Trump: Jews that vote Democrat show ‘lack of knowledge or great disloyalty’

President Trump said Tuesday that Jewish people who vote for Democrats are either ignorant or disloyal as he railed against two congresswomen who have been critical of the U.S.-Israel alliance.

“I think Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Romania.

Trump and the GOP have sought to win over Jewish voters from the Democratic Party by criticizing statements by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Both have criticized Israel’s government.

Trump last week urged Israel to block Tlaib and Omar from visiting the country, saying in a tweet that allowing the visit would show “great weakness.” An hour after Trump’s tweet, Israel denied the congresswomen entry. 

But in stating that Jewish people who voted for Democrats were disloyal, Trump appeared to step into the same verbal quagmire about Jewish loyalty to the Israeli state that had drawn criticism to Omar earlier this year. 

Omar took heat for remarks that suggested to some that Jewish Americans were more loyal to Israel than the United States.  

Trump’s comments came as he accused Tlaib and Omar of hating Israel and the Jewish people, and he complained that Democrats should also be criticizing them.

“The concept of even talking about this … of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people, I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” Trump said in the Oval Office.

“Where has the Democratic Party gone?” he continued. “Where have they gone … where they’re defending these two people over the state of Israel?”

Liberal Jewish groups swiftly condemned the president’s Tuesday remarks. 

“At a time when anti-Semitic incidents have increased — due to the president’s emboldening of white nationalism — Trump is repeating an anti-Semitic trope. If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check,” said Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

Trump has made unwavering support of Israel one of the pillars of his foreign policy, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognizing Israel’s claim over the disputed Golan Heights territory. 

Tlaib and Omar have supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, and have been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes.

Omar drew criticism when she suggested lawmakers support Israel because of money from lobbyists and was rebuked again when she claimed those who back the country harbor “dual loyalty.”

Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, drew backlash from conservatives earlier this year for comments about the Holocaust when she said it gave her a “calming feeling” to think of persecuted Jews finding safe haven in Israel.

The two congresswomen held a joint press conference on Monday denouncing Israel’s decision to bar their entry. Tlaib teared up as she recounted her family’s experiences as Palestinians in the Middle East, while Omar suggested that Congress reconsider the annual U.S. aid allocated to Israel after the international incident.

Trump said Tuesday that he was not involved in the decision to bar Tlaib and Omar entry, but that he supported Israel’s decision and that it would have been “very bad” to have let the congresswomen in. He went on to chastise Tlaib for getting emotional a day earlier, saying he’d seen her be “vicious” while protesting one of his campaign events in 2016.

Trump has hammered Tlaib and Omar with criticism in recent months, seeking to portray them as extreme and cast them as the face of the Democratic Party.

But Trump has stoked accusations of anti-Semitism with his own rhetoric as well.

The president angered Jewish groups and others in 2017 when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where marchers carried Nazi banners and chanted anti-Semitic slogans.

Jewish groups called on Trump to more forcefully condemn white nationalism last year after a gunman opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people.

In 2016, Trump tweeted an image of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with the phrase “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever” inside a Star of David on top of piles of cash. 

Multiple exit polls from the 2016 presidential election showed that more than 70 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Clinton.

[The Hill]

Trump warns media ‘treading in very dangerous territory’ for reporting bad poll numbers

President Donald Trump hurled new warnings at the news media for reporting damaging stories and negative poll numbers.

The president’s approval rating was measured at 43 percent by two new surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Fox News, and polls continue to show him losing to various Democratic challengers.

Trump insisted Monday that his “new internal polls” show the strongest support he’s had so far, and also complained that unfair media coverage kept his approval ratings low — and he retweeted those claims with a new threat against the media.

[Raw Story]

Trump blasts Scaramucci and tweets video of his former aide praising him

U.S. President Donald Trump once again lashed out at Anthony Scaramucci, claiming that “nobody ever heard of” the former White House communications director “until he met me.”

“Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me. He only lasted 11 days!” Trump wrote in a nighttime Twitter post.

Trump and Scaramucci — who was fired in 2017 after serving less than two weeks as communications director — have publicly fallen out recently.

In various news media interviews, Scaramucci suggested the Republican Party should push Trump off the 2020 presidential ticket. The president, in return, took to Twitter to discredit Scaramucci — who is founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and a GOP donor.

CNBC reached out to Scaramucci for comment on Trump’s Twitter post through SkyBridge Capital’s spokespeople, but didn’t immediately hear back.

In a Monday opinion piece in The Washington Post, Scaramucci wrote that he was wrong to support Trump before.

“I can no longer in good conscience support the president’s reelection,” he added.

[CNBC]

Trump slams Fox News after poll shows him losing to Democratic rivals

President Donald Trump denounced Fox News after the network released a poll showing him lagging behind the four current frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Fox has changed, and my worst polls have always been from Fox. There’s something going on at Fox — I’ll tell you right now,” Trump told reporters Sunday in New Jersey. “And I’m not happy with it.”

The president went on to list which talent on the Fox News roster he was pleased with, while also suggesting that the hosts of the presidential debates could be determined by who treats him most favorably.

“Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats — very, very badly having to do with the Democrats and other things. And I think Fox is making a big mistake,” Trump added. “Because you know, I’m the one who calls the shots on the really big debates. I guess we’re probably planning on three of them. And I’m not happy with Fox.”

“I’m certainly happy, I think, Sean Hannity, and Lou Dobbs,” the president continued. “And I think Tucker Carlson, and Laura [Ingraham], and Jesse Watters and Jeannine [Pirro]. We have a lot of great people.”

There were at least two factual errors in Trump’s remarks: First, he claimed that he “calls the shots” about the presidential debates, when in fact the debates have been controlled by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates since 1988. The president also repeatedly lumped himself in with Fox News when he referred to the network as “we,” even though Trump is at least ostensibly not an employee or manager at the right-leaning station.

The Fox News poll referenced by Trump found the president trailing four of the frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California. According to the survey, Biden bests Trump by a margin of 50 percent to 38 percent, Sanders bests Trump by 48 percent to 39 percent, Harris bests Trump by 45 percent to 39 percent and Warren bests Trump by 46 percent to 39 percent. The survey had a three-point margin of error and is consistent with other surveys, which generally show Trump either trailing behind or roughly even with his various potential opponents.

On the same day, Trump also took a swipe at Fox News analyst Juan Williams, who has been more willing to criticize the president than other pundits at the network.

“Juan Williams at @FoxNews is so pathetic, and yet when he met me in the Fox Building lobby, he couldn’t have been nicer as he asked me to take a picture of him and me for his family. Yet he is always nasty and wrong!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

This is not the first time that Trump has attacked Fox when he has perceived the network as being insufficiently favorable to him and his political interests. In April, he complained that Fox News hosted a town hall meeting with Sanders, tweeting: “So weird to watch Crazy Bernie on @FoxNews. Not surprisingly, @BretBaier and the audience was so smiley and nice. Very strange, and now we have @donnabrazile?”

Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who had co-hosted the event with Martha MacCallum, tweeted in response to Trump: “Thanks for watching Mr. President – we’d love to have you on a town hall soon — or even an interview on @SpecialReport —it’s been awhile. We cover all sides.”

[Salon]

Trump Baselessly Claims Google ‘Manipulated’ Millions of 2016 Votes: ‘My Victory Was Even Bigger Than Thought!’

President Donald Trump claimed Monday that Google manipulated 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and called for the company to be sued.

“This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued,” said Trump. ” My victory was even bigger than thought!”

Trump did not link the source of his report, but he tagged conservative watch dog organization Judicial Watch. Psychologist and commentator Dr. Robert Epsteinmade similar claims while testifying before Congress in July.

Trump has repeatedly claimed he did not lose the popular vote, though reportsshow he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million in 2016.

He’s also previously blamed his popular vote loss on “illegal” votes, or those of undocumented immigrants.

[Mediaite]

Reality

Trump appears to be referring to the work of Robert Epstein, a researcher with a group based in Vista, Calif., called the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Epstein testified in a Senate hearing in June about what he calls the “Search Engine Manipulation Effect” and claimed that his research shows Google’s search results pushed at least 2.6 milllion people to vote for Clinton in 2016.

In 2017, Google dismissed Epstein’s research, telling The Washington Post that it amounts to “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory.”

Trump says he’s ‘certain’ New York Times will endorse him in 2020

President Trump said he is “certain” that he will receive an endorsement from The New York Times in 2020 for the presidential election, he said in a tweet Sunday night.

His tweet appeared to be tongue in cheek.

“The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years,” Trump tweeted after returning to the White House from a vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

“They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I’m fairly certain they’ll endorse me just to keep it all going!”

Times correspondent and MSNBC analyst Peter Baker responded to Trump’s tweet with a “fact check” on Twitter.

“Revenues up, subscriptions at a record high, profits at $37.9 million in the second quarter,” Baker said.

The tweet included a press release of The New York Times Company’s earnings in 2019.

Mark Thompson, Times’ president and chief executive officer, said in the press release that “we added 197,000 net new digital-only subscriptions, 131,000 of which came from our core news product and the rest from our rapidly expanding Cooking and Crossword products. Today, The Times has 4.7 million total subscriptions.”

[Fox News]

Trump calls Juan Williams ‘pathetic,’ ‘always nasty and wrong’

President Trump on Sunday tore into Fox News political analyst Juan Williams, calling him “pathetic,” “nasty” and “wrong.”

“Juan Williams at @FoxNews is so pathetic, and yet when he met me in the Fox Building lobby, he couldn’t have been nicer as he asked me to take a picture of him and me for his family,” the president tweeted. “Yet he is always nasty and wrong!”

Williams, who is a recurring co-host of the Fox News show “The Five” and a columnist for The Hill, has been a vocal critic of Trump, including during a “Fox News Sunday” panel that reaired at 2 pm ET, just an hour before the president’s tweet.

During that segment, Williams called Trump’s approach to China on trade “brutish,” according to Mediaite.

“It’s not just Democrats who say, ‘Hey, this guy is inartful.’ The Wall Street Journal” has said that — he then attacked The Wall Street Journal at a rally this week,” he said.

“But I think that what you see here is that Trump’s unpredictability, Dana, then risks global recession, and you can do that. I mean, clearly, unpredictability is something that really scares Wall Street, because it depresses the likelihood of capital investment, which is necessary for stock growth,” he added.

Trump last week suspended a new round of tariffs against China, the initial announcement of which rocked global markets.

Williams, who had not seen Trump’s tweet when contacted by The Hill on Sunday, said he is used to the president criticizing him.

He also told The Hill that he had asked Trump for the photo at Fox on behalf of a security guard who wanted a picture with the president, an interaction Williams said Trump misunderstood.

The president is a devoted fan of the Fox News network, frequently tweeting clips from its programming. He is known to have a close relationship with several Fox News personalities, including host Sean Hannity.

However, he has increasingly criticized the network over its campaign coverage, particularly when the network chooses to cover 2020 Democratic candidates.

[The Hill]

Trump on guns: ‘We do have a lot of background checks right now’

President Donald Trumpon Sunday emphasized a need for the country to focus on “a very big mental health problem” in the wake of two mass shootings in one weekend that left 32 people dead earlier this month as he appeared to defend current US gun control measures, stating “we do have a lot of background checks right now.”

“It’s the people that pull the trigger, not the gun that pulls the trigger so we have a very, very big mental health problem and Congress is working on various things and I will be looking at it,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac before heading back to Washington after a vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

The White House, Trump said, is “very much involved” in the discussions Congress is having to address gun violence and while “a lot of things are happening on the gun level” he said “the concept of mental institutions” must be addressed.

“These are people that have to be in institutions for help, I’m not talking about as a form of a prison, I’m saying for help and I think it’s something we have to really look at, the whole concept of mental institutions,” he said. “I remember growing up we had mental institutions, then they were closed — in New York, I’m talking about — they were, many of them closed. A lot of them were closed and all of those people were put out on the street.”

“So I think the concept of mental institutions has to be looked at,” he said. 

Guns in America

Trump’s comments Sunday mark an increased focus from the President on mental health measures over gun control legislation to address gun violence as lawmakers remain skeptical gun control legislation could pass a divided Congress. 

Trump, who has previously expressed support for tighter gun restrictions only to back off under pressure from the National Rifle Association, added Sunday that he’s “very concerned about the Second Amendment.”

Meanwhile, two gun control groups mobilized to increase the pressure on senators to pass legislation in the wake of the two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action held rallies across the country this weekend after announcing Thursday that they would spend nearly $1 million on ads against a handful of Republican lawmakers. 

The effort from Everytown and Moms Demand comes as the NRA, its biggest adversary, has been noticeably absent from applying pressure on Capitol Hill allies to hold fast against strong forces for gun reform.

Support for background checks 

The Democrat-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February, but the measure has not been considered by the Republican-led Senate. Trump last week expressed an openness to background checks.

Speaking to a Kentucky radio station last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will put the issues of background check legislation in addition to “red flag” laws “front and center” when the body reconvenes after its summer recess, but it will not return early as Democrats are demanding.

A mid-July NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 89% of Americans considered it a “good idea” to implement background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, with a nearly nonexistent partisan divide: 96% of Democrats, 89% of independents and 84% of Republicans called it a good idea.

[CNN]

Ahead of a far-right rally in Portland, Trump tweets a warning to antifa

President Trump issued a stark warning to antifa, the collective of militant anti-fascist leftist groups, ahead of a rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where antifa activists were widely expected to confront far-right activists.

“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” Trump tweeted. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”

Notably, the president did not warn or criticize the controversial right-wing group organizing the rally that antifa was planning to protest against. Organizers Joe Biggs and Enrique Tarrio, who did not receive a permit for the rally, are members of the Proud Boys, a group of self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” with links to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and a history of violence against left-wing activists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated them as a hate group.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told the Oregonian he believed self-described members of the alt-right like Biggs and Tarrio come to Portland hoping to foment violence, well aware that it is home to a large antifa contingent, Rose City Antifa. “I think they come to Portland because it gives them a platform,” Wheeler said. “They know that if they come here conflict is almost guaranteed.”

Of Trump’s tweet, Wheeler said, “Frankly, it is not helpful.”

Trump’s disinterest in criticizing the Proud Boys is part of a longer trend in which he’s remained completely silent or, at most, has been mildly critical of the threat posed by white nationalist and white supremacist organizations, many of whom view his presidency as a boon for their cause and whose language echoes that of the president.

Trump often undercuts his criticism of hate with statements that run counter to the point he seems to be making, and with political talking points. As Vox’s Aaron Rupar writes, following a mass shooting that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, “Trump responded by reading a speech in which he denounced the ‘evil anti-Semitic attack.’ But during unscripted comments later that same day, he lamented that there wasn’t an armed guard inside the synagogue.”

And following the recent shooting in El Paso — in which the shooter left writings that made it clear he hoped to target members of the Latinx community — Trump said “one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” but also blamed mental illness and video games for the violence.

The president also, infamously, responded to the death of Heather Heyer amid the violence in Charlottesville by saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of a protest that included neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Trump has been repeatedly critical of antifa, however, and has threatened in the past to label the association a terrorist organization. GOP lawmakers have already made symbolic gestures to the same effect: In July, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Bill Cassidy (LA) introduced a nonbinding resolution that would label antifa activists as terrorists.

“Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.”

Part of what would make Cassidy and Cruz’s effort difficult (beyond the fact that antifa has not yet committed any terror acts) is that antifa is not a centrally organized organization. Its members mostly participate in actions anonymously, making it difficult to pin down a clearly stated ideology or code of ethics toward violence.

“The group of typically black-clad activists are radicals who believe the best way to deal with the rise of white supremacy and hate groups in the Trump era is by confronting them on the street,” Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has explained. “Sometimes, this means organizing demonstrations against them; other times, it means brawling in the streets.”

Portland has seen a striking number of brawls between antifa and far-right groups in recent years. The Proud Boys themselves have a known record of violence against their political adversaries. Two members of Proud Boys are currently on trial in New York and are charged with, among other things, attempted gang assault.

In anticipation of a standoff between antifa and the members of the alt-right who gathered in the city Saturday, Mayor Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw ordered that no police officers would have the day off, and more than two dozen other agencies, including the FBI, were involved in preparation. Fortunately, despite some altercations, the protests remained largely peaceful and the bulk of the alt-right demonstrators were escorted out of the area police had cordoned off for them following a brief event.

Both antifa and alt-right representatives called the event a success; Trump, however, did not tweet what he took away from his close watch of the situation.

[Vox]

Trump’s large union crowd at Shell was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid

The choice for thousands of union workers at Royal Dutch Shell’s petrochemical plant in Beaver County was to either spend Tuesday standing in a giant hall waiting for President Donald Trump to speak, or to take the day off with no pay.

“Your attendance is not mandatory,” read the rules that Shell sent to union leaders a day ahead of the visit to the $6 billion construction site. But only those that showed up at 7 a.m., scanned their cards, and prepared to stand for hours — through lunch but without lunch — would be paid.

“NO SCAN, NO PAY,” the rules said.

Those that decided to sit out the event would have an excused absence, the company said, and would not qualify for overtime pay on Friday. The company has a 56-hour workweek with 16 hours of overtime. That means those workers who attended Mr. Trump’s speech and showed up for work on Friday meeting the overtime threshold are being paid at a rate of time and a half, while those that didn’t go to hear the president are being paid the regular rate, despite the fact that both groups did not do work on the site on Tuesday. 

“This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,” said Ken Broadbent, business manager for Steamfitters local 449.

The local has 2,400 workers on the site and Mr. Broadbent said he would not “bad rap about it one way or another.”

“We’re glad to have the jobs. We’re glad to have the project built,” he said. “The president is the president whether we like him or dislike him. We respect him for the title.”

Mr. Broadbent said anyone who did not want to show up to work that day was free to do so. “This is America,” he said.

One union leader, reached on Friday, who asked not to be named because he did not want to make trouble for his workers, said that one day of pay might amount to around $700 in pay, benefits and a per diem payment that out-of-town workers receive.  

Ray Fisher, a spokesman for Shell, said on Friday that “this was treated as a paid training day with a guest speaker who happened to be the President.”

He said workers engaged in “safety training and other activities” in the morning.

“It’s not uncommon for us to shut down the site for quarterly visits from VIPs — popular sports figures like Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris have visited the site to engage with workers and to share inspirational messages. Shell/Penske NASCAR driver, Joey Logano was another guest at the site,” Mr. Fisher said.

Several union leaders said they were not consulted about the arrangement before it was sent out. Shell’s list, however, suggested they had green lit it.

“No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event,” the paper read. “An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”

Mr. Trump received a generally warm and at times cheerful welcome at Shell, where he talked about his political grievances and name-called opponents as much as he praised the natural gas extracted in Appalachia, which will be processed at the Shell plant into plastic pellets.

He also called out union leadership, which Shell had requested to be in attendance.

“I’m going to speak to some of your union leaders to say, ‘I hope you’re going to support Trump.’ OK?” he said. “And if they don’t, vote them the hell out of office because they’re not doing their job.”

More than a dozen unions work at the Shell site, the largest construction project in the state.

[Post-Gazette]

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