Good morning and welcome to Monday. Time to catch up on the weekend’s political news.
1. Trump suggests Omar return to Somalia. President Trump on Sunday assailed a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came,” ignoring the fact that the women are American citizens and all but one was born in the U.S. Trump’s tweets drew sharp rebukes from Democrats, who derided his remarks as racist. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president wants to “make America white again.” And Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a Trump critic who recently took steps to leave his party, called the remarks “racist and disgusting.” Trump was almost certainly referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies in what’s become known as “the squad.” The others are Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar is foreign-born. Omar responded on Twitter, posting that “as Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.” (AP via MPR News)
2. Klobuchar pitches her electability. After walking nearly 3 miles in Saturday’s SummerFest parade in Ankeny, Iowa, Sen. Amy Klobuchar received a warm reception in steamy conditions under the town’s park pavilion. The Minnesota Democrat was one of several 2020 presidential candidates given a few minutes to address the local party faithful. And Klobuchar quickly got to the point. “I am someone that can win,” she told the crowd. “I have won every place, every race — every time I’ve won.” As she trails the leading 2020 candidates in the polls, Klobuchar is sharpening her message of electability. Speaking to Democrats in Ankeny, she underscored that in 2018, she won in Minnesota congressional districts President Trump easily carried just two years prior. (MPR News)
3. Minnesota farmers among top beneficiaries of trade war aid. The numbers are in: Minnesota farmers received $681 million from the government last year to help them weather the trade war with China. The money, promised by President Donald Trump after China slapped retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm products in response to his restrictions on Chinese steel, was aimed mostly at soybean farmers. Ten states, all in the Midwest, received three-quarters of the $8.6 billion payout in what was officially called the Market Facilitation Program. Minnesota farmers received the third-most aid, behind only those in Illinois and Iowa. The data show that big farms in Minnesota, many of them experienced in securing federal subsidies, were able to find legal ways around limits that capped payments to each farmer at $125,000. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican in Iowa where farmers received nearly $1 billion in aid, blasted the program and the farmers who found loopholes in it. (Star Tribune)
4. Trump forces eye Minnesota for 2020 victory. Days after President Donald Trump officially announced his 2020 re-election bid, Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan attended a picnic on the White House lawn. As they posed for a selfie, the state GOP leader thanked the president for making three visits to the state since taking office. “I told him, ‘We appreciate you coming and we hope to see you here at least as many times before the election next year,’ ” Carnahan said. The president’s response: “I will be there.” Minnesotans have picked the Democratic nominee for the White House in every election since 1972. Trump, who lost the state by just 1.5 percentage points in 2016, believes he can end that streak. With 15 months to go until the general election, the GOP is doubling down on efforts to turn Minnesota red, putting national campaign staff on the ground and hosting a series of training sessions to mobilize Republican voters. (Star Tribune)
5. As Trump draws attention to St. Louis Park pledge debate, local response is muted. President Trump on Thursday said St. Louis Park city leaders were acting with “stupidity” and “disloyalty” to the country by voting last month to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance before City Council meetings. The president wrote on Twitter that “Patriots are now having to fight for the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance” in St. Louis Park. The president’s tweets and comments have spawned vitriol from conservatives across the country. People called St. Louis Park city offices in droves, sometimes verbally abusing and harassing the workers answering phones, said Jacque Smith, the city’s communications and marketing director. City Council members plan to gauge community members’ opinions this month before voting again on the matter, possibly later this month. Calls numbered in the hundreds last week, she said, but this week, “I really wouldn’t even venture a guess” as to how many. No credible threats to city staff had been reported. Yet for all the national clamoring around the city council’s decision to cut the pledge from its meetings, several St. Louis Park residents interviewed Friday weren’t aware the council made the change in the first place — let alone the media circus playing out online. (MPR News)