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 and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Deflecting criticism about the detention of large numbers of Uighurs and other minorities in large camps in China on Sunday, a Chinese diplomat based in Islamabad, Pakistan, posted a series of unusually aggressive tweets about Washington, D.C. and American politics writ-large, at one point calling former National Security Adviser Susan Rice “shockingly ignorant.”

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Trump’s July 4 “Salute To America” came and went with a bang. Well, multiple bangs, coordinated across three companies and nearly a million dollars in donated labor and pyrotechnics.

As we reported last week, the proprietors of both Phantom Fireworks and Fireworks by Grucci denied to TPM over the phone that they expected anything from the White House in exchange for their donation of a fireworks show in the nation’s capital on Independence Day. But there is an issue near and dear to both the fireworks industry and the Trump administration: Tariffs. The American Pyrotechnics Association has been pushing hard to get fireworks imports removed from a threatened list of potential tariff targets.

The smoke-choked skies in D.C. attested, perhaps, to a lack of forethought about how much haze the “Salute to America” show would create. Phantom Fireworks CEO Bruce Zoldan described it to TPM as “dozens and dozens” of shells going off at a time.

Strip Club Golf Tournament At Trump Doral Cancelled. To slightly more dignified proceedings: Let’s just take a moment to consider that, until reporters caught wind of the story, the President’s golf course was set to host stripper caddies.

We dug into the story this week, including speaking to the director of a youth-oriented South Florida non-profit, who told us he had no idea a golf tournament at the Trump Doral in Miami, from which his group was set to benefit, was organized by a strip club.

After reading thousands of comments under the Washington Post’s report on the event, the director, Carlos Alamilla of Miami All Stars, said he’d had enough. He sent an email to the club’s marketing director saying he wanted out. The next morning, between phone calls with TPM, Alamilla confirmed as much with the Cabaret. Finally, the Trump Organization announced the event would no longer take place.

Why does this matter? As John Light notes, the event shows the kind of fare one can expect these days at Trump properties, now that a politically toxic brand has scared away former clients, like the PGA Tour.

Censored State Department Climate Scientist Resigns. We reported last month on the White House’s successful effort to block written climate change testimony from scientist and State Department analyst Rod Schoonover. The margin notes on Schoonover’s testimony document, we found, matched paid testimony that a member of the National Security Council, William Happer, had given on behalf of a coal company.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that Schoonover had resigned from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research altogether. The Post said Schoonover’s resignation had been voluntary. In addition to the NSC, the paper reported, White House complaints about the written testimony came from the Office of Legislative Affairs and the Office of Management and Budget.

Satisfied Trump Customer Nominated To Fed Board. When the President announced earlier this month that he would nominate Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board, something smelled swampy. CREW, in a blog post this week, spelled it out. As rumors about her nomination swirled, Shelton answered questions in several high-profile interviews from a conspicuous location: the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. In one with the Financial Times, CREW noted, she wondered aloud about hosting an international conference at Mar-a-Lago.

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In a 22-page motion last month, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) lawyer Gregory Vega argued that the campaign finance case against the congressman was undercut by the fact that two prosecutors involved with the case had attended a private La Jolla, California, fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in August 2015.

One conspicuous point Vega failed to mention: He was there too. In fact, he’s given thousands of dollars over the years to Clinton’s campaigns, and tens of thousands to Democratic groups and candidates, the Times of San Diego noted.

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