Trump says he’s considering commutation for Blagojevich

A video that surfaced of President Trump’s visit Wednesday to an El Paso hospital in the wake of a mass shooting shows him talking to medical staff about the crowd sizes that he and former congressman Beto O’Rourke drew at political rallies earlier in the year.

As Trump exchanges pleasantries with doctors and others at the University Medical Center of El Paso, the video shows him pausing to reminisce about dueling rallies that he and the Texas Democrat staged in El Paso in February to focus on immigration and border security.

‘‘That was some crowd,’’ Trump said of his event. ‘‘We had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot, and they said his crowd was wonderful.’’


The video shows no one responding to Trump’s assertion before convening for group photos.

Reporters traveling with Trump during his visits Wednesday to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso were not permitted to witness his visits with hospital staff, first responders, and others affected by the shootings. Although the media were kept at bay, Trump later tweeted two video montages documenting the visits.

Trump expressed frustration to aides on Air Force One that news cameras were not with him in the hospital on Wednesday and that coverage of the trip was being dominated by his foes.

He wanted pictures and video released immediately, according to people with knowledge of what happened, and asked aides to go defend him. Trump has complained to allies since the shooting that he had not gotten enough credit for his response, according to these people, who requested anonymity to share private conversations.

Inside the White House, the trip was generally seen as ‘‘not ideal’’ in the words of one senior administration official. Four others described the trip in similar terms.


Although the president’s aides explained to reporters that cameras were kept out of the hospital due to logistical and privacy concerns, two White House officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there were concerns that they could capture an impolitic moment or the president making an insensitive comment.


GOP freezes spending on Twitter in protest

LOUISVILLE — The Republican Party, the Trump campaign, and other GOP organizations said Thursday that they are freezing their spending on Twitter to protest the platform’s treatment of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Twitter temporarily locked McConnell’s campaign account Wednesday after it shared a video in which some protesters spoke of violence outside his Kentucky home, where he is recovering from a shoulder fracture.

The social media platform said in a statement that users were locked out temporarily due to a tweet ‘‘that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety.’’ The statement did not indicate exactly how long the account was frozen, saying only it was temporary. The account was active Thursday, but no longer contained the tweet.

The Courier-Journal reported one protester said McConnell should have broken his neck instead of fracturing his shoulder; another spoke of violence when responding to a reference about a hypothetical McConnell voodoo doll.

Republicans say social media platforms censor conservative viewpoints. Social media companies say they have no political bias.


Biden leads, Warren most favorable in new Iowa poll

Former vice president Joe Biden is leading the pack in Iowa, according to a new Monmouth University poll, while Senator Elizabeth Warren is viewed most favorably among the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.


The survey results, released Thursday, shows Biden winning the support of 28 percent of likely 2020 Iowa Democratic caucus voters. He had previously taken 27 percent in an April Monmouth poll. Warren, however, is hot on his heels: the Massachusetts Democrat now has 19 percent support, up from 7 percent in April.

Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, who has tangled with Biden on the debate stage, takes 11 percent in the new poll, up slightly from April, while Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, has seen his support drop to 9 percent from 16 percent four months ago.

Iowa voters have become much more familiar with the party’s candidates since the spring. Warren stands out the most on this front, with 76 percent of likely caucusgoers holding a favorable impression of her compared with 14 percent unfavorable. Those figures mark an improvement from her 67 percent-20 percent favorable-unfavorable ratio in April.

Biden is also widely popular, with 73 percent rating him favorably and 19 percent unfavorably, though his positive rating dipped five percentage points in the past four months.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., garners a 68 percent favorable mark, up sharply from 45 percent favorable mark in April, a point when nearly one-quarter of voters had not heard of him. Despite the improved reputation, Buttigieg’s 8 percent support among likely caucusgoers is little changed from 9 percent in April.

The poll finds Sanders has become less popular since the spring, coinciding with his drop in support. His favorable rating declined from 67 percent in April to 58 percent in the new poll.


One-third of those surveyed now have an unfavorable view of Sanders, the highest among candidates measured in the poll.