September 2, 2020
Good morning. Russia is interfering in the election again. New York City delayed the start of school. And Trump has a new torrent of false claims.
President Trump at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Tuesday.Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
President Trump breaks so many of the normal rules of politics that it can sometimes be hard to know when his tweets and comments are truly newsworthy. Even by his standards, though, the past several days have stood out. Consider:
- Trump said on Monday that a plane “almost completely loaded with thugs” wearing “dark uniforms” had been headed to the Republican National Convention to do “big damage.” The claim is similar to a baseless conspiracy theory that spread online over the summer, well before the convention.
- He has declined to condemn the killings of two protesters in Kenosha, Wis. He instead defended the 17-year-old charged in the shootings — a Trump supporter named Kyle Rittenhouse — saying he was acting in self-defense. Trump also promoted a Twitter post that called Rittenhouse “a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump.”
- He defended violence committed by his supporters in Portland, Ore., who fired paintballs and pepper spray at Black Lives Matter protesters.
- He compared the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha to missing “a three-foot putt” in a golf tournament.
- He claimed that “people that you’ve never heard of” and “people that are in the dark shadows” are controlling Joe Biden.
- He claimed Democrats were trying to “destroy” suburbs with “low-income housing, and with that comes a lot of other problems, including crime.” He added that Cory Booker — one of the highest-profile Black Democrats — would be “in charge of it.”
- He predicted that the stock market would crash if Biden won.
- He said that Biden, at the Democratic National Convention, “didn’t even discuss law enforcement, the police. Those words weren’t mentioned.” In fact, Biden held a discussion at the convention on policing, with a police chief.
- Trump claimed that he “took control of” the situation in Kenosha by sending in the National Guard. In fact, Wisconsin’s governor, not the president, sent the National Guard.
- He retweeted messages asserting that the pandemic’s death toll was overstated. Evidence indicates the opposite is true.
- He said that protests against police brutality were actually a secret “coup attempt” by anarchists “trying to take down the President.”
Biden has taken a very different approach to the unrest in Kenosha, Portland and elsewhere. He has told no apparent untruths, and he has criticized violence from both the political left and right — even though many liberals, whose votes Biden needs, are uncomfortable with any criticism of people on their side of the debate.
G.O.P. reaction. The Times tried to reach about a dozen leading congressional Republicans and ask for their reaction to Trump’s claims. “None cared to comment,” Mark Leibovich writes. Senator Mitt Romney offered one of the few public responses, calling the president’s comments “simply jaw-dropping.”
Russia adds to the misinformation. A group backed by the Kremlin is again trying to meddle in the U.S. presidential election and push voters toward Trump, Facebook and Twitter said yesterday.