President Trump raised new questions about his Administration’s commitment to the response and recovery of Puerto Rico Thursday, when he highlighted the island’s trouble fiscal conditions and stated that federal resources wouldn’t be in place permanently. “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” Trump tweeted. The comments were undoubtedly accurate, but tonally they appeared to many to be off base — particularly with more than 80% of the territory still without power three weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall. It is the latest wrinkle in Trump’s difficult embrace of the role of comforter-in-chief, as he has often been slow to show empathy in the wake of disasters.
Trump also inflamed his war against the news media, as he suggested that media licenses be revoked over news coverage he doesn’t like. The factual questions about plausibility aside, Trump’s broadside against one of the core Constitutional protections was striking. “Mr. President: Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment?” tweeted Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, a frequent Administration critic.
The fight over free speech on campus. Reading the NAFTA tea-leaves. And FEMA defends its hurricane response.
Here are your must reads:
Trump Unleashes Himself From Would-Be Handlers
Lashing out mornings, nights and weekends [LA Times]
The Fight Over Free Speech on Campus Isn’t Just About Free Speech
A fundamental conflict on campuses across the country [TIME]
Trump’s Tough Talk on Nafta Suggests Pact’s Demise Is Imminent
Would have far-reaching economic implications [New York Times]
Trump Escalates Threats Against Press, Calls News Coverage ‘Frankly Disgusting’
Questions First Amendment freedoms [Washington Post]
President’s Lawyers May Offer Mueller a Meeting With Trump
Looking to speed Mueller’s Russia probe and show openness, the president’s legal team might soon volunteer a chance for the special counsel to interview Trump [Politico]
“Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” — President Trump on Twitter Thursday
“It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” — Trump to reporters Wednesday
Bits and Bites
We Asked Facebook 12 Questions About the Election, and Got 5 Answers [New York Times]
Obama to Campaign in Virginia Gubernatorial Race [Associated Press]