* Here’s hoping President Donald Trump is coming back from this Kim Jong-un summit with at least a detailed, written definition of “denuclearization,” even if that alone doesn’t guarantee a Nobel Peace Prize.
* The president has nominated another successor to Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. It is Kelly Knight Craft, whom he had appointed ambassador to Canada last year. Craft, if confirmed, would replace the previously nominated Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman and former “Fox & Friends” co-host, who recently withdrew from consideration. Craft is not without partisan connections herself. Trump was urged to pick her by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Ms. Craft and her husband, Joseph W. Craft III, a billionaire Kentucky coal magnate, were major contributors to Trump’s 2018 campaign and inaugural committee.
* Of all the accepted explanations and rationalizations employed by pundits and pollsters in the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 win, one still seems particularly inexplicable. How a segment of voters went from Barack Obama to Donald Trump–and what the Dems can do to win them back. From “Hope and Change” to MAGA mania? Feeling ignored or disliking Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be explanation enough to imperil the country.
* It’s hard to quantify the impact, but if the charges stick about Jussie Smollet making a false police report, he will have done incalculable damage. This wouldn’t be a stupidly misguided attempt to bring further attention to the plight of African-Americans amid an increasingly white-nativist, Trump-led backlash. No, this would be an unconscionably selfish career move with ripple effects ideally suited for exploitation by Trump, Hannity & Co. This was room service for haters looking to divert blame.
* The other day at the health club I overheard some locker room talk about Trump. Yeah, such partisan encounters are more frequent–and annoying–than we prefer, especially when you’re just trying to escape the ubiquitous news cycle for a workout. Anyhow, it was an amped-up white guy and two bemused black guys. The white guy had seemingly run out of slogans and rally rhetoric that wasn’t resonating. He made one last attempt at playing the common-ground, inclusion card. He said that “Trump has guts,” “stands up to everybody” and “tells it like it is.” He takes “nothing from nobody.” Yada, yada. Then he referred to Trump as a “battle rapper.” Seriously.
The two black guys zipped up their gym bags, smiled fulsomely, avoided fist-bumping and summarily left, shaking their heads. Another day at the orifice.
* Some Trumpian tweet lines deserve to be delivered by Alec Baldwin. As in: “Hold the date! We will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C. on July 4th. … Major fireworks display, entertainment and an address by your favorite president–me!”