The much-awaited showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is the first of the three presidential debates comes as the latest polls show the Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House neck and neck with only 43 days until the November 8 election. Our DC bureau track the action and reaction.
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, caused shock and sniggers around the world when he called Barack Obama the “son of a whore”. But the Duterte comment that will have really hurt the White House came a few days later. Announcing that he was ending joint naval patrols with the US in the South China Sea, the Philippines’ president stated: “China is now in power and they have military superiority in the region.”
By Gideon Rachman
Journalism is sometimes said to be the first draft of history. This article is the first draft of a history exam for students graduating in 2066. I have tried to imagine the questions future historians will ask about today’s political events.
Europe’s fraying economic ties with America
Economic ties between Europe and the US took a knock this week when the EU slapped huge back taxes on Apple and several European politicians declared transatlantic trade talks to be effectively dead. Gideon Rachman asks Tony Barber, the FT’s Europe editor, and Shawn Donnan, the FT’s world trade editor, what hopes remain for a successful conclusion to the TTIP talks. Read more
You’re a racist! No, you’re a racist! Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took their bitter battle for the White House deeper into the political trenches on Thursday with duelling speeches in which each accused the other of being racist. Read more
Donald Trump will have an unusual special guest on stage tonight when he holds a campaign rally in Jackson, Mississippi: Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party who along with Boris Johnson spearheaded the populist movement in Britain that led to Brexit. Read more
Hillary Clinton was on late-night television on Tuesday having her pulse checked by chat show host Jimmy Kimmel, as well as forcing open a jar of pickles.
The gags on ABC television were a response to mutterings about Clinton’s health by allies of Donald Trump including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Earlier this month Trump himself asserted that Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on Isis”. Read more
By Gideon Rachman
Two of the great political parties in the west — the Republicans in the US and Labour in the UK — are in a state of near collapse. That, in turn, threatens the health of democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Do you hear that leaky faucet? That’s the sound of the never-ending Hillary Clinton email saga, which 77 days out from Election Day continues to bring new revelations.
Today, Judicial Watch, the conservative legal group, revealed that Clinton and her lawyers had failed to release almost 15,000 work-related emails to the FBI. The State department now has one month to appraise those emails, after which it and Judicial Watch must set a timeline for them to be released. Read more
Another one bites the dust. Two months after firing his first campaign manager and two days after reshuffling his senior team, Donald Trump revealed on Friday morning that Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman who had been running the whole operation, had resigned. But was the departure a resignation? The evidence is unclear but suggests otherwise.
Exhibit A: On Wednesday morning, Manafort told me he was “staying” when I asked if the revamp meant he was out. Read more
Donald Trump ended another turbulent week sarcastically. Yesterday we covered the Republican’s out-there statement that Barack Obama was the “founder of Isis”, an unambiguous claim that he repeated multiple times while turning down invitations to retract or revise it. But today he said we shouldn’t have taken it so seriously after all. “They don’t get sarcasm?” he tweeted of CNN (and the rest of us) who covered it.
Aside from Trump’s ability to dominate a day’s news cycle, the episode also highlighted a couple of other things. One is what Newt Gingrich, a steadfast Trump ally, described as the imprecision of his language. “He sometimes uses three words when he needs 10,” Gingrich said, exasperatedly. The other is that Mr Trump is ramping up the time he spends bashing the media. Reporters like myself have been getting emails from the campaign highlighting a daily “media bias offender”. Read more
It’s possible to become inured to Donald Trump’s outlandish statements. Trump perhaps knows that the bar for attention is gradually rising, but he has made a huge splash with his latest effort – a claim that Barack Obama is “the founder of Isis”.
Yes, that’s as barefaced as it came. Trump did not mean to say Obama was an “enabler” of Isis, or that he created the messy environment from which Isis emerged. He meant to say what he said: Obama founded Isis. Read more
It is a question often raised by Donald Trump’s seemingly glib or off-the-cuff opinions on minefield subjects that other politicians would avoid: “What does that mean?”
Today it was Barack Obama who was asking it, as he was quizzed at a press conference on Trump’s suggestion that this year’s election could be rigged. “That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense,” the president said, before mentioning kids who lose playground games and say they were cheated. Read more
The dream script for Democrats in Philadelphia tonight would have Hillary Clinton closing out their convention with a rousing crescendo. But can she manage it as she accepts the party nomination?
Democrats have already savoured speeches from their party’s most talented orators – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden – who set a high bar. Clinton is not a natural speechmaker and John Podesta, her campaign chair, predicted to the New York Times: “Maybe she doesn’t hit those soaring notes.” Read more
By Federica Cocco
Analysts are cranking up the odds of a Donald Trump presidency, with researchers at Citigroup saying the possibility “cannot be ruled out” and the statistics site FiveThirtyEight rating the odds of the Republican candidate at 40 per cent. Read more
It must be hard being Ted Cruz. Just when you assume there could not be more people who dislike you, your own support base turns on you. The Texas senator’s decision not to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican candidate on Wednesday evening highlighted the divisions that have been simmering in Cleveland. Mr Cruz has the dubious honour of being the first person to be jeered at this convention — after Hillary Clinton, of course — and his wife, Heidi, had to be escorted from the arena.
Depending on your perspective, Cruz’s address was petulant or noble — given the personal attacks he has endured from Trump. He attempted to address those concerns head-on with the Texas GOP delegation on Wednesday morning, explaining he was not a “servile puppy dog” to Trump. But there were plenty of detractors present. (Read our report on Cruz’s clash with his own supporters here — and watch this video of Texans opining on what he has done.) Read more
When is plagiarism not plagiarism? The saga over Melania Trump’s convention speech took another turn today with a letter released by Donald Trump’s campaign. Someone called Meredith McIver, who described herself as “an in-house staff writer from the Trump Organization” and a “longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family”, said she had written portions of Mrs Trump’s Monday evening address.
Ms McIver attempted to explain the similarities with a Michelle Obama speech in 2008: “Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs Obama’s speeches.” Read more
Happy almost Fourth of July from all of us at White House Countdown. It’s been another mad week on the campaign trail. From potential VP talk of Elizabeth Warren and Chris Christie; to a scripted Trump in Pennsylvania.
We end the week with more news from the Trump campaign, which has made two new hires: pollster Kellyanne Conway and Karen Giorno who ran the campaign’s Florida operations during the state’s primary. Read more
As speculation continues to build about who Hillary Clinton will pick as her running mate, at last we have at least one name who could fill that role for Donald Trump. And that name is Chris Christie.
Five months after he exited the Republican primary and four months after he made his first – and most surreal – joint appearance with his party’s presumptive nominee, Christie is now reported to be among those being considered for the vice-presidential spot. Read more