Trump claims Mexican soldiers ‘probably’ used armed confrontation with US troops as a diversion for drug smugglers

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that Mexican soldiers “recently pulled guns” on American troops near the southern border, and accused the soldiers of “probably” doing so as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.

“Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. “Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”

The confrontation between Mexican soldiers and U.S. troops happened April 13 on American territory. It was first made public by Newsweek, which reported that Mexican soldiers detained and searched the Americans briefly at gunpoint, thinking they were still in Mexico after mistakenly crossing into the United States.

In a press release issued Wednesday, Mexico’s foreign affairs ministry wrote that the incident was not out of the ordinary. Both governments, it said, were in contact throughout the situation.

“After a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations, the Mexican military members departed the area,” a spokesperson for the Pentagon told the outlet. “The U.S. soldiers immediately contacted CBP, who responded quickly. Throughout the incident, the U.S. soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols.”

[CNBC]

Trump poised to roll back transgender health protections


The Trump administration appears ready to roll back health care protections for transgender people, and advocates are gearing up for a fight.

A proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that’s expected in the coming days would make it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny care or coverage to transgender patients, as well as women who have had abortions.

Coming on the heels of the military transgender ban, there are fears the administration could go even further and use the proposal as an opportunity to narrow the definition of gender.

The administration hinted in a recent court filing that new health regulations could be published as soon as next week. The rule is expected to weaken or eliminate an anti-discrimination provision enshrined in ObamaCare.

The provision says patients cannot be turned away because they are transgender, nor can they be denied coverage if they need a service that’s related to their transgender status.

Religious providers say they expect the administration’s rule to reinforce their right not to provide treatment that is against their beliefs.

Advocates, meanwhile, say they are concerned that the proposal could jeopardize the gains made in making sure transgender individuals receive equal access to care.

The proposal is “likely to send an even stronger signal that the administration endorses discrimination in health care against transgender people,” said Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality.

The rule “won’t mean that overnight transgender people can’t get health care, but it will be a steady drip of allowing more discrimination,” Tobin said.

Chase Strangio, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said access to health care can be a life or death circumstance, and the rule could have “catastrophic effects” if it is finalized.

“To have the government take a stand in favor of discrimination is deeply upsetting, ” Strangio said.

Once the proposal is released, a public comment period will follow. After that, a final rule will be issued.

As for what comes next, Strangio said the ACLU has had two years to prepare for that.

“If the final rule looks like the proposal we are anticipating, we and our partners will file suit as soon as possible,” Strangio said. “We can expect many legal challenges to any final rule.”

President Trump repeatedly pledged support for the LGBTQ community on the campaign trail in 2016. But advocates say the president’s words increasingly ring hollow, and his administration has been steadily eroding protections for transgender individuals.

For example, the military’s transgender ban took effect earlier this month, despite objections from advocacy groups and medical experts. And the Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear arguments this year on three cases concerning whether federal law applies to transgender identity.

Additionally, the Justice Department has argued that the main federal civil rights law doesn’t protect employees from discrimination based on gender identity. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 wrote a memo saying the law “does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se.”

The existing health care rule was first issued in 2016, six years after the 2010 Affordable Care Act was signed into law. The rule prohibited providers and insurers who receive federal money from denying treatment or coverage to anyone based on sex, gender identity or termination of pregnancy.

It also required doctors and hospitals to provide “medically necessary” services to transgender individuals, as long as those services were the same ones provided to other patients.

That rule was challenged in court by a group of Christian providers called the Franciscan Alliance. They argued the rule forces insurers to pay for abortions and compels doctors to perform gender transition services, even if they disagree with those services on moral or medical grounds.

A federal judge in Texas agreed with that argument, issuing a nationwide injunction in late 2016 that is still in effect. The ruling said Congress had outlawed discrimination based on “the biological differences between males and females” but not transgender status.

The new proposed rule has been under review at the White House Office of Management and Budget for more than a year, something that experts say is highly unusual.

That delay is causing confusion in the health care industry: ObamaCare’s nondiscrimination statute is the law, even if a rule implementing it has been put on hold.

In a court filing earlier this month, the administration said it would be publishing the proposal soon, a move that would likely affect the lawsuit in Texas.

Luke Goodrich, senior counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and a lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said providers would be better served by a ruling from the judge. He said they just want to make sure their religious protections are upheld.

Katie Keith, a health care consultant and professor at Georgetown Law, said, “It’s going to be really hard for people to understand their rights in health care” while the confusion continues.

Tobin, of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the uncertainty is having a harmful effect.

“At a time when the administration is trying to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, at a time when the transgender ban in military is taking effect, transgender people are scared for their ability to get the health care they need, and that their providers know they need,” Tobin said.

Goodrich argues that providers won’t turn away patients just because they are transgender, so long as the doctors aren’t giving transition-related care or “being pressured to perform abortions.”

He said the plaintiffs have been treating transgender people for years and “won’t stop doing that, because they provide care for everyone. That’s not what the lawsuit is about in our view.”

Transgender advocates are concerned the administration will use the lawsuit as an excuse to redefine gender.

The New York Times last year reported that HHS proposed in a memo that government agencies adopt a narrower definition of gender in a way that would essentially end federal recognition of transgender individuals.

No rules have been issued, but advocates say administration officials have been telegraphing their views.

The HHS memo is a “blueprint” for discrimination, and the nondiscrimination proposal is a major part of it, Tobin said.

[The Hill]

Trump Claims ‘USA has the Absolute Legal Right’ to Send Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

President Donald Trump tweeted out on Saturday night that “the USA has the absolute legal right” to send migrants to sanctuary cities.

“Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s tweet comes just following a segment on Fox News where his deputy Press Secretary defended the plan.

Speaking with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley praised Trump’s proposal.

He claimed, though, that the actual transport hasn’t started yet because Trump is still considering all of his options and they are still working on the legality of the issue.

In defense of Trump’s proposal, Gidley said this:

“They are telling us you cannot keep family units who come here illegally and unlawfully at the southern border. You can’t keep them at detention facilities. You can’t deport them. The only thing you can do is as an administration is release them into American communities…So, the president said listen, there are sanctuary cities out there where Democrats have said we welcome any and all whether they criminals, whether they are here illegally, seeking asylum, regardless. Anybody who disagrees with us is racist. So the president said fine, I’ve got a great idea. We’d love to work with you guys to figure out exactly the best way to transport these people were here illegally and unlawfully and into your communities and your districts and your states.”

Gidley then added that not a single Democrat has signed up for the plan.

Pirro next asked when all this was going to start.

“He’s looking at any and all options right now,” Gidley said, referring to Trump. “We’re going through the process, reviewing everything we can do lawfully.”

Pirro then asked if it had started already.

“Not yet, we’re trying to figure out if we can do that Legally,” Gidley replied.

A few minutes later, Trump tweeted out that the “USA has the absolute legal right” to what he wants and send migrants to sanctuary cities.

[Mediaite]

Trump threatens to send ‘gang members’ and ‘human traffickers’ to sanctuary cities in latest immigration meltdown

President Donald Trump again threatened to send asylum seekers to sanctuary cities.

“Democrats must change the immigration laws fast,” Trump demanded, despite nothing being done during the two years of his presidency that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

Trump then branded immigrants as “criminals of all shapes.”

“If not, sanctuary cities must immediately act to take care of the illegal immigrants – and this includes gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers, and criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds,” Trump continued.

“Change the laws now,” he demanded.

[Raw Story]

Donald Trump posts video of IIhan Omar with footage of NYC 9/11 attack

President Donald Trump posted a video criticizing freshmen Rep. Ilhan Omar, using footage of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 to denounce her recent comments about the attacks. 

The video was criticized by Democrats, who accused the president of using out-of-context comments and video of one of America’s most horrific and devastating terrorist attacks  to slam a political foe. 

The 43-second video, which Trump pinned to the top of his Twitter account, is set to dramatic music and shows the Twin Towers burning, New Yorkers covered in debris and the aftermath of the 2001 attack at the Pentagon. It is coupled with footage of Omar’s recent comments, referencing the attacks as, “something” done by “some people.” 

Omar has been heavily criticized by conservatives for the remarks, including by members of Congress and a Fox News host who questioned her allegiance to the United States. 

Democrats have argued the comments were taken out-of-context and Omar was attempting to differentiate terrorists from all Muslims. 

Trump’s video shows Omar’s comments repetitively then switches to a black screen with the words “some people did something?” The video then shows the moment one of the jetliners crashed into one of the towers and people running in fear as the buildings collapsed.

The video ends with the words “September 11, 2001. We remember” stretched across the screen. 

Democrats accused the president of jeopardizing Omar’s life with the post, arguing the content was geared to incite Trump followers. A New York man was arrested last week after allegedly threatening to kill Omar, one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress, by putting a “bullet in her (expletive) skull.”

Fellow freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has also been a target of Trump and other Republicans, called on fellow lawmakers to denounce the president and his attack on Omar. 

“Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today,” she wrote on Twitter. “@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out.”

Along with the call to fellow lawmakers, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., posted a photo of a display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The photo showed a quote at the museum from a theologian who was imprisoned during Adolf Hitler’s rule in Germany. 

[USA Today]

Trump told CBP head he’d pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law

During President Donald Trump’s visit to the border at Calexico, California, a week ago, where he told border agents to block asylum seekers from entering the US contrary to US law, the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN.

Two officials briefed on the exchange say the President told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.

It was not clear if the comment was a joke; the official was not given any further context on the exchange.The White House referred CNN to the Department of Homeland Security. A DHS spokesman told CNN, “

At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

[CNN]

Trump Says He Is Considering Releasing Migrants in ‘Sanctuary Cities’

President Trump said on Friday that his administration was “strongly” considering releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting that the idea should make liberals “very happy” because of their immigration policies.

“We are looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it to be honest with you,” he said on Friday in response to a question about the proposal.

“We might as well do what they always say they want,” Mr. Trump said if Democrats do not agree to new immigration policies. “We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it,” he said, adding that California welcomed the idea of more people coming to the state.

“We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply,” he said.

The comments came a day after the administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered. But after the president’s Twitter posts on Friday, a White House spokesman said Democrats should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts.

“Democrats say we must have open borders and that illegal immigrants have a right to be in this country at all costs,” the spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said, adding, “so they should be working with the administration to find the best ways to transport those illegal aliens that are already set for release, into communities in their districts and states.”

Democratic lawmakers do not want “open borders,” as the president has suggested. They favor improving border security, but they do not support many of Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration policy proposals, such as building a wall along the southwestern border.

Last year, Trump administration officials had floated the idea of transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, which do not strictly adhere to federal immigration laws, as a way to address the influx of migrants crossing the border with Mexico.

One of the highest-profile sanctuary cities is San Francisco, home to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the president’s top political rivals and a thorn in his efforts to change American immigration laws. The White House raised the proposal again in February, suggesting it could punish Democrats for rejecting budget requests for border security.

Ms. Pelosi’s office condemned the Trump administration for the idea, which the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday was ultimately rejected.

But Mr. Trump’s tweets on Friday indicated it was not off the table, and the president appeared to revel in the Democratic outrage, saying, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, a state with several sanctuary cities, criticized the president’s proposal.

“Trump’s plan to release migrants into ‘enemy’ cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible,” Mr. Markey tweeted. “Trump is obsessed with the border and sanctuary cities because he only wins by dividing people.”

There has been an influx of migrant families crossing the southern border into the United States, exceeding the staffing and resources available for immigration enforcement. And with a shortage of space in shelters and detention centers, immigration officials have been releasing migrants into the country as they wait to appear before an immigration court. Those courts are so backlogged with cases that it can be months or years before the migrants are called to appear before a judge.

[The New York Times]

Trump Laments Troops at Border Can’t Get ‘Rough’ Because People Would ‘Go Crazy’

During a roundtable in Texas on Wednesday, President Donald Trumplamented that troops on the United States border can’t can’t get a little “rough.”

“You don’t need drones…but if you don’t have a wall it is never going to happen” Trump began.

He then said border people are “fantastic” before insisting he was going to have to call up more military.

Then the president said this: “Our military, don’t forget, can’t act like a military would act because if they got a little rough everybody would go crazy. So our military can’t act like they would normally act — or like, let’s say, another military from another country would act.”

The roundtable was held in San Antonio. Trump was joined by local officials and ranchers. Trump is also set to attend a second fundraiser in Houston on Texas. According to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel the two fundraisers are expected to raise $6 million.

[Mediaite]

Trump whines about being called a racist in movie trailer-style campaign ad

President Donald Trump has released a new campaign ad that features swelling orchestral music, dramatic montages of him walking across airport tarmacs and a brand-new slogan for the 2020 election.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they call you racist,” the text at the beginning of the video, interspersed with images of the US Capitol building, former President Barack Obama and former Trump presidential rival Hillary Clinton, reads.

“Trump: The Great Victory” the video concludes at the end, potentially previewing a new campaign slogan.

As many political spectators on Twitter noted, the dramatic soundtrack to the video sounds a lot like Hans Zimmer’s theme from The Dark Knight Rises.

[Raw Story]

Trump calls Netanyahu ‘your prime minister’ at Jewish American event

Jewish American groups criticized President Donald Trump for calling Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu “your prime minister” during an address Saturday to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

“I stood with your prime minister at the White Hous to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” he told the audience at the RJC’s Annual Leadership conference in Las Vegas.

Some said that Trump’s conflation of American Jews with Israelis played into old anti-Semitic tropes about divided loyalties. 

“Mr. President, the Prime Minister of Israel is the leader of his (or her) country, not ours. Statements to the contrary, from staunch friends or harsh critics, feed bigotry,” the American Jewish Committee said in a response to Trump’s remark that was posted on Twitter. 

“Mr. President, words matter. As with all elected officials, its critical for you to avoid language that leads people to believe Jews aren’t loyal Americans,” tweeted Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. 

Greenblatt included a link to a November 2018 ADL blog post about the “dual loyalty” charge, which it calls an “anti-Semitic allegation” that “Jews should be suspected of being disloyal neighbors or citizens because their true allegiance is to their coreligionists around the world or to a secret and immoral Jewish agenda.”

[USA Today]

1 2 3 62