The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Trump Tries to Sink Blankenship

President Trump discouraged West Virginians from voting for former coal executive Don Blankenship in the state’s Republican primary on Tuesday.

Steve Helber / AP

-Written by Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey)

Today in 5 Lines

  • President Trump discouraged West Virginians from voting for former coal executive Don Blankenship in the state’s Republican primary on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s been the target of Blankenship’s attacks, reportedly urged Trump to weigh in on the race in a phone call over the weekend.

  • Trump defended Gina Haspel, his nominee to lead the CIA, on Twitter, arguing that the Democrats don’t support her because she “is too tough on terror.” Haspel is set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

  • The National Rifle Association named Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, an author and commentator also known for his role in the Iran-Contra affair, as its new president.

  • First Lady Melania Trump unveiled her formal platform, which will be focused on issues of well-being, social-media use, and opioid abuse among young people.

  • Trump said he’d announce his decision on whether to keep the U.S. in the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday afternoon.

Today on The Atlantic

  • ‘I’m Not Black, I’m Kanye’: By supporting Donald Trump, rapper Kanye West is championing a certain kind of freedom, writes Ta-Nehisi Coates: “a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant.”

  • The Cure Is Out of Reach: Experts say that bariatric surgery works for people struggling with obesity. The problem is, many states don’t cover the procedure in their state employee, Obamacare, or Medicaid plans. (Olga Khazan)

  • Experience as Liability: Tuesday’s Republican primaries in Indiana and West Virginia will test how toxic incumbency still is for the GOP, which has consistently rewarded political outsiders over establishment types. (Russell Berman)

  • DIY Tradition: In an age of increasing religious disaffiliation, a new design lab is inventing rituals to help secular people solve their problems. (Sigal Samuel)


First Lady Melania Trump arrives at the Rose Garden for an event where she formally launched her multi-pronged effort to promote the well-being of children. Susan Walsh / AP

What We’re Reading

The Storm Is Too Loud: Democratic leaders want to talk about President Trump’s unpopular policies. Unfortunately for them, the Stormy Daniels scandal keeps getting in the way. (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

Where Cool Meets Government: It seems that Washington, D.C., has finally become a trendy city, akin to Los Angeles or New York. That’s not great news for Americans. (David Fontana, The Washington Post)

Make ‘Temporary Status’ Temporary Again: On Friday, the Trump administration rescinded Temporary Protected Status for thousands of Hondurans. The move is long overdue, argues Mark Krikorian. (National Review)

A Different Op-Ed Strategy: Conservative intellectuals are irrelevant and unnecessary in the Trump era, writes Eric Levitz, because they don’t actually speak for a significant constituency. (New York)

On the Other Hand: Noah Rothman argues that an opinion desk doesn’t have to represent the distribution of political power: “Engaging with provocative ideas stated provocatively is what attracts both talented writers and thoughtful readers to opinion journalism.” (Commentary)


An Unfolding Disaster: Take a look at some of the recent volcanic eruptions on Hawaii’s Big Island that have prompted the evacuation of thousands of people. (Alan Taylor, The Atlantic)