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Trump Said Dems Will Rename Pennsylvania—and Even Weirder Things

Donald Trump’s ramblings this weekend were truly deranged.

Donald Trump stands at a podium that reads "Text SC to 88022 Trump Make America Great Again 2024." He quints and makes an ok hand signal on both hands.
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Donald Trump’s gaffes are becoming more frequent and more indecipherable by the day.

At a National Rifle Association gathering in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Friday, Trump made plenty of strange blunders in front of his thousands of supporters, in his rambling, incoherent auctioneer style.

“I didn’t need this—I had a very nice life—nice Saturday afternoon,” Trump began the speech, apparently mixing up the days of the week.

He went on to claim he won Pennsylvania twice (he didn’t win in 2020) and warned voters that Democrats plan to “change the name of Pennsylvania” if Joe Biden wins this election.

“We have to win in November, or we’re not going to have Pennsylvania. They’ll change the name. They’re going to change the name of Pennsylvania,” Trump said.

There haven’t been any moves to change Pennsylvania’s name, and it’s not clear what he was referring to.

In the same speech, Trump said that if he wasn’t running for president, he wouldn’t be in Harrisburg and would instead be in a “very nice place,” a slight dig at the state capital. He then suddenly tried to walk back those comments, making mention of “beautiful columns” and “powerful tractors” and assuring he knows “all about the marbles—I can tell you every marble.”

He also appeared to suggest that Barack Obama is still in office, a mistake he has made repeatedly on the campaign trail.

The gaffes come amid rising concern about mental acuity of both party’s front-runners. Last week, a Department of Justice investigation by special counsel Robert Hur presented President Joe Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

According to the report, which Democrats have slammed as a “partisan hit job,” Biden could not recall key dates, like when his son Beau died or when he was vice president.

While Biden is 81 years old and Trump is 77, and as both seem to be stumbling on the campaign trail, notably, even the remaining third-party candidates in the race, Cornel West and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., are over 70. This makes them older than Ronald Reagan was when he was elected as the oldest president at the time.

Over the past several months, Trump has confused fellow GOP candidate Nikki Haley with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, mixed up countries and major world leaders, and described missile defense as “ding, ding, ding, boom, whoosh!”

It’s hard to say if the gaffes Trump continues to make are any worse than what he says with full cognition.

Also this weekend on the campaign trail, the Republican front-runner seemed to imply that Russia should attack NATO countries, encouraging Russia to “do whatever the hell they want.”

When The New York Times asked Senator Lindsey Graham about the former president’s statements, he replied, “Give me a break—I mean, it’s Trump.”

Spineless Marco Rubio Is Totally Unbothered by Trump’s Russia Remark

Republican Senator Marco Rubio claims he has “zero concerns” about Trump’s alarming comments on Russia and NATO.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio came to Donald Trump’s defense on Sunday, claiming he had “zero concern” about Trump’s recent threat against nations he deems are failing NATO’s guidelines.

“That’s not what happened, and that’s not how I view that statement,” Rubio told CNN’s State of the Union, when asked what he thought about Trump’s recent admission that he had told a president “of a big country” that he wouldn’t defend NATO allies from Russian invasion if they “don’t pay.”

“No, I would not protect you,” Trump said, recalling the conversation, once again, to a crowd in Conway, North Carolina, on Saturday. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

“Donald Trump is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations,” Rubio clarified. “He doesn’t talk like a traditional politician, and we’ve already been through this. You would think people would’ve figured it out by now.”

It’s an odd bump from Rubio, who, despite endorsing Trump in January, has recently worked to pass a bipartisan bill that he sponsored alongside Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, specifically designed to prevent presidents from withdrawing from NATO without congressional approval.

“He was talking about a story that … happened in the past,” Rubio said, brushing off the remark. “By the way, Donald Trump was president, and he didn’t pull us out of NATO. In fact, American troops were stationed throughout Europe as they are today.”

“What he’s basically saying is … NATO was broke or busted until he took over because people weren’t paying their dues, and then he told a story of how he used leverage to make people step up to the plate and become more active in NATO,” Rubio continued. “Virtually every American president at some point in some way has complained about other countries in NATO not doing enough. Trump’s just the first one to express it in these terms.”

But America’s Western allies did not feel similarly.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a statement. “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election, the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Trump has long aggressed America’s relationship with the international military alliance, baselessly asserting that other NATO members have failed to pay their dues, even though the country has never been shortchanged by other members. The Cold War organization has “no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” according to former Obama staffer Aaron O’Connell, who told NPR in 2018 that “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

RFK Jr. Forced to Apologize to His Own Family for That Super Bowl Ad

A Super Bowl ad for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spotlighted some famous Kennedys—and the rest of the family is now pissed.

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Super Bowl ad may have reached millions of Americans, but it also reached his family—who weren’t too jazzed to have their images leveraged as fodder for his dimming bid for the White House.

During Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, a super PAC supporting the independent candidate aired a familiar commercial: a 1960 John F. Kennedy campaign ad. Except the face behind the iconic “Kennedy for Me” jingle wasn’t JFK. Instead, it was his vaccine-rejecting, conspiracy-touting nephew, RFK Jr., hocking his dead uncle’s legacy and riding on the family name for 30 seconds of fame.

“My cousin’s Super Bowl ad used our uncle’s faces—and my Mother’s,” wrote Bobby Shriver, referring to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in a statement that his brother signed off on. “She would be appalled by his deadly health care views. Respect for science, vaccines, & health care equity were in her DNA.”

“She strongly supported my health care work at @ONECampaign & @RED which he opposes,” Shriver added, referring to the nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the end of extreme poverty and finding a cure for AIDS.

RFK Jr., meanwhile, chalked the mishap up to a genuine mistake, claiming he wasn’t able to sign off on the ad due to Federal Election Commission rules.

“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain,” RFK Jr. wrote late on Sunday night. “The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”

But that might not be all true. Even though federal law technically prohibits super PACs from coordinating with or donating to candidates and their campaigns, there aren’t exactly any super PAC cops preventing them from doing so. The FEC, in practice, remains unable to investigate claims of fraud thanks to extremely limiting parameters that fail as soon as “allied outside groups … simply converse with one another,” according to TNR’s Jason Linkins.

And his sentiment might not be all there, either. At the time of publishing, RFK Jr. still had the ad pinned to the top of his X profile, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

That one time RFK Jr. made a good point:

Ted Cruz Airport Security Bill Is Actually Moving Forward in Senate

With apparently nothing else going on in the world, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill on the urgent need for private security escorts.

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Ted Cruz is taking the law into his own hands to make sure he isn’t caught in another paparazzi snafu.

On Thursday, the Senate advanced a piece of legislation that would give politicians extra security to whisk them through airport security lines, minimizing their exposure to the U.S. public.

The language of Cruz’s proposal would require the Transportation Security Administration to offer lawmakers, federal judges, Cabinet members, and some of their family and staff the privilege of expedited screenings and security escorts—though other agencies, like local airport police, could also be called in to assist.

Unsurprisingly, the TSA responded that the task would be too much of a burden, while a nonprofit representing airport police said that it was already too underfunded to take on such an initiative. The effort would also, ultimately, pull police away from “crime suppression and security functions at airports, which is our fundamental duty,” according to the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network’s Kevin Murphy, who spoke with Politico.

“It has been a long road, with ‘delays’ and a little bit of ‘turbulence,’ but I am glad we have reached a compromise and are marking up this bill,” Cruz said before the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday.

“This bipartisan bill will help ensure the FAA can improve at its core mission of keeping the flying public safe,” Cruz noted in an emailed statement to The Hill. “With the aviation industry facing serious challenges, this legislation charts a course to address many of them while also modernizing and transforming the FAA’s operations.”

It’s probably not a stretch to assume that Cruz got the idea after he was caught catching a flight to Cancun, bailing on his constituents—and his dog—during a historic winter storm in 2021 that shut down power in large swaths of Texas.

Florida Goes Full McCarthy With Proposed Change to Kindergarten Curriculum

Florida Republicans have introduced a new bill that could require kindergarteners to learn about the “threat of communism.”

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In Florida, alongside lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic, kindergarteners may also soon be required to learn about the “threat of communism in the United States.”

Republicans’ House Bill 1349 would require that public students in grades K-12 learn about the history of communism. Specifically, that includes the “increasing threat of communism in the United States and our allies through the 20th Century.” Under current state law, kids don’t receive lessons about communism until the seventh grade.

Should the bill pass, students as young as 5 could soon be forced to learn about “the history of domestic communist movements and their tactics within the United States, the philosophy and lineages of communist thought, including Marxism, [and] foreign communist movements of the 20th century, the atrocities committed by such movements, and the threat they posed to the United States and its allies.”

The bill would also create a “Communism Education Task Force,” with members appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis, to shape curriculum and standards for instruction on the history of communism.

This isn’t just some crazy proposal. After all, Republicans have a trifecta hold over the state’s government, with majorities in the state House and Senate as well as a Republican governor who, having lost a shot at the White House, now has renewed vigor in his personal crusade against all things woke.

A parallel bill, Senate Bill 1264, is moving forward in the Senate, increasing the chances that it could land on DeSantis’s desk before the end of the legislative session on March 8.

The House version is more extreme, however, also requiring kids to learn about the threats of “cultural Marxism.” Many Democrats pushed back on the inclusion, including Representative Susan Valdes.

“Cultural Marxism, isn’t that a very politically charged terminology that’s being used?” Valdes asked. “I don’t know, is it?” James Buchanan, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, replied.

If it passes, the curriculum change would take effect in the 2026–2027 school year.

As The Miami Herald noted in its coverage of the bill, starting this year, Florida high school students in U.S. government classes must receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on “Victims of Communism Day” before they can graduate.

“Partisan Hit Job”: Legal Experts Slam Special Counsel’s Biden Report

The special counsel’s Biden report is “entirely inappropriate,” one former prosecutor said.

Joe Biden delivers remarks in the White House
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Legal analysts blasted special counsel Robert Hur’s report on President Joe Biden on Friday, deriding the Department of Justice investigation as a “partisan hit job.”

“Special Counsel Hur report on Biden classified documents issues contains way too many gratuitous remarks and is flatly inconsistent with long standing DOJ traditions,” former Attorney General Eric Holder said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “Had this report been subject to a normal DOJ review these remarks would undoubtedly have been excised.”

Andew Weissman, former lead prosecutor in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, called the report “entirely inappropriate.”

“It is also exactly what you’re not supposed to do, which is putting your thumb on the scale that could have political repercussions,” said Weissman. “You either decide to go forward, that there is proof here, or you don’t say anything at all with respect to your opinions about the case.”

A top Biden campaign official described Hur’s report as a “Comey moment,” while former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer dubbed the report a “partisan hit job.”

And Vice President Kamala Harris offered her own aggressive defense of the president Friday, calling for the special counsel to have a “higher level of integrity” after the report accused the 81-year-old president of having a memory with “significant limitations.”

“What I saw in that report last night, I believe, is—as a former prosecutor—the comments that were made by that prosecutor [are] gratuitous, inaccurate, and inappropriate,” Harris told reporters on Friday.

“October 7, Israel experienced a horrific attack, and I will tell you we got the calls, the president and myself, in the hours after that occurred,” Harris continued. “It was an intense moment for the commander in chief of the United States of America, and I was in almost every meeting with the president in the hours and days that followed.”

“The president was in front of and on top of it all,” she added.

“So, the way that the president’s demeanor in that report was characterized, could not be more wrong on the facts, and [is] clearly politically motivated.”

The report, which claimed Biden struggled to remember basic details like what year his vice presidency under Obama ended and what year his son Beau died, during an interview just days after October 7, challenged the president on an already crumbling front. Polling indicates that three-quarters of Americans think that Biden is too old for a second term.

Jack Smith Hits Back at Judge Cannon’s Dangerous Order on Trump Case

Special counsel Jack Smith is warning the judge in Donald Trump’s classified documents case about her recent decision.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Special Counsel Jack Smith on Thursday night warned that the judge in Donald Trump’s classified documents case has made a “clear error” that could put witnesses at risk.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, ruled that some unredacted discovery documents should be made available to Trump’s legal team. Those documents could expose sensitive information, including the names of potential witnesses.

It’s hardly surprising that Smith has spoken out about the ways in which Cannon’s decision could end very badly. In a court filing on Thursday, the special counsel urged the judge to reconsider.

“That discovery material, if publicly docketed in unredacted form as the Court has ordered, would disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses, along with the substance of the statements they made to the FBI or the grand jury, exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassment, as has already happened to witnesses, law enforcement agents, judicial officers, and Department of Justice employees whose identities have been disclosed in cases in which defendant Trump is involved,” he wrote.

Smith also reminded Cannon of an Eleventh Circuit decision that goes against her recent decision.

“The Eleventh Circuit has held that the compelling-interest standard applied by the Court does not apply to ‘documents filed in connection with motions to compel discovery,’ which instead may be sealed or redacted simply upon a showing of ‘good cause,’” he wrote.

The Eleventh Circuit, coincidentally, is the same court that once struck down Cannon’s decision to grant Trump’s request to appoint a special master in the classified documents case.

It won’t be hard for Smith to demonstrate the “good cause” for not releasing those documents. Throughout his legal trials, Trump has made a habit out of harassing courtroom staff, plaintiffs, and witnesses.

The threats that Trump can bring to bear against his perceived enemies are so well documented that legal experts have raised the alarm about the safety of witnesses and jurors in his future trials—and jurists have acted on their advice. In the E. Jean Carroll trial that wrapped up last month, the jury was partially sequestered and fully anonymous. Jurors were warned not to share their names even with each other, using numbers instead. Judge Lewis Kaplan took those steps precisely because he was worried about Trump’s behavior.

Moments after the jury delivered its massive $83.3 million verdict against Trump, Kaplan gave them an ominous warning: “My advice to you is that you never disclose that you were on this jury.”

Trump is facing 40 counts for keeping classified documents long after he left the White House. His aide, Walt Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago employee, Carlos De Oliveira, are also facing charges.

Republican Representative Says She’d Totally Do a Coup for Trump

Elise Stefanik is desperately trying to become Donald Trump’s vice president—and she’ll do whatever it takes.

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New York Representative Elise Stefanik is ready and willing to put Donald Trump before country and state.

On Thursday, the MAGA lawmaker all but admitted she would definitely have done a coup and not certified the 2020 presidential election results on January 6 if she were in former Vice President Mike Pence’s shoes.

“Had you been vice president on January 6, 2021, what would you have done?” asked CNN’s Kaitlin Collins.

“I would not have done what Mike Pence did, I don’t think that was the right approach. I specifically stand by what I said on the House floor, and I stand by my statement, which was that there was unconstitutional overreach, there was unconstitutional overreach in states like Pennsylvania,” Stefanik responded.

“I think it’s very important that we continue to stand up for the Constitution and have legal and secure elections, which we did not have in 2020, and tens of millions of Americans agree with me, Katy,” she added.

Stefanik is seen as a leading contender for Trump’s vice presidential pick, and it’s clear this interview was meant for his eyes.

Her throwaway line of claiming to stand for the protection of the U.S. Constitution directly contradicts Pence’s own defense of his decision to certify the votes, effectively making Joe Biden the next president.

“By God’s grace, I did my duty that day,” he told the Des Moines Register in August. “I had no right to overturn the election. And the American people deserve to know that the president asked me to choose him over keeping my oath to the Constitution, but I chose the Constitution. And I always will.”

Somehow, it’s the second time this week that one of Trump’s top contenders in his veepstakes said they’d do a coup. On Sunday, Senator J.D. Vance gave a shockingly similar answer, effectively arguing for American autocracy rather than democracy.

“If I had been vice president, I would have told the states, like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and so many others, that we needed to have multiple slates of electors, and I think the U.S. Congress should have fought over it from there,” Vance said, referring to the fake pro-Trump electors that some states’ Republicans tried to send to Washington.

“That is the legitimate way to deal with an election that a lot of folks, including me, think had a lot of problems in 2020. I think that’s what we should have done.”

Watch: Tucker Carlson Dumbfounded as Putin Mocks His CIA Dreams

Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview is finally out—and it’s even worse than expected.

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Tucker Carlson lost complete control of his softball interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as pretty much everyone expected.

After spending roughly 30 minutes ranting about world history via Kremlin talking points, Putin suddenly flipped the script, mocking Carlson directly for applying—and failing—to join the CIA.

While on a tangent about how the ousting of former pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during the Maidan revolution was really the CIA’s fault, Putin took a pause to troll the conservative talk show host.

“The organization you wanted to join back in the day as I understand. We should thank God they didn’t let you in. Although it is a serious organization I understand,” the former KGB agent said through a translator.

Carlson attempted to join the intelligence agency after leaving Trinity College in Connecticut, but was rejected on the basis that “the real-life agency, unlike its fictional counterparts, prefers not to hire young men who are gabby and insubordinate,” according to a 2017 profile of Carlson by The New Yorker.

The whole setup was an embarrassing twist for the former Fox News anchor, who spent years sucking up to the de facto dictator, advocating against U.S. support for Ukraine, and calling for Americans to revisit their prejudices against Putin and the Russian government—even after Russian military officials were caught interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—helping the commentator gain airtime in Russian state-run media outlets.

Carlson spent the better part of the much-hyped interview, which aired Thursday evening, sitting and listening while Putin ranted and raved, failing to press the indicted war criminal on any legitimate or worthwhile topics. Instead, the conversation sprawled across the concept of God, the Russian soul, and what Putin thought of U.S. President Joe Biden. It was the first time Putin had sat down for an interview with Western media since Russia launched its full scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Putin also mentioned that his country would be open to a prisoner exchange to release Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained for almost a year on espionage charges for reporting on the nation.

Ahead of the interview’s release, White House officials attempted to dampen the messaging.

“Remember, you’re listening to Vladimir Putin. And you shouldn’t take at face value anything he has to say,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

Meanwhile, another American journalist, Alsu Kurmasheva, has been jailed in the country since October 18 for allegedly failing to register as a foreign agent, despite the fact that she also holds Russian citizenship.

But Putin—who effortlessly navigated the propaganda spot—clearly intended to use the segment as leverage over Americans and Russians. On Friday, Russian school students were spotted watching the interview in history classes.

Biden Is Seriously Struggling With His Memory, Says Damning Report

A new special counsel report reveals Joe Biden forgot things like when he was vice president and when his son died.

Annabelle Gordon/CNP/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Department of Justice investigation on President Joe Biden’s classified documents scandal concluded Thursday with no charges for the commander in chief, but the subsequent report may pose bigger problems for his reelection campaign.

The 388-page report, which followed a year-long investigation by special counsel Robert Hur, effectively condemned the 81-year-old president as having a memory with “significant limitations,” noting that if Biden were to face trial he “would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Over the course of the report, Hur painted a picture of a man who could not remember with precision when his vice presidency under President Barack Obama began or when it ended. His memory “appeared hazy” when recalling his stance over the war in Afghanistan, and he mistook one of his former key allies, General Karl Eikenberry, for someone he had a “real difference” of opinion with. But political minutiae were not the only topics Biden had trouble recalling, apparently also failing to remember, “even within several years,” when his son Beau died.

“It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him—by then a former president well into his eighties—of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness,” the report noted.

A letter from Biden’s legal team, included in the report, simultaneously applauds the decision not to charge Biden while condemning the report as an inaccurate assessment of Biden’s mental clarity, citing the questionable timing of Hur’s interviews.

“We do not believe that the report’s treatment of President Biden’s memory is accurate or appropriate. The report uses highly prejudicial language to describe a commonplace occurrence among witnesses: a lack of recall of years-old events,” the attorneys wrote.

“In fact there is ample evidence from your interview that the President did well in answering your questions about years-old events over the course of hours. This is especially true under the circumstances, which you do not mention in your report … that his interview began the day after the October 7 attacks on Israel,” they added.

In his own statement, the president reaffirmed that narrative, claiming his eagerness to satisfy the needs of the investigation came at the expense of multihour interviews in the wake of Hamas’s attack on Israel.

“I was so determined to give the Special Counsel what they needed that I went forward with five hours of in-person interviews over two days on October 8th and 9th of last year, even though Israel had just been attacked on October 7th and I was in the middle of handling an international crisis,” Biden said.

Hur, a Trump appointee, was chosen by Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct the investigation in an effort to avoid any naysaying over presumed political bias.

And while it may be tempting to brush off the unsettling descriptions as a contrived effort to make the Democratic incumbent look bad, Biden has only continued to make critical, memory-related gaffes. At a campaign event on Wednesday, Biden twice confused German Chancellor Angela Merkel with her dead predecessor, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl. And just days before, Biden made a similar flub, also confusing French President Emmanuel Macron with his dead predecessor, former French President François Mitterrand.