Quick Takes

* Hillary Clinton gave an important speech today on national security. I highly recommend that you watch the video and/or read the transcript. She focused a lot on the danger Donald Trump would pose as Commander-in-Chief.

So it really matters that Donald Trump says things that go against our deepest-held values. It matters when he says he’ll order our military to murder the families of suspected terrorists. During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that’s what honor looks like.

And it also matters when he makes fun of disabled people, calls women pigs, proposes banning an entire religion from our country, or plays coy with white supremacists. America stands up to countries that treat women like animals, or people of different races, religions or ethnicities as less human.

What happens to the moral example we set – for the world and for our own children – if our President engages in bigotry?

* As Clinton was giving that speech, three Republican Senators were busy doing this:

Three Republican senators are reassuring U.S. allies in Asia and looking to mitigate the damage they believe Donald Trump is doing to important trans-Pacific relationships, further evidence that when it comes to the GOP’s presumptive nominee and America’s most critical allies, politics no longer end, so to speak, at the water’s edge.

Just as pressure is mounting on Republican elected officials to fall in line behind Trump, Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Dan Sullivan of Alaska are in South Korea undercutting Trump’s bluster with assurances that the U.S. is not about to renege on trade agreements or demand its allies pay more to support American forces on Korean soil.

* House Speaker Paul Ryan finally endorsed Donald Trump today. I’m going to let James Fallows speak for me. He recently pointed out that Trump knew all about Harambe the gorilla, but was caught off guard by a question about Brexit.

As this goes on, it’s not really about Trump any more. We know exactly who and what he is. He’s a genuinely-charming-at-times salesman and schmoozer with sub-Palin-level knowledge of public affairs, more on a par with “Chauncey Gardiner” of Being There. He instantly knows all about the gorilla, and next-to-nothing about the international economy. This isn’t his fault. It’s who he is and what he does.

Nor do I think that a litany of Trump’s knowledge-holes or judgment-lapses will make any difference to his already-committed supporters. It’s part of what they like about him.

But the people who I hope are thinking about how they’ll look in history’s eyes, are the leaders of a major political party now lining up to declare this man acceptable. Not one of them can pretend later on that they didn’t know what they were signing on for.

* A couple of weeks ago I wrote that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was set to take on “debt traps.” That announcement came today.

The government’s consumer watchdog on Thursday proposed a set of new rules designed to rein in the practices of American payday lenders, taking aim at a profit-making model that involves staggeringly high fees and often leaves serial borrowers with spiraling debt.

The proposal from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau marks the first attempt by the federal government to regulate shorter-term loans, which also include auto title and installment lending.

* Finally, after President Obama took direct aim at Donald Trump’s candidacy yesterday, the real estate mogul gave us our best “point and laugh” moment of the day: Donald Trump warns Barack Obama he’ll ‘hit him’ like Bill Clinton. Here is the response from Markos Moulitsas:

Oh noes! President Barack Obama sure isn’t used to being criticized in outlandish and idiotic ways! This may very well shake up the race, it’s so unusual! Why, everyone assumed that we’d go this entire campaign without Trump hitting Obama! Though we should wonder, what material will Trump use? Maybe he’ll finally release the shocking results of his private investigation into Obama’s fake birth certificate, thus nullifying the entire past eight years?

And here’s mine:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.