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    Trump’s Unforced Error

    By David A. Graham The question to President Trump on Monday sounded relatively innocuous: “Why haven’t we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in ...

Trump’s Unforced Error

By David A. Graham

The question to President Trump on Monday sounded relatively innocuous: “Why haven’t we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in Niger? And what do you have to say about that?” It’s certainly not the kind of question that seemed likely to set off several days of heated controversy.

But the hubbub that has ensued, centering on Trump’s response to the deaths of four soldiers in Niger and, more broadly, the way he deals with grieving military families, is yet another example of how this president inflicts crises on himself. This pattern has happened several times since Trump entered office, with the tussle over the size of his crowd on Inauguration Day and his claim that Barack Obama “wiretapped him.” In each case, Trump’s bluster and his seeming obsession with Obama have led him to commit serious unforced errors.

As is now well known, Trump took that question as an opportunity to unfavorably compare previous presidents’ method of consoling Gold Star families to his own, suggesting his predecessors had done little or none, while he tried to call the family of every fallen soldier. That answer was off-key not only because of the unsolicited slur of other presidents but also because Trump so quickly made the story about himself. While the gap between the October 4 deaths and the October 16 comment remains unexplained, Trump could easily have offered an anodyne statement praising the men’s valor and the importance of U.S. troops to fighting violent extremism.

In fact, Politico reports that the National Security Council staff drafted exactly such a statement for release on October 5, the day …read more

Via:: The Atlantic



The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Schrödinger’s Endorsement

By Elaine Godfrey

Today in 5 Lines

President Trump criticized a new bipartisan deal aimed at stabilizing Obamacare exchanges, a day after he publicly praised the proposal. Trump disputed an account that he was insensitive during a phone call with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, one of four U.S. servicemen killed in Niger on October 4. But Johnson’s mother said Trump “did disrespect” her son. The White House reportedly drafted a sympathy statement for Trump to make after the servicemen were killed, but he never released it. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey and said he had not been questioned by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Drama in the Scouting World: The Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls into its Cub Scouts program is a major reversal that could offer more opportunities for young girls—while ultimately hurting the Girl Scouts. (Elaine Godfrey)

  • Real Consequences: Last week, President Trump ended cost-sharing reductions, a move health-policy experts argue caused instability in the individual-insurance market. Here’s what that means for people relying on Obamacare. (Olga Khazan)

  • The Devastation to Come: The extent of the damage left behind by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has yet to be realized. “All of this is just the beginning,” said one environmental activist. “This is catastrophic.” (Vann R. Newkirk II)

Follow stories throughout the day with our Politics & Policy portal.


Protesters gather outside the White House for a “NoMuslimBanEver” rally against what they say are discriminatory policies that unlawfully target American Muslim and immigrant communities. Yuri Gripas / Reuters

What We’re Reading

What Trump Promised: President Trump reportedly offered the father of a fallen U.S. soldier $25,000. But he never followed through. (Dan Lamothe, Lindsey Bever, Eli …read more

Via:: <a href=http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AtlanticPoliticsChannel/~3/J_czDGFJ_TQ/ class="colorbox" title="The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Schrödinger’s Endorsement” rel=nofollow>The Atlantic


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Puerto Rico’s Environmental Catastrophe

By Vann R. Newkirk II ARECIBO, P.R.—“There’s no way there were just 45 deaths,” said Myrna Conty, an environmental activist whose work takes her regularly across the most remote parts of the island. She scoffed at the radio reports of the official death toll, a common refrain among Puerto Ricans whose personal stories—a cousin who […]

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The Federal Jail Blocking Some Inmates’ Kids From Visiting

By Maura Ewing PHILADELPHIA—During the 15 months that Allen Woods has been held, awaiting trial, at a federal detention center downtown, he has only seen his six-year-old son once. This has been hard on them both, as they used to spend time together almost every day. Woods would pick his son up from school, take […]

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Donald Trump’s Obamacare Whiplash

By Russell Berman On Wednesday morning, another leading Republican senator suffered an injury that has struck lawmakers throughout the Capitol in the last nine months: presidential policy whiplash. President Trump can’t seem to decide whether he wants Congress to pass a bipartisan deal to shore up the Affordable Care Act. On Tuesday afternoon, the president […]

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‘President Trump Did Disrespect My Son’

By David A. Graham Thirteen days after Sergeant La David Johnson was killed in Niger, and a day after Donald Trump boasted about his actions to console grieving families in contrast to his predecessors, the president called Johnson’s family Tuesday night. It didn’t go well. Representative Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat, was with widow Myeshia […]

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The Populist Right Tears Down a Press It Can’t Replace

By Conor Friedersdorf Last week, the New York Times and The New Yorker published multiple allegations of abhorrent sexual misconduct against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, drawing on years of costly investigative reporting; risking legal retaliation that could cost millions to litigate; and forcing its subject from his powerful perch in Hollywood, where his ability […]

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Is Obama’s Foreign-Policy Legacy Disappearing?

By Uri Friedman When Donald Trump last week opted to decertify the nuclear agreement that Barack Obama forged with Iran, it appeared to fit a pattern in the president’s emerging foreign policy. In withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Paris climate-change accord, in announcing that he was “canceling” the U.S. opening to […]

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How Will the Boy Scouts’ Decision Affect the Girl Scouts?

By Elaine Godfrey Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would reverse its century-old policy of no girls allowed—and the Girl Scouts aren’t happy. “Why not ask us how we could help them serve the 90 percent of the boys they’re choosing not to serve instead of pursuing serving girls?” asked Lisa Margosian, […]

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Freed Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Oscar López Rivera on US Colonialism After Hurricane Maria

One month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, we hear from longtime Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, who was released in May and is now in San Juan to visit with community members affected by Hurricane Maria. Until earlier this year, Rivera had been in federal prison for 35 years — much of […]