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‘He doesn’t read!’: CNN panel hammers conservative for putting a ‘nice spin’ on Trump’s ‘intellectual curiosity’

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Of the many revelations from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, one stuck out to CNN panelists on Wednesday afternoon: that President Donald Trump reportedly does not read.

“Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership,” Wolff wrote. “He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate.”

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According to Kevin Madden, a Republican CNN political commentator, “all of that comports with what we’ve heard previously.”

“He’s not somebody who ran as a policy expert,” Madden said — at which point host Jake Tapper cut him off.

“You’re putting a nice spin on it, Kevin,” Tapper said. “He doesn’t read!”

“What I’m saying is he’s not an intellectually curious person,” Madden said, but Tapper wouldn’t let up.

“You’re being nice about it!” the host quipped.

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The GOP commentator tried to say “we knew that,” at which point Tapper and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden objected.

“A short one-pager is different from like, ‘I don’t read the briefings that I get every morning from the CIA,'” Tanden concluded.

Watch below, via CNN:

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An epidemiologist explains how the GOP laid the foundation for America’s coronavirus catastrophe

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In many ways both obvious and subtle, Donald Trump is precisely the wrong person to be president of the United States during the coronavirus crisis. Almost everything he does makes matters worse and imperils lives.

This article was originally published at Salon

Over the weekend, Trump threatened to instigate civil war, if perhaps only through his own ignorance, by suggesting he might quarantine New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut. Of course the president has no such power under the law, and his administration pivoted instead to issuing a travel advisory. This is but another example of the way Trump, like other authoritarians, tests the norms and limits of law and society before finding a way to shatter them.

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Another Trump screw-up: Food may ‘rot in the fields’ — and our distribution system may collapse

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Early signs show that the systems that get fresh fruit and vegetables to American homes is strained and may experience major failures. The Trump administration is only making matters worse, allowing his racism against Mexicans to inflict damage on American farms that depend on legal labor from south of the border.

In Florida, winter crops are rotting in the fields because the prime products like blemish-free squash, spinach and lettuce—sold to restaurants—lack buyers, according to the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. It offers members extensive advice on how to stay in business during the pandemic.

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How prisoners, soldiers and Mormon missionaries make the census more complicated

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The U.S. census is the most democratic and inclusive activity we do as a country.

For demographers like myself, this once-a-decade count serves as the backbone of virtually every product that we use to understand who Americans are, how they’ve changed and what this might mean for the future. The U.S. also uses the census counts to distribute political power and allocate funding for everything from highway spending to programs like Medicare and Head Start.

But not all groups are equally likely to be counted in the census.

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