Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Former Harvard law professor and frequent Trump-defending television pundit Alan Dershowitz wrote last week that “McCarthyism [has] come to Martha’s Vineyard,” in an op-ed lamenting the cold shoulders he’s received at the high-end seasonal destination.

Word of the article got out Monday, it appears, and the internet expressed a wave of faux sympathy for Dershowitz.

“Either you are for Trump or against him, and that is all some people need to know to make judgments about you,” Dershowitz wrote. “I know this because I have experienced this firsthand on Martha’s Vineyard.”

Referring to “old friends” who oppose Trump, he added later: “[T]hey are shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life on Martha’s Vineyard.”

“I will not change my views as a result of these attempts to ostracize me, but there are some who may remain silent for fear of being shunned. Silence is not my style,” the op-ed concludes. “Cowardice is not my philosophy. I intend to speak up when I disagree with Republicans, and I intend to speak up when I disagree with Democrats. Right now I am speaking up in disagreement with Maxine Waters. She — like those who shun me on Martha’s Vineyard — is part of the problem rather than the solution.”

Twitter users responded with predictable glee:

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say Monday whether President Donald Trump would select a nominee to fill Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

“As the President said last week, he’s not going to talk to judges about specific cases,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing, asked if the President was “still committed to appointing pro-life judges.”

“He’s looking for individuals that have the right intellect, the right temperament and that will uphold the constitution,” she said.

Sanders added, asked whether Trump believed Roe to be “settled law:” “The President is not going to get into asking the candidates about specific cases, but he’s looking for somebody that meets those qualifications that I just outlined.”

However, Trump said during the presidential campaign that he would nominate judges who would overturn Roe, and he said in an interview aired Sunday with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro that he is “putting conservative people on” the Supreme Court, and that the question of abortion rights “could very well end up with states at some point.”

Sanders stonewalled again later: “Would the President like to see Roe v. Wade overturned?” MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson asked.

“Once again,” Sanders began, “I’m not going to get into any specifics that we would be looking at—”

Jackson clarified that she wasn’t asking about Trump’s nominee selection process, but rather his own personal beliefs.

“Again, as this is ongoing, I’m not going to weigh into anything specific at this point,” Sanders said. 

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Fewer than half of Americans are “extremely proud” to be American, Gallup reported Monday, a record low since the polling firm started asking that question in 2001.

Forty-seven percent of Americans responded “extremely proud” when asked “How proud are you to be an American — extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud, or not at all proud?”

It was the first time that “extremely proud” Americans don’t constitute a majority in the poll. In 2003, 70 percent said they were extremely proud to be Americans.

Thirty-two percent of Democrats say they are “extremely proud” of their nationality, compared to 74 percent of Republicans. Forty-four percent of women do, a marked drop from 51 percent in 2017. Thirty-three percent of nonwhite people are extremely proud to be American, compared to 44 percent in 2017. White people are 1 percent less extremely proud to be an American since last year, at 54 percent.

Similar drops in intense national pride registered for respondents aged 18 to 29 and 30 to 49. Even respondents aged 65 and above felt less proud, polling at 58 percent in 2018, a 2-point drop from the previous year, though 55 percent that group were “extremely proud” to be American in 2016. The number dropped for college graduates and non-college graduates as well since 2017, by 8 points and 2 points, respectively.

The percentage of men “extremely proud” to be American stayed the same since last year, at 51 percent. The only group whose extreme national pride increased over the past year, according to Gallup, was respondents aged 50 to 64. Of those respondents, 56 percent are extremely proud to be Americans, compared to 50 percent in 2017. Still, that number is lower than it was in 2015, 58 percent, and in 2016, 64 percent.

Conducted between June 1 and 13, the poll had a margin of error of three percentage points and represents a random sample of 1,520 adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., Gallup said. “Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region,” the firm noted. “Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.”

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President Donald Trump said Monday that he had spoken with four potential nominees to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat earlier in the day, and that he would be meeting with “two or three more” before announcing his nominee in a week.

Trump told reporters as he sat beside Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, “I interviewed and met with four potential justices of our great Supreme Court.”

He called the interviewees “outstanding” and “incredible people in so many different ways, academically and every other way.”

He added: “Very interesting, though, was my four meetings. I will be meeting with two or three more, and we will make a decision on the United States Supreme Court, the new justice, that will be made over the next few days and we will be announcing it on Monday. And I look forward to that. I think the person that is chosen will be outstanding.”

Trump told reporters Friday that he’d “narrowed” his list of potential nominees “to about five.” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said Sunday that the White House had told her “there have been a few additional, potential nominees added” to Trump’s previously-published list of potential Supreme Court picks.

This post has been updated. 

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The White House announced Monday that principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah will take leave from that role to oversee the “communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies” for President Donald Trump’s next nominee to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said White House Counsel Don McGahn’s office would “oversee the selection and overall confirmation process,” as it did with Trump’s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Read the full statement below.)

Shah sometimes fills in for Sanders at press briefings, and he was one of the loudest voices in the White House after word leaked that former White House staffer Kelly Sadler had joked that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) opposition to CIA Director Gina Haspel’s nomination didn’t matter because McCain was “dying anyway.”

In any workplace, Shah said at one point, “if you aren’t able in internal meetings to speak your mind, or convey thoughts or say anything that you feel without feeling like your colleagues will betray you, that creates a very difficult work environment.”

Read Sanders’ Tuesday statement below:

The White House Counsel’s Office, led by Don McGahn, will again oversee the selection and overall confirmation process.

Raj Shah will oversee communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies. He will take leave from his role as Principal Deputy Press Secretary to work on the Supreme Court nomination full time.

Justin Clark, in his position as director of the the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House outreach with  key constituencies, coalitions, grassroots organizations and allies. 

The White House Counsel’s office is overseeing a team of White House and Administration personnel from offices within the EEOB. Teams of attorneys from the White House Counsel’s Office and Department of Justice are working to ensure the President has all the information he needs to choose his nominee. The Department of Justice is fully engaged to support the nomination and confirmation efforts.

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Former presidential runner-up and Utah Republican Senate nominee Mitt Romney said in an interview aired Sunday that he would not commit yet to supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

“It’s too early to say who I will support,” Romney told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. “I did say I think he’ll get reelected. That’s not an endorsement. I also think that [California Democratic gubernatorial nominee] Gavin Newsom will get elected in California. That’s not something I want to see, it’s just something that’s probably going happen.”

Romney said in May that he’d written in his wife’s name on the 2016 presidential ballot.

“Do you want somebody to run against him?” Hunt asked. “Against President Trump?”

“It’s not a question of want,” Romney said. “There will be people who decide, I presume, to get in a Republican primary. I think the President’s support among Republicans — what is it now, 90 percent approval? — suggests he will be able to become the nominee relatively easily.”

“And I think the Democrats are going to go further left. They’re likely to nominate someone further from the mainstream of American thought. And in a setting like that, I think the President gets reelected,” Romney added

“But you’re not yet willing to say that you’ll vote for him?” Hunt pressed.

“I’m not willing to say who I’m going to support at this stage,” Romney said. “It’s a little early for that, but the time will come.”

Watch below:

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In an editorial Sunday, Capital Gazette staff thanked those who had supported the organization in the aftermath of the Thursday shooting that left five dead, and noticeably condemned the use of one of President Donald Trump’s preferred phrases for the press: “Enemy of the people.”

“Here’s what else we won’t forget: Death threats and emails from people we don’t know celebrating our loss, or the people who called for one of our reporters to get fired because she got angry and cursed on national television after witnessing her friends getting shot,” the editorial read.

“We won’t forget being called an enemy of the people. No, we won’t forget that. Because exposing evil, shining light on wrongs and fighting injustice is what we do.”

The editorial added later: “Our community has rallied around us to show they understand who we are, and that we are not the enemy of the people. We are your neighbors, your friends. We are you.”

Capital Gazette journalists publish the daily Capital newspaper, as well as several other publications. The Balmore Sun Media Group bought the Capital Gazette in 2014.

The Sun, headlining Trump’s response to the massacre, wrote Friday: “Trump, who calls journalists ‘enemy of the people,’ offers support after Capital Gazette shootings.”

The Capital Gazette editorial also ran on the Sun’s website. Among the names listed below it is the Baltimore Sun Media Group’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Trif Alatzas.

Read the full editorial here.

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President Donald Trump, in an interview aired Sunday, repeated a frequent lie that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents “actually liberate towns” from gang control.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, the pair touched on the recent call by several prominent Democrats — and, left unsaid, several ICE special agents — to eliminate ICE and redistribute what critical immigration enforcement responsibilities the agency currently has to other areas of the government.

“You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house,” Trump said, though the agency is just 15 years old.

He added: “They go into Long Island, they actually liberate towns. They liberate towns! These are incredible people.”

The Trump administration has never presented proof of ICE “liberating” a town from the American-born gang MS-13’s control despite numerous claims by the President; no such locality exists. The White House did not respond Sunday to TPM’s request for the names of any such towns.

The lie recalls Trump’s bogus claim that there are areas in Paris controlled by religious radicals. “You have sections of Paris where the police don’t even want to go there and they probably have areas where they actually practice Sharia law,” he told Lou Dobbs in 2016.

The American ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, apologized for a similar lie about Dutch “no go zones” earlier this year.

Trump has frequently lied about the number of MS-13 gang members deported during his time in office. The New York Times noted Sunday the number of MS-13 members in the country is essentially the same as it was a decade ago.

“We have liberated towns like it was captured by a foreign country,” the President falsely said at a recent campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota. “We have liberated towns out in Long Island.

He made a similarly false claim on Twitter Saturday.

The interview with Bartiromo touched on several other topics including North Korea’s nuclear program and international trade.

“The European Union is possibly as bad as China, just smaller,” the President said at one point, defending his tariffs on U.S. allies. “It’s terrible what they do to us.”

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White House National Security Adviser John Bolton on Sunday would not commit, one way or the other, on President Donald Trump’s comments that “we’re going to have to see” if the United States eventually recognizes Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet on July 16.

“Is the U.S. endorsing the idea that international borders can be redrawn by force?” CBS News’ Margaret Brennan asked Bolton during an interview on “Face the Nation,” after referencing Trump’s Friday remark. “Is this actually a topic?”

“No, that’s not the position of the United States” Bolton said.

“Which is why it was newsworthy when he said it,” Brennan pressed.

Bolton said Trump often uses “we’ll see” to show “that he’s willing to talk to foreign leaders about a range of issues and hear their perspective.”

“That’s not up for negotiation?” Brennan pressed again.

“That’s not the position of the United States,” Bolton said.

“Right, but saying ‘we’ll see’ suggests it might be,” Brennan said.

“Well, we’ll see,” Bolton responded.

He added later: “The President makes the policy. I don’t make the policy.”

Watch below:

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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said Sunday that she would not support a Supreme Court nominee who had “demonstrated hostility” toward Roe v. Wade, “because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions,” and that President Donald Trump “may not have been informed” when he pledged to make abortion a litmus test during the presidential campaign.

Collins and a handful of other potential swing votes on the President’s future nominee met with Trump Thursday.

In an interview with Collins, who characterized Roe as “settled law” and “a constitutional right that is well-established,” CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday played footage of Trump telling him in 2015 that opposition to abortion would be a litmus test when picking Supreme Court nominees.

“The President told me in our meeting that he would not ask that question, and that is what he has most recently said on the advice of his attorney,” Collins responded. “So I think what he said as a candidate may not have been informed by the legal advice that he now has that it would be appropriate for him to ask a nominee how he or she would rule on a specific issue.”

Tapper pressed: “There are plenty of justices that the Federalist Society and other experts likely think will vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade but don’t have a record of hostility towards Roe vs. Wade.”

“For instance, don’t you think, just as an academic matter, Neil Gorsuch, for whom you voted, don’t you think he’s probably going to vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade if given the chance?”

“I actually don’t,” Collins said.

“I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent,” she said. “So someone who devotes that much time to writing a book on precedent, I think understands how important a principle that is in our judicial system.”

Collins said that in her recent meeting with Trump, she “encouraged the President to broaden his list beyond the list of 25 nominees that has been public for some time.” She said she wasn’t comfortable with everyone on the list, and that there were names on it that she had not vetted.

Leonard Leo — the anti-abortion Federalist Society executive vice president currently on leave to advise the President on Supreme Court nominees, and the originator of Trump’s campaign-era list of potential nominees — has been careful to note that names on the list have not taken a public stance on abortion.

“None of the people who are being talked about now in the public space in the media are people who have a clear position on Roe v. Wade,” he said, as quoted by the Washington Free Beacon.

Watch below:

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