Mired in controversy stemming from comments directed at the grieving parents of a soldier killed in Iraq, Donald Trump received an unexpected gift from a veteran: his own Purple Heart.

The medal, awarded to military members wounded or killed during service, was given to Donald Trump, he said, by a veteran at a rally in Virginia. 

According to Trump: “Something very nice just happened to me. A man came up to me and handed me his Purple Heart. I said to him, ‘Is that like the real one or is that a copy?’ And he said, ‘That’s my real Purple Heart. I have such confidence in you.'”  Read more…

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After days of speculation about Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin—generated by the GOP nominee’s own wildly conflicting statements on the subject—the Russian President has finally weighed in: According to Putin’s press secretary, the leader has never met nor spoken to the GOP nominee.

In the past, Trump has boasted of knowing and communicating with Putin. But last week, Trump sharply reversed himself, telling reporters, “I don’t know anything about him.” In an ABC News interview that aired on Sunday, George Stephanopoulos confronted Trump with instances in 2013, 2014, and 2015 when Trump contradicted himself.

On Monday, in response to an inquiry from NBC News, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, set the record straight on behalf of his boss. “President Putin has never had any contacts with Trump, never spoken to him, including by telephone,” Peskov told the network. “The same goes for all of his staff. We don’t have dealings with them.”

Peskov also added a comment about Trump’s statements that US intervention to help Ukraine take back control of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, could lead to a third world war: “We’re trying not to comment on that, not to get involved in their internal affairs. Regretfully, Russia-bashing is becoming a habit in American elections,” Peskov told NBC.

Though I know many soldiers and veterans who think it treasonous to vote Democrat, Donald Trump’s disrespect for service makes the decision simple

Like most Americans, US soldiers aren’t thrilled about electing Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. “The military thinks both are total losers,” announced the Military Times.

That may be true, but for military members and veterans, the only viable choice is to vote for Hillary Clinton.

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The latest from Trumpville:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is refusing to back House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in his upcoming primary election, saying in an interview Tuesday that he is “not quite there yet” in endorsing his party’s top-ranking elected official.

Trump also said he was not supporting Sen. John McCain in his primary in Arizona, and he singled out Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a weak and disloyal leader in New Hampshire, a state whose presidential primary Trump won handily.

I get tired of trying to figure out new ways of expressing bewilderment/confusion/amazement/etc. at the latest outburst from Donald Trump. You probably get tired of reading it. But seriously: WTF is this all about?

In one sense, it’s just normal Trump. His MO is simple: if you attack me, I attack you. Period. Ryan, McCain, and Ayotte all condemned Trump’s attacks on Khizr Khan, so now he’s paying them back.

At the same time, this is so plainly self-defeating that it’s bizarrely suicidal behavior even for Trump.1 He’s way behind in the polls and sure can’t afford to piss off his own party members. So what’s going on? Here’s one possibility: There’s been an undercurrent of speculation recently that Trump has come to realize he’s going to lose, so now he’s setting things up to give himself an excuse. The establishment was against me. The voting was rigged. The media hated me. The debates were scheduled badly. The sun was in my eyes.

I didn’t buy this when I first heard it, and I’m not sure I do now. But…I have to admit that it’s beginning to sound more plausible all the time. If Trump loses, it’s going to be a very big, very public loss, and he’s not used to that kind of humiliation. He’s used to being able to tap dance around his losses and pretend they don’t exist—something he can get away thanks to his ease with telling lies and the fact that his company is privately owned. But in an election, everything is out in the open. If he loses, he’ll need some very public excuses for what happened. So maybe he really has given up and is now just creating a paper trail he can use to defend his likely big loss. Who knows? Maybe it’s not even something he’s doing consciously. Maybe it’s just raw animal cunning at work.

1“Even for Trump” is now so commonly used that it needs an abbreviation. EFT is the obvious choice. Any other ideas?