Donald Trump: protests, opposition, rebukes and repudiation

Written by  //  July 31, 2020  //  Government & Governance, U.S.  //  Comments Off on Donald Trump: protests, opposition, rebukes and repudiation

Anne Applebaum: History Will Judge the Complicit
Note: This article appears in the July/August 2020 print edition with the headline “The Collaborators.”
Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?
(The Atlantic) The price of collaboration in America has already turned out to be extraordinarily high. And yet, the movement down the slippery slope continues, just as it did in so many occupied countries in the past. First Trump’s enablers accepted lies about the inauguration; now they accept terrible tragedy and the loss of American leadership in the world. Worse could follow. Come November, will they tolerate—even abet—an assault on the electoral system: open efforts to prevent postal voting, to shut polling stations, to scare people away from voting? Will they countenance violence, as the president’s social-media fans incite demonstrators to launch physical attacks on state and city officials?
Each violation of our Constitution and our civic peace gets absorbed, rationalized, and accepted by people who once upon a time knew better. If, following what is almost certain to be one of the ugliest elections in American history, Trump wins a second term, these people may well accept even worse. Unless, of course, they decide not to.

Trump badly miscalculated in Portland – and even he knows it
Cas Mudde,  Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, the author of The Far Right Today (2019), and host of the new podcast Radikaal
(The Guardian) The redefinition of the protests goes hand in hand with the diversification of the protesters. No longer are the protesters just young, white “anarchists” who can count on little particular sympathy outside of small progressive circles; now stalwarts of America’s conservative society are represented too: mothers and veterans. And they are arrested, beaten and teargassed too.
In a society as deeply militarized and patriarchal as America, vets and mothers are powerful symbols of the existing order. Seeing them protest against the government, and particularly a dubious and unnecessarily violent paramilitary unit, is a publicity problem for the Trump administration. These are the salt of the earth of the Republican electorate, who will not automatically assume these groups are in the wrong. Moreover, many Republicans will have much less tolerance for disproportionate repression to white moms and vets than they sadly have towards African Americans and white leftwing youths.
In short, Trump’s decision to “unleash” authoritarianism in Portland was a poor one. … The fact that the federal police are now being withdrawn from Portland shows that even Trump has realized his mistake.

26 July
Black River Mercenaries In Portland: Security Firm Owned by Besty DeVos’s Brother Erik Prince Under Fire
(Portland Courier Daily) An independent investigation journalist Bill Conroy wrote an article on Medium suggesting that an agency called Federal Protective Service (FPS), an official branch of DHS coordinating the “crowd control effort” is using private contractors in Portland to calm down the protests.
The author called out Blackwater Security multiples times in the article. Betsy Devos brother Eric Price is the founder of the private military company Blackwater USA, changed its name to Academi. He sold the firm in 2010 to an investor, according to his Wikipedia page.

25 July
Protests explode across the country, police declare riots in Seattle, Portland
(WaPo) In Seattle, police said protesters set fire to a construction site for a juvenile detention facility. In Portland, protesters broached a federal courthouse.
From Los Angeles to Richmond to Omaha, police and protesters clashed in another tumultuous night that saw scores arrested after demonstrators took the streets and police in some cities dispersed crowds with tear gas and pepper spray.
In Austin, a man was shot and killed in the midst of a downtown rally. In Richmond, a truck was set ablaze outside police headquarters. Outside of Denver, a Jeep sped through a phalanx of people marching down an interstate when a shot was fired, injuring a protester, police said.
The focal point of the protests continued to be in the Pacific Northwest, where a week of clashes between activists and federal agents in Portland, Ore., pumped new energy into [the] movement
A ‘Wall of Vets’ Joins the Front Lines of Portland Protests
(NYT) Military veterans said they banded together to protect the free speech of demonstrators.
A “Wall of Moms” has grown to include hundreds of women in yellow shirts linking arms. A “Wall of Dads” in orange shirts has included some with leaf blowers used to push tear gas away from the crowds. Many nurses on Saturday showed up in blue scrubs.

Protest Delivered the Nineteenth Amendment
The amendment, ratified a century ago, is often described as having “given” women the right to vote. It wasn’t a gift; it was a hard-won victory achieved after more than seventy years of suffragist agitation.

21 July
Neither side is backing down as federal agents and protesters clash in Portland
(CNN) It’s classic entrenchment with no end in sight.
Neither side is backing down as protesters and federal agents continue to periodically clash in downtown Portland following an infusion of federal resources in the area, and the Trump administration persists in seeking political gain from ongoing tensions.
For more than 50 days since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, demonstrators have gathered in Portland seeking accountability for law enforcement officers they believe have acted with impunity.
Ahead of the July Fourth weekend, the Trump administration dispatched teams of federal agents to the city as part of an effort to guard federal monuments. The President says federal resources were sent to protect federal property from destruction, but protesters say it is the large increase in federal forces that continues to fuel their anger.

Ex-Gov. John Kasich slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention for Joe Biden
Kasich is one of a number of high-profile Republicans who intend to work against Trump’s re-election in the closing days of the campaign, according to the AP. John Weaver, a senior strategist for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, co-founded the Lincoln Project, a group that is already airing anti-Trump TV ads. In addition, ex-Ohio GOP Chair Matt Borges, a Kasich ally, has formed a pro-Biden super PAC.

2 – 4 July
At Mount Rushmore rally, Trump denounces ‘merciless campaign to wipe out our history’
Mostly Indigenous protesters blocked road leading to monument hours before event
(AP via CBC) Speaking to a largely maskless crowd at Mount Rushmore, U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that the nation was “witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” and denounced “angry mobs … trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”
The sharp rebuke in a holiday address to mark the nation’s independence follows weeks of protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality across the U.S. sparked by the May 25 death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Some demonstrators have destroyed or damaged Confederate monuments and statues honouring those who have benefited from slavery while some of the statues have been removed by local governments in an acknowledgment of the painful past they evoke.
He called out a “new far-left fascism” and “cancel culture” that demands “absolute allegiance” and shames dissenter, driving them from their jobs and “demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees.”
His speech, intended to rev up his conservative base, comes as Trump has seen his standing slump over his handling of the pandemic and response to protests and unrest around the country. With four months until the election, Trump’s hopes for a second term — once buoyed by low unemployment and a roaring stock market — seem uncertain.
Trump Uses Mount Rushmore Speech to Deliver Divisive Culture War Message
Trump heads to Mount Rushmore for speech and fireworks; protesters block highway

22 June
James Carville: Trump has ‘zero chance’ of being re-elected,’ more likely not to run at all
(Fox news) “I think there is a better chance Donald Trump does not run for re-election, than he is re-elected,” Carville told MSNBC’s Brian Williams.
“There is no chance he’s gonna be re-elected,” Carville continued. “If you just take the events of the last 10 days, obviously he has no control over the virus, he has no control over the tension in the streets…he’s lost control over everything.”

21 June
The President’s Shock at the Rows of Empty Seats in Tulsa
Inside the campaign, advisers believe disappointing attendance at the rally shows genuine fear of the coronavirus and the reality of President Trump’s sliding poll numbers.
Trump Rally Fizzles as Attendance Falls Short of Campaign’s Expectations
President Trump’s attempt to revive his re-election bid sputtered badly as he traveled to Tulsa for his first mass rally in months but found a small crowd and delivered a disjointed speech.
(NYT) The weakness of Mr. Trump’s drawing power and political skills, in a state that voted for him overwhelmingly and in a format that he favors, raised new questions about his electoral prospects for a second term at a time when his poll numbers were already falling. And rather than speak to the wide cross-section of Americans who say they are concerned about police violence and systemic racism, he continued to use racist language, describing the coronavirus as “Kung Flu.”
While the president’s campaign had claimed that more than a million people had sought tickets for the rally, the 19,000-seat BOK Center was at least one-third empty during the rally. A second, outdoor venue was so sparsely attended that he and Vice President Mike Pence both canceled appearances there.

18 June
Michael Gerson: The stage is being set for the repudiation of Donald Trump in November
(WaPo) This is not merely because he has faced dual crises — the pandemic and the protests — that would have tested any president. It is because his reactions to those crises have been among the worst performances by any president. Trump’s eventual rejection by the electorate (if it comes) will be due to his own conscious choices in the face of challenge.
Without the pandemic and protests, Trump had a serious chance of reelection, which is a disturbing commentary on American politics. But this is now like saying that Herbert Hoover would have been a spiffing president without the Great Depression. Trump has been similarly and permanently marked by failure.

15 June
Frank Bruni: The Court-Martial of Donald J. Trump
When it comes to Trump, America’s generals and admirals, silent by custom, are silent no more. The denunciations and admonishments that they’ve issued recently are unprecedented in my adult lifetime, and amount to a metaphoric court-martial of a president who richly deserves it.
Late last week Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued an extraordinary apology for his participation in that awful presidential photo op made possible by the use of tear gas against peaceful protesters. But as Helene Cooper noted in a story in The Times, that’s just one example of an intensifying friction between the president and military leaders. Many of them don’t share his opposition to renaming bases that honor Confederate officers and disagreed with his push to have armed forces quell demonstrations.
“Trump’s Actions Rattle the Military World” was the headline on a separate story in The Times by Jennifer Steinhauer. Her conversations with members of the military, their families and veterans made clear that they might not back Trump to the extent that they did in 2016.
Then there are the generals and admirals, silent no more.
… For Trump the military is a commercial enterprise and commodity. His complaints about N.A.T.O. boil down to balance sheets, focusing on the financial disparity between the United States’ military contribution and other countries’, as if our servicemen and servicewomen are service providers.
They rightly see themselves as more than that — and as more than the brutes of Trump’s childish imagination. Last November he cleared three members of the armed forces who had been accused or convicted of war crimes. He did so against the wishes of Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who worried about the military code of justice being undermined.
Code? Justice? Trump thinks and speaks in the language of wins, losses, brawn and bloodshed. He only pantomimes principle. His supposed reluctance to send troops into foreign lands gave way over recent weeks to his readiness to have them occupy our own land and engage in combat with their fellow Americans.
That he didn’t expect them to push back proves how little he understands them and how far short he sells them. They bring more than muscle to what they do. They bring heart, soul and intellect. Which is more than can be said for their commander in chief.

9-11 June
Paul Krugman: Reactionaries Are Having a Bad Month
But they’ll be dangerous in the months ahead.
Not only are marginal people who are supposed to know their place standing up for justice, they’re overwhelmingly winning the battle for public opinion. That’s not how things are supposed to work!
One response to this reactionary’s nightmare has been denial.
Another response has been wild conspiracy theorizing. On the right, it’s a given that mass popular demonstrations have been orchestrated by antifa radicals, though there’s not a shred of evidence to that effect.
Most frightening, however, has been the palpable desire of powerful figures on the right — not just Trump — to find a way to meet Black Lives Matter protests with state violence.
… For reactionaries, however, the horror of the situation isn’t the possibility that protests might turn violent. It’s the fact that the protests are happening at all.
No, America’s reactionaries don’t want law and order; they want an excuse to crush social justice protests with a mailed fist.
And that’s why people like Trump and Tom Cotton have been so eager to send in the military. They aren’t concerned about keeping the peace; if that mattered to them, they would have reacted harshly to the spectacle of armed right-wingers threatening Michigan’s State Legislature. Instead, Trump tweeted his support.

Republicans fear Trump’s weakened standing jeopardizes the party in November
(WaPo)President Trump’s incendiary responses to racial injustice protests and the coronavirus pandemic have left him politically isolated and profoundly weakened less than five months from the election, raising alarms among many Republicans about the party’s prospects in November.
A raft of fresh polling nationally and in battleground states shows Trump losing ground to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, a precipitous slide that has triggered deep distress within the GOP about the incumbent’s judgment and instincts, as well as fears that voters could sweep the party out of power completely on Election Day.
Trump’s ability to shape cultural flash points also appears to have ebbed, as some Republican leaders and legions of large corporations are openly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, despite risking retaliation from the White House.
Presidential job approval: Trump’s re-election prospects look bleak
(Brookings) In modern political history, an incumbent’s job approval has been the single best measure of his reelection prospects. If this holds true in 2020, the current outlook for President Trump is bleak, and his ability to turn around his situation will steadily decline as election day nears. According to the Gallup Organization, all incumbents with an approval rating of 50% or higher in the final pre-election survey have won reelection. The two incumbents with pre-election ratings below 40% lost badly
The results of presidential elections have tracked the final pre-election job approval ratings reasonably well. On average, incumbents’ share of the popular vote has been 1 point higher than their final approval number. There is some deviation around this average: Jimmy Carter did 4 points better, Bill Clinton 5 points worse, with the others in-between.
Against this backdrop, President Trump is in big trouble. After peaking in April between 45.8% and 47.4%, his job approval has fallen by 5 points to just 42.6% (Real Clear Politics average) or 41.0% (FiveThirtyEight adjusted average).
It will not be easy for President Trump to reverse this tide. There’s just one recorded instance of a president moving his job approval from a level suggesting defeat to one pointing to victory during the final months of his first term. In June 2012, President Obama’s job approval stood at 46%. By the day before the election, it had risen to 52%. He ended up with 51.1% of the popular vote. Remarkably, all of Obama’s gains occurred in September and October.

4 – 7 June
Other Protests Flare and Fade. Why This Movement Already Seems Different.
The massive gatherings for racial justice across the country and now the world have achieved a scale and level of momentum not seen in decades.
(NYT) As Monday marks two full weeks since the first protest sparked by the killing of George Floyd, the massive gatherings for racial justice across the country and now the world have achieved a scale and level of momentum not seen in decades. And they appear unlikely to run out anytime soon.
Streets and public plazas are filled with people who have scrapped weekend plans, canceled meetings, taken time off from work and hastily called babysitters. Many say the economic devastation of the coronavirus had already cleared their schedules. With jobs lost and colleges shuttered, they have nothing but time.
Because the protests are not only about the death of Mr. Floyd but a broader system of racial inequality, officials cannot simply defuse concerns by pressing charges against police officers, as they did in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.
People around the world — in Australia, Britain, France, Germany and beyond — have defied cold weather and public health rules against mass gatherings to show solidarity with American protesters, who have now taken to the streets in more than 150 cities.
Activists and scholars who have studied the crest and fall of other upwellings over police killings, school shootings, women’s rights and immigration detentions say that the widespread outrage over economic and racial injustices may give the new movement a greater durability.
Community organizers say that some of the energy now coursing through the street will eventually ebb.
But they say the Floyd protests appear to be creating a new generation of activism out of deep, widespread anger. There is outrage: At police killings of black men and women. At economic inequality when 13 percent of Americans are out of work. At failed political leadership during a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans.
Vote for Trump? These Republican Leaders Aren’t on the Bandwagon
Former President George W. Bush and Senator Mitt Romney won’t support Mr. Trump’s re-election. Colin Powell will vote for Joe Biden, and other G.O.P. officials may do the same
(NYT) Opposing the sitting president of your own party means putting policy priorities at risk, in this case appointing conservative judges, sustaining business-friendly regulations and cutting taxes — as well as incurring the volcanic wrath of Mr. Trump.
But, far sooner than they expected, growing numbers of prominent Republicans are debating how far to go in revealing that they won’t back his re-election — or might even vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee. They’re feeling a fresh urgency because of Mr. Trump’s incendiary response to the protests of police brutality, atop his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions.
Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump, and Jeb Bush isn’t sure how he’ll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won’t back Mr. Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November. Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Mr. Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eying a run for office.
Former Republican leaders like the former Speakers Paul D. Ryan and John A. Boehner won’t say how they will vote, and some Republicans who are already disinclined to support Mr. Trump are weighing whether to go beyond backing a third-party contender to openly endorse Mr. Biden. Retired military leaders, who have guarded their private political views, are increasingly voicing their unease about the president’s leadership but are unsure whether to embrace his opponent.
Powell Backs Biden, Says Trump Has ‘Drifted’ From Constitution
(Bloomberg) In a CNN interview, Powell aimed a broad critique at Trump’s approach to the military, a foreign policy he said was causing “disdain” abroad and a president he portrayed as trying to amass excessive power.
The Trump Regime Is Beginning to Topple
The most important theorist of nonviolent revolutions is the late political scientist Gene Sharp. He wanted to understand the weaknesses of authoritarian regimes—and how nonviolent movements could exploit them. Sharp distilled what he learned into a 93-page handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, a how-to guide for toppling autocracy..
(The Atlantic) Twitter’s decision to label Trump’s posts as misleading was a hinge moment. For years, the company had provided the president with a platform for propaganda and a mechanism for cowing his enemies, a fact that long irked both critics outside Twitter and employees within. Only when Trump used Twitter to threaten violence against the protests did the company finally limit the ability of users to see or share a tweet.
Once Twitter applied its rules to Trump—and received accolades for its decision—it inadvertently set a precedent. The company had stood strong against the bully, and showed that there was little price to pay for the choice. A large swath of S&P 500 companies soon calculated that it was better to stand in solidarity with the protests, rather than wait for their employees to angrily pressure them to act.
A cycle of noncooperation was set in motion. Local governments were the next layer of the elite to buck Trump’s commands. After the president insisted that governors “dominate” the streets on his behalf, they roundly refused to escalate their response. Indeed, New York and Virginia rebuffed a federal request to send National Guard troops to Washington, D.C.* Even the suburb of Arlington, Virginia, pulled its police that had been loaned to control the crowd in Lafayette Square.
As each group of elites refused Trump, it became harder for the next to comply in good conscience.
Jim Mattis’s excoriation of his old boss prodded Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to echo his condemnation of the president.** As each defector wins praise for moral courage, it incentivizes the next batch of defectors.
Trump’s ex-chief of staff agrees with Mattis: ‘We need to look harder at who we elect’
Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said Friday he agrees with former Defense Secretary James Mattis’s blistering rebuke of President Trump and his handling of protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
“I agree with him,” Kelly said during an interview with former Trump communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
“He’s quite a man, Gen. Jim Mattis, and for him to do that tells you where he is relative to the concern he has for our country,” Kelly added.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski calls Mattis’ scathing essay about Trump ‘true, honest’ and ‘overdue,’ says she’s struggling to support the president in 2020
(Business Insider) Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska came out Thursday with surprising comments, given her history of trying to thread the rhetorical needle during the Trump presidency.
Trump’s Bible photo op splits white evangelical loyalists into two camps
Ardent supporters saw the photo op as a blow against evil while others saw the gesture as cynical and a ploy
(The Guardian) On Monday when Donald Trump raised overhead a Bible – the Sword of the Spirit, to believers – he unwittingly cleaved his loyal Christian supporters into two camps.
His most ardent evangelical supporters saw it as a blow against evil and described his walk from the White House to St John’s Episcopal church, over ground violently cleared of protesters, as a “Jericho walk”.
But … some saw the gesture as cynical, a ploy by a president whose decisions, both private and public, do not align with biblical principles.
Trump’s photo opportunity required police to attack and push away protesters against police brutality. He walked surrounded by key civilian and military advisers, some of whom later said they were caught unaware by the stunt and the violence that preceded it. Some evangelical leaders said they felt similarly aghast, watching the event unfold.The staunchest of evangelicals, 90-year-old televangelist Pat Robertson, split from Trump on Tuesday.
Trump can’t afford to lose evangelicals, even by the handful. A record 81% of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016, and he only narrowly won the presidency, sometimes by just a few thousand votes in crucial areas.
[John Fea, a professor of American history at Messiah College] said it was unclear what happens next: whether evangelicals will stay by Trump, or make a significant split. But whatever happens, he said, is unlikely to be peaceful.
“Here’s a good rule of thumb,” he said. “Looking back through history, whenever you see someone in authority using the Bible to justify law and order, it ends badly.”

3 June
James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution
In an extraordinary condemnation, the former defense secretary backs protesters and says the president is trying to turn Americans against one another.
(The Atlantic) James Mattis, the esteemed Marine general who resigned as secretary of defense in December 2018 to protest Donald Trump’s Syria policy … has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation, and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
If Trump Goes Even Lower, We’d Better Be Prepared
By Bill McKibben
Research has shown that less than five per cent of a population engaged in resistance is often enough to cause huge shifts in the zeitgeist and make it much harder for illegitimate authority to rule.
(New Yorker) Events are now moving at high speed in this country—every day, President Trump and his crew gallop past new lines, so that the morning’s flagrant usurpation is legitimized by the evening’s even more outrageous improvisation. (Firing tear gas at a crowd in order to be able to stand menacingly in front of a church holding a Bible is hard to top, but I wouldn’t bet against it.) A danger of this is that we’re always reacting to what came before. So perhaps it’s worth skipping a few steps ahead, to places where we haven’t gone yet but very well may.
What I’d like to talk about is civil disobedience, and its uses in authoritarian states.

From former presidents to religious leaders, everyone is turning on Trump
(WaPo) For the entirety of his presidency, Donald Trump has been happy to live with widespread disgust with his persona, his words and his actions. Because that disgust has come mostly from Democrats and representatives of elite institutions, he’s reveled in it, even using it to solidify the affections of his most ardent supporters.
But the developments of the last couple days seem different. The disgust is now coming from people who long hesitated to be too public or too emphatic in their criticism.
First: Former president George W. Bush, who has preferred to remain absent from political controversies, released a statement on Tuesday about the protests sweeping the country. Though this did not mention Trump by name, not only was it an obvious repudiation of Trump’s reaction, it placed Bush alongside Democrats who are talking about the racism and brutality that gave rise to these protests. This was so obvious that some began to ask whether he might wind up endorsing Joe Biden.
Next: Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Bush and President Barack Obama, wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled “I Cannot Remain Silent”
Next: Politico reports that Pentagon officials are increasingly disturbed by Trump’s eagerness to use military personnel to confront the protesters and the complicity of Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
James N. Miller, a former undersecretary of defense, resigned in protest from the Defense Science Board in a stinging letter to Esper that cited the oath of office:
Next: Trump’s actions, including that photo op, drew stunning rebukes from multiple religious leaders, including the Episcopal Bishop of Washington and the Catholic Archbishop of Washington.
When even a right-wing extremist like Pat Robertson says Trump has gone too far, something unique is happening.
Nicholas Kristof: Trump Uses the Military to Prove His Manhood
The president’s response to the coronavirus that killed more than 100,000 people was lethargic and ineffective. But when it came to anti-racism protesters, it was time to call in the troops.
I’ve been speaking to military commanders, and there’s deep disquiet about what Trump trying to use the military as a political prop, and a horror of him calling out active duty troops to suppress protesters.
Trump is taking U.S. democracy to the breaking point. I saw what happens next in Venezuela.
By Francisco Toro, a Venezuelan political commentator and contributing columnist for Global Opinions. He is chief content officer of the Group of 50

1 June
George Will: Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.
(WaPo) This unraveling presidency began with the Crybaby-in-Chief banging his spoon on his highchair tray to protest a photograph — a photograph — showing that his inauguration crowd the day before had been smaller than the one four years previous. Since then, this weak person’s idea of a strong person, this chest-pounding advertisement of his own gnawing insecurities, this low-rent Lear raging on his Twitter-heath has proven that the phrase malignant buffoon is not an oxymoron.
In 2016, voters were presented an unprecedentedly unpalatable choice: Never had both major parties offered nominees with higher disapproval than approval numbers. Voters chose what they wagered would be the lesser blight. Now, however, they have watched him govern for 40 months and more than 40 percent — slightly less than the percentage that voted for him — approve of his sordid conduct.

5 May
Walmart Billionaire Christy Walton Among Biggest Donors To Anti-Trump Republican Group Facing Trump’s Ire
(Forbes) The Lincoln Project, a super-PAC founded by prominent Republicans including George Conway (husband of White House advisor Kellyanne Conway), released the video, titled “Mourning in America,” attacking Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The one-minute video postulated, “Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker and sicker and poorer. And now Americans are asking, ‘If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?’” The group is currently asking for donations to help run the video as an advertisement on national television. … One of the group’s richest backers? Walmart billionaire Christy Walton.

The Atlantic April 2020 edition
The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions
How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will

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