President Donald Trump vowed to veto a $740 billion defense spending bill unless Congress drops a proposed amendment to rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate leaders.
As the country faces ongoing social unrest over the death of George Floyd, the public debate continues on whether Confederate figures deserve to be publicly honored with statues or major instillations bearing their names. Amid these calls for racial justice, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed an amendment for the Defense Authorization Bill that would require the names of Confederate leaders to be completely scrubbed from several military bases over the next 3 years.
Trump has repeatedlydefended monuments honoring Confederates in recent weeks, and on Tuesday night, he used his racially-charged insult for Warren again while promising to veto the bill if her amendment gets through.
President Donald Trump took yet another swipe at Fox News for hiring Democratic pundits, this time former DNC Chair Donna Brazile.
Brazile trended on Twitter after getting into it with co-hosts on The Five Tuesday afternoon. In response to one tweet saying Brazile should not be on Fox News, the president went after Fox in a tweet referencing the infamous CNN debate questions controversy and invoking the late Roger Ailes.
“She gets fired by @CNN for giving Crooked Hillary the debate questions, and gets hired by @FoxNews. Where are you Roger Ailes?” Trump tweeted.
UPDATE: After some Twitter comments remarking upon how Ailes is dead, the President of the United States actually tweeted a clarification that “I know better than anyone that my friend Roger Ailes died 3 years ago”:
Donald Trump visited one of his own private golf courses in Virginia on Saturday as America continued to see fallout from a rapid surge in coronavirus cases. The trip came a day after the US president said he would stay in Washington DC to “make sure law and order is enforced” amid ongoing anti-racism protests.
The president has been frequently criticized for the scale of his golfing habit while in office. CNN – which tallies his golfing activities – said the visit to the Trump National course in Loudon county, just outside Washington DC, was the 271st of his presidency – putting him at an average of golfing once every 4.6 days since he’s been in office. His predecessor, Barack Obama, golfed 333 rounds over the two terms of his presidency, according to NBC.
Trump has been roundly criticized for a failure to lead during the coronavirus that has seen America become by far the worst hit country in the world. Critics in particular point to his failure to wear a mask, holding campaign rallies in coronavirus hot spots and touting baseless conspiracy theories about cures, such as using bleach.
On Friday night Trump tweeted that he was cancelling a weekend trip to his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course because of the protests which have rocked the capital, including taking down statues of confederate figures.
“I was going to go to Bedminster, New Jersey, this weekend, but wanted to stay in Washington, D.C. to make sure LAW & ORDER is enforced. The arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators have been largely stopped,” he tweeted.
Trump’s latest visit to the golf course put him in the way of some opposition. According to a White House pool media report: “A small group of protesters at the entrance to the club held signs that included, ‘Trump Makes Me Sick’ and ‘Dump Trump’. A woman walking a small white dog nearby also gave the motorcade a middle finger salute.”
It is not yet known if Trump actually played a round of golf. But a photographer captured the president wearing a white polo shirt and a red cap, which is among his common golfing attire.
President Donald Trump continued to rail against a new CNN poll showing him trailing Joe Biden, sharing a statement from “highly respected pollster” McLaughlin & Associates.
The new poll from CNN shows Biden 14 points ahead of Trump — 55 to 41 — and puts the president’s approval rating at 38 percent.
This morning Trump called CNN polls “as Fake as their Reporting”:
But hours later, the president tweeted again about the “FAKE” poll, this time sharing a statement from McLaughlin & Associates and saying, “I have retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze todays CNN Poll (and others), which I felt were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving.”
The statement the president shared says in part, “The latest skewed media polls must be intentional. It’s clear that NBC, ABC and CNN who have Democrat operatives like Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and other Democrats in their news operations are consistently under-polling Reppublicans and therefore, reporting biased polls… Ths bias seems to be an international strategy to suppress your vote.”
The president’s latest tweet about polling got a fair amount of social media attention, with reporters calling out his use of McLaughlin in particular:
President Donald Trump tweeted out a letter Thursday that referred to a group of protesters as “terrorists,” following their violent ouster from a park near the White House earlier this week.
The letter is signed by Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd and addressed to “Jim” in a probable reference to former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It lambasted the former Pentagon chief after he called out Trump on Wednesday for threatening a military response to protests that have engulfed cities across the country. In his letter, Dowd referred to a group of protesters who were violently forced out of Washington’s Lafayette Square on Monday as “terrorists using idle hate … to burn and destroy.”
“They were abusing and disrespecting the police when the police were preparing the area for the 1900 curfew,” the letter said.
The White House did not immediately respond when asked whether Trump views the protesters as “terrorists”.
Protesters had gathered in the park to express their outrage at the death of a black Minnesota man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer, with video showing a largely peaceful — if tense — demonstration. Police charged into the protesters about 30 minutes before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew, throwing chemical irritants and hitting protesters and journalists with shields and rubber bullets.
Trump later walked out of the White House through the cleared area for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Epsicopal Church across from the square.
Mattis joined a symphony of condemnations, which came from both parties, characterizing the episode as a grotesque abuse of power.
“Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath [to defend the Constitution] would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis wrote in a statement to journalists on Wednesday.
On Thursday, several protesters and the Washington, D.C., chapter of Black Lives Matter sued Trump, along with other law enforcement leadership they identified as leading the Monday clash, accusing them of violating the protesters’ rights to free assembly and freedom from unreasonable seizure.
Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is among the organizations representing the plaintiffs, decried Dowd’s letter as “abhorrent and a completely false characterization of the peacefully assembled demonstrators who were dispersed through state-sanctioned violence at the hands of government officials.”
“It is remarkable,” Clarke said in a statement to POLITICO on Thursday night, “that President Trump objects so vehemently to those speaking out against racial and police violence while embracing gun-toting activists who take siege of government buildings and violent white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.”
President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at governors during a White House videoconference, telling them that “most of you are weak” after states grappled with another night of anger and unrest following the killing of George Floyd last week.
In audio of the call obtained by NBC News, Trump berated governors for their response to the protests, repeatedly criticizing New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and urged law enforcement to crack down and make more arrests.
“You have to arrest people, you have to try people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Trump said on the call.
Trump called the governors “fools” and expressed anger with Democratic mayors in particular over the protests and unrest ravaging cities nationwide. He was described by one person on the call as “losing it.”
“You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time, they’re gonna run over you, you’re gonna look like a bunch of jerks,” the president said.
The president also called the initial response in Minnesota “weak and pathetic” and called the state a “laughingstock all over the world.”
Trump focused primarily on “antifa,” or anti-fascists, and Occupy Wall Street, which he said was handled well by comparison.
“This is like Occupy Wall Street. It was a disaster. Until one day somebody said, that’s enough,” Trump said.
Attorney General Bill Barr told the governors that the Justice Department believes protestors are heading to other states with less of a law enforcement presence “where they can go and overwhelm the local police forces.” Barr said there needs to be a focus on stopping “professional instigators and the leadership group.”
During the call, Trump claimed to have intelligence showing who the “bad actors” and professional instigators are, though he did not elaborate.
Trump also asked states to enact laws against flag burning saying the federal government would back them up if they did.
The White House billed the event as a “video teleconference with governors, law enforcement, and national security officials on keeping American communities safe.”
Several governors pushed back on Trump’s narrative, including J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, who told Trump he was “extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you. It’s been inflammatory.”
Maine Gov. Janet Mills, also a Democrat, said she was concerned about the president visiting her state this week because of security issues. Trump later said that the governor’s concerns made it more likely he would go to the state.
“You know, she’s tried to talk me out of it, I think she probably talked me into it,” Trump said. “She just doesn’t understand me very well.”
Maine is home to Puritan Medical Products, the company the administration compelled through the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus testing swabs.
Maine is home to Puritan Medical Products, the company the administration compelled through the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus testing swabs.
Trump’s response to the unrest has been to call for stronger law enforcement rather than calling for calm or addressing the concerns about police brutality and racism that many protestors say drove them to come out. Critics say an escalation in force would exacerbate already high tensions between protestors and the police.
After another night of protests led to fires and vandalism blocks from the White House, Trump spent Monday morning on Twitter blaming the unrest on antifa and accusing staffers of former Vice President Joe Biden of “working to get the anarchists out of jail.”
Trump had no public events scheduled for Monday, after not appearing in public on Sunday.
Trump’s advisers have been divided over what role the president should take in responding to the widest unrest the country has seen in decades. Some say the president should focus his message on Floyd, the black man who died last week at the hands of Minneapolis police, and urge calm.
Others say the top priority is stopping the violence and looting that have taken place in some areas, arguing that the best path to that end is strong police tactics, not presidential speeches.
President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States will cut ties with the World Health Organization.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year,” Trump said during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden.
“The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China?” he added. “It didn’t go to Beijing, it went nowhere else, but they allowed them to freely travel throughout the world, including Europe and the United States.”
Trump has repeatedly criticized the WHO’s response to the coronavirus, which has hit the U.S. worse than any other country, amid scrutiny of his own administration’s response to the pandemic. He has claimed the WHO is “China-centric” and blames the agency for advising against China travel bans early in the outbreak.
“Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China saving untold numbers of lives,” Trump said April 14.
The agency declared Covid-19 a global health emergency on Jan. 30 when there were only 82 cases outside of China and zero deaths, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press conference on May 1. “Meaning, the world had enough time to intervene.”
The WHO has also defended China, saying as far back as February that the country’s response to the virus was an improvement from past outbreaks such as SARS.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to permanently cut off U.S. funding of the WHO. In a letter, he said that if the WHO “does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization.”
On Friday, Trump said the WHO “failed to make the requested greatly needed reform” and the U.S. “will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”
The WHO’s funding runs in two-year budget cycles. For the 2018 and 2019 funding cycle, the U.S. paid a $237 million required assessment as well as $656 million in voluntary contributions, averaging $446 million a year and representing about 14.67% of its total budget, according to WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic.
It’s unclear exactly what mechanism Trump intends to use to terminate WHO funding, much of which is appropriated by Congress. The president typically does not have the authority to unilaterally redirect congressional funding.
Lawrence Gostin, a professor and faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, said in a tweet Friday that Trump’s move is “unlawful” because pulling funding requires Congress, which has already authorized funding.
It’s also “dangerous” because “we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” he said.
On May 20, WHO officials said they worried the agency’s emergency programs would suffer if the president permanently pulled U.S. funding from the international agency.
Most funding from the United States goes directly out to the program that helps countries in “all sorts of fragile and difficult settings,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said at the time.
“We’ll obviously have to work with other partners to ensure those funds can still flow,” Ryan said. “This is going to be a major implication for delivering essential health services to some of the most vulnerable people in the world, and we trust developed donors will, if necessary, step in to fill that gap.”
Twitter says President Donald Trump and the White House’s official Twitter (TWTR) account have violated its rule against glorifying violence and has affixed a warning label to tweets on both, marking the first time such action has been taken against the accounts.The social media platform is using what it calls a “public interest notice” to flag the incendiary post about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This means the tweets will not be removed, but will be hidden behind a notice that says “this Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Users can view it if they click past the notice.The company’s move risked escalating tensions with the White House during an already tense week. Trump signed an executive order that purported to address “censorship” by Twitter and other social media companies, following Twitter’s earlier decision to affix fact-check type labels to two of his misleading posts about mail-in voting ballots.
Hours after Twitter flagged the tweet from Trump, the official White House account posted the same message. Twitter then took the same action with that message.
“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited,” Twitter said in a tweet explaining its earlier decision to place a warning label on Trump’s tweet. “People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”
A spokesperson for Twitter said the decision was made by teams within the company and CEO Jack Dorsey was informed of the plan before Trump’s tweet was labeled.Trump continued his criticisms of Twitter on Friday after it labeled his post, tweeting that “it well be regulated.”
The president posted an identical message to Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. CNN has reached out to Facebook for comment.
As cable news networks carried images of fires and destructive protests in Minneapolis, the president tweeted at 12:53 a.m. ET: “these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
His phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” mirrors language used by a Miami police chief in the late 1960s in the wake of riots. Its use was immediately condemned by a wide array of individuals, from historians to members of rival political campaigns.
Some users reported the tweet to Twitter as a rule violation.
Less than two-and-a-half hours later, Twitter took action. “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” the company said.
“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.”
Twitter (TWTR) has said in the past that it makes exceptions to its rules when heads of state are involved, due to the inherently newsworthy nature of their posts.
Facebook came under scrutiny last year for saying it would not fact-check politicians’ posts.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, defended the company’s position in a speech last year in Washington, but noted there may be some exceptions. “Even for politicians we don’t allow content that incites violence or risks imminent harm — and of course we don’t allow voter suppression,” he said.
On Thursday evening, in an all-caps tweet, President Donald Trump once again attacked early voting — this time going so far to say that it could “lead to the end of our great Republican Party.”
Contrary to Trump’s claim, studies have shown that voting by mail does not actually benefit one party over the other.
Indeed, some solidly Republican states, like Utah, make extensive use of mail-in ballots, as do some swing states Republicans frequently win like Florida — where the president himself cast a mail-in ballot.
President Donald Trump slammed a Twitter employee Thursday who was critical of Trump in past tweets, calling the employee a “hater” and tagging his twitter handle.
Trump has reacted strongly this week to Twitter’s decision to add fact-checking labels to some of his tweets for the first time, and has accused Twitter and other tech companies, again and without evidence, of anti-conservative bias.
On Wednesday, Trump allies and advisers started directing their ire at Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, who has tweeted harsh criticism of Trump in the past.
Roth’s old tweets from 2016 and 2017 were resurfaced and shared widely on Wednesday, including a tweet calling Trump a “racist tangerine,” a tweet decrying “ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE,” and a tweet describing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “a personality-free bag of farts.”
A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider Wednesday that Roth is part of the team overseen by VP for trust and safety Del Harvey that recommends whether to label tweets that contain misinformation, but added that the decision to label tweets is ultimately made by “leadership” following recommendations from the trust and safety team.
On Wednesday night, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stood by the decision to correct Trump’s false claims about voting.
“Fact check: there is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me,” Dorsey posted. “Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”
“Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-integrity-policy), the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),” Dorsey continued. “We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.”
Trump advisers are presenting Roth’s tweets as evidence of alleged anti-conservative bias across Twitter and other tech companies. Donald Trump Jr. slammed Roth on Twitter after Breitbart reported on his past tweets. On Fox News Wednesday morning, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called Roth “horrible” and read his Twitter handle out loud on air.
“Somebody in San Francisco go wake him up and tell him he’s about to get a lot more followers,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday.
The jabs at Roth are part of the Trump world’s broader backlash to Twitter’s decision to add fact-checking labels to Trump’s tweets that claimed without evidence that vote by mail is being used by Democrats to commit voter fraud. The tweets now include a disclaimer reading “get the facts” with a link to independent fact-checkers who debunk Trump’s claim.
This is the first time Twitter has taken action to mediate Trump’s false or misleading statements on the platform. Twitter has been upbraided by Trump critics over the years who say the platform enables Trump to spread falsehoods despite its policies against misinformation.
Trump lashed out at Twitter in response to the labels early Wednesday, threatening to shut down or “strongly regulate” social-media platforms that he claims are unfair to conservatives.