November 1, 2018

President Trump unveiled a new ad meant to boost the Republican Party, but many Republicans want nothing to do with it.

The ad, which reeks of Willie Horton-esque fear-mongering, drew fierce critique from the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, Al Cardenas. He condemned Trump as a "despicable divider" and a "social poison" to America. Cardenas once chaired the American Conservative Union, which hosts the prominent Conservative Political Action Conference, but he has long opposed Trump on many fronts. And in his Thursday tweet, Cardenas asserted that Trump's ad would "condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever."

The Wednesday ad, paid for by Trump's campaign and released less than a week before the midterms, features footage of a twice-deported Mexican man gloating about "kill[ing] cops." It claims "Democrats let him into our country," and suggests the migrant caravan still more than 1,000 miles from the U.S. would bring more like-minded criminals.

Fellow conservatives, including retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), have spoken out against Trump's newest ad, but Cardenas' condemnation is one of the harshest yet. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:55 a.m.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday tried his best not to directly attack the 2020 race's frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden. But he did offer some criticism of his record and argued that he hasn't earned the nomination just yet.

Buttigieg during a live interview with The Washington Post was asked about those who say that Biden has "earned the nomination" because of his experience, to which Buttigieg rebutted, "I think you earn the nomination by winning it. Nobody's earned the nomination in 2019."

He went on to say that to earn the Democratic nomination, each of the candidates must not only present a vision for the party and for America, but also prove that they can beat President Trump. He later cautioned that Democrats could "very well lose again" in 2020 if they're perceived as "replicating a system that let people down," although he insisted that he's "not talking about any one of my competitors" in particular.

Buttigieg during this interview also offered some subtle criticism of Biden's record. When asked if Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was right when she said that the former vice president was "on the side of the credit card companies," Buttigieg responded, "I have a difference of opinion with anybody who favors credit card companies over consumers." He also criticized the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that Biden worked on, and when asked if those who supported the bill should be held to account, Buttigieg said, "that's what elections are for."

Still, Buttigieg multiple times avoided more directly attacking Biden, at one point telling the reporter, "I can't help but get the impression there's more interest in one of my competitors than any of the others." Brendan Morrow

Brendan Morrow

10:26 a.m.

Pete Buttigieg doesn't want to give President Trump his attention.

Yet that's just what the 2020 candidate did during an interview with The Washington Post's Robert Costa broadcast live on Thursday. After asserting that "any energy that goes [Trump's] way ... turns into a form of food. He just devours it and gets bigger," Buttigieg went on to dispute the legitimacy of Trump's bone spur exception to the Vietnam War draft.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and an Afghanistan veteran, has noticeably avoided talking about Trump on the campaign trail. Still, Buttigieg said Thursday he has to respond "when [Trump] lies" or "when he does something wrong." A prime example of that seems to be when Trump "use[d] his privileged status to fake a disability to avoid serving in Vietnam," Buttigieg continued.

Also in the Thursday interview, Buttigieg agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) assessment that Trump engaged in a "cover up." When asked if Trump is a racist, Buttigieg said "I think so." Kathryn Krawczyk

9:52 a.m.

This November, she'll be back.

Paramount Pictures on Thursday debuted the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate, which features the first footage of Linda Hamilton returning to the franchise as Sarah Connor for the first time since Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991. After starring in the first two films, Hamilton sat out the subsequent three installments, although she was technically heard via audio recordings in Terminator Salvation. Emilia Clarke starred as Sarah Connor in the 2015 reboot Terminator Genisys.

But Dark Fate is following in the recent Hollywood trend of ignoring a franchise's recent sequels — which Hamilton has called "very forgettable"— and going back to basics, as this film directly follows up on Judgment Day. The footage released on Thursday initially revolves around a set of new characters, including one named Grace played by Mackenzie Davis, who is revealed to be part machine. As Grace fights a liquid metal Terminator, an armed-to-the-teeth Sarah Connor makes her triumphant return to pitch in. There's also a new character played by Natalia Reyes, who Grace and Sarah Connor must keep alive.

Arnold Schwarzenegger also returns briefly in the trailer after previously starring in 2015's Terminator Genisys. Unlike that film, which gave away one of its main twists in the marketing, the trailer for Dark Fate is fairly light on plot, something that appears to be a deliberate choice. Schwarzenegger himself posted the trailer on Reddit and noted in the headline that it "doesn't give the movie away," leaving the implied "unlike last time" unsaid.

Dark Fate will hit theaters on November 1. Brendan Morrow

9:10 a.m.

President Trump on Thursday said that Rex Tillerson, who served as his secretary of state for more than a year, was ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the job.

Trump lashed out after Tillerson reportedly told lawmakers that Russian President Vladimir Putin out-prepared Trump in a 2017 meeting. "There was a discrepancy in preparation" between Trump and Putin that "created an unequal footing," Tillerson reportedly said.

In response, Trump claimed that it was Tillerson who was actually not only ill-prepared but ill-equipped for the job that Trump himself selected him for. He also claimed that Tillerson's account of the Putin meeting is false and that "I don't think Putin would agree" with the characterization.

Trump repeatedly praised Tillerson before and during his tenure as secretary of state, such as when in December 2016 he touted the former ExxonMobil CEO's "vast experience." That same month, The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports Trump proudly told Mar-a-Lago guests that Tillerson has "just got that..." while doing a chef's kiss pose.

During an interview on CNN Thursday morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked for a comment about this tweet, said that Trump's 2017 meeting with Putin went "extremely well" but offered no explanation as to why Trump would hire an ill-prepared and ill-equipped person for his administration. Brendan Morrow

8:51 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May faced mounting calls to resign in a backlash against her latest Brexit plan, and multiple reports indicated she could step down as soon as Friday, Business Insider reported. The resignation of the leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, on Wednesday night appeared to have left May with no way forward. Leadsom was scheduled to introduce May's new Brexit plan on Thursday but she said she could not support it because it could pave the way for a second referendum on whether the U.K. should leave the European Union at all, which she said would be "dangerously divisive." The turmoil came as the European Union starts parliamentary elections that could see far-right populists and EU skeptics expand their power, USA Today explained. Harold Maass

8:33 a.m.

President Trump refusing to work with Democrats while they investigate him is just the latest sign that he's desperate to be impeached, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough says.

Scarborough during a Morning Joe discussion of Trump's Wednesday refusal to hold infrastructure talks with Democrats argued that the president "wants to be impeached so badly," Mediaite reports.

This immediately prompted a laugh from analyst John Heilemann, but Scarborough quickly clarified he was serious, making the case that Trump wants the House to impeach him so he can then be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.

"He saw what happened with Bill Clinton, whose presidency he looks at and studies an awful lot, and he saw that Bill Clinton went up to 60 percent after he was impeached," Scarborough said.

Trump wants this ahead of the 2020 election, Scarborough argued, because "he knows he's got no record to run on" and "doesn't have much to show for" his presidency. Plus, he "loves to be victimized," Scarborough argued. Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski agreed, saying that Trump is "desperate" for impeachment as a way to "turn the attention on him in the most chaotic way."

This is an argument that has also been set forth by some Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has said that Trump is "goading us to impeach him" but has essentially argued that doing so would play into his hands if there is not a bipartisan consensus. She has continuously rejected impeachment talk for that reason, even as she says some of Trump's conduct could be impeachable. Brendan Morrow

8:02 a.m.

The 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are split on whether to appear on Fox News, and on Tuesday night, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah explained the advantages they can reap from going on the generally unfriendly network. On Wednesday's Full Frontal, Daily Show alumna Samantha Bee offered a counterpoint.

Yes, Mayor Pete Buttigieg got "a touching reception for a candidate on a network that doesn't believe his sexual orientation entitles him to a wedding cake," Bee said, but really, this isn't that complicated. "You do not have to go on Fox News."

"Yes, there are some benefits to crossing the media aisle to try to reach new voters," Bee said. "And it's great to talk to as many voters as possible, but where you talk to them matters. As Elizabeth Warren put it as she refused to appear on the network, Fox News is a 'hate-for-profit racket' — which, in all fairness, would make it the first profitable racket Donald Trump has ever been involved in."

"In its entire history, Fox News was never on the level, but in the Trump era, the network has become an extension of his administration , or maybe vice versa — they don't pretend otherwise, so why should anyone else?" Bee asked. "At a certain point, if you play along with Fox, you don't look principled or bipartisan — you just look stupid. Nobody is impressed by how Charlie Brown reaches across the aisle to Lucy's football."

"If you're sure that going on Fox is strategically the right thing to do, I guess go for it," Bee said. "But I am sure that it is not morally the right thing to do. When you go on Fox News, no matter how lit your town hall game is that night, you are legitimizing them. ... And if you do go on, they're just going to take you out of context anyway." Watch Fox News twisting Buttigieg below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads