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Less than 48 hours after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Donald Trump appeared to suggest that President Barack Obama was willfully ignoring or perhaps even sympathetic to terrorists. “We're led by a man who is either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind,” he said this morning. “And the something else in mind, you know, people can't believe it. People cannot — they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the ways he acts and can't even mention the words radical Islamic terrorism. There's something going on.” And then this afternoon, he doubled down on his plan to “temporarily” ban immigration from Muslim nations, a plan from which even some of his closest political allies have distanced themselves.
Setting aside the impact that repeating his theories could have on his own electoral chances, Trump’s statements when it comes to national security could be the most consequential parts of his rhetoric when it comes to downballot races. For weeks or even months to come, Republican lawmakers will be asked by journalists and by their political opponents if they believe that Obama is somehow complicit in terror attacks. They’ll be peppered with questions about Trump’s suggestion that Obama should resign in the wake of the attack. They’ll face another round of inquiries about his proposed ban on Muslim immigration. In press conferences, debates, and opposition research, Trump’s positions will be omnipresent for Republicans running for office at any level. If you’re a Republican in a contested race, it’s just about the last thing you probably want to spend the next 147 days doing.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Trump doubled down on his proposal to ban Muslim immigration, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
- Trump also announced on social media that he would revoke the Washington Post’s press credentials for "incredibly inaccurate coverage," one of us notes.
- Hillary Clinton on Monday said the "mind numbingly familiar" attack at an Orlando nightclub makes clear the U.S. "must defeat" ISIS and proposed beefing up intelligence gathering tools to help better identify lone wolf attackers.
- Trump began floating conspiracy theories after the Orlando shooting, saying President Obama may have a secret agenda that prevents him from combating Islamic terrorism, NBC’s Benjy Sarlin and Katy Tur report.
- Trump released a statement expressing his condolences to the families of the shooting victims while plugging his merchandise, NBC’s Mark Murray notes.
- Trump surrogate Scott Brown told NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard he is “pleased” with direction of Trump campaign.
- GOP leaders aren’t on board with Trump’s Muslim ban, MSNBC’s Adam Howard reports.
- And from First Read: Trump again pushes the boundaries of political dialogue.
FOR THE RECORD…
“Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, another of Trump’s opponents early in the campaign, has transformed himself into a sort of manservant, who is constantly with Trump at events. (One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order.)”
- A New Yorker profile of the GOP establishment reacting to Trump
Hillary Clinton delivers a speech in Pittsburgh.
Bernie Sanders will meet with Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.
Donald Trump holds a rally in North Carolina.
And it’s (finally!) over! DC votes in the Democratic presidential primary, the Dems final nominating contest.