Trump's MAGA-no! line
Donald Trump couldn't get the military parade he wanted to have in Washington in November. But he's ordered the Pentagon to put on a show elsewhere — on the Mexican border — just in time for next Tuesday's midterm elections.
A force of 5,200 troops, some armed, are headed to the frontier for "Operation Faithful Patriot."
The president said they will repel an "invasion" of migrants from Central America. Trump paints the migrants, who say they are fleeing poverty and gang violence, as a dire national security threat, blaming Democrats for lax immigration laws and echoing conspiracy theories from the far right about the caravan's composition and origins. The issue has become a staple of Trump's fear-fanning pitch to keep Republicans in charge of Congress.
“Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”
The troops are expected to perform a wide variety of functions, such as transporting supplies for the Border Patrol, but not engage directly with migrants seeking to cross the border, officials said
One caravan, still 900 miles away in Mexico, has dwindled to 3,500 from its peak of 7,000, The Associated Press reported. A second group of about 600 tried to cross into Mexico from Guatemala Monday, but was blocked by Mexican federal police. The groups are expected to shrink further as they get closer to border, where migrants from past caravans have presented themselves at regular of points of entry to legally apply for asylum. Most get turned down.
For those reasons, the specter of an epic fire-and-fury faceoff with U.S. military might is unlikely to become reality. Especially by Election Day. No matter. If menacing migrants hordes don't show up, Trump can get the tweet ready in advance: Mission accomplished.
Pittsburgh steels for visit
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that Trump and first lady Melania Trump will fly Tuesday to Pittsburgh, where the grieving Jewish community is divided on whether the president should be welcomed and the mayor said Trump should at least wait until they bury their dead.
Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue, where authorities charge that a neo-Nazi agitated about the migrants killed 11 Jewish worshippers on Saturday, told CNN, "I am a citizen. He is my president. He is always welcome.” But the synagogue's former president, Lynette Lederman, said she did not welcome Trump to her city and called him a “purveyor of hate speech."
More than 35,000 people have signed an open letter to Trump from the leaders of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group, who say he should stay away unless he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities, calling the neo-Nazi attack a "direct culmination of your influence."
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto suggested Trump reconsider coming Tuesday because victims' funerals will likely be occurring, straining the city's security resources. Peduto also said the White House should consult the victims' families. For more on the Trumps' visit and the shooting aftermath, see Newsday's story by Nicole Fuller and Candice Ferrette.
Trump at the gasoline pump
Before Sanders attacked any and all who blame the president for adding to a climate of hostility and hate, Trump got busy on Twitter, whipping up some more, calling the news media an enemy of Americans.
"There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame," the tweet said.
Said Sanders at a rare briefing: "The president's not referencing all media . ... Those individuals know who they are."
Meanwhile, another suspected bomb addressed to CNN showed up in Atlanta. Law enforcement officials said Cesar Sayoc, the Trump superfan turned alleged letter-bomber, had a list of roughly 100 possible targets that was discovered after his arrest in Florida last Friday. The New York Times said at least one was an editor at the newspaper.
A CNN statement said Trump and Sanders "should understand your words matter. Every single one of them. But so far, you don’t seem to get that."
Janison: Review from Carnage-ie Hall
On Jan. 20, 2017, the real and imaginary crowds at Trump's inauguration heard a dark portrayal of a violence-wracked America he was about to lead, and a promise: "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."
Since then, writes Newsday's Dan Janison, we've witnessed: the biggest mass shooting of its kind in modern American history, in Las Vegas; the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, in Pittsburgh; the slaying of 17 at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and a jihadist's truck attack killing eight in Manhattan. That's just a few. Last week was so tumultuous that the suspected hate killing of two victims in their 60s at a Kentucky supermarket got scant attention.
The president has never explained precisely what American carnage ceased when he took the oath of office.
Keeping up with the Conways
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway had a novel explanation for the Pittsburgh synagogue attack that had nothing to do with neo-Nazis, anti-immigrant rhetoric or theories of sinister conspiracies. It's "the anti-religiosity in this country that is somehow in vogue and funny, to make fun of anybody of faith," Conway said on "Fox & Friends."
She had a surprise villain too. "The late night comedians. The unfunny people on TV shows. It's always anti-religious," she said.
For another point of view from the Conway household, her husband, conservative lawyer George Conway, weighed in with a series of retweets. One linked a Washington Post op-ed by Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis, who wrote that Trump "will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation." Another, of conservative former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro, said, "This 'enemy of the people' stuff has to stop, but it won’t."
How's the 401(k) doing? Don't ask
Stocks sank Monday after Bloomberg News reported that the administration is prepared to slap tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks next month between presidents Trump and Xi Jinping fail to ease the trade war.
In 2017, Trump took credit for a bull market. CNBC reports he has gone quiet lately as this year's gains have disappeared.
What else is happening:
- After an unsettling week for the country, Trump's approval rating has dropped from 44% to 40% in Gallup's weekly tracking poll. It will take more polls to determine if that's a trend.
- Trump's re-election campaign released a national ad that portrays the nation's economy on the right track entering the midterm elections, but makes no mention of Trump, whose name is a tough sell in crucial suburban House districts. "The president's not on the ballot, but this is about his agenda," said campaign manager Brad Parscale.
- Trump and three of his children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — were accused in a lawsuit Monday of fleecing salespeople who lost money in a multilevel marketing company that he endorsed in speeches and on "The Celebrity Apprentice." The suit is being underwritten by a nonprofit whose leader is a major Democratic Party donor.
- Republican campaigns are pressing ahead in casting financier George Soros as a threat, shrugging off criticism that the attacks carry anti-Semitic echoes, The Washington Post reported.
- Don't tell Trump, but Rep. Maxine Waters' GOP counterparts on the House Financial Services Committee respect the California Democrat and deem her savvy. "It is possible to negotiate with her and she'll keep her word. That's an important thing in Congress," Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) told Politico.
- A review of 1970s and 1980s intelligence files from then-Communist and Soviet satellite Czechoslovakia show an interest in Trump, then married to his Czech-born first wife, Ivana, but no effort to compromise him, The Guardian reported.