Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren on stage during the Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas, on Thursday. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Democratic debate shows how president has altered the way US experiences politics

US president Donald Trump  posing with a two-month-old mass shooting survivor held by Melania Trump:  grinning, the US leader  give the thumbs-up.  Photograph: Flotus/EPA

Trump is no gun nut but orphaned child image shows him devoid of human empathy

Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie at the premiere of ‘Once Upon a Time In Hollywood’, in Los Angeles, last month. File photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Candidates who in the past might have headed the presidential pack are struggling in the polls

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with fellow House Democrats on the steps outside the US Capitol. She is derided by the far left for her pragmatism, despite being a long-time target for Republicans. Photograph: Getty

Mueller hearings shamed Republicans and failed Democrats thirsting for impeachment

US president Donald Trump: doesn’t worry about inciting violence against those he slimes. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

US president has shifted from subtlety to let toads of racism leap straight from his mouth

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: engaged in  a tangle  with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that poses a threat to the Democrats’ ability to beat President Donald Trump next year. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker/New York Times

It is a deranged proposition that Nancy Pelosi is the problem in dangerous era of Trump

US House speaker Nancy Pelosi: “ready for the fight of her life with Trump”. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

House of Representatives speaker has defied critics and written a third act for herself

Former US vice president Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris debate racial issues as Senator Bernie Sanders listens during the second night of the first US Democratic presidential election debate in Miami, last Thursday. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Maureen Dowd: Arrogance of former vice president’s operation came spilling out on the debate stage

US president Donald Trump: stumbled out of Iran attack just as he stumbled in.“I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was proportionate.” Photograph: Saul Loeb

Despite claims of displaying weakness, US president called off dangerous strike on Iran

US president Donald Trump. “His ego is too fragile to play patriarch to the country, so he takes the more ruinous role of provocateur.” Photograph: Tom Brenner/New York Times

President wallows in mendacity and amorality in a way unique in history of the office

Trump announced plans for a major firework display at the Lincoln Memorial. ‘Like no one had ever thought of fireworks on the Mall before’- this photo from 2000. Photograph:  William Philpott Reuters

President’s self-serving plans to hijack Independence Day party sucks the fun out of it

“Journalists must not become inured to Trump’s outlandish, transgressive behaviour.” Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

It’s exhausting to keep explaining how beyond the pale the 45th US president is

John Bolton, the US national security adviser, looking on from the background as President Donald Trump meets with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Will Trump drag his national security adviser and other uber hawks back from the precipice of their fondest desire to attack Iran?

President Donald Trump  got into the White House and began yanking the country back to the 1950s – on abortion, on climate change, on women’s rights, on regulations. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

When the Vatican complains you’re dragging the US ‘back to the past’ , you know you’re in trouble

Now that Joe Biden is running for president in a post-#MeToo era, he says he always believed Anita Hill. Photograph:  Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Transformation of Barr into evil genius outplaying old friend Mueller a nasty spectacle

Outgoing French ambassador to the US Gérard Araud: criticised Donald Trump as a whimsical, unpredictable, uninformed Sun King. Photograph: Damon Winter

Departing French ambassador to US tells of Trump’s ‘genius’ in transforming Republican Party

President Donald Trump: While he  was a whirl of ignorance, vindictiveness and self-destruction, some advisers stopped him from going over the edge by ignoring his “crazy shit”. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque

Truth of Mueller report is Trump’s dirtbag machinations are driven by insane vanity

Emilia Clarke arriving for the Game of Thrones eighth and final season premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 3th. Photograph:  Angela Weiss/Getty Images

The many women leaders in Game of Thrones parallels the rise of women leaders around the world

Donald Trump outside the White House, on Friday. Friday was not the end of what the American president tweeted was ‘the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

No one, from the president down, knew when the report would come or what it would say

Former Texas Congressman and Democratic party presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke: The 46 year old offers the politics of feelings. Photograph: Stephen Maturen/AFP

Pugilistic progressives may not stomach rich kid like Beto when US is in eat-rich mood

Michael Cohen, US president Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, testifies before the House of Representatives oversight committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC. Photograph: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Trump’s messy break-up with his lawyer shows he does not give or deserve loyalty

The last time Joe Biden thought about running for the US presidency, in 2016, he was in a miasma of grief about Beau, his oldest son, who died from brain cancer the previous year. Photograph: Christof Stache/ AFP/Getty Images

The painful reality is he is head of a family that has messily spilled into the tabloids

Michael Jackson arriving for the first day of his trial, on charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy,   at the Santa Barbara county superior court in Santa Maria, California, on February 28th, 2005. He was found not guilty on all counts. Photograph: Michael A Mariant/AP

Celebrity supersedes criminality. How can you see clearly when you’re looking into the sun?

‘Amazon  founder Jeff Bezos has managed to come through a traumatic week inspiring admiration.’ File photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The world’s richest man has become a folk hero due to his row with ‘National Enquirer’

 Roger Stone: the master of darkness proclaims his innocence. Photograph: Jesse Dittmar/New York Times

Cat’s cradle of dirty tricks trips up putative dognapper along with Paul Manafort

 Katie Hill, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,  Lauren Underwood  and Angie Craig: tracked Mitch McConnell to petition him to have a vote to reopen the government. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/New York Times

Trump feels heat of vengeance against the wicked man in the White House

US speaker of the House Democrat Nancy Pelosi has her work cut out to discipline the world’s brattiest 72-year-old . Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s vocational drive contrasts with President Trump’s opportunism

Republican Nancy Pelosi. The spectacle at the Capitol on Thursday, as she reclaimed the gavel, was redolent of that iconic “Breakfast Club” scene, with all its rebellious energy and zeal to fight The Man. Photograph: Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Madam Speaker can count, legislate, horse-trade and stroke – plus she’s very, very tough

“The Clintons refuse to be discarded. It has been their joint project for half a century to be at the centre of the public scene and debate.” Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Sea of empty seats on arena tour a sign of delusional Bill and Hillary’s lack of relevance

John Wayne as Ethan Edwards in John Ford’s film, The Searchers. “Ford and Wayne forged an identity for America that lasted for decades.” Photograph: AP/Warner Bros

Trump’s genius for hate and division has driven us into a canyon that won’t be easy to exit

Former president Barack Obama congratulates Donald Trump after the latter’s inauguration speech. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Trump’s promise to punish Wall Street for ‘getting away with murder’ was another con

 Donald Trump pauses during the American Commemoration Ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery in Paris, France, on Sunday Photograph: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg

Those who eroded America’s moral authority in the 2000s are now its moral guardians

Former Democratic senator and presidential hopeful Gary Hart: “I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility.” Photograph: Nick Cote/The New York Times

Former presidential candidate wonders whether 1987 controversy led US down road to Trump

The late Roger Ailes, co-founder of Fox News, who resigned from the cable network in 2016 after 20 years in charge of it. Photograph: Angel Franco/New York Times

Mastermind of Fox News hate-breeding techniques provided playbook for president

US President Donald Trump, flanked by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, meets Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The Saudis need the US more than the US needs them. Yet they continue to be coddled

 Brett Kavanaugh exemplified  entitled white men acting like the new minority, howling about things being taken away, aggrieved at anything that saps their power. Photograph: Win McNamee/Pool/Reuters

If Republicans had wanted to vet Kavanaugh, Judge would already have been subpoenaed

 An activist wears a button in support of Christine Blasey Ford during a protest  on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Blasey Ford dealing with dark forces not in play during Hill-Thomas episode

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison  in Canberra last week.  “We don’t want all this political correct nonsense telling people they can’t have an Easter hat parade,” he says. Photograph: Lukas Coch/EPA

The US president may be widely shunned but at the bottom of the world he has found a loyal mate

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister   with partner Clarke Gayford and their  daughter Neve at  home in Auckland. Photograph: Derek Henderson/Jacinda Ardern via AP

Running the rule over moral leadership and being only second world leader to give birth

US president Donald Trump  in Washington last week. The Trumps have created a dark alternative universe in the White House, where the main value is loyalty to the godfather above all else. Photograph:  Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trumps have often been compared to a mob family – and with good reason

US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin: Mr Trump has found someone who wants to hang out with him and who understands  he is THE MOST MISTREATED PRESIDENT IN HISTORY. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

How the US president might set the agenda for another day of self-aggrandisement

US president Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in 2017. Photograph: Jorge Silva/File Photo/Reuters

Perhaps it’s an Oedipal thing, that Putin reminds Trump of his authoritarian father

President Donald Trump has made political discourse more crude and belligerent. Photograph: AP/Carolyn Kaster

Hostility that so easily flows from his fingers now defines his immigration policy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “I wake up every day and I’m a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx.” Photograph: David Dee Delgado/New York Times

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'I wake up every day and I’m a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx. Every single day'

Ivanka Trump: “There is a distinct genetic quality to Ivanka’s preternatural ability to self-promote.” Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Maureen Dowd: Try as she might, nobody is buying the blond saviour routine any more

Former US president Bill Clinton. “The feminists lost their way performing as human shields, letting Clinton Inc demonise the willing and unwilling women in Bill’s life and treat them as collateral damage.” Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

Former US president’s threadbare routine of maudlin self-pity does not work any more

Ben Rhodes, a longtime adviser, with president Barack Obama on Air Force One, March,  2016.  Photograph: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

New book by aide Ben Rhodes gives insights into former president’s – superior – thinking

US president Donald Trump: After winning by warning voters they were being suckered, he’s made them all suckers. Photograph: Chris Kleponis

White House, FBI, Hollywood, tech sector, education, media are all snake-oil salesmen

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Friday’s referendum is fractious vote, dividing families and friends on long-hidden issue

Whatever you imagine could happen in Trumpworld. Photograph: Tom Brenner/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Everything is plausible in Trumpworld

Giuliani and Trump: the lawyer who was a Mob buster and the president who acts like a Mob boss. Photograph: Travis Dove/NYT

The US president’s brawls and scuffles might just see him lose his grip

David Duchovny at Central Park in Manhattan, April 16, 2018. His novel’s heroine Emer Gunnels is a 41-year-old New York schoolteacher who likes to take the subway,  eat ice cream and make love with her boyfriend, Cuchulainn, a writer known as Con. Photograph: Clement Pascal/The New York Times

The ‘X-Files’ actor tells Maureen Dowd about his New York novel based on the Ulster myths

US president Donald Trump in Michigan on Saturday. “Trump’s peculiar form of diplomacy  has somehow produced a possible breakthrough in North Korea that eluded his predecessors.” Photograph: Rena Laverty/EPA

Deal to denuclearise North Korea could help pave way to second term as US president

Former US first lady Barbara Bush. ‘She was the ungainly, insecure daughter of an austere, beautiful mother who put her down.’ Photograph: Reuters

Former first lady could be caustic, but she also championed causes such as literacy and Aids

The Exorcist: William Friedkin at the steps where he filmed his horror film’s climatic scene, in the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington. Photograph: Gabriella Demczuk/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: William Friedkin revisits old haunts for his new film about exorcism

Joanna Coles, chief content officer of Hearst and the former editor of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire: “There’s nothing empowering about being blackout drunk. Who wants to wake up the next morning in bed unable to remember what you did?” Photograph: Bryan Derballa/New York Times

How has digital era led women to have sex with people who don’t appeal to them?

US president Donald Trump: Even as Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are inside the White House, helping to shape his policies, Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss are outside it, protesting. Photograph:  Carlos Barria/Reuters

Maureen Dowd: the family circle around US president fails to act as moderating influence

Former US president George W Bush with John Bolton in 2005,  a fervent believer in pre-emptive war. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

After all those years of criticising George W Bush on war, Donald Trump is now letting himself be guided by the former president’s(...)

White House chaos: Rex Tillerson, who reportedly learned his fate from Trump’s chief of staff while on the toilet, and Jeff Sessions, who tried to save his own job by firing Andrew McCabe. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/NYT

Firing Rex Tillerson by tweet left the US president high on all the chaos

US president Donald Trump. “He is determined to be our most shameless president, running a White House awash in salacious stories and louche characters.” Photograph: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Damage from gender chasm awaits Trump and Republican Party in midterm elections

People walk past a gold art piece of a bathrobe-clad Harvey Weinstein clutching an Oscar  on Hollywood Blvd. Photograph: AP/Damian Dovarganes

On the surface things are improving but an instant fix for sexism is wishful thinking

US president Donald Trump last week returned to a favourite campaign routine, reciting the lyrics to the song “The Snake” and suggesting an analogy between immigrants and the poisonous reptile. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA

His tangerine skin was caked with make-up but the kind woman took the vicious snake in

US president Donald Trump: Weeks after taking office, he signed a Bill rolling back a regulation that made it harder for mentally ill people to buy guns. Photograph:  Eric Thayer/Reuters

We can’t even summon the energy to break the choke-hold that the NRA has on Republicans

President Donald Trump  glides through the chaos he craves and conjures, while everyone around him immolates and shivers. Photograph: Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Maureen Dowd: the qualities required – and now lacking – of a US president have never been more clear

Uma Thurman: ‘Harvey Weinstein  tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself.’ Photograph: Peter Kramer/AP

Interview: Actor also details behavior of ‘Kill Bill’ director Quentin Tarantino

FLOTUS Melania Trump. Photograph: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Melania’s rebellion shows how this administration is a shattering moment for the US

Salma Hayek: “Why do we have to fight tooth and nail to maintain our dignity?” Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

Maureen Dowd: As men fall, women are rising. Now the gender apartheid has to end

Senator  Al Franken (centre) and his wife Franni Bryson with others:   Mr  Franken will be resigning after being accused of sexual harassment. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Al Franken resigns for wet kisses while Trump skips past his braggadocio on groping

Cardboard cutout of Judge Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court nominee. Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

For Thanksgiving weekend - a list of things (mostly Trump related) that don’t bother me

Sexual misdeeds: President Bill Clinton walks to the Rose Garden to apologise in 1999. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/New York Times

Maureen Dowd: Institutional feminism died during the Monica Lewinsky affair

Mark Cuban: Steve Bannon reportedly  identified him  as the No 1 threat for 2020 because he could appeal to Republicans and independents. Photograph: George Etheredge/The New York Times

‘He’s overselling all the time. Donald Trump is not a problem-solver’

Former president Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter at home:  “[Barack Obama] made some very wonderful statements, in my opinion, when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.” Photograph: Dustin Chambers

Former US president complains Obama did not forge better relations with Pyongyang

  Harvey Weinstein: There was resentment against  the producer   in Hollywood, not only for the stories bubbling around about women, but the way he humiliated men who worked with him. Photograph: Ian Langsdon/EPA

Producer protected himself by giving to liberal causes and cultivating friends in politics

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg: dismissive of the idea that social media and artificial intelligence could be used for global domination. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Facebook’s Frankenstein moment in US election shows its power to warp democracy

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar being interviewed for the New York Times. Photograph:Tom Jamieson/The New York Times

New York Times columnist interviews Taoiseach in Dublin

‘Donald Trump has followed the roar of the crowd to dark, violent places, becoming ever more crazed and isolated and self-destructive.’ Photograph: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The US president is becoming ever more crazed, isolated and self-destructive

Watching Trump  and Kim  trade taunts is particularly disturbing because they mirror each other in so many unhinged ways.  Photographs: Getty Images

Can two belligerent leaders living in fantasy worlds taunt us into a nuclear war?

Special counsel Robert Mueller (r) is seen as incorruptible, so his conclusions will most likely be seen as unimpeachable. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

US president fails to fathom how empowered Bobby Three Sticks is to look into his dealings

 US president Donald Trump uses an umbrella after stepping out of Air Force One in  Maryland. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

US president is trapped in a caricature of masculinity that corrodes his judgment

Donald Trump  arrives at the US Women’s Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, on Saturday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

US president thrives on the same philosophy espoused by Littlefinger in ‘Game of Thrones’

Trump: “Did you do it?” Putin: “Nyet.” Trump: “Whew! Glad that’s out of the way. So let’s do a joint cybersecurity program and share our passwords.” Putin: “Da.” Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Maureen Dowd: Steve Bannon wants to cut taxes for the poor. But the president’s too busy being played for a sucker

“Before he got to DC, Trump was used to media that could be bought, sold and bartered with. He is not built for this hostile environment, and it shows in his deteriorating psychological state.” Photograph: Jim Bourg/Reuters

Strongman reflex: US president’s vile tweets indicate his deteriorating psychological condition

Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff delivers a concession speech after losing the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District to Republican challenger Karen Handel. Photograph:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Stuck in loser gear, the Democrats need fresh talent and a clear message

Donald Trump: If you investigate the current US president with a dream team, nightmares are bound to follow. Photograh:  Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

So much for the notion that Melania moving into the White House would restrain the president

Former FBI director James Comey testifies before a US senate committee. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

The US leader is constantly creating the kind of havoc that could end his presidency

Donald Trump with Emmanuel Macron. The ‘Washington Post’ dubbed the French president “the prince regent of Paris and Pittsburgh alike”. Photograph: Stephen Crowley/New York Times

Donald Trump’s latest antics merely cement his image as the highchair king

File image of US president Donald Trump. File photograph: Peter Dejong/EPA

Obama’s controversies pale compared with the daily traumas of the current White House

White House confidential: Donald Trump and James Comey in January, a few days before the president’s Luca Brasi request at dinner. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/pool/Getty

Fortuitously, a tape from that fateful wintry meeting popped up in my mailbox

Donald Trump turns to  Paul Ryan in the Rose Garden of the White House: The president feted his fake-news “win” there, sprinkling flimflam dust to deflect from his ludicrous legislation. Photograph:  Carlos Barria/Reuters

The Republicans have voted for something that will cause them a lot of pain in the future

US president Donald Trump. “You got worked over by the Republican leadership and the business community, who set you up to do their bidding.” Photograph: Al Drago/The New York Times

Flashy marketing could not mask healthcare Bill was a wealth transfer to the rich

Senior White House adviser Steve Bannon  listens as US president Donald Trump speaks to the press before he meets with his cabinet in the White House. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone is tiptoeing around the mad king in his gilded, sparse court

US president Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

George W Bush’s return to the public stage shows just how far likability can get you

Donald Trump now: “Back in the 1970s and 1980s, with a shameless talent for self-aggrandisement untethered to fact, Trump was able to turn himself into a celebrity.” Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

In his heyday, ‘President Action’ used fake news to sell himself as a chick magnet

US president Donald Trump:  “He thinks confidence is more important than competence and attitude matters more than aptitude,” says  biographer Michael D’Antonio. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

A fine-tuned machine spewing chaos, cruelty, confusion, farce and transfixing craziness

US president Donald Trump  may  have pierced a malaise, as more millennials show interest in running for office. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The president has breathed new life into everything from feminism to Senate hearings

Rarely seen: Melania Trump with her husband on  inauguration day. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

As the first lady vanishes, her absence from her husband’s side is making her a folk hero

Donald Trump: “The only thing you can do is keep him distracted for a day and then one more day so that he doesn’t do anything disastrous,” says his biographer Michael D’Antonio. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

For Trump, having the press corps captive in the White House is like mainlining heroin

Director and comedian Judd Apatow knows how the game is played:  he wasn’t as surprised by the election results as most people. Photograph: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Downside of election result is people overeating and numbing out, says producer

Peter Thiel at his Manhattan home: “Whatever the superficialities of Trump might be, he was more authentic than the other politicians.” Photograph: The New York Times

The Facebook cofounder and funder of Hulk Hogan’s Gawker case is now on team Trump

President-elect Donald Trump with Secret Service: “I spent months never believing that he would be elected president,” said one Democrat. “I sincerely hope that the office makes the man.” Photograph: AP/Andrew Harnik

As Trump’s swearing in approaches, finally bipartisan consensus: It’s time to flip out

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