ESSENTIAL #1: “THE ONE TIME TRUMP DIDN’T BLINK” DAVID GRAHAM, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “No U.S. president has trained his audience to expect the unexpected as effectively as Donald Trump, so a strange conclusion to his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Vietnam was always the most likely outcome.
What was surprising was the type of outcome: Trump abruptly left the summit and canceled a signing ceremony on the premise that no deal was better than a bad deal. And he did so, as my colleague Uri Friedman wrote, after raising the stakes sky-high for the summit, and at a time when domestic political considerations meant that he could desperately use a win. Trump ran for president heralding himself as a hard-nosed negotiator, but since taking office, he has often proved a pushover on tense negotiations. In Vietnam, however, Trump didn’t blink.”
ESSENTIAL #2: “WASHINGTON GOV. JAY INSLEE ANNOUNCES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID” DAN MERICA, CNN
From the article: “Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee announced Friday that he is running for President, launching a bid in which he intends to make combating climate change the central rationale for his campaign.
Inslee announced the bid in a video made public on Friday. He is slated to hold a news conference in Seattle at a solar panel installer to expand upon his presidential announcement. He will be surrounded by friends, family and business owners who the campaign says have benefited from his climate policies in the state.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “THE FUTURE OF ABORTION POLITICS” MICHAEL WEAR, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: “Abortion will play a significant role in the 2020 presidential campaign as it has in most of our presidential elections since Roe v. Wade. Observers miss its significance when they look only to where it ranks in surveys of voters’ top priorities. Abortion is one of those issues that influences voters’ assessment of what kind of person a candidate is and what kind of president he or she will be. If a candidate promises to unite the country, but uses the issue of abortion to divide, voters pay attention to that. Voters also pay attention if candidate say they’ll listen to all Americans, but their rhetoric on abortion reflects that they don’t understand why anyone would disagree with their position. Trump will continue to use the issue of abortion as a way to neutralize criticisms that he is immoral, and that will have a powerful effect on a significant number of pro-life Americans if Trump is the only candidate who speaks to them.”
From the article: “Here is the commandment that experience teaches us: Immorality usually bites you in the ass. If you behave in a way that betrays relationship and obliterates the truth and erases your own integrity, you will sooner or later wind up where Michael Cohen has wound up — having ruined your life.
In ‘East of Eden,’ John Steinbeck writes: ‘Humans are caught — in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too — in a net of good and evil. I think this is the only story we have and that it occurs on all levels of feeling and intelligence. Virtue and vice were warp and woof of our first consciousness, and they will be the fabric of our last. … A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard clean questions: was it good or was it evil? Have I done well — or ill.’
That is the passage that confronts us as we decide to defend or condemn Trump. The moral drama is the central drama. Did you, at your crucial moment, side with generosity or greed?”