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Close calls
US-Eye, Issue 1628
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HUNT THE CULPRIT: Search begins for someone (other than the would-be assassin) to blame.
WHO was to blame for the attempted assassination of Donald Trump? In the hours afterwards, the US presidential candidate himself kept it classy, for once. "It is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans," he posted on Truth Social.

His wife Melania's statement surprisingly suggested that she does like the old ranter – praising his "laughter, ingenuity, love of music and inspiration" – as she counselled America to "ascend above the hate".

Low balls
If the Trumps went high, others went low, particularly the assorted gremlins and grifters who have spent the past few months vying for the vice-presidential nomination. To them, anyone who has criticised Trump's false claims of election-rigging was culpable.

Tim Scott, the Republican senator for South Carolina, said the shooting was "aided and abetted by the radical Left and corporate media calling Trump a threat to democracy, fascists, or worse". Vivek Ramaswamy, a podcast in human form, claimed Joe Biden had stoked a "toxic national climate that led to this tragedy".

Meanwhile Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance, who in 2016 claimed Trump was an empty suit whose "promises are the needle in America's collective vein", offered zealous displays of loyalty to offset the handicap of having a beard, which the germaphobe Trump finds unhygienic. He claimed that the Biden campaign's rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination" – and days later was anointed as Trump's running mate.

Mere Pence
Lest we forget, this is a group of people who downplayed the 6 January insurrection, in which protesters stormed the US Capitol armed with weapons and zip ties, chanting "hang Mike Pence".

"Well, the people were very angry," the ex-president later told an interviewer. Vance has said that he is "sceptical" that Pence's life was ever in danger.

Rifle trifle
Of course, being Republicans, the potential VPs couldn't blame America's lax attitude to gun control for the tragedy. The 20-year-old shooter used a legally owned AR-style rifle, the favoured choice of school shooters.

These semi-automatic weapons can turn any idiot with a grudge into a mass murderer: in 2017, a man killed 60 people in Las Vegas from his hotel balcony, with 24 weapons including 14 AR-style rifles. To this day, no one knows what drove him to do it. The motives of the Pennsylvania shooter may turn out to be equally inscrutable.

Woman alert
Right-wing influencers looking for a fresh angle were delighted to notice that one of the Secret Service agents who rushed to help Trump was female. "There should not be any women in the Secret Service," huffed Matt Welsh. "The fruits of DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] on display yet again."

Various men whose main experience of danger is drinking unpasteurised milk loudly agreed with him. A young man commits a hideous act of violence, with a high-powered rifle, but the culprit is a Biblical one: women. Business as usual in America.

Biden his time
Meanwhile over in the Democrat's camp, the question of Joe Biden's age and ability is not going anywhere. Nor is it new.

In February, a report into the president's handling of classified documents concluded that prosecution was pointless, since Biden would surely present himself to the court, as he did to investigators, "as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory".

More than half of American adults have been telling pollsters since last year that Biden's age would "severely limit" his ability to serve again – but only a quarter of Democrats.

Clip arts
And the sheer variety of excuses from the Democrats and their most engaged voters has been extraordinary.

The classified documents report was dismissed because its author was a Trump appointee. The refusal to commit to sit-down interviews was blamed on a hostile media looking for gotchas. And clips that appeared to show Biden freezing up or wandering off must have been deceptively edited by right-wing influencers.

As recently as June, the liberal network MSNBC dismissed reporting from the Wall Street Journal that Biden's confidantes were concerned about his age by pompously asserting that the article suffered from "some rather important flaws".

The former speaker, Nancy Pelosi, called the WSJ report a "hit piece", adding that she had personally seen Biden's "wisdom, experience, strength and strategic thinking". She has been quietly winding back her support since his disastrous debate appearance.

Bunker with Hunter
What really gave Democrats the heebie-jeebies, however, wasn't just the debate performance – although that was bad enough to cause one staffer to fall to the floor while watching it on television – but Biden's immediate retreat to his bunker.

He has holed himself up with his son Hunter, a former crack addict recently convicted of illegally possessing a gun, thanks in part to the evidence of his dead brother's widow, whom he was dating at the time. As advisers go, that's not a CV that screams "good judgement".

'Lady Liberty'

More top stories in the latest issue:

PRIVATE FUNCTION
The names recruited to drum up cash for Rachel Reeves' National Wealth Fund will do little to reassure taxpayers that the usual PFI problems won't recur.

POSTAL ORDERS
Sub-postmasters awaiting compensation over the Horizon IT scandal should be encouraged – if ministers are true to their previous words.

SECONDEE CHANCE
Labour promised to halve government spending on management consultants just as a lesser known consultancy has been quietly cosying up.

FLEXIBLE FRIEND
British company Faculty AI found an ingenious way to overcome any Labour awkwardness around its links to Dominic Cummings.

SO MUCH HOT BLAIR
It didn't take Tony Blair long to spout off on the role of AI in government, claiming "efficiency gains" could save £37bn for the public sector.

TURD OF THE WEEK
So. Farewell then The?re?se Coffey, the former environment secretary who was flushed out of Westminster in the great Conservative evacuation of 4 July.

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