In light of everything that’s happened in the United States this past week (and the last month, considering how raw the June 12 Orlando shooting still is), everything election-related seems somewhat trivial at the moment. It’s hard to focus on the potential outcome in November when every week, the death toll mounts, and more innocent lives are lost over acts of gun violence.
Yet as we grieve for victims at Pulse, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas police officers—and as President Obama makes yet another sober statement about the need to crack down on lax gun laws—we can’t forget whose hands much of the power to change said laws will fall into before the year is out. It’s key to keep up with the major events playing out on the campaign trail as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump slog towards the general election, since ultimately, it’s as a result of these day-to-day details that presidents are chosen.
Here, the can’t-miss moments from the last week or so.
Clinton and Trump Respond to Dallas
This morning, both candidates announced that they would postpone campaign events today in the wake of last night’s deadly sniper shootings at a protest in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded at least six more.
Clinton tweeted her grief over the tragic incident this morning.
She also addressed the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling earlier this week.
Trump tweeted prayers and condolences to the families of the Dallas officers, and released a Facebook statement that said: “We must restore law and order. We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.”
Bernie Sanders will Finally Endorse Clinton
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who put up a good fight against Hillary Clinton in the primaries, and won the support of millions of U.S. voters—particularly young ones—is expected to give her his public support once and for all next Tuesday at a campaign event in New Hampshire. In an interview this week, he told Bloomberg’s Albert R. Hunt: “We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton. I don’t honestly know how we would survive four years of Donald Trump as a president.”
Chris Christie is Trying Out to Be Trump’s Running Mate
Although today’s campaign events were canceled because of the tragedy in Dallas, the fact that Chris Christie was scheduled to join Trump during two events in South Florida hints that he’s publicly trying out for the role of Trump’s potential running mate, since Trump has appeared at events with other potential running mates, including Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Trump’s campaigning in Florida is likely key to his strategy, since the demographic shifts in that state could mean it makes or breaks his candidacy.
Annnd the Clinton Email Saga Continues
Although the FBI announced this week that it would not prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information by using a private email server while she was secretary of state, the State Department announced yesterday that it would reopen its internal investigation into Clinton and her top aides. A spokesperson for the State Department said former officials can still face punishment, from counseling and warnings, to removal of security clearance.
Trump Praises Saddam Hussein
At a rally on July 5, Donald Trump made comments that seemed to find the good in Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator who was condemned for his brutal dictatorship and considered a U.S. enemy: “He was a bad guy, a really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good.” He called Iraq the “Harvard for terrorism,” saying that if you want to be a terrorist, that’s where you go. This follows other concerning comments Trump has made about other authoritarian leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Voters Feel ‘Meh’ About Both Candidates, Says Survey
What is widely considered to be the most accurate election poll—the Pew Survey—came out yesterday, and showed that most voters aren’t psyched about their options for the next president: 58 percent of Americans are not satisfied with the choice between Clinton and Trump, while only 40 percent are satisfied. Ironically, last time voters disliked their choices even close to this much was when the other Clinton—Bill—was on the ticket. In better news, people’s perceptions of the economy and job conditions appear to be more optimistic.
Even if He’s Elected, Trump Doesn’t Rule out Quitting
In a recent interview, when asked about a scenario in which he wins the presidency and then forgoes it, Trump smiled and said, “I’ll let you know how I feel about it after it happens,” leading journalists to wonder just how much of Trump’s words and actions are done as a publicity stunt—and whether he really could be more interested in winning the presidency than actaully serving as president.