New Yorkers worried that global warming might flood the city should get mops, President Trump says.
The Queens native — famed for supporting walls that keep immigrants out — on Saturday ripped the idea of a seawall to protect the city from calamities like 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive devastation.
“A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway,” Trump tweeted. “It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!”
A seawall is one of five proposals considered by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the greatest city in the world from storms that could become more frequent with climate change.
The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled significant changes to the nation’s landmark environmental law that would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change.
Many of the White House’s proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act have been supported by business groups that contend the law has delayed or blocked projects like laying out oil pipelines and building dams and mines, among other things.
Environmentalists said that the rules would endanger wildlife and lead to more carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and contend that the regulations should be strengthened not weakened as the world copes with global warming.
If the proposals are enacted, it would be the first overhaul of NEPA in more than 40 years.
The plan, released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, would no longer require any form of federal environmental review of construction projects that lack substantial government funding. The change would also widen the category of projects that will be exempt from NEPA regulations.
“We want to build new roads, bridges, tunnels, highways, bigger, better fast and we want to build them at less cost,” President Donald Trump said at the White House on Thursday.
The changes are expected to be published in the Federal Register on Friday. There will be a 60-day comment period and two open hearings before the final regulation is delivered.
The administration has argued that the law can increase costs for builders, block construction projects and threaten jobs for American workers and labor union members.
“The step we’re taking today, which will ultimately lead to final regulations, I believe will hit a home run in delivering better results to the American people by cutting red tape that has paralyzed common sense decision making for a generation,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Thursday.
Jay Timmons, president and chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, said that the president’s plan is exactly what his group wanted.
“Our efforts should be used for building the infrastructure Americans desperately need, not wasted on mountains of paperwork and endless delay,” he said.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, argued that the changes prioritize polluters and corporations over the environment.
“This NEPA rewrite favors big polluters and corporate profits over balanced, science-based decision making and would prevent Washingtonians from voicing their views on proposals ranging from siting a new fossil fuel pipeline in their backyard to building an open-pit mine that could destroy the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery,” she said in a statement.
“We need to make smarter environmental decisions, not roll back the safeguards we already have,” Cantwell said.
The administration’s proposed changes might not make it through court, according to Bruce Huber, an environmental law professor at Notre Dame Law School.
“The law requires federal agencies to report the environmental impacts of their actions that significantly affect ‘the quality of the human environment,’” he said. “If the regulations announced today drive agencies to diminish the extent or quality of their reporting, federal courts may very well conclude that their reports do not comply with the law.”
William Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the White House’s proposal is consistent with other environmental regulation rollbacks.
“This is all about the election and Trump getting out there and shoring up his base,” Snape said. “The Trump administration has been losing more cases than it’s winning in oil and gas – and this is a chance to blame someone else.”
During a press gathering today, President Donald Trumpunexpectedly backtracked on his previous, stated belief that climate changes is a “hoax” and instead called it a “very serious subject” and claimed that he had a book about the topic he was going to read.
In the midst of massive, cataclysmic wildfires ravaging Australia, the devastating impacts of climate change have become a worldwide news topic. So, Trump’s apparent reversal on the issue, noted by New York Times’ climate change reporter, Lisa Friedman, seemed to have the potential for a breakthrough moment.
But as Trump expounded on the book referenced, it became clear he was not discussing one based on scientific research.
After a follow-up, the Times’ Friedman confirmed the book that Trump, who is notoriously averse to reading long news articles or briefing folders let alone books, plans to read is a hagiographic, self-published book written by his former New Jersey golf course consultant during the 2016 campaign. Russo worked for Trump for 17 years and is not a climate scientist.
President Trump lashed out at a familiar foe during a speech on Saturday, calling windmills “monsters” that “kill many bald eagles,” ruin the visual appeal of “magnificent” farms and fields, and “look like hell” after 10 years.
“I never understood wind,” Trump said at the start of the lengthy tangent, days after he became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. “You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere.”
He continued: “You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right?”
The president’s latest attack on wind turbines came as he kicked off his holiday stay in Florida with an appearance at Turning Point USA’s annual summit. The event by the conservative student group was staged in West Palm Beach, near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, presenting an opportunity for him to, as Politico put it, “bask in the love of some of his fiercest supporters, with scores of 20-somethings donning ‘Make America Great Again’ hats and rhinestone ‘TRUMP’ hair clips.”
In an address that stretched to more than an hour, Trump cycled through some of his greatest hits, saying that he brought back the expression “Merry Christmas” and that his administration “achieved more in this month alone than almost any president has achieved in eight years in office.” He took aim at “Crazy Nancy” Pelosi, “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, Hunter Biden, the “almost totally corrupt” media, the “Washington swamp,” the “illegal, unconstitutional and hyperpartisan impeachment” — and wind turbines.
Trump’s disdain for wind energy can be traced to about a decade ago, when he bought property for a luxury golf resort in Scotland and found out that a wind farm was planned nearby. Concerned that it would detract from his course’s views, he mounted a vigorous campaign against wind energy. Over the years, he has suggested that wind turbines threaten schoolchildren and even cause cancer — a claim not grounded in any robust evidence.
He has also tweeted about them.
On Saturday, Trump arrived at the topic by way of complaining about the Green New Deal, climate change legislation championed by liberal Democrats. After talking about the “tremendous fumes” generated by wind turbines, he moved on to complaints that wind turbines are ugly and kill birds. (They do kill birds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although collision with glass buildings, communication towers, electrical lines and vehicles are by far the worst offenders.)
“You want to see a bird graveyard?” he asked. “You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life.”
There was laughter and scattered applause in the crowd.
“You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle,” Trump continued. “If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true. And you know what? After a certain number, they make you turn the windmill off. That’s true, by the way. This is — they make you turn it off after you — and yet, if you killed one, they put you in jail. That’s okay. But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population? And that’s what they’re doing.”
Someone yelled, “Because they’re idiots!”
“Okay,” Trump said, laughing. “This is a conservative group, Dan. No, but it’s true. Am I right?” He had referenced Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) earlier in the program.
Then: “I’ll tell you another thing about windmills. And I’m not — look, I like all forms of energy. And I think in — really, they’re okay in industrial areas. Like you have an industrial plant, you put up a windmill — you know, et cetera, et cetera.
“I’ve seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields — most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up. And sometimes they’re made by different companies. You know, I’m like a perfectionist; I really built good stuff. And so you’ll see like a few windmills made by one company: General Electric. And then you’ll see a few made by Siemens, and you’ll see a few made by some other guy that doesn’t have 10 cents, so it looks like a — so you see all these windows, they’re all different shades of color. They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white. It’s my favorite color: orange.”
That line drew a wave of applause. But Trump wasn’t done with the turbines.
“No, but — and you see these magnificent fields, and they’re owned — and you know what they don’t tell you about windmills?” he asked. “After 10 years, they look like hell. You know, they start to get tired, old. You got to replace them. A lot of times, people don’t replace them. They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it. It’s really a terrible thing.”
President Trump has fixated on a theory that Ukraine stole Democratic emails in 2016 and framed Russia for the crime. The Washington Postreports that Trump told a former senior White House official that he believed Ukraine stole the emails because “Putin told me.”
The Post’s explosive report adds to an extensive body of evidence showing the degree to which Vladimir Putin has influenced Trump’s thinking. Trump is not a Russian agent, but he is a man whose thinking has obviously been heavily influenced by Russian sources. It is difficult if not impossible to find another Republican official at any level who believes, like Trump, that Montenegro is an aggressive country that might attack Russia or that the Soviets were forced to invade Afghanistan as a defense against terrorist attacks.
The Ukraine-server theory has gained somewhat wider currency in Republican circles, in large part because of Trump. The Mueller investigation found that Paul Manafort — the Trump campaign manager who had previously been hired by a Russian oligarch to help a pro-Russian presidential candidate in Ukraine — had suggested even during the campaign that Ukraine had stolen the emails to blame Russia. Manafort was working at the time alongside Konstantin Kilimnik, whom U.S. intelligence considers a Russian intelligence asset.
The Post reports that Trump’s advisers desperately tried to figure out the source of his belief that Ukraine had stolen the emails. They believed Putin shared this theory during his 2017 meeting in Hamburg and/or at a subsequent meeting in Helsinki, both of which took place without other American officials present. (After the second encounter, Trump confiscated notes from a translator.)
“The strong belief in the White House was that Putin told him,” one former official tells the Post. The paper also reports that “Trump repeatedly told one senior official that the Russian president said Ukraine sought to undermine him.”
Trump’s impeachment has focused primarily on his demand for an investigation of his political rival. But Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine began as an effort to vindicate the conspiracy theory that Putin had apparently persuaded Trump to believe. Trump asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to locate the server the Russians claimed Ukrainians had smuggled away and hid.
More important, Trump allegedly directed the activities of Lev Parnas, a partner of Rudy Giuliani. Parnas was paid a million dollars by a notorious Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin. On behalf of Parnas’s company, a Republican donor paid Giuliani, who represented Trump for “free.” And Giuliani, astonishingly, is still at it. After returning from another trip to Ukraine, where he met with a series of notorious Russian-allied figures, Giuliani has made his case on conservative network OANN and met with Trump, who in turn vouched for him and his work.
Proving criminal conspiracies in court is hard — especially when some of the suspects reside in a hostile foreign country, and even more so when the investigation’s principal subject has the power to pardon witnesses who withhold cooperation. The Mueller investigation failed to establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump and Russia, but Trump is working to spread Russian-originated propaganda and he handed this work off to figures who were paid by Putin allies. Whether you describe this relationship as a conspiracy or simply an alliance, it is very much ongoing.
President Donald Trump mocked teen climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter on Thursday after she was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, calling her win “ridiculous” and suggesting she take anger management classes.
“So ridiculous,” Trump tweeted. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
In September, after she made an emotional speech at the United Nations, Trump appeared to mock the 16-year-old by tweeting that she “seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Thunberg did not respond directly to the president but hours later updated her Twitter bio to mimic his tweet.
Thunberg, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was asked to speak on climate change in front of several high-profile entities, such as the United Nations and Congress.
“I shouldn’t be up here,” she said in her September U.N. speech.
“I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” the teen from Sweden said. “Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Democrats responded to Trump’s barb throughout the day, criticizing him for taking aim at the teenager.
“What kind of president bullies a teenager?” tweeted former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 Democratic contender, adding that Trump “could learn a few things from Greta on what it means to be a leader.”
“Does the President really not have anything better to do today than attack a 16 year old?” tweeted Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Trump’s tweet even came up at Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against the president.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., mentioned Trump’s mocking of Thunberg while listing individuals who Trump has blasted.
“Are you here to defend that as well?” Jeffries asked Republicans of Trump’s post.
Not long after Donald Trump took to the stage at a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night, the president launched into one of his biggest crowd-pleasers: pillorying the “deep state,” particularly by performing fan-fic-style dialogue between the “FBI lovers” Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
It’s a routine that he’s been honing on the re-election campaign trail for months, perhaps most famously during an October campaign event in Minneapolis, where he appeared to make orgasmic, panting noises—much to the audience’s delight—while doing a mock-dialogue between the two “lovers” about how much they “love” each other and hate that “son of a bitch” Trump.
And on Tuesday night, the president went a step further, claiming he’d “heard” gossip about previously unknown relationship woes between the two former FBI employees—though Trump conceded he could just be spreading pure disinformation.
“So FBI lawyer Lisa Page was so in love she didn’t know what the hell was happening,” Trump blared. “Texted the head of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, likewise so in love he couldn’t see straight! This poor guy. Did I hear he needed a restraining order after this whole thing to keep him away from Lisa? That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true. The fake news will never report it, but it could be true.”
After pointing out the reporters gathered in the back so the audience could loudly boo them, the president continued to make the baseless claim that a restraining order was put in place. At the same time, Trump gave a contorted explanation of the alleged restraining order.
“Now that’s what I heard, I don’t know,” he added. “I mean, who could believe a thing like that? No, I heard Peter Strzok needed a restraining order to keep him away from his once lover. Lisa, I hope you miss him. Lisa, he will never be the same.”
It is unclear where, if anywhere, Trump got this. The White House did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.
A source familiar with Page’s thinking told The Daily Beast on Tuesday night that Trump’s allegation is “absolutely untrue.”
On Wednesday morning, Page took to Twitter herself, saying “This is a lie. Nothing like this ever happened. I wish we had a president who knew how to act like one. SAD!”
Both Page and Strzok have become prominent bêtes noires for MAGA fans and Trumpworld, due to their illicit affair and the text messages they exchanged bashing Trump and discussing an “insurance policy” in the event the 2016 Republican nominee actually won against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with The Daily Beast published this month, Page explained why she was choosing to publicly speak out now, stating: “Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I had stayed quiet for years hoping it would fade away, but instead it got worse,” she said, adding that “it had been so hard not to defend myself, to let people who hate me control the narrative. I decided to take my power back.”
President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night lashed out at the FBI, calling staff of the agency “scum.”
He also doubled down on discredited conspiracy theories following the release of a report that undermined the president’s claims that the Russia probe was a “deep state” plot meant to damage his presidency.
“They hid it so nobody could see it and they could keep this hoax going on for two more years,” Trump said. “They knew right at the beginning.”
The report in fact found that the Russia investigation was launched on the basis of multiple contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians.
“The FBI also sent multiple undercover human spies to surveil and record people associated with our campaign,” the president said.
“Look how they’ve hurt people. They’ve destroyed the lives of people that were great people, that are still great people. Their lives have been destroyed by scum. OK, by scum.”
While Trump and his allies have often characterized the FBI’s surveillance as “spying,” the long-anticipated report found that the FBI followed its rules in opening an investigation into contacts between Russia and Trump officials and concluded that top officials were not driven by “political bias or improper motivation” in doing so.
It did, however, did find an improper handling of applications for surveillance warrants, such as Page’s.
“I look forward to Bull Durham’s report, that’s the one I look forward to,” Trump said, referring to the 1988 baseball movie starring Kevin Costner in a riff on Durham’s name.
“And this report was great by the IG, especially since he was appointed by President Barack Hussein Obama,” Trump said. Using Obama’s middle name is often associated with a movement by the far right to falsely suggest Obama is Muslim.
A far-right group that alleges that Islamic extremists are infiltrating the U.S. government is set to hold a banquet this weekend at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, according to permits for the event obtained by The Washington Post.
The Center for Security Policy and its leaders have spread the lie that former President Barack Obama is a Muslim and have also falsely alleged that Muslim organizations in the United States have anti-American beliefs, according to the Post. It is labeled a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center
The group has rented a ballroom for Saturday at Trump’s club in Palm Beach, Fla., for its annual Freedom Flame Award dinner, according to the Post. This is the first time the event, which has previously been held in New York City and Washington, D.C., is being held in Palm Beach, according to the Post’s public records request.
The White House declined to comment to the Washington Post, and the Trump Organization did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.
The permit obtained by the Post says the event will cost approximately $53,000. The organization told the newspaper that it is “a private event.”
Fred Fleitz, a former Trump administration official who is the president and chief executive of the Center for Security Policy, told the newspaper after its initial report was published that the group is not prejudiced against Muslims.
“Muslims are part of our country and our society, this is a good thing,” Fleitz told PJ Media in January, which he cited to the Post. “But what we don’t welcome is the radical ideology that promotes violence.”
Trump cited the group’s research when he proposed “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his presidential campaign in 2015, the BBC reported.
According to the Post, Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations alleged that former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney – who is the founder of the Center for Security Policy and has ties to the Trump administration – is “one of the key figures in the Islamophobia industry.”
“They get the influence they seek by handing him money, and he gets the money,” Hooper told the Post.
Earlier this year, ACT for America, which has called Islam a “cancer,” was also set to hold a banquet at Mar-a-Lago but later canceled the event, the Washington Post reported.
The Hill has reached out to the White House, the Trump organization and the Center for Security Policy for comment.
Driving the news: President Trump spent a chunk of the interview repeating a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election. “That’s what the word is,” he claimed without evidence.
The debunked conspiracy theory — frequently referred to as CrowdStrike, the security firm at its center — is based on the idea that Ukraine was complicit in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee to create false electronic records that Russia was behind the hacking.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, said during his impeachment hearing that the Crowdstrike conspiracy theory is “a Russian narrative that President Putin has promoted.”
Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top Russia adviser, said during her impeachment hearing that the conspiracy theory is “a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.”
Worth noting: Trump also said that Crowdstrike is owned by “a very wealthy Ukrainian,” but it’s actually a publicly-traded company. Its largest outside shareholder is Warburg Pincus, a New York City private equity firm from which Trump plucked one of his top economic advisors.
The president once again slammed former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, claiming she was “not an angel.” During her impeachment testimony , she agreed that it was Trump’s prerogative to fire ambassadors at will, but asked, “What I do wonder is why was it necessary to smear my reputation also?”
Trump said that during a Senate impeachment trial he only wants House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to testify more than Hunter Biden.
Trump said that he knows “exactly” who the Ukraine whistleblower is — and insinuated that the “Fox & Friends” hosts did as well — prompting them to attempt to steer the conversation away from the topic live on air.
He tried to find a middle ground between supporting pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong and not offending Chinese President Xi Jinping as the U.S. attempts to close a “phase one” trade deal with China. “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi,” he said.