Donald Trump lost last night, and I won.

On July 11 of 2017, I was walking with half a dozen teenage girls across the quad at Miss Porter's School toward the dining hall. They were my camp counselors - Miss Porters' students who were helping me teach about 25 other girls from around the world about writing, speaking,  and storytelling. We were heading to the dining hall in the waning sun of the late afternoon when I looked down at my phone and saw that Donald Trump had blocked me on Twitter. 

I had sent a tweet at Donald Trump earlier that day that read:

Proposal: If you take healthcare away from 23 million Americans, you must also give up your healthcare until those Americans have coverage.

Less than a minute later, Trump tweeted and then blocked me. I was probably near the top of his feed at that moment. My tweet had received hundreds of likes and replies and had already been retweeted 30 times. I also have a verified Twitter account (the blue check mark), indicating that I am a personality of sorts and an actual human being, making my presence weightier on the platform.

I was so angry, "Damn it," I said. I couldn't believe that the President of the United States had stopped me from receiving what he had already said was "official statements:" from the White House. My pipeline to power had been cut off, and I was enraged.  

One of the girls asked what was wrong, and I explained. Then they spontaneously burst into cheers and laughter, dancing around me, grabbing my hands and twisting me like a maypole. "I'm so proud of you," one of them shouted. "This is amazing," another one said. "You poked the beast!"

They turned that moment around for me pretty quickly. 

In the spring of this year, I joined The Knight Foundation's lawsuit against Donald Trump in an attempt to force him to remove his block on my account. I joined 41 Twitter users, including several journalists and writer (who I adore) Bess Kalb, in this attempt after the Knight Foundation had already won their first case on behalf of seven other plaintiffs in May of this year. 

Last night, on the eve before I begin my 20th year of teaching, I was finally unblocked by the President of the United States.

We won. 

I immediately sent this tweet: 

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It's not much. I can read Donald Trump's tweets with ease and respond to him directly as I wish. Will he ever see my response?

Maybe. He's seen it before. 

But it's not much. It won't help the families who have been separated at the border or the middle class families who are being fleeced by the Republican tax bill. It won't save the environment that is being plundered and destroyed by Republican deregulation. It won't restore America's standing on the world stage. it won't honor the legacy of John McCain or restore the rights of my LGBTQ friends.

It won't keep white nationalists and Nazis off our streets, and it won't bring Heather Heyer back to life. 

But it's something. I agreed to stand up, make my name known, and stand in defiance to this ignorant, racist, self-dealing Presidency, and for a moment, Donald Trump was forced to capitulate. Stand down. Back off.

It felt good to know that a man who seeks authoritarian power and routinely ignores the rule of law was forced to do something he had previously refused to do. I played an infinitesimally small part in the course of his Presidency. For a moment, I made him do something he didn't want to do. I made him follow the rule of law.  

I annoyed him.

It's not nearly enough. But add it to the marches that Elysha and I attend with our children, our donations to organizations like the ACLU, our support of political candidates who stand against this administration, our phone calls and letters, and most importantly, our votes, and maybe it's something. 

Not enough on our own, but with enough of our fellow Americans standing alongside us, perhaps more than enough.  

It also felt good, and that's important, too. In this age of Trump, it's hard to feel hopeless, helpless, and useless. It's easy to hear about the latest atrocity committed by the President and feel like our country is spiraling into an abyss. It's so easy to just give up.  

Self care is important. Finding ways of doing good and feeling good are essential. This was one of those ways. 

I was a participant in a lawsuit against the President of the United States, and we won. 

I can't imagine a better start to my school year. 

Trump vs. Me

I received some good news today. 

Back in July of 2017, I was blocked by Donald Trump on Twitter after tweeting at him: 

While there are ways to get around a block and see Trump's Twitter feed, the block prevents me from ever commenting on any of his tweets or tweeting directly at him. I was teaching about 25 girls from around the world at a private school on the day that I was blocked, and upon hearing that I was blocked, they broke into a spontaneous, joyous dance around me, seeing this as a badge of honor and a reason to celebrate. 

It was a beautiful moment, but I was still upset. 

It wasn't right. 

This week The Knight Foundation, whose attorneys represented the plaintiffs in the Knight Institute v. Trump lawsuit, which alleged that the President’s actions in blocking individuals from the @realDonaldTrump account violated the First Amendment, contacted me.

On May 23, 2018, the judge in the case ruled in favor of The Knight Foundation and their clients and issued an order declaring that blocking the plaintiffs from @realDonaldTrump because they criticized him in reply tweets violated the First Amendment.  

Following that decision, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were unblocked. 

I sent an email to the Knight Foundation a few months ago, asking if I could join the lawsuit or become involved in some way. This week, an attorney from the Knight Foundation replied, offering to forward my information to the Department of Justice for the purposes of getting me and other Americans in my situation unblocked as well.  

No guarantees that it will happen. Thus far Trump has only lifted the block on the nine defendants in the case, but it's a start.

Either way, it'll probably make a good story one day. 

The President of the United States relied on scripted empathy

Just in case you missed it, a Washington Post photographer managed to take this picture of the notes that Trump was holding while speaking to the parents of victims and survivors of gun violence in America's schools. 

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Note #5 on the list:

"I hear you."

This is real. It's also terrifying.

Trump must rely on scripted empathy. Apparently a phrase like, "I hear you," was not immediately available to him. The narcissistic, egomaniacal, thin-skinned ignoramus is apparently not capable of expression empathy without the help of a staff member. 

Can you imagine another human being on the planet who would need help empathizing with the survivor of the Parkland shooting or the parent of the Sandy Hook victim?

Trump can't be banned from Twitter, but then he shouldn't be able to block me, either.

As you may know, the President has blocked me on Twitter. 

Shortly after I fired off three successive tweets at him this summer about his failure to produce his promised tax returns, Trump tweeted some inane nonsense to the world and then blocked three people (likely the three at the top of his feed), including me. 

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I was outraged. I remain outraged. Yes, I can still see his tweets via an alternate account or a variety of browser settings, but I am no longer able access his Twitter feed via my primary Twitter feed, and this means I can no longer tweet at him or respond to him as me.

More egregious, in 2017, then Presidential spokesperson Sean Spicer said that Trump's tweets amount to "official statements from the President." Therefore, I am also being denied access to the President's official statements because he is a thin-skinned, ignorant coward who cannot handle criticism of any kind. 

When you don't clap at his speech, he calls you a traitor, for example.  

In January of 2018, after Trump seemed to be goading North Korea into a nuclear clash via Twitter, an argument was made that Twitter bans users all the time for making similarly threatening and endangering remarks. 

Why not Trump? 

Twitter responded to these inquiries as it has with similar calls to ban Trump from the platform for similarly egregious tweets:

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.”

Fine, but then this:

If Twitter is concerned about the dissemination of the important information from world leaders and therefore exempts them from any possible ban, then Twitter should also be concerned about the hundreds and perhaps thousands of Americans who Trump has blocked, including me, who have also been denied this "important information."

If you want to argue that world leaders cannot be banned from Twitter because the information they provide is too important to hide, then world leaders should be prevented from blocking citizens from this same important information. 

This would be a fair, logical, and sensible policy that would afford world leaders the benefits that Twitter believes is necessary while also providing some basic rights for the citizenry of the world as well.

Why Twitter has not taken this step baffles me. Are they afraid of our vindictive, man-child President? Do they worry that he might abandon the Twitter platform for Snapchat? Or is the company run by hypocrites who don't give a damn about the dissemination of important information? 

I would really like to know. 

The offer of a golden toilet seems just right

If you're looking to make a charitable donation to a worthy organization, might I suggest you consider the Guggenheim Museum in New York?

Thanks to a recently leaked email, when the White House emailed the Guggenheim in September and asked to borrow Vincent Van Gogh's 1888 painting "Landscape with Snow," the curator made a counteroffer:

A fully functional 18-karat gold toilet.

The toilet is an interactive work titled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country.

It might not seem like much, but institutions like the Guggenheim art can play a role in refusing to normalize this Presidency, which is important.

Other examples:

Obama's inaugural concert featured Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, U2, and Stevie Wonder, with speeches and readings by Jack Black, Steve Carell, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashley Judd, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah, Laura Linney, George Lopez, Marisa Tomei, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker and Tiger Woods.

Trump's inaugural concert featured Lee Greenwood, Three Doors Down, and a speech by Jon Voight.  

Trump also declined the traditional Presidential invitation to the Kennedy Center Honors for fear of backlash, and he refused to attend his own White House Correspondence Dinner, becoming the first President since Reagan to weasel out of this annual event. 

He has also declined to be interviewed prior to this year's Super Bowl, making him the first President in 17 years to skip this tradition.

Add to this his historically low rating for his recent State of the Union address, his historcally low approval rating, and the enormous number of Republican Senators and Congressmen who have announced their retirements prior to the 2018 midterm election, and it's clear that as much as Trump wants to claim victory at every turn, this is not a normal Presidency, and America and its institutions are working hard not to normalize it.

Including offering him a golden toilet instead of a Van Gogh.

These things also make Trump look stupid and sad, which ain't a bad outcome, either.   

My kind of protest

My favorite things in the world are those that make me joyous while making the people who I despise sad or angry. 

This protest by multimedia artist Robin Bell, projected onto the facade of Trump Tower in Washington, DC on Saturday night, manages to hit this sweet spot perfectly.  

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Added to my joy is the suddenly plunge in Yelp scores at Trump hotels across the world as scores of protesters are leaving one and two star reviews with hilarious comments. 

Yelp has begun removing these fictitious reviews, but for a while, Trump hotels were rated at the bottom of the barrel, which must've made the petulant man-child very angry. 

Oddly, it's also been pointed out that the word "shithole" is an anagram for "His hotel."

It would seem that even the universe is fight back in subtle and amusing ways.  

One tweet. Four deliberate, purposeful lies.

This tweet got a little loss in the political firestorm of the last couple days, which is understandable. Not only did Trump disparage Haiti and refer to African countries as "shitholes," but he managed this act of indecency on the eight year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake and on the cusp of Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend. 

Timing is everything, I guess.

Still take a look at this tweet:

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The real reason that Trump has cancelled his London trip is out of fear of massive protests (a fact the White House reported before Trump attempted to change the narrative) , but in addition to this lie, the tweet contains three other lies. 

  1. President Bush sold the former embassy and initiated the move. NOT Barack Obama.  
  2. The sale of the former embassy paid for the new embassy, so the price of the new embassy is irrelevant. It didn't cost American taxpayers a dime. 
  3. The move was made for security reasons. The former embassy was not deemed safe and secure enough for our diplomats, so a change was necessary.

His tweet was so inaccurate and disparaging that the US embassy in the United Kingdom put out a press release correcting his lies. 

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With any other President, a statement containing three deliberate lies in order to support a fourth lie would be an scandal of enormous proportions, but Trump lies so often and with such impunity from his party or supporters that this tweet is all but forgotten amidst the hundreds of other lies and racist remarks. 

These are not normal times, even though a small but still astounding 36% of Americans continue to support this racist, coward, and serial liar.  

It's hard to understand. 

These are the kinds of words that Americans yearn to hear

I'm a harsh critic when it comes to speeches and monologues. I often hear that a speech is "amazing" or "remarkable" or "inspiring," only to be let down by something that fails to reach the level of the shouted superlatives. 

This is not the case.

Anderson Cooper's brief monologue in response to Trump's disgusting, indecent, and un-American comments on Haiti and other countries is moving, captivating, and brilliant. 

Take two minutes and watch. Please. 

A bunch of old, white men are determining the course of our nation

You'll be pleased to know that Trump and the Republican leadership met at Camp David this weekend to set their 2018 legislative agenda, and once again, the GOP made sure that a diversity of voices were heard.

Nine old, white, male Republican leaders, including Trump and Pence, were joined by Paul Ryan, who is also male and white but only middle aged.

He's only 47 years old.  

Republican diversity at work, my friends. And they were once again dumb enough to emphasize this point by posing behind Trump at the conclusion of the weekend. 

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This Trump tweet is 50 words long but says so much more.

I don't think it's wise to parse the words of someone as erratic and incompetent as Donald Trump, but this recent tweet is a real doozy and demands a little scrutiny. 

Take a look. 

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Let's dig in.

First, we have the President claiming that the book is boring. But the only way to determine if a book is boring is to actually read the book, which we know Trump did not do because:

  • Trump doesn't read.
  • Trump tweeted this less than 24 hours after the book was published. Even if he did read books (and he doesn't), he didn't have time to read a book of this length over the course of a day, especially while serving as President.  

It's both strange and disconcerting that Trump would not see the transparency of this obvious lie.

Second, we have the President claiming that Wolff "made up stories" to sell this "untruthful" book. But Trump knows that Wolff, who reputation for the truth is admittedly not pristine, has recordings of many of the conversations used to write this book.

Is he hoping Wolff won't release these recordings or allow a third party to listen for verification?

Even worse, we know most of these stories to be true already. They are consistent with reporting emerging from the West Wing all year. Sources have been leaking this kind of information about Trump and his staff ever since Trump took office. While the book is a bombshell, it's not exactly entirely new information.   

Also, why doesn't Trump realize that every time he criticizes this book or attacks the author, Wolff sells more books? This should be exceptionally obvious, and yet Trump continues to attack. First, he ineffectually sued to prevent the book's publication (which only results in the publisher releasing the book four days earlier), and since then, he has criticized it verbally and on Twitter again and again.

It's going to be a New York Times #1 bestseller, thanks in large part to Trump. 

I can only pray that Trump would attack one of my books with equal ferocity. 

Now we get to the most interesting and incomprehensible aspect of this tweet. Trump says:

"He used Sloppy Steve Bannon, who cried when he got fired and begged for his job."

There is so much here. 

  1. If Wolff "used Steve Bannon," who had unfettered access to the West Wing as Trump's chief strategist for most of 2017, then Wolff had at least one very significant source for this book, and Trump just acknowledged it.  
  2. When Bannon left the White House in late August, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that it was a "mutual decision." Trump had nothing but praise for Bannon at the time. So was Sanders lying about this mutual decision? Was Trump lying about his effusive praise? Does Trump not see that reversing a story four months later makes him and his spokesperson a liar back then or a liar now? 
  3. How does telling the world that someone cried as you terminated their employment make you look like anything other than a despicable, reprehensible, untrustworthy human being? How does anyone ever work for a man who would do this kind of thing? When has any employer in the history of the world revealed that an employee cried in response to being fired? Does Trump not realize that revealing that Bannon cried only serves to make Bannon seem more human and Trump appear even more rotten than before?
  4. Does anyone really believe that Bannon cried? Anyone? 

Then Trump says that Bannon has been "dumped like a dog" by almost everyone. 

Who dumps dogs? 

Dumped like a bag of steaming garbage? Sure. 
Dumped like a bad habit? Fine.
But who dumps man's best friend? Apparently Trump does. 

Then Trump closes with "Too bad!" 

What does this mean?

  • Is Trump reflecting back upon his and Steve's previously joyous moments in the Oval Office?
  • Is he expressing regret for the deterioration of their relationship?
  • Is he worried about the future financial viability of his one time friend? 
  • Or is it the "Too bad!" of a sarcastic, middle school bully who is purposefully deflecting emotional attachment and feelings while trying to hurt another?

According to the many accounts in Wolff's book, it's the latter. The one consistent theme running throughout the book is that Trump acts like a petulant child in need of immediate gratification. As a result, these final two words of this tweet only serve to further support the case for the book and its accuracy.  

This petulant, angry, insulting, defensive, untruthful tweet was written by the President of the United States. This is how he spends his time. This is how he serves the American people.

I'd tell Trump how I feel about his tweet directly, but he blocked me on Twitter earlier this year. 

Damn coward. 

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Trump isn't fit to clean toilets

In response to Trump's tweet earlier this week about Senator Gillibrand:

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USA Today's Editorial Board wrote:

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush. 

USA Today is generally considered to occupy the center in terms of its political leanings, and it does not formally endorse political candidates. 

But these are not normal times, and the editors of USA Today recognize this. 

I thank them for breaking from tradition, responding to this truth, and taking a stand. While I would not characterize my blog as political, I am writing more about politics now than ever before, simply because these are not normal times in America. 

This is not a normal President.

And yes, I would agree. Donald Trump is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

Guest post: Daniel Dale's Twitter feed

Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, tweeted the following thread that I have cut and pasted here in the event you don't use Twitter or didn't see it on Twitter.

It's fantastic.
________________________________

Here is a thread about Donald Trump getting hilariously lost in his own lying. 

This is what Trump told radio host Mike Gallagher last week:

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So Trump starts with a lie: that Rasmussen had his approval rating at 46% or 47% that day. He was actually at 41% that day.

Then Trump adds a second lie: that 47%, an approval rating he does not have, is an approval rating that makes re-election guaranteed.

He is not content with that. He must boast about his superiority to Obama. And this is where he loses control of his own nonsense.

He says...Obama left office with an approval rating lower than his own. "46%." This is a third lie.

In fact, Obama left with a much higher approval rating than Trump's imaginary 47%: Obama had 62% final approval in Rasmussen.

But anyway, Trump is stuck - he said Obama's approval was almost identical to his own! And he adds, scrambling, "So he was very popular."

But oh no. Trump has gone wrong. He has now called Barack Obama "very popular." He must correct this.

So he adds, in the mocking tone of a middle schooler: "If you call that popular."

OK wait: he had just said 46% or 47% is his own awesome rating. Now he is mocking the idea that that is a good rating. Because Obama.

In sum: Trump went from bragging about his fake 47% to mocking a fake Obama 46% that is 5 points higher than his own actual rating, 41%.

This concludes today's episode of One Paragraph Of Donald Trump Talking.

Trump's boycott list does not make America great at all

Over the course of his Presidency, Donald Trump has asked the American people to boycott the following corporations and entities:

The Hamilton musical
Oreos
Apple
Netflix
Amazon
The entire state of Hawaii
Nordstrom
Budweiser
Starbucks
The National Football League

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For the minority of Americans who support Donald Trump, America is becoming a far less entertaining and amusing place. 

Honestly, it must suck. 

For the rest of us, America has been a far less entertaining and amusing place since election day. Thankfully, we still have the warm embrace of our Oreos, our Netflix, and Amazon Prime to comfort us.  

A Trump supporter has found his bridge-too-far, and it's pathetic

Former NFL head coach turned television analyst Rex Ryan was on ESPN's pregame show on Sunday. Ryan was a vocal Trump supporter during the election, going so far as to introduce him at a rally in Buffalo, NY.

On Sunday, in a conversation about Donald Trump's comments about football players kneeling for the anthem, Ryan said:

"I supported Donald Trump. But I'm reading these comments, and it's appalling to me, and I'm sure it's appalling to almost any citizen in our country. it should be. Calling our players SOB's and all that kind of stuff... "

Sure, Rex, because during the election, this wasn't quite enough to turn you off to Trump:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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It's good to see that someone like Rex Ryan has finally come to realize that maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump is not a decent, reasonable, honorable defender of the Constitution.   

It's just a shame that he was able to look past the bragging about sexual assault, the denigrating of Mexican immigrants, an attack on a United States war hero, and his blatant bigotry.

Not to mention Trump's attack on Gold Star families, his lies about Muslims celebrating on rooftops on 9/11, his broken promise to release his tax returns, his failure to understand concepts as critical as the nuclear triad, and the way he stole money from hard working Americans via Trump University.    

All that was fine. No big deal.

But call a football player a son-of-a-bitch?

In the words of Rex Ryan, "appalling."

No, Rex. The most appalling part of his whole disaster was your willingness to look past all of these atrocities and support a candidate who was morally and ethically unfit for office.  

My favorite billboard

The billboard is up on Southern Boulevard, which is one of the only streets that links directly to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

With Hurricane Irma now battering Florida, my thoughts are with everyone whose lives and property are at risk from this cataclysmic storm.  

My thoughts are also with this particular billboard. Envisioning how angry Donald Trump must be knowing how close it sits to his property and how visible it must be to every guest driving up to his resort warms my heart.

I'd hate to learn that it was lost in the storm. 

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Trump's "real" job numbers

On the wake of a less than stellar jobs report, Trump has been touting his "million jobs created" in the first half of 2017.

One million jobs sounds great. But look at the first half of 2017 job creation in comparison to previous years:

2013: 1.12 million

2014: 1.50 million

2015: 1.39 million

2016: 1.24 million

2017: 1.07 million

One million Americans finding work is fantastic. But it's also the fewest number of new jobs created during the first half of the year in five years, so a little perspective, please.

Admittedly not Trump's forte.

Also, thank you President Obama. 

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Call it a lie when it's a lie.

In a Wall Street Journal interview this week, Trump claimed that the head of the Boy Scouts called him to heap praise on the politically aggressive speech Trump delivered at the Scouts’ national jamboree last week.

“I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them,” Trump said.

At that point, all but the blindest of Trump supporters already knew he was lying. 

The Boy Scouts confirmed these suspicions. “We are unaware of any such call,” the Boy Scouts responded in a statement. They went on to specify that neither Boy Scout President Randall Stephenson nor Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh placed such a call.

Faced with this unequivocal denial, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that no phone call had taken place but said “multiple members of the Boy Scout leadership” approached Trump in person after the speech and “offered quite powerful compliments.”

Sanders explained the discrepancy Wednesday by saying Trump misspoke when he described the conversations as calls.

“The conversations took place,” she said. “They just simply didn’t take place over a phone call.”

In other words, he lied the first time. And he probably lied about the "quite powerful compliments" about "the greatest speech ever," too, considering the Boy Scouts apologized for subjecting the boys to his bizarre tirade. 

No, he definitely lied about that, too. He lies. He lies and lies and lies.

Even worse, his lies are so sad. He's lying about nonexistent compliments. He's lying in the hopes that people will like him more. He's lying because there is obviously something broken or missing inside of him that requires him to invent these self-serving statements. 

He did the same thing later that day when he claimed to have received a call from Mexican President Peña Nieto.

"Even the president of Mexico called me. Their southern border, they said very few people are coming because they know they're not going to get to our border, which is the ultimate compliment."

Sanders was later forced to admit that the call didn't happen. Her explanation:

Trump was actually referring to an in-person chat with the Mexican president last month at the Group 20 Summit in Hamburg even though Trump implied that the phone just happened.

So he lied. Again. Attempting to praise himself in the process.   

We should not be surprised. 

As you probably remember, in the 1990's, Trump would frequently pose as fictional publicist  "John Miller" or "John Barron" in order to say flattering things about himself

More than 25 years later, Trump would name his son Barron. Apparently his fondness for the name did not wane. 

Trump publicly acknowledged and apologized for these lies back then but denies it today.   

Another lie. 

Here's what I'd like:

I want the media to stop using phrases like "misleading statements" or "false statements" or "corrected statements. I just want them to say,

"Trump lied. The Boy Scouts never called."
"Trump lied. The Mexican government never called."
"Trump lied. He admitted to masquerading as a publicist in the 1990's and now denies it."

I want them to use the word "lie" when appropriate. 

Republican Congressmen threaten female Senators with violence. This is not normal.

In the last three days, Republican men in the House have threatened their female Senate colleagues with shooting and beating.

ON MSNBC, Rep. Buddy Carter said on Lisa Murkowski: "Somebody needs to go over there to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass."

Apparently, "snatch a knot in their ass" means to hit someone in punishment or retribution for a wrongdoing. 

The day before, Rep. Blake Farenthold blamed “some female senators from the Northeast” for holding up the healthcare vote process and said that “if it was a guy from south Texas, I might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style.”

Farenthold is referring to the historic duel in which Vice President Burr mortally wounded Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in 1804. 

This is a photo (no joke) of Blake Farenthold, by the way, taken in 2010. I thought it might give you a sense of the man.

Murkowski, who voted with Collins against starting the healthcare debate this week, was also specifically called out by President Trump on Twitter and told by a Cabinet official that she and Alaska "could suffer" for her choice. 

I don't agree with them politically on many issues, but Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have consistently been the only two Republican Senators blocking repeal of healthcare from tens of millions of Americans. Other men and women have joined their fight then abandoned it given the day and time, but these two women have remained staunch and principled throughout this process. 

History will recognize them as heroes who stood as against their party and in favor of the American people. 

It's important to note that it's not normal for a member of Congress to even suggest in jest that a disagreement be settled with a duel.

It's not normal for a member of Congress to even suggest in jest that someone should be physically assaulted for voting their conscience. 

This only happens when you elect a President who brags about sexual assault. 

This only happens when you elect a President who suggests that it would be better if protesters were carried out on stretchers.

This only happens when you elect a President who tweets juvenile videos of himself tackling and beating a man with a CNN box superimposed over his head.

These sad, pathetic little men are responsible for their comments, of course, but they also feel emboldened enough to make comments like these because the President has so willingly condoned violence.  

It's a terrible thing, and it should concern us all. We have already seen how Trump's violent and misogynistic rhetoric has filtered down to members of Congress.

Where else might men now feel emboldened enough to speak and even act like this?

Words matter. We need to remain vigilant. We need to rally around those who are intimidated or threatened by people in positions of power. We need to stand against rhetoric that condones, promotes, or exemplifies violence in any way.  

Trump stomped on tradition at the 2017 Boy Scout National Jamboree.

Yesterday Donald Trump spoke at the Boy Scout's National Jamboree. This is a standing invitation to every United States President.

Seven of the last eleven Presidents have taken the Scouts up on their offer since the Jamboree began in 1937.

None of those seven Presidents ever took the opportunity to turn a day of celebration into a political rally, but that did not stop Trump from doing so. Over the course of his speech, Trump:

  1. Bragged about his Electoral victory
  2. Complained about loyalty in his administration
  3. Bragged about his "Michigan strategy" during the election 
  4. Attacked the "fake media" and "fake news"
  5. Disparaged President Obama
  6. Disparaged Hillary Clinton
  7. Threatened local politicians about the upcoming healthcare vote

I was a Boy Scout for all of my childhood, and in many ways, it might have been the best thing to happen to me as a kid.

As an adult, I have served as an assistant Scoutmaster and am a member of Camp Yawgoog's alumni association. It's an imperfect organization, to be sure, and there are many things about the organization that I don't like, but it's also an organization that I love and hope my son will love someday, too. 

What Donald Trump did yesterday disgusts me. Not only did he trample on decades of tradition, but he did so for no conceivable reason.

Why turn a speech to thousands of boys into a political rally? 

The Boy Scouts are explicitly apolitical. They do not endorse political candidates. Scouts are not permitted to wear uniforms at political events. Scouts are specifically taught to never make their service about politics. 

Trump did this for the reason he does so many things: In service of himself. He had an opportunity to address thousands of boys, and instead of inspiring them, he talked about himself. He bragged about himself.  

I'm disgusted on a daily basis by the actions and words of this man, but this one hit home for me especially hard. Every year boys gather to celebrate this organization that they love, and Trump treated it as if they were gathering for him. He turned a Boy Scout Jamboree into a self-flagellating rally of for his own ego. 

I am not going to be surprised by anything he says or does ever again. Nor should I.

Shortly after his election, he stunned CIA employees by delivering a similar speech before the agency’s Memorial Wall. On Saturday, he stunned a crowd of uniformed personnel at the commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford by urging them to lobby Congress in support of his agenda.  

The man is self serving in every possible way. 

The Boy Scouts are in a difficult position now. While I'm sure the organization would like to denounce at least some of the things that Trump said, they are strictly apolitical and will likely remain silent rather than breaking with this long-standing tradition. Instead, they will have to depend on the hundreds of thousands of Scouts and Scoutmasters around the country who are expressing their disgust today to speak on their behalf.  

For the record, Trump was never a Boy Scout. The only dealings he ever had with the organization before yesterday was in a 1989 when Donald, Jr. joined. 

The membership was $7 in those days, and Trump didn't pay out of pocket. He took the money from charity. 

Even back in 1989, Trump was failing to uphold any of the ideals of Scouting.