President Trump’s successful operation to take out Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sent Democrats scrambling on Sunday, as several top party leaders who had charged that the White House had no “real plan” to combat the terror group following the U.S. pullout in Syria were proven wrong. In a dramatic sign of how Democrats’ messaging apparently backfired, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” ran an ill-timed sketch suggesting that Trump had created “jobs” for ISIS — just hours before the president held a news conference announcing al-Baghdadi’s demise. The sketch aired around the time the two-hour late-night raid in northwest Syria was underway.
Through the day on Sunday, the Democrats — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob Menendez and former Vice President Joe Biden — seemingly settled on a new strategy. They praised the troops who executed the historic raid, while pointedly avoiding complimenting the president in any way. It was a stark contrast to the way they specifically praised President Obama after he announced Usama bin Laden’s death in May 2011.
Congressional Democrats also lamented that they were not informed in advance of the operation, while the Russian military was told so that their airspace could be used.
The president suggested Sunday that Democrats in Congress, who have been conducting an impeachment inquiry against him that has been fraught with leaked information to the media, were not notified before the raid because of concerns they might compromise the operation with leaks.
The Washington Post on Sunday published an eyebrow-raising headline that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as an “austere religious scholar.” The obituary, written by The Post’s national security reporter Joby Warrick, detailed al-Baghdadi’s rise to power in ISIS from what the paper described as his origins as a “religious scholar with wireframe glasses.”
The headline was changed a few times. Washington Post Vice President of Communications Kristine Coratti Kelly told Fox News, “Regarding our al-Baghdadi obituary, the headline should never have read that way and we changed it quickly.” Still, Fox News’ Sean Hannity called the initial Post headline “sick and repulsive” and said the newspaper needs to be educated on the “evil SOB’s” true legacy.
Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., announced her resignation Sunday after a string of reports shining a negative light on her personal life, including a reported affair with her legislative director that sparked a House Ethics Committee investigation. Hill tweeted on Sunday evening, “It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country.” She is expected to step down by the end of this week.
The congresswoman last week had fought back against reports of an affair with the congressional staffer, as well as reports she was in a so-called “throuple” relationship with husband Kenny Heslep and a campaign staffer. The scandal escalated last as compromising photos of Hill surfaced.
The massive Kincade Fire in California’s famed Wine Country burned at least 84 square miles and forced the evacuations of about 180,000 as firefighters reported a drop in containment from 10 percent to 5 percent by Sunday night. The entire towns of Healdsburg and Windsor in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, were under mandatory evacuation as the evacuation zone stretched from Healdsburg west through the Russian River Valley to Bodega Bay, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide emergency.
The partisan Washington Nationals crowd was not pleased when President Trump was shown on the ballpark’s video screen during Game 5 of the World Series between the hometown Nationals and visiting Houston Astros, as fans greeted him with a crescendo of boos in the third inning of the ballgame. In addition, fans mockingly yelled “lock him up,” a chant Trump supporters began in 2016 against his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Astros beat the Nationals 7-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Game 6 will be played on Tuesday night.