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Get used to it: Trumpism without Trump
Political Theater, Episode 82

From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna S. Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib conduct a news conference Monday to respond to attacks made on them by President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Political scientist Shadi Hamid remembers growing up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, the son of Egyptian immigrants. In what was then a solidly Republican enclave of the Philadelphia suburbs, his parents and many of his Muslim neighbors voted for George W. Bush.

That seems like a long time ago, as that critical swing area of Philly has swung increasingly Democratic, along with most of America’s Muslims. So why would President Donald Trump spend so much time attacking Muslims and, in particular, a high-profile group of Democratic congresswomen, a.k.a. “the squad,” that has two Muslim members, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan? Well, because attacking your opponents across racial lines and defining them as a sinister other is a basic tenet of Trumpism, and the president and many of his Republican allies are all in. 

Trump says House ‘Squad’ congresswomen should ‘apologize’ to him after ‘go back’ tweet
President makes false statement about three female members as his staff focuses on Rep. Omar

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, and Ilhan Omar  attend a rally on the East Front of the Capitol in February. President Trump has called on them to "go back" to other countries rather than criticize the U.S. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is not backing down after calling on minority Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries of their ancestry, tweeting on Monday that they should apologize — not him.

The president on Sunday drew immediate outrage from Democratic members and other critics when he lashed out at a handful of freshman House Democrats who have been in a war of words with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California while also sharply criticizing Trump since before they took office in January. They also support impeachment proceedings against him, something that has angered him for months.

U.S.-Iran confrontation escalates as Trump threatens ‘obliteration’ after Rouhani’s insult
Schumer: ‘The danger of bumbling into war is acute‘

Then-Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., conduct a news conference in the Capitol after a briefing with senators on the Iran nuclear deal in September 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Responding to Iranian officials calling his White House “mentally retarded,” President Donald Trump called their latest statement “ignorant and insulting” before warning them he is prepared to use “great and overwhelming force” against their country.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used the same televised Tuesday address that included an insult for Trump and his staff to say new sanctions the Trump administration slapped on some of their top leaders “useless.” He sharply criticized Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, as “a source of belligerence and aggression” in the region. (Bolton for years has advocated a U.S. policy of seeking regime change in Tehran.)

Education Department investigating Duke-UNC event for ‘anti-semitic rhetoric’
Duke-UNC Middle East studies consortium that hosted event slated to receive $235,000 per year over next four years

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., received a letter this week from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos saying the department will "examine" alleged anti-semitic rhetoric at a federally subsidized Middle East studies event at the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Department of Education plans to investigate a Middle East studies event hosted by Duke University and the University of North Carolina in which a Palestinian guest performer appeared to lead the attendants in anti-semitic rhetoric.

The Duke-UNC consortium on Middle East studies used $5,000 of federal grant money from DOE for the event, the News and Observer in Raleigh reported at the time.

LGBTQ Equality Act passes House, pushing back on Trump’s religious freedom policies
Democrats and advocacy groups are attempting to counteract these policies through the courts and legislation

Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., poses with a rainbow flag at the House steps after the vote to pass the Equality Act on Friday, May 17, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Growing tensions over the Trump administration’s policies that aim to strengthen religious freedom protections for health care workers have led to a partisan tug-of-war playing out in the House.

The Trump administration has tried to strengthen religious liberty protections through numerous policies over the past several months. Those include providing federal funds to religiously affiliated foster agencies who don’t allow LGBT people to adopt children and broadening religious and moral exemptions for employers who do not want to cover birth control.

Abortion politics: Will Doug Jones’ opposition to Alabama ban hurt him?
Jones is a top GOP target, but state ban with no rape exception could also fire up Democrats

Sen. Doug Jones has spoken out against a bill in Alabama that would essentially ban abortion. It could both hurt and help his election chances, strategists say. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Abortion politics could put pressure on endangered Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones as his state pushes the strictest limits in the country, while presidential contenders seek to use new state abortion bans to rally core supporters.

Conservative state legislatures around the country have pushed curbs on abortion this year in an effort to turn back the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a national right to abortion.

Geraldo Rivera — of all people — defends Rep. Tlaib over Holocaust comments
Democratic congresswoman’s original comments have been taken out of context ‘in a grotesque way,’ Republican Fox News commentator says

Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera defended comments about the Israel-Palestine conflict made by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fox News correspondent and liberal  commentator Geraldo Rivera on Tuesday flew to the defense of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who said on a podcast aired last week that the notion of Palestinians providing a haven for Holocaust victims after World War II has a “calming effect” for her.

Rivera, the prominent talk show host, echoed the Michigan Democratic freshman’s assertions that she has been taken out of context by people eager to unfairly smear her as an anti-Semite.

Movie night: The Catholic priest who shepherded civil rights
Political Theater bonus: Episode 72

The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, center left, with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil-rights protesters in the 1960s.(Courtesy O’Malley Creadon Productions)

A documentary about the late Notre Dame president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, a real life “Forrest Gump” who challenged presidents and popes in the last half-century, resonates in today’s turbulent times, the director of the film tells CQ Magazine managing editor Mike Magner, who grew up hearing about Father Ted’s work and causes. The film, directed by Patrick Creadon, explores the challenges Father Ted faced with Republican and Democratic administrations in advancing civil rights. 

Show Notes:

Rep. Clay Higgins’ ‘Cajun John Wayne’ videos draw criticism ... again
The video follows 3 fires at black Baptist churches in ten days

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., reprised his role as a “Crime Stoppers” tough guy this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Clay Higgins reprised his role as a tough-talking sheriff’s deputy nicknamed “Cajun John Wayne” this week condemning fires that engulfed three predominantly black Louisiana churches. But the Republican drew criticism for rebuking the violence without acknowledging his past inflammatory statements and endorsements of anti-government militia groups.

Fires at the Baptist churches in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, are prompting fears that they were the targets of arson in a racist hate crime. Investigators have been cautious in their public statements, but acknowledged Sunday that the blazes are connected. 

When you want to HR 1 but have to anti-hate first
Podcasts for all the news, plus marijuana and daylight saving too!

Bipartisan Buds? Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, hold a news conference Thursday outside the Capitol to discuss the introduction of two bipartisan marijuana bills. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Not disrespect intended to the Senate, but the action was in the House this past week, dominated by debate about a resolution condemning anti-Semitism and bigotry and passage of a sweeping overhaul of campaign finance, election and ethics laws. And we have a podcast for each topic! We also have a cool story and video about pot and more. 

HR 1. Democrats love it. Republicans hate it. K Street really hates it. The White House wants to veto it.