Trump Boasts of New York Times Report on Republican Party

On Saturday, President Donald Trumptook to Twitter to brag about a New York Times report on the Republican Party’s loyalty to him.

“So true!” Trump wrote before quoting Nicholas Fandos, who wrote in the Times, “Mr. Trump remains the single most popular figure in the Republican Party, whose fealty has helped buoy candidates in competitive Republican primaries and remains a hot commodity among general election candidates.”

Of course, it is ironic that Trump is tweeting out a comment made in the Times, the paper he has gone to war with in recent days over the anonymous op-ed from a senior White House official who questioned his fitness for office.

In fact, just days ago he slammed them as the “Failing New York Times.”

He also suggested that they use phony sources.

Trump also clearly didn’t read the full  New York Times article which he cited which also talked about how he “raged”and “lashed out” in recent days in wake of the Times op-ed.

[Mediaite]

Trump: I never called Sessions ‘mentally retarded’

President Donald Trump denied late Tuesday night that he called Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and made fun of his Southern heritage, his latest push back to Bob Woodward’s upcoming book on the Trump White House.

“The already discredited Woodward book, so many lies and phony sources, has me calling Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and “a dumb southerner,” the president wrote on Twitter. “I said NEITHER, never used those terms on anyone, including Jeff, and being a southerner is a GREAT thing. He made this up to divide!”

Trump and the White House have already issued a litany of criticisms against Woodward’s latest tome, “Fear.” Excerpts indicate the president is depicted as increasingly erratic and his staff allegedly is forced to resort to the type of tactics sometimes used to control children — like stealing problematic papers off of his desk — to try to thwart him.

Known for his Pulitzer-Prize winning reporting on the Watergate scandal, Woodward has remained adamant that the eyebrow-raising anecdotes in his book are accurate. Even so, Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis have issued statements denying portions of Woodward’s reporting.

In the reported excerpt in question, Trump allegedly told then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter that Sessions was “mentally retarded” and was a “dumb Southerner.”

Trump’s tweet Tuesday night was a rare bit of defense for his beleaguered attorney general, who has weathered intense criticism from Trump. This past weekend, the president vented about the Justice Department’s prosecution of two GOP congressmen, Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, and how the timing of the announcement of those charges has prevented the GOP from finding others to run in their place.

[Politico]

Reality

Responding to legendary journalist Bob Woodward’s book that he called Jeff Sessions a “retard,” Donald Trump tweeted he absolutely never called Sessions or anyone else a “retard” in his entire life.

Here is audio of Donald Trump calling someone a “retard” at the 19 minute mark.

Here is another audio of Donald Trump calling a reporter “retarded”.

Trump attacks Jeff Sessions for not forcing the Justice Department to ignore Republican crimes

President Donald Trump on Monday publicly criticized his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for allowing Republican congressmen to be indicted for alleged criminal behavior.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…” Trump tweeted.

The president was apparently referring to Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY). Hunter was charged with illegally using campaign funds to pay personal expenses while Collins was charged with taking part in an insider trading scheme.

“….The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!” Trump added in another tweet.

[Raw Story]

Trump attacks Jeff Sessions for not forcing the Justice Department to ignore Republican crimes

President Donald Trump on Monday publicly criticized his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for allowing Republican congressmen to be indicted for alleged criminal behavior.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…” Trump tweeted.

The president was apparently referring to Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY). Hunter was charged with illegally using campaign funds to pay personal expenses while Collins was charged with taking part in an insider trading scheme.

“….The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!” Trump added in another tweet.

[Raw Story]

Donald Trump’s response to Meghan McCain’s eulogy for her dad is a MAGA tweet

Perhaps the most biting part of Meghan McCain’s eulogy for her father Sen. John McCain during Saturday’s memorial was when she went straight for President Trump’s slogan.

“The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great,” she said as part of a speech that routinely took jabs at Trump.

People in the room clapped and social media erupted. You can read her entire speech.

Meghan gave one of several eulogies in McCain’s honor Saturday when a who’s who of Washington and the world gathered at the National Cathedral for his memorial service.

President Trump was not invited and decided instead to spend time at the Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Virginia, amid a morning of tweets criticizing the Department of Justice and the FBI and threatening Canada.

Hours later, though, Trump seemingly responded on Twitter with a signature-style message to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Reviews of his response were mixed.

[USA Today]

Trump decided against White House statement praising McCain

President Trump decided against releasing an official White House statement on Sen. John McCain following his death, two administration sources confirmed to Fox News.

The statement would have praised him for his decades of service and his heroism as a Vietnam War POW. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and other senior aides all had pushed for such a statement, which would have called McCain a “hero.”

The president, however, rejected the statement and instead issued a brief tweet Saturday night following the legendary Arizona Republican senator’s death.

The tweet said, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”

The decision on the statement was first reported by The Washington Post.

Trump’s decision speaks to the longstanding feud between the two men, dating back to when Trump, as a candidate, said McCain was not a war hero and seemed to fault him for being captured during the Vietnam War. McCain endured five years in captivity, an experience that later shaped his views, as a senator, on interrogation techniques. Known as the Senate’s “maverick,” McCain often bucked party ideology, earning him praise on Democratic side of the aisle and sometimes criticism from his own party – but he remained an influential voice even through his battle with brain cancer. He twice ran for president and was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.

Tributes to McCain, meanwhile, poured in from other world leaders and statesmen including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own,” Barack and Michelle Obama said in their statement.

“In an era filled with cynicism about national unity and public service, John McCain’s life shone as a bright example. He showed us that boundless patriotism and self-sacrifice are not outdated concepts or clichés, but the building blocks of an extraordinary American life,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.

McConnell also announced that McCain will lie in State at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

[Fox News]

Trump rips McCain hours after signing bill named after him

President Trump hit Sen. John McCain in a speech hours after signing a defense bill named after the Arizona Republican.

Trump, speaking at a New York fundraising event, sarcastically referred to McCain as “one of our wonderful senators,” and referenced McCain’s key vote against a proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

“ObamaCare, we got rid of the individual mandate, which is the most unpopular aspect,” Trump said. “I would’ve gotten rid of everything, but as you know, one of our wonderful senators said ‘thumbs down’ at 2 o’clock in the morning.”

The comment prompted a small chorus of boos from the audience.

Trump earlier in the day did not mention McCain during his signing of the defense bill, a $717 billion piece of legislation that is officially titled the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

The omission sparked backlash among frequent Trump critics, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, who called it “disgraceful.”

[The Hill]

Trump Blames ‘Unpopular’ John Kasich for ‘Tamping Down’ Balderson ‘Enthusiasm’

Donald Trump and John Kasich are fighting again, this time over probable Ohio special election winner Troy Balderson, and the President tweeted about it on Monday. Calling Kasich “unpopular,” “failed,” and unpopular again, Trump used the tweet as another red meat pitch to Ohio Trump voters for November.

“Tamping down enthusiasm” isn’t your typical Trump complaint, but otherwise true-to-type as he bashed Kasich’s failure to win in 2016 and referred to a narrow squeaker as a “big win.”

Balderson has essentially won, and declared victor, but the results are not technically official yet. Regardless, the narrowness of the margin is the subject at hand in a criticism from Ohio Gov. Kasich on Meet the Presson Sunday (echoing remarks he made to CBS the day after the election). “It wasn’t a good night,” said Kasich regarding last Tuesday’s vote, “because this is a district that you should be winning by, you know, overwhelming numbers.”

That’s an analysis made by many political observers, but the reason for that razor edge is what really has Trump worked up. Many, including Kasich, blame Trump.

Kasich said it is a “message from the voters” to “stop the chaos” and “stop alienating people.” He also offered broad critiques shared by other Trump-critical Republicans, such as arguing against “protectionism” and Trump’s treatment of NATO allies.

And that is why on Monday the President returned fire in a tweet.

A win for Balderson is only a temporary salve should Kasich be proved correct about the sentiment of the voters; he faces the same Democrat challenger again in the regular election in November. In an effort to hold the House majority, the party and particularly the president certainly must and will make the case that Balderson is what Ohio voters are looking for, repudiation-free.

Kasich, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2016, has not ruled out a 2020 run and, to anyone who observes Kasich, is in fact practically a lock to put his hat in the ring.

[Mediaite]

Trump: I ‘destroy’ careers of Republicans who say bad things about me

Donald Trump bragged about his prowess in defeating the Republicans who oppose him, saying at an Ohio rally that he “destroys” the careers of GOP politicians who dare defy him.

“How do you get 100 percent of anything? We always have somebody who says ‘I don’t like Trump, I don’t like our president, he destroyed my career,’ ” Trump said.

“I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me and you fight back and they go down the tubes and that’s OK,” he added.

Trump didn’t name names, but he’s on a winning streak in GOP primaries, as candidates he’s backed have repeatedly defeated those he sided against.

The most notable example was Rep. Mark Sanford, the former South Carolina governor who lost a GOP primary for reelection to his House seat earlier this summer.

Trump tweeted his opposition to Sanford on election day, needling him over a past controversy in which he disappeared from public view to, according to his staff, hike the Appalachian Trail. Sanford, married at the time, was actually in Argentina seeing a woman with whom he was having an affair.

Trump also recently backed Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp over Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in a GOP primary, and saw Kemp win.

But Trump hasn’t always been on the winning side. He backed former Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) last year but saw Roy Moore pull off a primary victory.

Still, the recent successful primary picks have put Trump’s stamp further on the GOP, suggesting it has become Trump’s party.

Two GOP senators who have repeatedly criticized Trump, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, are also not running for reelection.

[The Hill]

Media

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]

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