President Trump won’t stop yammering about Confederate statutes but has surprisingly not referenced the sacrifices made at the River of Blood. As far as we can tell, the removal of Confederate statutes remains infrastructure week’s biggest win. And the administration is preemptively abandoning its infrastructure council, or, as we suspect Breitbart will frame it, “ADMINISTRATION SUCCESSFULLY PIVOTS TO PROLONGED DEFENSE OF CONFEDERACY.” This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, August 17th, 2017:
WHEN THEY GO LOW, TRUMP GOES...WELL, PRETTY LOW - We’re going to give this four-out-of-four Pamela Gellers on our patented American Carnage© rating scale. Paige Lavender: “President Donald Trump tweeted his thoughts on a terrorist attack in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday that left at least 13 people dead after a van drove through a crowd at a major tourist hub…. Almost an hour after his initial tweet ― which appeared more measured in nature than some of his past responses to terror attacks ― Trump followed up, implying the attack in Barcelona was thanks to ‘Radical Islamic Terror’: ′Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!′ During the presidential primary race, Trump told crowds a story about Pershing, a U.S. Army general who commanded forces in World War I. According to Mother Jones, Trump spoke of Pershing executing Muslim insurgents with bullets dipped in pig’s blood….As Time reports, there’s no evidence of Pershing actually doing this.” [HuffPost]
INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK REALLY PAYING DIVIDENDS - Mark Niquette: “President Donald Trump will not move forward with a planned Advisory Council on Infrastructure, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The council, which was still being formed, would have advised Trump on his plan to spend as much as $1 trillion upgrading roads, bridges and other public works…. The council, which was supposed to have representatives from real estate, finance, labor and other sectors, was designed to study and make recommendations to the president regarding the funding, support and delivery of infrastructure projects.” [Bloomberg]
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TRUMP REALLY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT CONFEDERATE STATUES - Our thoughts go out to all those intrepid content creators whose thinkpieces about the “Fearless Girl” statue being little more than corporate trickery are now lost in the collective memory. Paige Lavender: ”President Donald Trump said he’s ‘sad to see’ Confederate statues and monuments being taken down around the United States. ‘Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,’ [Trump said in a series of tweets Thursday morning]. ’You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson - who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!” [HuffPost]
REMINDER: THE CAPITOL IS BASICALLY A MUSEUM DEDICATED TO SLAVEHOLDERS - Amanda Terkel: “As cities around the nation pull down their monuments to the Confederacy, the legacy lives on in the heart of national politics: the U.S. Capitol. Just steps away from a statue of civil rights hero Rosa Parks stands the statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who served as vice president of the Confederacy. The statue describes him as ‘STATESMAN ― AUTHOR ―PATRIOT.’ The inscription offers his credo: ‘I am afraid of nothing on the earth, above the earth, beneath the earth, except to do wrong.’ In 1861, he gave a speech in which he defended the institution of slavery and said it was ‘an error’ to assume ‘the equality of the races.’ … On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the inclusion of Confederate statues ‘reprehensible’ and said they should be removed.” [HuffPost]
COUNTRY NOT KEEN ON INSTITUTION OF A MASTER RACE: POLL - CBS News: ”Nearly two-thirds of Americans consider the attack that led to loss of life in Charlottesville an act of ‘domestic terrorism,’ a view that spans partisan lines. But President Trump’s response to Charlottesville finds more division. He gets majority disapproval overall for his response to the events, while most Republicans approve. Republicans interviewed following Tuesday’s press conference also feel Mr. Trump is assigning blame accurately in the matter, while Democrats and Independents, and the country overall, disagree. Post-Tuesday afternoon, views on the president’s description of events are tightly tied to overall views of his handling of the matter. Independents and Democrats, and the country overall, feel his description of blame in the events is inaccurate; Republicans feel it is accurate.” [CBS News]
DOJ WORKING TO MAKE DOMESTIC TERRORISM A FEDERAL OFFENSE - Ryan J. Reilly: “Federal law doesn’t explicitly provide a domestic terrorism charge. That could change. HuffPost has learned that, long before Saturday’s attack, the Justice Department was working on draft legislation to propose to Congress that would spell out domestic terrorist attacks as a federal crime. Mary McCord, who served as acting head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division until May, told HuffPost the office was working on the draft legislative proposal during the Obama administration, and the work continued in the Trump administration. Prosecutors can already use an array of state, local and federal laws to charge people who commit acts of violence in domestic terrorism attacks. But McCord said there’s value to society in labeling and prosecuting such attacks as domestic terrorism.” [HuffPost]
GORSUCH ATTENDING EVENT AT TRUMP HOTEL - “His bartender makes an incredible mojito” would be an incredible reason to recuse oneself from a trial. Matthew Nussbaum: ”Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is slated to headline a September event at the Trump International Hotel. The ‘Defending Freedom Luncheon,’ hosted by the nonprofit Fund for American Studies, is an invitation-only event to celebrate ‘the constitutional framework that has protected our free society and made America exceptional,’ according to the group’s website…. Steve Slattery, the executive vice president of TFAS, said there was no political motivation in booking the Trump Hotel for the event. The booking took place in January, and the group has a prior relationship with the hotel’s caterer, who used to work at Washington’s Four Seasons, Slattery said. Gorsuch was invited, and accepted the invitation, in June.” [Politico]
There’s that word again. “Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) says President Donald Trump must be removed from office following his explosive comments defending participants in a white nationalist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. Cohen announced Thursday that he’s introducing articles of impeachment against the president, stating that Trump had ‘failed the presidential test of moral leadership.’” [HuffPost’s Hayley Miller]
BOB CORKER IS *THIS CLOSE* TO ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING - Mr. President, if you don’t wait at least a day or two before saying or doing another horrible thing, Corker might wag his finger at you in a very cross manner! Igor Bobic: “Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered some blunt comments about President Donald Trump on Thursday in the wake of the president’s widely criticized response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. ′The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. And we need for him to be successful, our nation needs for him to be successful,′ Corker told reporters in Tennessee. ‘He also has recently not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation,’” he added. ’He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. He has got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. And without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.′″ [HuffPost]
VOTER FRAUD HUNT EVEN MORE QUIXOTIC NOW - And by that we mean, “Hey, look at these people starting what is almost surely a scam PAC!” Sam Levine: ”Two former campaign aides to President Donald Trump have launched Look Ahead America, a group focused on increasing voter registration and stopping voter fraud. Matt Braynard and Witold Chrabaszcz, former members of the Trump campaign’s data team, started the group to register ‘rural and blue-collar patriotic Americans who are disaffected and disenfranchised from the nation’s corridors of power,’ according to the Look Ahead America website. Braynard left the Trump campaign in April 2016, and Chrabaszcz was tapped to temporarily replace him. Chrabaszcz had little experience with political strategy, Politico noted at the time…. Look Ahead America is nearing an $800,000 fundraising goal to start a pilot program in Virginia ahead of the state’s gubernatorial and state house elections this year, according to the Times. The organization plans to use ‘psychographic modeling’ on voter data to identify voters to register.” [HuffPost]
PHOENIX REALLY DOESN’T WANT THIS HEADACHE - Fred Barbash: “Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton urged President Trump to delay a campaign-style rally set for the city next week, expressing fear that his appearance would ‘enflame emotions’ while ‘our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville.’ … ‘I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville,’ Stanton’s statement said. ‘If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon’ for [former sheriff Joe] Arpaio, ‘then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation.’″ [WaPo]
OH, GOOD, MORE VIDEO PIVOTING - Maxwell Tani: ”Mic.com laid off staffers on Thursday in what is part of a larger pivot to video that it will begin later this month. The millennial-news site said in a memo circulated among staffers that it would lay off 25 people, primarily from its news and editorial departments this morning amid a larger reorganization of the company…. Altchek said visual journalism makes up ’75% of the time our audience spends with Mic,′ and said that the new strategy would realign resources behind the new market of ‘tap stories,’ which he hopes will distinguish Mic from competitors. ” [Business Insider]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a dog ruining a baby’s day.
TRUMP HATES BIKES - Benjamin Freed: “As Capital Bikeshare grew bigger and more widespread over the past seven years, there was always one station the vast majority of users could never access: a nine-slot dock inside the White House’s security perimeter. The station, located at 17th Street and State Place, was visible to the eye when it was installed in 2010, but did not appear on any system map, making Capital Bikeshare’s smallest station an unofficial ‘secret’ location…. The station was removed earlier this week at the Trump Administration’s request, District Department of Transportation spokesperson Terry Owens tells Washingtonian. Owens adds that the station was installed in 2010 at the request of the Obama Administration, which had a favorable record with the cycling community.” [Washingtonian]
- “May the shadow of the news fall on a world of peace” ― a 1979 news broadcast discussing the next solar eclipse (4 out of 4 pinocchios on that statement, btw).
- Our own Sara Bondioli has a guide to the best D.C. Beer Week events.
- Ceremonial first pitches are more dangerous than you’d think.
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