This was excerpted from the September 2 edition of CNN’s Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.
(CNN)Most people who live in glass houses don’t throw stones. But Donald Trump is not most people, as new questions about his health show.
The furor erupted just as the President and his campaign are making out that Joe Biden is sick, senile and can barely stand up. Trump supporters pounced on a verbal slip Monday by the Democratic nominee — who has long fought a stutter — to claim he has serious neurological problems. First son Donald Trump Jr., a chip off the old block, has started bringing up two life-threatening brain aneurysms Biden suffered in 1988. And on Tuesday, the President said: “Biden doesn’t know he’s alive.” But such misdirection is not disguising mounting intrigue about Trump’s unscheduled visit to Walter Reed military hospital last November. New York Times scribe Michael Schmidt reported in his new book that Vice President Mike Pence was put on standby to assume presidential duties in case the President was anesthetized. Then in June, there was new speculation about the condition of Trump, only three years Biden’s junior at 74, when he shuffled awkwardly down a ramp at West Point military academy. Trump fanned the flames Tuesday when he tweeted that he had not suffered a “series of mini-strokes” as was claimed in unsubstantiated Twitter gossip. The White House physician said the President had not suffered cardiovascular episodes.
Most modern presidents felt obliged to assure Americans they were fit to serve. But the current commander in chief made a mockery of such practice when his physician provided a letter in 2016 absurdly declaring Trump would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” To no one’s surprise, the doctor later told CNN that Trump had dictated the letter. Maybe Trump is just fine. But just as with his hidden taxes, his lack of transparency over his health suggests that the oldest President ever elected to a first term may be covering something up.Read More
Jared Kushner (center), national security adviser Robert O’Brien (right) and head of Israel’s National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat (left) on the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE at the Abu Dhabi airport, Monday, August 31. Jared Kushner is basking in the new US-brokered diplomatic normalization plan between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Trump’s son-in-law was an eager passenger on Monday on the first-ever commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi.The deal has something for almost everyone. Trump is taking credit for what he claims is the most significant Middle East peace pact in decades — a rare example of the elusive deal-making on which his presidency was supposed to be based. For Israel, the agreement bolsters the front it has been building against its arch foe Iran. And the UAE says its move forestalled an Israeli plan to annex the West Bank. But the Palestinians feel betrayed, since diplomatic recognition of Israel by Arab states was once seen as contingent on a wider agreement on their permanent state — a condition the Trump administration has roundly rejected. Everyone is now watching to see whether an Israel-Saudi deal will be next.
‘They miss a 3-foot putt’
President Donald Trump tours an area Tuesday, Sept. 1, damaged during demonstrations after a police officer shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.Trump defied the pleas of local officials and headed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, where police shot a Black American, Jacob Blake, seven times in the back last week, setting off another wave of protests and unrest. The President arrived in the key electoral district in the swing state after appearing to callously downplay incidents in which police officers have shot African Americans.”They choke,” he said in a Fox News interview of officers who he suggested made the wrong choice in stressful situations.”Just like in a golf tournament — they miss a 3-foot putt.”While he was in Wisconsin, the President highlighted the destruction of several nights of unrest and inaccurately claimed that his order to send in the National Guard reserve troops had restored peace (Democratic Gov. Tony Evers controls the state’s Guard and had already deployed the reinforcements). Trump denied there was any systemic racism among the police, who he described as “incredible,” and he referred to Blake only indirectly when he was asked about the shooting.”I feel terribly for anybody that goes through that,” the President said.
What is Russia up to?
A series of close encounters, incursions and incidents involving Moscow’s military and US and NATO forces looks like too much to be a coincidence.In the latest alarm, a Russian fighter jet violated Danish airspace over the Baltic island of Bornholm while following a US B-52 bomber it had intercepted over international territory.The affront follows a sequence of aggressive Russian military moves. Last week, the US accused Moscow’s men of deliberately ramming a US vehicle in Syria. Russian fighter jets flew just 100 feet in front of a US bomber over the Black Sea and Russian sorties have forced US jets to scramble in Alaska. This all follows reports of Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan, and new indications of major Russian interference in November’s US presidential election. Experts believe Moscow is seeking to test fault lines in NATO given Trump’s rough treatment of US allies and doubts about the alliance’s utility. The lack of a firm US response is only likely to encourage more provocations. And there’s propaganda value in President Vladimir Putin showing he can tweak the United States with impunity.
In Washington, the confrontations are raising concerns that a miscalculation or accident could lead to a major international escalation. And they are reviving the question that no one ever seems to answer: Why is Trump always so loath to confront Russia on basic challenges to US authority?
The US Open, where five-setters drag on deep into the steamy New York late summer nights, is known for the most raucous crowd in tennis. But in the Covid-19 era, the thwack of ball on racket is echoing through an oppressive silence at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. Here, former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray serves to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in the Scotsman’s First Round Men’s Singles win.