Trump Argues He Won New Hampshire Because It Is a ‘Drug-Infested Den’

President Donald Trump, in a conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, labeled New Hampshire “a drug-infested den,” according to a transcript of Trump’s January 27 call that was published by The Washington Post on Thursday.

During the call, according to the Post, Trump lashed out at Peña Nieto for the quantity of illegal drugs that come into the United States from Mexico.

“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy,” Trump said.

He later bragged that he won the Granite State because of the opioid epidemic.

“I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den,” he said.

Asked by CNN to comment on the transcript, Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said only that he “can’t confirm or deny the authenticity of allegedly leaked classified documents.”

Trump did, in fact, win the Republican primary in New Hampshire, more than doubling the vote total received by his nearest competitor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Trump, however, narrowly lost the state to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Trump seized on the opioid epidemic while campaigning in New Hampshire throughout 2015 and 2016, promising the people of the state that he would boost local clinics, help those who are already hooked on opioids and stop the flow of drugs coming into the state.

The issue was so critical to Trump that he headlined an event in New Hampshire focused strictly on opioids days before the 2016 election.

“I just want to let the people of New Hampshire know that I’m with you 1,000%, you really taught me a lot,” he said before promising to help people who “are so seriously addicted.”

And he has made similar comments in the past about how inexpensive drugs can be.

“We’re becoming a drug-infested nation,” Trump said in February. “Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars.”

Trump’s comments about New Hampshire drew a quick rebuke from the state’s two Democratic senators.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen tweeted that Trump needed to apologize to the state of New Hampshire and “then should follow through on his promise to Granite Staters to help end this crisis.”

“It’s absolutely unacceptable for the President to be talking about NH in this way — a gross misrepresentation of NH & the epidemic,” she wrote.

Sen. Maggie Hassan called Trump’s comments “disgusting.”

“As he knows, NH and states across America have a substance misuse crisis,” Hassan wrote. “Instead of insulting people in the throes of addiction, [Trump] needs to work across party lines to actually stem the tide of this crisis.”

New Hampshire is one of the states most directly impacted by the opioid crisis. According to the NH Drug Monitoring Initiative, drug overdose deaths have climbed in the state since 2012 and it expected to again hit an all-time high once data from 2016 is tabulated.

A national study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 25% of all drug overdose deaths were related to heroin in 2015. That number was just 6% in 1999.

In response to the epedemic, Trump created a White House panel tasked with looking into how the federal government should respond. The panel, which is being led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, released its interim report earlier this week and suggested that Trump declare a state of emergency to combat opioids.

“Our citizens are dying. We must act boldly to stop it,” read its report. “The first and most urgent recommendation of this Commission is direct and completely within your control. Declare a national emergency.”

The report added: “America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” noting the fact that 142 Americans die from drug overdoses every day.

[CNN]

Eric Trump: Democrats Are ‘Not Even People’

President Trump’s son Eric Trump on Tuesday said Democrats are “not even people” to him after their obstruction of his father’s agenda.

“I’ve never seen hatred like this,” he said on Fox News’s “Hannity” Tuesday night. “To me, they’re not even people. It’s so, so sad. Morality’s just gone, morals have flown out the window and we deserve so much better than this as a country.”

“You see the Democratic Party, they’re imploding. They’re imploding. They became obstructionists because they have no message of their own.”

Trump additionally criticized the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) leadership without directly naming Chairman Tom Perez.

“You see the head of the DNC, who is a total whack job,” he told host Sean Hannity. “There’s no leadership there.”

“They lost the [2016 presidential] election that they should have won because they spent seven times the amount of money that my father spent.”

Democrats have tried capitalizing on liberal dissatisfaction with Trump’s administration and its agenda despite Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) has emerged as a vocal critic of Trump and is reportedly readying the articles of impeachment that mark the first official step of any congressional bid to remove a sitting president.

Green’s criticisms focus on Trump’s controversial firing of former FBI Director James Comey last month amid the bureau’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.

Trump reportedly urged Comey to halt the investigation of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn ahead of his ouster.

The president’s decision roiled Washington as the FBI’s probe includes possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

[The Hill]

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Jeff Sessions Dismisses Hawaii as ‘an Island in the Pacific’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke dismissively about the State of Hawaii while criticizing a Federal District Court ruling last month that blocked the Trump administration from carrying out its ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Mr. Sessions said this week in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show,” a conservative talk radio program.

Mr. Sessions’s description of Hawaii, where the federal judge who issued the order, Derrick K. Watson, has his chambers, drew a rebuke from both of the United States senators who represent the state. Annexed as a territory of the United States in the late 19th century, Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

“Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences — including my own,” Senator Mazie Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous.”

The other senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz, who is also a Democrat, expressed similar sentiments, writing on Twitter: “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

Asked for a response from Mr. Sessions, Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said in an email: “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific — a beautiful one where the attorney general’s granddaughter was born. The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the president’s lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe.”

(The State of Hawaii is a chain of islands, one of which is also called Hawaii; the judge’s chambers, however, are in Honolulu, which is on the island of Oahu.)

Judge Watson, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, was confirmed in 2013 by a 94-to-0 vote; Mr. Sessions, then a United States senator from Alabama, was among those who cast an approving vote. A former federal prosecutor, Judge Watson earned his law degree from Harvard alongside Mr. Obama and Neil M. Gorsuch, the newly seated Supreme Court justice. He is the only judge of native Hawaiian descent on the federal bench.

Last month, Judge Watson issued a nationwide injunction blocking President Trump’s travel ban, ruling that the plaintiffs — the State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii — had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination. He cited comments dating to Mr. Trump’s original call, during the 2016 campaign, for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

During the arguments, the government had contended that looking beyond the text of the order to infer religious animus would amount to investigating Mr. Trump’s “veiled psyche,” but Judge Watson wrote in his decision that there was “nothing ‘veiled’” about Mr. Trump’s public remarks. Still, Mr. Sessions reiterated that line of argument in the radio interview, saying he believed that the judge’s reasoning was improper and would be overturned.

“The judges don’t get to psychoanalyze the president to see if the order he issues is lawful,” Mr. Sessions said. “It’s either lawful or it’s not.”

(h/t New York Times)

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Trump: Only ‘Stupid People’ Don’t Want a Good Relationship With Russia

President-elect Donald Trump is hitting Twitter hard on Saturday, one day after the release of an intelligence report that concluded Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election with the intention of helping him win.

After two earlier tweets that criticized Democrats and downplayed Russia’s role in the election, Trump tweeted that “only ‘stupid’ people” do not want a good relationship with Russia, adding that the United States has “enough problems around the world.”

“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!” the president-elect wrote on Twitter early Saturday.

On Friday, the Intelligence Community released a declassified report that concluded Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to help Trump win the White House.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary [Hillary] Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” the report said.

Trump, who signaled throughout his presidential campaign that he was open to warmer relations with the Kremlin, has criticized United States intelligence agencies over reports about Russia’s cyber activity.

Earlier on Saturday, the president-elect said that there is “no evidence” Russia’s cyber activities affected the election outcome.

“Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!” he wrote on Twitter.

The Intelligence Community’s report notes that it did not analyze the impact of Russia’s actions.

“We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion,” the report said.

(h/t The Hill)

Trump Tweets New Years Greetings in Most Childish Way

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted New Year wishes on Saturday morning, and didn’t forget about what he called his “many enemies.”

“Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do,” Trump wrote, adding his love at the end.

Trump Asks “How Stupid Are the People of Iowa?”

Donald Trump railed against GOP presidential rival Ben Carson’s life story in a 95-minute speech late Thursday, telling Iowa voters they were “stupid” if they believed him.

“Give me a break, give me a break, give me a break,” he told listeners during a rally in Fort Dodge, dismissing a tale Carson describes as a miracle in which he tried to stab someone, only to have the blade break on a belt buckle.

“He took the knife and he went like this and plunged it into the belt and amazingly the belt stayed totally flat and the knife broke,” Trump said, recounting Carson’s tale while imitating knife thrusts.

“Anybody have a knife and want to try it on me?” the Republican presidential front-runner asked. “Believe me, it ain’t going to work. You’re going to be successful.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

Trump’s remarks come as he is neck-and-neck with Carson in the race for next year’s GOP presidential nomination. He is ratcheting up his attacks on the retired neurosurgeon, who is surging in Iowa, after the pair’s formerly cordial relationship on the 2016 campaign trail.

The outspoken billionaire also suggested Thursday Carson’s struggles with his temper may mirror the mental issues of child molesters.

“It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper,” Trump said on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” Wednesday night, referencing Carson’s memoir “Gifted Hands.”

“That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that,” he said. “As an example: child molesting. You don’t cure those people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it. Pathological, there’s no cure for that.

“I’m not bringing up anything that’s not in his book … when he says he’s pathological — and he says that in his book, I don’t say that — and again, I’m not saying anything, I’m not saying anything other than pathological is a very serious disease.”

Carson and Trump’s dominance of the Republican presidential primary is worrying some GOP strategists who believe neither candidate can win a general election.

At issue is the pair’s lack of political experience, tendency toward controverisal remarks and disregard for establishment politics.

(h/t The Hill)

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