You Missed A Trio Of Weekend Eruptions From The Worst Of The Very Online

INSIDE: Elon Musk ... Jeff Clark ... MTG
An effigy of Elon Musk is seen on the screen of a mobile device with the X logo in the background in this illustration photo in Warsaw, Poland on 23 August, 2023. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Congrats On Having A Life

You, like a normal person, chased the last rays of summer sunshine, caught your breath before the school year begins in earnest, turned meat on the grill, and listened to more Jimmy Buffett than you have in years.

The worst of the terminally online, in contrast, spent the Labor Day weekend stirring the pot, tilting at windmills, and coarsening the discourse.

What did you miss?

In descending order of importance:

No. 1: World’s Richest Man Engages In More Anti-Semitism

The short version of the story is that facing massive ad revenue declines at Twitter/X, Elon Musk blamed … wait for it … the Anti-Defamation League:

Musk, seemingly thrilling to the reaction he was getting, continued to double down on his attacks on the ADL, eventually threatening to sue the group for defamation. “Oh the irony!” he chortled.

Interwoven in Musk’s attacks were the kinds of anti-Semitic tropes the ADL makes it its business to call out. Most prominent and obvious among the tropes: Blaming Jews for the anti-Semitism against them.

It’s rancid stuff, even if it’s very on brand for Musk. But he wants you to know he’s against anti-Semitism. “Super clear” is doing a lot of work here:

Don’t despair, though, because there’s humor to be found here, too.

Musk started calculating how much ADL could be on the hook for in damages in his hypothetical lawsuit against it. At one point he claimed that the ADL was responsible for “destroying half the value of the company” before softening a bit and concluding: “Giving them maximum benefit of the doubt, I don’t see any scenario where they’re responsible for less than 10% of the value destruction, so ~$4 billion.”

Who might we say is responsible for the balance of “value destruction” of Twitter? Can Elon sue himself for that?

No. 2: This One Is Hard To Explain

Bear with me on this one because you never know where the white man’s outrage is going to bubble up.

Dramatis Personae:

  • Neal Katyal (Dartmouth ’91), a former acting solicitor general in the Obama Justice Department, a first-rate Supreme Court advocate, and an inveterate music lover.
  • Jeff Clark (Harvard ’89), a former Trump DOJ official overseeing Environment and Natural Resources Division who was admonished by his anti-coup higher ups to go back to his office and they’d call him when there’s an oil spill, a co-defendant of Trump’s in the sweeping Georgia RICO case, and an unindicted co-conspirator in Jack Smith’s Jan. 6 indictment of Trump.

Katyal, who somehow manages to maintain a Supreme Court practice and an active nightlife, went to Burning Man for the first time, got caught up in the torrential rains that turned the playa into an ice-slick, muddy quicksand, and had to hike six miles in the middle of the night to escape the festival:

I know, I know. How could Jeff Clark possibly have a role in this story. Surprise!

At which point, Katyal responds:

And Clark just keeps going:

If you missed all this over the weekend, good for you.

No. 3: MTG Is Hilarious

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) blamed President Biden for sending too many jobs to her district:

A sampling of the dunking that ensued:

Don’t Miss Our Series On The Disqualification Clause

Peter Navarro Finally Goes To Trial

After months of delays, the trial of Trump White House official Peter Navarro on contempt of Congress begins today in federal court in DC. The charges arise from Navarro’s refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee.

Congress Slowly Returns As Gov’t Shutdown Looms

The Senate is back today. The House isn’t back until next week. A government shutdown looms at the end of the month.

Florida Judge Rejects DeSantis’ Redistricting Map

A state judge in Florida rejected Gov. Ron DeSantis’ redistricting map, ruling that it diluted Black voting power in violation of the state Constitution.

Election Day In Rhode Island

A crowded field to fill the seat opened by the retirement of Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

2024 Ephemera

  • WSJ poll: Biden 46, Trump 46, among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup.
  • Josh Marshall: Poll Shows Biden-Trump Tie Race
  • NYT: Consistent Signs of Erosion in Black and Hispanic Support for Biden

In Memoriam

Ken Paxton Impeachment Trial Begins

The impeachment trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton begins today in the Texas state Senate.

Anti-Trans Law In Texas Goes Into Effect

The Texas Supreme Court allowed a new law banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth to go in effect Sept. 1.


TPM: A List Of Household Items Republicans Lost Their Minds Over For No Reason

Jill Biden Tests Positive For COVID

The president tested negative.

The Perpetual Indignation Machine

Has anyone pinpointed the exact moment when older white people began to adopt the indignation and victimhood they perceived people of color as having? It’s an honest question. I think I can narrow to the Obama years, and it seems to roughly coincide with the Tea Party backlash that Obama’s blackness catalyzed. But I’d love to read a full account of that transformative moment when white Americans started to cosplay identity politics as they understood it. That more than anything else is what Donald Trump tapped into, and it has been a tiresome self-perpetuating indignation machine ever since, captured in all its purity in the quote below: “That’s also insulting, like everything else.”

Like Morning Memo? Let us know!

Latest Morning Memo
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: