White House communications director resigns; Newspaper in Kentucky has windows shot out
Morning Brief: Texas legislative sessions ends with Republican calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the protesters, threats, as governor considers recalling lawmakers back into session to pass bills targeting immigrants, transgenders and women
The relations between the US and Germany look to be at risk this morning as the president went on Twitter to attack the NATO ally. President Trump began the spat by calling the Germans “evil, very evil” (or bad, very bad, depending on how you want to translate it), basically for selling lots of cars in the US.
Of course, many of those cars are manufactured in the US. In fact, of the 413K new German branded cars sold in the US in the first half of this year, more than half were built in plants located in Alabama, Tennessee of South Carolina (all states that voted for Trump and would be at risk should the Germans pull out).
We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2017
Reacting to Trump’s demands made at the G7 meeting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over — I experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands.”
The fate of the western alliance was not at the center of the last presidential election, but it may be the center of debate now. While the investigations into the president looked like they were beginning to concentrate on obstruction of justice, it might well swing back to the issue of the president’s financial connections to Russia. No other issue can explain why the president should be so eager for the US to favor Russia over its European allies.
With the president back in the US from his nine day trip, big changes are expected with the White House team. Today, the first shoe dropped with the resignation of Mike Dubke as communications director.
Dubke was not an on-camera presence, but a Republican Party operative, having founded the Republican media services firm Crossroads Media. Although many are saying that Dubke had few allies in the White House, it is likely that he would have been hired through the influence of Reince Priebus, the current White House chief of staff.
Trump’s comms director leaving White House
Mike Dubke, President Trump’s communications director, is leaving the White House — the start of a wave of changes as the West Wing struggles to cope with burgeoning scandals and a stalled agenda.
Dubke served for just three months before tendering his resignation May 18. He offered to stay through the overseas trip, and Trump accepted. He has been trying to help restructure the press and communications operation, and is parting on good terms, a senior administration official said.
Insiders say Dubke came in with few patrons, and never gelled with the originals. His departure is a reminder of how hard it is for newcomers to thrive in Trumpland.
Violence against the media continues to be a growing issue in the US, and among Trump’s preferred allies such as Turkey. Just last week saw the GOP House candidate in Montana attack a Guardian reporter the day before his election win.
Now comes word of an incident in Lexington, Kentucky were windows were shot out. The paper’s own report, it should be noted, was not bylined, but posted as a ‘staff report.’
Windows shattered at Herald-Leader building; suspected bullet damage found
Several windows were shattered at the main office of the Lexington Herald-Leader in downtown Lexington, amid suspected signs of small-caliber bullet damage to the building.
The Herald-Leader filed a report on the damage with Lexington Police, who were at the building investigating early Monday morning.
Exterior windows were damaged on the first-, second- and third-level banks of windows of the press room on the Midland Avenue side of the building. Three exterior windows were shattered, leaving broken glass on the sidewalk outside. Two windows on the upper level of the press room were damaged, but did not shatter. Those windows show small holes and cracks that appear consistent with small-caliber bullet damage.
Shots fired at Kentucky newsroom just the latest example of American acceptance of violence against journalists
Just a few hours before the shooting, the same newspaper posted a story about how Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin had taken to Twitter to “personally attack a journalist” who has been reporting that Bevin got a sweetheart deal when he bought his mansion in Anchorage, Ky.
On Saturday, Bevin had called Courier-Journal reporter Tom Loftus a “sick man” for allegedly being “caught sneaking” around the home in question — a lie, by the way. He also used the hashtag #PeepingTom to demean Loftus. Oddly, Loftus’s visit to Bevin’s Anchorage home was back in March, so it’s unclear why Bevin decided to attack Loftus this weekend — except that he is again under scrutiny for how he got such a great home for such a great price.
I’ll leave it to Loftus, a solid reporter, to explore Mansiongate — but he’s obviously gotten under Bevin’s skin, judging by the governor’s 13-minute, anti-media tirade on Friday, one day before the “sick man” tweet, that I’ve embedded at the bottom of this story.
Meanwhile, in Texas…
Threats of violence, unfinished business, rowdy protesters mark end of tumultuous legislative session
Lawmakers threatened to shoot and beat one another up on the final day of a legislative session beset by angry fights and emotional outbursts that often got in the way of completing their agenda.
“Our nerves are frayed. It’s the last day of a long session,” said Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco. “We just want to go home.”
Texas Republican calls ICE on protesters, threatens to shoot colleague
The incident occurred as protesters were being removed from the House gallery after briefly shutting down proceedings by chanting their opposition to the new law banning so-called sanctuary cities, local jurisdictions that decline to assist federal immigration enforcement.
Suspecting that some of them were unauthorized immigrants, Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, reported the protesters to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rinaldi said in a statement, and told several of his Democratic colleagues that he did so. The Democrats responded with outrage.
Rinaldi said that Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle Pass, told him he would “get me on the way to my car,” prompting Rinaldi to respond that he “would shoot him in self-defense.” Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, said he heard Rinaldi say of Nevárez that he would “put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads.”