Illustration for article titled Republicans Are Pretending They Didnt See Trumps Garbage Buffalo Protester Tweet
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Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted one of his most inane tweets in recent memory. He suggested that the 75-year-old protester who was left bleeding and concussed after he was pushed by Buffalo Police officers was an “Antifa provocateur.” Trump also said that the man—Martin Gugino—appeared to “scan police communications in order to black out the equipment.”

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“I watched, he fell harder than was pushed,” Trump tweeted. “Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

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Gugino is not an Antifa rabble-rouser. And whether this baseless claim about Gugino—pushed by OANN, a Trump propaganda outfit that is more sycophantic than Fox News—is accurate or not does not justify the police’s behavior.

But the Antifa boogeyman frightens Trump, so anything to justify Gugino’s injury is fair game. And what do Republican senators think of this trash?

Well, not much!

From CNN:

At a news conference following a Republican policy lunch, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky refused to say whether Trump’s tweet was appropriate.

CNN pressed him twice, and he instead pointed to the work led by GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina to try to put together a police reform package.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia, wouldn’t answer a question about the President’s tweet as she hopped on an elevator along with an aide in the Capitol.

CNN printed out a copy of the President’s tweet and tried to read it to Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who said he hadn’t seen it, and then said: “I don’t want to comment right now. I’m on my way to a meeting. I’ll see it when I see it.”

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And so on and so forth. But nothing beat Senator Marco Rubio’s response:

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida declined to weigh in on Trump’s tweet on his way into a hearing, saying, “I didn’t see it, you’re telling me about it. I don’t read Twitter, I only write on it.” Pressed on it later, Rubio said he couldn’t make a judgment because he didn’t know anything about the man who was pushed to the ground.

“I have no information about that man or who he is,” Rubio said.

Senator Mitt Romney acknowledged the tweet, telling CNN, “I saw the tweet it was a shocking thing to say and I won’t dignify it with any further comment.” Well, that’s nice, but the bar is on the goddamn floor. Nice to know that in these turbulent times, some shit just doesn’t change!

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To the surprise of literally nobody, former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden does not support defunding the police. In fact, Biden believes cities should pump more money into police departments.

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From the New York Times:

In the face of continuing protest marches calling to “defund the police” nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a statement that he “hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change” and that he “supports the urgent need for reform.” But a campaign spokesman, Andrew Bates, said flatly that Mr. Biden was opposed to cutting police funding and believed more spending was necessary to help improve law enforcement and community policing.

[...]

Asked by the CBS host Norah O’Donnell on Monday if he supported defunding the police, Mr. Biden answered: “No, I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”

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This is to be expected: Biden isn’t a leftist, he has deep ties with police groups, and he does not want to risk alienating moderate voters and independents who are leaning in his favor over President Trump in head-to-head matchups. Additionally, Democratic leadership just isn’t there yet: The sweeping legislation that was unveiled Monday—the Justice in Policing Act—is chockful of reforms, but makes no mention of decreasing federal aid to police departments.

But perhaps it is a breath of fresh air that Biden is upfront about his lack of desire to defund the police; others are busy co-opting the “defund the police” message and regurgitating a watered-down, insincere and inaccurate version of it to the public. Defunding the police is not another way of saying “reform the police” or “give them more unconscious bias training.” It is literally advocating for divestment money and power away from law enforcement.

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Biden isn’t keen on that. Still, it’s hard to view this as a disappointment when there was no chance of him adopting this stance in the first place.


  • George Floyd’s funeral service was held Tuesday in Houston. Here’s a bittersweet snippet from his niece:
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  • Mitt Romney believes black lives matter, but wants you to chill out with the defund the police shit and consider his lukewarm proposals instead. [Politico]
  • The Georgia primary election Tuesday has been an absolute nightmare riddled with broken machines and hours-long delays impacting Atlanta. Georgia’s secretary of state has called for an investigation into the fuckery. [CNN]
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  • President Trump is kickstarting his rallies again this month. Covid-19 has logged in to the chat. [Politico]
  • Please say sike:
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  • Senator Tom Cotton is trying to act like he’s a friend of The Blacks:
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  • The geniuses at the FBI asked some Twitter random who claimed to be the head of Antifa to be an informant. [The Intercept]
  • Speaking of Antifa, a multiracial family was left stranded in Washington state after a large group of weirdos asked them if they were Antifa. Some chainsaw toting teens helped save the day. Yeah, really. [CNN]

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.

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