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Is Trump Watching Tonight’s Democratic Debate? He Says He’s ‘Off to Save the World!’

June 27, 2019, 12:51 AM UTC
President Trump Departs White House For G20 Summit In Osaka
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: U.S. President Donald Trump talks with reporters before leaving the White House for the G20 summit June 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. While participating in the summit in Osaka, Japan, Trump plans to meet one-on-one with counterparts from Turkey, Australia, Germany and India; as well as with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Update 10:16 p.m. E.T.: Trump appears to be watching, and tweeting about, the debate on Air Force One as he wrote hosts MSNBC and NBC “should be ashamed” of the “horrible” technical difficulties with the microphones as moderators changed shifts. He then threw out his favorite media insult, calling them “fake media” organizations, in all capital letters.

President Donald Trump started his characteristic bombastic tweeting ahead of the first Democratic primary presidential debates with the words “FACT CHECKING” in all capital letters, perhaps setting the tone for how he and the White House will react to the 10 candidates on stage tonight.

Trump tagged several accounts in the tweet including one for his own 2020 re-election campaign called @TeamTrump and campaign staff: manager Brad Parscale, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, director of communications Tim Murtaugh, and director of strategic communications Marc Lotter.

He wrote that there would be “rapid response” and “truth,” all in all capital letters, as they seemingly will be reacting in real-time to comments made by the likes of Senators Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and frontrunner Elizabeth Warren tonight.

The president also wrote he is “on Air Force One, off to save the Free World” as he heads to the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where he will have bilateral meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others.

The president then launched into a series of issues-based tweets, all likely to be covered by tonight’s moderators. Of course, the first included a mention of “Crooked Hillary Clinton.” He tweeted that “Democrats have tried and failed to pass Criminal Justice Reform,” and mentioned the Super Predator Crime Bill.

Trump claimed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed when former Vice President Joe Biden served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “inflicted great paid on many, but especially the African American community.”

The bill had funded an additional 100,000 police officers and provided $14 billion in grants for community policing efforts, among other measures. Crime rates did drop in the years following the bill; however, critics argued it led to the mass incarceration problem the U.S. is facing now and disproportionately targeted poor, minority communities. While Biden has defended the legislation, in 2015 former Bill Clinton later apologized for passing the bill, remarking it “made the problem worse.”

Trump tweeted he, and “nobody but President Trump,” helped Democrats pass a crime reform bill and tasked moderators to “ask why THEY failed to the candidates.”

The president then tweeted about one of the most controversial topics to be discussed over the next two nights: immigration. He retweeted an op-ed from the Washington Examiner regarding “those who denied a ‘crisis’ at the” U.S.-Mexico border.

The administration has come under heavy fire as reports of migrant children held in facilities after crossing the border have been denied blankets, soap, access to showers, heating during the cold desert nights, and cramped conditions. A Trump official, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian, was even arguing that the children do not need these items in an appeals court a few days ago.

Several members of Congress weighed in, calling the facilities “concentration camps” and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in particular has been criticized by the president, his supporters like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and even prominent Democrats for the use of the term. Look for candidates to take a stance on this tonight.

The president capped off his tweet storm by writing “much can be learned” from Australia’s stance on “illegal immigration” with no mention that seeking asylum is not against the law in the U.S.

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