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New Zealand’s prime minister asked Trump to do this one thing after the mosque attack — but he completely failed

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President Donald Trump. (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with President Donald Trump on Friday in the wake of the horrific attack at two mosques in Christchurch that is believed to have killed 49 people.

In recounting her conversation with Trump, she said: “He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand.”

She continued: “He asked what support the U.S. could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.” When asked what his response was, she said, “He acknowledged that and agreed.”

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But despite agreeing to the request on the phone, Trump didn’t follow through. When Trump held a public event on Friday in the Oval Office and addressed the devastating attack, he was seemingly unable to share the “love” and “sympathy” for all Muslim communities that Ardern had requested.

In his statement about the attack, he expressed sorrow for New Zealand without mentioning Muslims directly at all:

His earlier comments had also omitted any mention of Islam, Muslims, Islamophobia, or the white nationalist bigotry that inspired the attack. On Twitter, he continued to direct his concern specifically to New Zealand — even saying “We love you New Zealand!” — without honoring Ardern’s simple request of reaching out to Muslims in particular.

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It may seem like a quibble, but Ardern’s request was quite direct, and Trump actually seems to be bending over backward to avoid expressing sympathy for Muslims. There’s a pernicious logic behind this choice: For Trump, Muslims are the aggressors, not victims. He spent his entire presidential campaign and much of his presidency. spreading disinformation and bigotry about Muslims, and to acknowledge that they too can be victims — and victims of a white supremacist ideology that he embraces — would undermine the rationale for his rise to the presidency. He’s even made policy based on this hateful campaign against Muslims.

But this rhetorical choice is dangerous. It sends a clear signal of approval to bigots like the perpetrators of the heinous terrorist act in Christchurch. And for the less extremist among Trump’s supporters, it gives them license to disregard to dangers of Islamophobia.

And when Trump continued in the press event to celebrate his national emergency declaration that continues to stoke unnecessary fears about the border — fears which he has repeatedly tried to tie, erroneously, to threats from Muslim terrorists — he continued to fan the flames of white supremacy and anti-immigrant hostility. He even invoked the hateful language of an “invasion” at the border during the event — the exact word the suspect in the Christchurch attacked is believed to have used to describe his fear of Muslim immigrant

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2020 Election

A Biden win will likely strip Mitch McConnell of all his power: CNN

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According to CNN polling analyst Harry Enten, should Joe Biden win the election on Nov. 3rd it will likely be part of a Democratic tidal wave that will also flip to the Senate to Democratic control -- and strip current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of his power.

Citing polls in which GOP incumbents are tied or trailing their Democratic opponents, Enten noted that Biden holds leads in those states and his popularity could sweep the down-ticket Democrats into the office too, handing Democrats control of the Senate to go along with the House where they are expected to remain in control.

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2020 Election

Will pollsters let us down in 2020?

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If the polls are to be believed, Democratic nominee Joe Biden is the favorite to win the 2020 election against his Republican opponent, President Donald Trump. At the time of this writing, FiveThirtyEight.com, which aggregates and analyzes polls, gives him a 76 percent chance of winning; all eleven of the most recent polls listed at RealClearPolitics predict a Biden victory with an average spread of almost six points.This article first appeared in Salon.

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2020 Election

‘Lacks basic self-control’: Former GOP lawmakers lambaste Trump as they endorse Joe Biden

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Two former Republican lawmakers have joined the long list of Republicans planning to vote against President Donald Trump in the upcoming general election.

In an op-ed published for Roll Call, Reps. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) and Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) urged the American public to "choose unity over continued division" when casting their ballot for the November election.

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