PHILADELPHIA — Cynthia Branigan was a Beatles-crazy girl from Lawrenceville, N.J., when she watched a horse dive 40 feet into a pool on the ocean end of Atlantic City's Steel Pier. It was the first and only time she witnessed the famous spectacle, but its impact would endure. "Without warning, he kicked off from the platform and soared through the humid night air with precision and dignity," Branigan writes in a memoir, "The Last Diving Horse in America," which will be published this month by Pantheon. "The dive took but a few seconds ... the searing image of the horse's body, pointing like a ...
According to a report from NBC News, Donald Trump -- with an eye on running for president again in 2024 -- is tearing the Michigan Republican Party apart and reshaping it into a pro-Trump party that he hopes will help him reclaim the state he won in 2016 and lost to Joe Biden in 2020.
The former president has been endorsing a wide range of candidates, all of whom endorse his claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him, to take over a state GOP whose leaders have disputed his claims -- and that is setting off a civil war within the state party.
According to NBC's Allan Smith and Henry J. Gomez, "Trump has backed seven candidates for state House or Senate seats in Michigan, an electoral battleground that he lost narrowly to Joe Biden last year — more than anywhere else," adding, "All of the candidates have one thing in common: They've made election administration and investigating last year's vote central to their platforms."
Pointing out Trump's laser-like focus in the state that could be pivotal in 2024, the report adds, "Trump's focus on the state illuminates just how driven he is to exact revenge on those who haven't supported his baseless claim that the last election was stolen from him. It's also a play to install allies who could be helpful should he run for president again in 2024 and find himself locked in another close race, with the report continuing that GOP leaders in Michigan refused to accede to Trump's demands for a ballot review like the one Republicans authorized in Arizona, which found no proof of fraud."
Adding that Trump "has met with heavy resistance from some Republicans in Michigan," the report notes that Jeff Timmer, a former Michigan GOP chair who lost faith in the party under Trump and voted for Biden in 2020, claimed Michigan has become a top target for the ex-president.
"What started off as talking points about the election being rigged has become the sole gospel in his mind," Timmer explained. "He actually believes the election was stolen from him in Detroit and that he actually did win Michigan. That might be propelling a lot of this attention."
Noting that Biden's win in the state has been reaffirmed in the courts multiple times -- NBC reports that a report contradicting the former president's claims has been "supported by every Republican on the state Senate Oversight Committee, was the product of an eight-month inquiry, and it concluded that there was no basis or evidence to support the Trump campaign's repeated claims that the election results failed to reflect the will of the voters."
Lavora Barnes, the chair of the state Democratic Party, stated Trump is just creating more problems for the GOP by harping on 2020.
"Michigan voters," she explained, "will not be fooled by his support of fringe candidates that are attempting to keep the 'Big Lie' alive."
You can read more here.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger used an op-ed piece on the economy Friday to thrash Donald Trump for his obsession with overturning the 2020 election results.
The commentary -- prominently displayed at NationalReview.com-- dispensed with the customary deference Republicans give Trump at all costs. Instead, it began with this headline:
"One Year Ago, Trump Called Me an 'Enemy of the People.' Rising Costs and Inflation Are the Real Enemy." That was followed by this: "While some on the right remain focused on the last election, liberals in Washington are pushing an inflationary agenda that hurts workers and businesses."
Raffensperger's piece criticized Democratic policies on policy grounds as if this were an earlier century. But the old-school approach was prefaced by an attack on Trump more in keeping with the present day. Raffensperger used the occasion of the holiday season to go right after the nemesis who has rendered him a pariah in his political party:
"While most Americans sat down to eat their Thanksgiving meals last year, I was looking forward to a few moments of peace with my family during what had been a chaotic few weeks," Raffensperger wrote. "Georgia's county and local elections officials had already counted the ballots in the presidential election twice, including once by hand, and had just started the third and final recount. All three counts affirmed Joe Biden as the winner of Georgia's presidential contest.
"Yet my Thanksgiving was interrupted by news that President Donald Trump had called me an "enemy of the people" purely because I stood up for the integrity of Georgia's elections. I refused to bend to the pressure and, on America's day of thanks, this was the thanks I got.
"In the year since, a signature audit and numerous investigations into allegations of fraud have turned up nothing. No one has come forward with evidence of any widespread scheme to steal the election. The courts have reaffirmed the results in Georgia time and time again. A year later, I am even firmer in my conviction that Georgia's elections were accurate and secure.
"This reality has not stopped Trump and his supporters from obsessing over an election that Trump's own Department of Homeland Security called "the most secure in American history."
"And, in doing so, they have failed to focus on the real enemy Americans are facing: inflation, rising costs, and the bad policies that have created them."
The op-ed went on to read like a typical Republican politician attacking Democrats over policy differences. But most readers are unlikely to remember that as much as the Thanksgiving broadside on the last guy.
Trump is facing a ramped-up criminal investigation over his infamous post-election calls to Raffensperger asking the secretary to state "to find 11,887 votes." Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is moving toward convening a special grand jury on the matter, sources told the New York Times.
In an interview with Deadline, ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl predicted a Donald Trump run for the presidency in 2024 will present even more and new problems for reporters covering his third presidential bid, saying it will be one of the "greatest challenges" they will ever face.
In the interview where he explained how he was able to write his bombshell book "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," Karl was asked what the future holds for the former president should he make a third stab at running -- and how the press should cover it in light of how the ex-president left office casting a cloud of suspicion about the 2020 election results.
In Karl's opinion, Trump has become more dangerous and reporters should proceed with caution.
Noting the way Trump was able to create confusion late election day 2020, by preemptively claiming he was going to win as the results showed the opposite, Karl suggested, "How do you cover a candidate who is effectively anti-democratic? How do you cover a candidate who is running both against whoever the Democratic candidate is but also running against the very democratic system that makes all of this possible?"
"I think it's tremendously challenging, because you know that — especially now, more than ever — that he is just saying things that are not true, that are designed to misinform, that are designed to erode credibility and belief in our electoral system. And it's actually dangerous," he told Deadline. "So how do you cover a debate? How do you cover a speech? How do you sit down for long live interviews with him as a candidate? I think these are really difficult questions because he is obviously not a typical candidate."
Adding that the New York businessman never was a "typical candidate," Karl claimed -- after four years in office and the way he left office -- the Trump will present new difficulties.
"Now he has been demonstrated to be a candidate that is trying to destroy the very system that makes this election possible. And yet we cover campaigns. That's what we do," he explained before warning, "It is a very difficult, precarious situation, and I don't know how it is going to play out, to be honest."
You can read the whole interview here.