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Donald Trump: U.S. to designate Antifa as terrorist organization

President Trump said Sunday that the U.S. will designate the anti-fascist street movement known as Antifa as a terrorist organization, placing the focus squarely on far-left agitators as the nation’s major cities braced for another night of protest violence. Attorney General William Barr backed up the president’s declaration. He said the “violence instigated and carried…

Donald Trump: U.S. to designate Antifa as terrorist organization

President Trump said Sunday that the U.S. will designate the anti-fascist street movement known as Antifa as a terrorist organization, placing the focus squarely on far-left agitators as the nation’s major cities braced for another night of protest violence.

Attorney General William Barr backed up the president’s declaration. He said the “violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

“It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it,” Mr. Barr said. “The continued violence and destruction of property endangers the lives and livelihoods of others and interferes with the rights of peaceful protesters as well as other citizens.”

The protests that broke out in Minneapolis after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, began peacefully but soon spun out of control as tens of thousands of mostly young rioters descended on major U.S. downtowns.

Democrats have avoided pinning the blame on Antifa by name, although New York Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged Sunday that a well-organized “anarchist movement” with an “explicit agenda of violence” was behind the mayhem.

“I would call them not just protesters, but people who came to do violence in a systematic, organized fashion,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference. “That is a different reality we need to grapple with. We did not see that in 2014 and 2015. We are seeing something new, and not just here in New York City but all over the country, and we have to recognize it and we have to address it.”

About 5,000 National Guard troops in 15 states and the District of Columbia were called up before Sunday night protests in an effort to control the assaults, fires, looting and vandalism that have beset cities including Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta.

On Sunday evening, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that he would be taking over the prosecution of officers involved in the Floyd case.

“I just want the public to know we are pursuing justice and truth and accountability,” the former Democratic congressman said at a press conference.

Within hours of his having done so, his son Jeremiah Ellison, a Minneapolis City Council member, announced his support for Antifa. “I hereby declare, officially, my support for ANTIFA,” he tweeted.

A January 2018 photo of Mr. Ellison holding up a copy of the book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” by Mark Bray has drawn attention since the rioting began, but the attorney general told reporters Sunday that it meant “nothing.”

“It means nothing. Look, I was at a bookstore, and I saw a book,” said Mr. Ellison. “It means nothing. It’s just a complete diversion. It’s nothing.”

In his 2018 tweet, Mr. Ellison said, “I just found the book that [strikes] fear in the heart of @realdonaldtrump.”

At least two people have been killed in the mayhem: an unidentified 21-year-old man in Detroit, who was gunned down in his car, and Federal Protective Services Officer Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, who was shot Friday night as he guarded the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, California.

Officer Underwood, who was black, was identified by his sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, a banking executive and the first black woman to serve on the Lancaster City Council. She briefly sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. House seat vacated last year by Katie Hill, a Democrat.

“My brother, Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal officer, was murdered 5/29/20 in Oakland California, while on duty during the riots,” Ms. Jacobs said in a Facebook post. “This Violence Must Stop.”

The biggest share of the property destruction has been in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Hundreds of businesses there have been looted and vandalized, resulting in untold millions of dollars in property damage. Target temporarily shut down more than 30 stores in Minnesota and more than 100 nationwide.

On Sunday, however, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and other officials said the state had turned a corner by revamping its law enforcement tactics and increasing its deployment of the National Guard from 700 to 4,000 troops.

We “all came together to take a different approach to how we were going to keep the peace,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner John Harrington. “We created a different organizational model at the multiagency coordination center, and we briefed that model, and we sent out fast-moving teams throughout the Twin Cities area to targets that we knew were of high value and high probability of attack.”

Asked why the state waited until the weekend for the heightened show of force, Mr. Walz cited the arrest of Mr. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was suspected of using a fake $20 bill at a grocery store.

“There’s logistics of adding the type of force we had out there,” Mr. Walz said. “There’s also the dynamics of a community that is raw, and from law enforcement. Keeping in mind what the spark was that lit this was law enforcement killing an innocent man on the street.”

The former officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers at the scene were also fired and may face charges.

“I will not make excuses,” said Mr. Walz. “In retrospect, I think you could go back — if we had assembled this force last Friday, we’d have been better off, but that wasn’t going to be, that wasn’t the case.”

The governor and other Minnesota Democrats have yet to point the finger at Antifa. They said Saturday that white supremacists, drug cartels and even organized crime may be behind the raucous protest violence.

Mr. Eliison said Sunday morning that Mr. Barr should be investigating instead of “making incendiary comments.”

“The truth is, nobody really knows,” Mr. Ellison told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What the exact political motivation is is unclear at this point.”

He had retweeted a post by former Democratic state Rep. Erin Maye Quade: “This is not the first time white supremacists have been violent against peaceful demonstrators and Black neighborhoods before.”

As evening fell across the nation Sunday, an increasing number of reports of violence began to trickle in, though most demonstrations remained peaceful and/or constrained by curfews.

A crowd of demonstrators in San Diego pelted police with rocks and bottles, prompting them to fire tear gas back, some stores were robbed and a police vehicle was set ablaze in Philadelphia, and marchers in New York could be seen on CNN fleeing what they said was a burning car as fire engines raced by.

At the Minneapolis intersection where Mr. Floyd was killed, people gathered with brooms and flowers, saying it was important to protect a “sacred space.” The intersection was blocked with the traffic cones while a ring of flowers was laid out.

Among those present were Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown, whose killing by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, set off the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014.

“I understand what this family is feeling. I understand what this community is feeling,” he said.

Later in the afternoon, an unidentified man drove a semitrailer, apparently deliberately, onto a downtown Minneapolis freeway where a crowd was marching. Minnesota officials said no protesters were apparently hit but the driver was injured and briefly hospitalized before being taken into police custody.

In the nation’s capital, where a major demonstration was held outside the White House on Saturday night, crews worked Sunday to cover windows that had been shattered on nearby buildings.

Buildings for blocks were marked with graffiti, including curses about President Trump. Shattered glass still covered the sidewalks. The damaged buildings included the Department of Veterans Affairs directly across the street from the White House.

Mr. Trump’s presumed Democratic opponent in November, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, visited the site of the Wilmington, Delaware, protests on Saturday night and told his social media followers that the demonstrations presented a reason to vote for him.

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us,” he wrote Sunday on an Instagram post accompanied by a photo of him talking to a man and a child on the other side of a police tape line.

“The only way to bear this pain is to turn all that anguish to purpose,” he said. “And as President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen, just as I did today visiting the site of last night’s protests in Wilmington.”

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union immediately questioned Mr. Trump’s intentions about the Antifa designation. It warned that the terrorism designation is reserved for foreign entities and the label may be stretched for nefarious purposes.

“As this tweet demonstrates, terrorism is an inherently political label, easily abused and misused. There is no legal authority for designating a domestic group. Any such designation would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns,” said Hina Shamsi, national security project director of the ACLU.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter made another plea Sunday for protesters to engage in a constructive rather than destructive response to Mr. Floyd’s death.

“We can either channel this energy towards destroying our own communities, towards burning and looting our barber shops, our restaurants, our family owned businesses, the lives and livelihoods that have gone into all of those institutions,” said Mr. Carter, “or we can take this energy and channel it toward building a better future.”

⦁ Jeff Mordock contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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Joe Biden: Donald Trump ‘worst president’ in U.S. history

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) more > By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times – Tuesday, September 29, 2020 Joseph R. Biden told President Trump he’s the…

Joe Biden: Donald Trump ‘worst president’ in U.S. history

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) more>

By David Sherfinski

The Washington Times

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Joseph R. Biden told President Trump he’s the worst president in U.S. history at the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday.

“You’re the worst president America has ever had,” Mr. Biden said. “Come on.”

The two had been debating taxes before things devolved.

“In 47 months, I’ve done more than you’ve done in 47 years, Joe,” the president shot back.

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Donald Trump still king of the ‘poorly educated’

President Trump famously declared during his 2016 campaign that he loved the “poorly educated” because voters with lower levels of schooling delivered an overwhelming share of votes to him. Four years later, political pros say most of those folks remain enchanted by the president, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they turn out to vote in…

Donald Trump still king of the ‘poorly educated’

President Trump famously declared during his 2016 campaign that he loved the “poorly educated” because voters with lower levels of schooling delivered an overwhelming share of votes to him.

Four years later, political pros say most of those folks remain enchanted by the president, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they turn out to vote in the same numbers and whether they will remain attached to the Republican Party after Mr. Trump leaves the presidential stage.

Why Mr. Trump appeals to them is also heatedly debated. Explanations include economics, race and the president’s blunt style of rhetoric.

What is not in dispute, though, is how deeply Mr. Trump resonated, particularly among White voters without four-year college degrees, and how much it upended the political playing field.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said there wasn’t much of an education gap among White voters before 2012. Those with college degrees were about as likely to vote Republican as those without.

That began to change in the race between President Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney, but it exploded in 2016 when Mr. Trump got the support of 51% of voters without a college degree. Among White voters without a college degree, he bested Hillary Clinton by 35 percentage points, Mr. Murray said. Among white voters with a college degree, the two ran even.

That has changed somewhat.

Mr. Trump’s lead over Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden among White voters without a degree is 25 points in Monmouth polling, Mr. Murray said. But Mr. Biden holds a 15-point lead among White college-educated voters.

“But the unprecedented yawning gap between those two groups remains,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s surprise 2016 victory sent political scientists scrambling to figure out what happened. Early speculation revolved around a pool of voters who backed Mr. Obama and then switched to Mr. Trump.

Michael Sances, an assistant professor at Temple University, crunched the numbers and said the level of party-switching wasn’t high compared with previous elections, but those who did switch in 2016 were heavily concentrated among lower-educated voters.

“There aren’t many, but in a close race, they can be key,” Mr. Sances said.

He looked at counties and compared their votes from 2012 and 2016. If the counties at the bottom 20% of education attainment had voted for the same party in both elections, then Hillary Clinton would have won the Electoral College by about 30 votes.

Mr. Trump’s appeal to less-schooled voters became apparent early in the 2016 Republican primary season. After several stories pointed out his success with that demographic, Mr. Trump declared, “I love the poorly educated.”

That phrase went viral, and some less-educated voters took to Twitter to insist they didn’t like Mr. Trump.

Others, presumably in the more-schooled crowd, complained that it was a bad look for Mr. Trump to brag about winning the demographic.

Mr. Trump was lucky, though, that the vote of a high school dropout counts as much as that of someone with a Ph.D. or law degree, but those who hold degrees are increasingly crowding out the less-educated.

As recently as 2004, those without four-year college degrees made up 58% of the presidential year electorate. That share has fallen in each election since and reached just 50% in 2016.

Broken down further, 18% of voters in 2016 never went beyond high school, 32% had some college but didn’t graduate, 32% did graduate and stopped there, and 18% had postgraduate schooling.

Some academics have suggested that the divide is not about education. Trump voters in 2016 just weren’t as intelligent, said Yoav Ganzach, a professor at Tel Aviv University.

He led a research paper that used data from the American National Election Studies to judge voters’ verbal abilities, as a proxy for intelligence, and then compared those abilities with their choices in the 2016 election. The paper argued that “support for Trump was less about socioeconomic standing and more about intellect.”

Gordon Pennycook, a cognitive psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Regina in Canada, used cognitive reflection test scores of more than 15,000 people who participated in studies on Mechanical Turk, a research tool, to judge their approaches to voting in 2016.

He found that Trump voters, particularly Democrats, were “less reflective” than Clinton voters.

He said there is no strong evidence for the attraction, but it could be that Mr. Trump speaks in a simple and repetitive way.

“That might be something that draws people who tend to have a more intuitive mindset in the first place,” the professor said.

Republicans and conservatives who voted for the Libertarian candidate or other third-party nominee rated highest on the cognitive reflection test, and those who did not vote at all showed the lowest scores overall.

Whether those voters stay with Republicans for the long haul is tricky to predict.

Mr. Pennycook said “the nature of being highly intuitive means you don’t think your way out of where you were,” but going with a gut feeling can make a voter more easily moved by the surroundings.

“It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s pretty close to random, basically.”

Michael McKenna, a former Trump White House aide who now writes a column for The Washington Times, said Mr. Trump’s attraction for working-class voters — those likely to lack college degrees — should be obvious. He is talking about the pain of globalization and competition from China, to communities that have suffered deeply.

“Trump’s the first guy — love him, hate him, be indifferent to him — he’s the first guy that’s said, ‘You know, I don’t think this is right. I don’t think this is healthy for the country long-term,’” Mr. McKenna said.

The other side of that coin are suburban voters who benefit from globalization and the cheaper prices they pay for goods at Target.

Mr. McKenna said the Trump effect will be lasting, though not necessarily tied to Republicans. Both parties can make a play for those voters.

“Trump has now opened this door,” he said. “In every election here on out, we’re going to have a candidate who will speak to the negative effects of globalization.”

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Donald Trump bets on trade while Joe Biden struggles for direction

President Trump was just three days into his tenure in 2017 when, with the stroke of a pen, he nixed America’s participation in the world’s biggest trade deal. In canceling the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership and later rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Trump has drafted a new script for negotiating trade deals.…

Donald Trump bets on trade while Joe Biden struggles for direction

President Trump was just three days into his tenure in 2017 when, with the stroke of a pen, he nixed America’s participation in the world’s biggest trade deal.

In canceling the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership and later rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Trump has drafted a new script for negotiating trade deals.

He has ditched multilateral pacts that rely on a gaggle of nations getting on the same page and has wielded tariffs against friend and foe alike. He also has embraced a “protectionist” label instead of the Republican Party’s traditional affinity for free and open trade.

Mr. Trump is leaning into the issue ahead of Election Day, betting that his signature focus will help lock down Upper Midwest states that delivered a White House victory to him four years ago.

“I watched the jobs going out. I never saw anything so stupid in my life,” he told supporters in Dayton, Ohio, this week. “I watched the worst trade deals, and we’ve reversed many of them, almost all of them now, but we’ve reversed them.”

Joseph R. Biden, who supported NAFTA and the TPP, is still trying to find his footing as the Democratic nominee. He has been forced to acknowledge that the North American pact signed by Mr. Trump is superior to the original, though he says House Democrats deserve the credit for negotiating a better deal.

He has proposed a series of ideas to recapture voters who flipped from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.

Mr. Biden wants a 10% tax on companies that move production overseas and then try to sell products in the U.S.

“If your big corporate strategy is to boost your shareholders’ profits and your CEO’s bonuses by moving jobs out of America, we’re going to make sure you not only pay full U.S. taxes on those profits, we’re going to add an extra 10% offshoring penalty surtax to your bill,” Mr. Biden told Michigan workers on Sept. 9.

He also rolled out a 10% tax credit for companies that revitalize closing or closed factories or bring production or overseas jobs back to the U.S.

He wants to tighten “Buy American” rules. He says too many products are stamped “Made in America,” even if barely 51% of their materials are made domestically, and that it’s too easy for federal agencies to waive the rules when they procure goods.

“These are things that are meant to appeal to Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio, places that have a lot of manufacturing and union jobs,” said Mary Lovely, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Mr. Biden has signaled his desire to work more closely with other nations as Mr. Trump uses sharp elbows with friendly partners to get the terms he wants.

“I would just say an important difference between Biden and Trump, when the smoke clears, is that Biden wants to work with the allies,” Ms. Lovely said.

A survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds both parties adopting the views of their respective standard-bearers. Democrats have taken an “internationalist” view, and Republicans favor a nationalist approach to trade.

“The differences between the two candidates are glaring, reinforced by respective partisan preferences among the wider public,” the surveyors said. “In November, voters will not only decide who will become the next U.S. president, but also they will help determine the path U.S. foreign policy takes — either working in partnership with the international community or moving toward a greater degree of national self-reliance.”

The Trump administration is eyeing a series of deals in a second term. He is interested in negotiating with the United Kingdom, once it sorts out Brexit, and Kenya, which is looking to engage.

The president left the door open to a major deal with the European Union despite his well-documented friction with the bloc.

“He’s going to go where he sees the most economic benefit,” said James Carafano, a vice president for foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump says Mr. Biden has forfeited the issue of trade by supporting NAFTA, which has been blamed for job losses in the Rust Belt and heartland.

He predicts the Democratic nominee would be too soft on China and doesn’t have the fire in his belly to fight for U.S. interests. He also says the former vice president alienated voters who preferred Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont during the Democratic primary contests.

“A lot of the Bernie people vote for us because Bernie’s right about one thing: trade,” Mr. Trump told North Carolina supporters this month.

Few polls ask voters about international trade directly. Instead, voters give Mr. Trump an edge on the economy generally and a nod to Mr. Biden on foreign policy.

A majority of Americans disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of foreign trade in 2018 and 2019, but the president moved above water by January, when he notched the back-to-back deals during an impeachment inquiry, according to Gallup.

It’s been a bumpy road for Mr. Trump since then. The COVID-19 pandemic has shrouded some of his achievements, and China isn’t living up to the purchasing requirements of a phase one trade deal.

Mr. Trump is walking a tightrope on trade with Beijing by trumpeting recent purchases of corn and other farm products while accusing the communist government of letting COVID-19 spread around the world.

“China is now paying us billions and billions of dollars, but you know, I view it differently now. I view China much differently now after the plague came in,” Mr. Trump told the crowd in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Mr. Trump also upset brewers and other industries by slapping tariffs on Canadian aluminum mere weeks after the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement went into effect. He said the Canadians were flooding the U.S. market with aluminum, though experts said the uptick was a natural byproduct of market trends related to COVID-19.

He backed off in mid-September, before Canada could retaliate, after determining that trade in non-alloyed, unwrought aluminum is likely to normalize in the last four months of the year.

Mr. Biden is hammering Mr. Trump over the loss of manufacturing jobs during his tenure and the trade war with China that hurt farmers, forcing Mr. Trump to seek billions of dollars in bailout funds over the past two years.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Mr. Trump will be getting voters to care about trade, which has been his signature issue alongside immigration. The USMCA just took effect, so its impact is unclear, and COVID-19 hamstrung the initial stage of the China deal and dimmed hopes for phase two.

“Trade is not the be-all, end-all of the American economy, so deficits and trade deals aren’t something that touches the average American the way a tax cut does or a significant decline in employment does,” Mr. Carafano said.

Still, the issue keeps coming up with less than six weeks until Election Day.

The former vice president has been forced to explain why the Obama administration was unable to renegotiate NAFTA from 2009 to 2017.

He told CNN’s Jake Tapper this month that the Republican-led Congress wouldn’t agree with the Obama administration’s push to update the deal.

Experts say Mr. Biden’s argument might be a tough sell.

“‘I couldn’t get it done but the other guy did,’” Mr. Carafano said. “That’s not a great reason to vote for you.”

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