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The National Memo

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Although Donald Trump had been rooting for Britain to leave the European Union well before the Brexit decision on Friday morning, some Republicans joined him in taking an affirmative stance on the issue — but only after the vote actually happened.
Otherwise, it appears that Trump was the only member of the GOP who actively supported the Brexit before the vote.
As President Obama and Hillary Clinton both voiced their support of the Remain camp prior to the vote on Thursday, most Republicans in Congress had only advocated for the U.S. to stay out of the debate earlier this week.
A group of Republican politicians — including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Jeff Sessions, and Rep. George Holding and Rep. Mike Kelly — sent a letter to Obama earlier this week urging the president to avoid publicizing his views on the Brexit vote. (Obama didn’t listen.)
“Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, citizens of the United Kingdom should know that we will continue to regard our relations with the United Kingdom as a central factor in the foreign, security, and trading policies of the United States,” they wrote, according to CNN.
While they didn’t reveal their own stance on the Brexit, the Republicans’ letter did note that the vote “may open new opportunities for cooperation for our British friends and allies.”
Yet after the vote actually took place, both Cruz and Sessions made their support of the Leave campaign public, suggesting that their opposition to Obama taking a stance could have been more politically motivated than they let on.
“The people spoke from their hearts and with conviction,” Sessions said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “They considered deep and critical issues never discussed by the international elites. Their strong vote arose not out of fear and pique but out of love for country and pride of place.”
For his part, Cruz touched on the worrisome parallels between the Leave campaign and Trump’s presidential candidacy.
“The United States can learn from the referendum and attend to the issues of security, immigration, and economic autonomy that drove this historic vote,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Former Senator Jim DeMint also joined in congratulating Britain on the vote, even posting a photo of a full English breakfast on Twitter to “celebrate freedom.” Photo: Senator Jeff Sessions speaks next to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally at Madison City Schools Stadium in Madison, Alabama February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Some Republicans joined Donald Trump in taking an affirmative stance on the Brexit—but only after the vote actually happened.
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As the world still reels in shock at Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, many are saying that the success of the “Leave” campaign represents a dangerous sign of hope for Donald Trump.
Not unlike Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the Democratic primaries, Trump has framed his candidacy as a grassroots movement that went against establishment politics and the dominance of political elites.
And as the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum wrote, the Brexit debate transcended the policy debates typical in the UK’s elections, instead focusing on polarizing topics like immigration and nationalism:
“Identity politics trumped economics; arguments about “independence” and “sovereignty” defeated arguments about British influence and importance. The advice of once-trusted institutions was ignored. Elected leaders were swept aside. If that kind of transformation can take place in the U.K., then it can happen in the United States, too. We have been warned.”
This parallel was not lost on Trump himself either, who compared the “Leave” campaign to his own candidacy for president at a press conference in Scotland on Friday.
“People want to take their country back, and they want to have independence in a sense,” he said. “They took their country back, just like we will take America back.”
For once, he may be right. The xenophobic, nationalist impulse so inextricable from his campaign was the same sort of reasoning that fueled the success of the Brexit. In some sense, plans for a ban on Muslim immigration and a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border are no different than Britons’ fears regarding an influx of Syrian refugees through Turkey.
Perhaps most importantly, though, it’s worth noting that support for both Trump and Leave first came into being because a mainstream, right-wing political party was overtaken by fringe conservatism.
Kim Soffen, also of The Washington Post, accurately notes that the British electorate is much more homogenous than the U.S. population — which made it easier for anti-immigrant impulse to catch on — and that Leave’s success rested more on high turnout rather than lots of support.
Still, the numerous interviews with voters who acted “in protest” (or failed to turn out entirely) and didn’t truthfully believe that a Brexit would win should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of this kind of political activity.
While polls and pundits alike are pointing to the improbability of a Trump victory in November, a win for the Leave campaign points in the opposite direction. If anything, the success of the Brexit means that fringe, anti-establishment politics cannot be written off so quickly.
Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks following a news conference, at his Turnberry golf course, in Turnberry, Scotland, Britain June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
As the world still reels in shock at the Brexit vote, some say that the “Leave” campaign's success represents a dangerous sign of hope for Donald Trump.
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One of the biggest winners, politically, of British voters’ decision to leave the European Union is Nigel Farage. The leader of Britain’s far-right UKIP party, Farage was persona non grata in British politics for much of the last decade. But after David Cameron announced in 2013 that the country would hold a referendum on their future with the European Union — an attempt to silence the euroscepticism of Farage’s insurgent, nativist party — Farage and UKIP capitalized on his political blunder: UKIP had been calling for a vote on leaving the European Union for years. Now was their chance.
Farage led the fight — and it was ugly. The “Leave” camp focused on British anger and unresponsive European politicians in Brussels, but they spent more time on public unease about the Syrian refugee crisis and how it might “change” Britain. Yes, it was a racist, nativist campaign that preyed on people’s fears and played on a nostalgia for British imperial strength on the world stage.

#Gove on #Marr, says of #Farage‘s vile racist #BreakingPoint poster: “When I saw that poster I shuddered”
This one:
— Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) June 19, 2016
The Leave camp also promised that, once out of the European Union, Britain would benefit from its new freedom from financial obligations to Brussels. This was a central part of the campaign: Britain “sends the EU £350 million a week,” the Leave campaign said (the truth is closer £100 million, after an instant rebate that Britain receives from the EU). They urged voters to imagine the benefit of re-investing that money back into programs like the National Health Service.

And then, just hours after the Brexit vote, Farage went back on his largest campaign promise:

Farage is a despicable nationalist politician. It’s no surprise that he would lie to achieve his dream of, as he called it, “knock[ing] the first brick out of the wall” of the European Union.
But admitting that he lied in order to lead the UK into an economic disaster wasn’t Farage’s lowest point today. That happened a few hours earlier, during his victory speech.

Perhaps, though it’s not likely, Farage forgot the events of a week ago, when a white nationalist shot pro-EU parliamentarian Jo Cox to death.
Videos: Vote Leave; Good Morning Britain; BBC
Photo: Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party Nigel Farage arrives to launch his party’s EU referendum tour bus in London, Britain May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall 

Farage is a despicable nationalist politician.
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It’s no secret that Donald Trump is splitting the Republican Party in half.
While many neo-conservatives have thrown their support behind his campaign, stalwarts of the GOP establishment have stayed silent on the ticking Trump time-bomb — if not defecting entirely to support Hillary Clinton.
Now, this emerging rift seems to be pulling apart the party’s most important dynasty: the Bushes. Though many members of the Bush family itself as well as their former advisers are hesitant to endorse Trump, hawks like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have come out in support of his campaign.
Indeed, Cheney and Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretaries in the older and younger Bush administrations, respectively, have enthusiastically backed the presumptive GOP nominee.
Rumsfeld quixotically told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren Wednesday that Trump’s unpredictability makes him the stronger candidate. “On the Democrats’ side, we have a known known. On the Republican side, we have a recent entry, who’s a known unknown,” he said, strangely recalling his now-infamous line about weapons of mass destruction (or lack thereof) in Iraq.
As for Cheney, it’s been over a month since the former vice president announced that he will continue his tradition of supporting the party’s nominee.
Cheney and Rumsfeld were heavily influenced by other senior officials in the Bush administrations who pushed aggressively for the 2003 Iraq invasion.
The same can’t be said of George H.W. Bush. Though his consistent endorsement of the GOP presidential nominee stretches back half a century, a spokesman told the Washington Post that Bush “was retired from politics.”
A spokesman for George W. Bush, meanwhile, said the 43rd president “does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign,” according to the Financial Times. Jeb Bush’s disdain for his former primary opponent, meanwhile, needs no explanation, as his refusal to back Trump drew attention during the primaries and continues to make headlines.
Some of the Bush administrations’ foreign policy experts aren’t so convinced, either.
Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser for George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, became one the latest Republicans to defect to the Clinton camp this week, as he defended her foreign policy experience.
“She brings deep expertise in international affairs and a sophisticated understanding of the world, which I believe are essential for the commander-in-chief,” said Scowcroft, who also worked in the second Bush White House said, according to CNN.
Likewise, Richard Armitage, the younger Bush’s first secretary of state, told Politico last week that he could not support Trump in the general election.
“He doesn’t appear to be a Republican, he doesn’t appear to want to learn about issues. So, I’m going to vote for Mrs. Clinton,” Armitage said.
Perhaps some of the strongest criticism from the Bush camp came from Barbara Bush, who called Trump “a comedian” and “a showman” during a CBS interview in February, adding that his strategy — or lack thereof — goes against “how things get done in this country, truthfully.”
She also called Trump’s approach to women “unbelievable,” saying, “I don’t know how women can vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly.”
During the CBS interview, Jeb Bush added, “I don’t think a president would have ever shouted profanities in a speech in front of thousands of people with kids in the crowd.”
“Who did that?” his mother asked, as if in shock.   
“Your buddy,” Jeb answered. “He does it all the time.”
Photo: Former U.S. first lady Laura Bush and former President George W. Bush join his brother Republican U.S. presidential candidate Jeb Bush on the campaign trail at a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina
Donald Trump has created a rift in the Republican Party that's now making itself evident within the GOP's most important family: the Bushes.
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After nearly 26 hours, House Democrats, lead by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, decided Thursday to end their sit-in demanding stricter gun control legislation.
As expected, they didn’t get what they were asking for – a vote on the “no fly, no buy” bill, and another vote on universal background checks.
What Democrats did get was lots of attention. Public interest in the sit-in was intensified after congressional leadership shut off CSPAN cameras, forcing Democrats to connect with the public directly through social media and their smartphones.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the sit-in was a “publicity stunt.”
And it was — but is there anything wrong with that?
Democrats are used to being silenced in the House – as the minority party, they are at the whim of Speaker Paul Ryan. Even if they got to a vote, the bills didn’t have a chance of passing, and Democrats knew that.
But as members of a Congress considered too deadlocked and too bound to special interests, House Democrats had to show a willingness to fight. If they want a chance to eventually change the composition of the legislative branch and one day pass comprehensive gun control measures — a real possibility, with Donald Trump leading the Republican Party in November — Democrats have to “make a little noise,” As Rep. Lewis put it.
The 76-year-old Georgia congressman knows a thing or two about fighting against the odds, and about the importance of getting the public’s attention in order to put pressure on the government to eventually urge legislative action. Rep. Lewis used the same method, a the sit-in, to fight for the civil rights of black people in the deep South alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
This sort of stunt isn’t new to the Congress, either. In 2008, House Republicans staged a similar protest to push for a vote on offshore drilling. As then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to adjourn Congress for summer break, GOP members refused to leave. She shut off the lights.
After the Orlando tragedy that killed 49 people in the worst mass shooting in American history, gun control has become one of the most debated issues in the nation. With 90 percent of people now supporting stricter gun control, according to a recent CNN poll, Democrats know how valuable focusing on guns will be in November. It doesn’t hurt that, at least judging from videos of the sit-in, Democratic legislators are as angry about the lack of inaction on the issue as their constituents.
That’s especially true after Republicans like Rep. Steve King refused to update their views to match the demands of most Americans. “I’ve had it with the gun grabbing Democrats and their sit-in anti 2nd amendment jihad” The Iowa congressman said on Twitter. “I’m going to go home and buy a new gun.”
Democrats are betting that gun control will remain an issue for the next few months, and they’re itching to re-stage the fight with a Congressional majority. After his own “publicity stunt,” – a 15-hour filibuster for gun control – Senator Chris Murphy announced that he would use the momentum to get people to vote next November. “I’m going to be turning my attention to the November election. I’m going to take some of my energy and help make sure that people who cast the wrong vote don’t come back.” He said after ending the filibuster.
“We are going to win,” said Rep. Lewis on the capitol floors as he left his latest sit-in protest. “So don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, and keep your eyes on the prize.”
Photo: A photo shot and tweeted from the floor of the House by U.S. House Rep. John Yarmuth shows Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Rep. Joe Courtney (L) and Rep. John Lewis (C) staging a sit-in on the House floor “to demand action on common sense gun legislation” on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, June 22, 2016.  REUTERS/U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth/Handout
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the sit-in was a “publicity stunt.” And it was -- but is there anything wrong with that?
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Indiana teenager Akram I. Musleh was arrested on Tuesday at Downtown Indianapolis’ Greyhound station on a charge of material support of terrorism. Musleh had allegedly been trying to board a bus to New York before traveling to Morocco to join ISIS, something he had unsuccessfully attempted many times before.
As is usually the case, 18-year-old Musleh began engaging with extremist ideas through the internet and social media. According to court documents, he posted videos of terrorist leaders back in 2013. If convicted, Musleh could face up to 20 years in jail.
Just this month, three young men were arrested on similar charges in Minneapolis. With a large Muslim community, the state of Minnesota has seen many cases of young people radicalized by the Internet. According to a 2015 U.S. House Homeland Security Committee report, Americans from at least 19 states had tried to leave the country for Syria since 2011; 26 percent of them were from Minnesota.
It’s worth thinking about the best solution for these cases of radicalization, especially when “material support of terrorism” can be a vague charge, and especially because it might not apply to those early in the process of radicalization, who could become extremists in the future.
Minnesota U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis has tried an alternative approach in dealing with self-radicalized youth: de-radicalization.
In May 2015, when five Somali-Americans were accused of trying to join ISIS, Judge Davis considered keeping them at a halfway house instead of jail as they awaited trial. Months before that, he suggested the same for terrorism suspect Abdullahi Yusuf, who was kept in a halfway house where he received mentoring and studied Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and the U.S. Constitution. Yusef was also encouraged to follow news coverage of his case in order to understand the effect his actions had on his community.
“You know, these are really young kids and in my heart I really believe that they fell for something. They need a chance to correct, to undo, what they did.” said Yusuf’s counselor Ahmed Amin, a local high school social studies teacher who works with Heartland Democracy, which runs a mentorship program aimed at young men susceptible to self-radicalization.
“I understand the difficulties of identity that lead people to join organizations like ISIS,” Amin told NPR. “It is hard trying to live in two worlds. From 9 to 5 these kids have to live one way when they are at school, they are socialized to be American. And then they go home, learn to be religious and are trying to cope with that. It is harder than you’d think.”
De-radicalization programs exist around the world, but it is not yet clear how effective they are.
Denmark, faced with disillusioned ISIS fighters coming back home, decided to try rehabilitation. In the nations’ second largest city, Aarhus, returning fighters are eligible for help in obtaining a job, housing, education, and counseling. The UK has also tried “Jihadi Rehab.”
In Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Nayef Center for Advice, Counseling and Care, terrorism suspects eat well, engage in the arts, and are allowed plenty of leisure activities, in an attempt to reintroduce them into society.
Badr al-Enezi was arrested on suspicion of terrorism in his twenties and did his time at the rehabilitation center. “What is the secret? It is that the ideas we carry cannot be cured by weapons only. It also requires an ideological cure,” al-Enezi, who now serves as a mentor in the facility, said of the program.
Ideological rehabilitation could be a better antidote to extremist propaganda than incarceration — U.S. prisons abroad are often seen as recruiting centers for extremists. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to have been a studious, quiet young man until the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003 and he landed in jail at Camp Bucca a couples years later.
Security officials that worked at the Iraqi prison have expressed that they are not surprised that a radical figure like al-Baghdadi would emerge from the camp. “Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism,” Tweeted former U.S. Air Force security officer James Skylar Gerrond in July 2014.
Gerrond told Mother Jones that in an environment where inmates were isolated from loved ones, they turned to each other. The article further elaborates on the issue of radicalization in the camp:
Former inmates told Al Jazeera in 2009 that Camp Bucca, which closed in September of 2009 and transferred detainees to Iraqi custody, was an “Al Qaeda school,” where extremists gave chalkboard lessons on explosives and suicide bombing techniques to younger prisoners. One former prisoner, Adel Jasim Mohammed, told the Arab news service that one extremist “stayed for a week and recruited 25 of the 34 detainees” he was grouped with. Mohammed said that the US military officials did essentially nothing to stop radicals from indoctrinating other detainees, though US military officials denied to Al Jazeera that jihadists had radicalized moderate prisoners there.
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, Iraq, in this June 23, 2014 file photo.  REUTERS/Stringer/Files
Judge Michael Davis has tried rehabilitation instead of jail for terrorism suspects, something that's been done in other countries like Saudi Arabia.
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The National Memo

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Last night, Senator Bernie Sanders stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to clarify that he is not yet endorsing the presumptive Democratic nominee Clinton.
When asked about the status of his campaign, Sanders said he is still a candidate and will “absolutely” continue his campaign for the presidency of the United States.
“The struggle for social justice will continue” Sanders said to enthusiastic cheers from the audience, adding that although he understands he will most likely not be the nominee, he is in talks with the Clinton campaign to make sure his “12 million supporters” will be heard. He said moving towards making public colleges and universities tuition-free is at the top of his list.
The Vermont senator also reflected on his campaign”: “You learn so much and you see so much of what goes on in America that is rarely seen on TV. There are beautiful, beautiful people out there who love this country and want to transform this country. That was the most gratifying aspect of this whole thing.” He told Colbert.
Bernie Sanders stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Thursday to update his supporters on the status of his campaign.
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The results of the Brexit referendum shine a light on the importance of the youth vote, and young Americans should learn from as we approach our own crossroads in November.
Seventy-five percent of voters 24 and younger were against the Brexit, and for remaining in the European Union. British voters 49 and younger also favored the Remain option, according to polls conducted before the vote.
A poll taken before election day showed that 34 percent of pensioners backed Remain, and 59 percent backed the Brexit.
Liberal Democratic leader Tim Farron said of Britain’s referendum decision to leave the European Union: “Young people voted to remain by a considerable margin, but were outvoted. They were voting for their future, yet it has been taken from them.”
British youth overwhelmingly took to social media to express feelings of helplessness about facing a future they did not choose. Many were angry that older voters who have enjoyed the benefits of the European Union decided on a different, uncertain path for the future generations.
“This decision was made by an aging population who has spent decades reaping the many benefits of the EU. These people have voted for a future that is not their own,” wrote university student Alana Chen in a Facebook post. “They will not be here to feel the full effects of the devastation they have caused with their votes. It’s us, the student generation that now have to live with something we voted against. Tell me how that’s fair?! Our country is crumbling and we’re completely helpless to stop it. Utterly devastating.”
Political journalist Nicholas Barret wrote in a now-viral reaction to the vote: “The younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.”
Even voters who chose the Leave option have expressed regret after their side won.
“I did not think that was going to happen, I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to remain,” a young man named Adam told the BBC.
Voting preferences showed a strong correlation with age. East coast areas, which have the largest pensioner populations, scored the highest pro-Brexit votes. YouGov poll results in the days before the vote told a clear story:

Age breakdown on Brexit polls tells underlying story. Older generation voted for a future the younger don’t want:
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) June 24, 2016

The Guardian broke down the British youth vote:
Voter ages are not recorded, but in urban areas where the average age was 35 and under, electoral commission data showed overwhelming support for remaining in the EU. This was particularly marked in the London local authorities of Lambeth, Hackney and Harringey, where the average age is between 31 and 33, and which all voted over 75% in favour of remaining in the EU.
Oxford and Cambridge, the councils with the highest percentage of 18- to 25-year-olds, were also remain strongholds, as was Tower Hamlets, which has the highest percentage of 21- to 30-year-olds. According to YouGov polling before the referendum result, 64% of under-25s said they wanted the UK to remain. With a life expectancy for that generation of 90, younger voters have approximately eight more decades to live compared with the voters who most favoured leaving, the over 65s.
For all their agreement on the right direction for Britain, youth turnout to vote was, perhaps predictably, low. In the largest turnout election in decades in Britain, the number of attainers, or newly eligible voters, fell by 40 percent.
The vote was also held over the summer, when many young people are in summer vacation from college.
According to a Times poll taken at Glastonbury music festival, 22 percent of the young attendee did not vote, with 65 percent of those saying they wanted to vote to Remain but did not register in time. They would have added about 15,000 votes to the Remain side.
Michael Sani, a member of the youth voting group Bite the Ballot, said that young voter turnout was negatively affected by the direction of both campaigns, which ignored youth engagement because of the historically low turnout of young voters.
“If no one inspires you, that is how you end up being marginalized, divided and fearing,” Sani told The Guardian. “This generation are so passionate, they care so much about issues, but they are just not empowered to use the means of communication to get through to make real change. Both campaigns have been a disaster in terms of meaningful engagement on such complex issues.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, who has announced his resignation after the Brexit, missed his chance to appeal to young voters. The Cameron-lead government rejected requests from Labour, Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish National Party to allow 16- and 17-year olds to vote in the referendum.
As America faces its own vote in November — even by presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump, who backed the Leave option — young people can have a voice in what is sure to be a decisive moment in American history.
They will either follow the historically low young voter turnout trend that contributed to Britain’s exit from the EU, and has been a consistent factor in American politics, or they could learn from this seismic moment in British history and break the pattern.
Photo: A vote remain supporter walks past a vote leave supporter outside Downing Street after Britain voted to leave the European Union. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
"Young people voted to remain by a considerable margin, but were outvoted. They were voting for their future, yet it has been taken from them."
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“Enough is enough.”
That was the message of an intensely emotional speech by Rep. Debbie Dingell during the #NoBillNoBreak sit-in for gun control legislation, as she invoked her childhood with an abusive, gun-owning father.
“I know what it’s like to see a gun pointed at you, and wonder if you are going to live,” she said. “I know what it’s like to hide in a closet and pray to God, ‘Do not let anything happen to me.’”
Together with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Dingell has proposed legislation on gun control and domestic abuse that would keep guns away from perpetrators of domestic violence — a factor that is not currently considered in background checks for weapons ownership.
“We don’t talk about it, we don’t want to say that it happens in all kinds of households, and we still live in a society where we will let a convicted felon who was stalking somebody, of domestic abuse, still own a gun,” she said, followed by several dozen seconds of applause.
Dingell acknowledged that while implementing a “No Fly, No Buy” policy could lead to racial profiling, Republicans had failed to even engage in discussion surrounding that legislation.
“How can you protect someone’s civil liberties if you won’t come to the table to have a discussion?” she demanded. “The point of this discussion is that we’ve got to stop going to our corners… We’ve got to come and figure out how we’re going to make this nation safer.”
During her speech, Dingell also spoke about the tensions between herself and her husband, former Rep. John Dingell, a gun owner who represented her Michigan district for several decades before she took over the seat.
“Can’t it come to the table?” she asked.”Can’t we have a discussion? Can’t we say, ‘enough is enough’?”

Photo via Rep. Debbie Dingell / Twitter
Rep. Debbie Dingell delivered an emotional soeech during the #NoBillNoBreak sit-in, as she invoked her childhood with an abusive, gun-owning father.
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A Thursday morning press release from Donald Trump’s campaign announced that he would be writing off the loans he has financed his campaign with for months. But the press release had an interesting little Trumpian quirk:

Within a single statement, Trump claims to be donating himself “more than $50 million,” “nearly $50 million,” and “in excess of $50 million.”
The actual answer? At last count (through the end of May) Trump had loaned his campaign $45,703,185. And though the press release says he now considers these loans donations, Trump has a history of claiming to have donated to charity cases without actually doing so.
A Reuters report on the loan write-off quotes Gaylord Hughey, a Texas-based fundraiser supporting Trump, who called the move “unprecedented.” 
Actually, it’s extremely precedented. Rich people have been donating money to their campaigns since campaigns existed: Think of the Kennedys, or Ross Perot, or Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 Republican primary loaned (and later, donated) his campaign $44.6 million, nearly the same as Trump’s donation.
A small note: Even after writing off these loans, assuming he does, Trump hasn’t fully self-funded his primary campaign — he’s sold millions of dollars in merchandise and has accepted millions more in loans small and very, very large. He has tacitly accepted the help of super PACs and, after becoming the Republican nominee, has behaved the same as any other politician: He goes on fundraising tours, speaks at $25,000-a-plate dinners, wears funny cowboy hats, sends desperate emails, and changes his views on policy ideas — like defaulting on the national debt, an absolutely insane concept — that upset wealthy donors.
So no, Donald Trump never self-funded his campaign, and he still is not self-funding his campaign. Still, if in fact he does forgive $50 million $47 million in loans to himself, he deserves a great deal of credit.
Even for a “billionaire,” that’s a lot of money to throw away at a doomed campaign.
Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
More than $50 million? Less? Don't worry about the details...
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Today’s Supreme Court 4-4 deadlock decision on President Obama’s immigration executive order further proves that, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg previously said, eight “is not a good number.”
The case was centered around the undocumented parents of legal U.S. citizens and residents that would have been shielded by one of Obama’s executive decisions on immigration – the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents executive order, or DAPA
The high court’s non-decision in United States v. Texas holds a lower court’s decision against DAPA, leaving as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants unprotected from deportation and unable to be legally employed in the U.S. DAPA allowed for the parents of American citizens, who had lived in the country for at least five years and had not committed felonies or repeated misdemeanors, to apply for work permits.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled 2-1 that the president’s order was more than an executive decision not to enforce existing law. Rather, they said, it created new authority where the president had none. The Supreme Court, in tying their vote, left the decision with the lower court.
Essentially, there has been no change in the law; these undocumented immigrants will remain in limbo. President Obama said in a press conference after the decision was announced that this administration would continue not to enforce immigration law on “low-priority” undocumented Americans.
Soon after President Obama announced the plan in 2014, 26 states, lead by Texas, argued in court that it violated the limits of Obama’s executive power and surpassed procedures for rule changes. The program was shut down by a federal judge in 2015 pending the case’s resolution. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans later upheld the action.
“For more than two decades now our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken,” Obama said shortly after the court’s announcement. “And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”
Since the Obama presidency will soon be over, it is unlikely the program will legally materialize before then. The future of millions of undocumented immigrants is in the hands of the next president, and despite Donald Trump’s alarming candidacy, Senate Republicans are set on keeping Antonin Scalia’s now-vacant seat empty by refusing to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination and fill Antonin Scalia’s vacant seat.
Senate Republicans lead by Mitch McConnell vowed to refuse to vote on a new justice the very same day Justice Scalia died. The Supreme Court has been stuck on the sidelines, often choosing to return cases to lower courts, punting important decisions until Scalia’s seat is filled.
in April, Justice Elena Kagan said the court is now  “especially concerned” about achieving consensus. “All of us are working hard to reach agreement.”
Justice Scalia kept the court leaning right, and his seat’s vacancy has given more power to the left.
Back in May, the New York Times gave examples of this:

Four days before he died, the court blocked the Obama administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s conservatives in the majority.
Just three weeks later, in a significant victory for the Obama administration, Chief Justice Roberts refused to block a different regulation limiting emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
And last Thursday, a deadlocked court refused to vacate a stay of execution of an Alabama man, Vernon Madison, with the court’s four conservatives saying they would have let the execution proceed. Had Justice Scalia lived, Mr. Madison would almost certainly have died.

Garland, a known moderate, could very well have been the 5th vote against Obama’s executive order. In turn, Hillary Clinton, who is leading Trump in general election polls, could choose a more Liberal Justice than Garland, a well-known moderate and perhaps the best option Republicans could have gotten from Obama. What excuse could the senate have, then, to not give the nominee a vote?
The presumptive Democratic nominee weighed in on the court’s non-ruling: “Today’s heartbreaking ‪#SCOTUS immigration ruling could tear apart 5 million families facing deportation. We must do better.”
Photo: Standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (C) calls for Senate Republicans to move forward with hearings for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in Washington March 17, 2016.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Today the Supreme Court ruled 4-4 on President Obama's deferred action executive order, leaving nearly 5 million immigrants uncertain about their future.
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After failing to win the Republican nomination for president, Marco Rubio is now going back on his promise to not run for reelection to the Senate.
“Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize,” said Democratic congressman Patrick Murphy, who is running to replace Rubio.
What’s worse, Rubio is using Donald Trump’s “worrisome” candidacy, which he has supported in various forms in recent months, as an excuse for his change of heart, citing concern over Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic remarks, as well as his still unknown views on other important issues.
“As we begin the next chapter in the history of our nation, there’s another role for the Senate that could end up being its most important in the years to come: The Constitutional power to act as a check and balance on the excesses of a president,” he said in a statement Wednesday announcing his bid to keep his seat.
“If he is elected, we will need Senators willing to encourage him in the right direction, and if necessary, stand up to him,”
That’s right. Rubio spent months after dropping out of the presidential election failing to rebuke Trump in any forceful way, but now plans to make Trump a central part of his campaign platform.
Although Rubio did not mention the Orlando tragedy in the statement, he previously cited it as a reason for reconsidering his decision to not run. It’s unclear what actions Rubio will pursue to prevent further massacres once in the Senate — on Monday, he voted against four gun control bills, two each from Republican and Democratic sponsors.
Rubio also happens to have one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, something Trump pointed out frequently during the Republican primaries, before Rubio dropped out and Trump encouraged him to seek reelection.
Rubio had previously pledged to support his friend, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez Cantera, in the race to replace him. Cantera scratched plans to run for Rubio’s seat after Rubio’s announcement on Wednesday.
Congressmen Ron DeSantis and David Jolly also dropped plans to reach the Senate and opened the way for Rubio.
Marco Rubio parts the curtains to view the crowd before being introduced during a campaign event in Reno, Nevada February 22, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane
After failing to win the Republican nomination for president, Marco Rubio is now going back on his promise to not run for reelection in the Senate.
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The National Memo is an American news site and newsletter. Founded in 2011 by award-winning journalist and editor Joe Conason, The National Memo features daily breaking news and commentary as well as analysis from Americas top progressive thinkers. With a focus on american politics, The National Memo also covers world news and events, consumer finance, health, travel and entertainment.

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