William Saletan
William Saletan
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Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

Nine years ago, terrorists attacked U.S. diplomats and contractors in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died, and Republicans . Those investigations found no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but they succeeded in painting Clinton as soft on terrorism, thereby damaging her 2016 presidential campaign. Now the same Republicans who decried Benghazi are downplaying President Donald Trump’s culpability—and their own—in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.AdvertisementThe Republican frenzy over Benghazi spanned two presidential elections. In October...

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William Saletan
Jan 13
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Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementNine years ago, terrorists attacked U.S. diplomats and contractors in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died, and Republicans . Those investigations found no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but they succeeded in painting Clinton as soft on terrorism, thereby damaging her 2016 presidential campaign. Now the same Republicans who decried Benghazi are downplaying President Donald Trump’s culpability—and their own—in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.AdvertisementThe Republican frenzy over Benghazi spanned...

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William Saletan
Jan 13
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Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

Republicans Are Tough on Terrorism Until the Terrorists Are Republicans

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementNine years ago, terrorists attacked U.S. diplomats and contractors in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans died, and Republicans . Those investigations found no wrongdoing by President Barack Obama or then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but they succeeded in painting Clinton as soft on terrorism, thereby damaging her 2016 presidential campaign. Now the same Republicans who decried Benghazi are downplaying President Donald Trump’s culpability—and their own—in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.AdvertisementThe Republican frenzy over Benghazi spanned...

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William Saletan
Jan 13
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Perdue and Loeffler Are Abetting Trump’s Coup Attempt

Perdue and Loeffler Are Abetting Trump’s Coup Attempt

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementGeorgia’s Republican senators, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, call themselves the “” against tyranny. They claim that if Democrats unseat them in Tuesday’s runoffs, the left will seize “total control,” like “.” That’s absurd, given the GOP’s power in , the , and the . But America does face a tyrannical threat: President Donald Trump’s attempt, with broad Republican support, to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election. In that fight, Perdue and Loeffler aren’t standing against tyranny. They’re abetting it.AdvertisementSince Election Day, Trump has...

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William Saletan
Jan 5
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Trump’s Coup Attempt Could Cost Republicans the Senate

Trump’s Coup Attempt Could Cost Republicans the Senate

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementPresident Donald Trump refuses to concede the 2020 election. In meetings with lawyers and political allies, some of whom openly advocate , he has to and block implementation of the election results. Now he’s planning a showdown on Jan. 6, when Congress meets to certify the votes of the Electoral College. There’s almost no chance that Trump, by staging this fight, could keep the presidency. But he might manage to do something else: lose the Senate.AdvertisementControl of the Senate hinges on two Jan. 5 runoff elections in Georgia. Democrats are doing...

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William Saletan
Dec 23
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The Trump Coronavirus Scandal Continues

The Trump Coronavirus Scandal Continues

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementWho’s responsible for America’s disastrous mismanagement of COVID-19? Four months ago, when the U.S. death toll was around 160,000, I outlined . Since then, the body count has nearly doubled. A new report, published this weekend in the , adds to the incriminating evidence. It details multiple incidents of negligence and malfeasance, attributed by the Post’s sources to specific administration officials. Each of these incidents deserves further investigation. Here’s what the Post found on the alleged culprits.Advertisement1. Trump. The president’s...

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William Saletan
Dec 21
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Republicans Are Manufacturing a Legitimacy Crisis

Republicans Are Manufacturing a Legitimacy Crisis

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementForsaken and defeated , President Donald Trump has seized on a new basis for overturning the 2020 election: public opinion. On Tuesday night, he tweeted, “!” The number was bogus, but there’s a deeper reason to reject Trump’s argument: It’s circular. For weeks, the president and his allies have been spreading about election fraud. Now, having manufactured distrust among Republican voters, they’re spinning that distrust as a basis to throw out the election.AdvertisementEvery fact-finding body has rejected Trump’s . He’s been stiffed by Trump-appointed...

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William Saletan
Dec 18
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Trump Is Finishing Russia’s Smear Campaign Against America

Trump Is Finishing Russia’s Smear Campaign Against America

AdvertisementAdvertisementAdvertisementDonald Trump’s presidency has been a . He has undermined NATO, withheld , and abandoned America’s commitments to democracy and human rights. He has , yielded to Russian troops in the Middle East, and dismissed Russia’s 2016 election interference as a . Now Trump has been voted out by Americans, but he’s still serving Russia. He’s devoting his final days in office—and suggesting he might —to a long-standing Russian objective: destroying faith in U.S. elections.AdvertisementFor weeks, Trump has rejected Joe Biden’s victory as a fraud. In , , , and a ,...

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William Saletan
Dec 11
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“Stop the Steal” Republicans Are the New Anarchists

“Stop the Steal” Republicans Are the New Anarchists

Republicans have a standard recipe for winning elections: They preach law and order, and they smear their opponents as anarchists. That message in 2020, and it’s central to their final push of the year: the campaign to hold Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats, which, in a runoff election on Jan. 5, will determine control of the upper chamber. But President Donald Trump’s defeat, and the refusal of his supporters to accept that result, have turned the Republican narrative on its head. The anarchists aren’t on the left anymore. They’re on the right.The new anarchists don’t smash windows or loot...

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William Saletan
Nov 25
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“Defund the Police” Is a Self-Destructive Slogan

“Defund the Police” Is a Self-Destructive Slogan

For two weeks, Democrats have been arguing over why they didn’t do better in the election. Was it ? The Green New Deal? ? These disputes will rage on. But there’s one lesson on which all sides should agree, because the evidence is clear, and the remedy is semantic: Stop saying “Defund the police.”Most activists, when they talk about defunding police, mean that we should fund social services and thereby reduce the scope of what police have to do. But that’s not how many voters hear it. Defund is generally applied to organizations you want to cripple or eliminate, not reform. So it’s easy to...

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William Saletan
Nov 19
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Trump Is Campaigning for More Coronavirus Deaths

Trump Is Campaigning for More Coronavirus Deaths

Thanks to President Donald Trump’s , COVID-19 has killed more than 225,000 Americans. The United States has the in the world, with less than 5 percent of the planet’s population but nearly . And the president isn’t finished. He’s making another push to fill hospitals and morgues by discouraging Americans from wearing masks.Masks are the best tool we have right now to control the pandemic. They as we go about our lives. In June, a study calculated that mask mandates in some states had prevented . An analysis by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, published on Friday in Nature,...

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William Saletan
Oct 29
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Trump’s Rallies Are Overflowing With Racism

Trump’s Rallies Are Overflowing With Racism

Scrambling to save his reelection campaign, Donald Trump is trying one last-ditch con: He’s pretending to care about people of color. “,” the president declared last month. “I’m doing so well with African American, with Asian American, with Hispanic American, and with women,” he . But in front of white crowds on the campaign trail, Trump hasn’t changed a bit. He’s slandering minorities to exploit fear and bigotry.At his rallies, Trump routinely tells white voters that Democrats would “” by installing “.” When critics interpreted this as a racial dog whistle, Trump added a riff about . He...

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William Saletan
Oct 15
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Trump’s Coronavirus Cover-Up Was All About Greed

Trump’s Coronavirus Cover-Up Was All About Greed

On Monday night, struggling visibly with his coronavirus infection, Donald Trump bragged that he had triumphed over the virus. “I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it,” Trump declared in a . “I stood out front. I led.” But the real story of Trump’s infection is the danger he covertly posed to others. Despite multiple warning signs, he traveled to campaign events and mingled, mask-free, with donors. He knowingly jeopardized the health not just of his contributors, but of every employee who had to accompany him and everyone who had to staff these events. And he did it all for...

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William Saletan
Oct 7
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Trump Picks a Lot of Fights With People Who Aren’t on the Ballot

Trump Picks a Lot of Fights With People Who Aren’t on the Ballot

Donald Trump loves to fight. On Tuesday night, in his , he constantly attacked Joe Biden. But Trump also attacked governors, reporters, previous political opponents, and his own officials. He’s headed for defeat in part because he can’t stop making enemies and alienating voters. Here are some of the he picked on Tuesday night.1. Impeachment. Halfway through the debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked, “Why should voters elect you president over your opponent?” This was Trump’s opportunity to brag about his achievements. Instead, he began the second sentence of his answer by fuming, “And...

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William Saletan
Sep 30
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McConnell Is Inventing Excuses to Grab Ginsburg’s Seat

McConnell Is Inventing Excuses to Grab Ginsburg’s Seat

Four years ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked consideration of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. McConnell said he was entitled to do this because it was a presidential election year, and the Senate should wait for voters to choose the president who would choose the next justice. Now that Donald Trump is president, McConnell has reversed himself. On Friday night, after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell announced that he would on Trump’s nominee to replace her. It’s a ruthless power grab, and McConnell is trying to cover it...

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William Saletan
Sep 19
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Trump’s Excuse for His Coronavirus Lies Is Even More Incriminating

Trump’s Excuse for His Coronavirus Lies Is Even More Incriminating

Thanks to Bob Woodward, we now have that prove what have shown: President Donald Trump deliberately played down the coronavirus as it swept through the United States. Trump says he did this to prevent a “.” But that excuse is even more damning, because it’s the same rationale he initially gave for China’s censorship of information about the virus. Suppressing “panic” was the core of a corrupt alliance between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.The story Trump now tells, that the “China virus” caught him off guard, is a lie. He was well briefed and well aware, not just about the virus,...

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William Saletan
Sep 11
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How Trump Killed Tens of Thousands of Americans

How Trump Killed Tens of Thousands of Americans

On July 17, President Donald Trump sat for a at the White House. At the time, from the novel coronavirus. The interviewer, Chris Wallace, showed Trump a video clip in which Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned of a ahead. Trump dismissed the warning. He scoffed that experts had misjudged the virus all along. “,” said Trump. “They used to say the heat, the heat was good for it and it really knocks it out, remember? So they got that one wrong.”Trump’s account was completely backward. Redfield and other U.S. public health officials had never...

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William Saletan
Aug 9
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How Trump Lied About China and the Coronavirus

How Trump Lied About China and the Coronavirus

What did President Donald Trump know about the novel coronavirus, and when did he know it?Trump says China, the World Health Organization, and his intelligence briefers misled him or failed to warn him about the virus. But his statements in January and February, juxtaposed with what advisers were telling him and saying publicly, show that he repeatedly lied. He vouched for Beijing’s truthfulness despite being advised not to. He parroted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s false assurances and defended Xi’s suppression of information. Long after WHO declared a global emergency, Trump shrugged off...

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William Saletan
Aug 9
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Trump Is Foolish to Pick a Fight Over the Confederate Flag

Trump Is Foolish to Pick a Fight Over the Confederate Flag

On Friday, reading from a teleprompter at Mount Rushmore, President Donald Trump saluted the four presidents carved on the mountain: . On Saturday, he recited a list of “,” including Washington, Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman. But on Monday morning, Trump blurted out his real feelings. After from Bubba Wallace, a Black NASCAR driver who was thought to have been targeted for intimidation by a garage-door cord , the president denounced NASCAR for banning “” at its events.Trump’s defense of the Confederate flag, as opposed to defending statues of the American founders, is...

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William Saletan
Jul 7
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Why Biden’s Lead Is Safer Than Clinton’s

Why Biden’s Lead Is Safer Than Clinton’s

Former Vice President Joe Biden is thumping President Donald Trump in the polls. As of Friday, Biden led Trump by 10 percentage points in the and by six to nine points in each of four key states: , , , and . But many Democrats refuse to trust these numbers. They feel burned by 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost after leading in the polls for months. They’re afraid Trump will come back again.That could happen. But it probably won’t, and one reason is that Biden isn’t Clinton. You can argue that public antipathy toward Clinton was sexist, based on lies, or propelled by the media. But that...

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William Saletan
Jun 26
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Trump Is Losing His Grip on White America

Trump Is Losing His Grip on White America

Donald Trump has spent his life stoking white racial fears. He has done it as a , as a , and as . Now he’s betting his reelection on it. “” removing the names of Confederate generals from military bases, he tweeted on June 10. “.” Trump calls for “,” appeals to “,” and vows if players kneel for the national anthem.But Trump has a problem: Most white Americans . Polls taken since George Floyd’s death are showing a profound change in public opinion: White Americans, on balance, now perceive systemic racism and reject Trump’s law-and-order message as inadequate.That’s good news for America....

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William Saletan
Jun 20
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Trump’s Rallies Confirm Bolton’s China Story

Trump’s Rallies Confirm Bolton’s China Story

John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, has just added a new chapter to the stockpile of evidence that Trump . In his forthcoming book, , Bolton reports that last year, Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him get reelected. Bolton was a direct witness to these overtures. His story matches Trump’s in the 2016 election and Trump’s to get campaign help against former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020. But there’s one more very good reason to believe Bolton’s allegation: Trump, in front of thousands of people, has essentially confirmed it.In a Wall...

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William Saletan
Jun 18
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Trump Doesn’t Believe in Law and Order

Trump Doesn’t Believe in Law and Order

This weekend, as violence and protests over the death of George Floyd shook the country, President Donald Trump called for “.” “We support the overwhelming majority of police officers who are … devoted public servants,” said Trump. “It is essential that we protect the crown jewel of American democracy: and our independent system of justice.”That’s a standard Republican message, and there’s a lot of truth to it. But Trump doesn’t believe in the rule of law. His record shows an uglier pattern: He supports cops when they target people of color. He opposes cops when they target him and his...

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William Saletan
Jun 1
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Trump Is Lying About His Travel Ban on Europe

Trump Is Lying About His Travel Ban on Europe

Slate is making its coronavirus coverage free for all readers. Subscribe to support our journalism. .Donald Trump has been lying his whole life. As president, he has told thousands of lies, by . But now, through his regular coronavirus briefings, you can see how he does it. By talking on camera for hours every day, he has made it possible to reconstruct, through a kind of time-lapse photography, how he develops, embellishes, and markets his lies. One such fabrication is a useful case study: Trump’s claim that when the virus struck, he promptly banned travel to the United States from...

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William Saletan
Apr 23
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Trump Is Doing to America What He Did to Ukraine

Trump Is Doing to America What He Did to Ukraine

Slate is making its coronavirus coverage free for all readers. Subscribe to support our journalism. .Last year, when a faraway country was under attack, President Donald Trump saw an opportunity. Thousands of Ukrainians had died in a Russian proxy war, and Ukraine needed help. To others in the U.S. government, this meant America had to act. But to Trump, it meant power. He realized that by refusing to meet with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, he could pressure Zelensky to make a statement, which Trump could use in his reelection campaign. Trump could even withhold aid that Ukraine...

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William Saletan
Apr 17
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