Day 4 of shithole-gate: Trump denies he said shithole. What he does say, probably not meaning to invoke Nixon, is “I am not a racist.” Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue, who were at the meeting, initially said they couldn’t recall whether he said shithole. Days later, their memories refreshed, they affirm that Trump didn’t say shithole and basically accuse fellow Sen. Dick Durbin of lying about it. Via The Washington Post.
On Meet the Press, Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the Gang of Six who wrote the proposed immigration that Trump rejected, said Trump’s shithole quotes were “racist” and “un-American.” On Face the Nation, Sen. Cory Gardner, also among the Gang of Six, said Trump’s words, if he said them, were “unacceptable,” but refused to say whether they meant he was a racist.
Trump’s shithole comments didn’t tell us he was a racist. We already knew that. What they do tell us is how far down he is dragging the country along with him. Via The New Yorker.
On the day before the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, African-Americans gathered in churches across the country to lament the words and deeds of Donald Trump. Via The New York Times.
From The National Review, the strange thing about the Trump/porn-star story is not the idea that Trump would have had sex with Stormy Daniels, but the idea that Trump would pay her $130,000 to be quiet about something he would normally want to see plastered on a billboard.
It looks like retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is going all in on his criticism of Trump, In a planned speech, Flake will say that Trump’s attacks on the press echo the words of Stalin and that even Khrushchev wouldn’t say the press were the “enemy of the people.” Via The Washington Post.
In other news, Trump hints that he’s giving up on any kind of DACA compromise and is, of course, blaming Democrats for the impasse. The question now is whether that will lead us to a government shutdown. Via Vox.
How did it take 38 minutes to call off the mistaken alert that missiles were heading Hawaii’s way, sending its citizens into panic? It seems that most of the blame goes to Hawaii and its governor. Via The New York Times.
Caitlin Flanagan writes in The Atlantic that the allegations against comedian Aziz Ansari let us know that “women are angry, temporarily powerful—and very, very dangerous.”
Stu Rothenberg: Democrats won’t have Barack Obama as a unifying leader at the top of the ticket in 2020, but they’ll have someone nearly as good — Donald Trump. Via The Hill.