“Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people....Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas,” the president tweeted yesterday, after news of the mass murder at a Walmart close to the Mexican border reached him at his golf club in Bedminster. The president did not weigh in on reports that the killer had posted a racist, anti-immigrant screed on the Internet a few hours before the incident, nor did he mention white nationalism, domestic terrorism, or gun control.
Trump began the week by attacking Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee, calling Baltimore, the city Cummings represents, a “disgusting, rat- and rodent-infested mess.” The invective escalated as the week went on. By the time he got to his rally in Cincinnati on Thursday night, his rage had extended to other urban areas that didn’t vote for him: “Look at Los Angeles with the tents and the horrible, horrible disgusting conditions. Look at San Francisco,” he bellowed. Early Friday morning, after reports that Cummings’s home had been burglarized, he tweeted, “Really bad news! The Baltimore house of Elijah Cummings was robbed. Too bad!” He later insisted that this was not meant to be sarcastic, but was an expression of genuine concern.
A lot of things were too bad for the president this week. On Friday, his pick for Director of National Intelligence, congressman John Ratcliffe, withdrew his name from consideration after his lack of any relevant experience became stunningly apparent. (His chief qualification for the job seemed to be the ferocity with which he attacked Robert Mueller during his testimony last month.) Ratcliffe (can you believe this guy’s name—it’s right out of a Tennessee Williams play) was only the latest in a stream of candidates for senior administration posts whose dicey histories forced them to abort their candidacies—a rogue’s gallery that includes, according to the New York Times, “Trump’s?first nominee for labor secretary, Andrew F. Puzder;?his pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Ronny L. Jackson; his picks for secretary of the Army and secretary of the Navy; Heather Nauert,?his earlier choice to serve as United Nations ambassador; and two political allies,?Stephen Moore?and?Herman Cain, whom Mr. Trump wanted to serve on the Federal Reserve board.”
In other news, Mitch McConnell is reportedly furious that he has been nicknamed Moscow Mitch for his refusal to let a bill on increased election security come to the Senate floor. The president continues his warm embrace of dictators, tweeting on Friday that “Kim Jong Un and North Korea tested 3 short range missiles over the last number of days. These missiles tests are not a violation of our signed Singapore agreement… He will do the right thing because he is far too smart not to, and he does not want to disappoint his friend, President Trump!” Thursday, on the White House lawn, a reporter asked, “Mr. President, Robert Mueller said last week that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections right now. Did you raise that with Vladimir Putin yesterday?” To which Trump scoffed, “You don’t really believe this. Do you believe this?”
That same day, the single African American Republican member of Congress, Will Hurd of Texas, announced that he would not seek reelection. Hurd was one of only four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump’s racism in a house resolution last week; with his retirement, Senator Tim Scott will become the sole black Republican in Congress.
Lastly, the number of Democrats in the House calling for an investigation into impeachment proceedings has reached a tipping point. A majority—118 members—are now asking for an inquiry and putting the squeeze on Nancy Pelosi, who along with the rest of Congress, can think about this while she is on vacation—the Congress stands in recess until September.