👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Trump is “sad” that “our beautiful statues and monuments” to the Confederacy are being taken down. He tweeted that we’re seeing the “history and culture of our great country being ripped apart.” (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)
Apple’s Tim Cook “disagrees” with Trump’s take on neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville and will donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. (Recode)
Unlike His Predecessors, Trump Steps Back From a Moral Judgment. Asked if he would put white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the same “moral plane” as their liberal and leftist resisters, Trump replied, “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane.” (New York Times)
The rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism criticized her father’s response to Charlottesville in a letter to his congregation. (CNN)
2/ White House aides are wrestling with how to respond to Trump after he doubled down that “both sides” were to blame in Charlottesville. Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, who is Jewish, was “disgusted” and “frantically unhappy” by Trump’s remarks that there were some “very fine people” at the white nationalist rally. John Kelly, the new chief of staff, has been trying to instill a sense of discipline in the West Wing, but is “frustrated and dismayed” by Trump’s self-inflicted controversies, from his North Korea rhetoric to publicly attacking Mitch McConnell. (Washington Post / Reuters / Politico)
- “He is stubborn and doesn’t realize how bad this is getting,” a White House adviser said. Trump’s temper has been a constant force in the White House, making policy decisions after becoming irritated with staffers and escalating fights because he doesn’t like being told what to do. (Politico)
3/ Jeff Sessions criticized Chicago’s “sanctuary city” policy, saying the “respect for the rule of law has broken down.” He tied the violence in Chicago to its refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, arguing that it’s made Chicago a haven for predators and drug dealers. (New York Times / Reuters / Politico)
4/ Steve Bannon gave an outrageous interview then said he didn’t know he was being interviewed in an attempt to divert attention from Charlottesville. Bannon called Robert Kuttner, the co-editor of The American Prospect, to say his rivals are “wetting themselves,” called white supremacists “clowns” and “losers,” and contradicted Trump on North Korea. (Washington Post / Axios / CNN)
5/ Trump’s personal lawyer forwarded an email warning that Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups” and that Robert E. Lee’s rebellion was the same as the American Revolution against England. John Dowd forwarded the email with the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” to conservative journalists, government officials and friends. (New York Times / CNN)
6/ Trump spread a debunked rumor while responding to the Barcelona terror attack on Twitter less than an hour after issuing an initial, measured statement. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught,” Trump tweeted. “There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!” The reference is to General John J. Pershing who allegedly dipped bullets in pigs’ blood to execute Islamic terrorists in the Philippines whose religion forbid contact with the animals. The Pershing legend has been debunked multiple times. (CNN Money / Washington Post / PolitiFact)
7/ Trump abandoned plans for an infrastructure council after his two other business advisory councils disbanded in protest over his remarks legitimizing white supremacists. The council would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works. (Bloomberg)
poll/ 67% of Republicans approve of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence. 82% of Democrats disapprove. (CBS News)
poll/ 40% of Americans support impeaching Trump and removing him from office. That’s compared to 30 percent who said the same in February. (NBC News)
poll/ More people worldwide trust Putin over Trump to handle foreign affairs. 22 of the 36 countries polled, including Germany, France and Japan, trust Putin more than Trump, while 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, and the UK trust Trump slightly more. The survey was conducted February 16th to May 8th, which is before Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury” on North Korea. (Pew / Bloomberg)
poll/ 53% of Americans – both Republicans and Democrats – say there is nothing Trump could do to change their mind about him. 72% of female Trump supporters say they will never change their support. (CNN)
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