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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Bad Weekend for POTUS

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Chris Cillizza at CNN:
There are times when the political malpractice of President Trump -- and those close to him -- hits you smack in the face. The removal of Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman is one of those moments.
The timeline of events is a testament to how not to handle a high-profile firing.
On Friday night, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that Berman was leaving his post, from which he was overseeing several high profile investigations -- including one looking into Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani.
Berman released his own statement around 11 p.m. Eastern making clear he was not, in fact, resigning. And he showed up to work Saturday morning.
By Saturday afternoon, Barr had sent Berman a letter firing him; "Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so," Barr wrote.
Asked about the move shortly after, Trump said this of Barr: "That's his department, not my department. I'm not involved."
... ['H]ow the hell does the US Attorney General announce that the head lawyer of the Southern District of New York is resigning if said guy hasn't made a specific pledge to do so? And how the hell does the AG say the President told him to fire Berman only to have the President say he wasn't involved?
The message being sent here is that no one knows what is going on. Which isn't a good message five months before an election.
 Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni:at NYT:
President Trump and several staff members stood backstage and gazed at the empty Bank of Oklahoma Center in horror.
Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had canceled plans at the last minute to speak at an outdoor overflow rally that was almost entirely empty, despite claims of nearly one million people registering for tickets to attend the event in Tulsa, Okla., and the president’s false boast of never having an empty seat at one of his events.
The president, who had been warned aboard Air Force One that the crowds at the arena were smaller than expected, was stunned, and he yelled at aides backstage while looking at the endless rows of empty blue seats in the upper bowl of the stadium, according to four people familiar with what took place. Brad Parscale, the campaign manager who had put the event together, was not present.
...
 Mr. Trump eventually entered the arena for a meandering performance in which he excoriated the “fake news” for reporting on health concerns before his event, used racist language to describe the coronavirus as the “Kung Flu” and spent more than 15 minutes explaining away an unflattering video clip of him gingerly descending a ramp after his commencement speech at West Point.