Mark Hughes of The New York Times: “In the American zeitgeist, the military has come to be a symbolic receptacle for the country’s conflicted attitudes about race and identity. This September, the military came to be associated with anxiety about a re-emergence of overt racism, with white nationalists declaring victory over a Black Lives Matter protest and President Trump declaring again in the Oval Office that his chief political threat was a ‘radical left,’ as he himself described Mr. Moore.
“But the military came to be associated with the president’s idiosyncratic deceptions and the reality TV star’s feverish ramblings on race and identity — and for a week, Mr. Trump ran the risk of losing the support of the military if he continued to make the very mistake he made in Charlottesville, Va., a month ago: he took a hard line against white nationalists without criticizing white supremacists more aggressively.
“But last week, Donald J. Trump Jr. jokingly urged his 27,000 followers on Twitter not to carry torches as they rode to an event for Mr. Moore’s Senate candidacy. It is not clear whether the president or his aides were involved. But the tweet was a rare detour from Mr. Trump’s earlier statements, which drew increasing criticism over the weekend.
“That left members of the military at risk of offending some of their most important allies if they backed Mr. Trump and his family, and the immediate backlash from service members alarmed.
“Mr. Trump was unapologetic. He said the media had grossly overstated the outrage in Charlottesville and he stood by his statement that the world was witnessing the civil rights movement’s ‘last hurrah.’ Mr. Trump also said he had no interest in controversy and wanted his presidency to focus on helping the country.”
Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post: “What is it about President Trump that makes everyone love him except the millions of Americans who actually vote? Are Trump’s advisers bewildered that ‘empathy’ doesn’t cut it? Or does the experience of working for President Trump blind them to another attribute the president should be praised for: Capitalizing on things like ‘Pocahontas’? It’s both.”
Eric M. Newcomer of Buzzfeed News: “A number of weeks ago, President Trump told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that he was ‘very much under investigation.’ The news hasn’t officially come out—not officially yet, anyway—but sources with knowledge of the investigation told BuzzFeed News that it’s not coming out anytime soon.
“Legal analysts say the investigation hasn’t concluded and that the president isn’t the main focus of the FBI probe that’s been ongoing for months. (The Washington Post recently reported, without naming sources, that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team was examining whether the president obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.)
“But if a public disclosure at some point does occur, it would be unlikely to eliminate the cloud hanging over the president. Unlike former President Bill Clinton or former President Barack Obama, Trump can’t simply cut a deal with the special counsel. Instead, he would have to settle with an announcement from the justice department that he wouldn’t be charged.”