President Donald Trump host Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the White House.Carlos Barria / Reuters

What We’re Following Today

It’s Monday, May 13.

‣ China’s government raised tariffs on nearly $60 billion worth of American goods in retaliation for Donald Trump’s decision to hike tariffs on Chinese exports last week.

‣ Trump addressed rising tensions with Iran and warned that if the country targets U.S. interests, it will “suffer greatly.”

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Orban of Hungary

(Sean Gallup / Getty / The Atlantic)

U.S.-Hungary: President Donald Trump praised Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, during the leader’s visit to the White House, calling Orbán “a respected man” who’s “done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration.”

How did Orbán go from a prominent anti-Soviet activist at Oxford on a George Soros–funded scholarship to a hyper-nationalist prime minister who systematically cracks down on academic freedom and stirs anti-immigrant sentiment? The philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy tried to answer the question, writing about his recent conversation with Orbán himself.

+ Read Franklin Foer on Orbán’s fight to control universities: “Like Pol Pot or Josef Stalin, Orbán dreams of liquidating the intelligentsia, draining the public of education, and molding a more pliant nation.”

Anti-anti-anti-protestors: Pennsylvania state House Democrat Brian Sims faced criticism last week for posting a video of himself confronting an anti-abortion protestor outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Many health-care centers actually discourage such counter-protests, which “they see as counterproductive to patient safety,” reports Elaine Godfrey.

Another One?: Montana Governor Steve Bullock thinks there’s still room for him in the 2020 field. Most people haven’t of him, and he isn’t likely to meet the donation threshold for the first debate next month. But he’s hoping to lean into a distinction no one else can: Bullock would be the rare Democratic presidential candidate who’s won an election in a Trump state.

— Elaine Godfrey and Madeleine Carlisle


An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry

An oral history of Donald Trump's bigotry

(Katie Martin / The Atlantic)

Donald Trump’s name first appeared in The New York Times in a 1973 story about accusations of bigotry against him. He’s stuck with that winning formula ever since.

Read this oral history of Trump’s racism and intolerance from the June issue of The Atlantic:

Barbara Res, a construction manager in the early 1980s, recalled:

“We met with the architect to go over the elevator-cab interiors at Trump Tower, and there were little dots next to the numbers. Trump asked what the dots were, and the architect said, “It’s braille.” Trump was upset by that. He said, “Get rid of it.” The architect said, “I’m sorry; it’s the law.” This was before the Americans With Disabilities Act, but New York City had a law. Trump’s exact words were: “No blind people are going to live in this building.”

→ Read the rest


Snapshot

(Brian Snyder / Reuters)

“IAAF Firefighters for Biden” listen as former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Hampton, New Hampshire.


Ideas From The Atlantic

How to Really Honor the Troops (Andrew Exum)
“Portions of the public believe our men and women in uniform are unnecessarily held to unfair standards and laws, and so when a war crime is committed, it is not the fault of the officer or enlisted serviceman who committed the crime but rather the laws themselves. But here’s what happens when the public believes such things.” → Read on.

I’m the Longest-Serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature, and I’m Switching Parties (Andy McKean)
“I might have limped along—attempting to work within my caucus for what I felt was best for the people I represent—if it hadn’t been for another factor. With the 2020 presidential election looming on the horizon, I felt, as a Republican, that I needed to be able to support the standard-bearer of the party. Unfortunately, that is something I’m unable to do.” → Read on.

Trump Is Angry That the FBI Won’t Endorse His Theory of Victimhood (David Frum)
“So long as the FBI retains its integrity, Trump feels unsafe. He cannot close the case, because he keeps hearing scratching sounds from inside. He cannot move on, because he keeps looking back in fear. His next move? He’s already telegraphing it: another attack on the independence of law enforcement.” → Read on.

Our Towns: How to Teach Students to Think (Deborah Fallows)
“Many of the people we met at community colleges around the country, from California to Oregon to Mississippi, would talk to us about their students getting a second chance at their lives. In Mississippi, these young students were getting a first chance.” → Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

Lobbyists Working to Undermine Medicare for All Host Congressional Staff at Luxury Resort (Lee Fang, The Intercept)
What Do Native Americans Want From a President? (David Montgomery, The Washington Post Magazine) (🔒 Paywall)
Why Joe Biden Should Not Apologize for His Opposition to Busing (Howard Husock, National Review)
Is There a Connection Between Undocumented Immigrants and Crime? (Anna Flagg, The New York Times) (🔒 Paywall)


About us: This newsletter is a daily effort from The Atlantic’s politics writers: Elaine Godfrey, Madeleine Carlisle, and Olivia Paschal. It’s edited by Shan Wang.

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