February 15, 2019

It is a remarkable thing that President Trump's tweets can still be utterly mind-boggling, but, well, here we are. On Friday, the leader of the free world tweeted out this video with no comment (trust me, you'll want to turn the sound on):

To the tune of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts," the montage features Democrats (and GOP Sen. Mitt Romney) reacting to Trump's State of the Union address, ranging from bored expressions to suppressed laughter and eye rolls. While it's obviously intended to be braggadocious, it is still a bit funny for Trump to have shared a video of a bunch of politicians failing to take him seriously.

One thing is for sure — R.E.M. is not going to be too happy. Trump has previously used the band's hit "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" at his rallies, prompting R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills to quote lead singer Michael Stipe as saying "Go f--k yourself ... you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little man. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign." Jeva Lange

11:03 a.m.

Former President Barack Obama has the endorsement every 2020 Democrat wants.

Unfortunately for them, Obama isn't handing out any hints about who he'll give it to — or if he'll even endorse a primary candidate at all. Instead, "Obama and his aides have carefully guarded when and how to deploy him," and are even prepared for him to step in and use his endorsement if there's a chance of a contested convention, The Atlantic reports.

The most obvious 2020 endorsement for Obama would be his former Vice President Joe Biden. And judging by the nostalgia-heavy campaign Biden is running, one would think he's already earned it. But no, Biden has claimed he asked Obama not to endorse him so early in the race — "despite firm statements from Obama's orbit making it clear that he'd decided himself not to endorse," The Atlantic writes.

That leaves the option of Obama endorsing someone else — Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), for one, made it clear to The Atlantic that she campaigned for Obama in 2007 when Biden was still running against him. But Obama is apparently more concerned with finishing his book, which was supposed to be released this year but is reportedly taking longer than the former president expected. But given the usual pre-holiday release of blockbuster books like Michelle Obama's Becoming, dropping it next year just after Election Day could make Obama "the voice of a party in despair after another defeat, or poised to grab the spotlight from a freshly elected Democratic president," The Atlantic writes.

Obama's spokesperson summed up this political distance in a cautious statement, saying "big, bold ideas are a sign of the Democratic Party's strength, and President Obama urges everyone running to be transparent with voters about how these ideas will work." Read more at The Atlantic. 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

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