Trump Campaign Demands CNN Retract, Apologize for Poll Showing Joe Biden Leading

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign demanded that CNN retract and apologize for a poll that showed Democratic candidate Joe Biden leading by 14 points. The campaign sent a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker Wednesday. The network immediately rejected the president’s demand. “We stand by our poll,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said.

In addition to showing Biden with a lead of 55 percent to 41 percent over Trump, the poll found the president’s approval rating to be 38 percent, the lowest it has been since January 2019, and his disapproval rating to be 57 percent. Trump tweeted Monday that he had hired Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates to “analyze” the CNN poll, which he called fake. McLaughlin is regarded one of the least accurate pollsters.

[Daily Beast]

Update

CNN on Wednesday dismissed a demand from the Trump 2020 campaign that it withdraw a poll as “factually and legally baseless” and the type of threat that has “typically come from countries like Venezuela.”

Trump makes baseless claim about man, 75, shoved by police: ‘Could be a set-up?’

Donald Trump has claimed a 75-year-old man who was hospitalized when police shoved him to the ground at a protest in Buffalo could be “an antifa provocateur” and suggested the incident “could be a set-up”.

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault after video showed them pushing Martin Gugino, a slightly built septuagenarian and longtime peace activist, with enough force that he violently struck his head on the sidewalk.

The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, responded to Trump’s claims, which were offered without evidence, on Tuesday, describing the president’s behavior as “cruel and reckless”.

“The man is still in the hospital & the president is disparaging him,” Cuomo said.

The incident has been held up as an example of aggressive policing at George Floyd protests across the country and has triggered outrage across the US and overseas.

Trump, however, claimed – without offering any evidence – that Gugino may have been attempting to infiltrate police scanners. The president also seemed to suggest Gugino had exaggerated the force used by police.

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur,” Trump said on Twitter.

“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

Gugino’s attorney, Kelly Zarcone, told WBFO News on Tuesday that the 75-year-old has been taken out of intensive care but is “still hospitalized and truly needs rest”.

“Martin has always been a peaceful protester because he cares about today’s society,” Zarcone said.

“We are at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such dark, dangerous and untrue accusations against him.”

Trump tagged One America News Network, a far-right conservative news network, in the tweet. Shortly before Trump’s post, OANN ran a segment which made near identical claims to Trump.

OANN, which has spread multiple conspiracy theories, cited the Conservative Treehouse, a conspiracy theory website, as its source.

The Conservative Treehouse, which is among the news sites listed in FactCheck.org’s “misinformation directory”claimed over the weekend that Gugino “was attempting to capture the radio communications signature” when he was shoved to the ground by the police.

During the 2016 presidential election the Conservative Treehouse peddled the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton might have cancer. It has also spread conspiracy theories about student David Hogg, who survived the Parkland school shooting and has become a prominent gun control activist.

“The president is tweeting conspiracy theories about the Buffalo incident based on no evidence, no proof,” Cuomo said.

“Was the blood coming out of his head staged? Were our eyes lying to us? No.”

Cuomo added: “It’s cruel and reckless.”

The two Buffalo officers who pushed Gugino were charged with second-degree assault. All 57 members of Buffalo police’s emergency response team resigned from the team in an apparent show of support for their two colleagues.

Trump announced he would designate antifa – the term stands for anti-fascist – as a terrorist group at the end of May. Experts said the proposal is unworkable, and have said there is no actual antifa organization to be defined in such terms.

In reality, antifa relates to a broad spectrum of leftwing groups which are opposed to fascism and the far right.

Trump has often embraced conspiracy theories, most notoriously his pushing of “birtherism” – the completely false and racist theory that former president Barack Obama was not born in the US.

[The Guardian]

The Guardian]

Trump Snaps At PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor, Shushes Her for Asking About Rising Black and Asian Unemployment Rates

When PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked President Donald Trump how the fact that both black and Asian American unemployment rates increased this month could be taken as a victory, he responded with a dismissive hand gesture, before adding, “you are something.”

“Mr. President, why don’t you have a plan for systemic racism? Why have you not laid out a plan for systemic racism?” Alcindor asked before Trump put his finger to his mouth, attempting to shush her.

The president noted that the signing of his bill would be the greatest thing to happen for all demographics in America, adding that his plan would be to have the strongest economy in the world, adding that they’re almost at that point.

Another reporter echoed Alcindor, asking how a better economy could have helped George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of police last week.

“Black unemployment went up by .1 percent, Asian American unemployment went up by .5 percent,” Alcindor pointed out. “How is that a victory?”

“You are something,” Trump replied before Alcindor repeated her question. “I have to say though it’s been a great achievement, I feel so good about it. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.”

[Mediaite]

Trump tweets a letter calling protesters ‘terrorists’

President Donald Trump tweeted out a letter Thursday that referred to a group of protesters as “terrorists,” following their violent ouster from a park near the White House earlier this week.

The letter is signed by Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd and addressed to “Jim” in a probable reference to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It lambasted the former Pentagon chief after he called out Trump on Wednesday for threatening a military response to protests that have engulfed cities across the country. In his letter, Dowd referred to a group of protesters who were violently forced out of Washington’s Lafayette Square on Monday as “terrorists using idle hate … to burn and destroy.”

“They were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for the 1900 curfew,” the letter said.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked whether Trump views the protesters as “terrorists”.

Protesters had gathered in the park to express their outrage at the death of a black Minnesota man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer, with video showing a largely peaceful — if tense — demonstration. Police charged into the protesters about 30 minutes before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew, throwing chemical irritants and hitting protesters and journalists with shields and rubber bullets.

Trump later walked out of the White House through the cleared area for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Epsicopal Church across from the square.

Mattis joined a symphony of condemnations, which came from both parties, characterizing the episode as a grotesque abuse of power.

“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath [to defend the Constitution] would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis wrote in a statement to journalists on Wednesday.

On Thursday, several protesters and the Washington, D.C., chapter of Black Lives Matter sued Trump, along with other law enforcement leadership they identified as leading the Monday clash, accusing them of violating the protesters’ rights to free assembly and freedom from unreasonable seizure.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is among the organizations representing the plaintiffs, decried Dowd’s letter as “abhorrent and a completely false characterization of the peacefully assembled demonstrators who were dispersed through state-sanctioned violence at the hands of government officials.”

“It is remarkable,” Clarke said in a statement to POLITICO on Thursday night, “that President Trump objects so vehemently to those speaking out against racial and police violence while embracing gun-toting activists who take siege of government buildings and violent white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.”

[Politico]

Trump Calls Mattis Yet Another of His Terrible Hires

Last evening, President Trump’s first Defense secretary, James Mattis, wrote a scathing op-ed describing his former boss as a threat to the Constitution and lacking the maturity to govern. In response to these charges, possibly the most devastating indictment any Cabinet official has ever made of a president who appointed them to office, Trump characteristically advanced a series of countercharges:

Let us examine the argument in its constituent elements. First, Trump claims to have fired Mattis. In fact, Mattis resigned his position. At the time of his retirement, Trump praised him and said he was “retiring with distinction”:

Second, Trump described Mattis as “the world’s most overrated general.” This is a very different assessment than the generous one Trump made upon Mattis’s retirement. It also raises questions as to why Trump hired Mattis in the first place. Since his career as a general entirely preceded his tenure as secretary of Defense, it would seem to be a major error by Trump that he selected the world’s most overrated general for such an important position.

This would, however, fit the pattern of Trump selecting incompetent staff for key positions, according to Trump himself.

Third, Trump undercut what is (in Trump’s branding-obsessed mind) Mattis’s most valuable attribute (the nickname “Mad Dog”) by claiming that Trump himself came up with it. In fact, the nickname can be found in innumerable news accounts going back at least 20 years.

Finally, and most curiously, Trump claims Mattis “seldom ‘brought home the bacon.’” It is not clear what bacon he was supposed to have brought home but failed, unless perhaps Trump is accusing Mattis of failing to spend enough money at Trump-owned properties, as other officials have done.

To summarize the debate between the two men: Mattis claims Trump lacks the maturity and respect for the Constitution necessary to serve as president. Trump responds that he made an enormous error in selecting his first Defense secretary, who in addition to lacking qualifications for the job, has inappropriately claimed credit for a nickname Trump devised. Notably, Trump is not contesting either of Mattis’s claims about his unfitness for office, and seems instead to be confirming them.

[New York Magazine]

Trump is attacking a Twitter employee over the company’s decision to fact-check him because the employee criticized Trump in past tweets

President Donald Trump slammed a Twitter employee Thursday who was critical of Trump in past tweets, calling the employee a “hater” and tagging his twitter handle.

Trump has reacted strongly this week to Twitter’s decision to add fact-checking labels to some of his tweets for the first time, and has accused Twitter and other tech companies, again and without evidence, of anti-conservative bias.

On Wednesday, Trump allies and advisers started directing their ire at Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, who has tweeted harsh criticism of Trump in the past.

Roth’s old tweets from 2016 and 2017 were resurfaced and shared widely on Wednesday, including a tweet calling Trump a “racist tangerine,” a tweet decrying “ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE,” and a tweet describing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a personality-free bag of farts.”

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider Wednesday that Roth is part of the team overseen by VP for trust and safety Del Harvey that recommends whether to label tweets that contain misinformation, but added that the decision to label tweets is ultimately made by “leadership” following recommendations from the trust and safety team.

On Wednesday night, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stood by the decision to correct Trump’s false claims about voting.

“Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me,” Dorsey posted. “Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

“Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-integrity-policy), the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),” Dorsey continued. “We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.”

Trump advisers are presenting Roth’s tweets as evidence of alleged anti-conservative bias across Twitter and other tech companies. Donald Trump Jr. slammed Roth on Twitter after Breitbart reported on his past tweets. On Fox News Wednesday morning, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called Roth “horrible” and read his Twitter handle out loud on air.

“Somebody in San Francisco go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.

The jabs at Roth are part of the Trump world’s broader backlash to Twitter’s decision to add fact-checking labels to Trump’s tweets that claimed without evidence that vote by mail is being used by Democrats to commit voter fraud. The tweets now include a disclaimer reading “get the facts” with a link to independent fact-checkers who debunk Trump’s claim.

This is the first time Twitter has taken action to mediate Trump’s false or misleading statements on the platform. Twitter has been upbraided by Trump critics over the years who say the platform enables Trump to spread falsehoods despite its policies against misinformation.

Trump lashed out at Twitter in response to the labels early Wednesday, threatening to shut down or “strongly regulate” social-media platforms that he claims are unfair to conservatives.

[Business Insider]

Trump shares disturbing meme of Joe Biden in a coffin

President Trump has given the Biden campaign a death sentence — literally.

On Tuesday, Trump shared a video declaring former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign effectively over for declaring that black voters who can’t decide between him and Trump “ain’t black.” It first shares the devastating clip, and then cuts to video of Ghana’s dancing pallbearers, with Biden’s campaign logo on the coffin.

While closing out a Friday interview with Charlamagne tha God on The Breakfast Club, Biden declared that “you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or [President] Trump, you ain’t black.” A whole lot of people unexpectedly found Biden’s comment racist and offensive, and by Friday afternoon, Biden had acknowledged he “shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.”

[The Week]

Media

Trump tweets baseless conspiracy theory accusing Joe Scarborough of murder

President Trump again baselessly accused MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murdering his intern in 2001 in a tweet Saturday, calling on his followers to “keep digging” and to “use forensic geniuses” to find out more about a death that occurred at Scarborough’s Florida office when he was a member of Congress.

Why it matters: Trump has had a lengthy feud with Scarborough and his wife Mika Brzezinski, who host “Morning Joe” and are often critical of the president and his administration. Brzezinski demanded last week that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stop allowing Trump to “abuse” the platform by spreading conspiracy theories.

The president’s tweet referred to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old aide at Scarborough’s office. 

  • Authorities determined that she died after losing consciousness from an abnormal heart rhythm and collapsed, striking her head, the Washington Post reports.
  • Police ruled that Klausutis’ death was accidental and never suspected foul play.

[Axios]


Trump says Sessions wasn’t ‘mentally qualified’ to be attorney general

President Trump said in a new interview that Jeff Sessions wasn’t “mentally qualified” to be attorney general and was a “disaster” while in office. 

The president told Sharyl Attkisson that Sessions “should have never” held the position.

“Jeff Sessions was a disaster as attorney general,” Trump said during the “Full Measure” interview, which aired on Sunday morning. “He’s not mentally qualified to be attorney general. He was the biggest problem.”

Trump’s remarks escalated an ongoing feud between the president and Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama who as attorney general recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. 

On Saturday, the president formally endorsed college football coach Tommy Tuberville, who is challenging Sessions’s bid to return to the Senate, citing the recusal.

Sessions responded on Twitter, saying, “I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did.”

“It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration,” he posted. “Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do.”

Sessions and Tuberville will compete in a July 14 runoff after a close Republican primary election in March. The Republicans seek to unseat Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who took over Sessions’s seat in a 2017 special election.

Trump fired Sessions in November 2018 and told NBC News’s “Meet the Press” last year that Sessions would be his only “do-over” as president.

[The Hill]

Trump retweets a message calling Hillary Clinton a ‘skank’ and spreads sexist insults about other prominent female Democrats

President Donald Trump on Saturday shared a series of messages containing sexist taunts and personal insults against prominent female Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In one message retweeted by the president, John Stahl, a conservative who gathered only 3% of the vote in his bid to represent California’s 52nd District in the House in 2012, called the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton, a “skank.”

Like Trump, Stahl is fond of referring to political opponents with insulting nicknames, as seen on his Twitter feed.

In another message shared by Trump, Stahl aimed insulting gibes at Pelosi and Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 race for the governor’s office in Georgia and is a contender for selection as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential race.

[Business Insider]

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