Trump Greets Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, Promptly Walks Off Stage

President Donald Trump continued to represent the U.S. on Saturday when he walked off stage during what was supposed to be a photo opportunity for him and other world leaders at the G20 summit.

In video captured during this weekend’s summit in Argentina, Trump is seen strolling up to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, shaking his hand briefly, then wandering away.

Macri can be seen gesturing for Trump to return before an aide chased after the U.S. president to get his attention. Both presidents were scheduled to take photos together with other world leaders, according to The Guardian.

As Splinter News points out, this is not Trump’s first time walking away aimlessly; nor is it his second, nor his third.

[Huffington Post]

Media

Trump says May’s Brexit plan could hurt UK-US trade deal

Donald Trump has suggested Theresa May’s Brexit agreement could threaten a US-UK trade deal.

The US president did not specify which aspect of the deal concerned him but told reporters the withdrawal agreement “sounds like a great deal for the EU”.

No 10 insisted the deal is “very clear” the UK would have an independent trade policy so that it can sign trade deals with countries around the world”.

Mrs May fought off heavy criticism of her Brexit deal from MPs on Monday.

Insisting the agreement “delivered for the British people” by regaining control of laws, money and borders, she said it would be put to an MPs vote on 11 December.

Hours later, Mr Trump told reporters outside the White House: “We have to take a look seriously whether or not the UK is allowed to trade.

“Because right now if you look at the deal, they may not be able to trade with us. And that wouldn’t be a good thing. I don’t think they meant that.”

It would appear Mr Trump was suggesting the agreement could leave Britain unable to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States.

However, responding to Mr Trump’s comments, a Downing Street spokesman said the Brexit withdrawal agreement struck on Sunday would allow the UK to sign bilateral deals with countries including the US.

“We have already been laying the groundwork for an ambitious agreement with the US through our joint working groups, which have met five times so far,” the spokesman added.

The BBC’s North America Editor Jon Sopel said Mr Trump’s comments were provocative, given trade would “carry on in much the same way as before” for the time being.

“Donald Trump knew exactly what he was doing with these remarks,” he said.

“There is a very open line of communication between senior members of his administration and prominent Eurosceptics.”

During Mr Trump’s UK visit in July – days after the British prime minister unveiled the proposals that formed the basis of the Brexit agreement – the US president had suggested an “ambitious” US-UK trade deal would “absolutely be possible”.

Billions of pounds in trade already flows between the UK and US – Britain’s largest single export market.

EU trade rules currently prevent the UK forging what some might view as a more advantageous bilateral trade deal with Washington.

Under the deal agreed in Brussels, the UK would continue to trade with the US under EU rules until at least the end of the “transition period” in December 2020.

During this transition – designed to allow businesses and others to prepare for the moment new post-Brexit rules kick in – the UK will be able to negotiate and strike deals with the US.

However, they will be unable to come into force until 1 January 2021 and could be delayed further if the backstop is triggered.

Tory Brexiteers fear the “backstop” written into the withdrawal agreement – which aims to prevent the return of customs posts on the Irish border in the event no UK-EU post-Brexit trade deal being agreed – could result in Britain being tied to EU rules for the long term.

In the Commons on Monday, Mrs May acknowledged the backstop was an “insurance policy no-one wants to use” but insisted the UK would have the right to determine whether it came into force.

She faced sustained criticism of the deal from MPs on all sides of the Commons.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May had brought home a “botched deal” that would “leave the UK worse off”.

The SNP’s Iain Blackford said the agreement was “full of ifs and buts” which would result in Scottish fishermen being “sold out” while the Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas both called for another referendum.

And the DUP’s Nigel Dodds said the backstop “was bad for the United Kingdom and bad for the economy” and absolute certainty was needed over its legal application.

Tory backbencher Mark Francois was among a host of MPs to urge PM to think again, claiming the agreement was “as dead as a dodo” and “would not get through” Parliament.

Trump Solicits More Thanks for “President T”

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Trump administration conceded in a frightening climate change report that climate change could soon become irreversible and catastrophic, with hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage forecasted by the end of the century. But President Donald Trump, himself, is thankful for fossil fuels—and wishes you would be, too.

“So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T),” he tweeted Sunday morning, soliciting gratitude for his political agenda at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Add that, which is like a big Tax Cut, to our other good Economic news. Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!”

Trump’s self regard appears to be instinctual, not ironic. When he was asked Thursday at Mar-a-Lago what he was thankful for, Trump briefly mentioned his family before turning to himself. “For having made a tremendous difference in this country,” he told reporters. “I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.

The economy and stock market are indeed up since Trump took office, as he frequently notes. But lower oil prices aren’t necessarily a fortuitous sign. One part of the reason is higher output from Saudi Arabia—a fact that Trump has explicitly linked to his decision to effectively exonerate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. (“Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, calling falling prices “a big Tax Cut for America and the World.”) Another is high output in the U.S. and exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iran, increasing supply.

But lower prices also reflect weaker demand, raising concerns about the global economy and the prospect of a recession on the horizon. Perhaps that is why Trump paired his Thanksgiving weekend praise for himself with a warning shot at the Federal Reserve, which has been steadily raising interest rates, putting the brakes on the formerly white-hot Trump economy.

[Vanity Fair]

President Trump says raking can prevent fires: Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö denies the conversation

While touring a town ravaged by the Northern California Camp Fire on Saturday, President Trump said Finland’s president claimed the country doesn’t have many problems with forest fires because it spends “a lot of time on raking.” Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö said the topic of raking never came up in their conversation.

Mr. Trump was visiting Paradise, California, this weekend with California Gov. Jerry Brown, California Governor-elect Gavin Newsom and Paradise Mayor Jody Jones when he was asked what could be done to prevent a similar disaster in the future. The wildfire has been called the deadliest and most destructive in the Golden State’s history.

“You gotta take care of the floors. You know? The floors of the forest. Very important,” said Mr. Trump. “I was with the President of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different — we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a ‘forest nation.’ And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem.”

Niinistö said he doesn’t remember mentioning raking leaves with Mr. Trump, but did say the two leaders spoke about the California wildfires when they met in Paris in early November.

“I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network,” Niinistö told lta-Sanomat, Finland’s second-largest paper on Sunday. He also told the newspaper that he remembers uttering the phrase “we take care of our forests” during their conversation.

Twitter quickly learned of the raking comments, with many from Finland ridiculing Mr. Trump by tweeting images of themselves or others raking in the forest. Some used the hashtag #haravointi, which is translated to #Raking in english.

The Camp Fire in Butte County in Northern California, one of two major blazes in California, has scorched some 150,000 acres of land, killed 77 people and led to at least 1,000 missing people.

The Woolsey Fire in Southern California has burned 96,949 acres and killed three people.

[CBS News]

Media

Trump Just Blurted Out, Unprompted, That He Installed His Pet Attorney General Over the Russia Probe

Wednesday, we explored the career timeline of Matthew Whitaker, the man whom Donald Trump, American president, appointed acting attorney general after firing Jeff Sessions the day after the midterms. Trump passed over multiple Senate-confirmed officials in the actual line of succession to pick Whitaker, who’d become Sessions’s chief of staff close to a year earlier after repeatedly going on CNN to defend Trump against the Russia probe with the expressed intent of getting the president’s attention and a job. Even some conservative legal commentators have suggested his appointment was unconstitutional, and the state of Maryland is suing to that effect.

This was about as blatant a move to obstruct the investigation as the president could have made. Whitaker is an obvious Trump loyalist and longtime Republican operative who time after time attacked the special counsel’s investigation, including by promoting a story suggesting Robert Mueller’s team was a “lynch mob.”Whitaker has close ties to Sam Clovis, a grand-jury witness in the probe who advised him to start going on CNN to catch Trump’s eye.

After he got the job as Sessions’s chief of staff, Whitaker was described by Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department—an assault on the department’s independence and the rule of law. And even well before all this, Whitaker allegedly politicized a federal investigationas a U.S. attorney in Iowa, participated in scams and grifts in his business dealings, and once flexed his background in federal law enforcement to run protection for a company—of which he was on the board—that the Federal Trade Commission fined $26 million and shuttered as a criminal enterprise.

Still, no matter how clear something is, it helps to hear it from the horse’s mouth. The President of the United States, who once said on national television he was considering “the Russia thing” when he fired FBI Director James Comey, was happy to oblige in a typically freewheeling interview with The Daily Caller. As first flagged by journalist Brian Beutler, Trump seized on a softball question to spill the beans on Whitaker’s appointment.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —

POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?

WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.

POTUS: A 20 page?

THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.

POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody who’s very respected.

I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, um, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.

It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.

THE DAILY CALLER: Right.

Right.

The president just admitted, unprompted, that he fired the head of the Justice Department and installed a loyalist over a Justice Department investigation into him and his associates. This is obstruction. This is corrupt. This is an untenable assault on the rule of law in a democratic republic. And the Republican majorities in Congress—to say nothing of his base—will happily let him get away with it.

Oh, and by the way: Trump’s claim he only knows Whitaker through Sessions is a blatant lie. And not just because Trump’s chief of staff said Whitaker was their “eyes and ears.” Here’s Trump on October 11, 2018—a month ago:

“I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy,” President Trump said in a Fox News interview. “I know Matt Whitaker.”

This is not the first time he’s lied about knowing Whitaker since appointing him to, incredibly obviously, interfere in the Mueller investigation.

All that said, there is a beautiful symmetry here. The rear-end of Donald Trump, a lifetime grifter who’s just trying to lie his way to the end of each day while his brain is steadily melted by television, may ultimately be protected by a ‘roided-out Mr. Clean who came to him through the teevee—and who once threatened peopleon behalf of a company peddling Big Dick Toilets. America the Beautiful.

[Esquire]

Trump Confused the Baltics with Balkans—and Accused Confused Leaders of Starting Yugoslav Wars

President Donald Trump confused the Baltic states in Europe with the Balkans—and chastised leaders of the former for starting wars in the 1990s that lead to the break-up of Yugoslavia, French daily Le Monde reported.

Trump reportedly made the mistake in a White House meeting with Dalia Grybauskaitė of Lithuania, Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia and Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia in April.

The leaders were reportedly confused by the president’s accusation, and it took them a minute to realize he had confused the Balkans and the Baltics.

The Baltic states lie in northern Europe, on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.

Around 1,000 miles away sits the Balkan region in south-eastern Europe. It comprises states including Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Much of the region was incorporated into the state of Yugoslavia, which became a socialist state after German occupying forces were ousted following World War II.

In the 1990s Yugoslavia disintegrated and the region was torn apart in a series of civil wars, culminating with the Kosovo war of 1998-1999.

Trump’s mistake is perhaps more surprising given that his wife, Melania, was born in Slovenia, a state that was part of Yugoslavia until 1991.

Trump, according to the Le Monde report, remained “apparently uneducated in the matter by his wife, Melania, originally from the former Yugoslavia”.

The report comes with new tensions emerging this weekend between Trump and the U.S.’s traditional European allies. The president is in Europe this weekend for events marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

On Friday, Trump attacked French president Emanuel Macron on Twitter, after the French leader said that Europe needed to take more responsibility for its own security.

The president faced widespread criticism Saturday for canceling a visit to Belleau, where 2,000 U.S. Marines were killed in combat in 1918, because it was raining.

In a speech in Paris on Sunday, Macron criticised nationalism—with self-declared nationalist Trump sitting only meters away.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” said Macron, at the Armistice Day commemoration under the Arc de Triomphe.

“By pursuing our own interests first, with no regard to others’, we erase the very thing that a nation holds most precious, that which gives it life and makes it great: its moral values.”

[Newsweek]

Trump cancels WW1 memorial at US cemetery in France due to rain

President Donald Trump could not attend a commemoration in France for U.S. soldiers and marines killed during World War One on Saturday because rain made it impossible to arrange transport, the White House said.

The last minute cancellation prompted widespread criticism on social media and from some officials in Britain and the United States that Trump had “dishonored” U.S. servicemen.

The president was scheduled to pay tribute at a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, about 85 km (50 miles) east of Paris, with his wife Melania. But light steady rain and a low cloud ceiling prevented his helicopter from traveling to the site.

“(Their attendance) has been canceled due to scheduling and logistical difficulties caused by the weather,” the White House said in a statement, adding that a delegation lead by Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general, went instead.

The decision prompted a rash of criticism on Twitter, with Nicholas Soames, a Britishmember of parliament who is a grandson of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, saying that Trump was dishonoring U.S. servicemen.

“They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to the Fallen,” Soames wrote on Twitter.

White House officials said the decision was taken due to the weather and cited security concerns in hastily arranging a motorcade. Similar concerns prevented Trump from reaching the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea a year ago when foggy weather prevented his helicopter from landing.

Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser for strategic communications under President Barack Obama, said the excuse about the inclement weather did not stand up.

“I helped plan all of President Obama’s trips for 8 years,” he wrote on Twitter. “There is always a rain option. Always.”

Despite the light rain, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a moving ceremony in Compiegne, northeast of Paris, to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the World War One armistice.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeauattended his own ceremony to pay tribute to Canadian troops killed at Vimy Ridge, on the battlefields of northeastern France.

Others compared Trump’s memorial snub to the National Football League’s kneeling protests.

Around 70 leaders, including Trump, are scheduled to gather at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Sunday morning to mark the commemoration of the centenary of the end of the war, when some 10 million soldiers were killed during four years of grinding conflict.

It was not clear what Trump decided to do instead of attending the cemetery. The White House said he was at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Paris. During that time he sent a tweet wishing a “Happy 243rd Birthday” to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The president is scheduled to take part in a ceremony at the Suresnes American Cemetery to the west of Paris on Sunday afternoon, when he is expected to make formal remarks.

[CNBC]

Trump Preemptively Threatens Retaliatory Investigations Against Democrats

President Donald Trump will soon be on the receiving end of something he didn’t see much from a Republican-led Congress: orders, backed up by subpoenas, for officials to answer questions on controversial policies like the dispatch of thousands of troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Two can play that game!” Trump wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

Now that Democrats have won control of the U.S. House of Representatives, they will be able to force administration officials to testify and provide documents. That will subject Trump’s decision-making — as well as his personal finances and potential conflicts of interest — to deeper public and private examination by key committees, as the national focus shifts to the 2020 presidential election.

[Time]

Trump says he wants to unite the country ‘eventually’

— President Trump said he “eventually” wants to unite the country during a raucous Monday campaign rally where he repeatedly attacked Democrats and the news media.

“I do eventually want to unite, but the fact is, we’re driving them crazy,” Trump said inside a packed Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. “They’re going loco.”

Trump’s rhetoric during his nearly two years as president has featured a constant, pointed onslaught against his opponents.

His approach has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of a string of bombing attempts against prominent Democrats and a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue by suspects who have echoed some of his rhetoric.

But Trump has refused to back down, saying his style fires up his core supporters.

That was on display during his final day of campaigning before the midterm elections, when he went after Democrats on immigration and the confirmation battle for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump accused Democrats, without evidence, of wooing migrant caravans to the U.S. “to overwhelm your schools, your hospitals and your communities.”

He also mocked Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calf.) as a “real genius” and dubbed Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) “Sleepin’ Joe.”

Trump repeatedly lambasted the “fake news media” for turning the cameras toward demonstrators in the crowds instead of Trump supporters.

“The cameras turned like a pretzel, did you see that? But they won’t show these huge crowds,” he said. “They don’t turn because they’re fake news. They’re fake news.”

The president appeared to revel in the energetic crowd, which booed the interruptions of protesters and tried to drown them out with chants of “USA.”

“And by the way, is there anything like a Trump rally?” Trump asked.

[The Hill]

Trump Says Pittsburgh Shooter and Mail Bomber Stopped His ‘Incredible’ Midterm Momentum

On Thursday, President Donald Trump said the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter and the mail bomber who sent packages to CNN and Democratic targets stopped his “incredible” midterm momentum.

“Now, we did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible. Because for 7 days, nobody talked about the elections. It stopped a tremendous momentum.” Trump said, before adding, “More importantly, we have to take care of our people, and we don’t care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to the country, but it did nevertheless stop a certain momentum.”

He then said the momentum is once again picking up.

During the same rally, Trump also declared the election the “election of Kavanaugh” and “caravans.”

[Mediaite]

1 2 3 4 22