Trump supporters outside the second Republican presidential primary debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. (Melina Mara via Getty Images)

TGIF: The Book of Revelations

Trump is a person of faith. RFK Jr. is a 9/11 truther. NYC turns MAGA. Elon heads for the border. Plus, I must confess. . . I like Gavin Newsom.

Hello and welcome back. Since last week was so good, so truly perfect, I really can’t try to compete with myself. I ought to retire in the glory of it, but then I’d have to find a hobby or learn how old my daughter is. Anyway, this week, Suzy Weiss and Olly Wiseman contributed greatly. Let’s get to the news. 

→ The race for VP heats up: Fox News hosted the second Republican presidential debate last night, and there in the Reagan Library, all the candidates gathered to run for Vice President, or President If Trump Has a Stroke, or President If One of These Crimes Gets Too Real. And what a race it is. Chris Christie got in a not-at-all-prefab jab about how they’re going to call him Donald Duck for “ducking” the debates. Nikki Haley continued her violence against Vivek Ramaswamy when she told him: “Honestly, every time I hear you, I feel a little bit dumber for what you say.” Truly, I’m obsessed with Nikki Haley. She looked great, no notes. Every time Ron DeSantis got a line out, he gave a strange, nervous half-smile, which is humanizing because I also struggle with anxiety and where to put body parts when on TV. The highlight for me was a TikTok goat milk soap commercial

We’ve got a great episode of Honestly just up capturing the whole spectacle—Michael Moyhihan at the Trump rally in Michigan. Bar and Peter in Simi Valley, where they got peed on by a horse. Don’t ask, just listen here

→ What do we mean exactly by “person of faith”? Trump has had a few very good polls this week, and one deeply perplexing one. The majority of Republican voters see Donald J. Trump as a “person of faith,” according to a poll by HarrisX for the Deseret News. In fact, they see him as more religious than Mitt Romney, who definitely wears the Mormon underwear, and Mike Pence, whose faith is so strong it disallows him from looking female baristas in the eye. Trump. . . more faithful. . . than Mitt Romney and Mike Pence. I don’t even mean this as a pro-Pence take (sick), since for me personally, the one thing I like about Trump is how absolutely godless he is. My walnut-sized brain simply cannot grok the idea of Trump as your top Republican of faith. If Trump’s a man of faith, I am a pastor. My only takeaway is that I am deeply, criminally out of touch with Evangelical America. 

The other very good Trump poll is so alarming that the place that published it quickly disavowed it as “an outlier” while others in the mainstream press tore their garments. The poll (take a breath with me) shows Trump beating Biden by double digits. This was from The Washington Post and ABC, two brands that should not have done the #Resistance moms dirty like this. But honest to god, the poll shows that if Americans had to choose today, 51 percent would pick Trump, while 42 percent would pick Biden. 2016 to 2020 was only the trailer. 

If you’re a nice Democrat who wants to win, you might think: can we pivot? No. This is your life now. Nate Silver this week has a great piece simply headlined: “It’s probably too late not to nominate Biden.” 

→ If you can’t beat him at the ballot box, maybe bankrupt him? If there’s one thing Dems can definitely do, it’s continue to swamp Trump in legal woes until maybe they just exhaust the man. A judge in the New York attorney general’s fraud case declared Old Orange and his top executives and heirs liable for “persistent and repeated fraud” and cancelled his New York business license. The goal is to make him pay $250 million in fines as penalties for bank fraud. As always, I believe all allegations about shady business deals. The Trump steaks were actually old shoes mailed in plastic wrap? I completely believe it. 

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden received $250,000 in cash from Beijing in 2019, and the address listed for the wires was his dad’s house, where he lived at the time. Nothing to see there. It’s called consulting, guys. He has a law degree. 

But speaking of President Biden, there is a whole workflow at the White House built around making sure he doesn’t fall, which Axios reported this week. It includes having Biden avoid the high stairs into Air Force One, do special balance training, and wear more supportive shoes. Good advice for us all. I say release the full routine! 

→ Requiem for Gavin: I almost ended a dinner party the other night by admitting something really appalling, really sick: I have a soft spot for Gavin. I. . . I like him. I like him bantering with Sean Hannity after the debate, taking hits and hitting back. I like him bantering with CNN, also post-debate. He seems relaxed and happy, and most importantly, he seems super alive. Eyes open and bright, feet firmly on the ground. Hair thick and very firm. 

I also like that Gavin doesn’t have hard-and-fast principles. He responds to voters. If enough people get really upset he’ll, like, wander through a homeless encampment and talk to locals on camera and say this is bad. Late last week, Newsom sided with cities that want to be able to legally clear homeless encampments, a case that could go to the Supreme Court. 

And this week, Newsom vetoed a major progressive bill that came to his desk: it would have given a parent advantage in a custody battle if they were in favor of “gender-affirming care.” You see, if enough people get really mad that their children will be taken away if they don’t give them hormone therapy, Gavin will sort of amble over, sigh, sign the veto, and move along. 

He is a politician, just here to please, and I like that about him. Commenters, eat me alive. Today is my true coming out: I like Gavin. 

→ Commander keeps biting: Commander, Biden’s beautiful German shepherd, bit a Secret Service agent. Again. Actually this is the eleventh known bite of a White House employee by Commander. This news is close to my heart—we have a perfect, beautiful shelter dog who yes, occasionally communicates with his teeth. Granted, he’s a ten-pound shih tzu-dachshund mix, so it’s slightly less alarming than a German shepherd. But Mr. President, you and me, we both need to be really honest with ourselves and rehome our dogs to people who don’t host as much. It’s time, sir (I say into the mirror). 

→ New York continues to rage against migrants: New York City residents remain appalled that migrants would dare to come to their town, a town that is full of love, emphasis on the word full. When New Yorkers said sanctuary city, they meant for nepo babies whose dads were cancelled. Buses with migrants are being met by locals with chants of: “You’re not welcome.” 

There are certainly enormous policy problems leading to this crisis, but the individual migrants should be treated with respect and, yes, love. This behavior is just another day in Trump’s America! (Wait, I’m getting word that Biden is our president. And, oh my god, Kamala Harris is or was our border czar? Well, at least New York City is a MAGA stronghold.) 

A lot of it just doesn’t make sense. In El Paso, mothers are using cardboard to protect themselves and their kids from barbed wire as they crawl under the fencing and into America. In other locations, thousands of people just stream in through seemingly open doors. Also, did you know that we denied a green card to the guy who basically invented 5G? He’s from Turkey, and went to MIT, and China got him instead. Make it make sense!

One person trying to figure it out is Elon Musk, who I guess is our president now. Yes, Elon went to Eagle Pass border crossing in aviators and a little scruff of beard like he works for Vice. The plan: to “see what’s really going on.” He’s holding the camera himself, asking local officials to describe what they’re seeing. It’s great TV. 

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