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Trump’s childhood minister may be why he thought COVID-19 would magically disappear: CNN religion editor

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Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump would frequently say not to worry about the disease because it would go away “like a miracle.”

CNN religion editor Daniel Burke argues that Trump’s childhood minister may be part of the reason why he ignored dire warnings about the disease and instead adopted an approach of “magical thinking.”

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As Burke documents, Trump as a child attended sermons by the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who is best known for his self-help book titled, “The Power of Positive Thinking.”

During his sermons, Burke writes, Peale regularly “elevated businessmen like the Trumps to saint-like status as crusaders of American capitalism,” and he told his followers to remember that “attitudes are more important than facts.”

Author Christopher Lane, who has written a biography of Peale, tells Burke that Trump’s response to COVID-19 bears many of the hallmarks of the late minister’s teachings.

“Positive thinking can help people focus on goals and affirm one’s merits, but it does need a reality check, and to be based in fact,” he explained. “Trump pretending that this pandemic will just go away is not just an unacceptable fantasy, it is in the realm of dangerous delusion.”

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio, meanwhile, says that the president’s Peale-like determination to shape reality to his own liking is central to his character.

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“Nothing is an exchange of ideas or discussion of facts,” he said. “Everything is a life or death struggle for the definition of reality. For him, being wrong feels like being obliterated.”

Read the whole analysis here.


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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

"Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General on Friday night, asking him to impanel a grand jury to look at possible breach of state election laws by President Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and others for 'their accelerating arson of the post office,' he said. Alarming headlines have emerged in recent days as many states prepare to facilitate widespread mail balloting due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump openly admitted he was withholding federal aid from the postal service to prevent mail-in voting, and USPS has notified 46 states and D.C. that it will struggle to deliver some mail ballots on time," The Daily Beast reported Friday.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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