What Donald Trump’s Early Morning Tweets Mean

Morning Must Reads: September 30

If you only read one thing: You’ve heard the saying that “elections are decided on middle of the night tweets,” right? Donald Trump sure thinks so. The Republican presidential nominee awoke from his slumber to send missives at 3:20 a.m., 5:14 a.m., 5:19 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. Friday morning that: called a former Latina Miss Universe “disgusting,” hyped her “sex tape and past,” suggested without evidence that Hillary Clinton helped the woman, Alicia Machado, become a U.S. citizen just so she could play a role in attacking Trump, said Clinton was “conned” by Machado, called her “his worst” Miss Universe and attacked the press for quoting “sources” in his campaign. The pre-dawn tirade was the latest display of the candidate’s stunning lack of political discipline. For weeks, Republican operatives have touted how Trump has grown more responsible with his words—largely because he has been contained to a teleprompter. But now with 39 days until Election Day, Trump is just playing into the Clinton campaign’s hand. There is no apparently no longer a political strategy being displayed by the GOP nominee—only score-settling.

Hillary Clinton responded to Trump’s tweetstorm with one of her own, highlighting past cases of Trump’s insults for women and minorities. “When something gets under Donald’s thin skin, he lashes out and can’t let go. This is dangerous for a president,” she tweeted, adding that Trump is “pathetic.”

Donald Trump is retreating to the safe space of conservative media and canned rallies and avoiding the press whose limelight he sought out for more than a year. Trump hasn’t held a press conference in two months—after bashing Clinton for avoiding the same. But even in those interviews, Trump hasn’t been able to avoid missteps.

A Trump deposition is set to be released. Trump’s cyborg army. And Clinton’s vote strategy.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

How Hillary Clinton’s Allies Are Expanding the Vote Behind the Scenes
An under-the-radar strategy that could decide the election, TIME’s Sam Frizell reports

The Election Is in 40 Days. But Hillary Clinton Is Already Working to Bank Votes Now.
TIME’s Philip Elliott on Clinton’s early vote strategy

Donald Trump Urges Followers To Check Out Alicia Machado’s ‘Sex Tape’
TIME’s Tessa Berenson on Trump’s early-morning tweet storm

Clinton’s ‘Nasty’ Trump Ads Are Mostly His Own Words
Candidate is his own worst enemy [Associated Press]

Trump Foundation Lacks the Certification Required for Charities That Solicit Money
May be forced to return money [Washington Post]

Sound Off

“An impeachment for lying. Remember that? Impeach.” — Donald Trump wading into Bill Clinton’s past at a rally in New Hampshire

“I’m not going to comment on how he runs his campaign. You’ll be able to see as we have two more debates.” — Hillary Clinton asked about the prospect of Trump bringing up her husband’s past

Bits and Bites

Democrats fret over Hillary Clinton ground game in Florida [Tampa Bay Times]

David Duke Says He and Donald Trump Have the Same Message [TIME]

Read President Obama’s Moving Eulogy for Shimon Peres [TIME]

Inside Trump’s ‘cyborg’ Twitter army [Politico]

Chuck Todd to Trump spokesman: ‘Why are you creating a reality that does not exist?’ [Politico]

Donald Trump, press-shy? The once ubiquitous candidate is moving away from media [Washington Post]

Trump deposition video set for release [Politico]

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