After Day of Infamy, Trump Administration Resignations Pour In. First violent attack on the Capitol Since 1814.

Following the Trump-incited invasion of the Capitol on January 6, where his violent supporters stormed and vandalized the premises in the first violent attack on the Capitol since 1814, administration officials have begun to resign in protest.

Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews was among the first to offer her resignation on Wednesday evening after the attack on Capitol Hill. Matthews, who worked under press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, said she was “disturbed” by today’s events.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the rioting “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside” and she would be resigning.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff, announced he has resigned from his role as the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland. “I called (Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of my friends resign over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser, also resigned in the wake of the unrest at the Capitol, according to one of the president’s advisers.

Many of the rioters came directly from Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting, without evidence, that the election had been stolen and encouraged them to march to the Capitol as part of his pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the proceedings. Pence defied the president and announced he did not have the constitutional power to accept or reject Electoral College votes in order to change the election outcome.

Following the rally, a pro-Trump mob began grappling with police on the Capitol steps and forced themselves into the building, forcing Pence to be swept to a secure location, and the Senate chamber to be evacuated.

Rioters then began breaking windows in the Capitol, vandalizing the building, and were even seen on the Senate floor, sitting at the dais. It was the first violent invasion of the Capitol since the British attacked it in 1814.

Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta, White House social secretary, also handed in her resignation following the Capitol Hill riots, according to an administration official.

Matt Pottinger, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, also resigned over the events, as did Ryan Tully, the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. Tyler Goodspeed, acting head of the Council of Economic Advisers, has also stepped down, a person familiar with the matter said.

Others who are reportedly considering following suit include National security adviser Robert O’Brien and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell.

Trump’s condition worsens, Biden tests negative

In the latest developments, Trump is to be taken to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday afternoon according to two administration officials, less then 24-hours after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus. He is expected to remain there for several days.

The president’s condition worsened on Friday, officials said, though they maintained he remained “in good spirits.” The president is struggling with a low-grade fever, a cough and nasal congestion, among other symptoms, two people familiar with his condition.

Joe Biden’s campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have both tested negative for the coronavirus.

Donald and Melania Trump Test Positive for Coronavirus

Breaking news. – WASHINGTON — Trump said early Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.

Trump received the test result after one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, became infected, bringing the virus into his inner circle and underscoring the difficulty of containing it even with the resources of a president. Trump has for months played down the severity of the virus and told a political dinner just Thursday night that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

Trump’s positive test result could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his campaign against Biden. with just 33 days before the election on Nov. 3. Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.

Even if he does not become seriously ill, the positive test could prove devastating to his political fortunes given his months of diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic even as the virus was still ravaging the country and killing about 1,000 more Americans every day. He has repeatedly predicted the virus “is going to disappear,” asserted that it was under control and insisted that the country was “rounding the corner” to the end of the crisis. He has scorned scientists, saying they were mistaken on the severity of the situation.

Things seem to be falling apart for Trump after his raucous, incoherent debate behavior

In a major shift, Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump over his failure to unambiguously condemn white supremacists during the presidential debate on Tuesday night. Trump faced a torrent of criticism, including a rare rebuke from the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, the majority leader and a close ally of the president’s, told reporters he condemned Trump’s refusal to categorically denounce white supremacy during the presidential debate.

McConnell said, “It was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists and so I do so in the strongest possible way.”

Trump’s raucous, interruption-filled debate performance also led the Commission on Presidential Debates to say Wednesday that it would make changes to the format of this year’s remaining debates. Among things they are considering is turning off the mic when Trump attempts to interrupt against the agreed-upon debate rules.

Trump’s continued efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of the vote, both at the debate and on Wednesday, also alarmed election-monitoring experts who said that they feared that he was laying the groundwork to delegitimize the election results.

CNN has an extensive fact-check of the debate which documents all of Trump’s repeated lies.

All these developments suggested that the debate was shaking up the campaign with a little over a month left until the election in a way not to Trump’s advantage.

Trump makes overtly racist appeal to White suburban voters

Trump on Wednesday shocked people across the political spectrum by making one of his most overtly racist appeals to date to White, suburban voters, saying in a tweet that they will no longer be “bothered” by low income housing in their suburbs.

The tweets come as polls show Trump’s reelection effort is failing in the suburbs, fueled by his failed response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing recession, and Trump’s aggressive opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement, which polls show most suburban voters support.

Trump’s tweet refers to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, an Obama administration update to the 1968 civil rights legislation, the Fair Housing Act. The rule required local governments receiving federal funds for housing and development to account for biased practices and craft a plan to fix them.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it was replacing the fair housing rule with its own rule, one it dubbed “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.”

Recent research has shown that one of the most successful ways to help low-income families get good educations for their children and integrate into the middle class is by actively interspersing low-income housing throughout middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods.

Wednesday’s tweets mark an escalation in Trump’s ongoing effort to stoke fear in suburban voters that poor urban residents, who are overwhelmingly people of color, will move to their suburbs if low-income housing is permitted to be built in single-family home neighborhoods.

In an election year defined by a pandemic, a financial crisis, and a racial justice movement, Trump’s appeal to White suburban voters are a key part of his campaign strategy.

Trump’s line of attack has been condemned by Democrats and by some Republicans, who say it echoes racist appeals made to White voters during the Civil Rights era.

Not only is this strategy drawing condemnation from across the political spectrum, according to polls, it’s also failing.

A recent Fox News poll showed Trump trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 11 points nationwide among suburban voters. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released July 19 revealed a similar spread, with Trump down 9 points in the suburbs to Biden.

Despite these poll numbers, Trump has so far rejected advice from campaign strategists who have urged him to expand his base of support by appealing to more moderate Republicans, especially women.

Instead, Trump has doubled down on racist and divisive messages, aiming them directly at the very women that surveys show are not receptive to overtly racial appeals.

Criticism mounts against Trump from conservatives and evangelical leaders

Because of Trump’s lack of leadership, and because of his bombastic statements and dangerously anti-democratic antics during these difficult times, there has been a growing backlash even among conservatives and right-wing evangelical leaders who normally support him.

Today, Jim Mattis, a former defense secretary who quit the Trump administration in 2018, offered a withering criticism of his former boss, saying, “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using the U.S. military to quiet domestic unrest in a break with Donald Trump who threatened to deploy federal troops to “dominate the streets.”

“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the National Guard: The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” Esper said. “I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Two administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump was angry over Esper’s comments and felt like the defense secretary left the impression it was his decision on whether to invoke the Insurrection Act.

And televangelist Pat Robertson scolded President Donald Trump on Tuesday over his threat to send the U.S. military into American cities to control civil unrest. “You just don’t do that, Mr. President,” Robertson said on his “700 Club” TV show, then he raised his voice: “It isn’t cool.”

In comments posted online by Right Wing Watch, Robertson also called out Trump for getting the tone all wrong in dealing with the people protesting against racial injustice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, last week.

“You know, there’s a purpose to everything under heaven, you read in the Bible, and there’s a time,” he said. “And I think like now is the time to say, ’I understand your pain, I want to comfort you, I think it’s time we love each other.”

A dozen Trump lies at the Fox New town hall

Last Thursday, Fox News held a town hall event in Scranton, Pennsylvania with Trump. Here are a dozen lies he made at the event.

Lie 1: Trump claimed that, before Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden “didn’t have a job.”

The facts: At the time Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma in 2014, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.

Lie 2: Trump claimed that “this area of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania itself, has the best numbers it’s ever had. It’s got the best economy it’s ever had. It has the best unemployment numbers it’s ever had. And Scranton has the lowest and best unemployment numbers they’ve — and employment numbers too — that they’ve ever had, by far.”

The facts: Neither the unemployment rate for Pennsylvania nor the unemployment rate for the Scranton area is at its lowest level ever. And both rates have crept higher over the past several months. The December 2019 unemployment rate for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area was 5.6% — worse than various rates under Clinton and Bush and also worse than the rate in Obama’s last full month in office, 5.4% in December 2016.

Lie 3: Trump claimed, “We got hit with the virus really three weeks ago, if you think about it, I guess. That’s when we first started really to see some possible effects.”

The facts: The US had its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on January 21, more than six weeks before Trump spoke, so it’s not true that the US had not really seen even “some possible effects” until three weeks ago.

Lie 4: Trump repeated his claim that he had reversed an Obama-era decision that had somehow impeded testing for the coronavirus.

The Facts: There is no regulation or decision from President Barack Obama that impeded coronavirus testing.

Lie 5: Trump claimed Obama called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “many times” but “Kim Jong Un did not want to talk to him. And me, he wanted to talk to.”

The Facts: There is no evidence that Obama called Kim even once. “This is a total fabrication,” Susan Rice, who served as Obama’s national security adviser, said on Twitter in response to a previous version of this Trump claim. There’s also no evidence for Trump’s previous claim that Obama begged Kim for a meeting.

Lie 6: Trump claimed “I opened up LNG plants in Louisiana” where companies had been unable to get permits for “for 10, 12, 14 years and longer.” He said, “I got them built, a $10 billion plant in Louisiana.”

The Facts: The $10 billion LNG facility Trump visited in Louisiana in 2019 was granted its key permits under Obama, and its construction also began under Obama.

Lie 7: Trump called the whistleblower who complained about his dealings with Ukraine a “phony whistleblower” and claimed this person had described “a call that didn’t exist.”

The Facts: The whistleblower’s account of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been proven accurate. In fact, the rough transcript Trump released showed that the whistleblower’s three primary allegations about the call were correct.

Lie 8: Trump claimed President Barack Obama left him “142 openings” on the courts, in part because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who thwarted many of Obama’s judicial nominees — did a “great job.”

The Facts: There were 104 court vacancies on January 1, 2017, 19 days before Trump took office, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.

Lie 9: Trump claimed that “normally,” presidents are left no court vacancies at all; “if you have one,” he said, it’s “lucky.”

The Facts: It is standard for presidents to inherit dozens of vacancies. According to Wheeler, there were 53 vacancies on January 1, 2009, just before Obama took office; 80 vacancies on January 1, 2001, just before George W. Bush took office; 107 vacancies on January 1, 1993, just before Bill Clinton took office.

Lie 10: Trump claimed that “we have right now 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border.”

The Facts: Mexico has deployed around 27,000 troops, but Mexico’s defense minister said in October that it was about 15,000 on the US border, about 12,000 on Mexico’s own southern border.

Lie 11: Trump claimed, “China is paying us billions and billions of dollars because of what I did to them with tariffs.”

The Facts: Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the vast majority of the cost of the tariffs. And it is Americans who make the actual tariff payments.

Lie 12: Trump said he wants the US to have the world’s cleanest air and water, then claimed, “Our conditions now are much better than they were three years ago.”

The Facts: US air was cleaner under Obama than it has been under Trump. Three of the six types of pollutants identified by the Clean Air Act as toxic to human health were more prevalent in the air as of 2018 than they were before Trump took office, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.

Quotes by Rush Limbaugh, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump

On whether the massacre of Native Americans is comparable to the World War II Holocaust:

“Holocaust? Ninety million Indians? Only four million left? They all have casinos – what’s to complain about?”

On feminism:

“Feminism was established so that unattractive ugly broads could have easy access to the mainstream.”

On Hu Jintao, the former president of China, speaking without a translator:

“Hu Jintao was just going Ching cha. Ching chang  cho chow. Cha chow. Ching cho. Chi ba la la.”

On Sandra Fluke, who as a Georgetown University law student in 2012 testified in support of the Obama administration’s birth control policies:

“What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? Makes her a prostitute.”

On the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

“The N.A.A.C.P. Should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”

On sexual consent:

“If the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police.”

On the idea of white guilt:

“If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians.”

Facebook, Twitter, and the danger of uncontrolled lies in social media

Facebook and Twitter have refused to take down a video showing Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech that was edited to appear as if she was doing so as Trump saluted a Tuskegee airman in the audience. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/07/facebook-and-twitter-decline-pelosi-request-to-delete-trump-video.html

If that’s the case, somebody should perhaps do up a video of Trump mocking that disabled reporter along with the salute to the Tuskegee airman and post that to FaceBook and Twitter.

The larger discussion is what to do about social media in these times? People have the right to free speech. And at the same time, technology is ahead of our ability to keep track of truth and facts.

It’s not just Trump and his endless lies. There are the anti-vaccine crazies who are killing their children (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/4-year-old-dies-from-flu-after-members-of-anti-vax-facebook-group-advise-his-mom-use-thyme-elderberries-instead/). There are the climate change deniers. There is the inherent danger to our entire democratic system.

A question for discussion: Have FaceBook and Twitter simply “won the social media” market? Is there no reasonable alternative for all of us to get out of there, and still not lose contact with all our friends?

The Windmills of His Mind – Donald Trump actual quote, 12/21/2019

“We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody. I know it’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right? So they make these things and then they put them up.”