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John Fetterman Brags That Brain Damage Made Him Abandon Progressives

The Pennyslvania senator sat down with Bill Maher of all people to chat about leaving progressives behind.

John Fetterman wearing a hoodie smiles and waves at reporters as he arrives at the Capitol
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

During an appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, Senator John Fetterman credited his near-fatal stroke with making him a conservative darling, describing it as “freeing.”

“There’s a line from the first Batman, Joker, he’s like, ‘I’ve already been dead once already. It’s very liberating,’” Fetterman told Maher on Friday. “That’s not reckless, that’s just freeing. It’s just freeing in a way. And I just think after beating all of that, I just really want to be able to say the things that I have to really believe in and not be afraid of if there’s any kind of blowback.”

Following the October 7 Hamas attack, Fetterman broke from the progressives who got him elected to saber-rattle for Israel’s brutal attacks on Gaza. His stance has largely been antagonistic, trolling protesters rallying for a cease-fire by waving an Israel flag over them, laughing at military veterans getting arrested protesting for a cease-fire, and castigating the United States for abstaining from a cease-fire resolution instead of voting against it. He has described student encampment protests as “pup tents for Hamas” and spread debunked propaganda denigrating pro-Palestine demonstrations in Philadelphia.

Since adopting an aggressively pro-Israel stance, Fetterman has also backed harsher border policies—a curious stance given that he used to point to his wife’s undocumented status as a child to tout his progressive bona fides.

Fetterman frames his seismic shift as stances he’s always had, which his brain damage simply allowed him the freedom to embrace—despite constantly describing himself as a progressive through the years, seeking endorsement from the Democratic Socialists of America, and himself endorsing progressive candidates for office.

While progressives who campaigned hard for Fetterman feel betrayed by his shift, conservatives have celebrated Fetterman’s self-described brain damage–induced embrace of right-wing positions—itself a clear signal he’s garnering the wrong audience.

“It’s heartwarming to see regular people using their brain,” said one account on X (formerly Twitter) in response to a white nationalist disinformation account boosting Fetterman’s interview with Maher.

“If only there was some way we could repeat this experiment with other elected officials,” replied another user in response to a Fox News post about how Fetterman’s brain damage “freed” him.

Chappell Roan Calls Out Biden After Snubbing White House Invitation

The pop star called for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Chappell Roan, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, holds one hand in the air as she sings into a microphone
Marleen Moise/Getty Images

Pop singer Chappell Roan, whose star has quickly ascended over the last five months, announced that she recently turned down an invitation to perform for the president of the United States during the annual New York’s Governor’s Ball music festival.

“In response to the White House, who asked me to perform for Pride,” Roan said. “We want liberty, justice, and freedom for all. When you do that, that’s when I’ll come.”

The rebuffed request was confirmed by Roan’s representatives to Variety. Later in her performance, Chappell Roan, the stage persona of 26-year-old Kayleigh Rose Amstutz, continued to explain why she’d turned down the offer.

“I am in drag of the biggest queen of all,” announced the singer, who appeared dressed as the Statue of Liberty, which stood a little over a mile away  across the New York harbor. “But in case you had forgotten what’s etched on my pretty little toes: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’

“That means freedom and trans rights. That means freedom and women’s rights. It especially means freedom for all people in oppressed—” she paused, placing her hand over her mouth, appearing to tear up. “It especially means freedom for all oppressed people in occupied territories,” which many in the audience understood to be a reference to Israel’s deadly military campaign in Gaza and ongoing occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

The crowd erupted into cheers, and the singer quickly pivoted to her performance. “Thank you,” she shouted. “We’re gonna do ‘Hot to Go’!”

Over the weekend, Israel Defense Forces killed 274 people in Nuseirat as part of an extraction effort that saved four hostages, while reportedly killing three others. More than 37,000 people in Gaza were killed in the last eight months.

V.P. Wannabe Tom Cotton Defends Trump “Rewarding Putin”

Donald Trump’s new plan shows where his loyalty really lies.

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin shake hands
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump appears to have an unconventional idea about how to handle the Russia-Ukraine conflict—and his allies don’t seem to have a good explanation for it.

When pressed for details on Sunday, Trump vice presidential hopeful Senator Tom Cotton explained to Fox News that Trump would likely allow Russia to claim parts of Ukraine.

“There are reports that what President Trump plans to do to end that conflict is to potentially push Ukraine to give up Crimea, parts of Donbas,” host Shannon Bream said. “If that is the plan, do you agree with that strategy? And would that be rewarding [Vladimir] Putin in order to wrap this thing up in the way that he intended to start it—and take some of that territory? Is that just giving him what he wanted?”

Such a plan would effectively reverse President Joe Biden’s policy and lose any wins that Ukraine has had in its year-and-a-half war against its superpower neighbor. But despite the plan’s shocking intentions, Cotton still didn’t deny its details.

“President Trump and his campaign have said that any reports of plans like that are not authorized, and they’re not coming from the president himself,” Cotton said. “Furthermore, President Trump has said that he strongly supports Ukraine’s strength and survival. He had a strong relationship when he was in office with President Zelenskiy.”

Cotton seemed to conveniently forget that Trump’s relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy consisted mainly of withholding military aid to try to get the Eastern European nation to dig up dirt on Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Trump was impeached (the first time) for his demand.

Trump’s new whole plan is awfully similar to an idea previously pitched by biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy. In August, the former GOP presidential candidate told CNN that the only way to break up the Russia-China alliance would be to give the Slavic nation what it wants. But even then, the plan was pitched on the false premise that the U.S. has any say in how a foreign nation divvied up its land.

During a meeting with the Ukrainian leader on Friday, Biden actually apologized for the delayed aid package, blaming its late arrival on some contentious conservative members of Congress—and possibly on Cotton, who was one of 29 Republicans to vote against the $95.3 billion foreign aid package in February. But the Arkansas lawmaker couldn’t square that when asked about it by Bream.

“Well, Shannon, he should only be pointing the finger at himself,” Cotton said of Biden. “For more than two years, Joe Biden pussyfooted around and didn’t give Ukraine the weapons it needed to defend itself.”

Trump Is Pissed Biden Reminded People of His Insult to Dead Soldiers

Donald Trump says only a “psycho or a crazy person or a very stupid person” would say something like that. Well ...

Trump is wearing a red Make America Great again cap and speaking at a mic
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Donald Trump went nuts over the weekend over an ad from the Joe Biden campaign highlighting Trump allegedly calling dead soldiers “suckers and losers.”

The ad was posted on Friday afternoon with the tagline “Donald Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about service to his country.”

At a Las Vegas rally on Sunday, the convicted felon and former president once again denied making the comments, as he did when The Atlantic first reported on them in 2020.

“[Biden] said I stood over graves of soldiers and I said: ‘These people are suckers and losers,’ the dead soldiers from World War I,’’ Trump said Sunday. He claimed it was all “made up” and that the Biden campaign knew it was “phony” but still “took an ad using it—these are sick people.”

“Unless you’re a psycho or a crazy person or a very stupid person, who would say that, anyway?” Trump said at the rally. “I don’t like mentioning it. But for me to say ‘suckers and losers’ about people that died in World War I in front of military people? It’s not a possibility you could say a thing like that.”

On Sunday evening, Trump continued to vent on Truth Social, posting twice about his alleged comments and attacking their source, his former chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump Truth Social June 9, 2024: Crooked Joe Biden Biden, the WORST PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, just confused Ukraine with Iraq. He actually doesn’t know the difference, probably gets money from both, a Manchurian Candidate! He also said, in another Democrat Disinformation “hit job” like Russia, Russia, Russia, the “51 Intel Agents,” or the Fake FISA Reports, that I called dead American Soldiers, “losers and suckers.” Who would ever say such a thing? Only a sicko with an axe to grind would suggest that anyone would make such a statement. They even made these horrific words into an advertisement, which shows how desperate they are. No President, especially “dumb as a rock” Joe Biden, has done more for our Military than DONALD J. TRUMP. The Military hates Crooked Joe, and all of the failure he represents. Take down the Fake Ad, Joe, and stop the unprecedented Weaponization of “Justice” against your Political Opponent. You are destroying our Country!
Trump Truth Social post June 9, 2024: Obviously, I never said that dead Soldiers are “losers and suckers.” Who would say such a thing? It was MADE UP DISINFORMATION by Radical Left Democrats, and Trump Haters, working with a failing Magazine, just like Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, FISA Fraud, 51 Intel Agents, and so much more. Anytime you see that despicable FAKE statement used, remember that it comes from the FASCIST SCUM that is destroying our Country. Nobody has done more for the Military than Donald J. Trump - I completely Rebuilt it, and added SPACE FORCE to boot! VOTE FOR TRUMP - MAGA2024!

In October, Kelly confirmed that Trump made the comments in 2018, refusing to visit the graves of American soldiers buried near Paris because the cemetery is “filled with losers.”

Trump is “a person that has no idea what America stands for and has no idea what America is all about.… A person that has nothing but contempt for our democratic institutions, our Constitution, and the rule of law,” Kelly said. “There is nothing more that can be said.”

Unfortunately More on Trump:

Eric Swalwell Brings Back “Cult” Roast for Bonkers Trump Rally

The Democratic representative hilariously cited new proof of the comparison.

Eric Swalwell speaks into microphones
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Representative Eric Swalwell reprised his pitch-perfect burn for the cultish fervor of MAGA Republicans after Donald Trump and his disciples demonstrated their demented brand of devotion on Sunday.

Last week, Swalwell made waves on the internet for a viral speech declaring that Republicans’ steadfast loyalty to Trump, despite his obvious faultiness and recent guilty verdict, reminded him of the unwavering followers in a cult.

After Sunday’s sweltering rally, Swalwell resurrected his gag, after Trump and his disciples doubled down on their crazy.

“Thank God we’re here in Sunset Park to worship and bring back the greatest president we’ve ever known in our generation!” cried Nevada Republican Party Chair Michael McDonald, beneath the blazing sun that sent several so-called parishioners to the hospital.

McDonald’s suggestion that Trump supporters should “worship” the presumptive Republican nominee seemed particularly unhinged, especially in the context of what Trump said later that day during one of his many rambling rants.

“Easier to vote for Biden? I don’t think so! It would be suicide before Biden, right?” Trump asked the crowd.

Swalwell seized on the unhinged comments, which evoked the taste-memory of Kool-Aid. He posted the newest installment of his viral rant on X, formerly Twitter, and captioned it, “You might be in a cult if …”

Incredibly enough, Swalwell’s video didn’t even contain all of the insane pseudoreligious comments from even that one rally.

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene proudly touted a particularly blasphemous comparison. “The Democrats and the fake news media want to constantly talk about, ‘Oh, President Trump is a convicted felon,’” the Georgia Republican griped. “Well, you wanna know something? The man that I worship is also a convicted felon. And he was murdered on a Roman cross.”

Greene’s comment suggests she lacks an understanding of the Bible, or Trump, or hey, maybe even both. As the poster child for Trump’s cult, it should surprise no one that she has actually already compared Trump to Jesus after he was arrested last year.

Cognitive Decline? Trump Short-Circuits During Bonkers Rant

The former president glitched during a tirade about sharks and batteries.

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks at a podium
Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Donald Trump appeared fully unable to articulate a story about electric batteries on Sunday, instead opting to spin a thread in which zero of the underlying premises were actually true.

During his Las Vegas rally, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee told a story that flew a bit off the rails. The tale began by allegedly asking a South Carolinian boat manufacturer, who made boats that were too heavy and “can’t go fast,” a self-described “very smart” question about the efficacy of electric batteries in water-faring vessels—but then quickly devolved into nonsense about Trump’s fear of sharks.

“So I said, ‘Let me ask you a question,’” Trump told the crowd. “And he said, ‘Nobody ever asked this question.’ And it must be because of MIT. My relationship to MIT. Very smart. He goes. I say, “What would happen if the boat sank from its weight? And you’re in the boat and you have this tremendously powerful battery, and the battery is now underwater, and there’s a shark that’s approximately 10 yards over there.”

Then, a quick sidenote: “By the way, a lot of shark attacks lately. You notice that? A lot of shark. I watch some guys justifying it today. ‘Well, they weren’t really that angry. They bit off the young lady’s leg because of the fact that they were—they were not hungry, but they misunderstood what-who she was.’ These people are crazy.”

And back to the story.

“He said, ‘There’s no problem with sharks. They just didn’t really understand a young woman swimming. No really got decimated and other people too, a lot of shark attacks,’” Trump recalled, his voice pitching. “So I said, ‘So there’s a shark 10 yards away from the boat, 10 yards or here. Do I get electrocuted? If the boat is sinking, water goes over the battery, the boat is sinking. Do I stay on top of the boat and get electrocuted? Or do I jump over by the shark and not get electrocuted?”

“Because I will tell you, he didn’t know the answer. He said, ‘You know, nobody’s ever asked me that question.’ I said, ‘I think it’s a good question. I think there’s a lot of electric current coming through that water.’ But you know what I’d do if there was a shark or you get electrocuted? I’ll take electrocution every single time. I’m not getting near the shark!” Trump said.

Meanwhile, things didn’t look so hot for Trump’s team behind the scenes. At several points during the rally, Trump actually attempted to read his teleprompter but claimed it wasn’t working, suggesting to the crowd that he didn’t intend to pay for a “shitty job.”

“And then I don’t pay the company that does it, right?” Trump said. “And then I end up with a story, ‘Trump doesn’t pay.’ I don’t pay contractors that do a shitty job. And that’s a shitty job. That’s a shitty job. You can’t read a word.”

Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t it terrible? Trump takes advantage of his—,’” he continued, before cutting himself off. “No … when I have a good contractor, a subcontractor, nobody gets paid faster. But when I have contractors that do this kind of work? You can have them.”

Trump is notorious for stepping out on the check, according to several former employees and contractors who have accused him of failing to pay up, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars. His former attorney Rudy Giuliani may be one of the most recent instances of a former fixer being left holding the bag, but even before his 2016 presidential win, Trump was involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits for allegedly skirting the bill.

Trump Finally Admits What He Thinks of His Supporters

Donald Trump revealed exactly how he feels about his supporters at his campaign rally in Las Vegas.

Donald Trump points and smiles as supporters behind him hold up "Trump 2024" and "Joe Biden You're Fired" signs
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“The press will take that and they’ll say ‘he said a horrible thing,” Trump accurately predicted after telling supporters in Nevada on Sunday, “I don’t care about you. I just want your vote. I don’t care.”

The comments came as Trump remarked on a passing breeze during a scorching outdoor rally in Las Vegas where temperatures climbed above 100 degrees. Six people were hospitalized, and 24 more were treated by EMTs on-site for heat-related illness. Sunday’s rally followed a similar event in Arizona on Thursday where at least 11 people were hospitalized for heat exhaustion, which Team Trump wrote off as “enthusiasm.”

Trump’s recent rallies, which either occur outdoors or involve long lines outside waiting to be let in, have been punctuated by people boiling in the sun. Team Trump has taken no efforts to mitigate the heat for his followers—and in fact booked the Nevada rally after his supporters collapsed in Arizona. This comes despite the fact that a third of Trump’s supporters are those most sensitive to heat.

Though Trump’s sun-fried supporters let out laughs at his remark, Trump has a history of despising his supporters. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Trump expressed gratitude for the highly contagious disease because it meant he didn’t have to shake hands with “these disgusting people.”

“He talked all the time about the people themselves being disgusting,” Olivia Troye, former homeland security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told The New York Times in 2020 while discussing Trump’s view of his supporters. “It was clear immediately that he wanted nothing to do with them.”

Trump’s latest admission of apathy while holding rallies that keep sending people to the hospital speaks volumes on Trump’s perception of his base, but it begs the question of how he’s expected to get their votes if he keeps encouraging them to do things that can kill them.

Unfortunately More on Trump:

Does MTG Understand How Electric Vehicles Work?

Marjorie Taylor Greene had some wild claims about E.V.s.

Marjorie Taylor Greene gestures as she speaks at a podium during a Trump rally
Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg/Getty Images

MAGA Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene took the stage before Donald Trump’s campaign speech in Las Vegas on Sunday, and the Georgia Republican aimed to stoke outrage with her words, as opposed to make logical sense.

“If you think gas prices are high now, just wait until you’re forced to drive an electric vehicle,” she shouted into the microphone. Greene waited a moment to let her word salad sink in and grinned as the crowd began to boo.

Could they even understand why, or had the confused alchemy of her buzz words worked their magic? Either way, the crowd at Sunset Park appeared to follow her down her rabbit hole.

To try to imagine what Greene actually meant by this comment would be a disservice to the facts, which are that gas prices are down this month, and that electric vehicles don’t actually use gas, as Greene seems to imply. While it’s cheaper to buy a gas-guzzling car, it’s ultimately less expensive to power and maintain an E.V.—again, widely understood to be powered by electricity, as the name suggests.

Greene grinned as she looked out onto the booing crowd, and put her hand up as if to say “I know that’s right!” instead of simply spewing a list of meaningless words to describe a nonexistent grievance.

MAGA Attorney General Candidate Has Soft Spot for Shady Corporations

Representative Dan Bishop promises to “protect North Carolina.” Will he?

Dan Bishop looks forward
Samuel Corum/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Representative Dan Bishop, a far-right Republican from North Carolina who is currently campaigning to be the state’s attorney general, is portraying himself as a champion for the little guy. Just this week, he promised a “reckoning” against the “gangster government.”

But Bishop’s track record shows a tendency to side instead with the rich and powerful—no matter how bizarre the case. His “gangster government” comment wasn’t about a federal government infringing on constituents’ rights but about Donald Trump being found guilty of felony business fraud by a jury of his peers.

Bishop also doubled down on his position that the trial was “rigged” with a wildly offensive comment.

“They go into a place where they know the fight is unfair. It’s as bad as it was in Alabama in 1950 if a person happened to be Black in order to get justice, and that’s what they did in New York. So it was fundamentally rigged,” he said on an episode of The Pete Kaliner Show.

Bishop, who has only been a congressman since 2023, is seeking to replace his home state’s Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein. (Stein is running for governor against Hitler-quoting Republican Mark Robinson.) Bishop must defeat his congressional colleague, Democratic Representative Jeff Jackson, a former prosecutor.  

While Bishop’s own website touts his experience as a “tenacious litigator, handling complex commercial cases,” he has never served as a public prosecutor. And during his legal career, Bishop rarely, if ever, defended the very people he would be meant to protect as attorney general.

Online records—only made available in recent months as North Carolina switches to an online court filing system—show that while working as an attorney, the Republican lawmaker repeatedly defended the rights of shady corporations that had taken advantage of consumers in his home state. 

One of the most egregious cases began in 2002, when Bishop defended Fischer-Schindler, LLC, which was accused of stealing at least $1 million from plaintiff Larry Black through an invented investment scheme. In court documents, Black’s attorney described the alleged blatant theft: “To say Defendants engaged in an elaborate ‘Ponzi’ scheme is probably an insult to the late Mr. Ponzi.” 

Six years later, District Judge Richard Vorhees sided with Black and ordered the defendants to pay him $1 million, plus interest. It’s likely Black received even more in treble damages, a statute for certain cases that requires the court to triple the amount of damages owed to a plaintiff. 

Also in 2002, Bishop defended a company that was accused of racial discrimination toward one of its employees, allegedly denying her promotions due to her race. The parties eventually reached a private settlement, ending the case. 

In 2009, Bishop represented Charlotte Hanson, who, with her husband Sidney, was accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that targeted retirement-age people, raising around $32.5 million from approximately 500 clients. While the Hansons had promised high returns on supposed investments, court documents alleged that they instead used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle for themselves of resort vacations and private plane rentals, as well as making payments to agents who supplied their scheme with new customers interested in purchasing so-called “private loan agreements.” 

Two years later, a district court judge ordered the couple to pay $23 million in restitution, plus interest, to their victims, as well as a a $1.2 million fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Sidney was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.

In 2011, Bishop helped defend Fuzion Investment Capital, or FIC, which was accused of wrongfully terminating an employee, Jeffrey Stec, who was “rendered destitute” by the firing, according to the lawsuit. Stec alleged that after he sold his fitness center company to FIC as part of a bankruptcy deal, with FIC promising that he would be able to buy the company back, FIC underpaid him to the tune of $80,000 in owed wages and fired him and terminated his management rights without proper cause—canceling his family’s health insurance in the process. The case has not yet been resolved.

That year, Bishop also represented a group of businessmen who were accused of engaging in an “active conspiracy” to defraud a 78-year-old woman who was recovering from heart surgery, according to the lawsuit. 

The New Republic contacted Bishop’s office for comment on his legal history, but he did not respond by time of publication.

Although Bishop promises on his campaign website to “defend the rule of law” and “protect North Carolina,” his professional history indicates that, if elected, he would do anything but.

Over the past two years, an increasing number of state attorneys generals have wielded outsize influence and power, protecting the privileged while pushing through cruel regulations that target some of the most vulnerable communities. They also have a tremendous influence over how laws are implemented and prosecuted. 

It’s possible that Bishop’s career is merely the result of meeting the obligation of a good lawyer and representing all manner of clients. But it could also be a clear indicator of the people he actually intends to protect if elected attorney general. And if that’s the case, then North Carolinians will pay the highest cost.

Republican Operatives Swoop in to Help Cornel West This Election

A new report reveals that operatives with Republican ties are trying to help Cornel West get on the ballot.

Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Independent presidential candidate Cornel West is trying to collect signatures to get as many state ballots as possible, and if he succeeds in North Carolina, it might be thanks to Republican operatives.

NBC News reports that the Justice for All Party, which is supporting West, authorized three people to collect signatures who either work for or used to work for Blitz Canvassing, a Republican political firm. The firm has supported numerous Republican House and Senate candidates, as well as former presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.

A West campaign spokesperson said the campaign wasn’t aware that the three were connected to a Republican firm and did “not have any specific comments since we are not familiar with them or their affiliations.”

The NBC report also noted that a high amount of West’s signatures in the state came from Republican-voting counties, even though West considers himself a socialist advocating pro-Palestine policies. In April, a Republican activist was captured on video gathering signatures for West outside a Trump rally in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“This helps take away votes from Joe Biden,” the activist told one person at the rally, according to a video posted to X (formerly Twitter) by a Washington Post reporter. “We’re helping the Trump team who’s trying to get him on there,” added a woman by his side.

NBC also obtained petition signatures submitted by the Justice for All Party showing that several registered Republicans signed petitions to get West on the ballot on the same day as the Trump rally and in the same county.

West is not alone among third-party candidates for receiving help from Republicans in order to serve as a spoiler in the 2024 presidential election. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has received most of his campaign contributions from conservatives, has been praised by Donald Trump, and has had conservatives opposed to Biden serving as his advisers. (Unfortunately, that assistance has led Republicans to start worrying that he could hurt Trump in the end.)

West’s campaign has been criticized as a vanity effort likely to have a spoiler effect on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, if it has any effect at all. Describing the 2024 election, he’s said, “Neofascists like brother Trump or milquetoast neoliberals like brother Biden? Wow, I’m so happy to make a world-shaking decision.” In August, a Daily Beast investigation found that he owed $543,778.78 in unpaid taxes.