D-Day to Dem Debates

Trumpster Diving

* D-Day commemorations are about honored heroics and shared values. President Trump, ironically and outrageously, represents the antithesis of valuing allies with his arrogant “America First” mantra.

* No poorly-read Teleprompter speech (Even one with the line: “Our bond is unbreakable.”) can alter what’s at the core of Trump priorities. That was underscored when he gave his Fox interview–with a Normandy backdrop of American gravestones–that spewed partisan political animus. What would Sam Gibbons have said?

* We know the Cold War and 21st-century, geopolitical realities, but it still seems odd that a D-Day ceremony (in Portsmouth) would include the leader, Angela Merkel, of what was then the enemy (Germany), but not the leader, Vladimir Putin, of what was then an ally (Soviet Union).

* On his way to check out his golf course in the Irish village of Doonbeg, the president found time to meet up with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. They met at the VIP Lounge at Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland’s County Clare. Such a venue may have been a first for two heads of state, but somehow it seemed appropriate as well as logistically convenient. Trump, by many measures, is, well, a lounge act.     

* If nothing else, Trump may be helping the British transition to their next prime minister, if it turns out to be the brash Brexiteer Boris Johnson, now looming as the leading, however polarizing, candidate to succeed Theresa May. BTW, Johnson was born to English parents in New York City. “The Boris and Donald Show”? Only HBO, “SNL” and late-night comedians should be pleased.

* Military Industrial Complex update: Anyone surprised that Army Secretary Mark T. Esper is the Raytheon Company’s former vice  president for government relations? Raytheon is an important player as the U.S. fast-tracks the sale of increased American arms to Saudi Arabia.

* Hardly encouraging to hear those DOJ critiques that ominously compare William Barr to Dick Cheney.

* Unofficially, the consensus takeaway from the Mexican-tariff threat is that it is not gone–but “suspended.” That’s the ephemeral reality in the era of policy by presidential tweet.

* Isn’t it sobering how often we have to lament that “we’re better than this”? But, well, are we?

* You knew it was coming. Those “Dr. Biden and Mr. Hyde” references that zing Joe Biden for his past Hyde Amendment position regarding Medicaid and abortion.

* Elizabeth Warren has positioned herself as the outspoken avatar of all things progressive–but she has also checked off some boxes besides the economy, healthcare, housing and education. She’s also called for the elimination of the Electoral College, the end to the Senate filibuster–and, what the hell, the impeachment of Trump.

* Later this month (June 26-27) in Miami we’ll see the first Democratic Presidential Debate with up to 20 (DNC limit) candidates vying for attention, sponsors and momentum. It will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Next month the Dems will host another 2-day debate in Detroit (CNN). By the (ABC/Univision) third debate in September, we should see updated signs of campaign attrition and viability–and controversy. That’s because the DNC will rein in the sheer number of participants with a stipulation that all candidates must have at least 130,000 donors to qualify. More than half of the field of 23 are at serious risk of falling short of that threshold, which is double the donor minimum for the first two debates.

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