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]

Trump says he tells the truth, “when I can”

President Trump, who has frequently made false and misleading statements while in office, told ABC News’ Jon Karl that he tried to tell the truth, “when [he] can”.

“Well, I try. I do try … When I can, I tell the truth. And sometimes it turns out to be where something happens that’s different or there’s a change, but I always like to be truthful.”

By the numbers: The Washington Post’s Fact Checker reported last month that Trump made more than 5,000 false or misleading statements in the first 601 days of his presidency, an average of 8.3 claims a day.

[Axios]

Trump Takes No Blame For Bomber’s Threats to Media, Democrats: He Was ‘Insane for a Long Time’

President Donald Trump gave an interview to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham — which is set to air later Monday night — in which he reiterated that he bears no responsibility for the apparent supporter of his who was arrested last Friday in connection with last week’s bomb scare.

In a preview clip of Trump’s interview, Trump rejected the idea that the bomber’s actions have anything to do with him.

“You look at his medical records. He was insane for a long time,” Trump said. “Bernie Sanders had a fan who shot [Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)]. He was a total maniac. Nobody puts his name in the headline, Bernie Sanders in the headline.”

Fox News described a separate portion of the interview in which Trump defended referred to himself as a “nationalist” at a recent rally. While critics have expressed concern that Trump’s proclamation carries racial undertones, the president insisted that the term is only meant to convey his love of America.

“As soon as you make any statement nowadays with the political correctness world, they make a big deal. I’m not a globalist, but I want to take care of the globe, but first I have to take care of our country. I want to help people around the world, but we have to take care of our country, or we won’t have a country, including — we have to take care of our country at the border.”

[Mediaite]

Trump falsely says NYSE opened day after Sept. 11 attacks to justify holding rally after Pittsburgh shooting

President Donald Trump falsely claimed Saturday that the New York Stock Exchange re-opened the day after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an effort to justify holding a rally on the same day that a mass shooting occurred at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Speaking at a planned campaign rally in Illinois, Trump said he had weighed whether to cancel his rally as well as a speech at an agricultural convention earlier in the day in Indianapolis, Indiana, but ultimately decided against it, saying such a move would amount to giving the killer an edge. He compared his decision to continue with the rally to reopening the NYSE after the September 11 attacks, something that did not happen.

“And with what happened early today — that horrible, horrible attack in Pittsburgh — I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that,” Trump said, referring to the rally and his earlier appearance at the agricultural convention. “And then I said to myself, I remember Dick Grasso, a friend of mine, great guy. He headed up the New York Stock Exchange on September 11. And the New York Stock Exchange was open the following day. He said — and what they had to do to open it you wouldn’t believe. We won’t even talk to you about it. But he got that exchange open.”

“We can’t make these sick, demented, evil people important. And when we start changing around our lives and changing around our schedules … we can’t allow people like this to become important,” Trump said. “And when we change all of our lives in order to accommodate them, it’s not acceptable.”

In fact, as CNN reported at the time, the NYSE closed after the attacks and did not reopen until September 17 because many of the workers were lost or injured in the attack on the World Trade Center, which was just blocks from the NYSE in Manhattan’s financial district, and much of the communications and utilities needed to trade stocks were damaged or destroyed.

It was the longest shutdown for the NYSE since the Great Depression.

Bloomberg first reported Trump’s error.

Trump also used his rally to condemn the shooting that took place earlier Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue, leaving 11 dead.

“This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It’s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from the world,” he said.

“The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated and cannot be allowed to continue.”

[CNN]

Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Dedicates 2 Miles of Donald Trump’s ‘Border Wall’ With Fencing

On Friday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen dedicated a newly completed replacement section of border fence in Calexio, California. The fences and barriers have existed for years, but recently received routine scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

However the DHS Secretary spun a different tale of what the invited and gathered media looked at.

According to Nielsen, the open bollard style fence constitutes a wall. And not just a wall, but the border wall from President Donald Trump’s campaign and rally promises.

But yeah, that’s a fence.

The President specified in his campaign that a wall would be built, not a fence. And when reporters asked about the fence, Nielsen reiterated the fence was a wall.

When asked if the 30-foot tall fence of steel bollards was a fence, Nielsen said:

“It’s different than a fence in that it also has technology. It’s a full wall system. It’s a wall, this is what the president has asked us to do. It’s part of a system.”

But the prior fence that Trump deemed inadequate also utilized additional technology beyond just fencing. However the new fence is taller.

The Trump administration contracted for and tested eight border wall prototypes at a reported cost of $20 million. However all of the prototypes failed in testing.

Back in March, Trump tweeted that old photos of another section of replacement fence was his wall under construction, but was quickly corrected. This time Nielsen faces the brunt of the pushback over passing a fence off as a wall.

During the presidential campaign and subsequent rallies, Trump promised a “big, beautiful wall” that would definitely not be a fence. He also promised Mexico would pay for it.

Neither campaign promise came to fruition yet.

But despite the obvious fence visible in the background, Nielsen persisted in talking about the first section of Trump’s border wall being completed. And workers even welded a plaque to the fence to commemorate the event which was livestreamed.

[Second Nexus]

Trump on Synagogue Shooting: If They Had an Armed Guard, ‘Results Would Have Been Far Better’

President Donald Trump briefly spoke to reporters this afternoon about the horrific shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and he was asked at one point about taking action regarding gun laws.

“This has little to do with it,” the President said. “If they had protection inside, the results would have been far better… If they had some kind of a protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation.”

Trump specifically said an “armed guard” would have been able to stop the shooter, and he talked about stiffening up death penalty laws.

Officials have so far confirmed that three officers were shot.

[Mediaite]

Trump blames ‘bomb stuff’ for slowing GOP momentum in midterms

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that “this ‘Bomb’ stuff’ has greatly slowed the “momentum” of Republican candidates in early voting in the November midterm elections.

The tweet came hours after the discovery of two more suspected mail bombs, bringing the number to 12 suspicious packages that have been sent to Trump critics including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and former top intelligence officials.

“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics,” Trump said.

Earlier Friday, at around 3:30 a.m., Trump had called out CNN in a tweet that claimed that news network has been “blaming me for the current spate of Bombs.”

CNN’s New York headquarters was evacuated Wednesday, along with the rest of the massive Time Warner Center complex in Manhattan, after a suspected pipe bomb addressed to former CIA chief John Brennan in care of CNN was found in the mailroom.

[NBC News]

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