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By Robert A. Vella

Today’s news roundup is highlighted by President Trump falling to a new low in public approval for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic while the number of new COVID-19 cases has reached a new high in the U.S.  With the dismal political fortunes of Trump and Republicans becoming ever more apparent for the November elections (FiveThirtyEight currently has Trump’s aggregate approval rating nearly 16 points underwater at 55.8% to 40.1%, and its generic congressional ballot disfavoring Republicans by 9 points at 49.4% to 40.4%), the rats are jumping off the proverbial sinking ship while party insiders and conservative pundits are starting to plan for the future of the GOP.

Astute political observers know that such premature acceptance of defeat is unthinkable for a party trying to reelect an incumbent president.  Doing so is extremely risky under normal circumstances, and it is especially so considering Trump’s vindictive and retaliatory nature.  The only typical situation in which so many party members would not be gung-ho for their presidential candidate is if they were convinced that he/she would be dead meat on election day.

They’re right.  Republicans don’t want their party to disintegrate like the Whigs did before the Civil War.  Outwardly, they will avoid antagonizing Trump.  Inwardly, they will increasingly take steps to save their individual careers and plan to reform the GOP under new leadership.  Those who survive reelection, those who might be newly elected, and influential figures who are not running for office this year, will all vie for prominence.  I suspect that whomever emerges on top will be a traditional fiscal and social conservative who rejects the abusive and racist trappings of Donald Trump.  If that happens, the year 2021 will mark the end of Republicans’ deal with the devil and the cult of right-wing extremist populism will return to wandering around headless in the abyss.

From:  As cases rise, Trump hits historic low on handling coronavirus

President Donald Trump’s numbers on coronavirus are getting worse. The latest ABC News/Ipsos poll out Friday shows that just 33% approve of his handling of the pandemic, while 67% disapprove.

Of the about 350 polls on the subject, this is the highest percentage of Americans who disapprove of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

If you were to look at the average of polls, it’s pretty clear that as coronavirus cases surge in the US, the public is becoming more and more disenchanted with how Trump and his administration are handling the issue.

See also:

Former Michigan GOP party leader flips sides. Now he’s working to defeat Trump

Nikki Haley positions herself to lead the post-Trump Republican party

As she eyes a new job, Laura Ingraham reportedly says: “We have to be prepared for Trump losing”

From:  Former US Attorney Geoffrey Berman: AG Barr pressed him to resign to make way for favored candidate

WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr repeatedly pressed recently ousted Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman to resign during a chaotic weekend last month, the former prosecutor told a House panel Thursday.

Berman provided the account in an opening statement during a closed-door meeting with the House Judiciary Committee, following his abrupt firing as chief of the Justice Department’s most prestigious office.

“The Attorney General said that if I did not resign from my position I would be fired. He added that getting fired from my job would not be good for my resume or future job prospects. I told him that while I did not want to get fired, I would not resign,” Berman told lawmakers on the committee, which has been investigating allegations of politicization of the Justice Department.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The testimony from Berman, whose office has investigated and prosecuted several of President Donald Trump’s allies, is certain to raise additional questions about the Justice Department’s independence from a White House that has purged watchdogs, whistleblowers and others seen as disloyal.

[…]

The committee said it will release a transcript of the testimony. A summary of the interview released by the committee accused Barr of lying.

From:  Mark Milley: Top US general says Confederate leaders committed ‘treason’ and signals support for renaming bases

America’s top general launched an outspoken attack on the Confederacy and signaled his support for the military renaming bases named for Confederate leaders on Wednesday, in his latest public comments that seem to put him at odds with President Donald Trump.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley did not hold back in an appearance before the House Armed Service Committee, stating that “those officers turned their back on their oath,” referring to the names on the bases. “It was an act of treason, at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the US Constitution.”

Milley added that “the way we should do it matters as much as that we should do it,” and he said he recommended establishing “a commission of folks to take a hard look at the bases, the statues, the names and all of this stuff, to see if we can have a rational, mature discussion” on this issue.

The remarks could set him on a collision course with Trump, who has made clear he will block any plans to rename the bases and has made exploiting racial and cultural divisions a key tenet of his reelection strategy.

See also:

Pentagon leaders say they’re evaluating whether to remove Confederate symbols from military bases

Army probing how ‘MAGA’ was listed as ‘covert white supremacy’ in handout

From:  We read every one of the 3,517 Facebook ads bought by Russians. Here’s what we found

The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race.

The roughly 3,500 Facebook ads were created by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency, which is at the center of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s February indictment of 13 Russians and three companies seeking to influence the election.

While some ads focused on topics as banal as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions. Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community.

The company continued to hammer racial themes even after the election.

See also:

Facebook has a problem with black people, former employee charges

Facebook while black: Users call it getting ‘Zucked,’ say talking about racism is censored as hate speech

Headlines:

The US recorded its highest ever number of daily COVID-19 infections, with more than 65,000 in a day

The US is in the middle of another coronavirus testing crisis — on a far larger scale than before

VA inspector general says former top official steered $5M contract to friend

White House liaison to Hill out amid allegations of contacts with lobbyists

GOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over ‘bullying’

Appeals court delays release of Trump [International Hotel Washington, D.C.] financial records in emoluments lawsuit [pending DOJ’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court]

Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan asks appeals court to rehear Michael Flynn case

6 thoughts on “Friday Roundup: Trump hits new low as COVID-19 hits new high while the GOP contemplates its future

    • I just watched Charlie Cook on Chuck Todd’s show. He said that he is trying to be deferential to Republican hopes for November, but just can’t deny what he is seeing in the numbers. Asked about the Senate, he said he thinks Dems will probably gain a net of four seats but suspects that it could be even more. He compared the current political dynamic to watching cement dry, that after a certain point it solidifies. Todd cited Yogi Berra: “It’s getting late early” – lol!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “If that happens, the year 2021 will mark the end of Republicans’ deal with the devil and the cult of right-wing extremist populism will return to wandering around headless in the abyss.”
    ~ A striking visual! Should that day come, here’s hoping they don’t drag our country back into the abyss with them.

    The Salon article caught my attention: “As she eyes a new job, Laura Ingraham reportedly says: “We have to be prepared for Trump losing””
    ~ Amazing the way some individuals find a way to position themselves in a favorable position!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Friday Roundup: Trump hits new low as COVID-19 hits new high while the GOP contemplates its future | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

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