👋 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/ A man armed with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle shot and killed 11 people during Shabbat services at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack on Jews in the history of the United States. Robert Bowers was charged with 29 counts of federal crimes of violence and firearms offenses. He also faces state charges, including 11 counts of homicide. Bowers told police during the shootout: “I just want to kill Jews.” (Washington Post / The Guardian / CNN)
2/ Trump: “If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him.” Trump added that the shooting “has little to do” with gun laws, but, “if they had protection inside, the results would have been far better.” (CNN / New York Times / ABC News)
- Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto: Armed guards are not the answer. “We should try to stop irrational behavior from happening at the forefront,” Peduto said. “And not try to create laws around irrational behavior to continue.” He added: “I don’t think that the answer to this problem is solved by having our synagogues, mosques and churches filled with armed guards or schools filled with armed guards.” (NBC News)
3/ The former president of the Pittsburgh synagogue labeled Trump the “purveyor of hate speech” and said he would not be welcome in the city. Lynette Lederman’s comments followed an open letter signed by a coalition of local Jewish leaders that states: “President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.” More than 30,000 people have signed the open letter. (The Guardian / Washington Post)
4/ Trump will visit Pennsylvania to commemorate the the victims of the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue despite Pittsburgh’s mayor requesting that the trip be postponed until after the funerals are held. (NPR / Washington Post / New York Times)
5/ Trump called for unity but blamed the media for the “anger and outrage” in the country, accusing the press of being “the true Enemy of the People” for what he called “fraudulent” reporting regarding the wave of pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and the gunman who massacred Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The media is “doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country,” Trump wrote in a separate tweet, claiming “it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!” Sarah Sanders also accused the media of blaming Trump for the pipe bombs and synagogue shooting. (Washington Post / Politico)
6/ A third suspicious package was mailed to CNN. The package was intercepted at a post office in Atlanta, where the network is headquartered, and was “similar in appearance to” the ones addressed to John Brennan and James Clapper. (NBC News / The Guardian / CNN)
poll/ 54% of Americans believe that Trump’s decisions and behavior as president have encouraged white supremacist groups. 69% say they would like Trump’s speech and behavior to be more consistent with his predecessors, or that he has damaged the dignity of the office. (Public Religion Research Institute)
poll/ 58% of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as president. 40% approve. (Gallup)
poll/ 55% of Americans are either not confident that the country’s election systems are secure. 45% of Americans say they are somewhat confident that the election systems are secure. (Pew Research Center)
The U.S. military will deploy more than 5,000 troops to the southwest border in anticipation of the arrival of the caravan of migrants currently in Mexico. Trump tweeted: “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” (Wall Street Journal / ABC News / Washington Post / Politico)
A new lawsuit accuses Trump, Trump Organization, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump of using the Trump name to encourage vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities. The 160-page complaint alleges that Trump and his family received payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors as legitimate opportunities. (New York Times)
Former President Jimmy Carter called on Brian Kemp to resign as Georgia’s Secretary of State in order to avoid damaging public confidence in the outcome of his contested race against Democrat Stacey Abrams. Stepping aside, Carter wrote a letter to Kemp, “would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.” (NBC News)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely claimed that Trump won the presidential election by an “overwhelming majority” of 63 million votes. Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes: 65.8 million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. (The Hill)
Trump’s private schedules show he has up to nine hours a day of unstructured “executive time.” Official meetings, policy briefings and public appearances consumed barely more than three hours of his day. (Politico)
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