Talking of Trump’s appeals to culture wars, the president is on his usual early morning tweeting frenzy. One tweet had an obvious appeal to the QAnon constituency of his base, quote-tweeting Curt Schilling praising Trump and the Attorney General over action on child traffic rings. The former Red Sox pitcher is one of those who has helped promote the antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Thanks Curt. Great pitcher!!! https://t.co/pMq197KahK
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
Trump has also returned to the theme that he disparaged the military, retweeting a two-day old suggestion that Republicans believe the story was “planted” by the Biden campaign.
And he has also again launched a tirade against Black Lives Matter protests.
….And because of weak and pathetic Democrat leadership, this thuggery is happening in other Democrat run cities and states. Must shut them down fast. Biden and his most Liberal in Senate running mate, Kamala, won’t even talk about it. They won’t utter the words, LAW & ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
He’s also retweeting claims that nobody has reported the deal brokered by the US between Kosovo and Serbia. We did, and it has taken me about twenty seconds Googling to find the reports from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News et al…
CNN’s Kevin Liptak has an analysis piece this morning to remind us that it is just 56 days to go until the election. He has run the rule over how the two campaigns are shaping up for the final stretch, saying that Labor Day has assumed an outsized starting-gun quality as both candidates begin fervent in-person attempts to mobilize their voters.
Trump, brazenly breaking ethical norms by using the White House as his campaign stage, hopes his outsized attacks will either draw in or drown out his rival – and to some extent he’s been successful in forcing Biden to defend himself against accusations he’s fomenting riots or declining mentally. Biden hopes to turn the election into a referendum on Trump’s character – in part by allowing the President’s words and actions to speak for themselves.
Liptak goes on to write about what he describes as “Trump’s recent attempts to shore up base supporters using appeals to White grievance”:
Trump has made championing nascent culture wars a central aspect of his political persona and has scaled up his efforts in recent days. He instructed the White House budget chief to withdraw funding from federal agencies for racial sensitivity training that he deemed “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” He also threatened to pull funding from public schools that teach an interpretation of US history that uses the arrival of the first slave ships on American shores to reframe traditional narratives. The actions seem to codify Trump’s dismissive views of systemic racism, which he says isn’t a worthy area of focus, while violence persists on American streets. “We grew up with a certain history and now they’re trying to change our history,” Trump said.
Both the Trump and the Biden campaigns have new ad spots launching this week in the battleground states.
In his ad, the Trump team are hailing the “Great American Comeback”.
Trump advert for the Great American Comeback
The advert mis-represents a Joe Biden quote from a TV interview. In in interview, asked what he would do if advised by scientists that the spread of coronavirus was out of control and another shutdown was needed, Biden said “I would shut it down. I would listen to the scientists”. The Trump advert simply has Biden saying “I would shut it down” after listing some of the recent economic recovery stats.
The advert also repeats the much fact-checked false claim that under Donald Trump the American economy was the greatest it has ever been.
Biden’s new campaign ad is called “Fresh start”, and has a narrator saying:
This is our chance to put the darkness of the last four years behind us and start fresh in America. We’ve had four years of a president who brings out the worst in America. Isn’t it time we had a president who brought out the best?
Biden’s ad will run in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada and Ohio. Trump’s team has opted for North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Both will appear on national cable.
If you missed it, the Washington Post’s editorial board published an excoriating op-ed about the president yesterday, headed “Four more years of Trump’s contempt for competence would be devastating”.
The so-called adults in the room in the early days of this term have left and written books about how unpleasant it was to be in that room. Often it didn’t matter anyway, because this president rarely listens and almost never reads. He has been called “unbriefable.” Only once or twice a week does he bother to listen to the intelligence briefings other presidents received daily, and even then he reportedly interrupts with kooky conspiracy theories, or spends his time marveling over a miniature weapon constructed as a visual aid to hold his wayward attention. He takes the advice not of the most qualified, or even most persuasive, person around him but of the person who manages to sneak in the last word.
They say that Trump’s “manifestations of deliberate ignorance come together in a disdain for gathering information at all” that permeates the administration, and poses a grave threat.
If we don’t gather information, we cannot see the depth of Mr. Trump’s failures. Another term could allow Mr. Trump to complete the demoralization, politicization and destruction of a workforce that was once the envy of the world: the American civil service, health service, Foreign Service and uniformed military. In everything from consumer safety to air quality to life expectancy, the results would be catastrophic. But there would be nobody left to measure them.
Richard Wolffe has interviewed former secretary of state John Kerry for us. He was keen to espouse Joe Biden’s credentials on foreign policy, and contrast them with the approach of the current incumbent of the White House. Kerry says:
I think Joe’s unique credibility and years of relationships in Europe will help restore those alliances on day one of a Biden presidency. I know he’s respected, and he earned those relationships. In 2008, when Russian tanks rolled into a neighboring country called Georgia, it was Joe Biden who immediately picked up the phone, and called an old friend, who happened to be the president of the country. So Joe got on a plane, flew all night, and sat on a hilltop in Georgia with the president of our democratic ally and made it clear the United States stands with allies. People remember those moments.
Jordain Carney over at The Hill has a decent scene-setter for today’s return of the Senate. It is going to be a fraught session, with Carney observing that they have a matter of weeks to wrap up their work before the November election, and that work includes preventing another government shutdown and trying to revive a coronavirus relief package.
The Republican approach is to present a stripped-down bill that they can get consensus on, but the two sides are far apart.
The sticking points on the negotiations are largely the same as they were when Congress left DC: Republicans have proposed a $1.1 trillion package, while Democrats have lined up behind the $3.4 trillion House-passed bill.
As Democratic Senate minority leader Charles Schumer puts it: “Republicans may call their proposal ‘skinny,’ but it would be more appropriate to call it ‘emaciated.’”
Good morning, and welcome to today’s live coverage of US politics. Here’s a quick catch-up on what’s happening, and a little of what we can expect later on today.
- There were 261 new coronavirus deaths and 25,167 new Covid-19 cases recorded yesterday – but it was the Labor Day weekend, so that is likely to have affected the collection of the numbers. North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Missouri continue to have high numbers of new cases per 100,000 residents.
- The Senate returns after the summer break. They’ll walk straight back into the battle to provide some kind of continued coronavirus stimulus package.
- Michael Cohen is publishing his “tell-all” book today. In an NBC interview he has said that Donald Trump is a racist “cult leader” who should resign before he’s hit with criminal charges.
- The row over whether Trump disparaged America’s war dead during a trip to Europe rumbles on. Several former Trump administration officials have confirmed the reports. Trump and the White House have denied it. US veterans and soldiers remain divided over it.
- Protests in Rochester over the death of Daniel Prude continue, and right-wing groups displaying Trump and QAnon banners clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in Oregon City.
- The president has trips to battleground states Florida and North Carolina in the diary today. He’ll be speaking about “environmental accomplishments” in West Palm Beach, and then heads to Winston-Salem.
- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are both campaigning today in virtual fund-raising events.
I’m Martin Belam and you can get in touch with me at [email protected]
Originally published: 2020-09-08 06:31:37