Trump encourages boycott against Harley-Davidson

President Donald Trump said it’s “great” that consumers might boycott Harley-Davidson if it moves some motorcycle production overseas.

The President tweeted about the potential boycott on Sunday

“Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great!” Trump wrote. “Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.”

Harley-Davidson did not respond to request for comment on Sunday.

Trump’s remark came after the President hosted “Bikers for Trump” supporters at his golf club in Bedminister, New Jersey, over the weekend.Dozens of bikers descended on the posh club house, where Trump shook hands, posed for selfies and delivered an enemy-bashing speech to a cheering crowd, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Tensions between the administration and Harley-Davidson have brewed for months.

It started when Trump imposed hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports earlier this year in an effort to bolster domestic manufacturing. The European Union responded by pledging to raise tariffs on a list of goods that are imported from the United States, including Harley motorcycles.

American demand for motorcycles has waned while foreign interest has grown. So, that wasn’t good news for the Wisconsin-based bike manufacturer.
Harley said it stands to lose as much as $100 million a year, and the company pledged to shift some of its production abroad so that it could avoid the added tariffs on motorcycles sold in the EU.

Trump accused Harley of using the European retaliatory tariffs as “an excuse” for moving manufacturing abroad. Trump, echoing a top union for Harley workers, claimed the company planned to shift some operations to Thailand before the tariffs were announced.

Harley acknowledged it already had been moving some production abroad, but said moving more production overseas was the “only sustainable option” in the face of a trade war.

The President also said last month his administration was “working with other Motor Cycle companies who want to move into the U.S.”

[CNN]

Trump threatens ‘to get involved’ in manic conspiracy meltdown over ongoing FBI investigation

Out of nowhere — and possibly as a distraction to some upcoming news — President Donald Trump attacked the FBI on Saturday morning by demanding they turn over files on [Rformer FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to outside conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch.

Once again alleging a conspiracy, Trump tweeted, “Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text massages [sic] to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities. FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people.”

He later added, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”

You can see screenshots of the original tweets below which were deleted to correct the usual Trump typos:

[Raw Story]

‘She’s a low life’: President Trump attacks Omarosa ahead of scathing tell-all book release

President Donald Trump called his former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, a “low life” on Saturday. His comment came in response to a question about Newman’s tell-all book, in which she calls Trump a “racist” suffering from “mental decline.”

Trump made the remark during a bikers rally with motorcycle-riding supporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president is vacationing at his golf resort.

After shaking hands with the bikers for five minutes, Trump stood back atop the dais and asked the crowd for their thoughts on the press, according to the White House pool report. The president responded to one question from a reporter in the press pool about Newman and her new book.

“Lowlife,” Trump responded. “She’s a lowlife.”

Here are some of the takeaways from Newman’s memoir, titled “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House”.

  • She now believes the president to whom she was loyal for 14 years is “a racist, a bigot and a misogynist.” His biggest personality flaw is a complete lack of empathy for others, she writes.
  • She believes the president is in “mental decline” and physically unwell.
  • She believes a deeply unhappy first lady Melania Trump “is counting every minute until (her husband) is out of office and she can divorce him.”

[USA Today]

Media

White House rips Omarosa in blistering statement

The White House on Friday unloaded on a new book written by former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman that depicts President Trump as a racist, saying it is “riddled with lies and false accusations.”

In a blistering statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called Manigault Newman a “disgruntled former White House employee” who is “trying to profit off of these false attacks.”

“Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” Sanders said.

The spokeswoman also accused the media of giving her a “platform” after “not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the president during her time in the administration.”

Manigault Newman writes in the explosive memoir that Trump frequently used the n-word while he was the host of the “Celebrity Apprentice,” and that there are tapes to prove it.
While she said she never heard Trump used the word herself, Manigault Newman said that by the time she was fired last December, she had came to view Trump as a “racist.”

[The Hill]

Trump renews attacks on NFL players, calling for suspensions

President Trump on Friday renewed his attacks on NFL players who protest during the national anthem, claiming they “wanted to show their ‘outrage’ at something that most of them are unable to define.”

“The NFL players are at it again — taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem,” Trump tweeted.

“Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest,” he continued. “Most of that money goes to the players anyway.”

“Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” Trump added.

Trump’s new attack came a day after the first big slate of NFL preseason games on Thursday night, during which players from several teams protestedduring “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

[The Hill]

Trump Falsely Claims His Approval Rating is Better Than Obama’s at This Point in Presidency

President Donald Trump gave himself a pat on the back for his approval ratings on Saturday,  prompting reporters to call out his misleading claim that he had outdone his predecessor Barack Obamain the polls.

Trump made the assertions in a tweet Sunday, stating, “Presidential Approval numbers are very good – strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far.”

However, CNN’s Ryan Lizza called Trump’s bluff, using Gallup data to back him up.

Lizza was joined by Toronto Star Washington correspondent Daniel Dale, who went as far as labeling the president’s claim a total lie, pointing to polling numbers from RealClearPolitics as evidence.

CNN’s Brian Stelter also pointed out that while Trump may be praising poll numbers on Sunday, just last night “He claimed that polls are used for vote ‘suppression’ purposes.”

[Mediaite]

President Trump bashes LeBron James over CNN interview: Don Lemon made him ‘look smart’

It seemed inevitable that President Donald Trump would weigh in on LeBron James’ recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon.

After four days, Trump finally let loose in a Friday night tweet in which he bashed James and said Lemon’s interview made the new Los Angeles Lakers star “look smart.” The president also alluded to preferring Michael Jordan over James.

After four days, Trump finally let loose in a Friday night tweet in which he bashed James and said Lemon’s interview made the new Los Angeles Lakers star “look smart.” The president also alluded to preferring Michael Jordan over James.

James sat down with Lemon for the interview Monday after he cut the ribbon on his foundation’s new I Promise School in his native Akron, Ohio. James spoke at length on the intersection of sports, culture and politics.

James lamented Trump “using sports to kinda divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to.”

“Sports has never been something that divides people. It’s always been something that brings someone together,” he said.

James’ recent criticism of the president is not new. He has been an outspoken critic, famously calling Trump a “bum” after he rescinded a White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors this past season.

However, it appears Trump did not always feel that way toward James. In what is now a seemingly regular occurrence, there’s a tweet for that, as they say. In a post from May of 2013, Trump tweeted, “LeBron is a great player and a great guy!”

[USA Today]

Trump launches extraordinary attack on Koch brothers after oil tycoons refuse to back Republican candidate

Donald Trump has launched an extraordinary attack on the Koch brothers, accusing the Republican megadonors of opposing his government’s agenda.

“The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,” the US president wrote on Twitter early on Tuesday morning.

“I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas.”

Mr Trump’s outburst came after the Koch brothers’ political arm declared it would not help elect a Republican senate candidate in North Dakota, partly over his failure to challenge the White House’s trade tariffs.

The decision sent a strong message to Republican officials across the country unwilling to oppose the spending explosion and protectionist trade policies embraced by Mr Trump.

“For those who stand in the way, we don’t pull any punches, regardless of party,” Tim Phillips, who leads the Kochs’ political arm Americans For Prosperity (AFP), told hundreds of donors during a three-day private Rocky Mountain retreat.

But a furious Mr Trump hit back, claiming he made Charles and David Koch “richer”, and that they “love” his tax cuts, deregulation and judicial nominations.

“Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn,” he continued. “They want to protect their companies outside the US from being taxed, I’m for America First & the American Worker – a puppet for no one. Two nice guys with bad ideas. Make America Great Again!”

The split marks a new chapter in the strained relationship between the Trump administration and the expanding conservative network created by billionaire industrialists, who refused to endorse the Republican president in 2016.

Mr Trump has effectively taken over the Republican Party on almost every level, even after ignoring long-held conservative beliefs on government spending, free trade and foreign policy. The billionaire Kochs and their nationwide army of conservative activists, however, are not giving in.

That is not to say they are punishing every Trump loyalist in the 2018 election season.

AFP still plans to focus its resources on helping Republican senate candidates in Tennessee, Florida and Wisconsin. It remains unclear how hard the group will work to defeat vulnerable senate Democrats in West Virginia, Missouri and Montana.

The midterm strategy could change in the coming weeks, but the Kochs currently plan to ignore North Dakota’s high-profile senate contest, where three-term Republican congressman Kevin Cramer is trying to unseat Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp. She is considered among the most vulnerable senate Democrats in the nation.

“He’s not leading on the issues this country needs leadership most right now,” Mr Phillips said of Mr Cramer, specifically citing spending and trade. “If Cramer doesn’t step up to lead, that makes it hard to support him.”

Ahead of the announcement, Charles Koch told reporters that he cared little for party affiliation and regretted supporting some Republicans in the past who only paid lip service to conservative principles.

Network leaders over the weekend repeatedly lashed out at the Republican-backed $1.3 trillion (£990bn) spending bill adopted in March, which represented the largest government spending plan in history. The Trump White House budget office now predicts that next year’s federal deficit will exceed $1 trillion, while reaching a combined $8 trillion over the next 10 years.

The Kochs were equally concerned about the Trump administration’s “protectionist” trade policies, which have sparked an international trade war and could trigger a US recession, Charles Koch said.

“We’re going to be much stricter if they say they’re for the principles we espouse and then they aren’t,” he vowed. “We’re going to more directly deal with that and hold people responsible for their commitments.”

The Koch network has demonstrated in recent months – albeit on a limited basis – a willingness to praise Democrats and condemn Republicans in specific situations.

After first running attack ads against Ms Heitkamp earlier in the year, the Kochs last month launched a digital ad campaign thanking the North Dakota Democrat for voting to roll back Obama-era banking regulations. At around the same time, they launched an advertising blitz to criticise 10 Republican House members, including Pennsylvania Republican senate nominee Lou Barletta, for supporting the massive spending bill.

Following Monday’s announcement, Julia Krieger, a campaign spokesperson for Ms Heitkamp, said, “When it comes to leading on the pocketbook issues North Dakotans care about — from strong trade markets to responsible spending and cutting red tape for North Dakota businesses — Heidi has always been consistent: North Dakota comes first.”

The development marked a dramatic escalation in the Kochs’ willingness to buck partisan loyalties. And some Trump loyalists were furious with the Kochs’ work to undermine Trump and his agenda even before Monday’s news dropped.

Former White House adviser, Steve Bannon, questioned the true influence of “the Koch network management,” seizing on the lack of accountability in the organisations’ spending in recent years given that most of the details are not publicly available.

“Where did the money go, what do they really spend it on, and how much, if anything, do they really put into the network?” Mr Bannon asked in a brief interview with The Associated Press.

And prominent Texas-based Trump donor Doug Deason, who attended the weekend retreat, said Republican candidates should not be punished for embracing the president’s agenda.

“That’s not right,” he said before Monday’s announcement, condemning the Koch network’s recent decision to praise Ms Heitkamp.

“Heitkamp, we’re going to knock her out of the water. She’s gone,” Mr Deason predicted.

The decision to ignore the Republican candidate in North Dakota certainly caught some by surprise, but there appeared to be overwhelming support from others — even if the plan hurts the GOP’s push to maintain its House and Senate majorities.

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin, among a handful of elected officials who mingled with donors at the weekend retreat, said there should be political consequences for those who deviate from conservative principles.

“If in fact you have people espousing these in name, but not in practice, yeah, they’re not going to be supported, nor should they be,” Mr Bevin said in a brief interview. “I think this network supports people who truly respect those principles. And I think they’re agnostic, from what I’ve seen, with respect to what party a person is.”

At the same time, Mr Bevin defended Mr Trump’s push to apply billions of dollars in tariffs on goods from China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. He dismissed the outcry from businesses in Kentucky and elsewhere as a short-term problem.

Colorado-based energy investor Chris Wright, a longtime Koch donor, said the Republican Party may have lost its way in the age of Mr Trump. He and his wife, Liz, encouraged the Koch network to ignore Republican candidates who turn their back on key conservative principles out of loyalty to Mr Trump.

“They don’t deserve to be funded if they don’t uphold our values,” Liz Wright said.

[The Independent]

Trump accuses Twitter of targeting Republicans, offers no evidence

U.S. President Donald Trump accused Twitter Inc on Thursday of restricting the visibility of prominent Republicans on its platform, without providing evidence, and he promised to investigate.

“Twitter ‘SHADOW BANNING’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once!” the Republican president wrote in a Twitter post.

The practice involves limiting the visibility of a user in search results, specifically in the auto-populated dropdown search box on Twitter.

Trump’s comments followed a Vice news report on Wednesday that Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other Republicans including Donald Trump Jr’s spokesman were being “shadow banned.”

“The notion that social media companies would suppress certain political points of view should concern every American. Twitter owes the public answers to what’s really going on,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter.

Twitter did not have a comment on Trump’s tweet but a spokesperson said the company does not “shadow ban.”

“We are aware that some accounts are not automatically populating in our search box, and we’re shipping a change to address this,” the spokesperson said in a statement.” Twitter said the technology used is based on user behavior not political views.

Twitter instituted a policy change on July 12 to increase the service’s credibility and reduce suspected fraud. That change cost its 100 most popular users about 2 percent of their followers, on average, according to social media data firm Keyhole.

The change cost former President Barack Obama 2 million followers by the morning after the change and singers Katy Perry and Justin Bieber each lost 3 million, The Washington Post reported, citing analytics company Twitter Counter.

The report said Trump’s account lost more than 200,000 of its 53 million followers.

Twitter shares, already lower in premarket trading after Facebook Inc’s disappointing earnings late Wednesday damped enthusiasm for technology and social media stocks, dipped a bit further and volume rose slightly after Trump’s tweet at 7:46 a.m. The stock was last down 3.2 percent. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bangalore; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas)

[USA Today]

Attorney General Sessions joins ‘Lock her up!’ chant in front of high school students

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions briefly joined in during a “Lock her up!” chant while delivering a speech to a group of conservative high school students on Tuesday, marking the latest example of President Donald Trump and his aides making aggressive gestures toward their political rivals.

Sessions was speaking about freedom of speech on college campuses when the chant broke out at the Turning Point USA High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University.

“I like this bunch, I gotta tell ya, you’re not going to be backing down. Go get ‘em! Go get em’!” Sessions said, when the audience started yelling “Lock her up!” — a staple of Trump’s political rallies that refers to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Chuckling and repeating the chant once himself, Sessions then attempted to move on before saying, “I heard that a long time over the last campaign.”

The remarkable comment by an attorney general of the United States follows other moves by Trump and his aides that have alarmed not only Trump critics but other fellow Republicans.

Trump set off a firestorm by expressing openness to handing over former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul to Moscow for an interrogation if special counsel Robert Mueller’s team was allowed to question a dozen Russian intelligence agents indicted earlier this month.

When Putin floated the idea, Trump called it an “incredible offer” during a news conference last week.

The White House caught more heat when press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would consider revoking the security clearances of former intelligence and law enforcement officials who have publicly criticized the president, including former CIA Director John Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey.

Trump has also continued to revel in the “Lock her up!” chant at his rallies, and the high school student crowd at the leadership summit has broken out in the chant multiple times this week.

The summit runs through Thursday and features speakers such as Donald Trump Jr., Sen. Rand Paul, British politician Nigel Farage and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

[Politico]

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