Trump says he wanted to give himself Medal of Honor

President Donald Trump claimed to laughter on Wednesday that he sought to give himself a Medal of Honor, but decided not to after being counseled against the move by aides.

The offhand remark from the president came during his address to the 75th annual national convention of American Veterans, a volunteer-led veterans service organization also known as AMVETS.

At the event in Louisville, Kentucky, Trump singled out for praise WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams.

“Thank you, Woody. You’re looking good, Woody. Woody’s looking good,” Trump said.

“That was a big day, Medal of Honor. Nothing like the Medal of Honor,” he continued. “I wanted one, but they told me I don’t qualify, Woody. I said, ‘Can I give it to myself anyway?’ They said, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’”

Amid scattered chuckles, Trump concluded: “Great, great people. These are great, great men and women that get congressional Medal of Honor. Thank you, Woody.”

The president’s assessment that he should receive the nation’s highest award for acts of military valor followed his statement earlier Wednesday afternoon that he is “the chosen one” in relation to his administration’s trade conflict with China — a proclamation he turned to the sky to deliver.

Trump never served in the military and was granted five draft deferments — four for college and one for bone spurs in his heel.

[Politico]

Trump Called The Danish Prime Minister “Nasty” After He Canceled A Visit Because She Won’t Sell Greenland

A bizarre diplomatic row, even by the standards of the Trump administration, dragged on Wednesday as the US president said the way Denmark’s prime minister dismissed his idea of buying Greenland was “nasty.”

On Tuesday, President Trump abruptly canceled a planned state visit to Denmark after Mette Frederiksen, the Danish PM, firmly rejected his stated wish to buy Greenland, the semi-autonomous island home to 56,000 people.

Frederiksen had labelled the idea of the US purchasing Greenland an “absurd discussion” to be having.

But while he initially thanked the Danish PM on Twitter for “being so direct,” in remarks to journalists as he departed the White House on Wednesday, Trump branded her comment as “nasty.”

“I thought the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea, was nasty. I thought it was inappropriate. All she had to do was say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested,'” Trump said.

“She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America,” the president added. “You don’t talk to the United States that way.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Frederiksen expressed “regret and surprise” at September’s state visit being canceled, as she reiterated once more that Greenland was not for sale.

“I had been looking forward to the visit and preparations were well underway,” Frederiksen told journalists in Copenhagen in a statement delivered in Danish and English. “It was an opportunity to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US, which remains one of Denmark’s closest allies.”

She added, “This does not change the character of our good relations [with the US], and we will of course from Denmark continue our ongoing dialogue with the US on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing.”

Only hours before Trump canceled the state visit, the American ambassador, Carla Sands, tweeted excitedly about the president’s upcoming visit.

But on Wednesday she was in damage control mode.

Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, had been invited by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. Denmark’s state broadcaster quoted a royal spokesperson as saying that Trump’s announcement “came as a surprise.”

“That’s all we have to say about that,” the spokesperson added.

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was more direct. “Is this some sort of joke?” she wrote on Twitter after Trump canceled the state visit.

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that Trump had raised the possibility of buying Greenland, and he confirmed Sunday that such a purchase had been discussed because of the island’s strategic location and natural resources.

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done,” Trump said. “It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss.”

He later tweeted a meme of a Trump Tower–style skyscraper in a settlement in Greenland.

But any such sale was firmly ruled out by Denmark and Greenland, which is self-governing in all respects apart from foreign policy and defense.

Speaking in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, on Sunday, Frederiksen said the sale of Greenland was not even up for discussion, pointing out, for one thing, that Greenland belongs to Greenland, not Denmark.

“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over,” she told a TV reporter. “Let’s leave it there.”

[Buzzfeed]

Trump officials unveil rule allowing indefinite migrant family detentions

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it would unveil a new rule that would allow migrant families to be held indefinitely, ending a procedure known as the Flores Settlement Agreement that requires children to be held no longer than 20 days.

The decision is a momentous change in detainee policy that the administration has sought as a disincentive for people crossing the border. 

“This rule allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement.

Under the new system, immigrant families could be held for the duration of their court proceedings, which officials claim could be resolved within three months.

McAleenan said the new rule takes aim at a 2015 “reinterpretation of the Flores Settlement Agreement” in which a California district court ruled accompanied minors are subject to the same detention limits as unaccompanied minors.

The 2015 change, McAleenan said, “has generally forced the government to release families into the country after just 20 days, incentivizing illegal entry, adding to the growing backlog in immigration proceedings, and often delaying immigration proceedings for many years.”

The Trump administration has frequently blamed Flores for the spike in family border crossings over the last few years, claiming the promise of eventual release creates an incentive to enter the country illegally. On Wednesday, it defended the change as closing a “loophole exploited by human smugglers.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), however, panned the move, saying it will “put even more stress on our immigration system and add to the chaos the Administration continues to create.”

“The Trump Administration has managed to find a new low in its continued despicable treatment of migrant children and families. Terminating the Flores settlement is illegal and goes against our longstanding American values about the treatment of children,” Thompson said in a statement.

The new rule would establish new standards for conditions in detention centers while simultaneously removing the 20-day maximum detention limit that has existed since the original 1997 court ruling.

“Large numbers of alien families are entering illegally across the southern border, hoping that they will be released into the interior rather than detained during their removal proceedings,” the two agencies that created the rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

“Promulgating this rule and seeking termination of the FSA [Flores Settlement Agreement] are important steps towards an immigration system that is humane and operates consistently with the intent of Congress.”

The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Friday and will be effective 60 days later — if it is approved by the courts.

However, the process is likely to take significantly longer.

“Obviously, there will be litigation, as you know, all new immigration rules have faced litigation in my career,” said McAleenan.

Under the terms of the 1997 consent decree that eventually led to the 20-day limit in Flores, the regulation must be approved by Judge Dolly M. Gee of United States District Court for the Central District of California, who heard the original case.

Gee, who was appointed by President Obama, denied the administration’s request last year to extend family detentions after a 2015 ruling that officials could not hold unaccompanied children in unlicensed facilities longer than 20 days.

The upcoming litigation means the proposed rule could be significantly delayed or sidetracked in the courts.

“This rule contemplates terminating the Flores Settlement Agreement. And actually, there’s a legal proceeding just to do that coming out of the implementation. So we do expect litigation but we do hope to be able to implement as soon as possible,” said McAleenan.

Trump officials have sought to address Gee’s concerns with indefinite detention by creating a federal government licensing regime which includes public audits of facilities conducted by a third party.

And McAleenan painted a rosy picture of family detention units under the new rule.

“For example, the first family residential center in Berks, Pa., has a suite for each family [to be] housed separately. Furniture, bedding, towels, clothing and toiletries are provided,” said McAleenan.

He added the facilities would include medical care and educational wings, as well as leisure activities for detainees.

But DHS has bed space for 2,500 to 3,000 individuals in family units at current funding levels, a fraction of the number of Central Americans who claim asylum every month.

McAleenan blamed Congress, where Democrats worked to limit the administration’s capability to detain immigrants, for the limited facilities.

“Just a quick reminder, we did ask Congress for additional family beds in the 2019 budget process and the supplemental, and we did not receive them. So I think that’s important to recall,” said McAleenan.

Additional legal challenges to the rule are likely from immigration advocacy groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought several Trump administration immigration policies, slammed the rule as “yet another cruel attack on children.”

“The government should NOT be jailing kids, and certainly shouldn’t be seeking to put more kids in jail for longer,” the group tweeted.

“This is yet another cruel attack on children, who this administration has targeted again and again with its anti-immigrant policies.”

McAleenan said the “multihundred-page rule” would preserve the original intent of Flores, granting asylum-seeking families a safe place to live while their cases go through immigration courts.

The rule comes amid a flood of federal action to limit both legal and illegal immigration, and another lengthy rule to submit documented immigrants to a “public charge” test that’s been shown to be rife with inconsistencies.

That rule would make a receipt of public benefits, like food stamps or Medicaid, a negative factor when considering a noncitizen’s application for a visa or green card.

Earlier in the summer, the administration announced a rule expanding authority for expedited deportation, where immigration cases are not reviewed by judges, from within 100 miles of the border to anywhere in the U.S.

It also promulgated a rule which would deny asylum claims for immigrants who pass through another country before reaching the southern border.

All of those moves, which experts say would severely limit immigration, face legal challenges.

[The Hill]

US President Trump reiterates call for Russia to rejoin ‘G8’

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump noted that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8 “because Putin outsmarted him”.

“But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” Trump said, just days before a G7 summit — minus Russia — in Biarritz, France.

Trump added, “I could certainly see it being the G8 again. If someone would make that motion, I would be disposed to think about it favourably…. “They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Russia pushed out after Crimea

Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

It was not the first time Trump has floated the idea of Russia getting back together with the G7, which groups the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

In June 2018, Trump suggested Russia should attend a forthcoming G7 summit in Canada. A Kremlin spokesman seemed to reject the idea, saying Russia was focused on other formats.

Two days later, President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not choose the G7 and would be happy to host its members in Moscow.

Trump has periodically called for closer ties with Russia, although his administration’s policy has included strong sanctions against Moscow.

He is due to host the next G7 meeting in the United States next year.

[France24]

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

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

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

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

[Raw Story]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Salon]

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

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

His tweet appeared to be tongue in cheek.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Fox News]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[The Hill]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Vox]

Trump praises his rally audience for not acting like ‘credible people’ after ‘CNN sucks’ chant

President Donald Trump praised an unruly crowd at a 2020 re-election campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Trump was falsely claiming that China is paying for the tariffs in his trade war when he went off on the press.

“But when you listen to the fake news — look how many there are,” he said as he gazed out to the press area.

He then stepped back from the microphone as his supporters booed the concept of a free press.

The crowd started chanting, “CNN sucks.”

“Are we sure that we are in New Hampshire?” Trump asked. “You know, you have a reputation
— I know it is not true because I know you too well. You have a reputation of being staid, very elegant, staid, and credible people. You are not acting it tonight and that’s good.

[Raw Story]

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