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Here's What Trump Was Up To Amid News Of 'Deplorables' And Pneumonia

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Florida on Friday.
Mark Wallheiser
Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Florida on Friday.

The tables turned for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton over the weekend. For much of the campaign, Clinton has been sitting back, staying quiet and allowing Trump's gaffes, offensive statements and flip-flops to take up the news cycle.

But then Clinton had a terrible few days. First, she declared that half of all Trump supporters belong to a "basket of deplorables" that includes racists, sexists, homophobic people and other broadly biased groups — a soundbite that Trump quickly made into an attack ad. Then she appeared weak and wobbly as she left early during a memorial ceremony commemorating the Sept. 11 attacks, emboldening Trump supporters who had been questioning her health for weeks.

While Clinton's "deplorables" comment and pneumonia made the headlines and cable chyrons on Monday morning, Trump didn't stay entirely quiet, as he made a bit of under-the-radar news himself. Here's a roundup of what you might have missed:

Trump claims Janet Yellen should be "ashamed"

On Monday morning, Trump told CNBC that he thinks Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is playing politics with monetary policy, trying to goose economic growth with low interest rates to help President Obama's legacy.

"Well it's staying at zero because she's obviously political, and she's doing what Obama wants her to do," he said.

(Trump hasn't always been so opposed to Yellen; in an April interview, he said she was doing a "serviceable" job as Fed chair.)

While it's true that presidents can nominate Fed chairs who share their economic views, the president doesn't control Fed policy.

One safeguard against this is that members of the Board of Governors are appointed for 14-year terms, meaning they will necessarily serve during multiple presidents' administrations. In addition, the chair's terms don't match up to the president's terms. When Obama took office, the George W. Bush-appointed Ben Bernanke was Fed chair, and Obama later reappointed him. If elected, Trump couldn't replace Janet Yellen as chair until early 2018.

Furthermore, Trump seemed to imply that the president can change interest rates. He said he believes that the Fed's current policy is that "the new person that becomes president, let him raise interest rates or her raise interest rates, and watch what happens to the stock market when that happens."

To be clear: The president does not and cannot set interest rates, which are determined by meetings of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Markets Committee (of which the Fed chair is a member). The next meeting of that committee is next week.

"Washington Post" Reports On Trump Foundation

Trump's charitable foundation has already been facing scrutiny for a $25,000 donation that violated IRS rules and that some say was politically motivated. Now, the Washington Post has also found what it calls five "phantom donations."

The Post further reported:

Five times, the Trump Foundation's tax filings described giving a specific amount of money to a specific charity — in some cases, even including the recipient's address. But when The Post called, the charities listed said the tax filings appeared wrong. They'd never received anything from Trump or his foundation.

The Post asked Trump's staff to explain all five of these apparent errors.

So far, they have explained one.

Once again used "Pocahontas" nickname For Warren

While he was on CNBC, Trump once again brought out his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, referring to her as "Pocahontas."

The nickname refers to Warren's claims that she is of Native American heritage. The Washington Post's Fact Checker reported that they couldn't find reliable documentation to confirm that fact.

Meanwhile, many have slammed Trump for his repeated use of the nickname.

"Make no mistake — these jabs were racist," Simon Moya-Smith, culture editor at Indian Country Today, wrote in May.

Trump says his physical results are coming

Over the weekend, Trump had already said that he would go on The Dr. Oz Show to discuss his "personal health regimen." But then on Fox News Monday morning, he said he would release yet more health details from a physical he underwent last week.

"This last week I took a physical, and I'll be releasing when the numbers come in, hopefully they're going to be good. I think they're going to be good. I feel great," he said.

Clinton likewise revealed that she would be releasing more detailed health records this week.

A new "deplorables" ad

The Trump campaign made quick use of the "deplorables" comment, turning around a campaign advertisement that claims Clinton is "viciously demonizing" American voters.

In that remark, Clinton had taken aim at Trump's supporters, and not Trump himself. In doing so, she gave him a soundbite that he will be able to use for the entire election.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Danielle Kurtzleben is a political correspondent assigned to NPR's Washington Desk. She appears on NPR shows, writes for the web, and is a regular on The NPR Politics Podcast. She is covering the 2020 presidential election, with particular focuses on on economic policy and gender politics.