Mshuham2

Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Monday invoked the violent weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia in order to show his support for National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

McMaster’s character has come under attack recently from various online personalities and outlets aligned with the so-called “alt-right,” a movement of misogynists and white supremacists birthed in online message boards like 4chan.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing General H.R. McMaster for many years, and greatly respect and admire his outstanding service to the nation,” McCain said in a statement. “The recent attacks upon him from the so-called ‘alt-right’ are disgraceful.”

“I hope the President will once again stand up for his national security adviser and denounce these repugnant attacks, which arise from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville,” he added.

McMaster is largely seen as having positioned himself opposite chief strategist Steve Bannon as a voice in President Donald Trump’s ear. Breitbart News, the conservative website Bannon once ran — and which he praised as “the platform for the alt-right” in July 2016 — has come out strongly against McMaster in recent weeks.

And Mike Cernovich, a popular conspiracy-minded journalist and provocateur, has alleged without evidence that McMaster has a drinking problem.

One reported Bannon ally and an a former member of McMaster’s National Security Council, Rich Higgins, was fired in July over a memo linking “globalists and Islamists” and “cultural Marxists” as part of a wide-reaching plot to undermine Trump’s presidency, the Atlantic first reported on Aug. 2. Trump voiced his support for McMaster in a statement on Aug. 5.

Various white supremacist groups and others affiliated with the alt-right protested in Charlottesville on Saturday against the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. One man who had earlier been photographed with a white supremacist group was detained after allegedly ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring at least 20.

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President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed questions about his two-day delay before condemning hate groups by name after a white supremacist rally turned deadly over the weekend.

“Mr. President, can you explain why you did not condemn those hate groups by name over the weekend?” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump after a bill signing ceremony at the White House.

“They’ve been condemned,” Trump replied. “They have been condemned.”

Trump did in fact condemn “criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” on Monday from the White House, but only after intense criticism after he blamed “many sides” for the carnage in Charlottesville on Saturday.

The white supremacist rally in the city was held in response to the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One man who had earlier been photographed with a white supremacist group allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring more than a dozen.

Acosta followed up, referencing a planned press conference that Trump on Friday had promised would occur Monday: “And why are we not having a press conference today? You said on Friday we’d have a press conference?”

“We had a press conference,” Trump said. “We just had a press conference.”

Trump had not just held a press conference. That would involve answering journalist’s questions at more length than responding to shouted requests after a bill signing.

“Can we ask you more questions, then, sir?” Acosta asked.

“It doesn’t bother me at all, but I like real news, not fake news,” Trump responded. “You’re fake news. Thank you everybody.”

Acosta shouted as Trump left: “Haven’t you spread a lot of fake news yourself, sir?”

Watch below via ABC News: 

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President Donald Trump said Sunday that he was considering pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court in July.

“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump told Fox News on Sunday in an interview from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump added. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

Arpaio, who lost a re-election bid after 24 years in office last November, was convicted on July 31 of criminal contempt of court for refusing to follow a judges’ orders to stop his practice of racially profiling individuals for traffic stops and detention who law enforcement officials believed could be undocumented immigrants.

Arpaio said last week that he was “not going to ask him,” about a pardon, referring to Trump, but that “many, many people around the country are saying, ‘Trump should pardon.’”

Responding to Trump’s statement, Arpaio told Fox News: “I am happy he understands the case,” and “I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.”

Apraio was an early and fervent supporter of the President during the 2016 campaign. Trump referred to him as “Sheriff Joe.” The former sheriff has also gained infamy for what were widely viewed as inhumane detention practices.

His Democratic successor, Sheriff Paul Penzone, pledged to close the “Tent City” jail, in which Arpaio housed inmates outdoors in the scorching Arizona heat.

This post has been updated.

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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said over the weekend that he believed the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was staged, and compared it to other rallies in which he claimed to have seen Jewish people masquerading as Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.

“I’ve been to these events, a lot of the KKK guys with their hats off look like they’re from the cast of Seinfeld,” he said Sunday, as old footage of a KKK rally rolled behind him. “Look at them, they’re just Jewish actors. Nothing against Jews in general, but the leftist Jewish want to create this clash, so they go dress up as Nazis.”

“I have footage in Austin — we’re going to find it somewhere here at the office — where it literally looks like cast of Seinfeld or like Howard Stern in a Nazi outfit. They all look like Howard Stern. They almost got like, the little curly hair down, and they’re just up there heil-ing Hitler. You can tell they are totally uncomfortable, they are totally scared, and it’s all just meant to create the clash.”

The comment came during Jones’ Sunday broadcast, and was flagged by the liberal media monitoring group Media MattersPresident Donald Trump appeared on Jones’ show in December 2015 and said, “Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.” Jones has since claimed to have been in touch with Trump again after the presidential election.

On Saturday, as news unfolded that one counter-protester was killed in an alleged terrorist attack by a man who had earlier been photographed with a white supremacist group, Jones explicitly said the extremists’ presence looked staged.

“I thought Trump’s response was great,” he told conservative provocateur Gavin McInnes in a phone call he broadcasted live, referring to Trump’s statement condemning “many sides” for the weekend’s violence. “We should study this, because we know Soros has been planning this and like, trying to create provocative events. And the whole thing looks staged to me.”

Jones did acknowledge that, “as a result of removing Confederate generals statues, there’s going to be some crazies on the right that come out as well.” He called the event at various points a “small conservative march” and “a bunch of conservatives that just went out there to stand up and demonstrate, but with a few white supremacists who were leading them, who were separate groups, to the media, so as to demonize all conservatives.”

The “Unite the Right” rally that brought the white supremacist groups to Charlottesville was staged to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Jones further compared the weekend to other incidents in which he claimed to have seen Jewish people masquerading as white supremacists.

“And I see a bunch of antifa, George Soros-, globalist-, Hillary Clinton-funded crap starting fights and a bunch of fake supremacists they brought in to march around in front of a bunch of conservatives, because I’ve been through it,” he said.

“I’ve seen Nazi rallies where the Jewish guys posing as Nazis tuck their” — he swirled his fingers, mimicking Jewish mens’ “peyot” — “literally into Nazi hats.”

“Wearing old SA Hollywood outfits that you know came out of some Hollywood lot,” he continued. “And I love Jewish folks. The point is, you go to the event. There’s the Nazis, and it’s like — those guys look more Jewish and Seinfeld. I’ve got the videos, we’ve got to dig them up somewhere.”

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Vice President Mike Pence said Monday President Donald Trump “will continue to be clear” in condemning white supremacist hate groups — even though the President himself has not actually done so in the wake of a white supremacist terrorist attack during a hectic rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one counter-protester dead.

Pence also echoed Trump’s language that “many sides” of the white supremacist rally were worth condemning. Pence said he believed “we’re going to see these extremist voices on the far right and on the far left marginalized as they should be as Americans come together around our shared values.”

In an interview with Pence Monday, NBC’s Peter Alexander asked: “Do you have any concern, even if it’s not the President’s intention, that he, in fact, by not condemning white supremacists by their names, is dividing Americans?”

“Peter, we talked about that very extensively yesterday,” Pence responded. “The President made it very clear in his statement this weekend that we condemn all forms of hate and violence, and particularly condemn, as we did yesterday — we condemned the hate and the violence and the bigotry of organizations that showed up in Charlottesville like the KKK and white supremacists.”

“The President was clear on that and will continue to be clear,” Pence said.

Except Trump wasn’t. He condemned “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” Only later Sunday did an anonymous White House official say that “of course” Trump’s condemnation included “white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” But Trump still hasn’t said so himself.

Pence continued: “But I think you’ll also see this President call our country to move beyond these fractious times and come together around the values that we share  — the values that we share, frankly, with most nations across this hemisphere and with free nations around the world.”

“I truly believe that under President Trump’s leadership we’re going to continue to see more unity in America and we’re going to see these extremist voices on the far right and on the far left marginalized as they should be as Americans come together around our shared values,” he concluded.

It’s unclear which “far left” groups Pence meant to condemn. So called “antifa” groups — short for anti-fascist — are not shy about their advocacy of violence against white supremacists, and were in attendance in Charlottesville. But the man accused of second-degree murder and other charges for ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters Saturday had earlier appeared in a photo with American Vanguard, a white supremacist group.

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Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told CNN political commentator and former Bernie Sanders press secretary Symone Sanders to “shut up” during a heated debate Monday, at one point asking CNN host Chris Cuomo: “How do you make them stop talking when they keep interrupting you?”

Cuccinnelli’s remark came during a discussion of the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia Saturday of the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park.

Sanders had argued that the problem of white supremacist politics in America extended far beyond the torch-bearers in Charlottesville, all the way up to the White House. In addition to investigating a terrorist attack against counter-protesters, Sanders said, “I would propose that Steve Bannon and [Sebastian] Gorka also need to be looked at, and the President might need to make some changes with his staff.”

Cuccinelli eventually responded: “Some of the aspersions cast on people like Steve Bannon are really outrageous.”

Sanders pointed out that Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, had called Breitbart News “the platform for the alt-right” while he was running the conservative news website. And White House counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka, Sanders said, had argued earlier in the week that supremacists weren’t “the problem.”

Cuccinelli also argued that the statue of Lee wasn’t itself a motivation for the protest.

“My point of disagreement is that, that was an excuse to bring these groups together,” he said, referring to the statue of Lee. “The local blogger who got the permit to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue then blew this up. That was an excuse. 

“And now someone’s dead,” Sanders interjected.

“Can I finish, Simone?” Cuccinelli said. “Can you just shut up for a minute and let me finish?”

“Pardon me, sir. You don’t get to tell me to shut up on national television,” Sanders responded.

The discussion came to a halt. Cuomo warned Cuccinelli and apologized to Sanders. 

But the conservative former attorney general added later: “How do you make them stop talking when they keep interrupting you?”

“Them? They? I’m sitting right here,” Sanders responded.

She followed up on social media:

Watch below via CNN:

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The White House added a meeting regarding the events in Charlottesville, Virginia to President Donald Trump’s schedule on Monday.

“Update: The President will meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray on Charlottesville at 11:30AM,” the White House emailed in an update to the President’s schedule Monday morning slightly after 9 a.m. ET.

The added huddle comes amid fierce criticism of the President, from even within his administration, over Trump’s response to a terrorist attack against a group of counter-protesters by an apparent white supremacist.

Trump on Saturday condemned violence on “many sides” of the conflict in a statement  following the deadly attack — that is, the white supremacist groups protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville, and the various anti-fascist groups who had gathered in a counter-protest.

One man who had earlier been photographed with the white supremacist group Vanguard America, James Alex Fields Jr., was charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and another count, the Washington Post reported, after allegedly ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring at least 19 others.

Sessions — who himself has been heavily criticized for his calls to intensify the war on drugs and for prosecutors to seek the harshest prison sentences available to them — defended Trump’s response on Monday, but also said Fields’ alleged crimes fit the definition of domestic terrorism.

An anonymous “White House spokesperson” eventually said on Sunday that “of course” Trump’s condemnation included “white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Trump himself has not explicitly said so.

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Grant Stinchfield, a host on the National Rifle Association’s video platform NRATV, said Friday that he was only joking when he suggested North Korea point its missiles at Sacramento instead of the American territory of Guam.

“Let’s send a note to North Korea that Sacramento changed its name to Guam!” Stinchfield wrote, in a tweet that was later deleted.

KXTV captured a screen shot of the tweet:

“It was meant as a joke and I regret it,” Stinchfield later told the New York Daily News over the phone.

Amid rising U.S. tensions with North Korea over its gradual development of nuclear weapons capabilities, the country threatened to surround the Guam with an enveloping fire.”

It wasn’t immediately clear why Stinchfield named Sacramento as his preferred target. The Daily News suggested he may have meant it as a criticism of California’s strict gun laws, as Sacramento is the state’s capital.

NRATV, with gun-friendly Republicans controlling nearly every aspect of the federal government and most statehouses, has focused its programming on sometimes completely gun-free topics, like the New York Times and the moral requirement to combat progressives with the “clenched fist of truth.”

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) wrote Thursday night that the NRA and another NRATV host, Dana Loesch, “are quickly becoming domestic security threats under President Trump. We can’t ignore that.”

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The Associated Press this week published a collection of images from what President Donald Trump, currently on a 17-day vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, called a “long planned renovation” of the White House.

The installation of new heating and air-conditioning systems, in addition to a slew of other fixes, was originally scheduled to take place in 2014, the New York Times reported. The General Services Administration delayed delivery of a plan for the renovation until 2016, however, and former President Barack Obama decided at that point to leave the work for the next administration.

Here are a few of TPM’s favorite images from the renovation:

Protective outer door leading to the Oval Office in the White House West Wing in Washington, DC as it is undergoing renovations while United States President Donald J. Trump is vacationing in Bedminster, New Jersey. White House renovation project, Washington DC, USA – 11 Aug 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)
The hardwood floor of the Oval Office is resurfaced as the West Wing of the White House in Washington undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Construction machinery are seen on the ground White House grounds in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. President Donald Trump and his staff temporarily moved out of the West Wing as renovations on the building got underway. Trump left Friday for what the White House has called an extended “working vacation” at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., while his staff in Washington will clear out of the West Wing and move into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. Work has already begun to replace the West Wing’s 27-year-old heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Workmen prepare new carpeting for the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, as it undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Workmen carry new carpeting into the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, as it undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Workmen carry carpet into the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, during renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Cranes are positioned in front of the South Portico of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, during renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Construction crane in the Rose Garden of the White House looking towards the Oval Office in Washington, DC is undergoing renovations while United States President Donald J. Trump is vacationing in Bedminster, New Jersey. White House renovation project, Washington DC, USA – 11 Aug 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)
Storage containers line the driveway as the West Wing of the White House in Washington goes through renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Workmen install new carpet in the West Wing of the White House in Washington,, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, as it undergoes renovations while President Donald Trump is spending time at his golf resort in New Jersey. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Stone masons work on the steps of the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC as it is undergoing renovations while United States President Donald J. Trump is vacationing in Bedminster, New Jersey. White House renovation project, Washington DC, USA – 11 Aug 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)
The Roosevelt Room in the White House West Wing in Washington, DC as it is undergoing renovations while United States President Donald J. Trump is vacationing in Bedminster, New Jersey. The Roosevelt Room is being used as a staging area for worker’s tools. White House renovation project, Washington DC, USA – 11 Aug 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images)
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer shows his ID to a Uniformed Secret Service officer as he enters the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 11, 2017, during renovations at the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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