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Donald Trump turns the switch – CNN

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Governors in Georgia, Texas and Colorado, among others, were opening their states. The Senate was on its way back to Washington and the President left the confinement of the White House, headed to Camp David for the weekend and was making plans to travel around the country.

Despite the warnings of health experts, President Donald Trump was no longer trying to hedge his bets. And one of the biggest gambles in American history was about to begin. In a James Bond movie, the croupier would be spinning the roulette wheel and saying, “Les jeux sont faits” (the bets are made).

As Peter Bergen noted, the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner went on Fox News to declare that “the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus” is a “great success story,” claim that “we have all the testing we need to start opening the country” and state his hope that “by July, the country’s really rocking again.”

Will the reopenings spark new outbreaks and lead to new shutdowns? Will they jumpstart an economy that is about as bleak as anything since the Great Depression? Or will Americans, as polls suggest, be too wary to venture into public places until they are confident that their health can be protected from the virus that causes Covid-19?

“Americans of all stripes are bound together by a common calamity, hungry for a unifying leader who will rise above partisanship,” observed David Axelrod. “But that is not Trump’s nature. He has suggested that governors, desperately asking the federal government for more testing supplies, were acting out of political motivation.”
Experts are in agreement that much more widespread testing is crucial to safely reopening the country, but the White House has opted to let the states take the responsibility for that. “Incredibly, Trump is repeating his disastrous strategy from the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, when he acted as if the coronavirus was a political and PR problem that could be fixed with empty reassurances and propaganda, rather than a public health crisis demanding smart and forceful action,” wrote Frida Ghitis.
“Parts of the country are starting to reopen, and it’s a good thing,” the editors of the National Review wrote. “Overall, it’s impossible to exaggerate the economic cost of the lockdowns, which have brought on a steep recession that we will probably spend years digging out of. This is why impatience to reopen is an entirely understandable sentiment, even if it is treated by much of the media as heretical. A balance obviously has to be struck…we can’t stay locked down until the virus is entirely vanquished, or we will have destroyed the country to save it.”

Pence unmasked

Vice President Mike Pence made news when he visited the Mayo Clinic Tuesday and stood out as the only person photographed not wearing a mask. Michael D’Antonio marveled at Pence’s response to the mask question: “Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.”

“The illogic in what Pence says is so obvious that pointing it out seems ridiculous but here we go: First, medical masks do not block the eyes. Indeed, Pence could have seen everyone else’s eyes and his own baby blues would have sparkled brightly even with a mask,” D’Antonio wrote. “Second, tests only show a person is virus-free at a specific moment in time. For this reason, he cannot be certain he did not catch the virus between his test and his visit to Mayo.”
A report in the Washington Post cited unnamed current and former officials who said President Trump received more than a dozen warnings about the coronavirus in January and February at a time when he publicly downplayed the threat to the US. Trump has made clear his disdain for parts of the nation’s intelligence community, wrote Samantha Vinograd. Presidents get a carefully vetted intelligence brief in writing daily along with oral briefings. “But you can’t lead a horse to water and force him to drink. The intelligence community did its job, but Trump didn’t do his,” observed Vinograd.
As debate continues to swirl over how the US and other nations responded to the coronavirus, the sum of the world’s efforts is clear, wrote Jamie Metzl, Andrew Hessel and Hansa Bhargava, “There is little doubt that we were not ready for the terrible and largely preventable crisis we now face. Our poorly planned, underresourced and haphazard global response has led to over 200,000 deaths, massively disrupted our lives and caused trillions of dollars in economic fallout. Shame on us if we are caught unprepared the next time.”

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling is a West Point graduate — and so is his son. Hertling recognizes the historic and emotional value of the elaborate graduation ceremony each year at the military academy on the banks of the Hudson. Yet he questioned the Army’s decision to call back the nearly 1,000 cadets, who had been kept away for months because of Covid-19, for a ceremony June 13 at which Trump is scheduled to speak.

Having a President address the graduating class “contributes to the sense of pride and accomplishment. But the ‘reward,’ which appears heavily weighted to advantage the political desires of the President versus the safety of the cadets — doesn’t overcome the associated resource and personnel risks. In other words, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.”

The science

Smart reopening decisions depend on data, and while there are huge amounts of it, their reliability isn’t always certain. The number of confirmed cases in a given state or country is partly dependent on who gets tested. And the number of deaths due to Covid-19 is notoriously hard to pin down, as a study from the Yale School of Public Health and the Washington Post made clear this week.

“The Yale findings indicate officials are vastly underestimating the toll of the pandemic,” wrote John D. Sutter, whose work as a reporter for CNN helped pinpoint the likely death toll after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. “The researchers found 15,400 excess deaths in the United States from March 1 through April 4, the early weeks of the coronavirus’s rampage through this country. During that time, only about half that many deaths — 8,128 — had been attributed to Covid-19, according to the report.”
In South Korea, a new peer-reviewed study documented how widely the virus spread in one part of the 11th floor of a building housing a call center, along with residences. Dr. Kent Sepkowitz credited South Korean authorities for quickly closing down the building once the outbreak was discovered: “Had the investigators waited a week, the infection would likely have spread widely to family, then to friends, then to friends’ workplaces — just as we are seeing in the outbreaks in US meat processing plants with a comparably high-density work environment. The virus knows no walls: Once a business is infected, the entire community may quickly become infected, unless dramatic action — such as occurred in Seoul — is taken.”

More than 4,900 workers at meat and poultry processing plants have developed the disease and at least 20 have died of it. This week the President, who had been reluctant to use the Defense Production Act at earlier stages of the pandemic, invoked it to order the processing plants to continue operating.

“Given that meat processing plants are Covid-19 hotspots, this order is the height of irresponsibility and cruelty,” wrote Raul A. Reyes. “It endangers the health of some of America’s most vulnerable workers, many of whom are Latino, African American and immigrants. It prioritizes corporate interests over workers’ lives.”

The Trump administration has given credence to an unproven theory that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab in Wuhan and says it is investigating the matter. Meanwhile the National Institutes of Health abruptly terminated a research grant into the spread of coronaviruses from bats to people. The NIH confirmed the decision but wouldn’t comment on why.

“The answer,” suggested Benjamin Corb of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is that “Pete Daszak, the scientist who leads EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit biomedical research organization sponsoring the project, has collaborated with Shi Zhengli, a Chinese virologist at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China… Politicizing peer-reviewed science is a dangerous threat to the independent American scientific enterprise and is the first step on a deeply concerning slippery slope.”

For more takes on Covid-19:

Coping

“Are you losing your mind in quarantine? Because I am losing my mind in quarantine,” wrote Jill Filipovic. Yes, the woes of people in self-isolation are trivial amid a pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people around the world, Filipovic noted.

“What we are being asked to do is profoundly antithetical to our natures as human beings; it is profoundly destabilizing and difficult,” she wrote. “There is little more human than the desire for connection, touch, stimulation and novelty. This is all so hard because in going without those things, it’s not hyperbole to say we have to find new ways of being — or at least feeling — human.”
It’s tempting, wrote LZ Granderson, to focus on what angers us right now. He started writing a column condemning the anti-quarantine protesters and those responsible for a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes in New York, then deleted it. “With so much anxiety already rippling across the country, I asked myself: Why spend time focusing on the more than 70,000 members of the Facebook group ‘Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine’ when John Krasinski’s optimistic YouTube news show ‘Some Good News’ has more than 2 million subscribers?”

The burden of the pandemic stay-at-home orders has fallen particularly heavily on school children and their parents, who are being expected to balance work lives, tutoring and child care without preparation and resources. “While teachers learned to navigate online portals in the first days of remote learning, most parents and kids were expected to know them immediately, with no room for a learning curve,” wrote Lisa Selin Davis. The adjustment will take a while.

“The point of school, for our family right now, is to establish the new normal; to help kids develop independence; to provide social interaction, and, lastly, to learn some academics. I want my kids to keep learning, always, and of course I want them to master new technology and be more independent. These days, I’m desperate for that to happen, as quickly as possible.”

Joe Biden on Tara Reade allegation

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden directly addressed the sexual assault allegation by his former aide Tara Reade Friday. “This never happened,” the former vice president said.

Lucia Brawley wrote, “We must always listen to women’s accounts of sexual assault. We must give them their due weight. But listening to every woman doesn’t necessarily mean believing every woman. We can be skeptical of the accused — in this case a presumptive Democratic candidate for the highest position in the land — and his supporters, and demand a response to the allegations. Biden has now given one. We need to decide whether we believe him. In doing so, we must also follow the facts.

And we should cast a wary eye at those who have a vested interest in promoting and tweeting about such accusations — whether they are Republicans, such as the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, and the president’s son, Don Jr. — or prominent supporters of Biden’s Democratic primary opponents (such as Bernie Sanders’ former campaign staffers), who spend more time saying we should honor Ms. Reade’s relatively thin allegations than they do demanding investigations into more than a dozen women who have credibly accused Trump of sexual harassment or worse (Trump denies those allegations.)”
David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, wrote that Obama’s team thoroughly vetted Biden in 2008 when he was selected as the Democratic vice presidential candidate: “Through that entire process, the name Tara Reade never came up. No formal complaint. No informal chatter. Certainly, no intimation of sexual harassment or assault from her or anyone else. The team of investigators, expert in their work, would not have missed it…

“Had any credible issue been raised, you can be sure Biden would not have been the nominee.”

In the Washington Post, Marc Thiessen called out Democrats for what he argued was a double standard. “Senate Democrats seeking to derail Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination established a new standard two years ago: Henceforth, even completely uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct must be believed and should be enough to destroy a man’s career. Now, they are adding a caveat: but only if he is a Republican.
Alice Stewart called on Biden to seek release of all records that could shed light on the accusation. “If the cornerstone of Joe Biden’s campaign is pledging to be the moral compass of our nation, he needs to be more transparent,” she wrote.
Biden has also been criticized for a low-profile campaign that has created few moments of attention as the pandemic has dominated media coverage. But that’s not necessarily a problem for his candidacy, wrote Julian Zelizer. “It might just be that the best thing that Biden can do right now is to lay low and let the president self-destruct — the more that Trump says about the crisis, the worse he looks.” Republicans are worried about poll numbers that show Trump considerably behind Biden and that suggest their control of the Senate is at risk.

Don’t miss:

Rafia Zakaria interviews Rebecca Solnit: How to exist in a world that seeks to erase women

Escaping

Forget “Tiger King” and “Ozark” and “Westworld.” Elizabeth Yuko is watching vintage episodes of “The Golden Girls” and “The Office.”

“Sitcoms have long had a bad rap from some critics who write them off as being vapid or cheesy entertainment conceived to appeal to the masses,” she wrote. Watching them “has gone beyond simply being entertaining, and has become an important part of my Covid-19 self-care strategy, thanks to the genre’s format, allowing conflicts to be resolved in 22 minutes, as well as providing us with an escape to a different version of reality.” The cast of “Parks and Recreation” reunited for a show that raised funds for Feeding America.

Holly Thomas observed that the pandemic isolation is infantilizing people. “Aggressively ambitious professionals are watching Disney movies, hiding in bed or playing dress-up,” she wrote. Aside from hoarding chocolate Easter eggs, she has been delving into classics aimed at a young audience, from Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman.

“The common thread between my favorite books as a child,” she wrote, “was that apparently ordinary kids could prove themselves to be extraordinary, once their normal restrictions (and the restrictions of reality) were removed. In this strange time, as reality is bearing down with brutal force, I’d like to entertain the conceit that if I did go out into the world, what I’d find there would be extraordinary.”

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Cabinet slashes budgets to pay for 6 new ministries, including ‘alternate PM’ – The Times of Israel

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The cabinet on Sunday approved widespread fiscal reforms that will cut the budgets of most ministries in order to fund the establishment of six new ministries, including the office of the “alternate prime minister,” in a series of controversial decisions.

A unity coalition deal between Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White’s Benny Gantz ended over a year of political deadlock when the most minister-rich government in Israel’s history was sworn in earlier this month. New ministerial positions were created to accommodate the cabinet’s 33 ministers, who number over a quarter of the Knesset’s 120 lawmakers.

The price tag for the overhead costs of the new government has been estimated as high as a billion shekels ($285 million) over its three-year span. There have been widespread accusations that the government is overlarge and costly at a time when the economy is being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the new offices created Sunday was the Alternate Prime Minister’s Office, which will be held by Defense Minister Gantz for 18 months and then be transferred to Netanyahu as part of a power-sharing deal designed to allow him to keep the prime ministerial title even after vacating the post. Unlike other ministers, a prime minister can remain in his post even after he is indicted on criminal charges.

Other offices are Ze’ev Elkin’s Water Resources and Higher Education ministries; Orly Levy-Abekasis’s Ministry of Community Empowerment; David Amsalem’s Cyber Ministry; and Tzipi Hotovely and Tzachi Hanegbi’s Settlements Ministry.

Gantz — who is currently defense minister, in addition to the new post of alternate premier — is set to take over as prime minister in 18 months under the coalition deal, at which point Netanyahu will become alternate prime minister.

As the Alternate Prime Minister’s Office was approved, Netanyahu on Sunday denied reports that the alternate prime minister would also be granted an alternate prime minister’s residence. “It’s not true. It didn’t come up and it won’t,” he said.

Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are seen at the Knesset, May 17, 2020. (ALEX KOLOMOISKY/POOL)

In order to create the new posts, ministers approved a government decision that will see a 1.5% cut to the budgets of all government offices, specifically at the upper personnel level. The move will slash 300 posts from the various offices to free up some NIS 100 million ($28.5 million).

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi opposed the budget cuts to foreign service, whereupon the cuts to his ministry were reduced from NIS 11.5 million ($3.2 million) to NIS 4.8 million ($1.3 million), the Walla news site reported.

Incoming Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, right, with his predecessor, incoming Finance Minister Israel Katz, at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, May 18, 2020 (Foreign Ministry)

On the 22-item agenda, the cabinet was also voting on filling the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, led by Blue and White’s Avi Nissenkorn, and other ministerial panels; appointing directors general of the defense and economy ministries; and giving the green light to new Finance Minister Israel Katz’s program to encourage employment amid the pandemic.

In a Saturday night address, Katz presented his new Finance Ministry plan aimed at encouraging employers to take back employees placed on unpaid leave during the height of the pandemic in March. For every employee called back, places of business will receive a grant of NIS 7,500 ($2,141) starting on June 1, according to the plan. An additional grant of some NIS 3,500 ($1,000) will be handed out to employers for employees called back in May. Katz said some NIS 500 million ($142 million) have been allocated for businesses that would put employees back to work.

Economy Minister Amir Peretz opposed the treasury proposal during the meeting, arguing that it rewards employers who dropped their workers while harming those who kept their employees on the payroll even at a loss, according to the Globes business daily.

Katz retorted: “There is an alternate prime minister. There is no alternate finance minister. I am the finance minister and I will lead the implementation of the government decisions, which I proposed, and which were accepted by an overwhelming majority,” the Ynet news site reported.

Incoming Economy Minister Amir Peretz at a changeover ceremony in Jerusalem on May 18 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Sunday’s cabinet meeting also saw Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri receive building and planning powers that were previously under the treasury’s purview, while the Health Ministry was granted additional powers to combat the coronavirus.

The meeting on Sunday was held in the Foreign Ministry’s auditorium as the regular cabinet meeting rooms were not large enough to accommodate all the ministers while maintaining social distancing, according to reports.

Opposition chairman Yair Lapid issued a statement blasting the government after ministers approved funding for the newly formed offices created by the Gantz-Netanyahu coalition deal.

“The government handed half a billion shekels to itself today. Not for the self-employed, not for the unemployed, not for small businesses, but for itself,” said Lapid.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid at the Knesset as the 35th government of Israel is presented on May 17, 2020. (Knesset/Adina Veldman)

“For redundant offices like the Water Resources Ministry, the nonexistent Community Empowerment Ministry and for deputy ministers that no one needs. Detached lawmakers, we’ve had enough of you.”

Separately, last Wednesday,  a bill allowing ministers to give up their positions as Knesset members in order to enable a different member of their party slate to take their spot in parliament passed its preliminary Knesset plenary reading. The so-called Norwegian Law — which still requires three more votes to become law — would allow any MK who is appointed to a cabinet post to resign temporarily from the Knesset, thereby permitting the next candidate on the party’s list to enter parliament in his or her stead.

The opposition has blasted the bill, and the coalition’s rush to pass it, as a way of pushing more people into sweetheart jobs on the taxpayers’ dime.

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Tapper: Some of Trump’s allies think he’s not up to the task – CNN

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In Days of Discord, President Trump Fans the Flames – The New York Times

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In Days of Discord, President Trump Fans the Flames – The New York Times_5ed43a2a0f874.jpeg

WASHINGTON — With a nation on edge, ravaged by disease, hammered by economic collapse, divided over lockdowns and even face masks and now convulsed once again by race, President Trump’s first instinct has been to look for someone to fight.

Over the last week, America reeled from 100,000 pandemic deaths, 40 million people out of work and cities in flames over a brutal police killing of a subdued black man. But Mr. Trump was on the attack against China, the World Health Organization, Big Tech, former President Barack Obama, a cable television host and the mayor of a riot-torn city.

While other presidents seek to cool the situation in tinderbox moments like this, Mr. Trump plays with matches. He roars into any melee he finds, encouraging street uprisings against public health measures advanced by his own government, hurling made-up murder charges against a critic, accusing his predecessor of unspecified crimes, vowing to crack down on a social media company that angered him and then seemingly threatening to meet violence with violence in Minneapolis.

As several cities erupted in street protests after the killing of George Floyd, some of them resulting in clashes with the police, Mr. Trump made no appeal for calm. Instead in a series of tweets and comments to reporters on Saturday, he blamed the unrest on Democrats, called on “Liberal Governors and Mayors” to get “MUCH tougher” on the crowds, threatened to intervene with “the unlimited power of our Military” and even suggested his own supporters mount a counterdemonstration.

The turmoil came right to Mr. Trump’s doorstep for the second night in a row on Saturday as hundreds of people protesting Mr. Floyd’s death and the president’s response surged in streets near the White House. While most were peaceful, chanting “black lives matter” and “no peace, no justice,” some spray painted scatological advice for Mr. Trump, ignited small fires, set off firecrackers and threw bricks, bottles and fruit at Secret Service and United States Park Police officers, who responded with pepper spray.

The police cordoned off several blocks around the Executive Mansion as a phalanx of camouflage-wearing National Guard troops marched across nearby Lafayette Square. A man strode through the streets yelling, “Time for a revolution!” The image of the White House surrounded by police in helmets and riot gear behind plastic shields fueled the sense of a nation torn apart.

Mr. Trump praised the Secret Service for being “very cool” and “very professional” but assailed the Democratic mayor of Washington for not providing city police officers to help on Friday night, which she denied. While governors and mayors have urged restraint, Mr. Trump seemed more intent on taunting the protesters, bragging about the violence that would have met them had they tried to get onto White House grounds.

“Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence,” the president wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning. “If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”

His suggestion that his own supporters should come to the White House on Saturday foreshadowed the possibility of a clash outside his own doors. “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” he wrote on Twitter, using the acronym for his first campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Asked about the tweet later, he denied encouraging violence by his supporters. “They love African-American people,” he said. “They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.” By evening, however, Mr. Trump’s supporters were not in evidence among the crowds at the White House.

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington responded sharply on Saturday morning, saying her police department will protect anyone in Washington, including the president, and by Saturday evening her officers were out in force around the White House.

But she called the president a source of division. “While he hides behind his fence afraid/alone, I stand w/ people peacefully exercising their First Amendment Right after the murder of #GeorgeFloyd & hundreds of years of institutional racism,” she wrote. “There are no vicious dogs & ominous weapons. There is just a scared man. Afraid/alone …”

After his morning barrage, Mr. Trump tried to recalibrate later in the day, devoting the opening of a speech at the Kennedy Space Center following the SpaceX rocket launch to the unrest in the streets and clearly trying to temper his bellicose tone.

“I understand the pain that people are feeling,” he said. “We support the right of peaceful protesters and we hear their pleas. But what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or peace. The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists.”

The days of discord have put the president’s leadership style on vivid display. From the start of his ascension to power, Mr. Trump has presented himself as someone who seeks conflict, not conciliation, a fighter, not a peacemaker. That appeals to a substantial portion of the public that sees in him a president willing to take on an entrenched and entitled establishment.

But the confluence of perilous health, economic and now racial crises has tested his approach and left him struggling to find his footing just months before an election in which polls currently show him behind.

“The president seems more out-of-touch and detached from the difficult reality the country is living than ever before,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman from Florida who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “At a moment when America desperately needs healing, the president is focused on petty personal battles with his perceived adversaries.”

Such a moment would challenge any president, of course. It has been a year of national trauma that started out feeling like another 1998 with impeachment, then another 1918 with a killer pandemic combined with another 1929 given the shattering economic fallout. Now add to that another 1968, a year of deep social unrest.

It is fair to say that 2020 has turned out to be a year that has frayed the fabric of American society with an accumulation of anguish that has whipsawed the country and its people. But in some ways, Mr. Trump has become a totem for the nation’s polarization rather than a mender of it.

“I am daily thinking about why and how a society unravels and what we can do to stop the process,” said Timothy Naftali, a presidential historian at New York University. “The calamity these days is about more than Trump. He is just the malicious con man who lives to exploit our vulnerabilities.”

As the nation has confronted a coronavirus pandemic at the same time as the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, whatever unified resolve that existed at the beginning of the twin crises quickly evaporated into yet another cultural clash. And the president has made everything into just another partisan dispute rather than a source of consensus, from when and how to reopen to whether to wear a mask in public.

Mr. Trump led no national mourning as the death toll from the coronavirus passed 100,000 beyond lowering the flags at the White House, posting a single tweet and offering a passing comment on camera only when asked about it. Rather than seek agreement on the best and safest way to restore daily life, he threatened to “override” governors who prevented places of worship from resuming crowded services.

“Crisis leadership demands much more from the White House than irresponsible threats on social media,” said Meena Bose, director of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University.

Mr. Trump’s initial response to the rioting in Minneapolis, where a police officer has been charged with murder after kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he cried out that he could not breathe, underscored the president’s most instinctive response to national challenges. Threatening to send in troops, he wrote early Friday morning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Only after a cascade of criticism did he try to walk it back, posting a new tweet 13 hours later, suggesting that all he had meant was that “looting leads to shooting” by people in the street.

“I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” he said, a reformulation that convinced few if any of his critics.

Even some of Mr. Trump’s usual allies were distressed at the original shooting tweet. Geraldo Rivera, the television and radio host who often spends time with Mr. Trump at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, decried “the recklessness” of that message and called on the president “to self-censor himself.”

“Come on, what is this, sixth grade?” Mr. Rivera said on Fox News. “You don’t put gasoline on the fire. That’s not calming anybody.” He added: “All he does is diminish himself.”

But many of the president’s defenders rejected the idea that he had mishandled the crises, pressing the argument that Democrats and the news media were to blame for the turmoil in the streets, which spread from Minneapolis to New York, Atlanta, Washington, Louisville, Portland and other cities.

“Keep track of cities where hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and serious injuries and death will take place,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor who has served as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, wrote on Twitter on Friday night. “All Democrat dominated cities with criminal friendly policies. This is the future if you elect Democrats.”

Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who was pardoned by Mr. Trump for tax fraud earlier this year, amplified the point on Twitter. “It should be no surprise that every one of these cities that the anarchist have taken over, are the same cities run by leftist Democrats with the highest violence, murder and poverty rates,” he wrote on Twitter. “They can’t handle their cities normally, so how are they going to deal with this?”

Mr. Trump, who this past week retweeted a video of a supporter saying that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” (though the supporter insisted he meant that in a political sense), picked up the theme on Saturday.

With crowds visible from his upstairs windows, Mr. Trump reached for his phone and again assailed the “Democrat Mayor” of Minneapolis for not responding more vigorously and called on New York to unleash its police against crowds. “Let New York’s Finest be New York’s Finest,” he wrote. “There is nobody better, but they must be allowed to do their job!”

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