and protest-related artifacts placed by protestors on the fence.
  89. On Tuesday, USA TODAY reported photographer Andre Lamar, who was covering protests, was detained by Delaware State Police. He is heard asking why he was being arrested, and filmed himself being tackled.
  90. Lamar is heard on the video saying, “The police have arrested protesters. We don’t know why…They slammed them to the ground.” USA TODAY’s president called attacks on journalists “unacceptable” and must be stopped.
  91. On Tuesday, American Urban Radio Network’s April Ryan reported White House adviser Stephen Miller, who was responsible for Trump’s immigration policy, will craft his speech on race relations.
  92. On Tuesday, Dayton Daily News reported Sarah Grossman, 22, died two days after attending a protest in Columbus, Ohio, where according to the coroner’s office she was “exposed to tear gas and pepper spray.”
  93. On Tuesday, WSJ reported that Trump was furious last week and wanted to fire Defense Secretary Esper over Esper not supporting his inclination to use U.S. troops in D.C., Minneapolis, and elsewhere.
  94. Trump consulted with several advisers about firing Esper, his fourth defense secretary, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Pompeo, Sens. Cotton and James Inhofe, and his friend David Urban.
  95. There were a series of heated discussions in which Esper said he felt strongly Trump should not invoke the Insurrection Act. Aware of Trump’s feelings and frustrated about differences, he made preparations to resign.
  96. Advisers convinced Trump that firing Esper ahead of the November election would put him in a tough spot, possibly unable to get a new secretary confirmed in time, and given his rebuilding the military mantra.
  97. On Tuesday, Law & Crime reported Judge Reggie Walton, after reading the unredacted Mueller report, ordered the DOJ to answer “regarding certain redactions of the Mueller Report” at a hearing now set for July 20.
  98. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump brought back veterans of his 2016 campaign, hiring Jason Miller and Boris Epshteyn, to senior advisory roles to make a turn to being much more aggressive amid sagging poll numbers.
  99. On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the coronavirus’ transmissibility and lethality “turned out to be my worst nightmare,” and warned, “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of it.”
  100. On Tuesday, WAPO reported two weeks after Memorial Day, 15 states and Puerto Rico have seen their highest averages of new cases. Nine states have seen hospitalizations on the rise.
  101. Data is also disproving the assertion from some GOP governors that the jump in cases is due to more testing, as Post data showed many of the states seeing an increase in cases are also seeing increases in hospitalizations.
  102. On Tuesday, CNN reported 28 states are not following CDC guidelines for reopening. Fifteen states have seen an increase of 25% or more of coronavirus cases in the past week.
  103. On Tuesday, Georgia’s secretary of state and state House speaker called for an investigation after several counties, especially around mostly African American precincts, saw hours-long lines and broken voting machines during the primary election.
  104. On Tuesday, GOP congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Green, a QAnon supporter, made it to the August run-off in Georgia, and is likely to win. She is the second to embrace the QAnon conspiracy theory and win.
  105. There are roughly 50 QAnon supporters, who tend to support conspiracy theories about government, who are running in primaries. Experts say they feel comfortable coming out from the shadows under Trump.
  106. On Tuesday, CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman resigned, after a recording surfaced of him telling staffers and gym owners on Saturday, “we’re not mourning for George Floyd,” and sending a tweet saying, “Flovid19.”
  107. On Tuesday, Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver on NASCAR’s top circuit in more than 45 years, said he wants to ban the Confederate flag from all race tracks.
  108. On Tuesday, the U.S. Navy announced it is working on an order that would ban all public displays of the Confederate flag, less than a week after the U.S. Marines issued a directive to do the same.
  109. On Tuesday, a statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond, Virginia was torn down by protestors and thrown in the river. Protestors in Saint Paul and Boston pulled down Columbus statues, and vandalized one in Miami.
  110. On Wednesday, HBO Max pulled “Gone With the Wind,” and the long-time running show “Cops” was cancelled, amid growing concern about racial injustice in the wake of Floyd’s killing.
  111. On Wednesday, NASCAR announced it would ban all Confederate flags, saying they run “contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.”
  112. On Wednesday, the U.S. Soccer League repealed its policy requiring players to stand for the National Anthem, put into place after U.S. Women’s player Megan Rapinoe kneeled in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.
  113. On Wednesday, two co-owners of a Missouri newspaper resigned over a racist editorial cartoon published in the paper by the publisher/editor William Miller Sr., their father. They wrote, “We Are Sorry” in a statement.
  114. On Thursday, after a torrent of social media backlash, Starbucks flipped and said it would allow its employees to wear Black Lives Matter attire, and will also make 250,000 specialty shirts supporting the movement.
  115. On Thursday, USC trustees voted unanimously to remove the name of its former longtime president, Rufus Von KleinSmid from a campus building, as well as a bust of him, due to his active support of eugenics.
  116. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Republican Party is scrambling for how to respond to demands for police overhaul, caught flat-footed by the groundswell of public support for policy action.
  117. The GOP has long fashioned themselves as the party of law and order, and privately, lawmakers and aides admitted they had few proposals ready to offer, and were racing to reach a consensus on how to proceed.
  118. On Wednesday, NYT reported public opinion has rapidly moved in favor of Black Lives Matter since the death of Floyd. The online research firm Civiqs found Americans support it by a net 28-point margin, up from 17 points two weeks ago.
  119. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Republicans fear Trump’s incendiary responses to the protests and the coronavirus have left him politically isolated and weakened, and could hurt the party in November.
  120. Trump’s ability to shape the latest cultural flashpoint has ebbed, as corporations, sports leagues, and even some Republicans are siding with the Black Lives Matter movement, despite the risk of retaliation by Trump.
  121. Strategists have suggested a myriad of ways incumbents could tip-toe around Trump’s controversies, as opposed to embracing them. Republicans conceded it is too late to break with him now.
  122. On Wednesday, defying Trump, the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment written by Sen. Elizabeth Warren to strip all military bases of Confederate names.
  123. On Wednesday, in a remarkable move, the Trump campaign sent a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker, demanding that CNN retract and apologize for its poll showing Biden leading Trump 55-41.
  124. The letter said the poll was “a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm,” and “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling.”
  125. Notably, several other polls over the past few weeks, including ABC News/WAPO, Monmouth, NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist, NBC News/WSJ, Quinnipiac, and Fox News also showed Biden well ahead of Trump.
  126. In response, CNN general counsel rejected their allegations and demands entirely, adding, “this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN had been threatened with legal action” because of polling results.
  127. He added, “To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes” that have little respect for an independent media.
  128. On Wednesday, a monthly Gallup poll found Trump’s approval fell 10 points in four weeks, from 49% approve, 48% disapprove (net +1) in early May to 39% approve, 57% disapprove (net -18).
  129. On Wednesday, having not left the White House since Friday, Trump sent a series of tweets quoting Fox News, writing, “New York State is killing small businesses. Let them properly open!” and bragging about the stock market.
  130. Trump attacked Fox News for cutting out of Congressional hearings before a pro-Trump witness was to testify, tweeting, “Incredible!…off the air just prior to important witness statements. More like CNN!!! Fox is lost!!!”
  131. On Wednesday, press secretary McEnany defended Trump’s tweet on the Buffalo protestor, telling “Fox & Friends” the questions in the tweet were “legitimate” and “need to be asked.”
  132. McEnany said, “This individual had some very questionable tweets, some profanity-laden tweets, about police officers,” adding, “no one condones any sort of violence,” but we need an “appropriate amount of force.”
  133. On Wednesday, Trump rejected calls to rename military bases honoring Confederate generals in a series of tweets, saying, “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage.”
  134. Trump said he would “not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,” claiming despite the Civil War outcome, “they have a “history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom.”
  135. McEnany read his tweets aloud at the daily briefing, in the latest example of Trump sowing division on cultural issues in hopes it will benefit him in the upcoming election.
  136. Later Wednesday, the Trump campaign announced Trump would return to the campaign trail, with his first rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — a state Trump won by 36 points in 2016 — on June 19.
  137. The rally was scheduled for Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., and celebrated as African Americans’ Independence Day. Protests and marches were planned in many states over Floyd’s killing.
  138. Notably, June 1921 was the Tulsa Massacre, one of the worst instances of racist violence in American history, in which at least 300 African Americans were killed and a whole section of the city destroyed.
  139. The campaign said it was considering some modest attempts at reducing spread of the coronavirus like hand sanitizer, but no other planned steps. Pascale said, “Americans are ready to get back to action,” and so is Trump.
  140. The campaign also required rally attendees to sign a disclaimer absolving it from any coronavirus-related lawsuits stemming from the Tulsa rally. Legal experts said the waiver is “poorly lawyered” and would not be enforceable.
  141. Oklahoma will enter phase 3 of its reopening on June 1, with 7,480 cases and 355 deaths so far. Trump will also hold rallies in Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina — all of which are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.
  142. On Thursday, Sen. Kamala Harris, who is a Black woman, said of Trump holding his first rally in Oklahoma, “This isn’t just a wink to white supremacists — he’s throwing them a welcome home party.”
  143. On Wednesday, WAPO reported transcripts of former State Department IG Steve Linick’s testimony to Congress revealed Pompeo’s claim of not knowing about the probe into he and his wife using staffers for errands was a lie.
  144. Linick also told lawmakers that the State Department discouraged him from investigating arms sales to Saudi Arabia. An official claimed it was outside his jurisdiction, Linick said, “it was within the IG purview.”
  145. NBC News reported Linick was also investigating why the State Department had revoked an award to Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro, who had criticized Trump on social media, last year.
  146. On Wednesday, Pompeo claimed Linick’s dismissal was not retaliation, telling Reuters that Linick was a “bad actor.”
  147. On Wednesday, former judge John Gleeson, appointed to review the Michael Flynn case, said in court filing there was evidence of a “gross abuse” of prosecutorial power, and the request to drop the case should be denied.
  148. Gleeson wrote the facts surrounding the DOJ’s motion to dismiss “reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump.”
  149. Gleeson added the DOJ “abdicated that responsibility” to prosecute defendants without fear or favor, and “has treated the case like no other, and in doing so has undermined the public’s confidence in the rule of law.”
  150. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee also filed a brief with Judge Sullivan, lashing out at Barr for his handling of several politically charged matters, and noting how he has blocked them from investigating him.
  151. On Wednesday, in a letter, more than 1,250 former DOJ workers called on DOJ IG Michael Horowitz to investigate Barr’s involvement in clearing a crowd of most peaceful protestors last Monday using gas and horses.
  152. The group said it was “deeply concerned” about the DOJ’s actions, and those of Barr “in response to the nationwide lawful gatherings to protest the systemic racism that has plagued this country throughout its history.”
  153. The group also cited Barr’s role in suppressing a peaceful protest “for the purpose of enabling President Trump” to walk to a photo op at a “politically motivated event” in which he participated.
  154. On Wednesday, Brian Benczkowski, head of the DOJ’s criminal
    division, announced he would be stepping down. He made the decision not to open an investigation into Trump’s Ukraine-related dealings.
  155. On Wednesday, WAPO reported testifying before Congress, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza refused to reveal who received $511 billion of taxpayer-backed small-business loans.
  156. Mnuchin claimed, “As it relates to the names and amounts of specific PPP loans, we believe that that’s proprietary information, and in many cases for sole proprietors and small businesses, it is confidential information.”
  157. The Post and 10 other news organizations have sued the SBA for access to records of loan recipients and amounts. A Treasury spokesman claimed “loan-level data” would risk confidential business information.
  158. On Wednesday, the Texas Tribune reported Texas experienced its third consecutive day of record hospitalizations from the coronavirus, growing from 1,935 Monday, to 2,056 Tuesday, to 2,153 on Wednesday.
  159. On Wednesday, four weeks after reopening, South Carolina saw 528 new cases, bringing the total to 15,759. The state epidemiologist said she was “more concerned about COVID-19…than I ever have been before.”
  160. On Wednesday, Vice President Pence tweeted, then deleted, a photo of him with dozens of Trump staffers in Virginia standing close together, without masks. The photo violated the state’s social distancing guidelines.
  161. On Wednesday, ABC News reported as Trump’s polling numbers fall, some of his most loyal and longest serving advisers are increasingly alarmed that without a course correction he will lose in November.
  162. Trump was encouraged to participate in listening sessions with African American leaders, but he rejected the idea. One loyal supporter said Trump is “not capable of showing empathy here.”
  163. Top advisers were also concerned that as the White House is set to roll out proposals about race and policing, any proposal would be overshadowed by his tweeting. Days in the West Wing are dictated by what he tweets.
  164. Multiple aides said they had opted to turn off notifications for Trump’s tweets. However, two advisers said the tweeting is how, in part, Trump won 2016, but rather blamed campaign manager Brad Parscale for unclear messaging.
  165. There is also infighting on whether Jared is too moderate, with Fox News host Carlson saying he has “contempt” for Trump voters, while an insider close to Jared said people are trying to cause separation between the two.
  166. White House and campaign officials are hoping the big campaign rallies will help change the direction, giving Trump a chance to air his grievances and move on, rather than harping on issues like the pandemic and race.
  167. Later Wednesday, Trump again used his platform to promote his private ventures, sharing a tweet by Eric about the Trump Doral reopening, and adding, “the Trump family didn’t ask the Federal government for money.”
  168. On Wednesday, NYT reported the National Guard is now investigating law enforcement’s aggressive tactics last Monday, similar to examinations done after-the-fact on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  169. There has been a torrent of criticism from Congress, retired military personnel, and National Guard members. One point agreed on is that the actions were a debacle for the National Guard.
  170. The Army is expect to soon release results of its investigation into use of helicopters to terrorize protestors. Army Sec. McCarthy did order their use. It is expected some of the pilots will be punished.
  171. Later Wednesday, Trump tweeted, alleging without evidence that “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle,” adding, “run by Radical Left Democrats, of course. LAW & ORDER!”
  172. Trump also demanded “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle” must “Take back your city NOW.” Protestors had sent up an “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” where police are forbidden.
  173. Trump claimed the two “are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before,” and threatened, “ If you don’t do it, I will…These ugly Anarchists must be stooped [sic] IMMEDIATELY.”
  174. Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted, “A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. ‘Stoop’ tweeting,” and Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted, “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.”
  175. On Wednesday, in an interview with “The Daily Show,” Biden said Trump “is going to try to steal this election,” and said of ensuring the voting process is fair, “It’s my greatest concern. My single greatest concern.”
  176. Asked what would happen if Trump lost and refused to leave, Biden cited four joint chiefs of staff “ripping the skin off Trump,” and he is “absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”
  177. On Thursday, Army Gen. Mark Milley, Joint Chiefs chair, said in remarks to a National Defense University commencement ceremony that he was “wrong” to accompany Trump on his church walk last Monday.
  178. Milley said, “I should not have been there,” adding, “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” and “it was a mistake.”
  179. Milley also asked for military leaders to look for ways to improve equality, noting just 7% of generals and admirals are African American, saying, “We cannot afford to marginalize large portions of our potential talent pool.”
  180. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested millions of Americans would remain out work for an extended period, and that the Fed estimates unemployment will be at 9.3% at the end of 2020.
  181. The sober prediction by Powell were a markedly different narrative than Trump’s suggestion of a “V-shaped recovery” last week. Powell also said “there is great uncertainty” about the future given the coronavirus.
  182. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported another 1.5 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment last week. More than 44 million have filed since the start of the pandemic.
  183. On Thursday, Trump tweeted praise for “Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House,” adding, “The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily.”
  184. Trump added they were handled by “the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S.” The term ‘S.S.’ is associated with the Schutzstaffel, the paramilitary group of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party during WW II — not the U.S. Secret Service
  185. Trump also tweeted, “Sleepy Joe Biden refuses to leave his basement “sanctuary” — after ironically, Trump had not left the White House, but Biden met with Floyd’s family, adding, “Tell them to get out of Seattle now.”
  186. Trump defended the Confederate “heritage,” tweeting, “THOSE THAT DENY THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!” perhaps confusing a quote by George Santayana. Notably the Confederates lost the Civil War.
  187. Trump also attacked Fed Chair Powell’s assessment, tweeting, “The Federal Reserve is wrong so often. I see the numbers also, and do MUCH better than they do,” adding, “We will have a very good Third Quarter.”
  188. Trump also resumed his attacks on Seattle, tweeting, “Anarchists just took over Seattle and the Liberal Democrat Governor just said he knows “nothing about that.””
  189. Trump continued, “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before,” adding, “Take back your city NOW.”
  190. Trump also again threatened, tweeting, “If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!” It was unclear what Trump meant by his threat to take over Seattle.
  191. Trump also tweeted, “Senator Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, just introduced an Amendment on the renaming of many of our legendary Military Bases from which we trained to WIN two World Wars.”
  192. Trump added, “Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!” The Senate Armed Services Committee approved her Amendment, and many Republicans had endorsed or expressed an openness to it.
  193. On Thursday, NBC News reported as coronavirus cases surged in Arizona, GOP Gov. Doug Ducey insisted “this is not a crisis situation,” while medical professionals warn the state will soon run out of emergency rooms.
  194. On Thursday, when asked about a possible second wave of coronavirus cases, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin told CNBC, “We can’t shut down the economy again,” claiming, “you’re going to create more damage.”
  195. On Monday, Dr. Nicole Quick, Orange County’s chief health officer, resigned after getting death threats for mandating face masks while in public due to the coronavirus.
  196. In addition to harassing her outside her home, during a Board of Supervisors meeting, members of the public brought a poster with Quick’s photo on it with a Hitler mustache on her face and swastikas.
  197. On Thursday, Dr. Amy Acton, who saved countless lives, resigned as Ohio Department of Health director after state Republican lawmakers stripped her of her power, and protestors demonstrated outside her home.
  198. On Thursday, Politico reported Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis ordered 1 million doses of Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine for his state in April, announcing it during a press conference where he touted its benefits.
  199. At the time of the order, state officials said they expected high demand for the drug. Two months later, only 16,100 doses have been shipped to six hospitals that made requests, even as the state sees its cases spiking.
  200. On Thursday, after stocks had rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, the Dow plunged more than 1,800 points or 6.7% on concerns about a second wave of coronavirus — the market’s worse day since March.
  201. On Thursday, CNN reported that despite a new surge, the White House coronavirus task force has met only once a week for the past three weeks, a sharp decrease from March and April when they met daily.
  202. This week the task force met two times. Dr. Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and Dr. Robert Redfield are now far less visible. Trump has moved on to other issues, and resumed in-person fundraisers on Thursday in Dallas.
  203. On Thursday, CNN reported U.S. government spy planes have monitored Floyd protests in Washington, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas. Watchdogs say the planes were used to track protestors and perhaps cellphone data.
  204. In a June 9 letter to the heads of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and the National Guard, 33 House Democrats demanded the practice end “immediately and permanently.”
  205. On Thursday, the lawyer for Martin Gugino, the 75 year-old man targeted by Trump on Tuesday, said his client has suffered a brain injury as a result of being pushed to the ground, and “is starting physical therapy.”
  206. On Thursday, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed “Breonna’s Law,” named for Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville Police in Week 183. The law bans no-knock search warrants.
  207. On Thursday, Ohio GOP State Sen. Steve Huffman was fired from his job as a physician, after asking if “African Americans or the colored population” were more impacted by Covid-19 because they “do not wash their hands as well.”
  208. On Thursday, the Republican National Committee confirmed that Trump will deliver his August 27 convention speech in Jacksonville, Florida, at an arena that fits 15,000 people.
  209. The date of the speech coincides with the 60th anniversary of “Ax Handle Saturday” in Jacksonville, when a mob organized by the KKK attacked mostly black civil rights protesters at the city’s whites-only lunch counters.
  210. The Times reported it was not clear if the historic significance was known to Republican officials before they selected the date and city. Trump will give his speech there, but the convention will still be in Charlotte.
  211. On Thursday, Trump held a roundtable at conservative, evangelical Gateway Church in Dallas, his first event outside the White House since last Friday. The crowd did not social distance or wear masks.
  212. Trump took credit for Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s decision to deploy the National Guard, saying, “we are very proud of the fact that I called, I said, ‘I’m sorry, we have to have them go in’…it was like a knife cutting butter.”
  213. Trump praised law enforcement, saying, “We are dominating the streets,” and “We have to respect our police. We have to take care of our police. They’re protecting us,” adding, “And you always have a bad apple.”
  214. Notably, while discussing policing, Trump did not invite Dallas’ Police Chief Renee Hall, County Sheriff Marian Brown, and County District Attorney John Creuzot — all of whom are Black and Democrats.
  215. Hours after the event, Trump tweeted, “The Radical Left Democrats: First they try to take away your guns. Then they try to take away your police!”
  216. On Thursday, in an extraordinary letter to West Point’s graduating class, a coalition of more than 700 alumni slammed the Trump regime for politicizing the military. Trump is set to address graduates on Saturday.
  217. They wrote, “The oath taken by those who choose to serve in America’s military is aspirational…you incur a moral purpose and obligation,” adding, “Today, our Constitutional aspirations remain unfulfilled.”
  218. They added, “Sadly, the government has threatened to use the Army in which you serve as a weapon against fellow Americans engaging in these legitimate protests,” and singled out Esper and Milley for participating.
  219. They added, “When fellow graduates fail to respect the checks and balances of government, promote individual power above country, or prize loyalty to individuals…it is a travesty to their oath of office.”
  220. On Thursday, as Trump departed for Dallas before heading to his golf club in New Jersey, workers quietly began dismantling the tall iron fencing put around the White House, and blocking off Lafayette Park.
  221. In a statement, the Secret Service said it is “currently removing the temporary fencing around Lafayette Park. Though that process is still ongoing.” Part of the fencing will remain up to allow repairs.
  222. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, voted along party lines to approve more than 50 subpoenas for its investigation of the Mueller probe.
  223. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order authorizing new sanctions targeting the International Criminal Court, after it approved investigations of alleged war crimes against U.S. military and intelligence in Afghanistan.
  224. In an unprecedented move, the secretaries of state and defense, the attorney general, and the national security adviser jointly announced sanctions of what they called a “corrupt” and “politically motivated” court.
  225. On Thursday, Russia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing, “we would welcome any steps by Washington to scale down its military presence in Europe,” citing Trump pulling troops from Germany.
  226. On Friday, the 18th day since the killing of Floyd, Trump had yet to announce what new policies he might support in the wake of continuing protests around the country, even as the Republicans worked on details.
  227. On Friday, Pew Research found 37% say Trump’s message in response to the protests surrounding Floyd’s death has been mostly or completely right, while 60% say it was been mostly or completely wrong.
  228. By party, 76% of white Republicans say it was mostly or completely right, and 94% of white Democrats say mostly or completely wrong.
  229. On Friday, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told “Fox & Friends” that “There is no emergency. There is no second wave. I don’t know where that got started on Wall Street.”
  230. Kudlow added he is “not the health expert,” but said he had spoken with top public health officials Thursday evening, and “They are saying there is no second spike. Let me repeat that. There is no second spike.”
  231. On Friday, the Irish Times reported three new studies from Germany, Britain, and the United States have found wearing face masks is highly effective in curbing the spread of coronavirus.
  232. On Friday, Pence tweeted photos of him having lunch at David’s Diner in Springdale, Pennsylvania. He was not wearing a face mask, nor were his entourage, or other diners. He also did not practice social distancing.
  233. On Friday, WAPO reported according to an upcoming book, First Lady Melania stayed in New York after Trump’s inauguration, not for Barron’s school as previously thought, but to renegotiate her prenuptial agreement.
  234. On Friday, WAPO reported according to former NSA John Bolton’s book, Trump had “inconsistent, scattershot decision-making,” and committed “Ukraine-like transgressions” in other foreign policy decisions.
  235. Bolton said he was “hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,’’ adding, “even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation.”
  236. The book is set to go on sale on June 23. Bolton’s lawyer said White House lawyer, John Eisenberg, warned him that the book contains classified material and needs to be revised. Bolton will proceed nonetheless.
  237. On Friday, Tucker Carlson lost more advertisers, including Walt Disney Company, Papa John’s, Poshmark, and T-Mobile, following his comments Monday saying the protests are “definitely not about black lives.”
  238. NYT estimated in June, Carlson’s show accounted for 20% of Fox News revenue, up from 11% the year before. Few major brands remained on his show, and several major buyers said they did not have spots on his show.
  239. On Friday, New York Gov. Cuomo signed an expansive package of bills aimed at combating police misconduct, including a ban and criminalization of chokeholds, and making officers’ records public.
  240. On Friday, Trump downplayed the danger of police chokeholds in an interview with Fox News, saying they sound “innocent” and “perfect,” but added that “generally speaking,” the practice “should be ended.”
  241. Trump also told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner, who is a Black woman, that “I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president,” adding, “let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, cause he did good.”
  242. Trump added of Lincoln, that he did some good, but that the “end result” of his actions are “always questionable.” A shocked Faulkner interrupted, saying, “Well, we are free, Mr. President. He did pretty well.”
  243. Trump also that his Tulsa rally was purposefully scheduled for Juneteenth, saying it should be thought of as a “celebration,” and adding, “It’s an interesting date. It wasn’t done for that reason, but it’s an interesting date.”
  244. On Friday, a Whirlpool plant in Tulsa was temporarily closed after health officials confirmed a cluster of cases at the plant, which has 1,700 employees. The company said infected employees have been quarantined.
  245. On Friday, NBC News reported Trump has repeatedly said of protestors, “These aren’t my voters.” Trump has yet to come up with an approach — calming the country or leaning in and stoking further division.
  246. Aides said Trump is “bewildered,” and feared the regime is losing the culture war because Trump will not engage, or set an agenda on police and race; rather, he has been spinning his wheels.
  247. Trump’s views are out of step with where the country is headed. He views the protests through a political lens and about himself, thinking that anyone who is calling for change is opposed to his re-election effort.
  248. On Friday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism is a public health crisis in his city, and said he will reallocate $3 million of the police department’s overtime budget to public health.
  249. On Friday, Florida and Texas, two of the country’s most populous states, reported daily highs of new cases. Several other states are also surging including California, South and North Carolina, Alabama, and Arizona.
  250. On Friday, Fauci told ABC News large gatherings like protests and campaign rallies pose risks for the spread, saying the best way to avoid spread “is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask” when outside.
  251. On Friday, the CDC revised its death toll on coronavirus, predicting between 124,000 to 140,000 Covid-19 deaths by July 4. The numbers were released as CDC director Redfield held his first public briefing since March 9.
  252. The appearance comes amid growing calls for the agency to take more a leadership role in the virus response. The CDC also released a new guidance document for events and gatherings.
  253. On Friday, Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services said it would eliminate Obama-era protections which made it illegal to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of.
  254. HHS said the interpretation of sex discrimination will be based on “the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology,” erasing protections for transgender patients.
  255. The announcement came on the four-year anniversary of the massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 50 dead and 53 wounded, and in the middle of Pride Month.
  256. Late Friday, Trump tweeted, “We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th — a big deal,” adding, “Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday.”
  257. Trump added, “out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th.”
  258. Even as Trump was tweeting about the change, his campaign manager and staffers were bragging on Twitter that they had received 300,000 ticket requests, and included a link with the event date listed as June 19.
  259. The change came amid widespread criticism, and reports that Tulsa residents planned a large counter rally to Trump’s event, angry that he choose that date amid heightened tensions between Black residents and Tulsa police.
  260. On Saturday, Trump gave the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, trying to turn the page on his regime’s and campaign’s turmoil. Atypically, Trump stuck to reading the teleprompter.
  261. Trump attended a military high school, but deferred service in the Vietnam War, citing bone spurs. While in office, Trump has repeatedly tried to use appearance with the military to bolster himself politically.
  262. Cadets were brought back to campus two weeks early, and went through a rigorous testing and quarantine regiment. They sat six-feet apart on an open field as Trump spoke.
  263. There was no mention of his quarrel with the military, but Trump thanked the military for acting “with precision to so many recent challenges” and for fighting to uphold “constitutional rule of law,” a clear reference to the protests.
  264. Trump said, “What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment.” Trump has eroded credibility of the DOJ, press, and U.S. institutions.
  265. Trump brought up the coronavirus, blaming China as the virus’s origin and vowing, “We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague.”
  266. As the week came to a close, there were 7,708,368 worldwide cases and 427,400 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 2,057,400 cases (26.7%), 114,875 deaths (26.9%), and a mortality rate of 5.6%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, June 13, 2020

Protestors left signs and protest-related materials along the newly erected fence around the White House during a protest for the death of George Floyd and Black Live Matter.