Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Former top US cybersecurity official ousted by Trump said there was 'no manipulation of the vote on the machine count side'
  • Chris Krebs, the former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said almost all of the ballots cast in the 2020 election had a paper trail and that there was no evidence that the machines were hacked or manipulated.
  • In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday on CBS News, Krebs reiterated previous statements he made about the election being the "most secure in American history."
  • "The proof is in the ballots. The recounts are consistent with the initial count," he said. "If there was an algorithm that was flipping votes or changing votes, it didn't work."

Fox News host Eric Shawn debunked the false voter fraud claims Trump made on the network hours earlier
  • Fox News host debunks Trump's false election claims following the president's interview on the network.
  • Eric Shawn was joined by Axios political reporter Hans Nichols in debunking the claims.
  • "Local and national election officials, as well as federal and state courts in multiple states — and in some cases the Trump campaign's own lawyers — have said there is no evidence to prove [claims of widespread voter fraud]" Shawn said.

Trump lost support in most of the places where he held his final campaign rallies
  • President Trump lost support between 2016 and 2020 in most of the areas where he held rallies in the final weeks of the election campaign, according to an NBC analysis.
  • In 25 of the 30 counties Trump visited, he lost ground from 2016.
  • Trump's support increased in just 5 of the 30 counties analysed by NBC.
  • The data challenges the narrative promoted by senior Trump aides which suggests that the size of the president's rallies are an indication of his popularity compared to Biden.
The data does not prove whether the campaign stops had a net positive effect or whether his margin of defeat would have been even greater in those counties had he not made those stops at all.

However, it does call into question parallel drawn by Trump and his supporters between the size of his rallies and his performance in the election.

Campaign figures including Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law, have claimed without evidence that the size of Trump rallies provide evidence that Biden was unlikely to have won the election.

Georgia secretary of state calls out 'dishonest actors' for 'exploiting the emotions of many Trump supporters' and 'misleading the president as well'
  • Georgia's secretary of state criticized "dishonest actors" for spreading disinformation about the 2020 election in a news conference on Monday.
  • "Frankly, they are misleading the president as well, apparently," Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said.
  • President Donald Trump still has not conceded the election and has attacked Georgia's state leaders for neglecting to take up his baseless claims of voter fraud.

Former top admiral alarmed by Pentagon purge says Trump still has time to do something 'really destructive'
  • Retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that Trump's recent personnel purge at the Pentagon was troubling.
  • "It's pretty difficult to think that over the course of 50 or 60 days you can do something constructive, but you can do something that's really destructive," Mullen said.
  • Retired Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command, also said Sunday that he was "concerned" by the sudden changes.
  • Both said they were worried by the administration's rushed attempts to withdraw thousands of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I'm actually very concerned about the Trump loyalists who have now gone to work in the Pentagon," Mullen, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during both the Bush and Obama administrations, told Chuck Todd Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Earlier this month, Trump fired his defense secretary. The next day, the chief of staff to the secretary of defense and the top civilian Pentagon policy and intelligence officials resigned.

Those positions were filled by Trump loyalists, including retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a former Fox News commentator who spread falsehoods about former President Barack Obama, writing on social media that Obama was a "terrorist."

"There are some real Trump loyalists there now in charge," Mullen said. "It's pretty difficult to think that over the course of 50 or 60 days you can do something constructive, but you can do something that's really destructive."

... He said that Trump had "taken out all the leadership in the Department of Defense" and replaced them with a new team, one lacking experience.

"The new team, you know, maybe they're good folks, but they are inexperienced," he said. "And what they're trying to do, of course, is to push forward President Trump's agenda, particularly when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan and drawing down the number of troops."

"We can have reasonable policy discussions on how many people we ought to have in Iraq and Afghanistan," McRaven continued. "But what we don't want to do is we don't want to rush to failure. We don't want to pull everybody out of Afghanistan and risk putting the troops, you know, in greater harm's way."

"We've got to be thoughtful, we've got to be methodical about how we draw down the number of troops in Afghanistan," he said. "But what it appears is that this new administration in the Department of Defense is really rushing to get a lot of Trump's agenda resolved before a President Biden comes in."

Both Mullen and McRaven also raised concerns about the possibility of escalating tensions with Iran, which has been a serious issue at various points during Trump's presidency.

Trump and his allies have won zero out at least 26 lawsuits they've filed since Election Day
  • President Donald Trump's campaign and Republican officials have filed more than 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 notched zero victories, 19 cases where they've withdrawn or lost, and have seven cases pending.

Arizona certifies Biden's win as Trump's legal team holds an event in the state over the president's baseless claims of voter fraud
  • Arizona officially certified President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election in the state, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced Monday.
  • "This election was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness, in accordance with Arizona's laws and elections procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary," Hobbs said.
  • The certification came as President Donald Trump's legal team continues to push baseless claims of voter fraud at an event in the state.

Supreme Court Weighs Trump’s Immigrant Exclusions From Census Count
The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday over President Donald Trump's directive to exclude immigrants in the country illegally from the 2020 census count, the outgoing president's final challenge to the decennial questionnaire.

The census has never excluded counting such people to determine the number of House seats each state gets. The Constitution stipulates that U.S. representatives "shall be apportioned among" states and must count the "whole number of persons in each state." The population count also helps with the allocation of funding to states.

... Critics of Trump's directive warn that the unprecedented change would dilute the number of congressional members for states with large numbers of immigrants in the country illegally, like California, New York and Texas. They want the Supreme Court to uphold several lower court decisions that ruled against the Trump administration and said the president's memo violated federal law. Last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out Trump's lawsuit, arguing that the case is "not ripe for review."

An Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated to make it harder for Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to top experts
  • The assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist was designed to derail President-elect Joe Biden's plans to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, according to experts and former US diplomats.
  • One top expert on the Middle East told Insider that the assassination "fits with Israeli long-standing policy of targeting Iranian nuclear scientists."
  • A former US diplomat told Insider there are "are ample reasons to suspect US involvement" in last Friday's attack, citing President Donald Trump's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
The assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist was likely carried out by Israel with the blessing of the Trump administration as part of an effort to derail a major foreign policy goal of President-elect Joe Biden, according to former US diplomats and top experts.

Biden has pledged to return the US to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — an Obama era pact that both President Donald Trump and Israel oppose.

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, often referred to as the "father" of Iran's nuclear program, has potentially thrown a major wrench in Biden's plans.

... "The assassination is consistent with Trump's efforts to prevent his successor from restoring the JCPOA," he said, citing recent reports on the president's request for potential military options against Iran and a secret meeting between the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended.

... "A few weeks before the new US administration takes office, it is important to preserve the scope for talks with Iran so that the dispute over Iran's nuclear program can be resolved through negotiations," a spokesman for Germany's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Trump has been distorting the military's role in work on a coronavirus vaccine from the very start
  • From the get-go, President Donald Trump has miscast or exaggerated the military's role in his administration's crash program to develop COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The military has contributed mightily to the project, which is being run by an Army general, but the military won't produce, store, distribute, or administer the vaccines.
Indeed, the military has contributed mightily to the project. It has provided a range of assistance in the form of planning, program management, logistics expertise and other efforts. The accelerated work on COVID-19 vaccines also has benefitted from past investments by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in science and technologies related to infectious diseases.

... Army Gen. Gustave Perna was plucked from his job as commander of Army Materiel Command to be the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, and he, too, initially gave the effort a military spin.

"This mission is about defeating the enemy," Perna said at the Rose Garden announcement with Trump. "We will defeat the enemy."

But it has been Trump, not Perna, who has miscast the military's role. Trump said in his initial announcement the military would "deploy every plane, truck and soldier required" to distribute a vaccine when ready.

Within months he was stating even more explicitly — and still incorrectly — that the military would do delivery.

"Our military is doing the distribution — it's called logistics," he said in a video posted to Twitter on October 7.

Two weeks later, at his debate with Democrat Joe Biden, now the president-elect, Trump said, "We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine."

In fact, the military will not distribute the vaccine, although state governors have the power to use members of their National Guard for any number of tasks supporting public safety, including to help with vaccine logistics if deemed necessary.

... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not the military, is in charge of the distribution effort, which is based on plans drawn up by each state and other jurisdictions.

The distribution will be executed by private companies including McKesson Corp., a health care company that has extensive experience in the distribution of flu vaccines. McKesson also will distribute supplies needed to administer the shots.

... In addition to Perna, the senior leadership of Operation Warp Speed includes a retired Army colonel, Matthew Hepburn, who serves as the lead official on vaccine development. He is a medical doctor, a biomedical engineer and a former director of medical preparedness on the White House national security staff.

The prominence of military officials in Operation Warp Speed has drawn scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where some have questioned whether an outsize military leadership role would marginalize public health agencies.

In October, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii called for a public Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military's participation in the effort, but no such hearing has been held.

Arizona's Republican governor dunked on Trump after the president criticized him for certifying that the state voted for Biden
  • Arizona's Republican governor Doug Ducey has defended his state's election procedures after President Donald Trump singled him out, without evidence, for alleged corruption.
  • Ducey certified Arizona's election result in President-elect Joe Biden's favor on Monday, enraging the president.
  • Trump phoned in to Arizona's election hearings on Monday, alleging "horrible fraud" on Ducey's part, and then took his anger to Twitter.
  • Ducey then tweeted a thread outlining his pride in the state's election procedures and his commitment to the law.
  • Trump has hit out several times at GOP figures whom he deemed insufficiently loyal as he continues to challenge the election.
Trump criticized Ducey early by calling in to the hearing itself and, provoking boos from supporters, saying without evidence that Ducey had shown "such corruption, such horrible fraud."

Trump has not hesitated to take aim at fellow Republicans if he does not deem them loyal enough, with "RINO" — an acronym for "Republican in name only" — a favored insult.
  • On November 20, Trump took a swipe at Sen. Mitt Romney and called him a RINO after the senator said he did not vote for Trump and criticized his election-fraud claims.
  • On November 22, Trump also singled out Gov. Larry Hogan for criticism and deemed him a "RINO" on Twitter, after he broke ranks to urge the president to concede.
  • On November 26, the president also called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensburger — who said he and his family had voted for Trump in 2020 — an "enemy of the people" after the state voted for Biden.
  • And on November 29, Trump told Fox Business that he regretted supporting Georgia's GOP governor Brian Kemp, citing the state's use of Dominion Voting Systems machines — which have been criticized by Republicans and subject to many false allegations — during the election.

Trump has raised at least $150 million to cover his bogus election challenges — but most of that money will go to financing Trump's future
  • In the month since Election Day, President Donald Trump's campaign has ratcheted up fundraising, raising more than $150 million, The Washington Post reported on Monday.
  • The New York Times published a similar report on Monday, but put the number at $170 million.
  • To put that into context, the amount raised since Election Day is about double the amount that one of Trump's main PACs raised during September, its best month.
  • The Trump campaign sent hundreds of emails in November, asking supporters to donate as the president fights the results of the 2020 election, The Post reported.
  • But the fine print shows that only a fraction of small-dollar donations go to the Trump campaign's legal fund, with most of the money going into a new account designated to seed his political future instead.

Trump keeps retweeting the anonymous account 'Catturd2' which backs his baseless election-fraud claims. The handle is now trending.
  • President Trump, who baselessly disputes that he lost the election to Joe Biden, has retweeted an account named "@catturd2" in support of his claims.
  • The pro-Trump comic account bolstered many of Trump's unevidenced claims of election fraud, earning it three retweets from the president.
  • "Catturd" has since trended on Twitter, with reactions ranging from amusement to embarrassment.
Trump retweeted the anonymous account three times overnight on Monday. The account claims to be a mainly comic one that supports the president.

... "@catturd2"'s profile bills the account as "The MAGA turd who talks s---," referring to the campaign slogan "Make America Great Again."

Among the president's retweets was one claiming "Rudy Giuliani is presenting a ton of evidence," in the president's challenge to the election results, while another shared an article from The Gateway Pundit aggregation site alleging ballot-counting irregularities in Arizona.

... @catturd2 was jubilant at the attention, tweeting a meme depicting Trump and lawyer Sidney Powell, who is filing lawsuits attempting to overturn the election.

The account also claimed that the president's attention had fueled sales of its book, "The Adventures of Cowfart."

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.