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President Trump has now spent almost as much oxygen denouncing racism as he has insisting Ted Cruz’s dad killed JFK. if you were to tell us last year that tiki torches and khaki shorts were to become symbols of hate in America, we’d probably have assumed Jimmy Buffett’s life was about to take a very dark turn. And with all the brouhaha surrounding the president’s reluctant remarks, one can only imagine how eager congressional Republicans are to move on to other business, like preventing the president from defaulting on the nation’s debts. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, August 14th, 2017:
PRESIDENT MAKES NEWS BY DENOUNCING RACISM - Not all heroes wear capes. Marina Fang: “More than 48 hours after white supremacist groups sparked deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump denounced them under public pressure to do so. ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this display of hatred, bigotry and violence,’ he said in an impromptu statement on Monday after returning to the White House from his golf club in New Jersey. ′Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to what we hold dear as Americans,′ he added.” [HuffPost]
More like Leave Bannon, amirite. “Steve Bannon’s position as President Trump’s chief strategist may be in jeopardy, two sources close to the White House told CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. There is a growing feeling both inside and outside the White House that Bannon is increasingly falling out of favor with Mr. Trump, with the relationship between the two falling to all-time lows. Over the weekend, White House officials were not quick to come to Bannon’s defense on the subject of his loyalty to the president and the White House’s agenda.” [CBS News’ Blair Guild]
A brief history of Trump using racism to his advantage. ”[H]is Monday proclamation that ‘racism is evil’ means little coming from a man who largely has not backed away from the racism upon which he built both his campaign and his real estate business…. Throughout his campaign and after his election, HuffPost kept running lists of examples of Trump’s racism dating as far back as the 1970s. We’ll continue to document those incidents here as they happen.” [HuffPost’s Lydia O’Connor and Daniel Marans]
BEFORE: TRUMP GOES AFTER CEO FOR TAKING A STAND - Wow, who knew the Sabbath extend into Monday morning. Marina Fang: ”A CEO serving on President Donald Trump’s council on manufacturing announced his resignation early Monday from the White House panel, in protest of Trump’s continued silence on the white nationalist groups who incited Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ken Frazier, the head of Merck pharmaceuticals, said in a statement he was stepping down ‘as a matter of personal conscience’ and ‘to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.’ … In response, Trump...directly attacked Frazier on Twitter. ‘Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!’ [Trump tweeted].” [HuffPost]
So far, Frazier is the only business or labor executive to quit that council, because executives generally are not brave.
Ahead of the administration’s NAFTA renegotiations, labor is getting spooked. “One of the top labor leaders in the country said he would be ‘assessing’ his place on Donald Trump’s manufacturing council after the president’s widely-criticized response to a violent white supremacist rally this past week. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka didn’t go so far as fellow council member, Merck CEO Keith Frazier, in leaving the council entirely. But in a statement to The Daily Beast he laid his frustrations bare.” [Daily Beast’s Sam Stein]
PRESIDENT’S SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG REALLY KILLING IT THIS WEEK - This all culminates with him making a comment about Lady Justice’s butt, doesn’t it.? Paige Lavender: “President Donald Trump is ‘seriously considering’ pardoning Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, according to Fox News. In July, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for violating the terms of a 2011 court order in a racial profiling case. Arpaio is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine, according to Reuters. Trump, who spoke with Fox News while on a ‘working vacation’ at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, said he could pardon Arpaio within days. ‘He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration,’ Trump said. ‘He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.’” [HuffPost]
PLEASE LET US DESTROY MOSQUITOES IN PEACE, THANK YOU - Nina Golgowski: “A Tiki torch manufacturer is denouncing white supremacists who used its products in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. In a Facebook post on Saturday, TIKI Brand Products said it was ‘deeply saddened and disappointed’ that members of hate groups ― some performing Nazi salutes ― had marched through the University of Virginia campus on Friday night while carrying lit Tiki torches.” [HuffPost]
Recent Amazon reviews for a 12-pack of TIKI torches: “What a great product! Highly recommended for your next fascist nationalist white power protest!” “Caught my loose fitting white robe on fire.” “Me and my friends all bought these to support white nationalism and no one took us seriously”
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ANOTHER TRUMP CAMPAIGN PROMISE ABOUT TO BE SCREWED UP - David Lawder: “The Trump administration has set a collision course with the auto industry as it launches renegotiations of the 23-year-old NAFTA trade pact this week…. Among tools that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer may seek to boost auto employment in the U.S. is strengthening the rules of origin to shut out more parts from Asia, and possibly an unprecedented U.S.-specific content requirement for Mexican vehicles. Lighthizer’s negotiating objectives for NAFTA seek to ‘ensure the rules of origin incentivize the sourcing of goods and materials from the United States and North America,’ which has raised concerns among auto industry executives and trade groups that he will seek a deal that guarantees a certain percentage of production for the United States. The industry is opposed to such a carve-out or to increasing the percentage of a vehicle’s value that must come from the region above the current 62.5 percent — already the highest of any global trade bloc.” [Reuters]
GUESSING THIS WON’T MAKE IT INTO TRUMP’S DAILY GOOD NEWS BRIEF - Robin Eberhardt: “President Trump’s approval rating has dropped to its lowest level ever in a Gallup tracking poll. The president’s approval rating is only 34 percent in the latest Gallup average released Monday, while 61 percent of adults disapprove of the president’s performance, also a new high. Trump’s approval rating has dropped at a time when he has taken heavy criticism for not explicitly calling out white supremacists and neo-Nazis in a statement condemning violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.” [The Hill]
OBAMA ADMIN BRIEFED ABOUT RUSSIAN ELECTION MEDDLING - Ali Watkins: ”The Obama administration received multiple warnings from national security officials between 2014 and 2016 that the Kremlin was ramping up its intelligence operations and building disinformation networks it could use to disrupt the U.S. political system, according to more than half a dozen current and former officials. As early as 2014, the administration received a report that quoted a well-connected Russian source as saying that the Kremlin was building a disinformation arm that could be used to interfere in Western democracies. The report, according to an official familiar with it, included a quote from the Russian source telling U.S. officials in Moscow, ‘You have no idea how extensive these networks are in Europe...and in the U.S., Russia has penetrated media organizations, lobbying firms, political parties, governments and militaries in all of these places.’” [Politico]
You mean North Korea righ― oh. “The new clip, released by Trump’s reelection campaign and posted on his personal website, touted his accomplishments and claimed that ‘the president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed.’ As the unnamed narrator spoke that line, the screen filled with images of recognizable reporters from network and cable television. Trump, who previously called the press ′the enemy of the American people,′ does not speak in the ad until the end: ‘I’m Donald Trump, and I approved this message.’” [HuffPost’s Ed Mazza]
TRUMP STILL KILLING OBAMACARE FROM THE INSIDE - Alice Ollstein: “A wide array of groups that partnered for several years with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the White House to promote open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act say this year has brought a deafening silence from the Trump administration, with no sign the partnerships will continue. Both representatives of the former partner groups and former HHS officials say the relationships with gig economy companies, youth organizations, churches, women’s groups, and African American and Latino civil rights non-profits were critical to keeping Obamacare’s markets functioning, and their termination is a clear example of sabotage.” [TPM]
Trump didn’t learn anything from the collapse of Obamacare repeal, HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn writes.
MY NAME IS KIIIIIIIIIIIII―- ER, ROOOBBBEEERERRRRRRT - “Robert Ritchie” sounds like the name of an anonymous legislator on “The West Wing.” Nathan L. Gonzales: ”Robert Ritchie may end up challenging Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan next year, but his stage name, Kid Rock, may not be allowed to appear on the ballot…. [I]t’s not immediately clear whether his famous stage name would appear on the ballot or if he’d be required to run under his less-known given name. If Ritchie were to submit enough valid signatures to make the ballot and indicate that he wanted to be listed as ‘Kid Rock,’ the Michigan Bureau of Elections staff would have to research the question of whether that name would be allowed. At an initial glance, Ritchie’s stage name isn’t an obviously acceptable one under the state’s criteria.” [Roll Call]
Things still very awkward for Jeff Sessions. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions says President Donald Trump hasn’t apologized for publicly criticizing him on Twitter last month but that ‘he has a right to scold his Cabinet members if he’s not happy with them.’ Asked on NBC’s ‘Today Show’ if Trump has apologized, Sessions said he had not. He said Trump ‘was quite frank about his concerns’ and had expressed them. Trump repeatedly criticized Sessions for recusing himself from a federal investigation into Russian interference, once tweeting that Sessions was ‘very weak.’” [AP’s Mary Clare Jalonick]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here are two dogs playing with a balloon.
NAZI AT THE PUBLIC POOL - Sadly isn’t the title of a 1950s pulp novel. Martin Austermuhle: “D.C. police officers were called to a public indoor pool on Capitol Hill after swimmers and staff complained about a man with a tattoo of a swastika. The man was eventually escorted out after he refused to leave…. The incident was confirmed by multiple sources who spoke with officials at the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), which manages the city’s public pools, including Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6).... Allen said he was told by DPR leaders that the man had a tattoo of a swastika on his abdomen, and was asked to leave after it was noticed by patrons and lifeguards. He responded belligerently to the request, and used racial epithets against the staff.” [WAMU]
- “Game of Thrones” with lightsabers.
- The worst two weeks in music history.
- No Stretch Armstrong deserves a death like this.
@morninggloria: i hate identity politics, said the pale freckled man with “celtic” tattoo
@onlxn: BREAKING: WH Source: Ivanka Responsible For Parts Of Trump’s Anti-Racism Speech You Thought Were Sufficient, Was Not Involved In Other Parts
@TheToddWilliams: [Hazzard County]
LUKE DUKE: We should probably get rid of the Rebel flag on the Charger
BO DUKE: We should probably get rid of the Charger
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