How Trump distorts facts to make Ilhan Omar seem like an enemy to the US

The president railed against the congresswoman at his North Carolina rally, targeting her refugee status, religion and ethnicity

Donald Trump spent nearly five minutes railing against Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar at his “Keep America Great” rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night.

The framing of his attacks on Omar often targeted her refugee status, religion and ethnicity, and reveal how much the president is willing to bend the truth to make it seem that Omar is an enemy of the United States.

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A few days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, then-National Security Adviser Susan Rice held a press briefing in her office to talk about the threats she saw on the horizon as Barack Obama’s presidency drew to a close. “What keeps you up at night? one reporter asked toward the end of the meeting. Her answer: a pandemic that spirals out of control.Yesterday afternoon, I asked Rice how the past five months have compared to what she’d been worried about in the early days of 2017. “This is about in the realm of my worst nightmare,” she told me. That’s why, Rice said, she worked to put together plans, and why she oversaw the creation of the pandemic-preparedness office that Trump famously closed. “We knew it was going to happen. We just couldn’t know when.”Rice criticized the current administration’s handling of the pandemic, saying there are “absolutely many more Americans dead because of Donald Trump’s failed leadership.” Our conversation can be heard in full on the latest episode of The Ticket.These days, Rice isn’t speaking just as a former national security adviser and a former United Nations ambassador, or an author whose memoir, Tough Love, just happens to have come out in paperback at the beginning of August. Rice is among the finalists under consideration to be Joe Biden’s running mate, and an announcement is expected within the next few days. If she is picked, she’ll be the first vice-presidential candidate since Henry Wallace, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third running mate, to have never run for office before.She joked that no call from Biden had come in while we were talking.[Read: Could it be Vice President Susan Rice?]Listen to the interview here:Subscribe to The Ticket on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or another podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they’re published.What follows is an edited and condensed transcript:Edward-Isaac Dovere: You’re a huge supporter of statehood for your native Washington, D.C. To some people, it is a ridiculous idea that Washington should ever be a state. To others, like Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Washington, D.C., shouldn’t be a state and Wyoming should because “Wyoming is a well-rounded, working-class state.” What do you make of that?Susan Rice: What are the demographics of Wyoming versus Washington, D.C.? I think it’s an important priority, particularly when we have 700,000 disenfranchised Americans here who are, as you know, red-blooded, hardworking, decent, tax-paying as any others. And there’s a large history to this, which is that the Constitution has established something called the federal enclave. But the Constitution doesn’t require that that federal enclave be any larger than the federal buildings and territory within the city. So you could take the capital in the Mall and the White House and the Supreme Court and the Smithsonian and the federal entities and continue to reserve them as the federal enclave per the Constitution and allow the rest of the city, which is where the population is anyway, to have statehood. And if we had statehood, it would have been a lot harder for President Trump, for political purposes, to call out federal forces to club and beat and terrorize people in the District of Columbia who are peacefully protesting.Dovere: You’re known as someone who curses, and you write about being known as “direct” and being called a “hothead.” Why do you think that’s been a focus?Rice: I am accused of using profanity. I cop guilty to that. I do occasionally use profanity. Not in my official functions. Not when the circumstances make it inappropriate. But it is the case that I have used the occasional profanity. Does anybody remember what Dick Cheney said on the Senate floor? Told [Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy] to go F himself. On the Senate floor. Does anybody talk about Dick Cheney’s foul mouth? Or does that in any way define him as the vice president of the United States? I think it’s sexist; that’s what it is.Dovere: The Sunday-show appearances around the Benghazi attack have become so much of your public identity. Your mother actually warned you not to do it, and thought Hillary Clinton should have instead. In the end, that became an issue getting in your way to be Obama’s secretary of state, and continues to be an issue Republicans attack you over now.Rice: She said, “Why you?” And I said, “The White House asked me to do it.” And she’s like, “Well, where’s Hillary?” And I said that she’d been asked, but declined. And I presumed—I hadn’t had this conversation with her—that she had had an extraordinarily draining week, having lost four Americans in an American overseas facility, and all the pain and trauma that that entails for the people of the State Department, for the families, for everybody. But I agreed, as a team player. And her instinct was, “I smell a rat. You shouldn’t do it.” And I said, “Mom, don’t be ridiculous. I’ve done this many times before.” She was absolutely right.[Read: What happened the night of the Benghazi attack]Dovere: What did that experience teach you about the way that politics, and at least cable news, political media work?Rice: First of all, the core lesson is always: Listen to your mother. I think this was what she was getting at, and what I suspect in retrospect that Secretary Clinton and other senior officials understood is, when you have a tragedy, a crisis of the sort we had in Benghazi and the terrorist attack, particularly in the height of a presidential campaign, a hot electoral season—it’s going to be politicized and the opposition is going to be looking to shoot the messenger as much as shoot at the message. And that’s what happened.I wasn’t thinking about myself. I’m part of a team, a team that had a very hard week. We’ve lost our colleagues. Christopher Stevens, our ambassador in Libya, was somebody that I knew and worked with and respected and liked. It was painful for all of us and for me to think about myself, rather than think about the responsibility that the administration had to communicate to the American people, was not where my head was. And in retrospect, maybe it should have been. Maybe I should have been more self-centered in how I thought about it, because clearly it has not redounded to my benefit in right-wing circles. But if not that, I’m sure they would have found something else.That was eight years ago, and it was sort of an early leading indicator of how ugly and dishonest our politics were going to get. Eight congressional committees investigated Benghazi ad nauseum through 2016, and not one of them found that I had done anything wrong or that I had deliberately misled the American people or anything else. The fact that really only one piece of that information later turned out to be inaccurate doesn’t make me a liar for having shared it and caveated it as our best current information. That could change. But it shows you how the right wing latches on to a meme or a caricature and drives it relentlessly, and they do it to this day. This one is tired and overwrought, and there’s no substance to it.Frankly, for the Republicans to be harping on Benghazi in 2020, when under Donald Trump’s watch, three Americans were killed on a U.S. military base in Pensacola, Florida, last year in a terrorist attack inspired by al-Qaeda—what appears to be the first foreign-directed terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11—because the Defense Department failed to adequately vet the Saudi military personnel who are being trained on that base. But no investigation, no outrage, not a boo out of congressional Republicans. Four American servicemen were killed in a terrorist attack in Niger in West Africa on Donald Trump’s watch, and not a boo, not an investigation. Not an expression of concern. So this is all political distraction. And in a year when over 160,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 because of this president’s ineptitude and incompetence and disregard for human life, putting his own political interests above the health and well-being and the economy of the United States and the ability to educate our kids … they’re going to talk about Benghazi? I say fine, let them.Dovere: You were the national security adviser when the office was set up in the National Security Council to deal with pandemic response under President Obama. That’s the office that Trump famously disbanded. With your experiences and the awareness you had of the dangers of a pandemic, how does what has actually happened compare to the fears that you had?Rice: This is about in the realm of my worst nightmare. The only thing that would be worse, potentially, is a very deadly flu virus that’s as transmissible as COVID, but much more deadly. Some of the avian flus have a mortality rate of 50 percent. So think about that. Yeah. But in terms of the number of infections, the number of deaths, the economic implications, the complete disruption to our domestic and global economy, this is exactly what I worried about and wrote about in the book when it was published almost a year ago. So this is entirely foreseeable, which is why we tried to put in place plans, offices, equipment, preparatory briefings to help the incoming administration be ready for such a scenario, because we knew it was going to happen. We just couldn’t know when.Dovere: You write in the new afterword to the book, “I find it exhausting and difficult to remain hopeful in the face of such immoral and incompetent leadership.” Is it strange to watch what’s going on, having been on the inside?Rice: Strange is to put it mildly. It’s infuriating because it didn’t need to be this bad.Dovere: Are Americans dead because of Donald Trump?Rice: I’ve said that repeatedly. There are absolutely many more Americans dead because of Donald Trump’s failed leadership.[Read: How the pandemic defeated America]Dovere: Your son is an outspoken conservative, who’s been identified as a Trump supporter. You are outspoken against Trump. How does that family dynamic work, and what does that tell you about the larger divisions in America right now?Rice: You should not accept press characterizations of my son. You should read what I say about what his views are. And I write about them in the last chapter of the book. And he and I worked on that portion together to fairly reflect his views, and where we agree and where we disagree. He likes to characterize himself as a Reagan Republican. We have really fundamental disagreements on a lot of issues. And sometimes they get heated, as I write about in the book. But at the end of the day, it’s so much more important to us to be united as a family, to recognize that we have a shared history. We have shared interests. We love each other. We want to stay together, and we fight not to let political differences or any other kind of differences divide us in any kind of irreparable way. As much as I disagree with Donald Trump and his policies, I can’t write off or discount or fear or hate or dismiss those Americans who support him. If everybody did that, we would literally be irreparably divided as a nation. And I don’t think we can afford to do that. I can’t afford to do that in my family.Dovere: You were a diplomat. You were a behind-the-scenes person. How has it been getting into the political fray yourself?Rice: What I discovered the hard way was, even when I was serving in New York as our ambassador to the United Nations trying to be very much a policy maker in a policy role, and then went on to be national security adviser, I was sucked into the political fray. I didn’t ask for that. But that’s the nature of the way Washington has devolved. 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Cancel College
Despite the continued spread of the coronavirus, many colleges around the country plan to welcome students back to campus over the coming weeks.Colleges want to reopen for good, nontrivial reasons. Administrators believe that most students learn better when they are physically assembled in the same place. And they know that the American college experience, at any rate, has long been about more than the classroom. It allows students to cut the umbilical cord, make friends with like-minded people, and pursue extracurricular activities—all of which are much harder to do if your freshman year consists of joining Zoom sessions from your parents’ basement. Many universities also face serious financial problems. If they are unable to reopen this fall, some may collapse.But if colleges go ahead, they will endanger the lives of students, staff, faculty, and those who live in the surrounding communities. Reopening colleges is the wrong thing to do.Many colleges have come up with imaginative ways to reopen while striving to contain the virus.Most plans involve a constellation of the same core elements: lecture classes in big outside tents, or no lectures at all, a two-week quarantine for students upon their arrival on campus, a testing regime to identify cases of COVID-19 as early as possible, distancing guidelines that severely restrict social events, and a shortened term that ends at Thanksgiving to avert the risk posed by students who return to campus after spending a few days with their families all across the country.But these plans all founder on the same basic problem: Most college students are at an age when the urge to socialize is especially strong. Whatever the rules may say, young people will have parties, hook up, and leave campus to have fun.[Julia Marcus and Jessica Gold: Colleges are getting ready to blame their students]Some colleges propose to deal with this problem punitively. Syracuse University, for example, has vowed to punish students with draconian penalties if they violate the university’s strict distancing guidelines. Others believe they can trust their students to behave in accordance with the greater good. The University of Kentucky, for example, has incorporated a vow to maintain proper social distance into its honor code. But neither approach is foolproof.And the consequences if—or rather when—the coronavirus starts to spread will probably be disastrous. As a Harvard University official told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell back in March, “The dorms are cruise ships.” Even if sophisticated testing uncovers a case of COVID-19 within a few days of a student contracting it, that student is likely to have come into contact with dozens of others in the intervening days.Therefore, many colleges will likely, within weeks of reopening, place a quickly expanding set of students under lockdown. And if these measures fail, the colleges will close on short notice. At that point, thousands of students—many of them infected with COVID-19—will board trains and planes to go home, spreading the virus to their families.If colleges reopen, kids from parts of the country with high case counts will, inevitably, travel to parts of the country with low case counts—and bring their home-state problems with them. This is why the biggest threat posed by reopening colleges is not to students, faculty, or staff, but to the surrounding community.According to the latest figures, for example, Addison County, Vermont, has virtually vanquished COVID-19. In the past seven days, they have had only two new cases. But Addison County is home to Middlebury College, which, according to its website, hosts students from 49 states. When young people from coronavirus hot spots such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas arrive for class, Addison County’s infection rate will almost certainly grow.[Read: The nightmare that colleges face this fall]Communities in high- and average-case-count states might not feel comfortable welcoming students, either. As the mayors of four North Carolina towns argue in a letter to decision makers at the University of North Carolina, “There is high anxiety” about “thousands of university students moving into the community from all over the state and country, many coming from areas that lack the same requirements we have locally for slowing the spread of COVID-19.”The letter also points to a bitter irony: While UNC is determined to reopen, local public schools have decided to remain fully online for the time being: “It is hard,” the mayors write, “to feel comfortable with this contrast.”Many universities face the impossible choice between bankruptcy and community health. And millions of Americans are in the same spot: Every day, they must choose between going to work and courting infection, and staying at home and risking financial ruin.The solution is the same in both cases: The federal government must take the measures necessary to contain the virus—including orders to shut down businesses and universities as needed. But when businesses are told to close and workers are furloughed from their jobs, the government must also make sure they can still pay their bills.
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For one, it indicates that enough Democrats saw through Chief Justice John Roberts’s strategic efforts late in this year’s term to sap energy from the Court-reform movement. Moreover, caught up in whether to champion “court packing” or reject it—as Joe Biden, their presumptive nominee for president, already has—Democrats have barely begun to discuss what kind of reform makes most sense.[Jeffrey Rosen: John Roberts is just who the Supreme Court needed]There are two basic types of reform. One type adjusts the personnel of the Supreme Court by adding justices, choosing them differently, or shortening their terms of office. The second kind disempowers the institution itself—removing certain cases from its jurisdiction, requiring a greater number of justices to agree in order to interfere with democratic choices, or letting Congress override any glaring mistakes. As we argue in a new paper, this second brand of reform is best. The first sort of fix may serve the Democrats in the short term, but at the price of naked partisanship and possible blowback, while the second facilitates progressive ends and, just as important, reinvigorates American democracy.The current wave of reform efforts first emerged when Judge Merrick Garland was denied confirmation at the end of President Barack Obama’s term because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “hardball” tactics, and swelled to a clamor after Brett Kavanaugh’s divisive and hard-fought confirmation provided a more reliable conservative majority on the Supreme Court than before. During the Democratic primary last year and this past winter, the topic gained more traction than at any time in almost a century. But the debate has been for the most part stuck, as the ascendancy of court packing has screened out the broader range of options and the possibility of comparing and contrasting them.For reformers advocating the first strategy, the Supreme Court has been lost to Republicans and the goal is to take it back. The revival of New Deal President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 proposal to “pack the courts,” for example, simply accepts that federal courts wield tremendous policy-making authority. The goal is thus to wrest partisan control away from conservatives, either in order to claw back ill-gotten gains, or because the practical outcomes of conservative judging are viewed as bad.Similarly, the centrist former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg endorsed a proposal during the Democratic primaries for the Supreme Court to consist of five Democrats, five Republicans, and five “apolitical” justices. The purpose of this reform is to make the Court (seem) less ideological, structuring it to produce compromise outcomes and rescuing it from its unfortunate slide into “politicization.” Such wonkish plans, however, merely assume that the Court should and will continue to sit as an unelected “super-legislature.” Such a body cannot be apolitical—and such reforms only hide the exercise of its power better.[David A. Graham: The Democrats discover the Supreme Court]This does not mean that all attempts to reform the Supreme Court through personnel management are created equal. Adding justices works differently than striving for a moderate Court that reflects the current partisan split in Washington. While the former would, ideally, help advance a progressive agenda, the latter aims at restoring the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy” as a nonpartisan—which is to say, ideologically moderate—actor. Both, however, take as a given that the Court will continue to settle many of American society’s most important and most controversial political questions. The goal of these reforms is to change the attitudes of those on the bench, in the hope of getting either more progressive or more “centrist” answers.Contrast these reforms with the other approach: disempowering the Supreme Court and transferring some of its existing authority to the democratically accountable branches. Since at least the early 20th century, both progressive and conservative groups have called for Congress to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over controversial topics such as labor regulation, flag burning, or gun control. New Deal Democrats even proposed eliminating entirely the Court’s power to invalidate federal legislation. These reforms are fundamentally different from efforts to re-staff the Court; they recognize that the problem is not who serves on the Supreme Court but what power it has. For that reason, such reforms challenge the legitimacy of allocating to democratically unaccountable judges the final say on such topics. They recognize that the point is not to “save the Supreme Court” but to save the American system of self-government.A proposal, advanced by 1920s progressives among others, to require six or seven justices (rather than the current five) to agree before declaring a federal statute unconstitutional functions similarly. Such a “supermajority” requirement would have no explicit partisan benefit for one team or the other. What it would accomplish instead is to shift significant power away from the appointed, life-tenured judiciary and to the political branches—Congress and the president.[Bob Bauer: Don’t pack the courts]A supermajority rule might seem more attractive than stripping jurisdiction to those who view the Supreme Court as an important protector of rights. Barring an unusually lopsided bench, in cases of uncontroversial constitutional violation, the Supreme Court would remain empowered to step in. However, in more closely contested cases, members of Congress and the president would determine what the Constitution permits. If the Supreme Court cannot agree on what the Constitution means, the decision ought to be left to Congress, and in turn the popular will. A supermajority rule would implement what the Harvard professor James Bradley Thayer at the turn of the 20th century called a “clear error” standard for judicial review. But whereas Thayer proposed that judges limit themselves to upsetting democratic decisions only in cases of “clear” violation, a supermajority rule would ensure that five justices could not advance a reactionary agenda or thwart progressive change.Reforms that disempower the Supreme Court may involve a period of conflict if the Court resists having its authority taken away. The Supreme Court has, for instance, historically interpreted jurisdiction-stripping legislation incredibly narrowly, thereby preserving the judiciary’s authority. Significant reassignments of power very rarely happen without a fight. But we know from New Deal history that court packing proved so radioactive that Roosevelt could not push it through. A titanic contest over the Supreme Court hardly seems worth it for mere short-term gains.Because of the prominence of “court packing,” court reform is unappealing to some because of the objection that it will set off partisan spirals. It could escalate beyond control, they say, with no stopping point as victors just keep upping the numbers on the high bench with every election cycle. The plan looks too close to the unsavory business in Poland, where 44 spots on the country’s Supreme Court were added in 2018. The Times’ Jamelle Bouie, who has eloquently mainstreamed court packing, reassured listeners of a recent podcast: “The tit-for-tat would have to stop at some point.” That nuclear war would also eventually end hardly means we should launch. Disempowering the judiciary would skirt this problem—turning over the underlying political disputes to the democratic process, where they belong.[Anne Appelbaum: The disturbing campaign against Poland’s judges]Court reform was originally a progressive idea. But conservatives have complained about the antidemocratic power of the Supreme Court for generations, placing them in the hard spot of explaining why they are against its reform now. True, Americans currently agree about very little. And it is fair to worry that Congress is dysfunctional, and that shifting more power to it is merely a recipe for more inaction. 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“This was no boat accident.” — Hooper, “Jaws” Nope, this was not a defeat to shrug off as an aberration, to chalk it up to one of those days. Sure, the Yankees remain the American League leaders and favorites even after their 1-0 loss to the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field. Yet they...
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Leonard Williams sees ‘good opportunity’ amid his Giants uncertainty
He is here. It is where he wants to be, he says. How long he is here, well, good luck with that. For now, it is 2020 vision for Leonard Williams, a sturdy defensive tackle traded by the Jets to the Giants, instantly becoming about as polarizing a transaction as one can imagine. The thought...
3 h
Mets bullpen suddenly dominant with stunning scoreless-inning streak
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Jets offensive line getting creative to build quick chemistry
You could call the Jets offensive line room a chemistry experiment this summer. Jets general manager Joe Douglas overhauled the unit, which was one of the worst in the NFL in 2019. None of the five players who started Week 1 last year are on the roster. The Jets will have an entirely new group...
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Tommy Fleetwood in major hunt again after making hard call to play in PGA Championship
SAN FRANCISCO — Everyone has choices. In the COVID-19 age we live in, high-level athletes have been faced with choices they never dreamt they would encounter. Instead of choosing between flying private or first class, for example, now they’re choosing whether to play on or opt out. Yes, “opt out’’ is among the new phrases...
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