Donald Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second time.
Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a far-right member of the Norwegian parliament, has revealed that he has nominated the US president for the key role he has played in the recent agreement to normalise relationships between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Tybring-Gjedde himself has leaked the news that he has nominated Trump, telling Fox News, “For his merit, I think he has done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees.”
The bar for being nominated, however, is very low. In 2020, there were 318 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The statutes of the Nobel Foundation state that nominations will be accepted from “Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of states”, which means essentially any politician in the world can nominate any other politician.
Tybring-Gjedde says in his nomination letter that “As it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity.”
As yet, there has been no sign of this happening, with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to the region yielding no further developments.
Trump’s previous nomination was in 2018, and ended in mystery when the two nominations for him appeared to have been faked, and they were subsequently withdrawn by the committee.
A group of Republicans from the House of Representatives sent an open letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee in 2018 urging them to award the prize to Trump.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to president Barack Obama in 2009 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people”. He donated $1.4 million of the award to charity. In 2013 Trump called for Obama’s award to be rescinded.
Other previous US administration recipients of the prize have included president Woodrow Wilson in 1920, for his efforts in ending the First World War and help in creating the League of Nations. Jimmy Carter received the award in 2002, and former vice president Al Gore was honoured in 2007, for his efforts to obtain and spread knowledge about climate change.
Donald Trump is yet to react to the news.
Jean Guerrero has written for us this morning. She’s the author of “Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda”. Miller is a Trump senior advisor and speechwriter, and Guerrero has traced how his own rhetoric echoes the rise of white supremacist theories in his home state.
One of the main recruiting tactics of white supremacists was popularized for the first time in the United States in Miller’s home state of California during the nineties. It’s the white genocide theory. Formerly articulated in terms of threats to the white race, the conspiracy theory is now frequently packaged in terms of threats to Western heritage – to make it more palatable to average Americans who might be turned off by overt racism.
Back to the national election campaign for a moment, there’s a write-up this morning from Morgan Chalfant and Jonathan Easley over at The Hill about what the two candidate’s campaigning plans over the next few days tell us.
The Trump campaign has planned 18 appearances in 11 states over the next six days for the president, Vice President Pence and members of the Trump family. The president is pressing forward with an aggressive travel schedule for official and campaign appearances after visiting Florida and North Carolina on Tuesday.
The trips underscore the sense of urgency felt by both campaigns. Biden maintains a lead over Trump in national polling, but surveys in some swing states show the race narrowing, presenting an opportunity for the incumbent president even as he faces steep disapproval for his handling of the coronavirus. The events also bring the battlegrounds map into sharp relief, giving an indication of the states the campaigns believe will be most important for their path to 270 electoral votes.
Trump visits North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Biden will visit Pennsylvania and plans stops in Arizona and Minnesota too.
Some primary results to report. In New Hampshire, Republican Governor Chris Sununu easily defeated two long shots on the Republican ballot.
He faced longtime conservative activist Karen Testerman, of Franklin, and Nobody, a Keene man who had officially changed his name from Rich Paul.
Nobody previously ran for the mayoralty of Keene last year, on a platform of low taxes and legalising marijuana, with the slogans ‘Nobody tells the truth, Nobody can fix the economy,’ and ‘Nobody cares about the poor.’
In a statement, the victorious Sununu said he was humbled and grateful for his win Tuesday night: “We put a great team together for our state and provided the leadership necessary to guide New Hampshire through these unprecedented times.”
The son of a former governor, Trump-supporting Sununu was the youngest governor in the country when he took office in 2017 at age 42.
Meanwhile Bryant “Corky” Messner won the Republican primary for Senate on Tuesday, setting up a bid to deny Sen. Jeanne Shaheen a third term.
“We’re not going to celebrate, we’re going to unify,” he told supporters at a gathering organized by the Trump campaign, according to the Associated Press. “I’m not celebrating anything, I’m going to work, because we have a big mission ahead of us.”
The 63-year-old Army veteran and attorney was endorsed by Trump, and cast himself as a political outsider, saying he gained leadership experience in the military and private sector. He was also a bit of an outsider to the state. After owning a vacation home in Wolfeboro, Messner only made it his permanent residence about two years ago.
“They better not underestimate me,” Messner said. “We are coming for Jeanne Shaheen.”
Shaheen, 73, is the first woman in US history to serve as both governor and a senator.
“When it comes to making a difference for New Hampshire, she gets the job done, and her record stands in sharp contrast to Corky Messner, a Colorado transplant who moved here to try to buy himself a Senate seat, and is promising policies that will hurt Granite Staters,” said her campaign manager, Harrell Kirstein.
Having to replace the White House lawn is pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things – although potentially violating the Hatch Act is not, and that’s just been one of the unusual things about the current election campaign. Ed Pilkington has done a big number for us today on the dangers imperilling American democracy.
With 55 days to go before election day, the sense is building that this cycle has veered way beyond the normal imperfections and incompetency of US elections. Deep cracks are being prised open in the core institutions and structures of democracy itself that beg the question: is the edifice revered for more than 200 years quite as solid and robust as assumed?
The Guardian spoke to the principals of five major US organizations that are at the heart of the movement to protect and improve US democracy and civil rights. Though each came from distinct starting points – from racial justice to electoral reform and the fight against economic inequality – they have all arrived at the same disturbing end point: profound anxiety about the state of the nation.
“Our democracy is deeply imperiled,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, the go-to authority on all things electoral. “We have relied on democratic norms and expectations for years that now turn out to be very weak in the face of somebody with an authoritarian bent.”
It is a cracking, and disturbing, read: ‘Our democracy is deeply imperiled’: how democratic norms are under threat ahead of the US election
You can also listen to Ed discuss the issue in our podcast: Is democracy in America under threat?
So we knew yesterday that there was remedial work being done in the White House gardens. It looks like there’s a little bit more to it than just some drainage problems.
The Washington Post is reporting this morning that the RNC events staged there in violation of political norms damaged the lawns at the White House, and that the Trump campaign is having to pay to have them re-laid.
Trump’s unprecedented decision to stage overtly political events on public property — which drew complaints that the Trumps were using “the people’s house” for personal gain — continues to reverberate nearly two weeks later, as work crews re-sod the lawn and make other repairs.
On 27 August, Trump delivered his address formally accepting the Republican nomination on the South Lawn before an estimated 1,500 supporters seated on chairs. The president spoke from an enormous stage built in front of the South Portico of the White House. It was flanked by massive television screens and illuminated by scores of hulking spotlights — all particularly heavy equipment to position on grass.
A Trump campaign official confirmed to the Washington Post that the sod replacement was being paid for with campaign funds.
Here’s a bit more on the latest coronavirus news, as Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds has doubled-down on not imposing restrictions as numbers soar in the state.
Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, is refusing to enforce a White House coronavirus taskforce recommendation to close bars and require people to wear masks after Covid-19 infections in some of the state’s cities surged.
Meanwhile, coronavirus cases have risen sharply across the whole midwest in recent weeks putting the region at the forefront of America’s pandemic. The region accounted for six of the eight states with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases by early September even as infections fell in other parts of the US previously among the worst hit.
North Dakota has the largest number of positive cases per capita in the country over the past 14 days. Iowa and South Dakota are enduring the highest percentage increases. Missouri has seen more than 1,300 new cases a day on average over the past week.
You can read more here: Iowa refuses to close bars and require masks as Covid-19 cases surge in cities
Here’s an update on the California wildfires from the Associated Press. They report that they continue to rage unchecked, and authorities are warning that gusty winds could drive flames into a new ferocity – Diablo winds in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south were forecast.
In Southern California, fires burned in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. The hot, dry winds forecast could reach 50 mph at times. People in a half-dozen foothill communities east of Los Angeles were being told to stay alert because of a fire in the Angeles National Forest.
“The combination of gusty winds, very dry air, and dry vegetation will create critical fire danger,” the National Weather Service warned.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the City of Monrovia is braced to evacuate. “We have been told to plan for the fire to get worse and we are asking all residents to be prepared and ready if an evacuation order is issued,” the city said in a statement.
The fires have a long-term effect as well. Dani Anguiano has written for us today about the impact of 2018’s Camp fire on the town of Paradise and its surroundings in Butte county, California.
Tens of thousands of its former residents have not returned. Some have rebuilt elsewhere, often after sojourns in hotels, parents’ guest bedrooms or on friends’ couches. Others are still struggling to find a place to call home. Affordability, trauma and concerns about the future of Paradise and the other Ridge communities have shaped decisions about where to go. Some have resettled nearby, hoping to stay close to their hometowns and families. Others have left the state, in search of a new inexpensive place to rebuild. All too often, those with the least resources have faced the greatest challenges.
Lloyd Green has reviewed Michael Cohen’s book for us – reaction to the publication of Disloyal is dominating the airwaves. Green says it’s easy to distrust Cohen and the book should be taken with more than a grain of salt. But he also describes it as “a readable and bile-filled take on Trump and his minions”.
He also picks up this supposed insight about the president’s attitude to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Cohen records that on numerous occasions Trump told him the Russian president was “the richest man in the world by a multiple”. Trump is quoted explaining: “If you think about it, Putin controls 25% of the Russian economy … imagine controlling 25% of the wealth of a country. Wouldn’t that be fucking amazing.”
Consistent with that take, Trump muses that a Russian oligarch who bought property from him was actually doing Putin’s bidding. “The oligarchs are just fronts for Putin,” Trump purportedly said. “That’s all they are doing – investing Putin’s money.”
Cohen’s book also alleges that Donald Trump is highly critical of the inner circle of his own family. According to Cohen, Trump would repeatedly tell him Don Jr possessed the “worst fucking judgment” of anyone he had ever met.
Green’s review is here: Disloyal review: Michael Cohen’s mob hit on Trump entertains – but will it shift votes?
We’ve all got views on how reliable polling is, but a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll today is claiming that Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points nationally among likely US voters. They also say it indicates that the number of persuadable voters has shrunk compared with four years ago.
It was conducted online between 3 September and 8 September, so after the national conventions would have had their effect. It found 52% of likely voters planned to support Biden, 40% back Trump, and just 5% said they remained undecided.
Reuters report that it suggests that even if the remaining undecided voters threw their support behind Trump, he would still lose the popular vote to Biden. Not, as we’ve seen before, that this would preclude him from winning the presidency.
When asked what was driving their pick for president, 28% told the pollsters that it was the candidate’s perceived ability to handle the coronavirus, and 23% said it was the ability to restore trust in government. An additional 19% said it was the candidate’s ability to boost the economy, and 14% said they were looking for a candidate who is “tough on crime.”
If you include people who said they were less likely to vote, Biden’s lead reduces to eight percentage points. The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, and has a margin of error of 4%. Make of that what you will.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will visit the battleground state of Michigan today, where he will outline new proposals to tax companies that move US jobs overseas and offer incentives for companies to invest in domestic operations.
Joseph Ax reports for Reuters that in a visit to the Detroit suburb of Warren, Biden will propose an “offshoring tax penalty” on profits from products made overseas and sold in the United States, according to a Biden adviser. Biden, who has already proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, would impose a 30.8% rate on such profits.
Biden’s plan envisions a companion 10% tax credit for companies that reopen closed or closing facilities, bringing back off-shored jobs or expanding manufacturing payroll, among other domestic investments.
While those measures would require congressional approval, Biden is also expected to detail several executive orders he would take as president to ensure the government purchases primarily American-made goods and materials.
The remarks are the latest effort from Biden to emphasize economic issues. In recent months, Biden has unveiled a sweeping economic recovery agenda he calls “Build Back Better”. The plan calls for a multi trillion-dollar investment in manufacturing, infrastructure, environmental advances and caregiving, and he has argued that Donald Trump has focused on corporate welfare and tax cuts for the wealthy instead of aiding working families.
At a campaign rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, Trump accused Biden of supporting the offshoring of American jobs overseas and asserted the economy would suffer if Biden is elected president. The president will not be campaigning today, but is expected to visit battlegrounds Michigan and Pennsylvania later in the week.
Trump carried Michigan by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2016.
Good morning. Here’s our live coverage of the day’s US politics and the latest on the coronavirus crisis. Here’s a quick catch-up on where we stand, and a bit on what we can expect today.
- A packed crowd of hundreds gathered in North Carolina for a Donald Trump campaign rally yesterday, with many people forgoing masks, in defiance of state guidelines capping gatherings at 50 people.
- During the rally, Trump said that Kamala Harris, “could never be the first woman president … That would be an insult to our country,” and once again encouraged voters to commit voter fraud. He also mocked his opponent for following safety guidelines amid an ongoing pandemic.
- There were 462 new coronavirus deaths and 28,549 new Covid-19 cases reported in the US on Tuesday. NBC News has calculated that over the past week, one new Covid-19 death was recorded every 106 seconds in the US.
- Democratic congressional leaders rejected Republicans proposal to pass a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill.
- The police chief of Rochester, New York, resigned amid protests over the death of Daniel Prude.
- House Democrats are launching an investigation of the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy.
- The justice department is seeking to take over Trump’s defense in a defamation lawsuit from a writer who accused him of rape. It could mean taxpayers ultimately footing the bills.
- California wildfires have now burned an area bigger than the state of Delaware. That surpasses the annual state record of 1.96m acres that went up in flames in 2018. Governor Gavin Newsom said the state was facing an “extraordinary” challenge.
- White House Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing at noon. Joe Biden is out campaigning in the battleground state Michigan.
I’m Martin Belam, you can get in touch with me at [email protected]