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Wednesday, August 26, 2020
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA

-Eric Trump, in a model "speech that should've been an email"

If the second night of the RNC had one unifying theme (and that’s a big “if”), it was Flagrant Displays of Corruption and Lies—paradoxically the only honest representation of what President Trump has to offer in a second term. 
 

  • First Lady Melania Trump inspired an outpouring of New Tone headlines for her keynote speech, during which she shattered all 2020 RNC records for empathy and compassion by robotically acknowledging that there is a pandemic happening. But her remarks were a) a rambling litany of lies about her husband and his record, and b) delivered from the Rose Garden, meaning the White House employees who helped set up the event almost certainly violated the Hatch Act. For all the media fanfare about Melania bravely name-dropping COVID-19, the guests at her speech were not required to be tested, and most of them didn’t wear masks. 
     
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have been in violation of the Hatch Act himself when he delivered pre-recorded remarks from Jerusalem on an official trip; Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) has launched an investigation around that question. Whether or not Pompeo broke federal law, his choice to address the convention was a gross politicization of U.S. foreign policy, breaking years of precedent and his own guidance to employees to “not improperly engage the Department of State in the political process.” State Department rules prohibit Senate-confirmed appointees (like Pompeo) from even attending political conventions, let alone using them as opportunities to pander to evangelicals.
     
  • While the president and vice president are exempt from the Hatch Act’s civil provisions, Trump’s abuse of presidential powers for campaign purposes was no less corrupt. During Tuesday night’s proceedings, Trump issued a presidential pardon to a convicted bank robber and hosted a naturalization ceremony at the White House (conducted by acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf, who is not exempt from Hatch Act rules and probably broke them). Nothing like granting five people citizenship for campaign propaganda (without their prior knowledge) the night before reports reveal that your administration thought about blasting immigrants with a cartoon villain weapon (keep reading). 

The culture war content continued, though one soldier was taken off of active duty for saying the quiet part out loud. 
 

  • Canceled teen Nicholas Sandmann gave a rousing speech about cancel culture on prime time TV, while another scheduled speaker actually was canceled at the last minute after promoting an antisemitic QAnon conspiracy theory on Twitter. (It was either kick her out of the lineup or give her the keynote speech, we assume someone flipped a coin.) Adult Children Eric and Tiffany delivered their own remarks, which were also filled with lies about Joe Biden’s platform and the media.
     
  • The good news is, we’ve made it halfway through! The bad news is, we’re only halfway through. Tonight Vice President Mike Pence will accept the party’s vice presidential nomination (Mother gets to speak, too). Kellyanne Conway is still on the schedule despite her announcement that she’ll be leaving her post at the end of the month. And Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) will address the convention fresh off of her triumph presiding over the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which increasingly looks to have been a coronavirus superspreading event

In a perfect world, it would tell voters everything they need to know about Donald Trump that his idea of winning them over consists of abusing his presidential power, recruiting his political appointees to break federal law, and relying on his family to lie for him. Of course, in a perfect world, Donald Trump wouldn’t have become president. What have you done today to make sure it doesn’t happen again? 

Have you checked out the latest Campaign Experts React?  Former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod joined Dan Pfeiffer to react to a Biden ad targeting seniors in Florida, a negative spot from the Trump campaign, and an ad from Governor Roy Cooper's re-election campaign in North Carolina. Watch & subscribe → youtube.com/crookedmedia 

Two people were fatally shot and one person was injured during protests for Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI, on Tuesday night. Authorities arrested 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse in Illinois on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree murder. Rittenhouse considered himself a militia member, has a history of extremely pro-cop Facebook posts, and appeared in the front row of a Trump rally in January. The shooting may have been connected to a Facebook event posted by the Kenosha Guard, a self-described militia, which included this unambiguous call for violence at the protests: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs?” Facebook found the event to be in violation of its policies and removed it—after the shootings had happened. (Thank you, Facebook.) Attorneys for Jacob Blake’s family said on Tuesday that Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.

The Trump administration considered deploying a “heat ray” weapon against migrants at the border. Two weeks before the midterms, Trump told then-DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House staff that he wanted “extreme action” to stop migrants from crossing the border. That afternoon, Customs and Border Protection suggested aiming a microwave weapon designed by the military to make people’s skin feel like it’s burning at people trying to enter the country. Nielsen reportedly shut down the idea, and it’s not clear if Trump knew about it. But it’s certainly in line with his own suggestions of installing flesh-piercing spikes along the border wall, filling a moat with snakes and alligators, and shooting migrants in the legs. How cute was that naturalization ceremony on the tee-vee, though?

When 3 o’clock rolls around and you’re not feeling so perky, remember: it’s not laziness, it’s biology. Our energy levels naturally dip in mid afternoon, and it’s totally normal to feel like your mind has switched to low power mode.

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Abbott Labs has won FDA emergency clearance for a $5 coronavirus test that yields results in 15 minutes, without the need for laboratory equipment—a huge step in scaling up testing. 

A federal appeals court ruled that schools cannot bar students from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity. 

Llama antibodies are still showing promise as a potential coronavirus treatment. We need this. We deserve this. 

Pleasant Grove, a predominantly Black city in Alabama, just elected its first majority-Black city council two years after a NAACP lawsuit successfully overturned the city’s at-large voting method. 

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