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March 23, 2017

Reddit is the the fifth-most-popular website in the United States, and it is organized into subreddits, single-topic communities where like-minded users can gather by the thousands or even millions to discuss their shared interests, from news to DIY projects to grilled cheese. Among these groups is a subreddit called r/The_Donald, a 380,000-member community devoted to adoring all things Trump.

As FiveThirtyEight chronicles in a new profile of the group, r/The_Donald calls President Trump its "God Emperor," "daddy," and, naturally, "Big Daddy God Emperor." This is arguably the epicenter of the president's most enthusiastic online supporters:

Its membership has grown steadily since the 2016 presidential election, though its members were especially active during the campaign. They mobilized to comb through the hacked Democratic National Committee emails published on WikiLeaks and played a large role in spreading information and theories about those emails. More broadly, they waged the "Great Meme War": an effort to get Trump elected by bombarding the internet with social-media-ready content promoting Trump or bashing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Some of those memes played on Clinton's campaign gaffes, such as her use of the phrase "basket of deplorables," while others involved an emerging pro-Trump iconography centered around images of Pepe the Frog — a cartoon character with a convoluted history that gained especial prominence after it was co-opted by white nationalists as a sort of unofficial mascot. [FiveThirtyEight]

The Trump campaign was aware of r/The_Donald, with staffers using it as a sort of digital focus group to keep an eye on messages that resonated among Trump fans. In July of 2016, the campaign organized within the subreddit an "Ask Me Anything" event — a Reddit tradition where famous or otherwise interesting people take questions from users for a set period of time — with then-candidate Trump. The subreddit was delighted, and more than 21,000 comments poured into that single discussion thread.

Of course, this group inevitably represents just a tiny fraction of the president's supporters, but FiveThirtyEight's analysis, which focuses on where r/The_Donald fits in Reddit's larger web of communities of widely varying quality and ethics, is intriguing context for our present political moment nonetheless. Read the full profile here. Bonnie Kristian

12:10 p.m. ET

Katie Arrington, the South Carolina state representative who defeated Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in his GOP primary race this month, has been seriously injured in a car crash, her campaign announced Saturday.

Arrington riding with a friend when their vehicle was struck by another driver going the wrong way on the highway. The driver of the other car did not survive. Arrington is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks to undergo multiple surgeries.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Katie Arrington of South Carolina, including all of those involved in last nights car accident, and their families," President Trump tweeted Saturday morning. Bonnie Kristian

11:07 a.m. ET
Steven Senne/The Associated Press

A.J. Baker, the adult son of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who shared a flight with him Wednesday.

"On June 20, the crew of flight 1354 were notified of an incident between customers shortly before landing in Boston," said the airline, JetBlue. "The aircraft landed at approximately 11 p.m. local time where it was met by local authorities."

The "matter is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office," said Massachusetts State Police. Baker's attorneys said he "is fully cooperating and looks forward to a resolution of this matter." Bonnie Kristian

10:44 a.m. ET
Jung Yeon-Je/Getty Images

The Pentagon announced Friday it has come to an agreement with South Korea to indefinitely suspend two more joint training exercises. The two countries previously announced the suspension of "large-scale" military exercises following President Trump's promise to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to stop "provocative, inappropriate, and expensive" war games.

"To support implementing the outcomes of the Singapore Summit, and in coordination with our Republic of Korea ally, Secretary Mattis has indefinitely suspended select exercises" that were scheduled for this summer, said chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White.

"This includes suspending Freedom Guardian, along with two Korean Marine Exchange Program training exercises scheduled to occur in the next three months," she continued. "In support of upcoming diplomatic negotiations led by Secretary Pompeo, additional decisions will depend upon the DPRK [North Korea] continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith." Bonnie Kristian

10:27 a.m. ET

President Trump referenced a Drudge Report headline on Twitter Saturday morning to claim his administration has handled migrant detention better than their predecessors:

While Trump is correct that some recently circulated photos of immigrant children kept in cages with mylar blankets show unaccompanied minors detained by the Obama administration several years ago, more recent footage reveals Trump's own administration housed some children separated from their families the same way. Moreover, illegal immigration to the U.S. has been declining for two decades.

Others of the president's Saturday morning tweets and retweets touched on favored topics including the economy, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, the media, and manufacturing. Bonnie Kristian

8:31 a.m. ET

Drummer Vinnie Paul, a founding member of the metal band Pantera, has died, the band's Facebook page announced late Friday. He was 54. "Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah," the brief statement said. "No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time."

Paul cofounded Pantera with his brother, known as Dimebag Darrell, and vocalist Terry Glaze in 1981, and their work proved widely influential for heavy music in the following decades. The Texas-based group split in 2003. Bonnie Kristian

8:15 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The military said Saturday it is delivering more than 200 caskets to the North Korean village of Panmunjom, close to the South Korean border, in preparation for the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers missing since the Korean War in the 1950s.

The return was part of the agreement reached by President Trump at his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. About as many soldiers' remains were returned between 1999 and 2005.

Trump has celebrated the return of the "hero remains" and, implausibly, claimed the soldiers' parents begged him to make this happen. Most parents of American soldiers old enough to have fought in Korea would be well over 100 years old were they still alive today. Bonnie Kristian

June 22, 2018
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Residents in Puerto Rico were left without power for months after Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, and experts estimate that around 4,640 people died. But the Environmental Protection Agency thinks it did an A-plus job responding to the disaster.

The EPA is creating "challenge coins" to congratulate itself on its "response excellence," CNN reported Friday.

The agency will spend around $8,500 on a set of coins that will be handed out as collectable awards to EPA officials who were involved in responding to the 2017 hurricane season. The coins will feature the EPA Emergency Response logo and will read "HURRICANES HARVEY, IRMA AND MARIA — THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES" as well as "PROTECTING HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT ALL ACROSS AMERICA."

Officials asked the contractor who is creating the coins to "convey the sentiment that EPA staff from all across the country worked together to respond to the incidents from Puerto Rico to California (and regions in between)," reports CNN. Despite environmental advocates calling the EPA's response to Hurricane Maria "lacking," an EPA spokesperson defended the coins, saying "the dedicated public servants who worked tirelessly throughout the 2017 disaster relief efforts should be commended for their service." Summer Meza

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