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 wishes ‘everyone’ a Happy New Year, ‘including the haters and fake news media’

President Donald Trump welcomed the dawn of 2019 on Tuesday with an all-caps tweet that wished “everyone” a Happy New Year — “including the haters and the fake news media.”

The president went on to say that 2019 would be a “fantastic” year for anyone “not suffering from Trump derangement syndrome” — an ailment he has diagnosed his critics with in the past.

Trump’s message was reminiscent of his tweet at the close of 2016, in which he wished a happy New Year “to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do.” At the close of 2014, he extended his well wishes to “all haters and losers.”

Trump had planned to spend the holidays at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but put his trip on hold when the partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22.

House Democrats unveiled a plan on Monday to re-open the federal government, but their proposal did not include the funding for a border wall that the president has demanded.

The Senate’s Republican leadership said on Monday that the Senate “is not going to send something to the president that he won’t sign.”

A little over an hour after issuing his first missive, the president sent out a simpler greeting on Twitter: “Happy New Year!”

[NBC News]

 

Trump Makes All-Caps New Year’s Decree: ‘MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL’

With the Federal government in its 10th day of a shutdown as President Donald Trump tries to secure funds in the budget for a Southern border wall, the commander-in-chief is reverting back to his original campaign promise about where the money is coming from.

In a Monday night tweet fired off just a few hours before the ball drop in Times Square, the president claimed that Mexico will be financing the wall by way of the trade pact they signed earlier in 2018.

“MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through the many billions of dollars a year that the U.S.A. is saving through the new Trade Deal, the USMCA, that will replace the horrendous NAFTA Trade Deal, which has so badly hurt our Country,” Trump wrote. “Mexico & Canada will also thrive – good for all!”

Earlier, Trump also taped a brief New Year’s message for his followers:

“While I’m at the White House working, you’re out there partying tonight. But I don’t blame you. Enjoy yourselves. We’re gonna have a great year. Have a really, really Happy New Year.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Hits Back At ‘Failed Generals’ Who Were ‘Unable To Do The Job’ Over Syria Withdrawal

President Donald Trump is pushing back on criticism about the sudden announcement from a week and a half ago about plans to remove U.S. troops from Syria and that ISIS was defeated. This decision reportedly came despite advice from military and intelligence leadership and eventually led to the protest resignation from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

On New Year’s Eve, President Trump apparently felt the need to clear the air and defend his position via a short series of tweets that explained his process as a simple fulfillment of his campaign promise. And, as his is wont, he included some not-so-subtle digs at his detractors.

Trump tweeted:

Following the announced plans to withdrawal, Trump has received bipartisan criticism for the planned withdrawal. Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Senate ally to the White House, notably was vocal in pushing back on this plan, though his rhetoric has softened more recently.

Trump’s dig at “some failed generals” is certainly a dig at Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who in a recent interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz, spared little criticism for a president who he sees as “immoral.”

[Mediaite]

Reality

Trump’s plan to fight ISIS was actually Obama’s plan, just on a faster timeline.

Trump compares border wall to ‘Wall around’ Obama home

President Donald Trump compared his proposed border wall on Sunday with a fence-like barrier that surrounds the Washington home of Barack and Michelle Obama.

“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!”

The Obamas bought their home in the Kalorama neighborhood in 2017 for $8 million after renting it for 2½ years, according to TODAY.

TMZ first reported in 2017 that the couple was building a fence-like wall and published photos showing what appeared to be the construction of a few brick columns. The project has since been completed.

Another photo of the home in Town and Country magazine showed a metal gate and brick columns. The Obamas also added guard booths.

A spokeswoman for the Obamas declined to comment, but in her book “Becoming,” published in November, Michelle Obama wrote that Trump’s embrace of false conspiracy theories had made her fear for her family’s security.

“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?” she wrote. “What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk.”

Trump’s tweet comes amid a partial government shutdown that began Dec. 22 over his demand that Congress fund a $5 billion wall on the United States’ southern border. He threatened to “close” the border if the money was not approved.

Congressional Democrats, who take control of the House of Representatives after returning to Washington next month, have shown little interest in funding what incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff called an “immoral, ineffective and expensive wall — the wall that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for.”

After a meeting with Trump on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters that “on multiple fronts the president is in a good mood.”

“He feels like he’s got to deliver on the promise of securing our border,” Graham said, adding, “He’s very open minded about combining wall funding with other things to make it a win-win for the country.”

[NBC News]

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]

Sarah Sanders Goes After CNN: They ‘Attack Anyone Who Supports’ Trump, Including Military

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is hammering CNN for reporting that military protocol might’ve been violated when President Donald Trump met with U.S. forces in his travels abroad.

During the president’s meetings with soldiers in Iraq and Germany, various members of the military were spottedas they took photos with Trump, displayed his paraphernalia, and asked him to sign MAGA hats.

Typically, U.S. troops are asked to conduct themselves in an apolitical manner, so CNN reported that some of yesterday’s interactions with Trump might’ve broken Defense Department rules on “partisan political activities.”

As critics from CNN and other outletsaccuse Trump of using his troop visits as a political exercise, Sanders is slamming the network by saying they will “attack anyone who supports President Trump.”

[Mediaite]

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]

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