The Lone Trumper

I think this is funny on it’s own, but it’s sad to see the president of the United States continuing to act like such a doofus, especially over an important health issue during a pandemic. he said in an  interview he had worn a black mask and he looked like the Lone Ranger.

Donald Trump has set a poor example on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in a number of ways, one of those on the wearing of masks.

He has said “some people wear masks as a political symbol of opposition to him rather than as a health precaution”.

USA Today:  Trump says he’d wear mask in small crowd but questions need for mandatory use

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’s not sure that face masks should be mandatory but that he’d wear one in a “tight” crowd.

Several prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have publicly urged Americans in recent days to wear a mask in public when they are unable to practice social distancing.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate health committee, called Tuesday on Trump to occasionally wear a mask even though “there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so.”

“Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says: If you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask. If you’re against Trump, you do,” Alexander said during a hearing on the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The president has millions of admirers,” Alexander said. “They would follow his lead. It would help end this political debate. The stakes are too high for it to continue.”

Trump has said that, for him, wearing a mask in public would not appear presidential. He told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that he thinks some people wear masks as a political symbol of opposition to him rather than as a health precaution. He also expressed concern that they are not hygienic.

Trump has now endorsed the wearing of masks, but has set himself up for more ridicule. He had worn a black mask, thought he looked ok, and he “Looked like the Lone Ranger”.

Fox Business (with video of interview) – Trump ‘all for masks,’ looked like ‘Lone Ranger’ in one

President Trump has been criticized by politicians for not wearing a mask in public, but he told FOX Business’ Blake Burman on Wednesday he has worn one in the past and the only reason he doesn’t wear one more often is because everyone gets tested before meeting with him.

“I would. Oh, I have. I mean, people have seen me wearing one,” Trump said when Burman asked if he would wear a mask. “If I’m in a group of people where we’re not, you know, 10 feet away, and — but, usually, I’m not in that position. And everyone’s tested. Because I’m the president, they get tested before they see me.”

“I don’t know if you need mandatory, because you have many places in the country where people stay very long distance. You talk about social distancing. But I’m all for masks,” Trump told Burman.

According to a Goldman Sachs analysis Tuesday, a national mask mandate could avert a 5 percent drop in GDP.

“If a face mask mandate meaningfully lowers coronavirus infections, it could be valuable not only from a public health perspective but also from an economic perspective because it could substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise hit GDP,” the researchers wrote, according to USA Today.

Now Trump is coming around to wearing masks.

“I mean, I would have no problem. Actually, I had a mask on. I sort of liked the way I looked, OK? I thought it was OK. It was a dark, black mask, and I thought it looked OK. Looked like the Lone Ranger. But, no, I have no problem with that. I think — and if people feel good about it, they should do it.”

Trump didn’t say whether he cut eye slits in the black mask when he wore it.

There has predictably been a lot of reaction abd lampooning, some collated by Market Watch – Trump says a face mask makes him look like the Lone Ranger. One problem with that …

Meanwhile:

Fauci on Covid in US – “It could get very bad”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the US National Institutes of Health, has told the US Congress he is “quite concerned” about the surge in Covid cases in a number of states and new case numbers may more than double if it isn’t contained.

USA Today: Dr. Anthony Fauci tells Congress new coronavirus cases could reach 100,000 a day without changes

New coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get its surge of cases under control, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress Tuesday.

“We’ve really got to do something about that and we need to deal with it quickly,” he testified. “It could get very bad.”

 said the surge has been caused both by some areas reopening too quickly and by people not following guidelines.

“We’ve got to get that message out that we are all in this together,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “And if we are going to contain this, we’ve got to contain it together.”

Fauci, said he’s “quite concerned” about what’s happening in many states.

Asked what’s going wrong, he said several states may have moved “too quickly” and skipped over some of the checkpoints laid out for a safe reopening.

But even in areas where state and local officials followed the federal guidelines, people acted as if all restrictions had been lifted, he said.

“What we saw were a lot of people who maybe felt that because they think they are invulnerable, and we know many young people are not because they’re getting serious disease, that therefore they’re getting infected has nothing at all to do with anyone else, when in fact it does,” Fauci said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., opened the hearing on the state of the coronavirus pandemic by reupping his past recommendation that President Donald Trump wear a mask to reduce the political divide on that health recommendation.

But Trump thinks that people wear masks to”signal disapproval” of him, and Trump ‘eager’ for more rallies despite Fauci ‘plea’ that people avoid crowds

President Trump’s campaign said he wanted to hold more rallies, even as states wrestle with a surge in the number of new coronavirus cases.

“President Trump is eager to keep hitting the campaign trail and holding more rallies to speak directly to the American people,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

“Even though many people, for a variety of reasons, do not listen to the, not suggestion, but plea to not congregate in crowds, some people are going to do that anyway,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a committee hearing last week.

“If you do, please wear a mask,” he said.

Trump has been seen wearing a mask publicly only once and said last week he believed some people wore masks to “signal disapproval” of him.

More from yesterday’s hearing:

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., opened the hearing on the state of the coronavirus pandemic by reupping his past recommendation that President Donald Trump wear a mask to reduce the political divide on that health recommendation.

“The president has plenty of admirers,” Alexander said. “They would follow his lead.”

Except Trump isn’t leading, he’s flailing and floundering, and polls suggest the number of admirers is rapidly shrinking see RCP average 55.4% unfavourable (-14.6%), and FiveThirtyEight 56.4% Disapprove (-16%).

Washington Sen. Patty Murray, top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, tore into Trump in her opening comments.

“We’ve seen a leadership crisis raging in the White House as the president proves time after time he cares less about how this pandemic is impacting families and communities and more about how it makes him look,” she said.

His latest tweets don’t make him look very good:

Who is ‘they’? Those trying to protect Americans from Covid?

The White House has often presented a rosier picture of the pandemic than what health officials describe.

Asked Monday about Azar’s warning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president is encouraged that there has been a decline in fatality rates and an increase in effective treatments.

“These things make us uniquely equipped to handle the increase in cases that we’ve seen,” McEnany said.

“I’m not satisfied with what’s going on,” Fauci said, “because we’re going in the wrong direction.”

Case numbers are certainly surging in the wrong direction in the US. It’s too soon to tell whether the death rate follows suit, but it is bad enough as it is despite dropping from peaking in April-May.

US Supreme Court rules against tough abortion restrictions

NBC News: Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.

The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.

Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.

The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”

Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

So it isn’t just a matter of appointing conservative judges, they (some of them) are still bound by precedents.

What the Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision Means

Trump crumbling under stress

The United States is under severe health and economic stress. President Donald Trump also looks to be under stress, attacking and dividing as badly as he ever has (which is detrimental to the stresses the country is under). But his tweeting and flailing looks unlikely to change. Trump needs to start to take notice of advice, not something he has been good at.

MSN: Trump Gets Trumpier Under Stress

If Donald Trump loses reelection, it will be because the country changed and he did not. Over the past several months, the United States has witnessed a once-in-a-century pandemic, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and some of the largest protests since the 1960s. Public opinion has swung hard in favor of scientific expertise, a functioning welfare state, and greater racial justice. Yet Donald Trump has responded by becoming an even more cartoonish version of himself.

On Tuesday in The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin puzzled over Trump’s refusal to adapt to the moment. In the face of polling showing that a majority of “somewhat conservative” voters approve of the Black Lives Matter movement, the two Times journalists wrote, Trump has become even more “inflammatory on race.” They added, “No matter how much his advisers and lawmakers nudge him to project unity and bigness, he keeps bingeing on the political equivalent of comfort food.” In trying to explain Trump’s behavior, Haberman and Martin rhetorically throw up their hands. “As political strategy goes,” they write, “it’s confounding.”

But Trump became president by confounding normal political strategy, and has continued to confound.

As political strategy, perhaps, but not as human psychology. Everything that the public knows about Trump suggests that the prospect of being humiliated by events outside his control is causing him enormous stress. And everything that scientists know about stress suggests that it leads people to fall back into old habits. Stress makes it hard for people to change, even when they need to most.

A huge problem for the US is that despite the reality of the Covid pandemic Trump has been promoting a return to life as normal and business as normal for months. Remember his claim of a beautiful Easter Sunday nearly three months ago? He insisted on having a political rally last weekend and that was a bit of a flop politically, and also helped spread Covid some more.

To actually seriously address the Covid problems facing his country Trump would have to admit he adulating himself.

When a country really needs a leader to step up and lead from the front, Trump is crumbling. That’s sad and bad for the US, but that was a risk taken by choosing a divisive non-political non-leader for president.

Fox News: Pence postpones Florida, Arizona campaign events amid increase in coronavirus cases there

Vice President Mike Pence has postponed his “Faith in America” tour events in Florida and Arizona amid rapidly rising coronavirus cases in both states.

“Vice President Pence will no longer participate in campaign events in Arizona and Florida this week,” a spokesman close to Pence told Fox News Saturday. “This is related to coronavirus numbers increasing in those states.”

Pence will still be traveling to Florida, Arizona and Texas next week Fox News confirmed, to meet with governors and evaluate the situation on the ground in those states seeing spikes in coronavirus cases.

Oh wow, he is going to put the health of the country ahead of his faith campaign.

Fox News: Trump in trouble? Poll numbers have some conservatives nervous

The release of the surveys – from Fox News, New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS/Marist, Quinnipiac University, and Marquette Law School – appear to spell trouble right now for the president as he fights for another four years in the White House.

But it’s not just in the expected battleground states where Trump is losing ground. Fox News polls released Thursday show Biden with a slight edge in Texas and Georgia, two once reliably red states that were not considered up for grabs at the beginning of the 2020 presidential cycle.

An opinion piece posted Thursday evening by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board stressed that “President Trump may soon need a new nickname for ‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden. How does President-elect sound? On present trend that’s exactly what Mr. Biden will be on Nov. 4, as Mr. Trump heads for what could be an historic repudiation that would take the Republican Senate down with him.”

The conservative editorial board pointed to the president’s approval rating – which currently stands at 42.1 percent according to a Real Clear Politics average of the latest polls – and said that Trump is nearing what they called “George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter territory.” The elder Bush and Carter are the last two presidents who failed to win reelection.

Senior Fox News political analyst and former longtime D.C. anchor Brit Hume – tweeting a link to the Journal’s editorial piece – called it an “Unflinching analysis of Trump’s reelection prospects: He’s in trouble, headed for defeat unless he changes course.”

But Trump seems unable to change course.

Sure, polls had difficulties figuring the Trump phenomenon out in 2016. But things are much different this year. The public is seeing how inept and divisive Trump is as president. And Covid.

 

Trump versus judges, courts and attorneys

If it hadn’t been clear in the past it is becoming more obvious now – Donald Trump thinks that judges and courts should be acting in his interests regardless of the laws. And it seems that his Attorney General William Barr is on trump’s side rather than the side of the law.

Two Supreme Court jugdments have gone against Trump in the last week, and his reaction is to criticise the judges and promote new ‘conservative’ judges – he really means judges who will ignore the law and do what he wants.

And Barr is also stepping in, trying to dump a New York US Attorney who has investigated associates of Trump.

Politico:  After week of Supreme Court defeats, Trump says he’ll release new shortlist of potential justices

President Donald Trump on Thursday pledged to unveil a new list of potential Supreme Court nominees ahead of November’s general election, reprising a campaign tactic that helped him shore up conservative support during his 2016 White House run.

The announcement came hours after the high court dealt the president his second major defeat this week, rejecting his administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program’s protections for roughly 650,000 immigrants — most of whom entered the U.S. illegally as children more than a decade ago.

Since assuming office, Trump has routinely touted his presidency’s rapid rate of judicial confirmations — including the hard-won installations of Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the high court — to energize his base in public remarks and at political rallies.

But the fruits of those efforts to remake the federal judiciary were not evident earlier this week, after Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts sided Monday with the Supreme Court’s Democratic appointees in a landmark anti-discrimination case.

What he means is vote for him to get judges who will favour Trump over the laws of the US.

Do you get the impression that Trump doesn’t like it when the Supreme Court doesn’t do whatever he wants?

Yeah, right. Trump has always acted in what he thinks are his own best interests.

And he seems to have an ally in Attorney General Barr. Fox News: Trump nominates SEC Chairman Jay Clayton to replace Geoffrey Berman as US attorney in New York

President Trump nominated the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, to replace Geoffrey Berman as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, late Friday night in what appears to be political shakeup.

It is sometimes hard to separate politics and justice in the US, especially with Trump in charge.

“For the past three years, Jay has been an extraordinarily successful SEC Chairman, overseeing efforts to modernize regulation of the capital markets, protect Main Street investors, enhance American competitiveness, and address challenges ranging from cybersecurity issues to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.

Shortly after the announcement by the Department of Justice, ABC News reported via Twitter that Berman was fired after declining other positions within the department.

Berman responded:

He has no choice but to ‘step down’ if dumped. But this could be a contentious dumping.

Jerry Nadler heads the House Judiciary Committtee.

Lindsey Graham, Republican Chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, is also not jumping in on trump’s behalf.

Fox News: Graham says he won’t advance Trump nominee for SDNY prosecutor without Schumer, Gillibrand consent

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Saturday he will not take up President Trump’s nomination for a new U.S. attorney for Manhattan unless New York’s Democratic senators sign off.

Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will honor the “blue slip” tradition and require the consent of home state senators to proceed — in this case, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Graham’s statement signals an uphill climb for Trump to get a new Senate-confirmed federal prosecutor in one of the nation’s most high-profile districts.

Graham’s committee is the first stop for Senate confirmation of the nominee.

Graham said in a statement:

“According to Attorney General Barr, the Trump Administration intends to nominate Mr. Jay Clayton to be U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, I have not been contacted by the Administration in this regard. However, I know Mr. Clayton and believe him to be a fine man and accomplished lawyer.”

“As to processing U.S. Attorney nominations, it has always been the policy of the Judiciary Committee to receive blue slips from the home state senators before proceeding to the nomination. As chairman, I have honored that policy and will continue to do so.”

A statement from Gillibrand:

“I will not be complicit in helping President Trump and Attorney General Barr fire a U.S. attorney who is reportedly investigating corruption in this administration. Jay Clayton should withdraw his name from consideration immediately and remove himself from this sham. President Trump cannot be allowed to desecrate our nominations process further.”

Maybe the political and judicial systems are a bit stronger at standing up to Trump than he would like.


Meanwhile conflicting claims about the Bolton book.

Trump claims that Bolton’s book is fake and lies, but that he is publishing classified information.  But:

More from Fox News:  Judge allows Bolton book to be released, but says he ‘gambled’ with national security

A federal judge on Saturday allowed the forthcoming publication of John Bolton’s memoir to go ahead next week despite concerns it contains classified information – but tore into the former national security adviser for having “gambled” with national security.

“Defendant Bolton has gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability,” Judge Royce Lamberth said in a ruling.  “But these facts do not control the motion before the Court. The government has failed to establish that an injunction will prevent irreparable harm.”

Another failed court action.

But Bolton’s team has claimed that the administration is just trying to suppress embarrassing information about President Trump’s conduct.

“We are grateful that the Court  has vindicated the strong First Amendment protections against censorship and prior restraint of publication,” Adam Rothberg, Simon & Schuster’s senior vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement. “We are very pleased that the public will now have the opportunity to read Ambassador Bolton’s account of his time as National Security Advisor.”

It’s hard to see anything exposing the US to harm more than Trump.

But Trump sees this failure as a win.

 

Trump tries to block Bolton book as bits revealed

Donald Trump has complained about what he calls threats to his free speech on social media to the extent of signing an executive order, but that has been seen as a threat to free speech itself – Donald Trump’s attacks on social media threaten the free speech rights of all Americans:

…his feud with Twitter is another example of the ways in which the president has routinely distorted the principles of the First Amendment in order to undermine the very freedoms he claims to be championing – as well as American democracy more broadly.

Trump is also not keen on free speech for his former national security adviser John Bolton, who is due to launch a book next week about his White House experiences. Trump obviously doesn’t think he will get much praise in the book.

Trump administration seeks emergency order to block Bolton’s memoir

The Trump administration has made an aggressive last-ditch attempt to block the release of John Bolton’s bombshell book, in which the former national security adviser writes that the US president offered favors to dictators and asked China to help him with his 2020 re-election.

On Wednesday night, the justice department sought an emergency order from a judge to block Bolton’s memoir, after explosive excerpts were printed by various news organizations.

This latest move comes after the administration filed a civil suit against Bolton on Tuesday. The emergency temporary restraining order filed Wednesday, which seeks to stop the release of his book on 23 June, is unlikely to succeed, legal experts said, especially since copies had already been distributed to booksellers and journalists.

In a statement, Bolton’s publisher Simon & Schuster called the restraining order “a frivolous, politically motivated exercise in futility. Hundreds of thousands of copies have already been distributed around the country and the world. The injunction as requested by the government would accomplish nothing.’’

Details from the book have already been published – John Bolton’s bombshell Trump book: eight of its most stunning claims

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton has made a series of explosive claims about the US president in his new book The Room Where It Happened, according to numerous news reports and an excerpt.

1. Trump pleaded with China to help win the 2020 election

According to the excerpt of Bolton’s book published by the Wall Street Journal, Trump asked China to use its economic power to help him win a second election.

In one instance, Trump and President Xi Jinping were discussing hostility to China in the US. “Trump then, stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win,” Bolton writes.

“He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome. I would print Trump’s exact words, but the government’s prepublication review process has decided otherwise.”

2. Trump suggested he was open to serving more than two terms

…published in the Wall Street Journal, Trump also seems to support Xi’s idea of eliminating presidential term limits. “Xi said he wanted to work with Trump for six more years, and Trump replied that people were saying that the two-term constitutional limit on presidents should be repealed for him. Xi said the US had too many elections, because he didn’t want to switch away from Trump, who nodded approvingly.”

The first does seem like a big deal, the second is quite ho-hum.

3. Trump offered favors to dictators

One incident published in the Washington Post includes a 2018 discussion with the Turkish president, Recep Erdoğan. Bolton says Erdoğan gave Trump a memo claiming that a Turkish firm under investigation in the US was innocent. “Trump then told Erdoğan he would take care of things, explaining that the southern district prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people.”

4. Trump praised Xi for China’s internment camps

According to Bolton, Trump was also approving when Xi defended China’s internment of Uighur Muslims in detention camps. “According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.”

5. Trump defended Saudi Arabia to distract from a story about Ivanka

Trump made headlines in November 2018 when he released a bizarre statement defending the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. It included lines such as “The world is a very dangerous place!” and “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

According to Bolton’s book, making headlines was the point. A story about his daughter Ivanka using her personal email for government business was also in the news at the time. After waging war on Hilary Clinton during the 2016 campaign for doing the same thing, Trump need a distraction.

“This will divert from Ivanka,” Trump reportedly said. “If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.”

Again not a great surprise, one of Trump’s primary strategies seems to be media/social media diversions.

6. Trump’s top staff mocked him behind his back

From what has been reported, it sounds like Bolton’s book provides one of the clearest insights into the despair of Trump’s top officials behind the scenes.

In one example given by the New York Times, Bolton claims he received a note from the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, after Trump’s 2018 meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, simply saying, “He is so full of shit.” On top of this, Pompeo also allegedly said a month later that Trump’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea had “zero probability of success”.

Criticism and lack of respect has already been revealed, this is hardly a revelation. “He is so full of shit” won’t shock many people who seem Trump just like that. Even supporters and defenders of grump agree that he is full of shit (‘but gets things done’, which to an extent is correct).

7. Trump thought Finland was part of Russia

Bolton’s book reportedly details some giant holes in Trump’s knowledge. In one instance, Bolton says Trump didn’t seem to know basic knowledge about the UK, asking its former prime minister Theresa May: “Oh, are you a nuclear power?”. On top of this, he also alleges that Trump once asked if Finland was part of Russia, and repeatedly mixed up the current and former presidents of Afghanistan.

Trump’s ignorance of international basics is also not a surprise.

8. Trump thought it would be ‘cool’ to invade Venezuela

According to the Washington Post, Bolton claims Trump said invading Venezuela would be “cool”, and that the country was “really part of the United States”.

More unsurprising ignorance plus a bit of normal idle bluster.

There is not much here that will change many minds about Trump’s behaviour and competence. Of these only the China could be a problem.

New York Times: China Slams Trump Over Uighur Law Amid Bolton Accusations

China lashed out at the United States on Thursday after President Trump signed into law a bill that would allow him to impose sanctions on Chinese officials involved in the mass incarceration of more than one million Uighurs and members of other largely Muslim minorities in the western region of Xinjiang.

The rebuke came after China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, held an unusual meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii that underscored the depth of discord between the two countries.

China’s incarceration of members of minority groups in Xinjiang has become another increasingly contentious, if complicated, issue between the two countries. New accusations by John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, have muddied the issue even further.

New York Times Five takeaways from John Bolton’s book (paywall)

Expect plenty of attempted diversion from Trump when the book hits the bookshelves. He is already doing his usual attacking:

And retweeting this:

Dumping on the messenger is as unsurprising as the book revelations. It’s hard to be shocked by trump any more, but his attacks also look like same old.

Bolton has been criticised for staying silent through the impeachment trial of Trump, holding back information until his book launch.

Trump attempted to use military aid to pressure Ukraine on political investigations, Bolton says

For months, as the nation was convulsed by the impeachment of President Donald Trump, his critics held out hope that the congressional proceedings would unearth a high-level witness with first-person testimony about Trump’s efforts to use his office to try to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations that could bolster him politically.

Now, more than four months after Trump was acquitted by a Republican-led Senate, former Trump national security adviser John Bolton has emerged with just such an account in his new book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.”

In it, Bolton asserts that the delay in releasing $400 million in security assistance for Ukraine last summer was an attempt by the president to get the foreign country to provide damaging material about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former vice president Joe Biden.

The former national security adviser cites personal conversations in which he describes a quid pro quo that Trump long denied, including an August meeting in which Bolton alleges that Trump made the bargain explicit.

“He said he wasn’t in favor of sending them anything until all Russia-investigation material related to Clinton and Biden had been turned over,” Bolton writes.

Bolton seems as self-interested as Trump.

Trump worse than usual versus Martin Gugino

One thing that Donald Trump manages to keep doing is defy claims that nothing he can do can shock any more.

The US President has handled the Covid-19 pandemic poorly, and he has been even worse dealing with the death of George Floyd and the resulting demonstrations and riots.

But he has sunk to a new conspiracy theory blame diverting low, via Twitter of course.

That’s just nuts, even by Trump’s standards.

It was referring to this widely shown pushing of a protester by police:

Even Fox are critical: Trump takes heat for suggesting man shoved by Buffalo police may be ‘ANTIFA provocateur’

President Trump on Tuesday questioned the motives of the elderly protester who was shoved by Buffalo police officers last week and hospitalized after he hit his head in the resulting fall — drawing severe backlash from both sides of the aisle.

Officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault after they were caught on camera shoving Martin Gugino, who is 75, to the ground during protests in the city over the death of George Floyd. The officers have been suspended without pay and an internal affairs investigation was launched into the men. District Attorney John Flynn said the officers “crossed a line.”

The backlash to Trump’s tweet was swift, including from Gugino’s lawyer, Kelly Zarcone, who slammed the president in a statement to Fox News.

“Martin is out of ICU but still hospitalized and truly needs to rest,” she said. “Martin has always been a PEACEFUL protestor because he cares about today’s society. He is also a typical Western New Yorker who loves his family. No one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise so we are at a loss to understand why the President of the United States would make such dark, dangerous, and untrue accusations against him.”

Media personalities on the left and right also ripped Trump’s post.

“My God this is a bad tweet,” Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller posted. “There’s no evidence to support this and the guy looked like he fell as hard as he was pushed.”

Conservative radio host Erick Erickson simply tweeted “[p]lease stop.” Kassy Dillon, a former personality at the right-leaning Daily Wire and founder of Lone Conservative, a group for conservative college students, said, “I’m just going to go back to bed.”

CNN White House correspondent John Harwood chimed in, saying that Trump is “repeating OANN kookery presented by a person who has also worked for Kremlin propaganda outlet, is disconnected from reality, humanity and common sense.”

The OANN report Trump apparently was citing was based on a post from the site Conservative Treehouse saying that Gugino was an activist, which is true. But the report does not actually provide evidence that Gugino is associated with Antifa. Further, it claims, without evidence, that Gugino was attempting to use a “police tracker” on his phone to scan police communications and apparently black them out.

Zarcone said Tuesday that Gugino had his cell phone in his hand in the video, and that “[t]here was no black out equipment or attempt or anything like that.”

After an initial improvement in approval ratings after Covid struck Trump is tanking in polls.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

 

 

More high level criticism of Trump

President Donald Trump had a bit of a surge of support in approval polls when Covid-19 struck, but as his poor handling and bizarre behaviour increased the polls swung against him.

Then Trump handled the death of George Floyd poorly.

The only things Trump seems to be consistent with is praising himself, blaming others, and dumping on anyone who criticises him. He is getting more opportunities to do the latter as high level criticism of him is coming out more now.

NBC: General Mattis’ statement on Trump reveals America’s constitutional crisis

In a series of striking critiques this week, senior retired military officers including former Secretary of Defense and retired Gen. James Mattis spoke out forcefully and unequivocally against the president. This is not a disagreement over policy, but rather an indictment of the commander in chief’s leadership and competency at a critical moment for the nation. For senior retired military officers to level such criticism against a serving president is unprecedented and signals a true constitutional crisis over American civil-military relations.

In a stunning critique published in the Atlantic, Mattis argued that citizens’ rights “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” as outlined in the Bill of Rights, have been violated across America. He urged “those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution” be held accountable. Such strong political condemnation from a former general is extraordinary for many reasons — but Mattis went even further. He excoriated Trump for dividing the nation and declared the country is “witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Trump dumped on Mattis for this, but as this was predictable the carping bark lacked bite.

Mattis is widely respected in the military and his criticism of trump is unlikely to affect that.

Business Insider – ‘The president did not fire him’: Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly defends Mattis after Twitter attacks

President Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis on Thursday, calling him an “honorable man” and rejecting the president’s claim that he fired the retired Marine Corps general.

“The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused,” he added. “The president tweeted a very positive tweet about Jim until he started to see on Fox News their interpretation of his letter. Then he got nasty.”

“Jim Mattis is a honorable man,” Kelly said.

So Trump dumped on Kelly. Same old.

NBC News – Colin Powell calls Trump a liar, says he skirts the Constitution, will vote Biden

Several other former military leaders condemned the president during appearances on the Sunday shows.

Powell, who served as Secretary of State under former President George W. Bush and was previously chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump is “drifting” away from the Constitution and said he’s a habitual liar.

“We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it,” Powell said, offering praise for military leaders who have spoken out against the president in recent days.

Echoing Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Powell said he agreed that Trump is the first president in his lifetime who is not trying to unite the country. Powell said the protests have shown him the country is at “a turning point.”

“The one word I have to use with respect to what he’s been doing for the last several years is the word I would never have used before, never would have used with any of the four presidents I worked for, he lies,” Powell added. “He lies about things. And he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable.”

Trump annoyed military people and others with his threat to turn the military against protesters.

On ABC’s “This Week,” retired Army. Gen. Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Trump’s “inflammatory language” could significantly strain post-Vietnam War efforts to regain citizen trust in the military.

“It seems to me (the protests) are all about…trying to allow people to actually fulfill their potential, one of the great promises of living in this country,” Dempsey said. “So we absolutely have to be very careful about how the military is used in that circumstance.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis said the protests aren’t “a battlespace to be dominated,'” pointing to comments from Trump and his administration. And on “Fox News Sunday,” retired Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, also a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the military “should never be called to fight our own people as enemies of the state,” adding, “We have a military to fight our enemies, not our own people.”

Elsewhere, Attorney General William Barr told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that he, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed that active duty military should only be used “as a last resort and that we didn’t think we would need them.”

Also on “Face the Nation,” Condoleeza Rice, who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Bush, said she would “absolutely advise against” using active duty military in response to the protests, saying the National Guard is trained for such instances.

“Our military isn’t trained to do this,” she said. “Our military is trained for the battlefield. And this isn’t a battlefield, in that sense.”

Republicans seeking re-election are not standing up against Trump, but that’s in part at least to avoid him dumping on their campaigns.

Cad Pergram (Fox News): GOPers on Capitol Hill aren’t wavering in support of Trump despite criticism

It’s about inertia. And with few exceptions, President Trump has inertia on his side when it comes to the support of congressional Republicans.

Now congressional Republicans stare at a cratered economy – despite significantly better than expected jobs numbers Friday. There’s a global pandemic. Protests in the streets. Also lurking are the geometric repercussions over threats to use the military to quash the demonstrations. Questions swirl about what happened in Lafayette Square, potentially leading to one of the most ignominious photo-ops in presidential history.

Most Republicans continued to support the president. Most Republicans would defend his actions. Most Republicans wouldn’t go out of their way to lash out at Trump if they thought he strayed too far from the Constitution or attempted to institute a controversial policy. Most Republicans barely waver.

It’s not about wavering, it’s about saving their political skins.

Trump’s Twitter feed practically radiates political isotopes. Republicans fear his wrath if they duck out of line.

Trump’s memory is elephantine, especially for those who cross him. Murkowski’s dare to deviate from Republican doctrine prompted the president to tweet about her a few hours later – even if he didn’t precisely portray her roll call votes.

Trump tweeted he would be “campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski” when she faces reelection in 2022. “Get any candidate, good or bad, I don’t care. I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!”

In other words, Murkowski’s vote against conviction in the impeachment trial doesn’t count for anything. Murkowski’s yea vote on tax reform doesn’t matter. The president’s message is that anyone “with a pulse” is better than anyone who speaks out against him.

So, it’s better for GOPers to just keep their head down and not say anything at all. That may protect their political status for now. And, if the resident loses this fall and it’s a Republican bloodbath at the polls as some models are starting to predict, perhaps some of those individual members live to fight another day. They are neither on the record for or against President Trump.

The president governs by Twitter and cable news. Yet some Republican leaders long ago decided that their best defense was to either ignore Trump’s latest tweet or who he scorched verbally in the Rose Garden. Or at least they feigned such ignorance.

“I’m not going to critique somebody’s else’s performances,” said McConnell when asked about the photo op.

Perhaps there was more than meets the ear in McConnell’s answer. After all, the president was trying to stage a photo op – an inherently theatrical diorama in politics – in front of St. John’s Church. So a second parsing of McConnell’s choice of the word “performances” could reveal an observation ignored by the press corps.

This is how congressional Republicans often finesse challenging questions from reporters in the age of President Trump. And some just uncomfortably dodge them, as they did last week.

“I haven’t seen it,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about criticism from Mattis.

“I have a phone call,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., when asked the same.

“I’m late for lunch,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

It’s a long way to the November election. But the increasing amount of high level criticism of Trump may take it’s toll, and not just on Trump’s re-election chances.

There seem to be some who will defend and excuse Trump no matter what he does or says, but he needs a lot more votes than from them.

US Attorney General: Divide Between African Americans, Police ‘Must Change’

A shift to attempting to address the unrest in the US precipitated by the killing of George Floyd, and acknowledging problems with the US police forces and black Americans in particular.

RCP – Barr: Divide Between African Americans, Police ‘Must Change’

Attorney General William Barr sought on Thursday to quell tensions over the death of George Floyd in police custody, acknowledging a divide between many black Americans and the police and promising to spare no resource as the Justice Department investigates whether a federal civil rights crime was committed.

“While the vast majority of police officers do their job bravely and righteously, it is undeniable that many African Americans lack confidence in our American criminal justice system,” Barr said at a news conference. “This must change. Our constitution mandates equal protection of the laws and nothing less is acceptable.”

Barr’s comments appeared to contrast with prior statements he’s made condemning protests against the police and what he’s described as a “disturbing pattern of cynicism and disrespect shown toward law enforcement.” But he insisted Thursday that his views have been consistent and that the overwhelming majority of police officers “try conscientiously to use appropriate and reasonable force.”

“I believe that police chiefs and law enforcement officials and leaders around the country are committed to ensuring that racism plays no part in law enforcement, and that everyone receives equal protection of the laws,” Barr said.

I don’t think it is anywhere near a universal commitment.

Most of the protesters have been peaceful and tried to discourage violence.

The most attention is given to the worst examples and excesses, that’s just how media coverage works and there’s no easy solution to that – they would be condemned for not showing the worst. Media have also shown examples of cooperation and empathy between police and protesters.

Trump, Barr and others lay some of the blame for the unrest on left-wing extremist groups, including antifa, and other “anarchists.” Short for anti-fascists, antifa is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations. He also said “foreign actors” appeared to be trying to “play all sides” to further incite violence in the U.S.

“We have seen evidence that antifa and other similar extremist groups as well as actors of a variety of different political persuasions have been involving in instigating and participating in violent activity,” Barr said.

A senior Justice Department official said there have been “multiple instances” where people who have been arrested at demonstrations around the U.S. have identified themselves to law enforcement as members of antifa, the official said.

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that three Nevada men with ties to a loose movement of right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government had been arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities described as a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.

Anarchists and extremists and those who like to incite and cause trouble will inevitably try to take advantage of protests and unrest.

Trump has claimed he has done more for black America since Abraham Lincoln, but that is just typical self-inflating nonsense.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany earlier had sidestepped questions about whether Trump believes there’s a systemic bias in American law enforcement against African Americans.

But pressed about whether Trump believes there is a larger problem of racial bias in law enforcement, McEnany only acknowledged that Trump “believes there are some examples of injustices.”

Trump has performed poorly over the Floyd death and Black Lives matters protests. RCP polling averages show he has not just reversed gains in approval he got over Covid but has quickly lost support over the last two weeks.

.More trying to divert blame to others. I don’t know how he thinks he will “bring in a different group” in a democracy.

 

Business Insider: Trump suggests George Floyd is ‘looking down’ from heaven and appreciating the ‘great day in terms of equality’ after an unexpectedly strong jobs report was announced

In a freewheeling Friday-morning press conference in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump touted a strong May jobs report and said he hoped George Floyd, who was killed by the Minneapolis police 10 days ago, was “looking down” from heaven and saying this “is a great thing that’s happening for our country.”

The economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, bringing the unemployment rate down to 13.3% from 14.7% in April.

That’s a surprising turnaround, but the economy has a lot to weather yet.

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. It’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. It is a great, great day in terms of equality,” Trump said.

It is premature to be claiming economic victory after Covid – 25,000 new cases in the US so far today and another thousand deaths.

I don’t think that if George Floyd could see what has happened since his death he would see anything great happening.

A major problem in the US (apart from Trump) is that there are many different police forces managed and employed by various cities and states, with top police officials elected. It will be very difficult to improve police behaviour across the country.

Protests, riots, looting and blaming continue in US

Protests over the death of George Floyd have continued for seven days in the United States, escalating to riots, looting and  vandalism. And there are plenty of attempts to blame and to divert blame in a chaotic situation.

President Trump threatened to use the military to quash any riots and looting, but protests and looting continued regardless.

Fox News: Trump signs order on religious freedom, as DC archbishop slams shrine visit

President Trump signed an executive order on religious freedom Tuesday as Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory slammed the president and first lady’s visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine amid the protests taking place across the country.

The executive order has not been publicly released but a senior administration official told Fox News it was meant to protect “people of faith around the world.” White House aide Kellyanne Conway confirmed to reporters that Trump signed the order Tuesday afternoon.

“This executive order fully integrates the president’s vision – a vigorous defense of international religious freedom rights for all – into key aspects of United States foreign policy,” the official said. “Yet again, President Trump is taking a decisive action to keep his promise to people of faith around the world.”

Seems very off timing for this, but Trump haas also tried playing a religious card in Washington, and it hasn’t gone down well.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid a visit to the National Shrine in Washington, a place of prayer for Catholics. It came after Trump on Monday night walked out of the White House and across the street to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which caught fire amid the protests following Floyd’s death.

During their visit to the shrine, they laid a wreath under the statue of Saint John Paul II. They also visited the Luminous Mysteries Chapel, John Paul II Blood Relic, and the Madonna Icon.

But Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory delivered a scathing condemnation of the president’s visit, saying he opposed letting the president visit the site.

“I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree,” the archbishop said in a statement. “Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

On Monday night, the president visited St. John’s, holding up a Bible and posing for a photo outside the church which caught fire Sunday night. Prior to his visit — and a mandated curfew in the city — law enforcement took steps to move protesters out of Lafayette Park.

Major problems in New York –  Cuomo blasts mayor, NYPD for ‘disgrace’ handling riots, claims power to ‘displace’ de Blasio

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of riots in his city, calling it a “disgrace” and saying he has the power to “displace” the mayor — although doesn’t want to at this point.

“The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night, I believe that,” Cuomo said of the mayor.

Cuomo spoke after another night of devastation in the Big Apple, after protests in response to the death of George Floyd again devolved into riots and looting. The New York City Police Department tells Fox News that 700 arrests were made overnight. A half dozen police officers were injured, while at least six police vehicles were vandalized.

Cuomo said at a press conference that the mayor “underestimates” the scope and duration of the problem, suggesting he needs to deploy more police.

Many cities and states have had difficulties dealing with the problems.

Trump’s response to police killing threatens to further deepen unrest in America, Democrats and Republicans say

President Donald Trump pledged a crackdown on the protests that arose from the police killing of George Floyd, sparking concerns from some Democrats and Republicans that his response to the crisis further deepens the divide in a country already unnerved by a pandemic, distressed economy and racial unrest.

The President tweeted on Saturday 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.” And he called on Democratic officials to “get MUCH tougher” or the federal government “will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.”

Elected officials on both sides of the aisle said on Sunday that the President should instead focus on unifying the nation or decline to address the country at all.

“He should just stop talking,” said Democratic Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper. “He speaks and he makes it worse.”

“It’s sort of continuing to escalate the rhetoric,” added Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on CNN. “I think it’s just the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House.”

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, also urged Trump to help “calm the nation” and to stop sending “divisive tweets” in an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Her comments followed a press conference Saturday where Bowser noted how Trump’s reference to the “vicious dogs” was “no subtle reminder” of segregationists who would attack African Americans with dogs.

On Fox News Sunday, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said that some of Trump’s tweets were “not constructive.” Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, 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.”

Trump did address Floyd’s death on Saturday during a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after the NASA/SpaceX rocket launch, saying that he was “in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace” and that “healing, not hatred” is “the mission at hand.”

“The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened,” the President said. “It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.”

Illinois man accused of passing out explosives at Minneapolis George Floyd protest

Federal prosecutors have arrested an Illinois man they say attended a George Floyd protest in Minneapolis, and recorded himself handing out explosives and saying “we came to riot.”

Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesburg, Ill., described by prosecutors as having “distinctive gold teeth,” was charged Monday with civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices.

Prosecutors in Minnesota said they have evidence showing Rupert particpated in the George Floyd protest in Minneapolis on Friday, after traveling from Illinois.

The difference between Democratic and Republican reactions to the protests: Elevate George Floyd or ‘antifa’?

There are two things about the protests against police brutality ripping through the nation that Democratic and Republican lawmakers generally agree on:

  1. George Floyd should not have died the way he did, after a white officer knelt on his neck.
  2. Looting, vandalism and violence that have dominated some protests after dark are bad.

But on social media, in statements and in interviews, there’s a clear partisan difference between which of these two points members of Congress choose to emphasize, with Republicans choosing to focus on the second while Democrats the first. It portends that how the nation’s leaders react to these protests, and whether they choose to institute any reforms, will likely be mired in politics.

Some Republican senators have followed President Trump and his administration’s cues to focus less on the grievances of the protesters and more on the looting and rioting after dark. Trump and his attorney general have, without citing evidence, accused far-left actors, known as “antifa,” of orchestrating much of the protests.

Sen. John Cornyn (Tex.), a top Senate Republican, raised up comments made over the weekend by Trump’s national security adviser saying the protests were actually helping foreign adversaries undermine America’s standing in the world.

Americans are doing plenty (and not doing plenty) that undermines their standing in the world, but I guess it’s easier to blame someone else.

Other Republican lawmakers were more measured in their response — going out of their way to acknowledge the anger in the black community about Floyd’s death and other police killings. But most circled their comments back to speaking out against the looting. It often seemed like condemning portions of the protests, rather than Floyd’s death, was their reason for speaking out.

Democrats, by contrast, focused almost entirely on the anger and injustice driving the protests, and sometimes sought to reframe the vast majority of protesters in a positive light — and police in a negative one.

Partisan positioning and game playing is just one of the problems being exposed in the US.

There are claims that Attorney General Wiliam Barr was involve din the tear gassing and clearing of protesters in Washington.

Military personnel, equipment seen in DC after Trump promised to ‘dominate the streets’

Military helicopters, vehicles and personnel began to descend on the streets of Washington, D.C., Monday night, hours after President Donald Trump promised to “dominate the streets” and protesters demonstrating peacefully were pushed back with tear gas to make way for the president to visit a nearby church.

The arrests and military show of force occurred in the hours after law enforcement officers used shields and tear gas to clear protesters from a park across the street from the White House as Trump prepared to make comments in the Rose Garden.

The Department of Justice later issued a statement saying Trump directed Attorney General Wiliam Barr “assist in the restoration of order to the District of Columbia.”

The statement went on to say that several federal agencies, including the FBI, ATF and DEA, were coordinating to “maximize federal security presence” in DC.

Tensions rise after police are shot; Trump pushes crackdown

President Trump taunted state governors for not embracing his proposal to send in the military to quell the unrest, after five officers were shot and wounded in an escalation of tensions between the police and crowds protesting the killing of George Floyd.

“New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum. The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces,” tweeted Trump, a Republican, in a reference to New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Trump has provided no evidence that leftists are behind the violence that has engulfed U.S. cities.

The head of the National Guard, General Joseph Lengyel, said violence had decreased across the United States on Monday night, even as protest activity was sustained or increased.

Protests over Floyd’s death expose raw race relations worldwide

Images of a white police officer kneeling on the neck of African-American George Floyd who then died have sparked protests from Amsterdam to Nairobi, but they also expose deeper grievances among demonstrators over strained race relations in their own countries.

With violent clashes between protesters and authorities raging in the United States, anti-police-brutality activists gathered by the thousands in support of the “Black Lives Matter” movement in various European and African cities.

There have also been protests in New Zealand. The difference here and around the world is that protests have been peaceful.

In the US the problems are greater, and there is no easy way of repairing the damage.