Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Chinese state media warns Trump is preparing a 'final madness' on Beijing, as reports say his team are readying weighty sanctions to mark his final weeks
  • China's state-run Global Times tabloid said that President Donald Trump is likely to unleash a "final madness" against Beijing to mark his final weeks in office.
  • Axios and Bloomberg reported that the Trump administration is planning to sanction entities involved in persecuting Hong Kong and the Uighur Muslims, as well as combating illegal fishing and protecting US tech companies from China.
  • The Global Times said that Trump was likely trying to store up ammunition with which to criticize President-elect Joe Biden for being weak on China in future elections.
John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told Bloomberg: "Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future US presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump's historic actions."

Trump has already imposed some new sanctions on Chinese companies since his election loss.

On Thursday, he signed an executive order banning US companies from investing in 31 Chinese companies that had recently been sanctioned over links with China's People's Liberation Army.

Trump's refusal to concede the election not only hurts America's democratic message abroad, it also gives a useful tool to authoritarians
  • Trump continues to refuse to concede the election, even after Biden has amassed well over the 270 electoral votes needed to take control of the White House.
  • Trump's strategy to cast doubt on the election and attack the voting process won't work in the US to overturn the results of the election.
  • But it does undermine America's democratic message abroad and emboldens dictators and authoritarians.
While it won't work here, the president's playbook presents plenty of new possibilities for those looking to cast doubt on democracy around the globe. First and worst, it creates a powerful precedent. Those looking to cling onto power can point to his words and actions. They will talk of faulty election machines. There will be allegations of votes disappearing. Attempts will be made to claim some votes should be considered legal and others illegal.

The real danger in what Trump is doing comes from the fact that there are so few facts to support his arguments. This is somewhat different from his daily doses of disinformation. These are not just exaggerations about crowd size or his popularity. We can all plainly see the vote totals. So, he resorts to claiming hundreds of thousands are illegitimate. No pudding. No proof. Just pure and simple propaganda.

It strikes at the heart of democracy. If anyone, anywhere can claim that truly transparent elections are not to be trusted then the whole system falls apart. This is music to the ears not only of autocrats and authoritarians, but of populist politicians everywhere. They did not lose. The votes were illegal or incorrectly tallied.

For those already in power, it's a convenient way to stay put when a vote goes against them. For those seeking power, it's a powerful means to delegitimize and destabilize a government. What Trump has shown is how fast and far it can spread. In less than a week, confidence in our elections plummeted amongst Republicans from nearly 70% to 35%. If it can happen in the world's oldest democracy, we can surely see it used to great effect anywhere.

... We are now quite reticent to react, whether it is using diplomatic, development, or defense capabilities. Our statements are watered down. Our aid has dried up. Our country is weary from foreign conflicts and wary to use force again. Foreign leaders know it and act accordingly.

Republicans have won just one out of nearly two dozen lawsuits they've filed since Election Day
  • President Donald Trump's campaign and Republican officials have filed nearly two dozen lawsuits since Election Day in an effort to contest the results of the 2020 election.
  • The campaign filed lawsuits and motions to intervene in cases in swing states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
  • They've won just one lawsuit so far, in Pennsylvania, and the victory doesn't affect the election results.
Faced with the prospect of losing to a man he spent months hammering as corrupt, doddering, and mentally deficient, President Donald Trump is going on offense, spreading lies and conspiracy theories about a "rigged" election marred by "major fraud" from Democrats.

... Of the other 20 lawsuits, Trump and other Republicans have withdrawn from or lost 13 of them, and seven of them are still pending.

Taliban cheers Trump's decision to pull thousands of American troops out of Afghanistan
  • A Taliban spokesperson said Wednesday that the insurgent force welcomes President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw thousands of US troops from Afghanistan, calling it a "good step."
  • On Tuesday, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller announced that the Pentagon was executing the president's plan for Afghanistan and withdrawing 2,000 of the roughly 4,500 troops currently in country.
  • While the Taliban welcomes the move, Afghan national security officials and military leaders have raised concerns about a premature withdrawal.
  • "I think our American colleagues should look at the situation in the country and be very careful about withdrawing," an Afghan air force official told Stars and Stripes.
To accelerate an uncertain peace process, the Trump administration has also pushed for Afghan government concessions, such as the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, even as the Taliban has failed to live up to expectations of reducing attacks by its militants.

In the run-up to the US presidential election, the Taliban actually endorsed the president, with a spokesman saying: "We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan." The Trump campaign rejected their support.

While the Taliban has welcomed the withdrawal of a substantial number of US forces, the Afghan military has not, according to multiple reports.

"If the US draws down to 2,500 so soon, it will create a lot of problems throughout our military," Col. Abdul Fattah Ishaqzai, the maintenance chief for the Afghan air force, told Stars and Stripes. "I think our American colleagues should look at the situation in the country and be very careful about withdrawing."

Col. Zabiullah Ghorzang, Afghan army regimental commander in Kandahar Province, lamented the potential loss of American air support, telling The New York Times that "if it were not for the air support of US forces, the Taliban would be sitting inside Kandahar city now."

Javid Faisal, a spokesman for Afghanistan's National Security Council, wrote on Twitter Monday that "to release thousands of terrorists, get nothing in return, and then withdraw, is a failed strategy for war and peace," adding that such "policy blunders" embolden terrorists.

A number of US lawmakers, including some senior Republicans, have raised concerns about the withdrawal plans as well.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that "a rapid withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan now would hurt our allies and delight the people who wish us harm," adding that such a move would be as "humiliating" as the US withdrawal from Vietnam.

A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting migrant children who cross the US-Mexico border alone
  • A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to stop expelling immigrant children who cross the southern border alone.
  • The Trump administration began the policy in March when it issued an emergency declaration, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Opponents of the policy argued the administration used the pandemic as a pretext to restrict immigration.
The Trump administration has expelled at least 8,800 unaccompanied children since March, when it issued an emergency declaration citing the coronavirus as grounds for barring most people crossing the border from remaining in the United States.

Border agents have forced many people to return to Mexico right away, while detaining others in holding facilities or hotels, sometimes for days or weeks. Meanwhile, government-funded facilities meant to hold children while they are placed with sponsors have thousands of unused beds.

Sullivan's order bars only the expulsion of children who cross the border unaccompanied by a parent. The government has expelled more than 147,000 people since March, including adults, and parents and children traveling together.

Trump will lose his fact-checking protections on Facebook once he leaves the White House, meaning the platform could demote his page if he spouts misinformation
  • Facebook's policies will allow it to start adding fact-checks to posts from President Donald Trump once he has left the White House, a spokesperson told Business Insider.
  • Politicians are exempt from fact-checks on Facebook, but they lose this protection once they leave office.
  • That means future posts from Trump containing any misinformation could have their visibility reduced by Facebook.
  • If Trump becomes a repeat offender, Facebook could penalize his page.

Trump's tweets have become increasingly impotent but his lies are getting bigger by the day
  • President Donald Trump's lies-via-tweet have become more audacious since Election Day and his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
  • Trump continues to push baseless claims that Democrats rigged the election, among other disinformation, as he refuses to concede.
  • But weeks have gone by and no evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities has been discovered, and the Trump campaign's legal challenges have resulted in multiple losses in court or failed to alter the outcome of the election in any states.
  • Trump's tweets are becoming increasingly impotent. He's yelling louder than ever, but fighting a losing battle.
President Donald Trump's tweets have never seemed more feeble and desperate than right now, even as his lies grow bigger by the day.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has wielded his Twitter account like a political sword. Trump's tweets have moved markets, put pressure on GOP lawmakers to bend to his will, and exacerbated a slew of domestic and global crises. But since his loss to President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election, Trump's tweets have become more and more impotent.

... Though recent polling suggests many Republican voters have been swayed by Trump's baseless claims of mass voter fraud, no amount of all caps tweets falsely claiming the election was stolen will succeed in overturning the outcome.

Lindsey Graham says that Biden should begin receiving national security briefings even while Trump's election litigation plays out in court
  • South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday said that President-elect Joe Biden should begin receiving intelligence briefings while President Donald Trump's election-related litigation continues.
  • Graham is a staunch ally of Trump and has come under fire in recent days for inserting himself in the vote counting process in Georgia.
  • Only a handful of Senate Republicans have publicly called for Biden to begin receiving briefings.

Democrats agitating for a Trump 'truth commission' that investigates the outgoing president's COVID-19 response, business entanglements, and border separation policies
  • Several prominent members of Congress and government reform groups say a 9/11 Commission-style bipartisan probe of the Trump administration's failings is essential to overcoming them.
  • "We cannot simply let these things go," Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, told Insider.
  • But President-elect Joe Biden appears motivated to move beyond the Trump presidency, and some in Congress are reluctant to spend time and energy reliving the past four years.
  • Expect many, if not most, Republicans to resist. A Republican National Committee spokesman called the idea of such a commission "a bogus continuation of the partisan witch hunts."
Atop Capitol Hill, Congressional Democrats have never given President Donald Trump a moment's peace, waylaying him with multiple House inquiries that bled into full-blown impeachment.

But several members of Congress and prominent government reform-minded organizations tell Insider they want even more from the 117th Congress and President-elect Joe Biden: a Trump "truth commission" that autopsies the outgoing president's tempestuous tenure.

This Trump truth commission could probe the White House's COVID-19 response, the government separating immigrant children from their parents, and the blurring of lines among Trump's governmental, political, and business interests, among other matters.

With the backing of Congress and the president, the commission could compel witness testimony, produce a public report, and offer recommendations for improving national governance.

Current and ex-Trump officials are quietly reaching out to the Biden transition team, even as Trump continues to challenge the 2020 election results, CNN reports
  • Current and former Trump administration officials are informally reaching out to members of the Biden-Harris transition team to offer a helping hand, CNN reported Wednesday.
  • The outreach effort contrasts President Donald Trump and his allies, who have been making the transition to the Biden administration difficult, according to reports.
  • A current Trump official confirmed the outreach, telling CNN that the conversations thus far have been informal and are meant to help the Biden administration's transition into the White House.
  • "Nothing that would get us in trouble," the Trump official told CNN. "Just an offer to be of help. They know what we mean, and what we can-and-can't do or say."
  • The General Services Administration still has yet to formally acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's win in the 2020 election, impeding the formal transition process between administrations.
  • "It requires more than former officials choosing to step forward and be helpful to ensure a smooth transition of power," Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager and transition adviser, told CNN.
  • "GSA should follow the law and ascertain the results of the election so that Americans get a smooth and effective hand off between administrations," Bedingfield continued.

Arizona's secretary of state is the latest election official to receive death threats, and she's ripping Trump and Republican leaders for their baseless claims of fraud
  • Katie Hobbs, Arizona's secretary of state, said in a statement she has received "ongoing and escalating" threats of violence.
  • She ripped the president and other Republican officials for their unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.
  • She said Trump and other officials "are perpetuating misinformation and are encouraging others to distrust election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took."
  • She also called out Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, for his "deafening silence," calling on him and other state leaders to "stand up for the truth."
Hobbs, a Democrat, said threats have been directed at her, her family, and her staff. She said she anticipated this reaction from people who feel "powerless and angry" but called the actions "utterly abhorrent."

"They are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country — the consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic process," she said in her statement.

... One of the threats Hobbs has received was shared on the social media site Parler and read, "Let's burn her house down and kill her family and teach these fraudsters a lesson," according to The Associated Press. Local news station 12 News reported the threat is being investigated by law enforcement.

Video footage shared by 12 News also showed a group outside Hobbs's home chanting "we are watching you."

... Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's Republican secretary of state, said in an interview with The Washington Post that he has also received death threats as other Republican leaders have pressured him over the vote count. Georgia also flipped for Biden.

A Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia, another focus of Trump's baseless voter fraud claims, said he too was receiving death threats for "counting votes." Pennsylvania flipped for Biden as well.

Trumpism
or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by US President Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.