With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve
THE BIG IDEA: Donald Trump’s escalating feud with Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, captures in miniature why he’s been ineffective during his first nine months as president.
— It’s unclear what exactly triggered the thin-skinned commander in chief to post three tweets attacking the Tennessee senator on Sunday morning. The most plausible explanation is that he was reacting to a segment on “Fox News Sunday.” The show aired a soundbite of Corker telling reporters last week that Rex Tillerson is one of three people in the administration who “separate our country from chaos.” That came in response to an NBC report that the secretary of state had called the president a “moron.”
“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement),” Trump tweeted. “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!”
— Corker, who has felt liberated since announcing his retirement last month, gleefully fired back. His office quickly went on the record to insist that Trump had, in fact, promised to endorse him, urged him not to retire and just last week asked him to reconsider his decision. The 65-year-old then tweeted this:
It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 8, 2017
Fully uncorked, Corker then called a New York Times reporter to say that Trump’s reckless threats toward other countries could set the nation “on the path to World War III.” “He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” the chairman said during a 25-minute interview with Jonathan Martin. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”
Trump’s myopic impulse to counter-punch whenever he feels attacked caused him to lose another news cycle and will overshadow an immigration proposal that the White House planned to talk about today. It also underscored several of the factors that have caused the president so much trouble:
1) Trump is unserious about passing legislation.
Make no mistake, going after Corker will make it harder for Trump to get his way on both tax cuts and the Iran deal. The senator was quoted on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post expressing concern about his party’s hypocrisy on the national debt. He says he will vote against any tax bill if he doesn’t think it will reduce the deficit.
If he sincerely cared about getting big bills done, he wouldn’t go to war with Corker. Especially when his party has a working majority of just two seats in the Senate.
Nine months in, with unified control of the government, Republicans have failed to pass a single significant piece of legislation into law. Trump has repeatedly gone all-in for health-care bills that subsequently failed. He’s threatened to shut down the government to get funding for his border wall – only to blink. Twice. He’s set deadlines and drawn red lines – only to see them ignored or blown past.
2) Trump has alienated several Senate Republicans that he needs more than they need him. Since taking office, Trump has criticized Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Dean Heller, Rand Paul and others by name. That doesn’t include several others he went after as a candidate, including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Ben Sasse.
Corker said that his concerns about Trump’s ability to govern are shared by nearly every Republican in the Senate. “Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he told the Times. “Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
Going after Corker is like when Trump described the health bill that passed the House as “mean.” It makes it less likely that other lawmakers will go out on a limb for him. The president has triangulated against congressional Republicans for political purposes (i.e. having a scapegoat to justify his inability to deliver on his campaign promises) at the expense of substantive policy achievements.
3) Trump cares more about showmanship than statesmanship. In between his attacks on Corker, Trump praised Vice President Pence for walking out of an Indianapolis Colts game to protest players kneeling during the national anthem. The episode was a pre-planned publicity stunt designed to fan the flames of outrage among Trump’s base and keep alive a divisive culture war that had been drifting out of the news.
Corker called Trump “a reality show” president last night, telling the Times that he acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”
4) Trump still does not understand how government works. Much of what has gone haywire since January was a foreseeable consequence of electing someone with no prior government or military experience to lead the government.
Because he’s never been in government, Trump does not grasp how many things – big and small – that committee chairmen like Corker can do to thwart a president under the radar. Even if he doesn’t vote “no” on the tax cut bill, the outgoing senator is not going to be in any mood to do favors for Trump when the White House calls. Whenever Tillerson departs from Foggy Bottom, as an example, Corker will chair the confirmation hearing for his successor. He can easily hold up other nominees or initiatives, as well.
Corker, who is close with Tillerson, believes Trump is in way over his head. He is mad that the president undercut his chief diplomat’s negotiations with North Korea last weekend. “A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true,” Corker told the Times. “I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out.”
When asked whether Trump is fit to be president, Corker declined to directly answer. Instead, he replied that the president is not fully aware of the power of his office. “I don’t think he appreciates that when the president of the United States speaks and says the things that he does, the impact that it has around the world, especially in the region that he’s addressing,” Corker told the Times. “And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me.”
5) The president’s credibility is shot in Washington.
Trump claims Corker “begged” him for his endorsement. Corker says Trump repeatedly offered his support and called him just last week to ask him to change his mind about retiring. Someone is not telling the truth. Whom do you believe?
“I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true,” Corker told the Times. “You know he does it, everyone knows he does it, but he does.”
Trump’s penchant for twisting the truth on things big and small makes it very hard for people to take him at his word. Remember, he categorically denied James Comey’s accounts of their one-on-one conversations – even though the ousted FBI director had written memos about them immediately after they took place. “This is why people take contemporaneous notes when they speak to the president,” quipped Preet Bharara, a U.S. attorney who was fired by Trump after being told he’d be kept on.
Because Trump always wants the last word, he tweeted about Corker last night for a fourth time after the Tennessean pushed back:
Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
In fact, Corker opposed the deal. (Read his August 2015 op-ed for The Post: “Congress should reject the bad Iran deal.”)
— What Corker does next will count the most in determining his legacy. “If he believes what he says, then as the chairman of the relevant committee in the Senate he has important tools to use,” James Fallows writes in The Atlantic. “He can issue subpoenas and summon executive branch witnesses as soon as he can get his colleagues back in town. He can draft legislation about the procedure, the grounds, and the justifications before the U.S. commits troops to war. …
“As it happens, there’s a convenient precedent for Corker to apply. Just over 50 years ago, his predecessor as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee was another man from the middle south: J. William Fulbright, of Arkansas. … In 1966 Fulbright decided to use his power as committee chairman to convene a high-level, merciless series of hearings on whether his fellow Democrat in the White House, Lyndon Johnson, was making a disastrous error with his deepening commitment to Vietnam.
“J. William Fulbright had his share of failings, notably alignment with the Old South segregationist forces in the Senate. … But Fulbright was on the right side of history in doing everything he could to change a course of disastrous error set by his own party’s president. He is rightly honored for his foresight, toughness, and courage in taking that stand. And he had at his disposal exactly the tools that Bob Corker will have through the 15 months left in his term: chairmanship of one of the Senate’s most important committees. … (Fulbright) didn’t manage to avert that era’s war. Maybe (Corker) can be remembered for doing better to head off this era’s catastrophe.”
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— NEW FROM THE POST this morning: Google has now discovered that Russian operatives also used its platform to influence voters in last year’s election. Elizabeth Dwoskin and Adam Entous report: “The Silicon Valley giant has found that tens of thousands of dollars were spent on ads by Russian agents who aimed to spread disinformation across Google’s many products, which include YouTube, as well as advertising associated with Google search, Gmail, and the company’s DoubleClick ad network[.]”
Richard H. Thaler demonstrated how nudging – a term he coined – may help people exercise better self-control e.g. when saving for a pension.
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 9, 2017
— The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to American Richard Thayer. Thayer, of the University of Chicago, was recognized for his contributions to behavioral economics.
— The White House on Sunday released a list of hard-line immigration demands, threatening to derail a deal to protect “dreamers.” David Nakamura reports: “The administration’s wish list includes the funding of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors and curbs on federal grants to ‘sanctuary cities’ . . . Trump had said several times over the past month that he did not expect a DACA deal to include funding for a border wall, emphasizing that the money could be included in separate legislation. But ensuring funding for the wall … is the top priority on the list.”
— The demands were quickly denounced by Democratic leaders in Congress, who had expected to forge a deal with Trump to protect DACA recipients. “Democrats had hoped that Trump, who had equivocated over the DACA program before deciding to terminate it in the face of a legal challenge from Texas, would be open to crafting a narrow legislative deal to protect the dreamers. But White House aides emphasized that they expect Congress to include the principles released Sunday in any package deal, a nonstarter for Democrats and some moderate Republicans.”
— “The White House priorities, if enacted, could result in the deportation of Dreamers’ parents,” Reuters’s Jeff Mason reports. “The proposals also include a request for funds to hire 370 more immigration judges; 1,000 attorneys for the [ICE] agency; 300 federal prosecutors and 10,000 additional ICE agents to enforce immigration laws. The document calls for tighter standards for those seeking U.S. asylum, denial of federal grants to ‘sanctuary cities’ … and a requirement that employers use an electronic verification system … to keep illegal immigrants from securing jobs.”
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) called the proposal “an extension of the white supremacist agenda.” Trump “has never wavered from his xenophobic positions,” Gutierrez told Ed O’Keefe in an interview Sunday. “I warned Democrats not to negotiate, to say that what we wanted was a clean Dream Act[.] … It’s a slippery slope — I never understood why everybody wanted to sit down and negotiate.”
- “Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), vice chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said that ‘Congress should reject this warped, anti-immigrant policy wish list. The White House wants to use dreamers as bargaining chips to achieve the administration’s deportation and detention goals.’”
- Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called the proposals “long overdue.” “The principles the president has put out show he understands what’s broken in our immigration system and what’s holding down wages for American workers,” Cotton said in a statement.
GET SMART FAST:
- Harvey Weinstein was fired on Sunday from the film studio he co-founded, according to the company’s board. News of his ousting comes just days after a New York Times investigation revealed decades of sexual harassment claims against the high-powered Hollywood producer. (Caitlin Moore)
- Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week that would allow health insurers to sell less comprehensive plans banned by the Affordable Care Act. Health-care experts warned that the order could bifurcate the market between the healthy and the sick. (Wall Street Journal)
- More than 1,000 Islamic State militants have surrendered in Iraq since last Sunday, breaking in droves with the extremist group’s pledge to “fight or die” after a string of humiliating defeats in Iraq and Syria. Kurdish officials say the rate of their surrender has shocked even those taking them prisoner. (New York Times)
Thousands marched through Barcelona yesterday to protest the independence movement backed by Catalonian separatists. (New York Times)
- Hurricane Nate landed in coastal Mississippi Sunday as a Category 1 storm, prompting a wave of power outages and flooding before weakening into a tropical depression. Areas near the mouth of the Mississippi River were particularly hard-hit, officials said, with an estimated 40,000 people losing power as the storm continued to head north. (Joel Achenbach and Patricia Sullivan)
- The Charlottesville white supremacist rally in August drew attendees from at least 35 states, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League. The study also found that participants were overwhelmingly male, with women making up just 7 percent of the crowd. (Spencer S. Hsu)
- Bana al-Abed, the young girl who used Twitter to document her life under siege in a Syrian war zone and who has been described as this generation’s Anne Frank, traveled to New York last week with her mother. The two are now living safely in Turkey and have begun writing a book about their experience. (New York Times)
- Officials now appear to believe that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s cellphone was compromised at the Trump transition headquarters. Kelly said that the phone had stopped working beginning in December. (Politico)
- The death of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found in a walk-in freezer at a Chicago hotel last month has been ruled an accident. Medical examiners said the cause of death was hypothermia, with alcohol and topiramate intoxication as “significant” contributing factors. (Amy B Wang)
- A high school student in Houston said she was expelled for refusing to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. In addressing the senior’s quiet act of protest, school officials reportedly told her, “this isn’t the NFL.” (Cleve R. Wootson Jr.)
A DIVIDED AMERICA:
— Mike Pence and his wife walked out of a football game on Sunday after multiple San Francisco 49ers players knelt during the anthem, saying he did not want to “dignify” their quiet act of protest. “I left today’s Colts game because [Trump] and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” he said in a statement. “At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience … we should rally around our Flag …” Later, Trump said on Twitter that he had directed Pence to leave the stadium if any players knelt, adding that he was “proud” of their departure.
- “Pence’s departure revives the story of player demonstrations during the anthem and caused many to question whether it was a stunt because Pence flew from Las Vegas to the game and then was flying to California,” Cindy Boren writes. “Pence’s press schedule for Sunday showed him attending the Colts game from 1-4 p.m. ET. But given Trump’s instructions, an early departure seemed likely because at least one member of the 49ers has protested during the national anthem at every game this season …”
- “My honest reaction … Does anybody know the last time he’s been to a football game?” 49ers safety Eric Reid said in a postgame video. “He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that’s the assumption I’ve made.”
- The photo that Pence’s Twitter account posted before the game was actually used previously, during a 2014 Colts game, adding to the impression the VP went to the stadium solely to stage the walkout. (Indianapolis Star)
Trump defended the walkout this morning:
The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
— Meanwhile, other players across the country continued their protest and some avoided the field all together. Cindy adds: “[O]ther players around the league, like Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants, continued to kneel Sunday, but most stood and linked arms as many have acknowledged that their message was becoming misinterpreted, co-opted by some who were claiming it was aimed at military members rather than police brutality toward minorities. In Miami, three members of the Dolphins who have protested for over a year chose to stay off the field[.]”
— Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said yesterday that any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” will not play. “If we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play. Period,” Jones said after the team’s loss to the Packers. “We’re going to respect the flag, and I’m going to create the perception of it. And we have.” (Dallas Morning News)
— A CBS News reporter who claimed that Colin Kaepernick said he would stand for the anthem if signed to a team was forced to retract the claim yesterday. Travis M. Andrews reports: “Jason La Canfora made the statement while appearing on CBS’s ‘The NFL Today.’ … Soon after, the Know Your Rights Campaign, a youth campaign fully funded by Colin Kaepernick, posted a note to social media written by Kaepernick’s girlfriend, Nessa Diab, that said the report was ‘completely false.’ Kaepernick retweeted the denial. … Many news outlets that published La Canfora’s initial statement, including the Associated Press, later issued corrections.”
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN:
— Controversy around the Trump administration’s expensive travel decisions continues to swirl, threatening Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra. Drew Harwell, Lisa Rein and Jack Gillum report: “Inspectors general have opened at least five investigations into charter or military flights by Cabinet officials amounting to millions in federal spending. … To deal with fallout, the White House has imposed a new approval process for charter jet travel by non-national security Cabinet members. The protocol will be supervised by Chief of Staff [Kelly]. … Some government accountability groups argue that the Cabinet behavior reflects the president’s own disconnect with government frugality, evidenced by his weekend trips to his private golf clubs and Mar-a-Lago[.]”
— Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s nominee to be deputy EPA administrator, wrote a pointed attack of Trump last year while working as a consultant for the campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Dino Grandoni reports: “In his six-point critique on Facebook, Wheeler laid out a skepticism of Trump’s character, business acumen and viability as a general-election candidate[.] … Trump was a ‘bully,’ Wheeler wrote in the since-deleted Facebook post obtained by The Post, one who ‘hasn’t been that successful’ in business and who ‘has more baggage then all of the other Republican candidates combined.’ Wheeler added that Trump ‘has demonstrated through the debates and interviews that he doesn’t understand how the government works.’”
— OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, pushing back on claims of tension between Trump and Rex Tillerson, said on “Meet the Press” that “there was never that much drama [in the White House] in the first place.” (Politico)
— Leaders of the gun lobby signaled Sunday that they may not support a legal ban on “bump stocks,” speaking just days after the Las Vegas massacre prompted NRA officials to call for additional regulations on the device. Tory Newmyer and Christian Davenport report: “‘If we could legislate morality, we would have done it long ago,’ Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president … said in an interview on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation.’ Instead, LaPierre said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should review the matter.”
“We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything,” NRA’s Chris Cox said on “Fox News Sunday.” “What we’ve said has been very clear, that if something transfers a semiautomatic to function like a fully automatic, then it ought to be regulated differently. Fully automatics are regulated differently in this country.”
— Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who is pushing the ban on bump stocks, acknowledged that no law could have stopped last week’s shooting. When CBS’s John Dickerson asked her whether any law would have prevented the tragedy, Feinstein replied, “No. He passed background checks registering for handguns and other weapons on multiple occasions.” (Tory Newmyer)
— Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was gravely wounded by a shooter targeting a congressional baseball practice, also reiterated his opposition to more gun control on “Meet the Press,” saying that lawmakers should work to reinforce existing gun laws instead. When asked whether the right to bear arms is “unlimited,” Scalise said: “It is, it is.”
— And, in Vegas hospitals, some of the victims remain in critical condition. Sarah Kaplan tells the story of Rosemarie Melanson, who attended the concert with her daughters and remains on life support: “The doctors say her prognosis is good, that she’s expected to make a full recovery. But when [her husband] Steve asks when she’ll get off the ventilator, they say they’re not sure yet. When he asks when she’ll come home, they say they’re not sure yet. … It will probably be weeks before Rosemarie can leave the hospital.”
THE BATTLE FOR 2018 (AND BEYOND):
— Blackwater founder Erik Prince is “seriously considering” launching a primary bid against a Republican incumbent in Wyoming, with the encouragement of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer. The New York Times’s Jeremy Peters, Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush report: “Mr. Prince appears increasingly likely to challenge John Barrasso, a senior member of the Senate Republican leadership … [and] has been urged to run next year by [Bannon], who is leading the effort to shake up the Republican leadership with financial backing from [Mercer]. Over the weekend, Mr. Prince traveled to Wyoming with his family to explore ways to establish residency there … Though Mr. Prince carries some baggage, Republicans have privately said that a primary challenge against a lawmaker like Mr. Barrasso is the kind they fear most: an out-of-the-blue run by a renegade from the right against a senator whose sin is not a lack of conservative credentials, but an association with Mr. McConnell and other party leaders.”
— Meanwhile, Trump campaign operatives are zeroing in on battleground states across the country, closely eyeing midterm elections as they seek to identify possible 2020 reelection strategies. Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti reports: “Aides from Trump’s 2016 effort have signed on to work campaigns in Ohio and Florida, giving them footholds in two essential battleground locations. Trump himself has repeatedly returned to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan[.] … And on multiple occasions in recent months, Trump has welcomed Republican committee chairmen from politically powerful states like Iowa, Virginia, Arizona and North Carolina into the Oval Office for sit-down conversations about local problems, wishes and upcoming races. The stepped-up attention to 2020 is partly a recognition that dozens of Democrats are already seriously eyeing presidential runs of their own. But it’s also a reflection of the near-obsession with keeping Trump’s base voters on his side — a mind-set that permeates the White House …
“What’s unclear to Trump-backing Republicans: the degree to which the president’s base support in the industrial Midwest is waning or holding fast; whether the young minority voters who failed to show up for Hillary Clinton after supporting Barack Obama will return to the next Democratic nominee; and whether the power of Trump’s political celebrity is wearing off.”
SOCIAL MEDIA IS CHANGING POLITICS AS WE KNOW IT:
— Matea Gold and Elizabeth Dwoskin have a must-read story on the Trump campaign’s early reliance on Facebook ads — a powerful, under-regulated tool in the 2016 election: “Trump strategists credit their victory in part to a decision to go all-in on Facebook in the closing stretch of the 2016 race, with a strategy that was orchestrated from a San Antonio office where Trump campaign and Republican Party staffers worked alongside Facebook sales employees, blitzing the country with ads. By Election Day, Trump’s campaign had spent roughly $70 million on Facebook alone — nearly all in the last four months of the election … The large sums invested by the Trump campaign would have been enough to put an ad on the feed of every Facebook user in the country, digital strategists said, or to send multiple ads to key voters.
“The online bombardment, which former Clinton aides acknowledged surpassed their Facebook spending, was largely invisible to the media and the electorate. That’s because of its highly personalized design, which allows advertisers to target voters in a granular fashion. … [Facebook’s] role in the Russia probe is also prompting uncomfortable scrutiny of its increasingly lucrative political advertising business and how little is known about the ads voters are exposed to online …”
— An Oxford University study released today argues that Russian trolls have targeted American military personnel and veterans through social media. Craig Timberg reports: “The researchers found fake or slanted news from Russian-controlled accounts are mixing with a wide range of legitimate content consumed by veterans and active-duty personnel in their Facebook and Twitter news feeds. These groups were found to be reading and sharing articles on conservative political thought, articles on right-wing politics in Europe and [writings] touting various conspiracy theories.”
— David Filipov has a story on the Russian activists and journalists trying to take down the country’s “troll farm:” “[Lyudmila] Savchuk and her cohorts are worried about their own country. ‘Every online forum, every comment section on every local site, everywhere I look, most of the commenters are trolls,’ Savchuk said in an interview. … Savchuk, a 36-year-old single mother of two and a former employee of the Internet Research Agency, won a lawsuit against the troll farm in 2016. Since then, she has detailed the operations of her former employer in numerous publications and videos, served as a witness in another ex-troll’s lawsuit, and sought to get other trolls to tell their stories. She calls it ‘bringing them into the light.’”
— As details of Russian hacking and influence campaigns continue to unfold, Russian immigrants in Silicon Valley have come under heightened scrutiny. But so has their talent. (The New York Times’s Nellie Bowles)
Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
…hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
— As Trump continued his vague threats against North Korea this weekend, Kim Jong Un was busy consolidating his family’s power. Anna Fifield reports: “Kim announced that his 30-year-old sister, Kim Yo Jong, had been promoted during a weekend of festivities celebrating the Kim family’s grip on the totalitarian state and amid expectations of a new salvo of missiles. The North Korean regime will on Tuesday celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party, through which the Kim family controls the country. A top Korea analyst at the CIA last week said that the U.S. government should be ready for another North Korean provocation this week — not least because the Oct. 10 anniversary overlaps with Columbus Day in the United States[.] … However, there were expectations that North Korea would do something incendiary on the same date last year, when the day passed without a bang.”
— Kim also vowed to ramp up North Korea’s nuclear capacity as a “powerful deterrent” to the U.S. (New York Times)
— Despite Trump’s tough talk, increased diplomatic measures taken against North Korea appear effective. The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Sonne and Felicia Schwartz report: “Over 20 nations have curbed the diplomatic or business operations of the North Korean government following a more-than-yearlong effort by the State Department[.] … U.S. officials have asked countries to shut down businesses owned by the North Korean government, remove North Korean vessels from ship registries, end flights by the country’s national air carrier and expel its ambassadors. At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit earlier this year, U.S. diplomats made sure North Korea couldn’t secure any bilateral meetings.”
— The U.S. and Turkey both announced yesterday they were canceling most visitor visas between the two countries. Erin Cunningham and Kareem Fahim report: “An embassy statement said it was limiting visitors to U.S. missions while it ‘reassesses’ Turkey’s commitment to the security of American personnel — an extraordinary rebuke that underscored a rapidly deteriorating relationship between the longtime allies. Within hours, the Turkish Embassy in Washington released a nearly identical statement announcing its own suspension of nonimmigrant visas for Americans. The tit-for-tat moves illustrated how the critical alliance between Turkey and the United States, anchored in military, intelligence and commercial ties, has been battered in recent months by a series of deep disagreements over the war in Syria[.]”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Trump once again disparaged diplomacy with North Korea in a tweet this morning:
Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that he had called up the top Senate Democrat to pursue a bipartisan deal on health care:
I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
Schumer responded in a statement that, while he would help in stabilizing the Obamacare exchanges, he would not work to repeal the ACA. “The president wanted to make another run at repeal and replace and I told the president that’s off the table,” Schumer said. “If he wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions. A good place to start might be the Alexander-Murray negotiations that would stabilize the system and lower costs.”
Trump also touted the relief effort in Puerto Rico and shared a video slamming “fake news” reports of the administration’s slow original response to Hurricane Maria:
FEMA and first responders are working hard (yet again) on Hurricane Nate. Military helping. Very much under control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
Obama’s former senior adviser responded to Mike Pence’s walkout from the Colts game with a snowflake emoji:
A Post reporter pointed out this discrepancy in Pence’s statement that he “will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers”:
Does this standard apply to associating with someone who disparaged the service of a prisoner of war? https://t.co/ppEGpSR4AF
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) October 8, 2017
From Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol:
If you’re leaving any event featuring individuals who’ve disrespected our soldiers, you should walk out of the Oval Office when next there. https://t.co/gY1ALBCPJP
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 8, 2017
A former “Daily Show” producer also replied to the vice president’s tweet:
I respect your right to protest but think a football game is an inappropriate place to flaunt your politics. https://t.co/uZoeBLNV23
— Baratunde (@baratunde) October 8, 2017
A former Obama-era DOJ spokesperson responded to Trump’s assertion that he asked Pence to leave the game:
It’s not enough that Pence had to embarrass himself with a third-rate stunt, Trump also has to make clear to everyone he’s his puppy. https://t.co/1Hay8fRqWE
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) October 8, 2017
But the president’s son defended the walkout:
Amen. After almost a decade it’s great to have leaders who have pride in our country again. https://t.co/qw0ZEqv0ar
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 8, 2017
From the House Intel Committee’s top Democrat:
After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt? https://t.co/R4SFCTCMUJ
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 8, 2017
The Post’s Drew Harwell noted that it was not a cheap trip:
Air Force Two costs $30,290 an hour to fly https://t.co/N9LMzPxQCD
— Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) October 8, 2017
From Slate’s chief political correspondent:
Nice to see the president and vice president engaged in a little Sunday afternoon racial demagoguery.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) October 8, 2017
From Yahoo’s political correspondent:
Moral grandstanding clearly aimed at heightening national divisions for political gain, rather than attempting to lead country toward unity https://t.co/KIZK6sFP9s
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) October 8, 2017
From a New York Times columnist:
I’m still sort of confused how “the flag” came to mean “troops” and how “the troops” came to mean “white troops.”
— Max Fisher (@Max_Fisher) October 8, 2017
Joe Biden’s former chief of staff expressed disappointment about the display:
Wish you were putting as much time into saving Puerto Rico as you are in staging stunt walk outs of NFL games. https://t.co/V9WtsbVk32
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) October 8, 2017
From George W. Bush’s former communications director:
You asked him to leave a game? This is how you spend time? No surprise that SOS thinks you are a moron and Corker thinks you are unstable. https://t.co/7unlCur11D
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) October 8, 2017
A GOP strategist said this of Trump’s antagonism toward Corker:
The one thing @BobCorker has in spades that Trump never will is dignity. it eats at Trump. You can smell it.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) October 8, 2017
The editor in chief of the Atlantic had this to say of Trump v. Corker:
This sort of Trump-instigated drama is profoundly embarrassing to the United States:https://t.co/1fLBeaeCL3
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) October 8, 2017
A CNN correspondent reported this about Trump’s assertion that he refused to endorse Corker’s potential reelection bid:
Two sources familiar with matter tell me this tweet is false. Trump told Corker multiple times he would endorse him. https://t.co/cZKfIUWXe0
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 8, 2017
An NBC News reporter made this point:
Corker’s sudden turn makes you wonder what other senators would be saying if they never had to worry about re-election again
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) October 8, 2017
A New York Times op-ed contributor offered this take on the Harvey Weinstein coverage:
The entire “liberal media” covered the Weinstein story & forced him to step down. Right-wing media pushed a sexual predator for president.
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) October 8, 2017
And over the weekend, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) threw out the opening pitch at the Nationals’ playoff game:
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) October 7, 2017
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— New York Times, “Stephen Miller, the Powerful Survivor on the President’s Right Flank,” by Matt Flegenheimer: “To the consternation of many former classmates and a bipartisan coalition of Washington lawmakers, Mr. Miller has become one of the nation’s most powerful shapers of domestic and even foreign policy. … As the surviving watchman on the president’s right flank since the removal in August of Stephen K. Bannon as chief strategist, Mr. Miller also remains a key craftsman in speechwriting at the White House. Mr. Trump, who has long prized Mr. Miller’s fierce loyalty, has embraced his instincts to sharply restrict the number of refugees admitted to the United States next year and to impose new travel restrictions on several predominantly Muslim countries and others deemed to be national security risks.”
— “Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico And Florida Politics,” by Steve Schale: “There is no way to know how many people could migrate to Central Florida. Pretty much every estimate out there is a dart thrown against a wall. But we do know this. Over the last ten years, 67% of the Hispanic voter registration growth accrued to the Democrats, while only 6% went to the GOP, so any growth from Maria, which is over and above the growth which is already happening in Orlando, will only exacerbate the local political trends.”
— New Times, “Anti-Semitism’s Rise Gives The Forward New Resolve,” by Jaclyn Peiser: “The Forward has chronicled the experiences of Jews in the United States for 120 years. Initially published as a Yiddish-language lifeline for those who fled hatred and strife in Europe, in recent years it had to work harder to stay relevant to a community now largely assimilated, finding new stories to tell about transgender rabbis, the challenges of interfaith marriage and even the ‘secret Jewish history of The Who.’ Then came 2016, and a sudden clarification of its mission that would be strikingly familiar to the publication’s founders: covering the rise of public displays of anti-Semitism.”
— Public Books, “How the Cubs Won,” by Jack Rakove: “Exactly six days after the Cubs’ great victory last year, Americans learned that their next president would be Donald J. Trump. … [W]e can easily assume that large portions of the fan base were devastated by that result. A week of giddy celebration, marked by one of the largest urban gatherings in world history, gave way to the political distress into which the nation then plunged, and which we inhabit still. It almost seemed as if some other divine judgment was being rendered in exchange for the purgation of the Cubs’ great curse.”
HOT ON THE LEFT:
“Dove Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Facebook Advertisement,” from NBC News: “Soap company Dove has apologized for a racially insensitive Facebook ad it said ‘missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully.’ The advertisement, apparently for some sort of soap … showed a black woman wearing a brown shirt removing her top to reveal a white woman in a lighter top. A third image shows the white woman removing her shirt to show a woman of apparently Asian descent. By Sunday morning, Dove’s Facebook and Twitter pages were filled with a litany of backlash from consumers. ‘This is gross. You think people of color can just wash away their melanin and become white? What were you going for, exactly? Your creative director should be fired,’ one [woman] wrote on Facebook.”
HOT ON THE RIGHT:
“Even a video game’s ‘Make America Nazi-free Again’ slogan ticked some people off,” from Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: “[Since] the fall of Adolf Hitler’s regime, Nazis have been universally regarded as, well, evil. They’ve been fair game as wicked antagonists. Until, apparently, now. The makers of the ‘Wolfenstein’ video game series have found themselves embroiled in an Internet controversy as they try to tell critics that yes, the main antagonists in their latest release are Nazis, and yes, that is okay. Some have taken issue with the new game’s anti-Nazi stance, and particularly the tagline used in marketing materials: ‘Make America Nazi-free again.’ Critics aren’t exactly arguing that the Nazis were nice … but they say that in co-opting the president’s tagline, the video game company is quietly equating Trump supporters with Nazis …”
— Trump has no public schedule today.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Over the weekend, Trump addressed the sexual harassment claims made against Harvey Weinstein: “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not at all surprised to see it.” But, when pressed on how the Weinstein’s alleged actions differ from those by him revealed in the “Access Hollywood” tape, the president responded, “That’s locker room, that’s locker room.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— D.C. can expect some morning rain today. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “Periods of rain are likely this morning, and may be heavy at times — especially in our west and northwest areas. Some gusty winds accompany the rain, and we could clock some gusts in the 30-40 mph range (strongest in our west and northwest areas). The rain tends to taper off by the afternoon — with just a slight chance of a lingering shower or thundershower. It’s abnormally humid all day long making high temperatures near 80 feel several degrees warmer.”
— With one month left to go before Virginia chooses a new governor, some rural voters feel like Democrat Ralph Northam’s campaign has forgotten about them. Gregory S. Schneider writes: “One county chairman briefly resigned two weeks ago, accusing the state party of ‘malevolent neglect.’ … [I]f national Democrats still stinging from Trump’s victory are looking to Virginia for a strategy to turn rural America blue again, they may be disappointed. … Rural areas where Democrats were strong a generation ago have gone heavily red; many haven’t elected a Democrat in years. With all 100 House of Delegates seats up for election this year, the party has concentrated resources in areas that have some chance of success.”
— The vice president will campaign with GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie at a Saturday rally in southwest Virginia. (AP)
— White nationalist Richard Spencer and his supporters, who returned to U-Va.’s campus on Saturday, pledged to keep coming back to the school. “Our identity matters, Spencer said. “We are not going to stand by and allow people to tear down these symbols of our history and our people — and we’re going to do this again.” (Susan Svrluga)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Jason Aldean, who was performing when the Las Vegas shooting began, addressed the tragedy with a tribute to the late Tom Petty:
Kate McKinnon’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg “burned” her new colleague, Neil Gorsuch:
The Post fact-checked the talking point that only seven countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy:
Opposition activists protested across Russia on Vladimir Putin’s 65th birthday:
And the Extreme Kayaking competition was held in Austria: