Trumpism 🐘 Newsbites
Trump is reportedly planning a made-for-TV exit on Air Force One from the White House to a rally on Inauguration Day, hoping to pull viewers from Biden
  • President Donald Trump is planning a made-for-TV White House exit to steal attention from President-elect Joe Biden's January 20 inauguration, Axios reported.
  • According to the outlet, Trump is planning on flying to Florida on Air Force One to stage a rally at the same time Biden is sworn in at a socially-distanced inauguration in Washington, DC.
  • If Trump follows through with the plans it would break with Inauguration Day traditions designed to showcase the stability of US democracy.
  • Usually the president welcomes the president-elect to the White House and accompanies them to the Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony.
  • Last week Biden said he personally didn't care if Trump attends his inauguration, but that Trump should go to demonstrate a peaceful transfer of power.
Since losing the election, Trump has ignored numerous traditions designed to ensure a peaceful transfer of power and show the stability of American democracy.

... The president has still refused to concede the election to Biden, maintaining that the election was stolen from him as a result of a vast conspiracy — while providing no convincing evidence of the allegation.

He has refused to invite Biden to the White House, a courtesy traditionally extended by incumbents to the victor, and delayed his administration's transition to Biden's team for weeks.

There has even been speculation among former Secret Service officials that Trump would refuse to leave the White House.

Multiple reports have said that Trump is planning to leverage his continuing popularity with the Republican Party base to maintain control over the party after he leave the White House — a plan that may involve starting a conservative news network to rival Fox News.

Trump suggests Joe Biden will try to take the word Christmas 'out of the vocabulary'
  • Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to suggested that President-elect Biden's new administration will attempt to prevent people from using the word 'Christmas.'
  • 'They'll be trying to take that word again out of the vocabulary. We're not going to let them do that,' Trump told a rally in Voldosta, Georgia.
  • Eric Trump has previously claimed that his father was motivated to run for president in office partly because of the false claim that the White House Christmas tree had been renamed "the holiday tree."

Joe Biden's approval rating is already higher than Trump's has ever been, a new poll has found
  • A new Gallup poll has found that President-elect Joe Biden is already more popular among Americans than President Trump has been at any point during or immediately before his presidency.
  • Biden's favorability rating rose by 6 points to 55% since the election compared to his last pre-election survey, according to a Gallup survey carried out after the election.
  • Over the same period, Trump's favorability rating decreased by 3 points to 42%.
  • Trump has not recorded a favorability rating above 50% at any point during his presidency, according to Gallup polling.
A separate Reuters/Ipsos poll carried out in November found that nearly 80% of Americans believed Biden was the winner of the election while just 3% said Trump won.

... Several polls carried out this year indicated that most Americans disapproved of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his decision to prioritise the reopening of the economy over suppressing the Covid-19 caseload.

'Thanks Kelly Loeffler, I think we got the message': Fox News mocks Georgia senator for repeating herself during debate
  • Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler became the subject of mockery for repeating a handful of phrases during Sunday's debate in the Georgia Senate runoff election.
  • Her catchphrases of the night included "Radical liberal Raphael Warnock," "I lived the American dream," and "President Trump has every right to," referring to the president launching legal challenges to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
  • Fox News host Steve Hilton showed a montage mocking Loeffler and said, "I think this could be put in the category of: Thanks Kelly Loeffler, I think we got the message."
  • Loeffler also got made fun of by political commentators and comedians, several of whom compared her to a "robot."
Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler gave a bizarre performance during Sunday's Georgia Senate runoff debate, often repeating the same phrases regardless of the question being asked.

Loeffler, 50, was appointed to the Senate in 2019 by Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp following the retirement of Johnny Isakson.

In Sunday night's debate, Loeffler faced off against her Democratic opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock, both of whom are vying for one of Georgia's senate seats during the January 5 runoffs.

Loeffler found a descriptor for Warnock and stuck with it, repeating the phrase "radical liberal Raphael Warnock" to such an extent that even a Fox News host poked fun at her.

... Warnock did not jump at the chance to call out Loeffler for repeating the same things, choosing instead to stay on message and draw policy parallels to his personal story.

The moderators also pressed Loeffler on issues such as whether members of Congress should be allowed to trade stocks, or if President-elect Joe Biden won the election.

Loeffler dodged those questions, sticking to wording on how Trump "has every right to every legal recourse" while continuing to challenge the results of the election, despite no evidence of widespread fraud as the weeks have gone by.

We made a graphic to show just how bad the COVID-19 outbreaks in Trump's circle are
  • More than two dozen top officials associated with President Donald Trump have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
  • The disease has spread through the president's orbit, infecting White House staffers, campaign aides, and Republican leaders, including Trump himself.
  • Trump has downplayed the virus that has killed over 246,000 Americans and repeatedly flouted safety recommendations like wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings.
  • Here's a chart that shows how the contagion has spread through the White House's top ranks.
Trump COVID-19 Network

Meet Donald Trump's new nemeses: The 15 prosecutors and investigators from New York who are primed to pepper the ex-president with history-making civil and criminal probes
  • President Donald Trump faces numerous investigations and other legal problems once he leaves office.
  • The ones he should worry about most are cases brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Both are beyond the reach of presidential pardons.
  • We've dug through court filings to find out who's on the teams investigating Trump and the Trump Organization.
  • Here are the 15 investigators and prosecutors from New York who Trump may be seeing a good bit more in his post-presidency.
  • Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan District Attorney
  • Carey Dunne, the General Counsel of the Manhattan DA office
  • Christopher Conroy, one of the top officials in the Manhattan DA office
  • Julieta V. Lozano, special assistant to federal prosecutors at SDNY
  • Solomon Shinerock, investigates major economic crimes for the Manhattan DA office
  • James H. Graham, one of the lower-profile members of Vance's team looking into Trump's finances
  • Sarah Walsh, another member of the team who litigated the Trump tax return case to the US Supreme Court
  • Allen J. Vickey, another member of Vance's team with a low profile
  • Letitia James, New York Attorney General
  • Matthew Colangelo, one of the top litigators in the NYAG office and has overseen the litigation in trying to get the Trump organization to comply with subpoenas
  • Colleen K. Faherty, one of the assistant attorneys general working under James
  • Alex Finkelstein, New York attorney general's office
  • Eric Haren, New York attorney general's office
  • Louis Solomon, chief of enforcement at the Attorney General's office
  • Austin Thompson, assistant attorney general

Sidney Powell's 'Kraken' conspiracy theory election lawsuits test the limits of our legal system, experts say
  • After getting booted from President Donald Trump's legal team, Sidney Powell has filed several lawsuits challenging the 2020 election results on her own.
  • The legal system is grappling with these lawsuits that challenge democracy on the basis of conspiracy theories, Jan Jacobowitz, a legal ethics expert at Miami University, told Insider.
  • The lawsuits include numerous typos and factual errors, which aren't enough alone for disbarment or court sanctions, experts told Insider.
  • But Powell also included plaintiffs who didn't consent to be part of her lawsuits, and appeared to manipulate evidence filed to a judge. Those could pose bigger problems for her, ethics experts said.
Sidney Powell has made a name for herself in recent weeks filing numerous lawsuits contending that the 2020 presidential election was a farce, often making outlandish and false claims.

Powell was kicked off of Trump's own legal team in November after she floated conspiracy theories at a press conference with Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis. Giuliani and Ellis remain on the campaign's "Elite Strike Force," which has so far won zero legal challenges against the election results.

Now, she is striking out on her own. Powell's law firm has brought four lawsuits in Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

The "Kraken" lawsuits, as she's called them, all rehash the same argument: That voting machines switched votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, and that the states should declare Trump the true winner of their electoral votes.

The lawsuits have a lot of flaws. All of them include numerous typos and basic factual errors in the complaints and exhibits attached to them. Some of them list plaintiffs who say they didn't consent to be members of the cases. A major figure in the dubious QAnon conspiracy theory movement is cited as a cybersecurity expert to bolster her claims. And she may have even altered an exhibit to boost some of her arguments.

Critics have called for Giuliani to lose his law license over the Trump campaign's election lawsuits. And since she left Giuliani's side, Powell's own lawsuits have made considerably more outré claims than the Trump campaign's.

Powell's actions in court and in the public sphere could put her at risk of sanctions. Disbarment is the harshest sanction she could receive, but it's also possible that one of the judges can refer her to receive a lesser sanction, like a reprimand, legal ethics experts told Insider. Lawyers for the city of Detroit have asked the judge to issue sanctions against Powell for her failed lawsuit in Michigan.

... "Many people believe the line has been crossed. But the result has been that the lawsuits are being dismissed pretty quickly by the court," Jacobowitz said. "And then the up question is, when does somebody get penalized beyond having cases dismissed?

Pentagon advisor resigns in protest, saying the Trump administration is putting the nation 'at risk' by purging posts to fill them with loyalists
  • One of the few members of the Defense Business Board, a Pentagon advisory group, to survive a recent purge has resigned in protest, CNN first reported.
  • In his resignation letter, Steve Blank wrote that Trump administration, by the purging of advisory boards and filling them with Trump allies, has "put the nation's safety and security at risk."
  • The purge of the Defense Business Board last week followed the removal of most of the Defense Policy Board late last month.
  • The Trump administration has also purged much of the Pentagon's civilian leadership, clearing the way for loyalists to fill top posts.

Georgia recertifies election results, affirming Biden’s victory.
Georgia’s secretary of state Monday recertified the results of the state’s presidential race after another recount reaffirmed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over President Trump, the third time that results showed that Mr. Trump had lost the state.

The announcement delivered an important punctuation mark to a tumultuous postelection campaign in the state by Mr. Trump and his allies to subvert the outcome of the election there, which caused infighting and name-calling among some Republicans.

“We have now counted legally cast ballots three times, and the results remain unchanged,” Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Monday morning. The results of the machine recount on the secretary of state’s website show Mr. Biden with a lead of about 12,000 votes.

Mr. Raffensperger’s announcement came less than 48 hours after Mr. Trump appeared in the state at a rally intended to support Georgia’s two Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are locked in high-stakes runoff races. The president, however, spent much of his appearance airing grievances over his losses to Mr. Biden in Georgia and elsewhere, claiming falsely, as he has for more than a month, that fraudulent voting had stolen the election from him.

Mr. Biden has prevailed in three counts of the vote in Georgia: the initial election tally; a manual hand recount of over five million ballots ordered by the state; and the latest recount, which was requested by Mr. Trump’s campaign and completed by machines.

Mr. Raffensperger on Monday chastised both Mr. Trump and Stacey Abrams, the 2018 candidate for governor who acknowledged her loss but who claimed that her race was rendered fundamentally unfair because of Republican-designed policies that Democrats have described as voter suppression efforts. Some of Ms. Abrams’s supporters have claimed that the race was stolen from her.

“All this talk of a stolen election, whether it’s Stacey Abrams or the president of the United States, is hurting our state,” Mr. Raffensperger said.

He also said that he would support legislation offering “a major reform of our election processes” in the coming state legislative session.

Trump suggests Rudy Giuliani's crusade to overturn the election results is 'more important' than when he led New York's 9/11 response
  • President Donald Trump said Monday that Rudy Giuliani's campaign to overturn the 2020 election results is "more important" than his tenure as mayor of New York, when he oversaw the city's response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • "Greatest mayor in the history of New York, and what he's doing now is more important, and he will admit that," Trump told reporters.
  • Giuliani was widely praised for his management of New York's response to 9/11 and was nicknamed "America's mayor" as a result.
  • But his public image has cratered in recent years as he's made headlines for spinning incoherent conspiracy theories; accidentally implicating Trump on national television; participating in a pressure campaign that got his client impeached; and interacting with foreign intelligence operatives.
  • Most recently, Giuliani has spearheaded the Trump campaign's flailing legal effort to nullify the 2020 election results but hasn't managed to win a single case so far.

Republican lawmaker says the GOP under Trump is 'advocating for crap' he never could've predicted
  • GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the GOP under Trump has "advocated for crap" he never would've dreamed of, according to The Hill.
  • The Air Force veteran was referring to Trump's recent decision to yank US troops out of Afghanistan before he leaves office in January and the GOP's relative silence on the matter.
  • Kinzinger also said that the tone of the Republican party needs to change moving forward.
  • "I think ultimately people are going to recognize the tone has to change," the Illinois lawmaker told The Hill.
  • In addition to being among the few Republicans willing to openly criticize Trump, Kinzinger is on the short list of GOP lawmakers who've recognized Joe Biden as president-elect.
"I mean we're advocating for crap now that I never would have imagined ... When Trump says he's going to in essence recklessly pull out of Afghanistan, there's only a handful of us that even say anything about that," said Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran.

"If [former President Barack] Obama would have done the exact same thing, we'd be outraged," the Illinois Republican added.

Peter Navarro Repeatedly Violated the Hatch Act, Watchdog Agency Finds
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro repeatedly and knowingly broke the law by engaging in political campaigning while appearing in his official capacity, the Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog agency, said in a report Monday.

Navarro becomes one of more than a dozen Trump administration officials who have been found to have violated the Hatch Act, which restricts government employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

The Office of Special Counsel concluded that Navarro attempted to influence the 2020 election this fall during at least six media interviews where he repeatedly attacked and disparaged then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. Navarro also employed his Twitter account, which he uses for official purposes, to engage in partisan attacks against Biden.

The office sent its findings to President Donald Trump, referring Navarro to him for "appropriate disciplinary action." The president is generally responsible for doling out consequences to White House officials who violate the Hatch Act.

The Trump administration and the president himself, however, have shown little regard for the law or the Office of Special Counsel's findings. Trump did not fire former adviser Kellyanne Conway when the watchdog agency recommended he do so after finding that Conway violated the Hatch Act multiple times.

Trump pledged to stop 'endless wars' but his airstrikes in Afghanistan increased civilian deaths by 330% since 2016
  • Civilian deaths from airstrikes in Afghanistan rose drastically during the Trump era, according to a new study from Brown University's Costs of War project.
  • "The number of civilians killed by international airstrikes increased about 330 percent from 2016, the last full year of the Obama Administration, to 2019," the study said.
Civilian deaths skyrocketed in Afghanistan under President Donald Trump, whose administration relaxed the rules of engagement for airstrikes in 2017, according to a new study from the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

... Airstrikes killed 700 civilians in Afghanistan in 2019 alone, more than any other year since the early days of the war in 2002, according to the study. "There were more weapons dropped from the air in 2018 and 2019 than at the height of US presence in Afghanistan in 2011," the report stated.

The US, its allies, and the Afghan government killed an average of 582 civilians per year from 2007 to 2016. The annual average of civilians killed rose by nearly 95% from 2017 through 2019 to 1,134 each year.

... Trump pledged to stop "endless wars" during his 2016 campaign and he's moved to drastically reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan before he leaves office in January. But the new Costs of War study suggests the war in Afghanistan in many ways only escalated for the Afghan people under Trump's watch.

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.