The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: An American in Normandy

President Donald Trump commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Plus: What lessons should Democrats draw from the Clinton impeachment?

Ian Langsdon / Pool via AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Thursday, June 6.

(Carlos Barria / Reuters)

75 Years Ago Today: President Donald Trump visited Normandy, France, and delivered a speech commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Standing in front of other world leaders, he spoke about the courage of soldiers and the importance of the Allied partnership; even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted to Peter Nicholas that it was “lovely.”

“Trouble is,” writes Nicholas, “when Trump talks about history, the incongruities with his own personal story become only more jarring.” Trump dodged the Vietnam draft, repeatedly mocked the former prisoner of war John McCain, and has threatened to leave NATO allies to “go it alone.” It’s unclear how much of his speech Trump meant, and how much was just “words on a page.”

Rachel Donadio visited Omaha Beach earlier this week. “I had been told nothing quite prepares you for this place, and it was true,” she writes. “Cemeteries bring back ghosts. But the sadness, or grief, was also world-historical.” She felt stuck by the fragility of the postwar world order, and reflected that “it may even be over.”

How to Interpret the Iran Threat: In recent weeks, the relationship between the United States and Iran has become even rockier—and it’s less and less clear what counts as an immediate threat. Mike Giglio spoke with people who have experience dealing with Iran in different contexts—in an intelligence agency, in Congress, and in diplomatic circles. They all agreed on one thing, he writes: “a retaliatory U.S. military strike is possible.”

Lessons From the Clinton Impeachment: The conventional wisdom among Democrats hesitant about impeaching Trump is that when Republicans impeached Bill Clinton, in 1998, it hurt them politically. But that’s not the whole story, Ronald Brownstein writes. “In 2000, lingering unease about Clinton’s behavior provided a crucial backdrop for George W. Bush’s winning presidential campaign.”


Floodwaters from a swollen Mississippi River take over the Gateway Arch grounds and nearly submerge a statue of Lewis and Clark on June 6, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri. Residents along the Mississippi River are bracing for the expected arrival of the crest at near-record levels on Friday. (Michael B. Thomas / Getty)

Ideas From The Atlantic

The Ghosts of D-Day (David Frum)
“When Americans choose to remember this sad history, they do so from the privilege of an easier geography. As time has separated us from the Second World War, U.S. memories have become more triumphalist and self-aggrandizing. It is a remarkable thing to watch President Donald Trump’s preening and posing in the U.K. and France on this anniversary.” → Read on.

Auschwitz Is Not a Metaphor (Dara Horn)
“Some other people might go to Holocaust museums to feel sad, and then to feel proud of themselves for feeling sad. They will have learned something important, discovered a fancy metaphor for the limits of Western civilization. The problem is that for us, dead Jews aren’t a metaphor, but rather actual people we do not want our children to become.” → Read on.

Beto’s Term-Limits Plan Is Just What Democrats Need (David A. Graham)
“For decades, the [Democratic] party has tended to pledge to make the existing system work better, while Republicans have promised voters that they’ll radically change the system. Perhaps not coincidentally, that period has coincided with a right-wing ascendancy inside American politics.” → Read on.

What Else We’re Reading

Inspired by AOC, a Young Progressive Woman Is Trying to Take Down the Second Most Powerful Democrat in the House (Addy Baird, BuzzFeed News)
A Wealthy Iraqi Sheikh Who Urges a Hard-Line U.S. Approach to Iran Spent 26 Nights at Trump’s D.C. Hotel (Joshua Partlow, David A. Fahrenthold, and Taylor Luck, The Washington Post) (🔒 Paywall)
Are These Teenagers Really Running a Presidential Campaign? Yes. (Maybe.) (Jamie Lauren Keiles, The New York Times Magazine) (🔒 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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