Trump-a-day

U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson finally caught up on the trans-Atlantic news, specifically, Donald Trump’s response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, riots. Johnson told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “I thought he [Donald Trump] got it totally wrong and I thought it was a great shame that he failed to make a clear and fast distinction, which we all are able to make, between fascists and anti-fascists, between Nazis and anti-Nazis.” The state visit was more likely to happen next year than this, he added.


In case you missed it, earlier this year, Johnson praised praises Trump’s tweets for ‘engaging people.’ In a July interview with Today programme, the foreign secretary intimated he was envious of the freedom with which Trump expressed his views on Twitter, despite the intense criticism the president has faced over his use of the network.

“Donald Trump’s approach to politics has been something that has gripped the imagination of people around the world. He has engaged people in politics in a way that we haven’t seen for a long time, with his tweets and all the rest of it. I certainly wouldn’t be allowed to tweet in the way that he does, much as I might like to. I’m seeing my Foreign Office minders looking extremely apprehensive here,” Johnson said. Well, Boris, Trump should not be allowed either, because his “foot in mouth” disease is how “the rest of it” became normal. Trump is doing ten things a day that, in normal times, even just one would be a proper scandal.

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“What do we want?”

“The wall!”

Alec Baldwin reprised his President Trump portrayal on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Summer Edition.” 

Baldwin mocked Trump’s raucous rally earlier this week and jabbed Trump for attacking the media over coverage of his response to the violence in Charlottesville that was roundly criticized.

“As we all know, there was a tragic victim that came out of Charlottesville – me,” Baldwin’s Trump said. “Folks, the media has treated me so unfairly by reporting my entire remarks, even the bad ones.”

Baldwin’s Trump addressed holding a campaign rally three years before the next presidential election, saying “it’s never too early to campaign for 2020. Mike Pence is already doing it.”

His Trump character also played up his primetime speech to the nation on Afghanistan earlier this week, saying he had “solved” the problem with a U.S. strategy in the country. “I sat down with our military, we looked at the map and I asked the hard questions, like which one is Afghanistan?” Baldwin’s Trump said.


Baldwin has played Trump on “Saturday Night Live” for the last year and re-appeared on the special summer episode of the show after confirming in June that he would return to the show this fall to portray the president. Thanks, Alec, it would have been a shame not to!

Trump-a-day

President Trump on Tuesday night fiercely defended his response to violence in Charlottesville, Va., at his first public rally since his remarks ignited a national debate about whether he had emboldened racists. 


Diring the 76-minute long campaign rally in Phoenix, Trump attacked the news media, Democrats and the Senate Republicans. The president mocked the protesters outside the building and the “anti-fascist” protesters that clashed with the white supremacists in Charlottesville, where three people died on 12 August. “All week [the media] are talking about the massive crowds that are going to be outside. Where are they?” Ah, Trump and crowd sizes… Nearly 20,000 people packed into the arena to hear the president speak.

Trump opened with a scripted statement calling for unity, but quickly veered off script to spend the bulk of the rally unloading on the news media for its “false” coverage of his response to Charlottesville, which sparked chants of “CNN sucks!” from his supporters. Trump read through almost the entirety of his initial response, arguing that it was adequate. “These were my exact words — ‘I love all the people of our country. We are going to make America great again. But we are going to make it a great for all of the people of the United States of America,’ ” Trump said. “And then they say, ‘Is he a racist?’ You know where my heart is,” Trump continued. “I’m really doing this to show you how damned dishonest these people are.” Trump did not mention that he had also blamed “both sides” and “many sides” on two occasions, which is what provoked fury from his critics.

“For the most part honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, they’re bad people,” Trump added. “I really think they don’t like our country, I really believe that.” We know that he really means it. That is the problem.

Trump also accused news outlets of “turning the cameras off” at the rally and cutting off coverage of the event. However, no major news outlets appeared to actually stop their livestreams or video coverage of Trump’s speech.

Trump threatened to shut down the government if his proposed border wall with Mexico doesn’t get funding from Congress. “If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” he said.



At the end of the night, police in riot gear deployed smoke canisters and flash-bangs to disperse the crowd as protesters mixed with rallygoers streaming out of the complex.

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Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist, said Tuesday that, despite President Trump’s remarks denouncing white supremacists and neo-Nazis, the president has yet to condemn the alt-right. 

Trump has never denounced the Alt-Right. Nor will he.#ArizonaTrumpRally

— Richard ☝Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 23, 2017

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An internet prankster posing as Stephen Bannon baited Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow into saying he would assist Bannon with his “dirty work” and help push Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner out of the White House, according to the emails provided to CNN by the anonymous web troll, known as @SINON_REBORN on Twitter. Bannon, who was recently ousted as chief White House strategist, promptly returned to his previous position as executive chairman at Breitbart News. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner frequently clashed with Bannon over internal policy discussions during his time in the administration, and his move sparked speculation over how the site, which has backed President Trump in his campaign and presidency, will now cover the administration.  

The fake account — designed to look like it was Bannon’s — reportedly first messaged Marlow on Sunday in an apparent attempt to fool him into talking about Trump and Kushner. 

“So do you think you’ll have them packed and shipping out before Christmas?”

“Let me see what I can do … hard to know given your description of them as evil,” Marlow responded. “I don’t know what motivates them. If they are semi normal, then yes, they out by end of year.” Semi normal…

Marlow defended Breitbart to CNN, saying, “If people want to know our thinking, they don’t need to judge us on illicitly obtained comments that were intended to be private, they can simply read our front page.” No, thanks!
 

Trump-a-day

President Trump on Monday announced he will not pull out U.S. troops from Afghanistan, as he is committed to a new strategy aimed at winning the nation’s longest war. 

During a prime-time address to the nation, Trump declared a rapid exit from the war-torn nation would leave a major power vacuum that would create a new safe haven for terrorist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The president acknowledged his “original instinct was to pull out,” a reference to his long-held view and campaign promise. Trump admitted that the calculation is different “when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.” Well, he was mentally present during at least one intelligence briefing on the matter, we have to give him that. Although, winning the war and building the peace are two different things, and it is the peace building process that Afghanistan is lacking.

Overall, it was a “very Trump” speech, as he declined to provide specifics or anything resembling a plan; showed he was pro-war, not peace; and blamed previous administrations. “When I became president I was given a bad and very complex hand,” Trump asserted. “No one denies that we have inherited a challenging and troubling situation in Afghanistan and South Asia, but we do not have the luxury of going back in time and making different or better decisions.” (Oh, I am sure quite a few people would love to go back to 8 November 2016 and make better decisions).

“The American people are weary of war without victory. I share the American people’s frustration,” Trump said, adding that, “in the end, we will fight and we will win.” Good luck! How will that look like, a total eradication of al Qaeda?

While the president is widely expected to send roughly 4,000 additional U.S. troops to the country, a recommendation made by the Pentagon, Trump declined to say how many troops he would send or reveal a firm timeline for how long they would serve there. There are roughly 8,400 American service members currently in Afghanistan. Most troops train and advise the Afghan military, but roughly 2,000 participate in counterterrorism missions. “We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plan for further military activities,” Trump said. “Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy for now on. … I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.” Presidential Speechmaking 101: avoid facts in your promises, as they might stick and be held against you.

Unlike past administrations, the president said he does not seek to encourage Afghanistan to adopt Western-style democracy and institutions — just to ensure it does not become a refuge for extremist groups. No surprise here, coming from someone who mightily dislikes free press, women rights, gay rights, and pretty much approves of Neo-Nazis (think of his assertion that “very fine people” were on both sides of the clashes between white supremacists and protestors in Charlottesville, Va.). Do not get me wrong, I am not advocating for Western-style democracy in countries that have no history of democracy. I am 100% for equality and education everywhere in the world, though. 

Senator John McCain, who has spent months bashing President Trump for delaying a new Afghanistan strategy, commended him for “taking a big step in the right direction with the new strategy for Afghanistan.” Have you noticed that Trump always gets commended by one or two of his numerous critics on those rare occasions when he manages to stick to the prepared speech?

Contrary to McCain, Senator Jack Reed, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, called the plan “very vague” and said it was “short on the details our troops and the American people deserve.”

Some people dared to say that Trump’s presidency is becoming ordinary (clearly, not Twitter users).


 “Trump still has every opportunity to turn around his presidency,” said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist. “Look, a lot of presidents have rough first years and go on to be very successful, and there is no reason Trump can’t do that.” Although even Conant’s optimistic outlook has its limits with regard to the president’s impetuous ways. “Trump will continue to follow his instincts, which will continue to lead him into trouble,” he said. 

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During a town hall with CNN in Racine, Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wishes President Trump would tweet less, noting there are posts on Twitter he would prefer not to see from the commander-in-chief. “Do I wish there would be a little less tweeting? Of course, I do. But I think, I don’t think that that’s going to change.” I think he thinks right, even though he has a very roundabout way of expressing his thoughts. 

Trump-a-day

At this point in modern history, none of us would be surprised if he were saying “this is the greatest solar eclipse the Earth has ever seen. I bet you, Crooked Hillary would not have had such a tremendous Great American Eclipse.” For all we know, if things progress at their current rate…ok, let’s not think about nuclear winter. 

Anyway, Trump engaging in a one sided ‘who’ll outstare whom’ competition with the Sun got plenty of mockery online. My favourite is “I like how everyone thinks Trump will eye damage from staring into the eclipse when staring directly at Steve Bannon for 2 years did nothing.” Aw, Steve got a thanks from Trump via Twitter. He then threatened to publish an exposé on the so called ‘White House democrats’ (read – Ivanka and Jared). We anticipate that it will have the level of dirt Tatler has never seen. Can Bannon temporarily join Tatler to reveal his insider knowledge about the White House and its inhabitants? I am morally opposed to reading Breitbart.

Back to the eclipse…in the U.K. eclipse watchers were left somewhat underwhelmed by the spectacle. That’s the great British Summer for you. It was an eventful day in our land, nonetheless. Big Ben fell silent today…and for the next four years. Luckily, in this country we are not left one-to-one with the beast of Brexit. We have Larry:


And the Tube…everyone who has read that love letter to the London Underground written by a guy from New York knows that things must be bad! He and the people of New York were in my thoughts this morning, when after a very long stop in a tunnel my train was diverted due to a faulty train somewhere further on the Northern Line. I had enough time to think of every individual residing in Manhattan and some from Brooklyn.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/london-underground-better-than-nyc-subway-2017-8
The day got better, though.



Almost, but not quite. 

Trump-a-day

A growing number of White House and Trump campaign officials are hiring their own lawyers to handle the wide-ranging probe into whether the president’s associates colluded with Russia’s 2016 election-meddling effort, The Hill reports.

Trump, Vice President Pence and the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, have all hired personal lawyers, as did Trump’s long-time lawyer Michael Cohen and several former aides. Trump allies and White House veterans who have dealt with investigations say it’s prudent for staff members who might be swept up in the Russia probe to enlist their own legal help, even though hiring lawyers could place a heavy financial burden on some staff who did not enter government service with large bank accounts. Deep-pocketed Trump aides and confidants have retained veteran Washington lawyers who command high fees to help them navigate the investigation. Kushner, for example, has hired former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and renowned defence attorney Abbe Lowell. “There are famous stories from the Clinton White House about these astronomical fees,” said Robert Ray, a former independent counsel during the Whitewater scandal. 

Jennifer Palmieri, a long-time Democratic strategist who served as former President Clinton’s deputy press secretary, told The Hill that the experience of working in a White House under investigation is “even more disorienting than it appears.” “No one in a position of authority at the White House tells you what is happening,” she wrote in an op-ed last month. “No one knows. Your closest colleague could be under investigation and you would not know. You could be under investigation and not know. It can be impossible to stay focused on your job.” Inside the West Wing, staff are fearful that speaking out could result in them becoming entangled in the Mueller investigation. White House officials were reluctant to speak about the probe, even anonymously, out of concern about possible legal pitfalls. A dream job it is not.

President Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to hit back. He praised his son for doing “a good job” in a TV interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News on Tuesday night. 


Parents…the most objective people when it comes to their children. 

Trump also blasted the “fake media” for what he said was the use of imaginary sources (i.e. his son’s emails, which Trump Jr. personally released on Twitter).


Thirdly, Trump hit at Clinton and the Democratic Party, condemning what he implied were double-standards. 


If Trump did not mention Clinton, it would have been most strange. He always seems to turn to her in moments of distress.

Rick Wilson, a Florida-based GOP strategist and a long-standing Trump critic said that “administration is paralyzed from its own actions. Nothing is getting done.” The increasing number of lawyers could make life even more difficult for a White House staff that is struggling to advance President Trump’s policy agenda by limiting communication and creating divisions between aides.


Trump said he’ll be “very angry” if Senate Republicans aren’t able to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obama Care, as GOP leaders get ready to unveil their updated legislation. Trump said Republicans have been promising for years that they’d repeal Obama Care, and now with Republicans controlling Congress and the White House, he said he’s “waiting” to sign a repeal bill. What if Senate Republicans aren’t able to pass their bill, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act? “Well, I don’t even want to talk about it, because I think it would be very bad. I will be very angry about it and a lot of people will be very upset,” Trump said during an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson.

Meanwhile, in Russia

Trump-a-day

As is its weekly tradition, the White House is facing yet another grave crisis in the wake of the publication of emails between the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and a go-between for a Russian lawyer. The emails from June 2016 call into question the main pillars of the White House’s defence against allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 election. 


Picture: www.sickchirpse.com
In one of the messages, music publicist Rob Goldstone, who acted as an intermediary in setting up the meeting, said Russian government sources were offering information and documents that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. told Goldstone in an email six days before the meeting occurred.

Trump Jr. published the emails on Twitter moments before The New York Times released them. In an accompanying statement, the president’s son said he was releasing the emails “in order to be totally transparent.” Why wait so long (and until the Times was about to publish) if Trump Jr. is genuinely concerned about transparency? Also this somewhat voluntarily revelation contradicts Team Trump’s repeated statement that while Russia may indeed have meddled in the election, there was no coordination or communication between Moscow and their campaign. Where was Trump Jr. in the last year? Why was a music publicist involved in this? So many questions. All in all, a classic example of inexperienced people jumping above their heads…

The atmosphere of crisis was apparent at the White House and in the broader Trump orbit, where hatches were battened down amid the storm. At a press briefing that was conducted off camera and lasted 22 minutes, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeatedly parried reporters’ questions on the emails by saying their queries should be directed to the personal lawyers of the people involved. Sanders read a brief statement from the president during the briefing. “My son is a high-quality person and I applaud his transparency,” the statement read in full. Well, very predictable and Twitter-friendly (under 140 characters).

The president’s Twitter feed remained free of any mention of the controversy enveloping his son, though he did tweet about his efforts to bring the Olympics to the U.S. and about “big wins against ISIS!”

Joe Sandler, an attorney who specialises in election law and who represents Democratic and progressive clients, said that the email from Trump to Goldstone was “direct evidence that [Trump Jr.] solicited something of value, which counts as a contribution from a foreign national” — a potential violation of campaign law. That interpretation is a source of dispute among legal experts. Sandler also poured scorn on the idea that the kind of exchange represented in the emails is commonplace on political campaigns. “It is very common for people on campaigns and people on committees to talk to people who claim to have damaging information about the opponent. But that is not foreign governments,” he said. “That is the key.”


Picture: Huffington Post 

Trump Jr. said Tuesday he would be willing to testify under oath about his election-year meeting with a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya who offered compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

“And you have nothing to hide,” Fox News host Sean Hannity told Trump Jr. during an interview that aired Tuesday night. “That means you’ll testify under oath, all of that?”

“All of it,” Trump Jr. responded. He also said the meeting “went nowhere and it was apparent that that wasn’t what the meeting was actually about. I wouldn’t have even remembered it until you started scouring through this stuff. It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame,” he said. Trump Jr. did not rule out the possibility that he spoke about the campaign with other Russians. “I don’t even know. I’ve probably met with other people from Russia but certainly not in the context of actual formalised meetings or anything,” he said. If he is asked to testify, he’ll need to get his story straight, that’s for sure.

In a Tuesday interview with NBC News, Veselnitskaya offered a different account of the meeting. She said she never had any damaging information on Clinton and it was never her intention to secure the meeting under the impression that she did. “It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted,” Veselnitskaya said. Veselnitskaya also denied any connection to the Russian government. The Kremlin has said it does not know anything about the meeting.

Although it is not clear what happened in that meeting, contrary to Goldstone’s assurances, there is nothing to say that Hillary Clinton had any incriminating dealings with Russia. Not a statement the Trump family can use anymore.  
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