I want to acknowledge again the turmoil the country is in right now in response to George Floyd’s murder. There has been an overwhelming amount of news from the past few days, some of which I’ve covered on my personal social media. But I don’t feel this format is the best for identifying those stories, so this blog will focus on the president’s statements and actions regarding what’s happening instead of individual stories. I’d urge you to seek those stories out on your own.
- The president said he spoke with Indian Prime Minister Modi about the border tensions between India and China. He lied. He hadn’t spoken to Modi at all. This is not the first time the president has invented a call between himself and Modi.
- Diplomats at the State Department are expressing concern over the conflict of interest of acting Inspector General Stephen Akard. Akard is refusing to leave his other position at the state department which means he is now potentially in charge of investigating himself and his boss.
- Some of the transcripts between former NSA Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak have been released. They confirm everything that has been said about them. Flynn was speaking to the Russian government about Obama’s sanctions and asking them to go easy when retaliating because Trump wanted to have a gentler response upon taking office. Flynn lied about this conversation to FBI investigators. Vice President Pence publicly said it didn’t take place. The intelligence community knew Flynn was lying, but more importantly, they knew the Russians knew Flynn was lying which compromised him. At the time he was in one of the most sensitive intelligence jobs in the country. What still isn’t clear is WHY Flynn lied to the FBI. As NSA and the former director of the DIA, Flynn would have known his call to Kislyak was being monitored.
- DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari claims to have a PhD in philosophy on his resume. His PhD was in management, but that doesn’t matter because it was from a diploma mill. The school was an unaccredited diploma mill. Situations like this are usually caught by the White House Presidential Personnel Management. The current director there in charge of vetting appointees, John McEntee, is a 30 year old who previously worked as a low level aide to Trump. He resigned over gambling debts but was rehired to a position where he screens people over ethical conflicts like gambling debts. (Cuffari was hired before McEntee was in the position. McEntee replaced Joe Paulsen, Trump’s golf partner).
- In an unhinged Tweet about the protests outside the White House, the president talked about the vicious dogs and ominous weapons awaiting protesters, echoing the worst police abuses of the civil rights era. He also said the DC Mayor didn’t allow DC Police to be involved in protecting the White House. He lied. In fact his lie was exposed by none other than The Secret Service who thanked MPD of DC in a tweet.
- With at least one head of state refusing to attend in response to the pandemic, the president wants to delay the G7 conference until the fall. He also wants to include four other countries, including Russia. Russia was unanimously forced out of the G8 in 2014 because of their illegal invasion of Ukraine. Trump has proposed re-adding them in the past which the other members vehemently object to.
- The president announced he is designating Antifa has a terrorist organization. There are two huge issues with this. Firstly, Antifa is not an organization. There is no leadership structure, organization, rules, or defined membership. It is a collection of political philosophies and protest strategies. Secondly, the law does not allow for the government to define a domestic organization as a terrorist group. We currently have two terrorist designations under the law – both only apply to foreign groups. Barr has announced law enforcement will be proceeding with treating antifa “members” as terrorists regardless. By doing this, it will be easier for the Trump administration to strip rights from dissenters and protesters. As there isn’t any definition or membership to antifa, they can simply accuse anyone they arrest of being a member and therefore a terrorist.
- The United States is sending 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil to treat Covid-19. Trump and the right wing media still tout the drug as a treatment for the disease. The CDC, FDA, and multiple studies have warned that the drug has not shown any benefit in treating coronavirus and may pose a lethal danger when taken.
- With all of the turmoil happening nationwide over the last few days, the president has spent the majority of time tweeting what he’s watching on Fox and retweeting praise of himself. He has called for a stronger show of force from authorities in stopping protesters. Several of his tweets were just a few words shouted in all caps such as “FAKE NEWS!” or “LAW AND ORDER!” with no other context. White House staff had an internal debate on whether Trump should address the country. They decided against it as “he had nothing new to say and had no tangible policy or action to announce yet,” and felt no need to bring people together.