Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been defeated in the Republican primary in Iowa’s fourth congressional district, according to Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.
“When the history of the Trump presidency is written, the clash with protesters that preceded President Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square may be remembered as one of its defining moments.”
The New York Times has the definitive account on how it came together.
Televangelist Pat Robertson joined the religious leaders criticizing President Trump for his “law and order” response to the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police, the Washington Post reports.
Said Robertson: “It seems like now is the time to say, ‘I understand your pain, I want to comfort you, I think it’s time we love each other. But the president took a different course.”
He added: “You just don’t do that, Mr. President. It isn’t cool!”
“President Trump’s vow to ‘dominate’ demonstrators protesting police brutality has mobilized the full might of federal law enforcement, from border agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to F.B.I. hostage rescue teams, working alongside local law enforcement, the military police and the National Guard,” the New York Times reports.
“In all, nearly a dozen federal agencies and components have joined in Mr. Trump’s effort to quell protests incited by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and ostensibly to put an end to rioting and looting — and determine whether anarchists and other extremist groups had infiltrated the protests.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told NBC News he had no advance notice before President Trump led him and other senior administration officials to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a widely criticized photo-op.
Said Esper: “I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops.”
He added: “I didn’t know where I was going.”
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said he was caught by surprise when Trump led them to the church for a staged visit.
“The optics of the past 72 hours are putting people inside the halls of the Pentagon on edge as images of U.S. troops on the streets of the nation’s capital dominate airwaves across the globe, and as the top brass is increasingly viewed as mixing politics and the military,” Politico reports.
“Defense Department officials say they are increasingly uncomfortable with the more prominent role the U.S. military is playing in tamping down violent protests breaking out all over the U.S., and the growing tendency of the president to call on the troops for domestic missions ranging from border security to law enforcement.”
“The scenes have been disturbingly familiar to CIA analysts accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad — the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority,” the Washington Post reports.
“In interviews and posts on social media in recent days, current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds 64% of Americans sympathize with nationwide protests over the death of an unarmed black man in police custody and 55% disapprove of President Trump’s response to the unrest.
Former officials from the George W. Bush administration have formed a super PAC to support Joe Biden’s White House campaign, The Hill reports.
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt asked Republican senators for comment on President Trump’s clearing of protesters for his photo op at St. John’s Church last night:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “Didn’t really see it.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT): I didn’t watch it closely enough to know.”
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “I’m late for lunch.”
That’s just a representative sampling. Read the whole thread.
Gabriel Sherman: “Confronting a failed presidency after 100,000-plus COVID deaths and the protests that are still convulsing the nation this week, Donald Trump is venting to West Wing officials that Democratic governors are allowing civil unrest to rage in American cities to damage his reelection campaign.”
Said a Trump adviser: “He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him. It’s a lot like how he sees coronavirus.”
“Trump’s sense of victimhood, and his view that the crisis ignited by George Floyd’s gruesome death is largely a political problem, have resulted in a shambolic White House response, veering from Trump’s retreat to the bunker as the protests neared the White House to the culmination of police using teargas on peaceful protestors so that he could walk through a park to stage a photo op in front of St. John’s Church.”
Said one former West Wing official: “He’s paralyzed.”
Former President George W. Bush wrote in a statement that he and his wife, Laura, are “anguished” by the death of George Floyd, and said that “it is time for America to examine our tragic failures.”
He added: “How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked a resolution introduced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday that would have condemned the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday in order to allow President Trump to walk to St. John’s Church, Axios reports.
Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, writing in The Atlantic:
“It sickened me yesterday to see security personnel—including members of the National Guard—forcibly and violently clear a path through Lafayette Square to accommodate the president’s visit outside St. John’s Church. I have to date been reticent to speak out on issues surrounding President Trump’s leadership, but we are at an inflection point, and the events of the past few weeks have made it impossible to remain silent.”
“Whatever Trump’s goal in conducting his visit, he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces.”
“There was little good in the stunt.”
“An Ohio House elections bill, lined up for a swift series of committee hearings since it was introduced last week, would make this year’s presidential election the first one since 2008 in which the state wouldn’t mail an unsolicited absentee ballot application to all registered voters,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The bill “also would eliminate in-person early voting on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the election, something that’s been offered since 2015.”
“The proposal runs counter to a plan by Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has sought to expand early voting for the November election, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood firmly behind his decision to not do anything about President Trump’s inflammatory posts on the social network, saying that he had made a “tough decision” but that it “was pretty thorough,” the New York Times reports.
In a question-and-answer session with employees conducted over video chat software, Mr. Zuckerberg sought to justify his position on Mr. Trump’s messages, which has led to fierce internal dissent.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the convention would move forward is with proper health protocols in place, Politico reports.
Said Cooper in a letter: “The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing and face coverings is a necessity.”