He’s playing to many sides. President Donald Trump caved to criticism of his rebuke of violence “on many sides” after police charged a neo-Nazi-linked driver with murdering an anti-racism demonstrator during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this weekend. While Trump’s approval ratings hit an all-time low of 34 percent, some politicians praised his remarks yesterday calling hate groups “repugnant.” On Tuesday, however, he doubled down on his earlier comments and suggested counterprotesters were also to blame for the violence. Meanwhile, spurred by events in Virginia, protesters in North Carolina pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They’re stepping back from the brink. North Korean state media says leader Kim Jong Un has decided to “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” before making any decision to fire missiles near Guam. The delay is expected to de-escalate last week’s march toward war between North Korea and the U.S. Pyongyang has warned that it could change its mind depending on U.S. actions, while South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a key American ally, said he plans to “block war by all means.”
It struck while they were sleeping. At least 312 are thought dead and 3,000 more are homeless after massive mudslides in Freetown. Houses were buried when part of Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed in a downpour early yesterday. Flooding is common in Sierra Leone, but the country has seen triple the usual amount of rain this year — including 41 inches since July 1. Rescuers are still searching for potential survivors, even as President Ernest Bai Koroma warned people away from affected areas, and authorities said the death toll is likely to rise.
They’re voting with their feet. Five members of President Trump’s 28-seat American Manufacturing Council have now quit their advisory roles, with AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka joining chief executives Kenneth Frazier of Merck, Brian Krzanich of Intel, Doug McMillan of Wal-Mart and Kevin Plank of Under Armour. Each has said they were taking a stand against racism — and the president’s reluctance to condemn it. Elon Musk of Tesla and Bob Iger of Disney quit in June over Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate accords. Trump meanwhile, responded by calling the departing CEOs “grandstanders.”
Know This: Iran has threatened to withdraw from its nuclear deal with the U.S. should the Trump administration impose new sanctions. White House adviser Steve Bannon is reportedly in danger of being fired. And a supermarket chain will start marketing insect burgers next week in Switzerland, the first European country to authorize such sales.
Watch This: An anti-Nazi short film from the 1940s entitled Don’t Be a Sucker has gained new popularity since a Virginia Neo-Nazi rally, but a study published in 1951 found that viewers might not internalize its message.
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It’s raining passports. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who leads the National Party, is the fifth politician in a month to run afoul of a prohibition on dual citizens holding office. He says he didn’t know that his father’s New Zealand citizenship was automatically passed on. But Joyce is refusing to step down until the country’s High Court has heard his case — possibly because his party’s coalition with the Liberal Party has a single-seat majority in the lower legislative house and his resignation could jeopardize its power.
They were shocked, shocked. Voice chat app Discord tweeted Monday that it had shut down one of its largest servers, AltRight.com. It’s part of its fight against “white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate” in the wake of this weekend’s white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The voice chat platform is the latest tech player to awaken to such use: GoDaddy, then Google booted neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer, which has also lost its French server host and is apparently seeking a new safe space for its hateful discourse.
The little guy has grown up. Shedding its old reputation as comic prop, the ukulele is exploding: U.S. sales tripled to 1.4 million annually between 2009 and 2016. While that cements it more firmly on the music scene, some yogis are starting to add its twang to meditation and mindfulness classes too. Together with its laid-back community, proponents say the uke’s delicacy and size amplify its calming effects, “like cradling a baby.” Senior centers in particular have capitalized on the ukulele’s purported healing properties, especially when paired with mellow activities like yoga.
They knew he was trouble. A six-woman, two-man federal civil jury unanimously decided that the pop star was groped by Denver-based DJ David Mueller as the two posed for a photo before a 2013 concert. They’d already thrown out his $3 million lawsuit claiming he’d been fired over a false accusation, and Monday they settled Swift’s countersuit, levying the $1 she’d sought as compensation. After the verdict, the “Shake it Off” singer said she’ll donate to organizations helping other sexual assault victims, “whose voices should also be heard.”
Paz, amigo. Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been slapped with a five-game domestic suspension after pushing a referee as his Real Madrid squad vanquished Barcelona, 3-1, Sunday. The forward had already bagged two yellow cards in the Spanish Super Cup game, which automatically banned him from the next match — but it was his aggression against referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea that knocked him out of another four. He likely won’t be back in Spanish league play until Sept. 20, though Real’s manager says he’ll appeal the decision.