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While Trump shelters in the White House, America cries out for leadership

Far from acting to restore calm, Trump’s instinct has been to exacerbate the sense of crisis and division — blasting the demonstrators as “THUGS,” calling for crackdowns and vowing to declare the coalition of Antifa anti-fascist and anarchist activists, which he sees as instigators of the protests, as a terror group. But the President’s threats to so designate a domestic group have no grounding in law and he has been more reticent to censure white supremacist groups in the same way. And his efforts to portray the protests as a purely radical uprising are not reflected in the make-up of crowds and deflect from the underlying catalyst for the protests.
Abroad, Trump is accelerating a new Cold War with China as he seeks to lay blame for the coronavirus pandemic that has infected 1.7 million Americans. His pullout from the World Health Organization amid the worst global public health challenge in 100 years is meanwhile leaving notions of US leadership in ruins.

As Trump fumes, the country is getting a glimpse of how a President with authoritarian reflexes handles a public order crisis and a potential preview of the no-holds-barred politics with which he plans to win reelection in November.

As a sixth night of violence heated up on Sunday, Trump, for instance, lashed out at Democrats and their party’s presumptive nominee Joe Biden as he sought to revive his 2016 claim to be the “law and order” candidate — a characterization that could help him distract from his mishandling of the pandemic.

“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is that what America wants? NO!!!”

In normal circumstances, a president could be expected to call for calm and perhaps deliver an Oval Office address.
Even if he possessed such empathy and intent, Trump’s history of racist positions on controversies like the Central Park Five, former President Barack Obama’s birthplace and Charlottesville protests disqualifies him as a force for unity at a time of political tension.

As he often does, for instance in aggressively touting economic reopening against scientific advice, the President appears to be making a counter-intuitive political calculation that confounds many Americans worried about public health or looking for a consoler-in-chief. He seems to be trying to brand the protests as the work of extremists and agitators so that he can make Democrats look weak by comparison. But his loaded language also risks alienating swing-state suburban and women voters whom he needs to win reelection.

Trump uses racist language from the 1960s

Contrary to the views of many of his critics, Trump cannot be blamed for everything. America’s social and ethnic divides and inability to purge racist cops predate his presidency by generations.

Most nations have struggled to deal with the once-in-a-century plague of Covid-19. And though it was not universally expected, economic destruction was the inevitable consequence of scientifically-ordered lockdowns.

But presidents are judged on how they handle crises on their watch. And Trump’s habitual methods, seeking personal political gain from extremis and social alienation, appear to make all the cascading crises worse.

His rejection of science and embrace of alternative facts are raising questions about the feasibility of a safe economic reopening as viral infections rise in 21 states, stay steady in 13 and are down in 16.
Trump invoked racist language from the 1960s when he tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which only fueled the incendiary tone around Floyd’s death. The next day, the President tweeted that if protesters breached the White House’s fence, they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
He has sought political traction for his strongman act by blaming “liberal Democrats” who lead cities and states for failing to halt rioting and looting. And the violence allowed Trump to avoid the issue that catalyzed protests — the cheap price that some police officers and society at large appear to attach to the life of black males.
The President’s blaming of Antifa suggests he has little desire to contemplate underlying causes of despair in the African-American community. Aside from the nation’s tortured legacy on race, minorities are disproportionally more affected by Covid-19, have worse health care and are more likely to have lost jobs during the pandemic. They are also more likely to have low-wage jobs that require them to be at their posts during a pandemic — for instance those who work in grocery stores.

Depending on their political leanings, and according to already entrenched views of Trump, Americans will decide for themselves his level of responsibility for the country’s current plight.

But earlier this year — even amid the partisan estrangement of impeachment — no one could have foreseen how his reelection race will now be shaped by a nation that is battling deep health, economic and social crises at the same time.

Trump’s past comments would make any unifying effort a challenge

The President is being urged by some advisers to formally address the nation and call for calm, while others have said he should condemn rioting and looting more forcefully or risk losing middle-of-the-road voters in November, according to several sources familiar with the deliberations.

Trump’s lashing out at Antifa may indicate he has chosen to follow his instincts and has chosen the latter course.

And given Trump’s uneven attempts to unite the nation in the past, he would face a huge assignment in making a meaningful impact, not to mention his habit of undermining his own scripted addresses with follow-up tweets that reignite controversy.

That dynamic was in play over the weekend after the President spoke out against the violence and promised justice would be served during remarks at the Kennedy Space Center.

“I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace. And I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack, and menace. Healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos are the mission at hand,” the President said.

A day later, the President was blaming Democrats and the media for inciting “hatred and anarchy” even as a number of journalists appeared to be targeted by police.

Sunday talk shows were dominated by Democratic office holders, often in affected cities.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, which saw serious looting and violence, said that Trump should stay silent.

“He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again,” Bottoms said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet, and I wish that he would just be quiet.”

On Fox News Sunday, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said that some of Trump’s tweets were “not constructive.” The only black Republican in the Senate, Scott said he talked with the President on Saturday and told him that it’s beneficial for him to “focus” on the death of Floyd and to “recognize the benefit of nonviolent protests.”

The death of Floyd was only the latest event in which the death of an African-American man has become a national issue. But there has been no action to address institutionalized racism in some police units or to reform a judicial system that often fails to bring the perpetrators of such incidents to justice.

But Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, downplayed the idea that there was a wider societal deficit at play.

“I don’t think there’s systemic racism,” O’Brien told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “I think 99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans. But you know what? There are some bad apples in there. And are some bad cops that are racist. And there are cops that maybe don’t have the right training.”

While Trump’s outbursts were criticized by many Democrats and media commentators, Trump has defied conventional wisdom and presidential guardrails and profited politically before.

Playing the law-and-order card does offer Trump a chance to turn the political narrative away from his handling of the pandemic. It’s possible it could appeal to some suburban voters who fear insecurity and unrest and turned against Republican candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

Several Democrats also accused extremists of exploiting the wave of fury after the death of Floyd to instigate violence.

“There’s some people in our community, there’s some people in our streets who are driven there by a passion for our community, by a love for our community,” said Melvin Carter, the mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, on “State of the Union.”

“And then there’s folks in our streets who are there to burn down our black-owned barbershops, to burn down our family-owned businesses, our immigrant-owned restaurants.”

The Democratic mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, called for the continuation of peaceful protests and an end to the vandalism and violence that took over the city Saturday night.

“We saw a small group that has not just caused chaos and damage,” Garcetti said. “They are hijacking a moment and a movement and changing the conversation.”

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Trump Plays Macho Man as America Burns

There was a moment on Saturday afternoon when President Trump stood on a rooftop in Florida for what could have been a sorely needed moment of national unity. A made-in-the-U.S.A. spacecraft was about to blast off from Cape Canaveral, bound for the International Space Station with astronauts aboard, the first time an American craft had done so in nine years. Trump was so eager to witness the launch that he had flown to Florida twice, first for a scrubbed effort, on Wednesday, and then a return, on Saturday. In the short time between launch attempts, the country, already struggling with the death of a hundred thousand Americans from COVID-19 and concurrent economic devastation, had exploded over the police killing of George Floyd. Captured on video, the horrific act in Minneapolis led to days of protest, chaos, and looting. When Trump arrived in Cape Canaveral, though, he seemed to want a campaign ad, not a moment of American reconciliation, and soon after he walked onto the rooftop, the song “Macho Man,” by the Village People, a staple of his campaign rallies, began blaring from the speakers. The spectacle of a florid disco tribute to the President at such a time could not have been more discordant, or the message clearer: it’s all about Trump. It always is.

Trump loves such theatrical displays of Presidential power. He believes that you project strength by proclaiming it—that if you say you are macho, then you are. But, on this violent, tragic weekend for America, there was no narcissistic photo op that could obscure the reality that he is a deeply unpopular, deeply insecure politician, who is struggling, as never before, to lead his divided country. A few hours later on Saturday, after Trump flew back to Washington from Florida, he retreated for the night behind the high walls of his fortified executive mansion, defended from an angry crowd by a heavily armed swarm of riot police and National Guardsmen. For twelve hours, Trump said and tweeted nothing, as the fires raged outside, and as the “American carnage” of his strange, apocalyptic Inaugural Address finally seemed to become manifest in televised images of a country at war with itself and plagued, once again, by its long and awful history of racism and police abuse. Trump did not offer new versions of his race-baiting tweets of Saturday morning, about “vicious dogs” and tough-guy tactics, to stop the riots. Nor did he mention the pro-Trump crowd of counter-protesters he had sought to summon that morning to the White House, but which had entirely failed to materialize. The Macho Man did not seem so alpha anymore.

On Saturday, Donald Trump retreated behind the high walls of his fortified executive mansion, defended from a crowd of protesters by a swarm of riot police and National Guardsmen.Photograph by Michael A. McCoy

By midday Sunday, of course, Trump was back to being Trump, even as the piles of broken glass were still being swept away from the front of expense-account restaurants and fancy hotels and A.T.M. machines in the blocks around the White House. As joggers snapped pictures of the fresh “Fuck Trump” graffiti across the street, the President was back to fulminating on Twitter about the “Lamestream Media” and “FAKE NEWS.” He was blaming the mayor of Minneapolis and “radical Left Anarchists” for the nation’s troubles, chiding leaders of “Democrat run Cities and States,” and mocking his November opponent, “Sleepy Joe” Biden. He was claiming legal power that he does not have to designate the loosely organized, leftist Antifa movement as a terrorist organization. He was back, in other words, to being the almighty President of his public conjurings, the fulminating would-be autocrat who loves nothing more than to ramble on about his “absolute right” to do just about anything, whether he has that right or not.

But the silent, hunkered-down Trump of America’s ruinous Saturday night is no less real than the Sunday-afternoon Twitter bully Trump, who has monopolized our public stage for the last five years. His desire to be the omnipresent macho man of our public life obscures his very real impotence in the face of indisputable events, like the killing of an innocent black man—or the outbreak of a deadly once-in-a-century pandemic. Now seems to be a rare instance when the hard cold unpleasant facts of what is happening in America have intruded in a most unwelcome way on the Trump Presidency. He is lagging in the polls five months before the Presidential election and, despite trying desperately for the last two and a half months, he has not succeeded in distracting Americans from the awful new normal imposed on our society by the coronavirus and his Administration’s botched handling of it.

We don’t know yet how the last few days will reshape Trump or his Presidency. Is this the beginning of a long, hot summer of discord in our cities that will cause a white American backlash of the sort that Trump has long encouraged and embraced? In the past, Trump has shamelessly stoked racial discord and divisiveness for political gain. He is expert at blame-shifting and dog-whistling. In his tweets on Sunday afternoon, he was already conjuring the spirit of Richard Nixon in 1968 to call for “law and order” as another long night of mayhem looms. He may briefly hunker down in his White House bunker, but he has never done so for long. If this crisis is like any of the many others in his life, Trump will talk and tweet and tweet and talk no matter how many Americans wish he would just shut up. Irrefutable events, however, are piling up on the Trump Presidency, and, although it is only May, 2020 has already given us an impeachment trial, a deadly plague, and the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression. We can now add the worst riots in a generation to this election year’s grim bid for the history books. Will that finally be enough to silence Donald Trump?

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Scalise Says Pelosi’s ‘Unicorn of Socialist Special Interest’ Package Fails America

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s $3 trillion ‘Heroes Act’ Coronavirus stimulus package has been dubbed by GOP Whip Steve Scalise as the Democrats’ “Unicorn” deal, saying Pelosi’s actions in criticizing those who want to hold China accountable for allowing the deadly virus to spread are inexcusable.

Scalise, who was asked by President Donald Trump to serve on the task force to reopen the economy, said the nation’s growing unemployment crisis and failure by the Democrats to work constructively with the Republicans on a realistic stimulus package harm the American people, as well as the fragile economy.

“You know, every day Nancy Pelosi wakes up and tries to figure out how to stop Donald Trump from getting re-elected,” Rep. Scalise

“You know, every day Nancy Pelosi wakes up and tries to figure out how to stop Donald Trump from getting re-elected,” Scalise told The Sara Carter Show. He added that congressional hearings set up by Pelosi on “coronavirus, it’s really almost an impeachment committee that Speaker Pelosi set up.”

“Everybody’s focused on safety but they also know if you keep this economy shut down long there are a lot of businesses that just won’t come back,” Scalise said. He stressed that the health crisis across the nation is not just Covid-19 related but mitigating healthcare issues associated with the failure of Americans to receive regular checkups, non-COVID medical services, the closures of hospitals and the increased layoff of medical workers.

He said there are ways to safely reopen the economy and get people back to work.

“Why aren’t they focusing on that instead of just giving trillions of dollars more printing press money to bail out states and to pay illegals and all this other foolishness,” he said. “That’s a different set of priorities and it shows you know we’re fighting for families, the president’s fighting to help families. They’re fighting for their social special interest friends.”

He said Pelosi’s Coronavirus package is a “unicorn of socialist special interest ideas like you know paying illegals, paying abortion providers with taxpayer money, paying states that were  – by the way states that were already going bankrupt and that had multibillion-dollar deficits. She wants to bail them out with our taxpayer money and bail out pension funds instead of working with families to get back on their feet and helping them get back to work. So there is a job to go back to.”

Scalise also stressed that Pelosi’s Coronavirus committee was nothing more than a “committee just to try to go after the President.”

He said the failure on the part of Democrats is to their goal to keep the country divided and not focus on the issues that could bring the nation together.

“Why aren’t we focused on holding China accountable,” said Scalise. “Clearly the role (China) played in the World Health Organization in hiding this from the world. We could have saved thousands of lives in America, millions of lives around the world. Yet they hid all this information. Why isn’t Pelosi working with us to hold China accountable? Those are the things that we should be doing while we’re trying to help families get back on their feet.”

Beyond the tragedy of thousands of lost lives, are the more than 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment since the coronavirus shutdown began more than six weeks ago. Pelosi’s 1,800 page package, however, goes far beyond helping small businesses and the unemployed but instead, it’s filled with special interest allocations that according to Republicans has little to do with COVID-19 stimulus. Further, the package includes another $1,200 stimulus payment for each family member in a household, with a total of up to $6,000 per household. The bill, however, also allocates nearly $1 trillion to state, local and tribal governments for “honoring our heroes,” as reported by Fox News. It also creates a “Heroes Fund,” which provides $200 billion to essential workers who worked during the pandemic as hazard pay, as reported.

Scalise noted that the priority for both Republicans and Democrats should be to safely get out of the economic crisis, while at the same time doing everything possible to mitigate the spread of the virus and utilize the best tools to understand the pandemic.

He said Americans are tired of Democratic politics and the party’s constant attempt “every day to just attack and berate and harass President Trump instead of working with him. People are sick and tired of that kind of politics right now.”

The administration is working diligently to investigate the Chinese Communist Party’s role in spreading this virus, which started in Wuhan, China, he added.

But now, Scalise warned, is the time for Americans to use common sense and the best methods to get the economy moving again.

“That’s where we’ve got to keep fighting to help people safely reopened so that you don’t have millions more people put on the unemployment rolls,” said Scalise. Further, the serious cost of mental health during the crisis, the increase in suicides and Americans that are no longer getting regular healthcare checkups “needs to be addressed,” he added.

“You know I looked at my parish,” said Scalise, referencing the area he lives and constituents he represents in Louisianna’s first Congressional District, which is made up of eight different parishes.

“We had a 42 percent increase in non-COVID related deaths, when you compare last year to this year because people aren’t going to get things like you know their mammograms and their colonoscopies,” said Scalise. “If you have heart problems, people aren’t going to the doctor and they’re dying of heart attacks that’s happening too and so you got to look at the whole picture as we look at states that are reopening and seeing the success.

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Trump Continues To Make Strides for America While Obama Tries To Downplay His Accomplishments

On President’s Day 2020, former President Barack Obama disrespected his successor, President Trump. Obama simply said “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.”

The former president is, of course, referencing his Recovery Act that was a $787-billion piece of legislation.

As The Hill reported, “Obama and his supporters have praised the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed 14 months after the beginning of the worst recession in American history, for stabilizing the economy.”

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This legislation was passed in the thick of the recession from 2008. Obama dealt with high unemployment rates during his presidency, even reaching the 10 percent mark in his first term. However, the Recovery Act didn’t do much then, and it isn’t doing anything now.

And in 2019, Obama mocked Trump’s promise to bring back jobs. “What magic wand do you have?” he asked.

President Trump has experienced not only one of the greatest rises to the presidency ever, but also the greatest onslaught of attacks against a sitting president ever recorded. The Trump campaign experiences 90 percent negative coverage in the media, The Washington Times reported in 2018.

“The results are essentially unchanged from the 90 percent negative coverage … and matches the 91 percent negative coverage we tallied during the 2016 general election campaign,” Rich Noyes, a senior editor for Newsbusters, told The Times.

Do you think Obama should apologize for trying to take credit for the economy?

Despite all the negative coverage that President Trump has received, his accomplishments in just three years of office continue to amaze.

For starters, he’s overcome the Mueller Report debacle, the Russia Hoax and the sham of impeachment from the Democrat-controlled house.

I strongly believe President Trump is doing amazing things for our country.

According to White House statistics, our unemployment rate recently hit the lowest mark in 50 years and the economy is adding more than 7 million jobs with over 500,000 being in manufacturing alone.

Our low-income workers have seen an increase in wages and African-Americans and Hispanic Americans are seeing an all-time low in poverty rates.

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Congress approved President Trump’s USMCA deal, which is a huge win for the United States workers, farmers and manufacturers. This, in turn, is creating 176,000 new jobs in those fields.

President Trump is continuing to fight to make our trade deals with China fairer. With entering into the “Phase 1” deal, Beijing has now agreed to structural reforms in its trade practices and has also agreed to make substantial purchases in American agricultural products.

Apprehensions at our southern border have fallen by 70 percent between May and November.

Our president is fighting to give Americans the best health care system, and we have seen the largest year-over-year drop in drug prices ever recorded.

Our NATO allies will have increased defense spending by $130 billion by the end of the next year.

Finally, our military is seeing the support they have been well-deserving of. Our military took out the world’s top terrorist back in October. Trump has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for the 2020 fiscal year which includes the biggest pay raise for our military in a decade!

In the end, Obama was right — there was no magic wand. It was the need for the country to find the right person.

The American people found that in President Donald Trump.

The Obama administration can try to take credit for something they said could never happen, but Obama’s legacy will always be lackluster.

Trump, however, will always be known for Making America Great Again and Keeping it Great in 2020!

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Kellyanne Conway Says Impeachment Goes Against Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Vision’ for America

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Monday she does not believe the Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump fits with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “vision” for America.

NBC News White House correspondent Geoff Bennett asked Conway what Trump was doing to observe Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Conway responded that the president — who was traveling to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday –“agrees with many of the things that Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and agreed with for many years, including unity and equality.”

She then said that Trump is not trying to tear the country apart through impeachment, as, she implied, congressional Democrats are.

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“I’ve held my opinion on it for a very long time,” Conway said, “but when you see the articles of impeachment they came out, I don’t think it was within Dr. King’s vision to have Americans dragged through a process where the president is not going to be removed from office, is not being charged with bribery, extortion, high crimes or misdemeanors.

“And I think that anybody who cares about ‘and justice for all’ on today or any day of the year will appreciate the fact that the president now will have a full-throttle defense on the facts, and everybody should have that.” she continued.

Trump’s legal team filed a lengthy legal brief with the Senate on Monday calling the House Democrats’ impeachment effort an “affront to the Constitution” that should be rejected on its face.

Do you think Conway’s right?

Trump’s 110-page legal brief highlights that the House voted to impeach the president without alleging any criminal conduct.

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution provides that the president “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The president’s attorneys argued that “the Senate should speedily reject these deficient Articles of Impeachment and acquit the President.”

“The only threat to the Constitution that House Democrats have brought to light is their own degradation of the impeachment process and trampling of the separation of powers,” the legal brief read.

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia argued on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty, and Levin” that House Democrats did not afford Trump the due-process rights that are a hallmark of equal justice under the law during their impeachment proceedings.

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Collins pointed out that House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland had said that Trump bore the burden of proving his innocence, rather than have the presumption of being innocent until proven guilty.

Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in October, when launching the impeachment inquiry, that Trump would have the chance to “exonerate himself.”

“Did we all of a sudden suspend the Bill of Rights?” Collins asked Levin. “Did we suspend any modicum of due process?”

The lawmaker mentioned that while Democrats like Hoyer and Pelosi shifted the burden of proof to Trump, they also denied him the opportunity to call witnesses during the House hearings or have legal counsel present during the questioning of fact witnesses before the House Intelligence Committee.

“I don’t care if you think this president ought to be impeached or not,” Collins said. “This is irrelevant. This should bother everybody.”

“This is a political impeachment,” he said.

“It has been a political impeachment from day one.”

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day last year, Trump argued that King’s vision for a more equitable America had advanced under his administration.

The president pointed to record-low unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans.

Trump also highlighted the “First Step Act,” passed with bipartisan support in December 2018, which is intended to give those who have been incarcerated for non-violent crimes a “second chance at life,” through new sentencing guidelines and education and job-training programs designed to make their transition back into society easier.

“We have also made great strides as a nation,” he said, “but we acknowledge that more work must be done for, in the words of Dr. King, ‘justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.