ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

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October 9, 2020 4:58 p.m.

The President And The Virus

  • President Trump has kept a low profile this week as he continues to confront his coronavirus infection. But his Twitter account has been unusually active — even for him.
  • Trump started the week by going on a tear of mostly all-caps tweets, leading to some speculation among medical experts that the steroid drug treatment he was receiving resulted in a form of mania.
  • The President left Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday, returning to the White House to stage a maskless, strongman stunt on the balcony of the White House.
  • Since then, we haven’t seen Trump in person. He has posted a number of videos on Twitter boasting about how great he feels, and has called into Fox News on a number of occasions.
  • After White House physician Dr. Sean Conley cleared the President to hold in-person events as early as Saturday, Trump told Hannity that he expected to hold a rally over the weekend. But the White House poured cold water on Trump’s travel plans. Instead, Trump will reportedly appear live on Saturday at an event at the White House, where he plans to stage another of his infamous balcony moments.

The VP Debate … Flies By

  • You’d be forgiven if the only exchange you remember from the the vice presidential debate on Wednesday was between a rogue fly and Vice President Pence’s head.
  • But the more conventional affair — at least compared to the Trump-fueled chaos during the first presidential debate — produced a number of revealing moments. Pence borrowed a line from his boss and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he and Trump lose in November.
  • Pence also drew on his experience as a talk radio host. Instead of answering the questions posed to him by moderator Susan Page of USA Today, the veep simply changed the topic time and time again.
  • Speaking of debates, the future of them remains in doubt after Trump refused to participate in the second debate, scheduled for next week, which was moved to a virtual format as a safety precaution. For obvious reasons.

A Terrifying Plot Thwarted

  • The FBI thwarted an alleged right-wing militia plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, authorities announced on Thursday.
  • One of the alleged plotters described the operation as a “snatch and grab,” and the plot allegedly involved surveilling Whitmer’s vacation home.
  • A total of 13 people face charges for the alleged plot: six men face federal charges and seven men face state charges.
  • TPM’s Matt Shuham published this helpful explainer on the still-unfolding story.
  • In her first public comments after news of the alleged plot broke, Gov. Whitmer went after Trump for his refusal to condemn white supremacy. She linked Trump’s rhetoric to the alleged plot. “Hate groups heard the President’s words not as a rebuke but as a rallying cry, as a call to action,” Whitmer said.

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