Trump: ‘I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind’

President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he is “totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind.”

The president made the statement as the White House continues to deal with a scandal involving former top aide Rob Porter, whose ex-wives have accused him of domestic violence.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that,” Trump said Wednesday after reporters pressed him on whether he believed the women’s accusations.

It marked the first time Trump directly addressed the notion of domestic violence during the Porter imbroglio, which has thrust the White House into chaos over the past week. On Friday, Trump defended Porter, stressing that the former staff secretary has claimed he is innocent of the claims.

“We wish him well,” Trump said of Porter last week. “I think you also have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday he’s innocent.”

Porter wasn’t the only former White House aide to quit over domestic abuse allegations last week. Speechwriter David Sorensen resigned Friday after The Washington Post reported that Sorensen’s ex-wife accused him of emotional and physical abuse. Sorensen, in turn, denied the allegations and said his former wife actually victimized him.

[CNBC]

Reality

After ten days of dodging direct questions on where he stood on domestic violence and throwing his support behind Rob Porter, who beat his wives, Trump “heroically” says the right thing.

Trump Says Florida Students Should Have Done More To Prevent Deadly Shooting

President Donald Trump on Thursday responded to the massacre at a South Florida high school by suggesting students and the surrounding community could have done more to prevent the attack.

At least 17 people were killed and 15 injured after a troubled former student opened fire on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, police said. Nikolas Cruz, 19, had been expelled from the school the previous year for “disciplinary reasons,” and many of his former classmates told media on Wednesday that he displayed problematic behavior.

“Honestly a lot of people were saying it was going to be him,” one student told CBS Miami. “We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around like that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy.”

A former teacher, Jim Gard, told the Miami Herald that Cruz reportedly wasn’t allowed to carry a backpack on the school campus, and that “there were problems with him last year threatening students.”

Contrary to Trump’s tweet, it does appear that authorities were aware of Cruz’s behavior before the attack. A former neighbor told The New York Times that Cruz’s late mother called the police on her two sons on multiple occasions, though she stressed that she didn’t think the boys were violent. Broward County Mayor Beam Furr told CNN that Cruz had been treated at a mental health clinic in the past and  was somewhat on officials’ radar.

“It wasn’t like there wasn’t concern for him,” Furr said.

Trump’s tweet failed to acknowledge the role that Florida’s lax gun laws played in the shooting. Barring institutionalization, it’s extremely difficult to keep someone with a history of mental illness from buying a gun in Florida. The accused killer legally purchased the AR-15-style rifle used in the slaughter, his family’s attorney said.
The president also ignored the fact that he actually made it easier for people with mental health issues to buy guns by revoking an Obama-era gun regulation last year.

[Huffington Post]

Kellyanne Conway Says Sen. Gillibrand, Who Was First Elected in ’06, ‘Protected’ Clinton During Impeachment

Following White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s resignation amid allegations that he abused two ex-wives, President Donald Trump told reporters that he wished Porter well and that Porter has said the accusations are false. He also stated that Porter was “very sad” over the situation and hoped the ex-aide had a “wonderful career.”

During today’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was pressed on the president’s response to the controversy and his weekend tweet seemingly doubling down on it in which he cited due process. Host George Stephanopoulos brought up reaction from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who said that Trump has shown that he “doesn’t value women.”

Conway brushed off Gillibrand’s criticism by invoking President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions with women and late ’90s impeachment. After noting that Trump’s accusers had “their day” when they were “trotted out” on television, Conway said the following:

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand on anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

Only one problem with Conway’s counterpoint to Gillibrand — Gillibrand was first elected to Congress in 2006 and didn’t actually get to Washington until January 2007, years after Clinton was impeached over the Lewinsky affair. This fact wasn’t lost on some media figures.

[Mediaite]

Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as ‘shithole’ nations

President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News.

Trump’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post, which said the group of nations referred to also included El Salvador.

The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.

According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. Thursday’s meeting came one day after Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.

A source familiar with Thursday’s meeting told NBC News the president was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system — a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday, as part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

It’s not the first time reports have surfaced of Trump speaking unfavorably about immigrants, and Haitians in particular. The New York Times reported in December that Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS,” during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

According to the Times, Trump also targeted Nigerian immigrants during that meeting, complaining that once they came the United States they would never “go back to their huts.” The White House vigorously denied the claims in the story at the time.

[NBC News]

Trump’s FISA tweets throw Washington into chaos

President Donald Trump’s sunrise tweet casting aspersions on the domestic surveillance program his own intelligence officials have called essential set off a thunderclap of concern in Washington — and underscored the pitfalls of the President’s morning television tweet-alongs.

Phones at the White House began ringing almost immediately after Trump wrote at 7:33 a.m. ET that the FISA program up for reauthorization in the House on Thursday may have been used to “badly surveil” his campaign.

On the blinking lines: Republican lawmakers and top intelligence officials perplexed that Trump had appeared to contradict more than a week of public statements from the administration in support of the reauthorization, which allows the government to conduct warrantless spying on US soil.

Ultimately, the measure passed handily. But not until after a 101-minute long scramble to clean up the President’s position ahead of the midday vote, which Republican leaders had been eying with optimism after spending weeks rounding up votes and batting down demands from the conservative and libertarian elements of their conference.

“(Chief of staff John) Kelly’s phone was ringing off the hook,” said one senior Republican official close to intelligence matters on Capitol Hill.

“No one could believe it,” another Republican supportive of the FISA reauthorization said.

[CNN]

Reality

Trump was simply responding to a segment of Fox and Friends, a TV show he retweets regularly.

Trump Hails Poll That Credits Obama for Booming Economy

Donald Trump hailed a new poll on the economy Thursday, despite the full results being a less than resounding endorsement of his presidency.

“In new Quinnipiac Poll, 66% of people feel the economy is “Excellent or Good.” That is the highest number ever recorded by this poll, Trump tweeted.

While Trump is right that these numbers are the highest positive rating in Quinnipiac poll on the economy since 2001, the survey also found that 49 percent of American voters believe former President Barack Obama is responsible for the economy’s current state. Only 40 percent of voters said Trump was responsible.

The Quinnipiac poll, which was published Wednesday, also asked about Trump’s intelligence, his level-headedness and his fitness to serve as president.

Asked to grade President Trump’s first year in office, 56 percent of those polled gave him a failing grade of F or D. Just 16 percent of respondents gave him an A.

As for Trump’s performance so far in office, only 36 percent said they approved, while 59 percent voiced disapproval.

“No one’s been this low at this point,” Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, told Newsweek, speaking of Trump’s 36 percent approval rating.

Meanwhile, the number of American voters giving former President Barack Obama credit for the state of the economy has increased since November.

Forty-three percent of respondents credited Obama in Quinnipiac’s November 22 poll. That percentage rose to 45 in December and 49 in January.

Trump’s numbers have been more stagnant. Forty-one percent gave him credit for the economy’s state in November. That percentage rose to 43 in December and fell to 40 in January.

“It’s been a very tough freshman year for President Donald Trump, by any measure,” Malloy said in a statement.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from January 5 to 9 via cellphones and landlines. The poll surveyed 1,106 voters nationwide and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

[Newsweek]

Reality

Also in the same poll:

  • 49 percent of voters say former President Barack Obama is more responsible for the state of the economy
  • 36% job approval rating, a historic low for any president at this point.
  • 69% say Trump is not level-headed
  • 57% say he is not fit to serve as president
  • 63% say he is not honest
  • 59% say Trump does not have good leadership skills
  • 59%say he does not care about average Americans
  • 65% say he does not share their values
  • 39% gave Trump an ‘F’ grade,  and 17% gave him a ‘D’ grade.

Trump just said the US sold Norway F-52s — but no such aircraft exists

President Donald Trump said the US had sold Norway F-52 fighter jets during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday.

But no such aircraft exists. The president may have misspoke because the US has sold Norway 52 F-35s.

Oslo received the first three last November.

Trump is getting roasted on Twitter for his gaffe

[Business Insider]

Trump said Haitian immigrants ‘all have AIDS’

The White House strongly pushed back on a report that President Donald Trump spoke about immigrants in a dismissive and demeaning fashion during a June meeting with top administration officials.

The denial came in response to explosive reporting from the New York Times, which wrote that, according to two unnamed officials, Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement blasting the paper and denying that Trump had made the comments.

“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” Sanders said.

The report said the Oval Office meeting during the summer included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and senior officials, including White House adviser Stephen Miller, who the Times said had provided Trump with a list of how many immigrants received visas to enter the United States in 2017.

he Times report said Kelly and Tillerson tried to respond by saying many of the visas were for short-term travelers, but that as Trump continued, Kelly and Miller “turned their ire” against Tillerson, who threw his arms up and retorted that perhaps he should stop issuing visas altogether.

The Times said its report was the product of more than three dozen interviews. The explosive and disparaging remarks about immigrants attributed to the president were sourced to a pair of unnamed officials, one who the Times said was present in the meeting, and another who was briefed about the comments by a second attendee. But the Times says several other participants told them they “did not recall” the President using those words.

[CNN]

Trump bizarrely responds to article suggesting he criticizes black people for racist reasons

President Donald Trump on Thursday offered a bizarre but familiar response to a tweet with an article from The Washington Post’s liberal-leaning Plum Line blog suggesting that he criticizes prominent black people to play on racist sentiment within his base.

The article’s author, Greg Sargent, tweeted, “Trump regularly attacks high-profile African Americans to feed his supporters’ belief that the system is rigged for minorities,” to which Trump responded, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.”

Earlier this week, Trump went after LaVar Ball — the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of the three UCLA basketball players released from detention in China after Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month — on Twitter.

After Ball refused to thank Trump for the president’s role in the release of the three players, who were accused of shoplifting from several stores in China, Trump called Ball an “ungrateful fool” and compared him to a “poor man’s version of Don King.”

Sargent’s article linked this to Trump’s other criticisms of well-known black people in sports and politics, calling it “a gratuitously ugly pattern.” It ended by suggesting that Trump engages in a “pattern of race-baiting” that “might be designed to resonate with” his supporters.

Throughout his career, Trump has gone after dozens of politicians, media personalities, and sports stars of many races, but his response to Sargent’s tweet was bizarre because, minutes later, he tweeted the same thing on its own.

Trump has previously tweeted things erroneously. For example, in late October, he wished a happy birthday to Lee Greenwood, the singer who wrote “God Bless the USA,” but tagged another Lee Greenwood who appeared to have protested Trump’s immigration ban.

[Business Insider]

Reality

Trump could have been unaware of a new UI change to the Twitter app, where if you are viewing a tweet the “new tweet” button won’t create a new tweet but issue a reply. But this tweet hasn’t been deleted.

Trump, who labeled Rubio a ‘choke artist’ for needing water during speech, needs water during speech

A few years back, Sen. Marco Rubio got a little parched and needed to awkwardly swig from a bottle of water during his Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. For this, Donald Trump relentlessly ridiculed Rubio — spotlighting the incident at least eight times.

On Wednesday, President Trump met karma.

While speaking at the White House about his trip to Asia, Trump bent down behind the podium briefly before reemerging and explaining that there was no water down there. “They don’t have water,” Trump said. “That’s okay.”

Eventually, someone produced a bottle of water, which Trump gladly accepted and drank from. Then he did it again a couple minutes later.

This is something that would be unacceptable to the Old Donald Trump — a sign of a weak constitution.

In February 2016, Trump gesticulated while imitating Rubio: “ ‘I need water. Help me. I need water. Help.’ ”

He then added: “This is on live television. This total choke artist. …” He later tossed the bottle over his shoulder as the crowd roared.

Apparently, Trump believes people who need water during speeches are choke artists. In other words, by extension …

And then there are the tweets:

Trump also referenced Rubio’s need for hydration in a September 2015 appearance on “Morning Joe.”

“I’ve never seen a person sweat — I’ve never seen a guy down water like he downs water,” Trump said. “I’ve never seen — they bring it in buckets for this guy.”

How embarrassing.

Rubio, meanwhile, did a brief, more dignified victory dance.

[Washington Post]

Media

Full campaign speech remarks:

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