What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Trump Mad That Press Makes Him “Look Very Bad,” Tomato Tycoon Backs Libertarians

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Trump Mad That Press Makes Him "Look Very Bad"

Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at Trump Tower where he addressed issues about the money he pledged to donate to veterans. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

When the media spotlight burns –> Back in January, Donald Trump skipped a debate, holding a rally for veterans instead and promising to donate to veterans groups $6 million he said was raised by the event. But it turns out at least a dozen of the groups didn’t receive any money — until last week, the AP reports, after Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold asked Trump questions about the whereabouts of the donations. Yesterday, Trump called a press conference, ostensibly to reveal which organizations had received the cash, but it turned into a vitriolic attack on the media. The New York Times: “For 40 minutes, Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, assailed those reporting on his candidacy with a level of venom rarely seen at all, let alone in public, from the standard-bearer of a major political party. Then he warned that a Trump White House would feature more of the same.”

Related: In case you missed it last week, Ed Kilgore at New York magazine’s Intelligencer blog went after the media for falsely equating Hillary Clinton’s email blunder with Trump’s daily lies and distortions. He wrote, “This is the kind of environment in which it becomes easy for a candidate like Trump to achieve ‘normalization’ even as he continues to do and say abnormal things.”

Trump University scam –> Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder at The New York Times: “In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.”

California governor picks sides –> With just days remaining before California’s June 7 presidential primary, Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Hillary Clinton as the “only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.” But he also had nice things to say about Bernie Sanders: “He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.”

Big tomato –> The Hill: “A tomato tycoon has promised the largest super-PAC donation in Libertarian Party history with his pledge to spend more than $1 million backing nominee Gary Johnson.” He’s Chris Rufer, founder of California tomato paste maker Morning Star. Jonathan Swan writes, “Rufer’s $1 million donation would be the largest sum given to an outside group supporting a Libertarian Party candidate since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision paved the way for unlimited spending by independent groups in campaigns.”

More than 1,000 dead –> The AP: “The treacherous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya to Italy has claimed the lives of over 1,030 migrants in the last week, mostly as barely seaworthy smuggling boats foundered and sank despite calm seas and sunny skies, a migration agency said Tuesday, citing new accounts from survivors.”

Meanwhile: At the American Prospect, Josh Holland reports that incessant calls from politicians to “secure our borders” have lead to a highly militarized region where both US citizens and Mexican nationals are harassed by border security forces. An ACLU lawsuit alleges, “Border Patrol agents routinely ignore or misunderstand the limits of their legal authority, violating the constitutional rights of innocent people.”

And, The Washington Post reports, tensions are on the rise even along our border with Canada. William Marsden writes that between small town Vermont and Quebec, “Residents linked by intermarriage, blood relations and, in many cases, dual citizenship are now separated by an invisible but hardening wall. Neighborhoods that once shared schools, sports facilities, doctors and churches in a kind of free-flowing human commerce have retreated to their own sides of the border.”

What’s not to love? –> The Guardian: “North Korean state media has praised US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, describing him as a ‘wise politician’ and ‘far-sighted candidate’ who could help unify the Korean peninsula. An editorial in DPRK Today, an official media outlet, welcomed the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal to hold direct talks with Kim Jong-un, saying he could help bring about Pyongyang’s ‘Yankee go home’ policy.” It also urged Americans not to elect ‘that dull Hillary.'”

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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