Trump Brags That Victims of Mass Shootings ‘Love’ Him: ‘They Love Their President’

President Donald Trump gushed over himself during a freewheeling press spray on Wednesday, insisting that victims of mass shootings adore him.

“I went to the hospitals,” Trump said when asked about his recent visits to hospitals in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio following two massacres that left 31 dead. Trump then made bizarre remarks on the victims, complaining that there was no media coverage of their adulation for him:

“The people that were so badly injured that I was with, they love our country. And frankly, do you want to know the truth? They love their president. And nobody wrote that. Nobody wrote that. Because you didn’t write the truth. New York Times doesn’t like to write the truth. They totally love our country and they do love our president. So when I went to Dayton, when I went to El Paso, and when I went into those hospitals, the love for me, and me maybe as a representative of the country, but for me, and my love for them, was unparalleled. If you read the papers, it was like nobody would meet with me. Not only did they meet with me, they were pouring out of the rooms. The doctors were coming out of the operating rooms. There were hundreds and hundreds of people all over the floor, you couldn’t even walk on it.”

[Mediaite]

Trump on guns: ‘We do have a lot of background checks right now’

President Donald Trumpon Sunday emphasized a need for the country to focus on “a very big mental health problem” in the wake of two mass shootings in one weekend that left 32 people dead earlier this month as he appeared to defend current US gun control measures, stating “we do have a lot of background checks right now.”

“It’s the people that pull the trigger, not the gun that pulls the trigger so we have a very, very big mental health problem and Congress is working on various things and I will be looking at it,” Trump told reporters on the tarmac before heading back to Washington after a vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

The White House, Trump said, is “very much involved” in the discussions Congress is having to address gun violence and while “a lot of things are happening on the gun level” he said “the concept of mental institutions” must be addressed.

“These are people that have to be in institutions for help, I’m not talking about as a form of a prison, I’m saying for help and I think it’s something we have to really look at, the whole concept of mental institutions,” he said. “I remember growing up we had mental institutions, then they were closed — in New York, I’m talking about — they were, many of them closed. A lot of them were closed and all of those people were put out on the street.”

“So I think the concept of mental institutions has to be looked at,” he said. 

Guns in America

Trump’s comments Sunday mark an increased focus from the President on mental health measures over gun control legislation to address gun violence as lawmakers remain skeptical gun control legislation could pass a divided Congress. 

Trump, who has previously expressed support for tighter gun restrictions only to back off under pressure from the National Rifle Association, added Sunday that he’s “very concerned about the Second Amendment.”

Meanwhile, two gun control groups mobilized to increase the pressure on senators to pass legislation in the wake of the two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action held rallies across the country this weekend after announcing Thursday that they would spend nearly $1 million on ads against a handful of Republican lawmakers. 

The effort from Everytown and Moms Demand comes as the NRA, its biggest adversary, has been noticeably absent from applying pressure on Capitol Hill allies to hold fast against strong forces for gun reform.

Support for background checks 

The Democrat-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February, but the measure has not been considered by the Republican-led Senate. Trump last week expressed an openness to background checks.

Speaking to a Kentucky radio station last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate will put the issues of background check legislation in addition to “red flag” laws “front and center” when the body reconvenes after its summer recess, but it will not return early as Democrats are demanding.

A mid-July NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 89% of Americans considered it a “good idea” to implement background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, with a nearly nonexistent partisan divide: 96% of Democrats, 89% of independents and 84% of Republicans called it a good idea.

[CNN]

El Paso’s Republican mayor says Trump called him a ‘RINO’ during visit after mass shooting

The Republican mayor of El Paso, Texas, said this week that President Trump referred to him as a “Republican in name only” – or “RINO” – when the president visited the city following a mass shooting.

Mayor Dee Margo (R) told “PBS Frontline” in an interview that aired Wednesday that Trump made the remark while the two held an impromptu meeting amid the president’s visit in the wake of a shooting that left 22 people dead.

During their discussion, Margo said, Trump called him a “RINO” after he objected to the president’s “misinformation” about crime in El Paso.

“He said, ‘You’re a RINO,’ and I said, ‘No, sir. I am not a RINO.’ I said, ‘I simply corrected the misinformation you were given by [the Texas] attorney general, and that’s all I did,'” Margo told Frontline, adding that his response prompted a grin from the president.

Margo earlier this year denounced Trump for saying in his State of the Union address that El Paso experienced a dramatic dip in crime after installing a border fence. The criticism came amid a push for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Margo tweeted shortly after the speech that “El Paso was never one of the most dangerous cities in the US.”

“We’ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity,” Margo wrote. “It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe.”

He later added that Trump may have been given incorrect information from the Texas attorney general about crime statistics during his previous visit to McAllen, Texas.

Days later, Trump took aim at Margo, saying during a February rally in El Paso that “people were full of crap” if they say a border fence hasn’t made a difference in reducing crime.

“There’s no place better to talk about border security, whether they like it or not,” Trump said at the time. “I’ve been hearing a lot of things. ‘Oh the wall didn’t make that much of a difference.'”

“I don’t care if a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat, they’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference,” he added.

Margo said his recent meeting with Trump occurred as the president traveled to the airport after visiting medical staff and shooting survivors in El Paso. The two discussed border security, according to Margo, who said he told Trump that a physical barrier is not a “panacea.”

“I said, ‘If you want to deal with immigration, the first thing you do is you have Homeland Security define what is a secure border and what they need in the way of resources to handle that,'” Margo said, adding that his comments about crime in El Paso seemed to “resonate” with Trump.

Asked about Trump calling his previous comments “full of crap,” Margo said he he hoped Trump “wouldn’t say that now, given our conversation.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[The Hill]

Trump lashes out at Fox News’s Shep Smith, says ‘fake news CNN is better’

President Trump on Wednesday renewed his criticism of Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, arguing that “Fake News CNN is better” and saying that he now tunes in to the conservative news outlet One America News Network whenever he gets the chance.

“Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted on a day when he visited first responders and survivors of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “Actually, whenever possible, I turn to [One America News Network]!”

It was not immediately clear what Trump’s tweet — which came during Smith’s daily program and while Trump was aboard Air Force One to El Paso — was referencing. 

Trump earlier Wednesday visited Dayton to meet with those impacted by a mass shooting over the weekend that left nine people dead. 

Smith acknowledged Trump’s tweet during his show Wednesday, saying, “Good afternoon, Mr. President. It’s nice to have you with us.”

The Hill has reached out to Fox News for comment.

Trump has repeatedly denounced the media during his presidency, often referring to it as “fake news” and the “enemy of the people.” But he has consistently praised Fox News and network hosts such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson. He has taken a different view of Smith, though. 

In March, the president derided Smith as the “lowest rated anchor,” saying that he should be working at CNN. 

Smith has consistently taken a critical view of Trump during his two-plus years in the White House. Among other things, he fact-checked Trump’s prime-time address on border security in January during his daily news program. 

Last month, he described Trump’s attacks on a group of minority congresswomen as a “misleading and xenophobic eruption of distraction and division.”

Trump has recently shown a greater willingness to condemn Fox News over what he views as unfair coverage. After the network aired a “F— Trump” chant from a bar in France in July, Trump claimed that Fox News was “changing fast” and forgetting “the people who got them there.”

He lashed out at the network again just weeks later after one of its polls showed him losing to former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2020 presidential matchup. 

“Fox News is at it again,” he tweeted. “So different from what they used to be.”

[The Hill]

Trump Attacks Ohio Senator After Leaving Visit to Dayton Shooting Victims: ‘Failed Presidential Candidate (0%)’

Shortly after departing Dayton, OH after visiting victims of Sunday’s mass shooting, President Donald Trump attacked the city’s mayor and one of Ohio’s senators.

In a pair of tweets while en route to El Paso, the president ripped Sen. Sherrod Brown(D-OH) and Dayton mayor Nan Whaley for comments they made in a news conference following the president’s visit Wednesday afternoon.

“Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders,” Trump wrote. It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love. Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally … misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing!”

In the news conference, Brown (who never officially declared himself a candidate for the presidency) said this when asked why he reversed course on taking part in Trump’s visit to Dayton, after originally balking.

“I didn’t want to in any way encourage the president’s racist talk and divisive talk,” Brown said. “I came because Mayor Whaley asked me to come.”

Whaley was critical of Washington at large, talking about what she views as the dim prospect of gun control legislation being enacted.

“I’m not holding my breath,” she said.

[Mediaite]

Trump Twitter rages at ‘BAD DEMOCRAT Disaster Bill” that he claims will hurt farmers

President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Capitol Hill Republicans to vote against a bill proving disaster assistance.

The commander-in-chief referred to the legislation as a “BAD DEMOCRAT” bill, writing in all capital letters.

Trump claimed the bill would harm states, farmers, and border security.

“We want to do much better than this. All sides keep working and send a good bill for immediate signing,” Trump demanded.

[Raw Story]

Reality

The major sticking point for Trump is the additional funding Democrats included to help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricane Maria severely damaged the island and killed 3,000 people. It amounts to more than $3 billion, including $600 million for nutrition assistance.

Trump has pushed back against giving more money to Puerto Rico, incorrectly stating that the federal government has already allocated $91 billion to help Puerto Rico. It’s actually promised about half of that amount and spent only $11 billion.

Trump continues to mislead on immigration and Puerto Rico disaster funding

During his rally in Florida Wednesday night, President Donald Trump hit on a lot of familiar themes — the strong economy, building the wall, defeating ISIS and the 2020 election.

Among his “greatest hits,” Trump also repeated several false claims he’s made in the past.

First, the President claimed that Puerto Rico had received $91 billion after being hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, adding that was the highest amount ever given to “anybody” for disaster relief.

Facts first: This is false. Not only has Puerto Rico not received $91 billion, even if it had that figure would still fall below the amount of federal money allocated to recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Trump has opposed efforts in Congress to increase disaster relief funding, in part because some of the money would go to Puerto Rico.

So far, roughly $42 billion in federal disaster relief funding has been allocated to Puerto Rico. Only about a quarter of that ($12 billion) has actually been spent.

The $91 billion Trump cites is based on estimated future spending. As administration officials told the Washington Post, the additional $50 billion comes from an “internal Office of Management and Budget estimate of the potential liabilities over the life of the disaster that would need to be committed under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988.”

In other words, the $91 billion is simply an estimate of what FEMA would have to spend to rebuild Puerto Rico, not what’s been allocated. This all comes as Congress battles over $17 billion in additional disaster fund relief, which includes funds for Puerto Rico.

In remarks Thursday afternoon, Trump repeated his $91 billion claims, again stating that Puerto Rico has gotten more money than it actually has.

The theoretical $91 billion is still less than the $114.5 billion the federal government spent on recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, causing an estimated $160 billion in economic damage.

[CNN]

Trump: I’ve Taken Better Care of Puerto Rico Than ‘Any Living Human Being’

President Donald Trump is dismissed criticisms from Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló on of how his administration has handled the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria.

Trump took questions from reporters on his way out of the White House on Thursday, during which, he was asked about those who’ve said his administration hasn’t done enough to help the Puerto Rico. The question comes amid reports from a recent luncheon where supposedly Trump grumbled that Puerto Rico is getting too much aid while they continue to recover from the devastation caused by Maria in 2017.

“I have taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever,” Trump proclaimed. “Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being.”

Trump continued by taking shots at Rosselló and San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz,, saying “they don’t know how to spend the money. They are not spending it wisely, but I’m giving them more money than they have ever gotten.”

While Trump’s dislike of Cruz is well-established by now, it was believed for some time that he and Rosselló were on decent terms with each other. However, Rosselló recently gave an interview to CNN where he said Trump has not provided the disaster relief he promised the island, with his administration blowing off repeated requests.

[Mediaite]

Trump administration doubles down on opposition to Puerto Rico funding

The White House doubled down Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s comments opposing disaster funding for Puerto Rico, drawing outrage from Democratic members of Congress and raising questions about the administration’s rationale.

On Tuesday, Trump told Republican legislators at a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting that Puerto Rico had gotten too much money to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. The amount “is way out of proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten,” Trump said, according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was in the room.

On Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told NBC News that while Puerto Rico is on track to receive tens of billions of dollars in unprecedented aid, “the Trump administration will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades-old spending crisis that has left the island with deep-rooted economic problems.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., who is Puerto Rican, blasted the administration’s comments in a statement.

“The President’s remarks as reported in the media have at long last laid bare the central reason for his Administration’s callous response to Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico,” said Velázquez, “namely that he does not value the lives of millions of American citizens who reside there.”

“For the President to vocally oppose and target aid to the most vulnerable in Puerto Rico is shameful, heartless and inexcusable,” the congresswoman added.

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico; its aftermath led to the deaths of at least 2,975 people and made it the deadliest U.S. natural disaster in a century. Trump has not yet publicly acknowledged or mourned the victims of the catastrophe following the revised figures.

On Wednesday, a White House official told NBC News on background some of the reasons why the administration was opposed to more spending.

But in doing so, the administration got some facts wrong.

The official said that the Puerto Rican government had not yet submitted a plan to fix the island’s power grid. However, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced on Tuesday that he’s ready to sign into law a bill approved by the Puerto Rican legislature that would determine how the island plans to privatize its public power authority, known as PREPA, and expand renewable energy.

The bill has been in the works for over a year, when the island’s government first announced its plans to privatize at least part of its power authority.

An official also said that Puerto Rican officials have mismanaged disaster funds that have been received.

The claim is not new; since last yearTrump has repeatedly asked Congress to stop providing relief and reconstruction money to Puerto Rico.

[NBC News]

Trump again swipes at Puerto Rico in closed door lunch with Republicans

President Donald Trump, in a closed door meeting Tuesday with Senate Republicans, again took a swipe at Puerto Rico’s fiscal management and the size of its disaster relief in the wake of damaging storms last week — and he brought a visual aid to try and back up his point, according to senators in the room.

Trump, as part of broader remarks that touched on everything from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and health care to trade and North Korea, went out of his way to point out the totals of disaster relief aid that has been distributed in the wake of a series of storms and hurricanes in 2017. It is an issue Trump has had for months — mentioning Puerto Rico’s finances and total disaster relief in negative terms repeatedly in meetings with lawmakers and staff as they’ve worked through iterations of the next disaster relief bill.

“The point was — are we spending the money wisely?” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican asked. “I have nothing against helping the people of Puerto Rico, but we have got to spend the money wisely.”

Trump, senators said, then utilized a chart to showed the difference between what Puerto Rico has received compared to other states like Texas and Florida. At one point, Trump noted that Puerto Rico has received more than $90 billion in aid. Congressional officials asked about the total mentioned by Trump that didn’t track with what Congress has provided in aid up to this point.

“He just talked about the sum total of it,” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, told reporters of Trump’s Puerto Rico riff.

“I agree that you should always be accounting for how money is spent, but Puerto Rico certainly has needs that were different than some of these other places,” Rubio added, noting the island had been hit by multiple storms and was already in dire financial straits before that damage occurred.

Asked for comment on the senators’ description of Trump’s remarks, the White House responded in a statement.

“The Trump Administration is committed to the complete recovery of Puerto Rico. The island has received unprecedented support and is on pace to receive tens of billions of dollars from taxpayers. However, the Trump Administration will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades old spending crisis that has left the island with deep-rooted economic problems.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said Trump was “making the point that Puerto Rico has gotten a lot of money before and a lot of it hadn’t been spent wisely, and I think that’s a given.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló blasted Trump’s reported comments in a lengthy statement, saying they “are below the dignity of a sitting President of the United States. They continue to lack empathy, are irresponsible, regrettable and, above all, unjustified.”

He said Puerto Rico has spent disaster aid responsibly and suggested that “Trump is receiving misleading information from his own staff.”

“I invite the President to stop listening to ignorant and completely wrong advice,” Rosselló said. “Instead he should come to Puerto Rico to hear firsthand from the people on the ground. I invite him to put all of the resources at his disposal to help Americans in Puerto Rico, like he did for Texas and Alabama. No more, no less.”

The issue of Puerto Rico — and the President’s stated frustration with what the island has received up to this point — is coming to a head now as lawmakers work to reach a deal on a disaster relief package. Senate Republicans, who unveiled their own $13.4 billion version Tuesday, include $600 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, for the island. The Senate voted Tuesday to begin consideration of the bill.

But the GOP effort falls short of what House Democrats are pushing for regarding aid to Puerto Rico.

“House Democrats oppose this bill because it does not adequately address disaster relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and the territories,” Evan Hollander, spokesman for House Appropriations Committee, said of the Senate bill. “If the Senate passes this bill, we will insist on going to conference to ensure that we meet the needs of all Americans.”

A spokesperson for Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said that the topic of funding for Puerto Rico is an “ongoing conversation” between Trump and Scott.

“His view is that we need to get this bill done now since both Florida and Puerto Rico need this funding now,” spokesman Chris Hartline said. “The senator is committed to fighting for the people of Puerto Rico in the US Senate. It’s why his first floor speech and his first amendment filed was on nutrition assistance funding for Puerto Rico.”

[CNN]

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