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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Best People, Continued

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss the people surrounding Trump. (The update -- published in 2019 --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.)
The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.

Andrew Kaczynski, Nathan McDermott and Em Steck, CNN:
The new spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services in a series of now-deleted tweets made racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, said Democrats wanted the coronavirus to kill millions of people and accused the media of intentionally creating panic around the pandemic to hurt President Donald Trump.
Michael Caputo, a longtime New York Republican political operative who worked on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, was appointed last week as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS, a prominent communications role at the department which serves a central role in the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Caputo, a prolific user who often tweeted insults and profanity, recently erased nearly his entire Twitter history from before April 12. CNN's KFile used the Internet Archive's "The Wayback Machine" to review more than 1300 deleted tweets and retweets from late February to early April many of which were regarding the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
While he occasionally weighed in with praise for public officials or more straightforward observations, tweets from this period are also littered with conspiracy theories and controversial language to go after perceived critics of the Trump administration.

In a series of tweets on March 12, Caputo responded to a baseless conspiracy theory that the United States brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, China, by tweeting that "millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters."
He followed up at another user, "Don't you have a bat to eat?" and tweeted at another user, "You're very convincing, Wang."

Ben Fox at AP:
The senior Department of Homeland Security official who was thrust into the spotlight by President Donald Trump to describe the effects of temperature on COVID-19 has been the subject of misconduct allegations for his previous government work.

A Department of Energy Inspector General investigation was still pending Friday based on evidence submitted by a whistle-blower that William Bryan abused his government position with energy consulting work in Ukraine.

It’s unclear if Trump was aware of that investigation when he called on Bryan at his daily briefing Thursday to explain DHS research that prompted a presidential riff on the potential to cure the virus with disinfectant and kill it with sunlight.