Trump tweets
June 30, 2020

President Trump retweeted a video Sunday morning that included one of his supporters at the sprawling Florida retirement community The Villages shouting "white power" while driving a golf cart. He left up the tweet, which he captioned: "Thank you to the great people of The Villages," for more than three hours before he deleted it. During those three hours, a "five-alarm fire" was raging at the White House as aides tried to reach Trump to urge him to take down the tweet, two White House officials tell NBC News. They couldn't reach him, the officials said, because "the president was at his golf club in Virginia and had put his phone down."

The senior advisers who eventually reached Trump included White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Jared Kushner, The Washington Post reports, and Trump finally gave the go-ahead to delete the tweet because he was "moved, in large part, by the public calls from Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only black Republican, to do just that." Scott had called the tweet "indefensible" on CNN.

White House spokespeople said Trump had not heard the "white power" chant, and McEnany clarified at Monday's press briefing that Trump had watched the tweet before retweeting it for his 82 million followers, but insisted "he did not hear that particular phrase." Other Trump advocates argued that Trump repudiated his supporter by deleting the tweet, but neither Trump nor anyone else at the White House has publicly condemned the "white power" comment.

The Villages Republican Club did, tweeting that the club was "appalled" by the video and insisting "this is NOT what we stand for and is NOT a reflection of Village residents," 97 percent of whom are white, while 1 percent are Black.

"As protests over police brutality and racial injustice have erupted across the country in recent weeks, Trump has dialed up his inflammatory rhetoric, repeatedly turning to racist tropes," the Post says, listing several examples. "The steady stream of racist and offensive language from Trump has convinced many Americans that the president is a racist, according to recent polling." Peter Weber

June 23, 2020

President Trump was active on Twitter early Tuesday. He called his estranged former national security adviser John Bolton a "washed up Creepster" and "lowlife who should be in jail," retweeted Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams and Korean officials criticizing Bolton, and repeated his incorrect claim that COVID-19 "cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country," drawing the bizarre conclusion that "with smaller testing we would show fewer cases!" Trump also tweeted that he has "authorized" police to enforce vandalism laws.

"I have authorized the federal government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue, or other such federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran's Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent," Trump tweeted. "This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!"

Trump first tweeted about the law late Monday in response to an attempt to bring down "the magnificent statue of Andrew Jackson," a president he admires, outside the White House. The idea to use that particular law, the Veterans' Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003, apparently came from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). It allows fines or prison terms of up to 10 years for anyone "who willfully injures or destroys, or attempts to injure or destroy, any structure, plaque, statue, or other monument on public property commemorating the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States."

Cotton urged Attorney General William Barr to bring charges against vandals who have "defaced and torn down statues, memorials, and monuments around our country," but it seems that Confederate statues, at least, would be exempt from such protections. Peter Weber

June 11, 2020

Things have descended into a little light anarchy in one neighborhood in Seattle — seriously, a cop-free "autonomous zone" with smoking sections? And as denizens of the new Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) danced to a band, painted "Black Lives Matter" on the street, created colorful street art, and watched Paris Is Burning from a large projector Wednesday night, President Trump threatened to send in the troops.

"Radical Left" Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan "are being taunted and played," and if they don't "take back your city NOW," then "I will," Trump tweeted. "This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!" And they did move fast, on Twitter:

For what it's worth, The Stranger's Charles Mudede predicts that CHAZ will end in either "institutionalization" or "destruction," and given Durkan's switch to "soft control" tactics, institutionalization probably has the upper hand. Peter Weber

June 4, 2020

President Trump responded to Wednesday's blistering rebuke from former Defense Secretary James Mattis by attacking the reticent retired four-star Marine general in two factually challenged tweets.

Mattis, who retired from the military in 2013, sent a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday lambasting Trump's leadership. He argued that Trump ordered U.S. military personnel to violate the Constitution for his "bizarre photo op" in front of a church, said he hasn't offered "mature leadership," and compared Trump's content attempts to "divide us" to the Nazi "divide and conquer" ethos. "We do not need to militarize our response to protests," Mattis wrote. "We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law."

Trump, recycling old attacks, called Mattis "the world's most overrated general," stated incorrectly that he fired him — Mattis resigned in protest of Trump's decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, abandoning Kurdish allies — and claimed falsely that he was the one who gave Mattis the hated nickname "Mad Dog."

Mattis and Trump never had a great working relationship, but after resigning with a dryly critical letter, he told The Atlantic there's "a period in which I owe my silence" to the president and his former colleagues, but "it's not eternal. It's not going to be forever." The period is evidently over, and there may be more to come.

Mattis isn't the only retired military leader criticizing Trump's military deployment in the capital and threat to send active-duty troops to other cities — former Joint Chiefs chairmen Adm. Mike Mullen and Martin Dempsey criticized Trump's military response to lawful protests on Tuesday, and a former top Pentagon official, James N. Miller, resigned from the Defense Science Board in protest. Peter Weber

May 31, 2020

With protests against police brutality happening in all corners of the U.S., President Trump tweeted two words on Sunday night: "FAKE NEWS!"

He did not elaborate. The tweet was sent as demonstrations continued for a sixth day, triggered by the death last week of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died when a white Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident was recorded, and Floyd is heard saying, "I can't breathe."

Floyd's death comes as the country tries to come to grips with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 104,000 Americans and cost tens of millions of jobs. The first protest over Floyd's death was in Minneapolis, but the movement quickly spread nationwide. While most demonstrations have been peaceful, fires broke out in Los Angeles and New York on Saturday night as tensions flared between police officers and protesters. Over the weekend, The Washington Post estimates, more than 2,500 people were arrested in two dozen cities.

Curfews are in place in Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, and other major cities, and the National Guard has been activated in 15 states and Washington, D.C. Thousands of protesters gathered at Lafayette Square across from the White House on Sunday night after Trump sent his tweet, and a small building inside the park was set on fire. At that point, a few minutes before D.C.'s 11 p.m. curfew was about to go into effect, riot police moved in to push the protesters out.

Earlier in the day, Trump tried to pin the unrest on the media, accusing journalists of being "truly bad people with a sick agenda." Catherine Garcia

May 31, 2020

President Trump declared via Twitter on Sunday that he will designate anti-fascism activists as terrorists.

Under the law, Trump does not have the authority to do so, Mary McCord, a former head of the Department of Justice's National Security Division, told The New York Times. "If such a statute were passed, it would face serious First Amendment challenges," she said, adding that currently, the only terrorist authority is for foreign organizations.

Protests continued across the United States on Sunday against police brutality, and in the evening, Trump simply tweeted, "LAW & ORDER!" This is a turn from earlier this month, when Trump supported protesters in Michigan, including many who were armed, that decried restrictions placed on businesses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien have all painted left-wing anti-fascist protesters — also known as antifa — as agitators, with O'Brien saying on Sunday's This Week that "it's the violent antifa radical militants that are coming out under cover of night, traveling across state lines, using military-style tactics to burn down our cities."

In response, host George Stephanopoulos told O'Brien, "The Department of Homeland Security, which reports to you, has put out intelligence notes over the weekend warning that domestic terrorists from the far-right and the far-left, both, are looking to exploit this. It's not just antifa and the left, they're saying they're worried about the far right as well." Catherine Garcia

May 22, 2020

President Trump has been attacking Fox News on Twitter in recent weeks, and on Thursday evening he gave one surprisingly candid clue as to the source of his frustrations. "Many will disagree, but Fox News is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd," he tweeted. "Net Result = BAD!" He called some personalities "garbage," including hydroxychloroquine skeptic Niel [sic] Cavuto, two black commentators, "and many others."

Liberals may view Fox News as "Trump TV," Gabriel Sherman reported at Vanity Fair earlier this month. "But that is not the way Donald Trump himself sees it. Trump loves that many Fox hosts are his loudest cheerleaders — but any deviation from Trumpian orthodoxy he views as betrayal," and his "frustration with Fox has only intensified during the coronavirus pandemic" as network executives "sidelined the network's most flagrant coronavirus deniers."

"At the end of day, Trump thinks he owns Fox," a Republican who discussed the network with Trump told Vanity Fair. "He thinks he made them."

But The Wall Street Journal reported in January that an investment firm owned by a Trump ally, Republican National Committee co-chairman Thomas Hicks Jr., was in talks to buy One America News Network (OANN), the even friendlier alternative network Trump has been elevating for months. Hicks is close with Donald Trump Jr., and the negotiations are ongoing. "Tommy Hicks and Don Jr. have been looking to buy a station for Trump TV," one source briefed on the talks told Sherman. "This is all about building a Fox competitor. Trump is really aiming to take down Fox." OANN owner Robert Herring Sr. told Times of San Diego that "so far we know nothing about Trump Jr. buying our company," and "we are not anxious to sell." Peter Weber

May 19, 2020

President Trump posted an unusually large number of all-caps tweets on Monday, from "REOPEN OUR COUNTRY!" and "LOSER!" (a reference to Sen. Mitt Romney [R-Utah]) to "OIL (ENERGY) IS BACK!!!!" But he spent Monday evening tweeting Fox News clips and retweeting attacks on the network and one of its hosts, Neil Cavuto. Every once in a while, Cavuto is prone to give a more-in-sorrow-than-anger lecture to Trump about truth and the problems with his falsehoods. But what irked Trump on Monday was Cavuto warning people not to follow Trump's lead on taking hydroxychloroquine.

Trump even retweeted an anti-Trump account whose point he appears to have missed.

One Trump retweet referred to Cavuto as "an a--hole," another said it's "hard to believe Cavuto is this foolish & gullible," while another accused the Fox News host of "sheer stupidity." Trump himself finally weighed in on a tweet asking Laura Ingraham what the problem is with her "irresponsible colleague" Cavuto. "Fox News is no longer the same," Trump lamented. "We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!"

Ailes resigned in disgrace in 2016 from the network he created, amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations and settlements. He died in 2017. Peter Weber

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