Trump fires back at Mitt Romney for scathing op-ed

President Donald Trump fired back at Mitt Romney after the Republican senator-elect penned an op-ed saying Trump “has not risen to the mantle of the office.”
“Here we go with Mitt Romney, but so fast! Question will be, is he a Flake? I hope not,” Trump tweeted, referring to retiring Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who has criticized the President often in the last few years. “Would much prefer that Mitt focus on Border Security and so many other things where he can be helpful. I won big, and he didn’t. He should be happy for all Republicans. Be a TEAM player & WIN!”

Later in the afternoon, Trump told reporters at a Cabinet meeting that he hopes Romney will become a “team player.”

Romney, who is set to take office Thursday, criticized the President’s character in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday, saying that Trump’s “conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the President has not risen to the mantle of the office.”

“A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect. … And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring,” Romney wrote.

The incoming Utah senator also said that he does not “intend to comment on every tweet or fault,” but that he will “speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”
But by-and-large the President held his fire Wednesday afternoon on the onetime presidential nominee, choosing not to issue any overt insults or criticism of a new congressional foil when speaking to reporters during his cabinet meeting.

“I wish Mitt could be more of a team player. I’m surprised he did it this quickly. I was expecting something, but I’m surprised he did it this quickly,” Trump said during a meeting of his Cabinet.

Trump noted he’d endorsed Romney in his election, a nod for which Trump said Romney “thanked me profusely.”

“I was happy that he won in Utah,” Trump said. “I have great popularity in Utah.”
Trump did suggest the new senator could have won his own presidential bid if he’d been tougher.

“I will say this, if he fought really hard against President Obama like he does against me, he would have won the election,” Trump said. “If he fought the way he fights me, I’m telling you, he would have won the election.

Romney was seen as a “Never Trumper” during the 2016 election.

Now with Flake on the way out, Romney could take up the role of being an outspoken Republican critic of the President in Congress.

In his speech announcing his retirement, Flake denounced the “complicity” of his own party in what he called an “alarming and dangerous state of affairs” under Trump and blamed the President for setting the tone. Flake pointed to Romney’s op-ed on Tuesday as “thoughtful.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is Romney’s niece, slammed her uncle in a tweet about the op-ed, only referring to Romney as a “freshman senator.”

“POTUS is attacked and obstructed by the MSM media and Democrats 24/7. For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack @realdonaldtrump as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” McDaniel tweeted.

Romney’s relationship with Trump has been complicated over the years. When Romney sought the presidency in 2012, Trump endorsed the former Massachusetts governor, calling him “tough” and “smart.”

But during the 2016 election, Romney delivered a scathing rebuke of Trump in a speech in which he called the Republican candidate a “phony” and a bully, and criticized his rhetoric about Muslims and Mexican immigrants.

Trump retaliated by mocking Romney’s 2012 presidential loss and claimed Romney was “begging” for his endorsement during that time.

After Trump was elected, the two men seemed to mend fences and Romney was briefly considered for the position of secretary of state.

When he announced his run for senator, Romney appeared to take a veiled swipe at the Trump administration’s immigration policies. But his criticism of Trump was far more muted and in February, Trump endorsed Romney.

Romney will be sworn in Thursday along with the rest of the incoming Senate by Vice President Mike Pence.

[CNN]

Trump Wrongly Says Democrats Are Responsible for Children’s Deaths at the Border

As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen travels to the border in the wake of two children dying in Customs and Border Patrol’s custody, President Donald Trump is tweeting from the White House that Democrats are to blame for the deaths. (True to form, he is also blaming Democrats and Nancy Pelosi for the shutdown.)

His tweets are the president’s first public comment about the deaths of two children, an eight-year-old boy named Felipe Gomez Alonzo and a seven-year-old girl named Jakelin Caal, who were taken into custody with their parents after attempting a dangerous crossing into the United States at the Mexico border. “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!” the president tweeted.

But that claim is absurd. It is Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and restrictions on asylum seekers that is necessitating these children be held at government facilities that are not prepared to hold so many people, especially young children. And because they implemented these policies, the administration should have anticipated a need for medical services for migrants coming across. But only after two children have died is the administration even talking about making changes.

Earlier this week, Nielsen said that the agency “is considering options for surge medical assistance,” which is what it should have done as soon as the policy was implemented. But the Dr. Colleen Kract, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that physicians who have visited the facilities where children are held are disturbed by the conditions. “These children are not given the basic needs of food and water and medical care,” she told TIME.

Even Trump’s CPB Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS This Morning that a child had not died in CPB custody in “more than a decade” and that the agency needs to take “a different approach” to how it manages children in its care.

Democrats, however, are refusing to take the blame and plan to hold hearings investigating the children’s deaths. “[Trump is] just making stuff up again. In January the House of Representatives will hold hearings with witnesses under oath and find out what happened,” Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the president.

[Rolling Stone]

Trump: I may be forced to seal southern border, cut off aid to Central America

President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the nation’s southern border if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.

“We build the wall or,” Trump wrote in a string of tweets. ” … close the southern border.”

Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, told reporters on Friday the president is “absolutely” willing to shut down the southern border, despite the enormous cost to the country.

“All options are on the table,” Mulvaney said. “Listen, it’s the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention.”

Trump also said he would cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where violence and crime have motivated thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the United States. He also said another migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.

Trump’s string of tweeted threats comes as the partial government shutdown reaches its first full week amid a spending bill feud between Congress and the president.

Trump refused to sign a short-term funding bill last week that would have pushed the spending fight to February, insisting that Congress allocate billions for the border wall.

In a second tweet, the president claimed that building the wall would be a “profit making operation.” The president also complained about Mexico stealing American jobs and undermining the auto industry and said Central America’s violence-riddled Northern Triangle countries were “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on Thursday that another caravan of migrants from Honduras was forming, with as many as 15,000 migrants undergoing the lengthy asylum request process, potentially adding to the backlog of asylum-seekers who are currently in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Friday on CBS that the president was willing to negotiate the amount of border funding Congress gives him.

“I’m not going to negotiate in the press, but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point,” she said. “And the Democrats have not been willing to do anything. And that’s the sad part, they care more about keeping our borders open than keeping our government open.”

On Fox News, Mulvaney said the administration had already offered Democrats a number “less than” $5 billion in negotiation, but Democrats had held firm to their offer of $1.3 billion dollars in border funding.

[NBC News]

Trump spends his Christmas Eve ranting about his enemies and the Fed’s rate hikes

President Donald Trump spent the early hours of Christmas Eve attacking his political enemies and criticizing the Federal Reserve, as the government entered its third day of partial shutdown and markets tanked yet again.

“I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter.

The tweet came minutes after the president posted attacks on the Fed, Democrats, the top Republican lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the special envoy in charge of combatting ISIS, who announced over the weekend that he would be resigning at the end of the month after Trump decided to pull American troops from Syria.

Trump, who canceled a planned vacation to Florida as 800,000 federal employees remain without pay, spent the morning posting his grievances on Twitter.

The president’s posts come amid growing uncertainty in Washington. The shutdown continued without a resolution in sight. Meanwhile the administration itself remains in a state of flux after the surprise departure of Defense Secretary James Mattis, which Trump accelerated by two months over the weekend.

As stocks tumbled following the worst week for markets since the 2008 financial crisis, the president wrote on Twitter that the “only problem our economy has” is the Fed, accusing the central bank of not having “a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders.”

The Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to keep prices stable and achieve maximum employment. The Fed aims to accomplish those goals primarily by setting interest rates at a level that will prevent runaway inflation or deflation.

Last week, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year and signaled it would hike rates twice in 2019.

[CNBC]

Trump Unleashes on Bob Corker: ‘Poll Numbers TANKED When I Wouldn’t Endorse Him’

President Donald Trump unleashed on Sen. Bob Corker in a tweet Sunday, blasting the Tennessee Republican preparing to retire from office in the new year.

“Senator Bob Corker just stated that, ‘I’m so priveledged [sic] to serve in the Senate for twelve years, and that’s what I told the people of our state that’s what I’d do, serve for two terms.’”

Trump continued: “But that is Not True – wanted to run but poll numbers TANKED when I wouldn’t endorse him.”

In a second tweet, Trump blamed Corker for the Iran Nuclear Deal and accused the senator of badmouthing him.

“Bob Corker was responsible for giving us the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal, which I ended, yet he badmouths me for wanting to bring our young people safely back home. Bob wanted to run and asked for my endorsement. I said NO and the game was over. #MAGA I LOVE TENNESSEE!”

Corker appeared on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning for an interview with Jake Tapper in which he criticized the president’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump Tweets Picture of Himself at His Desk Signing a Blank Sheet of Paper

On December 21, Donald Trump posted a tweet to his official Twitter account: “Some of the many Bills that I am signing in the Oval Office right now. Cancelled my trip on Air Force One to Florida while we wait to see if the Democrats will help us to protect America’s Southern Border!”

Trump has been butting heads with Democrats over his demand for $5.7 billion to fund a 215 mile wall along the Mexican border.

He accompanied the tweet with a picture of himself in the Oval Office, surrounded by a massive stack of black folders, signing his name to a piece of paper.

The problem? The paper appeared to be completely blank.

[Second Nexus]

Trump pushes McConnell to use “nuclear option” to get his wall funded

The U.S. government-shutdown drama is running high Friday morning as the midnight deadline looms, with President Donald Trump saying Democrats will be to blame and warning that a closure, if it happens, will “last for a very long time.”

The House passed a temporary spending bill Thursday that included more than $5 billion for Trump’s border wall, which the president has demanded as a condition for him to sign the bill to keep the government open — even though there’s little support for it except from his diminishing base.

However, the legislation is unlikely to pass the Senate Friday where Republicans need Democratic votes. If there’s no deal reached, then parts of the government will shut down as of midnight Friday, affecting thousands of workers at the Justice Department, Commerce Department and Internal Revenue Service, among other agencies.

Democrats “will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED,” Trump tweeted.

“If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!’”

The president also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to blow up the Senate filibuster rule, known as the “nuclear option,” to pass the legislation. That tool allows a budget to pass by a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60 usually needed per Senate rules, but McConnell has firmly resisted it in the past.

Trump praised House Republicans, who voted in favor of wall funding by 217-185 votes.

“Republican House Members should be very proud of themselves,” Trump said. “They flew back to Washington from all parts of the World in order to vote for Border Security and the Wall. Not one Democrat voted yes, and we won big. I am very proud of you!”

[Vice]

Trump Goes Off on Rant, Claims He’s the Only Reason Dems Are Opposed to Wall: ‘Absolute Hypocrites’

President Donald Trump bashed Democrats Thursday night — arguing that their personal animus against him is the only reason for their opposition to a Southern border wall.

In a wild video rant posted to Twitter, the president railed against the Left — accusing them of being disingenuous in their stance on the wall.

“The Democrats are absolute hypocrites!” Trump said. “All along, they’ve been supporting walls and supporting fences, and supporting all sorts of border security.

The video then cut to old clips of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama making various statements against illegal immigration. None has ever voiced support for a Southern border wall anywhere near the scale Trump has proposed — although Clinton came the closest by saying she has previously backed construction of a “barrier.”

Trump, however, regards Democrats as flip-flopping on the issue. And the reason for their supposed 180? Him.

“The fact is they’ve always supported fences, and walls, and partitions,” Trump said. “But you know what? They only don’t want to do it because of me. They have to put the people ahead of politics.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump Doubles Down on Shutdown Threat: ‘I Don’t Mind Owning That Issue’

President Donald Trump spoke to reporters again this afternoon following his contentious public spat with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi on the border wall and a possible government shutdown.

Trump directly said he would be “proud” to shut down the government in the name of fighting for border security.

During a bill signing this afternoon, Trump said the meeting was “very friendly” and stood by his comments. When asked about owning the idea of a shutdown, he said, “I don’t mind.”

He elaborated:

“I don’t mind having the issue of border security on my side. If we have to close down the country over border security, I actually like that in terms of an issue, but I don’t want it to be an issue, I want it to be something that the country needs… We need border security, and part of border security is a wall. So I don’t mind owning that issue.”

And if the fight is on border security, Trump added, “I think I win that every single time.”

[Mediaite]

In public fight with Democrats, Trump says he would be ‘proud’ to shut down government over border wall

President Donald Trump and Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi bickered at length on Tuesday in an explosive public meeting at the White House over the president’s promised border wall and threat to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t fund it.

“If we don’t get what we want one way or the other … I will shut down the government,” Trump said during a highly unusual fight that played out in front of the press before the official meeting began. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security. … I will take the mantle of shutting it down.”

If Trump and Congress can’t agree to a funding bill by Dec. 21, large parts of the federal government will run out of operating authority. The Defense Department, however, is funded through the end of next September.

Trump said it was unlikely that he would strike a deal Tuesday with Pelosi, a California Democrat who is expected to become House speaker next month, and Schumer, a New York Democrat who is the Senate minority leader.

“We may not have an agreement today,” he said. “We probably won’t.”

The House Freedom Caucus, a group of Trump’s Republican allies in Congress, demanded Monday night that $5 billion be included for the wall in any spending bill, while the Democratic leaders have been open to accepting less than $2 billion.

Earlier in the day, according to two sources who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity, Pelosi told House Democrats that she and Schumer would offer the president a deal to pass six appropriations bills and a yearlong extension of current funding for the Department of Homeland Security.

Short of that, she said, they would agree to a basic extension of funding through Sept. 30, 2019, for all seven appropriations bills, including the one that funds Homeland Security.

Before Trump took ownership of a possible shutdown, Pelosi took an early dig at him in her opening remarks and noted that his party still controls both the House and Senate until January.

“We must keep the government open,” she said. “We cannot have a Trump shutdown.”

“A what?” he snapped at her.

“You have the White House, you have the Senate, you have the House of Representatives,” Pelosi responded.

But, she noted, not all Republicans are on board with his plans to build a physical barrier.

“There are no votes in the House, a majority of votes, for a wall,” Pelosi said.

“If I needed the votes for the wall in the House, I would have them in one session,” Trump countered. “It would be done.”

But for two years, he has been unable to muster those votes for his core campaign promise during the 2016 election — a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump vowed Mexico would pay for.

Vice President Mike Pence watched Tuesday’s spectacle unfold in silence as Trump and the Democrats also fought over the results of last month’s midterm elections and their meaning.

Outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly and presidential advisers Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller were also in the room for the meeting.

Pelosi urged the president to stop bickering in front of the media.

“This is spiraling downward,” she said.

The private portion of the discussion was brief, as Pelosi and Schumer emerged quickly to talk to reporters outside the White House.

Schumer said Trump threw a “temper tantrum.”

Later, back at the Capitol, he said the meeting was “productive” in that “the president showed what he wanted: shutdown.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top Trump ally, cheered the president on from the sidelines of Twitter.

“Great job sticking to your guns on border security, Mr. President!” he wrote. “You are right to want more border security funding including Wall money. They are WRONG to say no.”

Graham also advocated for Trump to add into the mix a provision protecting certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children from deportation to put pressure on Democrats to approve money for the wall.

Likewise, some Democrats took to social media to back their leaders.

“Remember when Mexico was going to pay for the President’s wall?” Rep. Val Demings of Florida tweeted. “Shutting down the government over this foolish idea would be wildly irresponsible. A shutdown would cripple the economy and degrade transportation security during the holidays.”

[NBC News]

Reality

Donald Trump lied multiple times and threw a very public temper tantrum during a photo op at the White House with Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi over the southern border wall funding and averting a government shutdown, which Trump said he would take full credit for.

Trump, who promised his supporters Mexico would pay for a wall, instead demanded the American taxpayers pay for his wall.

Some of the lies include:

* Trump claiming parts of his wall has been built. Even his supporters know this is a lie.

* Trump said illegal traffic is down in areas where a wall was built. Again no construction has been completed.

* Trump said 10 terrorists have been apprehended. This is a lie.
* Trump repeated white nationalist and KKK talking points when he claimed immigrants bring crime and disease.

Media

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