March 15, 2019

President Trump and a New Zealand shooter have picked some eerily similar words.

On Friday morning in Christchurch, New Zealand, attacks by at least one shooter at two mosques left 49 people dead. The alleged gunman, who has been arrested, was found to have a manifesto where he declared "we are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history," per The Kansas City Star. The purported shooter specifically decried the "millions of people pouring across our borders."

Hours later, a shockingly similar phrase came from the president. Trump, after vetoing a bill that would've blocked his national emergency declaration to access border wall funding, briefly condemned the shooting before pivoting back to border talk. There are "crimes of all kinds coming through our southern border," Trump said, adding that "people hate the word 'invasion,' but that's what it is."

Also on Friday, Trump was asked if he saw "white nationalism as a rising threat around the world." "I don't really," Trump responded, saying "it's a small group of people" committing these crimes. Advocacy groups have said hate group activity has been rising in the U.S. for the past few years, and investigative reports have backed that up.

Trump first started using the term "invasion" when a migrant caravan started moving toward the U.S.-Mexico border from more than a thousand miles away. Those asylum seekers are being forced to wait in Mexico for months or even years as their claims are processed. Kathryn Krawczyk

6:14 a.m.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is preparing to enter the crowded Democratic presidential race as soon as this week, two people with knowledge of his plans told multiple news organizations Monday. He will presumably decide by Friday, the filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary. Patrick, 63, served as governor from 2007 to 2015. Democratic voters say they are pleased with the current crop of Democratic candidates, but some wealthy donors and Wall Street executives have expressed concerns about Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) rise and the stalled prospects of more moderate former Vice President Joe Biden. Patrick is one of the candidates they have been trying to lure into the race; another candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, made his own late forays into the race last last week.

Patrick brings a strong résumé and compelling biography, but he's also trying to extricate himself from Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Mitt Romney, and has some family baggage. When he announced he wouldn't run last December, Patrick cited "the cruelty of our elections process" and how it would "splash back" on people he loves. Patrick's reconsideration "is coming from Wall Street," a source tells Politico. "They're terrified of Warren. And these guys would help Biden. But they've been in a room with him up close and they have doubts. ... Deval wants this. He regrets not having done it. His wife was ill. But since then, she has gotten better. But the field has gotten worse." Peter Weber

5:24 a.m.

Former President Jimmy Carter was admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Monday evening to prepare for a Tuesday morning operation to "relieve pressure on his brain, caused by bleeding due to his recent falls," the Carter Center said in a statement. Carter, who recently turned 95, is the oldest living ex-president ever. He has fallen at least three times this year, including one tumble that required a hip replacement in the spring and a pelvis fracture on Oct. 21. In 2015, Carter was diagnosed with brain cancer and then declared cancer-free.

In between health scares, Carter had been building houses with Habitat for Humanity and teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. "We just need the whole country to be in prayer for him," Carter's pastor, Rev. Tony Lowden, told The Associated Press. Peter Weber

5:15 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden answered questions at a CNN town hall in Grinnell, Iowa, on Monday night. The most contentious moment was when an audience member asked Biden why he doesn't support Medicare-for-all, and Biden used the occasion to escalate his barely veiled feud with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and, to a lesser extent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Biden called the Medicare-for-all plan too expensive, politically unattainable, and "elitist," arguing that switching to only a government-run health care plan conveys "the attitude that we know better than ordinary people what's in their interests." When pressed on his attacks on Warren specifically, Biden said that "she attacked me" first, later asserting that he isn't calling Warren herself "elitist," exactly. "It's not about her, it's about the attitude out there — the attitude that we know best, you do it my way," he said. "I resent that. And I wasn't talking about her, I was talking about the attitude that if you don't agree with me, get in the other party."

Biden also gave contradictory assessments of how congressional Republicans would act if a Democrat defeats President Trump. First he discussed calling 12 Republican senators when the GOP-led Senate stonewalled President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, recounting that they told him they knew they were shredding the Constitution, but "Joe, I'm in a state where if in fact the Koch brothers drop in $10, $12 million, I will lose the primary.'" Biden also said, without explaining his thought process: "I honest to God believe, with Trump out of the way, you're going to find people screwing up a lot more courage than they had before to say, 'Okay, okay, I can move now, I have more leeway.'"

And Biden shrugged off the electoral impact of the House impeaching Trump, saying "the House has no option, it has to enforce the Constitution," and arguing that if Democrats make a strong case against the president, some independents and Republicans will be persuaded. Peter Weber

3:56 a.m.

"Right now, the Democratic Party has an option for everyone," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. "There's moderates, there's progressives, there's X-Men, and there's even a guy who's worth $1.6 billion. But what if $1.6 billion just isn't rich enough for some voters? Well then, those people might be in luck." That's because billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "is on the verge of jumping into the Democratic primary, because he doesn't think any of the current candidates can beat Trump," he said. "And you have to admit, that's such a billionaire thing to do."

"Bloomberg may be making a fashionably late entrance into the presidential race, and his fellow Democrats aren't exactly giving him a warm welcome," Noah said, with a special laugh for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) reaction. So why is Bloomberg running? Reportedly, "Jeff Bezos told Bloomberg to run," he said. "You know you're rich when the Amazon guy orders something from you! That's money."

"Wow, he just ordered up a presidential candidate — what level of Amazon Prime is that?" Seth Meyers echoed at Late Night. "Bloomberg's interest in running and Bezos' prodding come after weeks of billionaires freakouts over the possibility that someone who's critical of big banks and Wall Street like [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren or Bernie could get the Democratic nomination. In fact, last week even Bill Gates expressed concern about how much he personally would have to pay in taxes and joked that he might not have that much left over." Warren trolled Bloomberg and Gates with their own internet calculators for billionaires.

"In reality, the vast majority of Democratic primary voters say in polls that they're actually satisfied with the choices they already have," Meyers said. "People aren't just mad at billionaires out of jealousy or because candidates demonize them. There are real-world examples that are informing people's doubts that the wealthy can solve everything," or anything. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:19 a.m.

The House's public impeachment hearings start Wednesday, and President Trump appears determined to bury them under a blizzard of tweets and obfuscation, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. "You know, people thought it was magnanimous when he decided not to take a presidential salary. Turns out it's because he doesn't do any presidential work. He's tweeting all day."

Trump is releasing a transcript Tuesday from an earlier call with Ukraine's president, Kimmel shrugged. "What he thinks this will prove, I have no idea. Just because you release a transcript of a second call where you didn't break the law doesn't mean you're off the hook for the first. ... The president is also ramping up his attacks on the whistleblower. This is his thing now, attacking the whistleblower. 'Never mind what I did — get the guy who told people I did it!'"

"Today we learned that another Pentagon official testified that Trump himself withheld aid money to Ukraine because he wanted an investigation of Joe Biden," Kimmel said. "That was damaging," but the White House is most worried about former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his copious notes. Meanwhile, Trump announced "he's thinking about making a trip to Moscow for a May Day parade," Kimmel sighed. "The idea that the president of the United States would go to Russia to celebrate their military might is absurd, and no one was more surprised than Joe Biden."

"Oh hey, speaking of people Donald Trump doesn't want to see: It was a rough weekend for Donald Trump Jr," Kimmel deadpanned. "DJTJ was here at UCLA promoting his new book, and he was heckled by what he thought was a group of liberals. Turned out it was a group of angry far-right-wingers who were upset there'd be no Q&A. And Don Jr., to his credit, stepped aside and let his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, handle the yellers for him." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:52 a.m.

Mexico flew former Bolivian President Evo Morales to Mexico City on Monday after offering him asylum amid what Morales and his supporters call a "coup" and protesters call a restoration of democracy in Bolivia. Morales resigned Sunday after weeks of protests following a controversial election in late October that international observers flagged for irregularities; the final straw was the country's military chief Gen. Williams Kaliman calling on him to step down to restore peace to Bolivia.

With Morales gone and all other officials in the line of succession also tendering their resignations, Bolivia has no clear leader. "It hurts me to leave the country, for political reasons, but I will always be concerned," Morales tweeted. "I will return soon, with more strength and energy." Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard tweeted a photo of Morales on the Mexican Air Force plane, explaining that "according to current international conventions, he is under the protection of Mexico. His life and integrity are safe."

The weeks of massive protests against Morales were sparked by the Oct. 20 election, in which he sought a fourth term despite constitutional term limits and a referendum that upheld those limits; a friendly top court later threw out the restrictions. Morales also declared victory before official results were in, and no results were released for 24 hours. Organization of American States election observers found a "heap of observed irregularities" in the election and called for a new vote. Morales had served since first winning the presidency in 2006, becoming Bolivia's first indigenous president. He leaves a legacy of increased economic equality, a long streak of stability, and accusations of corruption. Peter Weber

November 11, 2019

President Trump had some encouraging words for Sean Spicer on Monday night after his former press secretary was voted off Dancing with the Stars.

But they weren't Trump's first words of encouragement for Spicer on Monday — as he had before, Trump encouraged his Twitter followers to "vote for Sean Spicer on Dancing with the Stars. He is a great and very loyal guy who is working very hard. He is in the quarterfinals — all the way with Sean! #MAGA #KAG" After Spicer got the boot, Trump deleted that tweet.

"It's a minor thing but nonetheless telling that Trump deleted his tweet promoting Spicer," Washington Post columnist Daniel Drezner tweeted. "It's almost as if he can't abide the fact that his endorsement lacks sufficient power." Other people saw a pattern with the people Trump endorses:

But Spicer probably had Trump — or at least Trump supporters — to thank for hanging on as long as he did. "Based on judges' votes alone, Spicer should have been eliminated (at least) two weeks ago," Entertainment Weekly notes, "but Karamo Brown and Kate Flannery — both of whom gave far superior performances — were cut instead." Spicer "can't dance, that's literally what it is," Karamo Brown told Bravo's Andy Cohen last week. "But it's also fan vote," and "our president, who should be doing other stuff, has been tweeting 'vote for the man.'" Peter Weber

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