Donald Trump 2020

News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO

  1. Defense

    Both Biden and Trump sent troops to the border. That’s where the similarities end.

    From law enforcement duties to building barriers, the tasks will be different.

    Hundreds of active-duty U.S. troops are descending on the Mexican border this week, but they’re not authorized to make arrests, use their weapons or do much more than administrative work.

    That’s making the military deployment — timed for the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions — a classic no-win political situation for the Biden administration, which is getting hit from at least one prominent Democrat for perpetuating Trump-era militarization of the border, and from Republicans who say the mission will be utterly ineffectual.

    Read More »

  2. Column | On Politics

    DeSantis Team To Trump: Wait and See

    Donors, governors and plenty of GOP voters are just waiting for the Florida governor to enter the race before they ditch the former president, according to DeSantis’ growing team of political pros.

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gathered around a conference table at the Florida Republican Party’s headquarters here late last month, Gov. Ron DeSantis inner circle did little to hide their eagerness to get into the presidential race or mask their frustration over the rising skepticism about their candidate-in-waiting.

    Nearly six months after DeSantis won a landslide reelection in what was once a battleground state, emerging as one of the few good news stories in a disappointing year for Republicans, the Florida Story has been overwhelmed by a pair of countervailing narratives, to borrow one of the governor’s favorite words: his own inadequacies and the suffocating reemergence of one Donald J. Trump.

    Read More »


    Opinion | How Trump Built a New Politics of Betrayal

    Generations of politicians have tried desperately to project reliability. One of them turned his total faithlessness into an asset — and it changed our politics for good.

    Fact-checkers have made their careers tracking the lies of Donald Trump. During his presidential tenure alone, he recorded 30,573 — many of which he repeated in his return to cable television at a CNN town hall on Wednesday, including his lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. But meanwhile, another meter has been running. Let’s call it the betrayal count — and although there’s no official total, there’s little doubt it is, as Trump himself would say, yuge.

    He cheated on his first wife, Ivana, with model Marla Maples, then married Maples and — according to a New York federal jury — sexually abused columnist E. Jean Carroll in a Bergdorf-Goodman dressing room, which recently cost him $5 million. A decade later, when married to his third wife, Melania, he allegedly had a one-night stand with porn star Stormy Daniels and used campaign funds to pay her hush money — a move that led to the first indictment of a former president on criminal charges in history. Throughout his business career, he’s left everyone from construction workers to his own lawyers out in the cold, awaiting payment — not to mention the students of Trump University. Not even his own cabinet was safe from Trump’s betrayal — just ask Jim Mattis. Or Jeff Sessions. Or Elaine Chao. Better yet, ask Mike Pence, who Trump made the target of a violent mob when he wiped his feet on his oath of office on Jan. 6.

    Read More »

  4. Florida

    DeSantis stays mum on Trump, for now, after town hall

    But one GOP consultant says "the cuffs will be off" once the governor is officially a candidate.

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — During Donald Trump’s chaotic townhall, the super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis went on the attack. It slammed him in real time during the event, claiming it was "an hour of nonsense" and Trump "still doesn't know where he stands on important conservative issues."

    But the next day, DeSantis supporters and the governor avoided any mention of Trump. They discussed another round of bill signings designed to highlight the legislative accomplishments that DeSantis racked up during the recently concluded 60-day session. On Thursday, he signed a bill that makes permanent Florida’s bans on mask mandates and Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

    Read More »

  5. Elections

    Can Trump cure all of Biden's ills? Some Dems aren't so sure.

    Anxiety mounts that the 2020 playbook isn’t replicable and that Biden world may be too confident in it.

    Donald Trump’s CNN town hall on Wednesday night was viewed as a gift from the political gods inside Biden world.

    But within broader Democratic circles it fed a nagging and growing concern. Is the president’s team a touch too confident about a Trump-Biden rematch?

    Read More »

  6. Legal

    Trump appeals verdict finding him liable for sexual assault

    The appeal was widely expected, as the former president’s attorneys said they planned to contest the verdict.

    Former President Donald Trump is appealing a jury’s verdict finding him liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

    Trump’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, two days after the nine-person jury ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.

    Read More »


    Enough With the Bellyaching Over CNN’s Trump Town Hall

    We should look forward to the next one.

    The captains who steer the SS CNN sent first mate Kaitlan Collins into the bilge Wednesday night to bail out the sinking ship with a thimble, while Donald Trump used the town hall format to blast a hole in CNN’s hull with a torpedo barrage of lies.

    Collins, a resourceful journalist who thinks as fast on her feet as Muhammad Ali did on his, couldn’t keep up. That’s no reflection on her. Nobody practiced in the art of the interview has ever been able to stop this lying chatterbox in a live session. As scholar Michael Socolow points out, Chris Wallace, Lesley Stahl and Jonathan Swan successfully tamed him, but all of those Trump interviewers were taped and edited, which neutered his predictable and exuberant filibustering. Plus, those interviews were conducted without an audience. Trump’s CNN town hall, on the other hand, was stocked from stem to stern with cheering acolytes who rewarded his every insult and evasion with laughter and applause. It’s hard to conduct an interview when rotten fruit and vegetables are being hurled onto the stage.

    Read More »

  8. Elections

    CNN's own employees are disparaging the Trump town hall

    Employees inside the company are slamming the network for giving Trump a platform to spout false claims on a multitude of issues.

    CNN employees are lambasting the network for its hour-long town hall Wednesday with former President Donald Trump, where he continued to push false claims about the 2020 election and defended his actions on Jan. 6.

    “It was a complete disaster,” one CNN employee told POLITICO Playbook, arguing that the format — specifically, stacking the audience with Trump supporters who cheered his lies — was a “strategic error.”

    Read More »

  9. Elections

    The Trump town hall news that GOP lawmakers will be dodging for weeks

    The event showed an unvarnished view of the former president — but it also elicited real news.

    CNN’s New Hampshire town hall with former President Donald Trump Wednesday night may have done more to boost his chances of winning the GOP presidential nomination than anything that’s happened since the 2020 election.

    Over and over again, a self-assured Trump lied and rewrote history. And the live studio audience — which seemed vocally pro-Trump, as if imported from Mar-a-Lago — ate it up.

    Read More »

  10. politics

    Chris Christie calls Trump a 'puppet of Putin' after CNN town hall

    “If you don't say that you think Ukraine should win the war, I don't know where you stand with Putin," the former governor said.


    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called former President Donald Trump a “coward” and a “puppet of Putin” for refusing to say that Ukraine should win in its war against Russia.

    During a CNN town hall Wednesday night, Trump said it wasn't wise to call Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, since that would make negotiating with him more difficult. When asked about the comment Thursday morning, Christie said he strongly disagrees.

    Read More »

  11. Elections

    5 takeaways from Trump’s CNN smackdown

    Donald Trump did a greatest-hits medley of his false election claims and Jan. 6 explanations. And the GOP-heavy crowd loved it.

    If there’s such a thing as an even more unvarnished view of Donald Trump, Wednesday’s town hall-turned-circus on CNN was it.

    Steamrolling his way through a made-for-primetime spectacle, Trump maintained his lie that the 2020 election was rigged, refused to pledge to accept the results of the 2024 election and called his interviewer a “nasty person.” And he had the crowd on his side for all of it, cheering his answers and laughing at his jokes.

    Read More »

  12. Elections

    Cable carnage: Trump turns CNN town hall into televised combat

    The former president’s town hall at CNN began with more 2020 denialism and went on from there.

    Former President Donald Trump refused to say he had lost the 2020 presidential election and defended his actions on Jan. 6 during a town hall event in New Hampshire on Wednesday night.

    In what became an hour-long form of television combat on a variety of issues, Trump received routine applause from the Republican and Republican-leaning crowd, including over his dismissal of a recent verdict that found him guilty of sexual assault. He did not flinch when asked by the moderator, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, if he owed his one-time VP Mike Pence an apology for the riot he helped incite while Pence was at the capitol.

    Read More »

  13. Legal

    Trump lawyer rejected claim that juror’s political affiliation signified bias

    A newly unsealed filing in the E. Jean Carroll case reveals how Trump successfully kept a listener of a far-right podcast on the jury.

    Donald Trump has spent the hours since he was found liable for sexual abuse assailing the judge and jurors who presided over the case — calling them “partisan” and saying they should be “ashamed of themselves.”

    But newly unsealed court filings indicate that Trump’s attorney was making a sharply different argument behind the scenes in order to dissuade the judge from ejecting a juror who listened to podcaster Tim Pool, a far-right, pro-Trump commentator who has aligned himself with figures like Steve Bannon.

    Read More »

  14. Politics

    Corey Lewandowski spoke with Vivek Ramaswamy Super PAC about role

    The former Trump campaign manager ran the idea by his ex-boss too.

    Former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has spoken with a pro-Vivek Ramaswamy super PAC about coming on board — and ran the idea by the former president before doing so.

    Lewandowski has talked with American Exceptionalism PAC, an outside group that has been set up to bolster the candidacy of Ramaswamy, according to three people familiar with the discussions. The longtime GOP operative, who for a time led Trump’s 2016 campaign and has remained an ally of the ex-president, approached Trump within the last several weeks to tell him about the prospect of him joining the organization.

    Read More »