Weeks from the presidential election, and with a national reckoning on racial justice under way, Donald Trump has decided it is time to rewrite the American history curriculum to downplay the dark legacy of slavery.
Speaking at a conference in Washington DC on Thursday, the president announced a new national commission to promote “patriotic education” and counter the “decades of leftwing indoctrination” to which he claims US schoolchildren have been subjected. “Our youth will be taught to love America,” he said.
The president called his initiative the 1776 Commission, while attacking the New York Times’s Pulitzer prize-winning 1619 Project, which marked the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship arriving in America. Trump has threatened to cut funding to schools that teach the 1619 Project.
Biden says trust the scientists, not Trump, on Covid
The simmering tensions between the Trump administration and its own scientists over the response to the pandemic were exposed again on Thursday, when the New York Times reported that controversial Covid-19 testing guidance posted on the CDC website was not written by the agency’s scientists, and had been posted despite their objections.
Appearing at a drive-in town hall in his native Pennsylvania, the Democratic nominee Joe Biden accused the president of politicising the US coronavirus response, and said he did not trust Trump’s claims that a vaccine was imminent. “I don’t trust the president on vaccines. I trust Dr Fauci,” he said:
If Fauci says the vaccine is safe, I’d take the vaccine. We should listen to the scientists, not to the president.
Russia is interfering in the 2020 election, says the FBI director
The FBI has witnessed “very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020”, the bureau’s director told a congressional committee on Thursday. Christopher Wray warned of a “steady drumbeat of misinformation” originating from Moscow, in the form of social media, state media and the use of proxies, which the US intelligence community believes is intended to:
both sow divisiveness and discord, and… primarily to denigrate vice-president Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment.
Trump immediately responded to Wray’s testimony on Twitter, claiming China was a “FAR greater threat than Russia” and accusing Beijing of interfering with the US vote-by-mail system, which the president has falsely claimed is particularly vulnerable to voter fraud.
A chorus of support for Trump’s accuser, but no consequences?
E Jean Carroll, the writer who accused Donald Trump of raping her at a department store in the 1990s, has added her voice to the chorus of support for Amy Dorris, the former model who told the Guardian’s Lucy Osborne, in an interview published on Thursday, that Trump had sexually assaulted her at the 1997 US Open. Trump has vigorously denied both women’s claims.
On the latest Today in Focus podcast, Osborne discusses how the alleged incident fits within a wider pattern of alleged abuse by Trump. Dorris is at least the 25th woman to have accused him of sexual misconduct. The president has denied wrongdoing in every case. Jill Filipovic asks if his supporters will ever take any notice:
We have a pile of credible accusations. We have an accused perpetrator who has admitted, on tape, to doing the very thing he is accused of. And yet we all know that the Amy Dorris story, like the many stories before it, will not result in any consequences for this predatory president.
In other news…
Big Sean’s teenage obsessions
The rapper’s latest LP, Detroit 2, just topped the US album charts. He tells Thomas Hobbs about the culture that inspired him as a teenager, from Lil Wayne to Star Wars to the N64: “There’s just something about the colours and the vibes of those old Nintendo 64 games that was so therapeutic.”
A QAnon believer in Congress
The Georgia businesswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is all but certain to win a seat in Congress this November. She’s also an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that Democrats are part of a global, satan-worshipping pedophile ring. So have her future Republican colleagues shunned her for her bizarre and offensive beliefs? Of course not, writes Daniel Strauss.
My brother spied on me for the Stasi
Peter Keup was never close to his older brother Ulrich when they were growing up in East Germany. But it was only last year, almost three decades after Ulrich’s death, that Peter learned his brother had spied on their family for the Stasi. “It makes me so sad sometimes that I feel exhausted.”
Opinion: America’s wars have displaced 37 million people
Since 9/11 sparked what George W Bush called the “global war on terror”, US-led conflicts have caused the displacement of an estimated 37 million people, in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and the Philippines. It is time to accept responsibility, says David Vine.
The US government has turned its back on the vast majority of the displaced. Since 2001, the US government has admitted just under 348,000 refugees from the entire Middle East.
Last Thing: putting towns on the tourist trail with Wikipedia
A group of Italian economists has discovered a quick way to put your town on the tourist trail: by adding no more than two paragraphs and a single photo to its Wikipedia page, they found, a small city can boost its tourism revenue by up to $130,000 a year.
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