This past week has been awash in important events. There were, of course, the shootings in Ohio and Texas, but that was just the beginning of a week that also included an ongoing intelligence agency shake-up and the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, suing the Department of Justice over his firing, claiming it was politically motivated. Also, fitness junkies started to boycott SoulCycle after its owner was outed as a Trump fundraiser. With all of this going on, no wonder people have decided to spend the week getting angry at the New York Times for a bad headline and getting giddy over 30 to 50 feral hogs. What else has been happening over the past week? Take a deep breath, because the answer is … this.
Trump Gave the Wrong Location for Ohio’s Mass Shooting
What Happened: As the country struggled to recover from two mass shootings on the same day, President Trump couldn’t remember where one of those mass shootings had taken place.
What Really Happened: The week started with the country still in shock after the horrific shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas this past weekend—marking the fourth and fifth mass shootings in an eight-day period.
On Monday, two days after the events, President Trump finally made a speech addressing the shootings. Although he did condemn white supremacy—after the alleged Texas shooter has posted a hate-filled message online ahead of the shooting—the speech was notably subdued and entirely scripted, which showed off his seeming lack of ability to read a teleprompter.
Yes, the president got the location of one of the shootings wrong, in a televised speech about the shootings. The internet had to respond.
Perhaps folks are being too hard on him, though. Because, to be fair, Joe Biden made a similar mistake a day earlier.
In terms of making the best of the situation, caps should be doffed to Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz for his response.
For the curious, the official White House record of the speech tried to correct the error, and only succeeded in underscoring it.
The Takeaway: Of course, even without the flub, just watching the video of the speech demonstrated that, although President Trump may have literally said something approaching the right thing, his heart was seemingly not in it.
Beto O’Rourke Calls Out Trump
What Happened: Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke got very upset about what’s happening in America. Is it time for the second wave of Betomania?
What Really Happened: In the immediate aftermath of the El Paso shooting, Beto O’Rourke—who lives in El Paso—was on the scene to help with recovery efforts. He was asked about what President Trump could do to help, and his response was impressively raw and honest.
The answer quickly went viral across the internet, with many seeing O’Rourke mirroring their own anger and frustration. Some opponents of the politician tut-tutted his language, but he refused to back down.
In the face of such criticism, President Trump had to choose whether to live up to his own rhetoric about coming together to reject and denounce hatred. Late Tuesday, he showed who he was on Twitter.
Was anyone surprised by the obvious hypocrisy and stepping back from his own calls for unity?
O’Rourke didn’t wait long before responding.
All of this was unfolding ahead of a planned presidential visit to El Paso and Dayton, despite objections from those in the areas. We’ll get there in a second. For now, let’s consider the possibility that O’Rourke may have the best take on how to deal with Trump’s Twitter grandstanding, anyway.
The Takeaway: Oh, and Trump’s commentary about his last visit to El Paso? There’s something he didn’t mention about that…
Presidential Photo Ops
What Happened: Presidential visits after tragedies are meant to be about supporting, comforting, and celebrating those who were caught up in terrible events. President Trump seemingly thinks they’re about photo ops.
What Really Happened: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump did, indeed, go ahead with their visits to both Dayton and El Paso midweek, flying out of Washington Wednesday morning. Press was not allowed to accompany the president on his visit to the hospital in Dayton, with the official explanation given being that the visit was “about the victims” and “not a photo op.” However, when it comes to that “no photo op” thing … someone should have told the president and his staff.
Such official records of the event entirely ignored gun control activists protesting against the president while he was taking photos. Of course, people responded to the official photographs as would be expected.
Curiously, the photos and videos resulted in an unexpected conspiracy theory.
This would be firmly in “jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” territory, if it wasn’t for the fact that Trump has a history of doing that kind of thing.
As if that wasn’t strange enough, there was also this response from the campaign after leaving Ohio.
Even President Trump got in on it.
But here’s what makes it so odd: Neither Sherrod Brown nor Nan Whaley actually criticized the president’s visit.
Whaley herself seemed confused by the attack:
Now we have a new baseline, I guess: If you’re not sufficiently enthusiastic about the president, you’re against the president.
There was also a presidential visit to El Paso that, even though it also got its own video, made less headlines. Which is, perhaps, unexpected considering what happened at the medical center.
Tucker Carlson’s Hot Take
What Happened: For those wondering if Fox News’ Tucker Carlson had the worst take of his career this week, the internet believes the results are in.
What Really Happened: In the wake of the El Paso shooting, and President Trump’s subsequent disavowal of racist hate, it’s unsurprising that everyone was talking about white supremacy, and how dangerous it is, last week. News reports followed the trail of white supremacy through the years, or explained its rise in recent years while looking at some white supremacist literature that might have contributed to the problem as some Republicans actually spoke out against it. For the first time in years, it felt as if everyone was finally just stating the obvious: There’s a rise in white supremacy across the United States, and this is a bad thing. No one could deny either of those things.
Or could they? Let’s turn to Tucker Carlson, of television’s Fox News, to see for sure.
That’s certainly a take. Carlson’s denial made plenty of headlines, with many shocked by his shamelessness. On social media, the response was pretty much the same.
Before too long, the hashtag #FireTuckerCarlson was trending nationally.
Surely someone supported Tucker, you’re thinking to yourself. Surely someone spoke out in defense of this maligned figure, right? Why, yes. Someone did.
That seems about right. As the outrage against Carlson’s comments grew, Fox announced something that might be familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to what happens to any controversial Fox host.
Yes, Carlson is now enjoying a that just so happens to coincide with some controversy. If this was intended to quieten criticism of Carlson, it didn’t work.
Even as you read this, advertisers are getting antsy about supporting the show, which might end up being a bigger—and more costly—problem than online upset. Tucker is due back to work at the end of August. We’ll see what happens when (or if) he makes it.
The Takeaway: There is, of course, another way to look at why what Carlson was saying was just plain factually incorrect.
What Happened: What with all the news that keeps happening, it’s very easy to overlook the fact that the United States might be pushing the world into recession thanks to its economic policy towards China.
What Really Happened: In the midst of everything else that was going on last week, you might have missed that the US is still testing the waters of a potential trade and financial war with China. This has, of course, been going on for some time now, but this week’s installment really got started when it emerged that President Trump overruled advisors in deciding to impose a 10 percent tariff on $300 billion in Chinese exports starting September 1, a decision that led to China allowing the yuan to weaken to its lowest level in more than a decade, which was not something welcomed by the money markets, as became obvious on Monday:
Yes, the Dow dropped 767 points on Monday alone, which is unfortunate, to say the least. Note, too, that six of the ten biggest one day drops have happened on Donald Trump’s watch, which… Well, there’s always a tweet, isn’t there?
But back to the current situation. Faced with a crumbling stock market and an opponent that doesn’t seem to be about to blink in the face of Trump, the administration made what seemed like a decisive move this week.
Did we say a decisive move? We meant posturing that only really looked impressive to those of us who have no idea what being a currency manipulator actually means. (Don’t worry; there are explainers.) It was also somewhat confusing posturing, too, given the facts at hand.
It is, in fact, a problem that, to be blunt, China doesn’t actually meet the criteria to be labeled a currency manipulator.
So, yeah; like we said: Kind of meaningless posturing … At least Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin can feel good about himself.
So, how did the escalation of tensions between the two nations work out, on first glance..? Not great, Bob.
If, as some have hypothesized, China is trying to teach Trump a lesson with this game of brinksmanship, let’s just call this the most expensive economics lesson in the world.
The Takeaway: Oh, and then there’s this chilling thought experiment, courtesy of an Obama White House staffer who’s lived through a presidential administration that went through global recession.
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