Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Trump supporter charged with assault after breathing forcefully on protesters at the Virginia golf course where Trump was playing
  • A man who deliberately breathed on two women outside President Donald Trump's Virginia golf course has been charged with assault, the sheriff's office said.
  • Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said that Raymond Deskins, 61, was "charged with simple assault" over the Saturday incident. It said video footage of the incident "did not capture the entire interaction."
  • The video showed a woman asking Deskins, wearing Trump gear, to move away from her while noted that he had no mask on.
  • Deskins then takes a breath in and heavily breathes out, with one woman saying "That's assault."

Trump axed campaign lawyer Sidney Powell was because 'she was too conspiratorial even for him'
  • The Trump campaign announced on Sunday that it was parting ways with attorney Sidney Powell.
  • Powell's wild conspiracy theories proved too much even for President Donald Trump, according to reports, as his legal campaign to overturn the election result descended last week into farce.
  • Powell has alleged a vast plot by communists, financier George Soros and GOP officials in Georgia to steal the election from Trump. She has provided no convincing evidence to back the claims.
A particular focus of his ire was last Thursday's bizarre press conference, where Powell aired the wild conspiracy theory, offering no evidence whatsoever, that Venezuelan socialists and Jewish financier George Soros had orchestrated a vast plot using rigged voting machines to steal the election from Trump.

... As the attorney for Michael Flynn, the former White House national security advisor, she promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, whose adherents groundlessly believe that a "deep state" cabal of child-abusing Hollywood stars and Democrats are secretly plotting against Trump and his allies.

But comments to the Newsmax organization only two days after Thursday's press conference attracted criticism even from the president's allies.

In the interview, Powell claimed that top Republican officials in Georgia, including Governor Brian Kemp, were part of the plot to fix the election.

"Georgia's probably going to be the first state I'm going to blow up and Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it," she said, adding that her lawsuit would be "biblical" in its scale.

Trump plans to hold indoor holiday parties at the White House, report says, despite the CDC warning against such gatherings
  • The White House is planning indoor holiday parties over Christmas and Hanukkah, officials have told Axios.
  • The CDC classes medium-sized events with people traveling from outside the area as "higher-risk."
  • The White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider's query about numbers. A statement to Axios said guest lists will be "smaller" this year.
  • Mask-wearing will be required and food service will undergo a number of precautions, it said.
  • The events come as the White House is connected to continued outbreaks of the virus, including positive tests from Donald Trump Junior and Rudy Giuliani's son Andrew.
An invitation for one of President Donald Trump's holiday parties seen by the outlet makes no mention of masks or any other precaution, even as the White House is dogged by continued cases of COVID-19.

... It is possible that the White House has invited only people in the local DC area, but given the scope of the federal government it would be unlikely.

Carl Bernstein named 21 GOP senators who he said are enabling Trump's attempts to subvert US democracy by only criticizing him in private
  • Carl Bernstein named 21 Republican senators who he says have privately expressed "extreme contempt" for President Donald Trump.
  • Bernstein, one of the Watergate journalists, said the senators have "have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS."
  • He said that their silence has "helped enable Trump's most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system."
  • Some of the senators he named has acknowledged Joe Biden's presidential win, but Bernstein told CNN that he's known some of their feelings for the last "two or three years ."
He said that the senators "have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS" in conversations with colleagues, staff members, lobbyists, and White House aides.

He said that these senators, by not speaking publicly, were allowing Trump to undermine the US voting system as he refuses to concede the election, baselessly claiming that it he lost due to voter fraud.

Bernstein said: "With few exceptions, their craven public silence has helped enable Trump's most grievous conduct—including undermining and discrediting the US the electoral system."

The senators he named are:
  • Rob Portman (Ohio)
  • Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)
  • Ben Sasse (Nebraska)
  • Roy Blunt (Missouri)
  • Susan Collins (Maine)
  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • John Cornyn (Texas)
  • John Thune (South Dakota)
  • Mitt Romney (Utah)
  • Mike Braun (Indiana)
  • Todd Young (Indiana)
  • Tim Scott (South Carolina)
  • Rick Scott (Florida)
  • Marco Rubio (Florida)
  • Chuck Grassley (Iowa)
  • Richard Burr (North Carolina)
  • Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)
  • Martha McSally (Arizona)
  • Jerry Moran (Kansas)
  • Pat Roberts (Kansas)
  • Richard Shelby (Alabama)

Trump's closest business ally just admitted that the president lost the election
  • The outcome of the 2020 election is "very certain," and Joe Biden is the president-elect, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman told Axios Monday.
  • Schwarzman is a longtime ally of President Donald Trump. He praised the president, but said that "the country should move on," and stated his readiness to help Biden's team.
  • Schwarzman is Trump's closest business ally yet to name Biden as the president-elect. Trump refuses to concede.

Major business leaders reportedly signed a letter urging Trump to concede, and warn that 'our democracy grows weaker' the longer the presidential transition is delayed
  • Over 100 American business leaders have signed a joint letter urging President Trump to concede the 2020 presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, the New York Times reported on Monday morning.
  • The group includes the president of private equity firm Blackstone and the head of real estate firm Tishman Speyer.
  • "Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation's stature on the global stage is diminished," the letter reportedly says.
  • The group, which includes major Republican and Democratic donors, will reportedly demand that the head of the General Services Administration release funds to begin the presidential transition.

Trump's top election lawyer in Wisconsin says he and his wife voted illegally in the campaign's latest legal argument
  • Jim Troupis, President Donald Trump's top campaign lawyer in Wisconsin, says he voted illegally.
  • He asked the Dane County Board of Canvassers to invalidate all in-person absentee ballots, which was a method the state officially offered for returning ballots.
  • Troupis and his wife both voted in-person absentee, and he even included their names on an exhibit he gave to the Board of Canvassers.
  • The Trump campaign has so far won none of the election lawsuits they've brought since President-elect Joe Biden won.
Troupis himself is a former Dane County judge. He retired from his own law practice in 2013 but appeared to return to law to represent the Trump campaign. His brother, Chris Troupis, is also representing the Trump campaign, according to Law & Crime. Jim Troupis didn't immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Over 100 Republican national security experts implore Trump to concede the presidential election to Biden and start the transition process
  • Over 100 Republican national security experts on Monday called on GOP congressional leaders to push President Donald Trump to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden, according to the Washington Post.
  • In a signed letter, the experts urged current GOP officeholders and Trump to prioritize the country's national security interests above politics.
  • "President Trump's refusal to permit the presidential transition poses significant risks to our national security, at a time when the US confronts a global pandemic and faces serious threats from global adversaries, terrorist groups, and other forces," the statement read.
  • Trump is continuing to block the General Services Administration from signing off on declaring Biden as the president-elect.
Republican luminaries from William Webster, director of the FBI and CIA during the administration of President Ronald Reagan, to Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and first Secretary of Homeland Security, came together to urge GOP leaders and Trump to put the country's national security interests first.

Other high-profile signatories include John Negroponte, former US Senator and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and former CIA director and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden.

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Biden should toss all of Trump's 'America First' policies
  • Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis rebuked President Donald Trump's "America First" policy in an Foreign Affairs article he co-authored with three other people.
  • The authors argued that the Trump administration is undermining an international order that is to America's advantage by devaluing the role allies and international institutions play in securing American interests.
  • They wrote that they hope that Biden's team "will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents."
Arguing that "America First" is essentially "America alone" and is a threat to US interests, the authors said the US is currently "undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to US interests, reflecting a basic ignorance of the extent to which both robust alliances and international institutions provide vital strategic depth."

The four authors wrote that the "principal external threat the United States faces today is an aggressive and revisionist China," who they said is "the only challenger that could potentially undermine the American way of life." To secure US interests, they write, the US will need a credible forward military strategy, as well as a robust network of strong alliances.

During his presidency, Trump has repeatedly bullied allies, from NATO partners in Europe to South Korea and Japan in the Pacific, while abandoning others.

Mattis resigned from his position as secretary of defense in December 2018 over disagreements with Trump, and his resignation letter, which stressed the importance of alliances and recognizing who US adversaries are, was seen as a clear rebuke of the president's America First policies.

Election officials are facing death threats in key swing states where Trump is trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential race
  • State officials are sounding the alarm on an uptick in death threats that they've received since the presidential election.
  • They work in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada — key states where President Donald Trump's campaign is attempting to overturn the results.
  • Deadlines to certify election results are quickly approaching and each state will in the coming days declare President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of its Electoral College votes.
President Donald Trump is fueling a wave of hatred and violent threats toward local officials in key swing states where he's challenging the 2020 election results.

"So this is fun...multiple attempted hacks of my emails, police protection around my home, the threats," Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation manager for Georgia's Secretary of State, wrote on Twitter on the weekend.

EDITORIAL: President Donald Trump seeks to delay the inevitable
President Donald Trump takes pride in his reputation as a disruptive force. Drain the swamp, and all that. He came into office almost four years ago vowing to upend Beltway norms, and now he insists on leaving in similarly unconventional fashion.

It is too fitting that the Trump presidency concludes amid a babel of bluster and bravado. But the president does a disservice to his more rabid supporters by insisting that he would have won the Nov. 3 election absent voter fraud. That’s simply false.

... Why, if there were some orchestrated Democratic attempt to rig the balloting, did the party underachieve in congressional and statewide balloting across the country?

... Mr. Trump can keep fighting — and no doubt will. In the meantime, however, he has nothing to lose by cooperating with President-elect Biden’s transition team. Mr. Trump expected no less from the Obama administration in 2016 even as Hillary’s acolytes floated ways to manipulate the Electoral College vote. Mr. Biden deserves the same consideration today regardless of how long the president seeks to delay the inevitable.

G.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden
General Motors said it would no longer back President Trump’s effort to strip California of the power to set fuel economy standards.

General Motors turned its back Monday on the Trump administration’s legal fight to nullify California’s strict fuel economy rules, signaling that it was ready to work with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to reduce climate-warming emissions from cars and trucks.

The decision by Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, to withdraw her company’s support for Trump administration efforts to strip California of its ability to set its own fuel efficiency standards was a striking reversal. It was also a signal that corporate America is moving on from President Trump.

More specifically, it was a sign that Mr. Biden may find the auto industry amenable as he tries to reinstitute and rebuild Obama-era climate change regulations that Mr. Trump systematically dismantled, at times with the help of industry.

... G.M.’s maneuvering was a public humiliation to Mr. Trump as he pursued his democracy-defying effort to subvert the will of the American electorate and claim another term. Ms. Barra gave no warning to the administration, but she did speak by telephone on Monday with Mary Nichols, California’s top climate regulator and an architect of the Obama-era fuel economy rules. Ms. Nichols is also a leading candidate to run the Environmental Protection Agency under Mr. Biden.

... “This is about as bold as it gets,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. “This huge pivot, so closely following an election result, particularly from a firm like General Motors, is a big, big deal.”

He added: “This is the first big industrial step toward the next president. Are other industries going to have epiphanies and pivot?”

The sudden shift may help the Biden administration move quickly to reinstate tough rules on planet-warming auto pollution, this time with support from industry giants that fought such regulations for years.

Vladimir Putin wasted no time in weaponizing Trump's election conspiracies to spread Russian propaganda
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has wasted no time in seizing on US President Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about the 2020 election to boost Russia's strategic goals.
  • In addition to saying he will not congratulate President-elect Joe Biden while claiming the results are not clear, Putin said the "problems in the US electoral system" mean the US doesn't have the right to criticize how other countries run their elections.
  • The remarks are a stark representation of how Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and election-rigging enabled Putin to use a classic Soviet propaganda tool known as "whataboutism" to undermine US principles about free and fair elections.
  • Trump's attempt to paint the US election as rigged "plays directly into Putin's primary objective, which isn't necessarily to get a specific person elected, but to sow discord and reinforce the view that American democracy doesn't work well," said John McLaughlin, the former acting CIA director.
The Russian leader, who has been in power for two decades and who in July got one step closer to being president for life, has long been criticized by the US for his antidemocratic principles and violent crackdowns on opposing political parties, dissidents, and independent journalists. In retaliation, Putin often employs a classic Soviet propaganda tool known as "whataboutism" to portray the US as being on the same moral plane.

"Whataboutism" serves Putin by allowing him to take the position that it's not America's role to "lecture Russia on democracy when it has had such a poor track record of establishing them on its own watch," Vadim Nikitin, a Russia analyst and freelance journalist, told Insider in a previous interview. Most of all, Putin's finger-pointing at the US' own foibles is part of an effort to force others to "accept all sides as morally flawed," he added.

... The US's electoral turmoil and rocky transition period are "absolutely a welcome distraction" for Putin, McLaughlin said. That's especially true now, given that Putin's approval rating in Russia has been in steady decline and is currently somewhere near 60%, down from where it used to be in the high 80s and 90s. Now, "he can take the heat off of himself by getting us to fight each other after what we would like to think of as one of the safest and fairest elections, but one that the president of the United States is saying is rigged."

Moreover, "Russia has long wanted to revise the international order" that the Obama administration spearheaded, said Michael David-Fox, a professor at Georgetown University and an expert on modern Russia and the USSR. "It is clear to Putin and the Russian foreign policy establishment that the Biden administration represents a return" to that approach.

Obama's administration emphasized a foreign policy that supported an international system governed by independent institutions and global alliances. That system, which the US has spearheaded since the Cold War, frequently stands in opposition to Putin's interests, which are geared toward fracturing western alliances, spreading communism, and bringing sovereign nations like Ukraine back into the Soviet sphere of influence.

Conversely, the Trump administration's foreign policy has yielded huge returns for Russia.

"They want to protect their boy in the White House, because Trump's policies have been strategically fantastic for Russia," Glenn Carle, a former CIA covert operative, told Insider in an earlier interview. "He alienated the United States from NATO and turned a blind eye to Russian influence in Crimea. His actions in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Libya, helped Russia gain a significant presence in the region for the first time in 48 years."

Trump also often heaps praise on Putin, describing him as a "strong" and "powerful" leader — comments that Russian state media uses to portray Putin as a global strongman and Trump as a puppet dancing to his master's tune.

Trump is reportedly worried that his legal team is made up of 'fools that are making him look bad'
  • President Donald Trump is upset with how his legal team has handled his challenges to the election, according to NBC News.
  • Trump is worried they are "fools that are making him look bad," one official told NBC.
  • He also reportedly complained about Rudy Giuliani's appearance at a news conference last week.
The president took umbrage with Giuliani's hair dye dripping down the sides of his face while he was speaking at the nearly two-hour event, one source told NBC.

GSA Informs President-Elect Joe Biden That Transition Can Begin
The decision, which was first reported by CNN, allows officials from the current administration to work with Biden's incoming team and frees up federal funds to assist the transition. It came following several blows to the Trump campaign's attempts to challenge the outcome of the election, including the most recent in Michigan.

GSA Administrator Emily Murphy acknowledged the legal decisions in a letter to Biden, writing that "because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, I have determined that you may access the post-election resources and services" granted to Biden under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.

Murphy said she made her determination "independently" and did not receive "any direction to delay" the decision, which came more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner.

"Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official – including those who work at the White House or GSA – with regard to the substance or timing of my decision," Murphy wrote in the letter.

An anonymous senior Trump campaign advisor reportedly said Trump 'basically just conceded' after he tweeted that he was 'recommending' the GSA start the Biden-Harris transition
  • An anonymous senior Trump campaign advisor said they think Trump "basically just conceded" after the president tweeted he recommended the start of the Biden-Harris transition, according to The Washington Post.
  • Emily Murphy, the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration, sent a letter earlier Monday to President-elect Joe Biden allowing him to access resources to begin the presidential transition.
  • Soon after news outlets began to report on Murphy's letter, Trump tweeted his thanks to Murphy for "her steadfast dedication and loyalty to our Country" and suggested her team at the GSA and his administration begin the transition to Biden.
  • "Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good ... fight, and I believe we will prevail!" the president wrote in the tweet.
  • "Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same," Trump continued.
  • "He basically just conceded," the unnamed advisor told The Post. "That's as close to a concession as you will probably get."

Here's one way to get Trump to resign
On Saturday morning, Trump joined an online meeting of G20 leaders at 8 a.m. ET to discuss Covid-19 and other issues of concern. How did Trump approach this vitally important conference? He began tweeting about 13 minutes into the opening session, spewing more baseless claims about voter fraud in an effort to overturn the 2020 election. And by 10 a.m. Trump departed to go play golf, skipping a special side conference that was focused on the coronavirus crisis that's exploding in many countries -- including our own.

... Appealing to Trump to do the right thing for the good of Americans is a fool's errand. Trump only cares about Trump. We need to make his incentive something that benefits Trump personally. So here's an offer to Trump: Resign today and American taxpayers will cover the cost of unlimited golf between now and January 20, the day Biden is sworn in -- or "Freedom from Trump day," as I refer to it.

Yes, I know, many of you are saying, "Don't we already pay for Trump's golf?!" Fair point. Exact numbers are hard to confirm, but given that it can cost millions every time the President takes a trip -- and that Trump had already spent 266 days during his Presidency at a Trump golf course by May of 2020 -- it's clear that Trump's love of golf has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for the federally-funded security and transport needed to get him to his favorite courses. After all, Trump doesn't just golf in the United States -- he likes to play in places like his resorts in Scotland and Ireland too.

... I think most Americans -- or at least the 51% of voters who cast a ballot for Biden -- would agree Trump can gleefully enjoy all the taxpayer-financed golf, diet Cokes and burgers he can handle between now and January 20. In exchange, all he has to do is resign right away. It's a win for all involved. This could save American lives from Covid-19, save our democracy from Trump's assault and provide Trump the freedom to focus on what he does best: Golf and tweeting. What do you say, Mr. President?

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.