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The Week in Washington: “Love Me or Hate Me, You Have to Vote For Me!”

Lynn Yaeger

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!” President Trump tweeted on Thursday, setting into motion a chain of events—Israel indeed banning the congresswomen, then reversing itself in the case of Tlaib, offering her a humanitarian visit to her grandmother in the West Bank if she promised not to “promote” the boycott movement, followed by Tlaib saying thanks but no thanks, and issuing a statement that read in part, “…I have therefore decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me—it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

So egregious was the whole affair that everyone from Nancy Pelosi to Marco Rubio, Susan Collins to Chuck Schumer decried Israel’s decision, and even AIPAC, the American pro-Israel lobby usually slavishly devoted to the Republican Party, broke with Trump, stating, “We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

If the president is ramping up the invective, it may be because he is feeling skittish about his reelection prospects, what with the volatile stock market, his failure to build the wall (let alone have Mexico pay for it), and poll numbers—even from FOX—that show Biden, Sanders, Warren, and Harris beating him. On Thursday, the day after the market lost 800 points, he even acknowledged that it’s just possible some people don’t like him. At a rally in New Hampshire, he shouted, “You have no choice but to vote for me.… Whether you love me or hate me, you have got to vote for me!” At that same event, the president showed serious signs of frayed nerves, or something worse, fat-shaming an attendee by announcing from the podium: “That guy’s got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here please.” He had apparently mistaken this allegedly corpulent fellow for a protester, but it turned out the man was actually a Trump supporter.

In other news, on Tuesday, Trump weighed in, sort of, on the crisis in Hong Kong, offering the kind of analysis that would earn an F—okay, maybe a D—on a high school paper: “It’s a very tricky situation,” he explained to reporters staked out at his golf resort in Bedminster. “I think it will work out, and I hope it works out, for liberty. I hope it works out for everybody, including China.” And here is something that should be hilarious, but isn’t really. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump has it in his head that he might want to buy Greenland. Sources swear the president has instructed White House lawyers to look into this.

Lastly, we bring you the sad news that the Statue of Liberty is weeping. On Tuesday, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, offered a revised version of the poem by Emma Lazarus that has ennobled the statue since 1903, and that famously reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” According to Cuccinelli, what the poet really meant was, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.” After a predictable outcry, the acting director tried to clean this up, but in true Trumpian fashion, he only made it worse. That evening, he offered a white supremacist interpretation of the verse, insisting that Lazarus was referring to “people coming from Europe.”

Originally Appeared on Vogue