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‘Mother of all distractions’: Trump threatens war with Iran as his COVID-19 failures pile up

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President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he has instructed the U.S. Navy to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian vessels that “harass” American warships in the Persian Gulf.

Critics slammed the threat as an effort to distract from the president’s abysmal response to the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 800,000 people and killed at least 40,000 in the United States.

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“If the xenophobia isn’t doing the trick and providing a good enough distraction, there’s always the classic authoritarian move: gin up a war,” said Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Trump’s tweet came a week after the U.S. Navy accused Iranian gunboats of making “dangerous and harassing approaches” to American warships in the Persian Gulf.

“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Trump wrote.

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“The mother of all distractions,” Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, said of Trump’s tweet.

The president’s threat closely followed a “Fox & Friends” segment on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ successful launch of a new military satellite on Wednesday.

John Bolton, the ultra-hawkish former national security adviser who has pressed for war with Iran for years, tweeted that “Iran’s launch of a military satellite is proof we are still not applying enough pressure, deterrence has not been restored, and coronavirus is not slowing down the ayatollahs.”

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How Rudy Giuliani went from ‘America’s mayor’ to self-serving Trump sycophant

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After the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Republican Rudy Giuliani was widely praised for the leadership he showed as New York City’s mayor during one of the darkest times in the city’s history. But these days, many of the people who were praising Giuliani as a take-charge leader after 9/11 have become blistering critics — for example, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. And journalist Seth Hettena, in Rolling Stone, takes an in-depth look at Giuliani’s journey from “America’s mayor” to self-serving Trump sycophant.

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Pompeo is helping Trump destroy US credibility around the world — according to a former assistant secretary of state

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President Donald Trump has made it abundantly clear that he prefers loyalists in his administration. And Trump has no greater loyalist than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose unquestioning devotion to the president is the focus of a scathing op-ed by Michael H. Fuchs (former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs) for The Guardian.

“Donald Trump’s disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory,” Fuchs asserts. “And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism’s number one proselytizer to the world.”

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Trump ‘completely blindsided party officials’ by threatening to pull GOP convention out of Charlotte

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This Memorial Day, President Trump took aim at North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and threatened to pull the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, saying that Cooper couldn't guarantee that the venue would be filled to capacity.

In a series of tweets, Trump said that although he loves the state of North Carolina so much that he "insisted" on having the convention there.

"Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the Arena," he wrote. "In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space."

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