Trump mocks ‘elites’ at campaign rally

President Trump mocked the elite class at a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota on Wednesday, saying he has a better apartment than they do.

“Why are they elite? I have a much better apartment than they do,” Trump told supporters.

“I’m smarter than they are. I became president and they didn’t. And I’m representing the best people on earth, the deplorables,” he continued, referring to the term his former opponent Hillary Clinton used to once describe his supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The president was at the rally to support Republican candidate Pete Stauber, and was joined by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sean Duffy(R-Wis.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.).

The rally came hours after the president signed an executive order intended to end family separations at the southern border, giving into bipartisan pressure to end the policy.

Trump invoked immigration at the rally, vowing to defend the U.S. border.

“I will always fight for an immigration system that defends our borders, and takes care of our sovereignty as a nation,” Trump said. “I will never sacrifice the safety and security of the American people.”

Trump also took an opportunity at the rally to slam the news media.

“So we’ve created 3.4 million new jobs since Election Day,” Trump told the crowd of supporters.

“And I’ve said before if I would have said that to you during the campaign, those very dishonest people back there, the fake news. Very dishonest.”

[The Hill]

Rally crowd chants ‘CNN sucks’ after Trump rips media

The crowd at President Trump‘s Wednesday campaign rally in Duluth, Minn., erupted into chants of “CNN sucks” after the president ripped the news media.

“So we’ve created 3.4 million new jobs since Election Day,” Trump told the crowd of supporters.

“And I’ve said before if I would have said that to you during the campaign, those very dishonest people back there, the fake news. Very dishonest,” he continued to boos from the crowd.

“They would have said he’s exaggerating,” Trump said to chants of “CNN sucks.”

The White House has a very tense relationship with the press, which Trump has repeatedly dismissed as “fake news.”

The president was at the rally to support Republican candidate Pete Stauber, who shared the stage with the president for a short time.

“Like President Trump, I love this country. I love our freedoms. And I love our Constitution,” Stauber said.

Trump was joined at the event by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.).

The rally comes hours after Trump gave into bipartisan pressure, and signed an executive order intended to end family separations at the southern border.

[The Hill]

Media

Trump blames ‘fake news’ media for aiding smugglers, human traffickers

President Trump on Tuesday blamed yet another entity for the growing immigration crisis on the U.S. southern border: the news media.

During a speech to a small-business group in Washington, Trump said the “fake news” reports about children being separated from their families at the border are aiding human traffickers.

“They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe,” Trump said of the media. “They know exactly what they’re doing.”

The president accused news outlets of covering child separations more than congressional hearings about an inspector general report about the Hillary Clinton email probe “because those hearings are not good for them.”

“The whole thing is a scam,” he told members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

The president also took aim at Mexico, accusing America’s southern neighbor of not doing enough to stop illegal border crossings.

“They come up through Mexico — Mexico does nothing for us,” Trump said. “They could stop it. They have very strong laws. Try staying in Mexico for a couple days see how long that lasts.”

The explosive remarks are the latest sign Trump is not backing down from his administration’s “zero tolerance” stance on illegal immigration, despite growing opposition at home and around the world.

Roughly 2,000 children have been separated from family members as a result of his administration’s decision to prosecute almost everyone who crosses the southern border illegally and jail them while awaiting trial.

The children are placed in juvenile detention facilities near the border because they cannot be held in custody with their adult guardians.

Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans later on Tuesday afternoon to discuss immigration measures slated for floor votes this week.

The president said he would be briefed on the proposals and then is “going to make changes” to them. That comment appeared to undercut his own staff, who said last week the president would sign both measures.

The president said he wants Congress to grant him “the legal authority to detain and properly remove families together as a unit,” a provision included in legislation written by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“We have to be able to do this,” he said. “This is the only solution to the border crisis.”

He also questioned the need for more judges to handle immigration cases, something supported by lawmakers in both parties and his own Justice Department.

“I don’t want judges,” he said. “I want border security. I don’t want to try people. I don’t want people coming in.”

Trump also offered a confusing justification of the practice of separating children from their families at the border, something his top aides have also struggled to defend.

“I don’t want children taken away from parents,” Trump said, blaming the problem on a tangled web of “Democrat-supported loopholes” in immigration law he said he wants to close.

But in the next sentence, Trump said the separations are the intended consequence of a policy meant to deter illegal immigration.

“When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,” he said.

His comments reflect the contradictory remarks offered by members of his own team.

Department of Health and Human Services official Steve Wagner told reporters on Tuesday that “the new policy will result in a deterrence effect and we certainly hope parents stop bringing kids on this dangerous journey.”

That came one day after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsensaid she finds it “offensive” for reporters to suggest the child separations are an intended effect of the administration’s policy.

[The Hill]

US leaving UN Human Rights Council — ‘a cesspool of political bias’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday, accusing the body of bias against US ally Israel and a failure to hold human rights abusers accountable.

The move, which the Trump administration has threatened for months, came down one day after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border as “unconscionable.”
Speaking from the State Department, where she was joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley defended the move to withdraw from the council, saying US calls for reform were not heeded.
“Human rights abusers continue to serve on, and be elected to, the council,” said Haley, listing US grievances with the body. “The world’s most inhumane regimes continue to escape its scrutiny, and the council continues politicizing scapegoating of countries with positive human rights records in an attempt to distract from the abusers in its ranks.”

‘Deeply disappointed’

“For too long,” Haley said, “the Human Rights Council has been a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias.”
Based in Geneva, the Human Rights Council is a body of 47 member states within the United Nations tasked with upholding human rights.
Membership on the council gives countries like the United States a voice in important debates over human rights atrocities, but the council’s critics, including Haley, say abusers use their membership to guarantee their own impunity.
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a statement: “Today the U.S. took a stand against some of the world’s worst human rights violators by withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. By elevating and protecting human rights violators and engaging in smear campaigns against democratic nations, the UNHRC makes a mockery of itself, its members, and the mission it was founded on. For years, the UNHRC has engaged in ever more virulent anti-American, and anti-Israel invective and the days of U.S. participation are over.”
The UN expressed disappointment. “The Secretary-General would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council,” Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said in response to the US announcement. “The UN’s Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.”
The move was immediately condemned by a dozen charitable groups, who wrote to Pompeo to say they were “deeply disappointed with the Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council, the premier intergovernmental human rights body at the global level.”

‘A so-called Human Rights Council’

“This decision is counterproductive to American national security and foreign policy interests and will make it more difficult to advance human rights priorities and aid victims of abuse around the world,” they added.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s secretary-general, said: “Once again President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice.”
US withdrawal from the council follows efforts by Haley and the US delegation to implement reforms, including more stringent membership criteria and the ability to remove members with egregious human rights records.
“When a so-called Human Rights Council cannot bring itself to address the massive abuses in Venezuela and Iran, and it welcomes the Democratic Republic of Congo as a new member, the council ceases to be worthy of its name,” said Haley. “Such a council, in fact, damages the cause of human rights.”
Haley also blasted the council for a “disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel,” citing a series of resolutions highlighting alleged abuses by the Israeli government of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
Haley said the United States will continue to promote human rights outside of the council and would consider rejoining it in the future if reforms are made.
“We have used America’s voice and vote to defend human rights at the UN every day,” she said, “and we will continue to do so.”

[CNN]

Corey Lewandowski Mocks Disabled Migrant Girl Who Was Separated From Parents: ‘Womp Womp’

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski mocked a story about a migrant child with down syndrome who was taken from her mother by mimicking sad trombone noises and saying “womp womp.”

Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas, who was debating Lewandowski on the issue of undocumented migrant families being split apart by border officials, fiercely responded: “How dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir.”

When Lewandowski responded by falsely claiming the policy existed under the Obama administration, Petkanas fact checked him.

“This policy was not done during the administration,” the strategist said. “You are now lying about this policy, in addition to just saying, ‘womp, womp.’”

Petkanas continued:

“The difference now is they are accompanied minors, but the Trump Administration is forcibly making them unaccompanied minors when they take them from their parents and put them in cages. And we have members of the Trump team who are going wah wah when you learn about the stories — the horror that is going on down at the border.”

Lewandowski replied by arguing that “coming across the border illegally is a crime,” and criminals get separated from their children when they go to jail, therefore migrant kids should be taken from their parents too.

[Mediaite]

Youngest migrants held in ‘tender age’ shelters

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

Decades after the nation’s child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents.

“The thought that they are going to be putting such little kids in an institutional setting? I mean it is hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” said Kay Bellor, vice president for programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, which provides foster care and other child welfare services to migrant children. “Toddlers are being detained.”

Bellor said shelters follow strict procedures surrounding who can gain access to the children in order to protect their safety, but that means information about their welfare can be limited.

By law, child migrants traveling alone must be sent to facilities run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within three days of being detained. The agency then is responsible for placing the children in shelters or foster homes until they are united with a relative or sponsor in the community as they await immigration court hearings.

But U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement last month that the government would criminally prosecute everyone who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border illegally has led to the breakup of migrant families and sent a new group of hundreds of young children into the government’s care.

The United Nations, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers and religious groups have sharply criticized the policy, calling it inhumane.

Not so, said Steven Wagner, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services.

“We have specialized facilities that are devoted to providing care to children with special needs and tender age children as we define as under 13 would fall into that category,” he said. “They’re not government facilities per se, and they have very well-trained clinicians, and those facilities meet state licensing standards for child welfare agencies, and they’re staffed by people who know how to deal with the needs — particularly of the younger children.”

[Associated Press]

Trump Explains That “You Have to Take the Children Away” in Unhinged Speech to Small-Business Owners

In a defensive and rambling speech in which the president was clearly venting frustration over the rising tide of bipartisan outrage over the policy that separates migrant families, Donald Trump told an audience of small-business owners a series of falsehoods and dramatic, fear-mongering warnings as he doubled down on his now familiar justifications for child separation.

While reserving blame for the Democrats (who, he said, support “open borders” because they consider MS-13 gang members future Democrat voters and who forced this outcome by building loopholes in the immigration laws) and Mexico (“They do nothing for us”), Trump still seemed to take some ownership of the policy, justifying it as a necessary step in protecting the border. “When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,” he said.

The speech, delivered to the National Federation of Independent Businesses on Tuesday, dealt much more with immigration than with small-business issues, as Trump has appeared to become increasingly agitated in the face of both Democrats and Republicanscalling his administration’s policy cruel and inhumane.

But the president did deliver a strange set of remarks about trade and tariffs, with a warning to Canada that its tariffs are too high, meaning “we’re treated horribly.” He shared a strange example:

The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle them in. They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff them up. They make them sound old or look old.

It’s unclear where he pulled this anecdote from. He concluded, “No, we have to change our ways. We can no longer be the stupid country. We want to be the smart country.”

But the president’s most inflammatory statements came when he spoke about Central American migrants, who, in one of his more fearmongering speeches, he described as violent people, often either bringing gang violence to the country or trafficking children. Some highlights from the speech:

People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process, and frankly, they endanger all of our children. You see what happens with MS-13 where your sons and daughters are attacked violently. Kids that never even heard of such a thing are being attacked violently. Not with guns but with knives because it’s much more painful.

And remember, these countries that we give tremendous foreign aid to in many cases, they send these people up, and they’re not sending their finest. Does that sound familiar? Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? ‘Oh, that’s so terrible what he said.’ It turned out I was 100 percent right. That’s why I got elected.

Trump also cited some false or misleading facts in his speech to bolster his anti-immigrant views, including his assertion that since Germany began accepting a large number of refugees, the country’s crime has increased by 10 percent. Germany’s crime levels are actually at a 25-year low.

Trump also portrayed migrants as savvy and able to hire lawyers who tell them exactly what to say to be released, allowing them to leave and never return for their court date. In reality, many asylum-seekers are left to navigate the asylum process without the help of any legal counsel, and a significant percentage do return for their hearing.

And he rambled about the large number of judges “they” want at the border. It’s unclear who he was saying wanted “thousands and thousands” of judges, though Ted Cruz has said he would increase the number of judges in his proposed immigration plan.

And he finally made a promise that he would withhold aid from the migrants’ home countries:

Hundreds of millions of dollars we give to some of these countries, and they send them up. Well, I’m going to go very shortly for authorization that when countries abuse us by sending their people up – not their best – we’re not going to give any more aid to those countries. Why the hell should we?

And for a little personal color in his attack on Democrats, who, he said, did a terrible job of letting people know what they stood for, he said his opposing party united around an anti-Trump message which, essentially, was too mean. “I used to go home, I started disliking myself,” he said. “It’s true. I said, man, am I that bad?”

Trump also hit some of his other traditional points. He boasted about the economy. He bragged about his election, “a beautiful thing.” And he threw in accusations that the “fake news” media were actively aiding criminals: “They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe,” he said. “They know it, they know exactly what they’re doing, and it should be stopped.”

[Slate]

Media

 

Donald Trump accuses Canadians of smuggling shoes home from U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called Canada “brutal,” accused Canada’s prime minister of being “weak,” and taken aim at Canada’s supply management system for dairy.

Now he is calling Canadians shoe smugglers.

Speaking to the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Washington on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Americans are “treated horribly” by Canadians who return home with U.S.-purchased shoes they have smuggled across the border. (CHRIS KLEPONIS – POOL / GETTY IMAGES)

In the latest salvo in the president’s multi-front attack on Canadian trade practices, Trump told a story Tuesday about Canadians who cross the U.S. border to buy shoes. The tale left trade experts and apparel industry officials scratching their heads.

Trump launched into it while delivering a rambling speech, focused on illegal immigration, to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“There was a story two days ago in a major newspaper talking about people living in Canada coming to the United States and smuggling things back into Canada because the tariffs are so massive. The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle ‘em in,” Trump said, apparently referring to an essay in the New York Post by Canadian journalist Isabel Vincent. “They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff ’em up. They make them sound old or look old. No, we’re treated horribly.”

There was a grain of truth to the story. Crossing the border to shop in the U.S. and then sneaking an item or two past customs on the way back is a time-honoured Canadian pastime. On Twitter, several Canadians immediately confessed to making furtive attempts to make their new shoes look well-worn.

But there is no indication that any of this has anything to do with tariffs. And Trump’s claim that this shop-and-hide practice results in the U.S. being mistreated makes no sense at all, trade and apparel experts said.

The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the U.S. industry’s lobby group, said in a statement: “The president seems misinformed about footwear trade.”

“On behalf of the American footwear industry, we welcome anyone from anywhere to come and purchase shoes in America. It helps both our brands and retailers grow. Period,” the group said. “We don’t care where they wear them, and if they get scuffed up all the better so we can sell them more.”

Under NAFTA, there are no Canadian tariffs on shoes manufactured in the U.S. Since more than 95 per cent of shoes sold in the U.S. are made abroad, any Canadian shoppers avoiding Canada’s tariffs upon their return home are actually avoiding tariffs on foreign-made items, mostly made-in-Asia goods.

In other words, Trump was complaining about Canadians spending money at U.S. stores and then refusing to pay the Canadian government for goods made in other countries — a process that does not victimize the U.S. in any way.

“There doesn’t seem to be an issue. I’m not sure why we’re talking about this. Yet again, we’re being led down this path when there really isn’t anything there,” said Bob Kirke, executive director of the Canadian Apparel Federation. “I feel like I’m going down the rabbit hole here.”

In a tweet to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the U.S. industry group added: “The US Footwear Industry welcomes you and all Canadians to come buy shoes in America! As many as you want — and scuff them up if you want, we can sell you more!”

Kirke said he doesn’t think “there’s any negotiation or discussion around footwear tariffs or rules of origin in the current NAFTA negotiation. Zero. Zip.” And he said lower shoe prices in the U.S. are a result of the competitiveness of the U.S. retail market, not tariffs.

“Both countries have tariffs on imported footwear,” said Karl Littler, vice-president of public affairs at the Retail Council of Canada. “His critique of Canada he might level at the U.S. system as well.”

Canadians don’t have to pay duties on their first $200 in purchases if they’re in the U.S. for 24 hours. They get an $800 exemption if they’re away 48 hours.

Another cross-border shopping issue has been significant in NAFTA talks: Canada’s $20 threshold, one of the lowest in the world, for duties on shipments mailed from abroad. The U.S. threshold is $800, and the Trump administration has called on Canada to raise its own.

On Tuesday, Trump again floated the idea of making separate deals with Canada and Mexico rather than preserving the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also made some of his usual false claims about the trade balance with Canada, and he again criticized Canada’s dairy tariffs.

“We can no longer be the stupid country. We want to be the smart country. So hopefully we’ll be able to work it out with Canada. We have very good relationships with Canada, we have for a long time, and hopefully that’ll work out, but Canada’s not going to take advantage of the United States any longer. And Mexico’s not going to take advantage of the United States any longer,” he said.

Trump also scoffed at Trudeau’s argument against the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump imposed on “national security” grounds. Trudeau has invoked the Canadian soldiers who have fought and died with American soldiers. On Tuesday, Trump paraphrased the argument with a hint of mockery.

“By the way, Canada, they like to talk,” Trump said to laughter. “They’re our great neighbour. They fought World War II with us. We appreciate it. They fought World War I with us, and we appreciate it. But we’re protecting each other.”

[Toronto Star]

Trump suggests immigrant kids he’s holding hostage are crisis actors

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that the immigrant children being held at detention facilities in the United States are being trained to lie in order to gain unlawful entry into the country.

While speaking at the National Federation of Independent Business, Trump defiantly said that he would not be changing his administration’s policies on separating immigrant children from their families.

Specifically, Trump said that immigrant children were coached to make false statements about the reasons they are fleeing their home countries to gain entrance to the United States.

“They tell these people exactly what to say,” Trump alleged. “They say, ‘Say the following.’ They write it down. ‘I am being harmed in my country. My country is extremely dangerous. I fear for my life.’”

Trump then said that such statements were “given to them by lawyers who are waiting for them to come up” to the United States.

Finally, Trump said that refugees fleeing violence in their home countries were simply lying about the reasons for wanting to come to the United States.

“They’re not coming for that reason,” he said. “They’re coming up for many other reasons.”

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump Says Democrats Want Immigrants to ‘Infest’ the U.S.

One of the paradoxes of modern-day American politics is that white identity politics can be a potent political platform, as long as you don’t call it that. Policies with racist effects are often popular; explicit racism is verboten.

Thus Donald Trump can win the presidency while running, as my colleague Adam Serwer documented, on a program of discrimination, but when Corey Stewart, a Republican politician in Virginia, makes his white-identity politics too explicit he gets shunned by the GOP.

Sometimes, however, the president’s mask slips, usually at moments of national crisis, and he says the quiet part loud, as The Simpsons memorably put it. This happened after race riots in Charlottesville, when Trump insisted there were good people among the white-supremacist marchers. And it’s happening again now in the context of separating families at the borders.

After days of insisting, falsely, that the separations were the result of some Democratic-passed law, the president has partially shifted gears, defending the policy in a series of tweets. The most shocking is this one, with its description of unauthorized immigrants as an “infestation”:

[The Atlantic]

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