The BOK arena in Tulsa has a capacity of 19,000. The Trump campaign claims the crowd for the president’s comeback rally on Saturday numbered 12,000. The Tulsa fire department says the real figure was 6,200. After speaking to banks of empty seating, Donald Trump reportedly returned to Washington “furious” about the “underwhelming” event – putting pressure on his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who blamed the “fake news media” and Black Lives Matter protesters for scaring people off.
The low turnout’s true culprits, however, may have been a coalition of K-pop fans and “Elite TikTok” users, who banded together online to claim hundreds of thousands of tickets for the event, which they never intended to use.
John Bolton says he will not vote for Trump in 2020. The former national security adviser, whose White House memoir is still making waves, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he hoped Trump would be remembered as a “one-term president who did not plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral”.
The president’s next campaign stop is in Arizona, which, like Oklahoma, has recently had a spike in Covid-19 cases. Trump will inspect a recently completed section of his border wall on Tuesday, before delivering “an address to young Americans” in Phoenix.
Experts fear Trump will rush out a vaccine before the election
The White House has attacked the Food and Drug Administration for revoking its approval of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which was hyped by Trump as a Covid-19 treatment. Now, experts are concerned that the agency may be vulnerable to political pressure – and that the administration could attempt to force through its approval for a coronavirus vaccine, potentially bringing an unproven drug to market in time for the presidential election.
US police forces do not meet even basic human rights standards
As protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue across the country, a study from the University of Chicago has found the police departments of the US’s 20 largest cities are failing to meet even the minimum international human rights standards governing the use of lethal force.
In Seattle, where protesters have banished police from the city’s so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (Chaz), officers said they were confronted by a “violent crowd” as they tried to enter the neighborhood to investigate the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old black man.
A top Democrat says ‘corrupt’ Republicans will protect Bill Barr
Amid longstanding concern over his politicisation of the justice department, and after a weekend in which he forced the messy dismissal of one of the country’s top prosecutors, William Barr “certainly deserves” to be impeached and removed from office, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, Jerry Nadler, said on Sunday. And yet, the Democrat added, “corrupt” senate Republicans would protect Trump’s attorney general from such a fate.
The controversy around Barr came to a head after he announced the resignation of Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, who has overseen investigations into several Trump allies. Berman refused to step down, leading to a 24-hour standoff before the president fired Berman on Saturday. The episode shows Barr may not be as smart as we thought, says Lloyd Green:
This weekend, Barr was caught in a massive lie. On Friday, he told the world in writing that Berman would be resigning. Berman had promised no such thing. Think of a seven-year old getting busted for raiding the cake batter.
In other news…
Justin Bieber has denied a 2014 sexual assault allegation made against him on Twitter by a user called Danielle, who has since deleted her account. The singer tweeted that “every claim of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously” but in this case the woman’s claim was “factually impossible”.
The editor of the Tennessean says the paper will investigate how a “horrific” and “utterly indefensible” ad – which claimed “Islam” planned to detonate a nuclear device in Nashville – appeared in its Sunday edition.
African countries have banded together to create a one-stop shop for Covid-19 supplies. The Africa Medical Supplies Platform will provide affordable testing kits, protective equipment and vaccines to countries that need them. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said it was “the glue that is going to bind the continent together”.
Republican dark money is targeting the 2020 election map
The 2020 election coincides with the decennial census, which means the state legislatures elected this fall will draw up district lines for the next decade. A little-known Republican group is putting $125m into making sure the GOP controls those decisions – and thus keeps its grip on Congress. Shilpa Jindia reports.
Generation wars: why everyone hates millennials
The tendency of the over-40s to refer to anyone under 40 as a “millennial” is really starting to irritate some 25-year-olds, who are in fact members of another cohort, known as Generation Z. Poppy Noor provides a concise guide to the generation wars.
Opinion: What’s behind the Biden mystique?
Over the years Joe Biden has held positions on criminal justice and economics far to the right of anyone in his party today. But his apparent decency, and his ability to connect with working-class voters, may be sufficient to unite Democrats, says Thomas Frank.
Biden is the product of a completely different world than the Ivy League meritocracy that has taken over the Democratic party. He is an unapologetic child of an industrial town and a middle-class society, and in this sense, he is a relic of an older, warmer kind of liberalism.
Last Thing: Nigel Slater’s recipes to eat outside
Thanks to physical distancing, we’re all going to be eating and entertaining outside this summer. Nigel Slater serves up a selection of recipes that are best enjoyed in the backyard.
First Thing is delivered to thousands of inboxes every weekday. If you’re not already signed up, subscribe now.