Trump says he’s feeling great. Critics raise the 25th Amendment.



President Donald Trump appears eager to return to the campaign trail, following his COVID-19 diagnosis Oct. 1. On Friday, he called in to the Rush Limbaugh radio show for a two-hour “virtual MAGA rally,” and was scheduled to do an on-camera interview with a physician on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” 

The day before, White House physician Sean Conley announced that the president should be able to safely “return to public engagements” on Saturday, though medical experts who have not been treating the president question whether this is wise. The president’s spokespeople still won’t say when he last tested negative for the virus. 

The most delicate question is whether Mr. Trump’s medical treatment – some of it experimental – has affected him in ways beyond his physical condition. Mr. Trump’s freewheeling speaking style has long included incomplete and contradictory thoughts, and supporters love him for the authenticity they say it represents. 

But among opponents, the president’s behavior and statements this week have been cause for alarm, sparking renewed discussion about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides for a temporary transfer of power when a president becomes incapacitated. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation to create a bipartisan commission of medical experts to evaluate presidents for removal. 

The election is 25 days away, and President Donald Trump’s political prognosis is not good. He’s losing altitude in major national polls – and more crucially, is sinking in key battleground states that will decide the winner in the Electoral College.

It would be a tough time for any incumbent running for reelection. But for President Trump, whose brand is all about winning, the pressure seems especially intense. Mr. Trump says he’s eager to return to the campaign trail, following his COVID-19 diagnosis Oct. 1. On Friday, he called in to the Rush Limbaugh radio show for a two-hour “virtual MAGA rally,” and was scheduled to do an on-camera interview with a physician on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”  

On Saturday, he plans to host hundreds of people on the White House lawn, addressing a group of “peaceful protesters for law and order” from the balcony, according to multiple media outlets. Monday, he is scheduled to travel to Florida for a campaign rally.

White House physician Sean Conley announced Thursday that Mr. Trump had completed his therapy and should be able to safely “return to public engagements” on Saturday. Medical experts who have not been treating the president question whether clearing him for public events this soon is wise. The president’s spokespeople still won’t say when he last tested negative for the virus. 

The political universe is not taking the news frenzy quietly. 

“The past week was bizarre, berserk, almost biblical,” writes former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan in a Wall Street Journal column

The most delicate question is whether Mr. Trump’s medical treatment – some of it experimental – has affected him in ways beyond his physical condition. His abrupt announcement Monday that he was calling off talks with congressional Democrats over a new stimulus package until after Election Day raised eyebrows among members of his own party, even as Republicans blamed Democrats for holding up a deal. 

The president soon reversed himself, tweeting on Friday: “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” But the damage caused by Mr. Trump’s statement Monday seems to be lingering. 

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas warned on CNBC that the election “could be a bloodbath of Watergate proportions” for the GOP if things don’t turn around. 

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a most loyal soldier for Mr. Trump on Capitol Hill, said pointedly that he has not been to the White House since Aug. 6, citing its lax approach to virus safety measures. 

The remaining two presidential debates remain in limbo, as the co-chair of the nonpartisan debate commission, Frank Fahrenkopf, has refused to clear Mr. Trump to participate in the town-hall style debate scheduled for Oct. 15. The commission announced Thursday that the debate would be virtual, given Mr. Trump’s health. The president responded by saying he would not attend.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has been tweeting out videos that seem to show a president increasingly anxious about the approaching election. 

“You’re not vulnerable, but they like to say the vulnerable, but you’re the least vulnerable – but for this one thing you are vulnerable,” Mr. Trump said in a video that he labeled in all-caps: “TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!” 

He was speaking to voters over age 65, a group he won four years ago but is currently losing to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to polls. Older Americans have been especially hard hit by the virus. 

A major caveat is in order: Mr. Trump’s free-wheeling speaking style has long included incomplete thoughts and ambiguities, not to mention contradictions. His supporters love him for the authenticity they say it represents, as well as his enthusiasm and energy. 

But among opponents, the president’s behavior and statements since his COVID-19 diagnosis are cause for alarm, and have sparked renewed discussion about the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment provides for a temporary transfer of power when a president becomes incapacitated, and can be invoked either by the president himself, or by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet. 

Congress does not have a formal role in implementing the 25th Amendment. But on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation to create a bipartisan commission of medical experts to evaluate presidents for removal. 

“This legislation applies to future presidents, but we are reminded of the necessity of action by the health of the current president,” Speaker Pelosi said.

In a response, Senator McConnell’s communications director, David Popp, pushed back by calling attention to the fact that former Vice President Biden is several years older than Mr. Trump. 

“Only Speaker Pelosi could find a way to offend both President Trump and candidate Biden with this political stunt,” Mr. Popp tweeted. 

Many American voters are already deciding, through early voting, whether they want another four years of Mr. Trump. By Nov. 3, we may well have the answer. 





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Ireland launches Father Ted stamps to mark beloved comedy’s 25th anniversary | UK News


A quarter of a century after it first aired, Ireland’s most beloved comedy has been immortalised on a set of stamps.

Iconic one-liners from Father Ted are featured on each of the four stamps, including the infamous “That money was just resting in my account”, and “That’s mad, Ted.”

Retro wallpaper in the background of each stamp matches the different rooms in the show’s Parochial House on the fictional Craggy Island in the west of Ireland.

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Pauline McLynn, who played Mrs Doyle, said she’s ‘proud’ that the stamps were commissioned

Pauline McLynn, who portrayed the tea-addicted housekeeper Mrs Doyle, told Sky News she was “proud” that the Irish postal service An Post commissioned the stamps.

Her oft-repeated line “Will you have a cup of tea, Father?” is featured on one of the stamps in the set.

“They’re gorgeous stamps”, she said, “really comical and colourful, and capture the essence of the show. The legacy of the show and everyone involved with it lives on with Father Ted’s ongoing success and influence on language, on comedy writing and on generations of fans.”

The sitcom, which ran for three series and 25 episodes, followed the misadventures of three priests, Fathers Ted Crilly, Dougal McGuire and Jack Hackett, who are exiled to the remote Craggy Island, with their housekeeper Mrs Doyle.

It won several BAFTAs, and last year finished second to Fawlty Towers in a Radio Times list of the “greatest British sitcoms”.

Although written by and starring Irish talent, it was made by British production company Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4 and remains hugely popular on both sides of the Irish Sea.

The show, which first aired in 1995, holds an iconic place in Ireland’s recent cultural history.

In a survey conducted by An Post, 88% of Irish people said they used “Ted-isms” in direct conversation, while 20% quoted the series on a daily basis.

Two of the lead actors, Dermot Morgan (Father Ted) and Frank Kelly (Father Jack) have passed away.

“They would’ve been very amused and very proud that the show has now been put on a set of stamps,” McLynn said.

She added that if she could post her own stamp anywhere in the world, it would be to Co Clare, where most of the location work for Father Ted was shot.



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