Donald Trump Jr. Joins Father in Bashing London Mayor After Terror Attack

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s time would be better spent addressing the terrorism in his own city instead of attacking U.S. President Donald Trump, the president’s son said in an interview that aired Tuesday morning.

“Rather than the mayor of London attacking maybe he should do something about it,” Donald Trump Jr. said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Maybe he should do something to fix the problem rather than just sit there and pretend there isn’t one. I think that’s an important message.”

The president first criticized Khan, via a post to Twitter, in the hours after the London terrorist attack, quoting the mayor out of context to suggest that he was downplaying the severity of the incident. A spokesman for Khan responded that the mayor “has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”

The president lobbed another insult across the ocean Monday morning, again via Twitter, criticizing what he called a “pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!”

Nonetheless, Donald Trump Jr. suggested that his father will ultimately be vindicated and that a more proactive approach would ultimately be to London’s benefit.

“Every time he puts something out there he gets criticized by the media all day every day by everyone else and guess what? Two weeks later he’s proven to be right,” the president’s son said. “It happened again and we keep appeasing it and keep saying, ‘okay, it’s going to be great. We’re going to hold fast and we’re going to keep calm and carry on.’ Maybe we have to keep calm and actually do something. And I think that’s what he’s trying to say because he’s been proven right every time.”

[Politico]

Media

BBC News

President Trump Calls London Mayor’s Words ‘Pathetic Excuse’

President Trump maintained his feud Monday with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, two days after a terrorist attack in the British capital.

“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” Trump tweeted. “MSM is working hard to sell it!”

Trump, who also hit Khan for “alarmed” comment on Sunday, did take it out of context — the mayor was referring to the increased police presence in the city in the wake of the Saturday night attack, not to the attack itself.

Kahn’s statement in full:

My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.

The mayor has not responded to the president, but a spokesman told British media that Khan has “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks.”

During Monday’s press briefing, Trump spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that she did not see Trump’s comments as “picking a fight with the mayor of London at all.” Rather, he was trying to make a point about national security.

[USA Today]

 

 

Trump Blasts London Mayor, Political Correctness After Terror Attacks

President Trump responded to the terror attacks in London by taking aim at London’s mayor, political correctness and gun control.

In a series of early morning tweets, the president derided and misrepresented Mayor Sadiq Khan’s attempt to calm Londoners after the third terror attack in Britain in less than three months.

“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!” said Trump.

In responding to the attacks, Khan told Londoners there’s no “reason to be alarmed” by an increased police presence over the coming days while vowing of the terrorists that “we will never let them win.”

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump said on Twitter. On Saturday night, police said seven people died and at least 48 were injured after a van plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge and assailants went on a stabbing rampage at nearby Borough Market.

In a final tweet, Trump also seemed to blast the gun control debate in the United States. “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That’s because they used knives and a truck!” said Trump.

Britain has stricter gun laws than in the U.S. and prohibits semi-automatic rifles. In 2011, the U.K. had 0.07 gun homicides for every 100,000 people; the U.S., by contrast, had 3 gun homicides for every 100,000. Further, the U.S. permits individuals on its terror watch list equal gun rights, including purchasing high-capacity weapons like the one Omar Mateen used last year to kill 49 people at an Orlando night club.

Trump’s criticism of the mayor drew fire from Republicans in the U.S., including Doug Heye, a strategist and former top aide to House Republican leadership.

“I can’t imagine Theresa May tweeting like this to the mayor of Orlando or San Bernadino,” said Heye.

[USA Today]

Reality

What Mr Khan actually said was that there is no reason to be alarmed about the increased police presence on the streets after the attack.

“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today,” Mr Khan said. “You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers.

“There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”

 

Trump Raged at Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas In Bethlehem Meeting: ‘You Lied To Me’

President Trump reportedly lashed out at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting in the West Bank city of Bethlehem last Tuesday.

“You tricked me in D.C.! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement [against Israel],” he allegedly said to Abbas, according to Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster, which cited a U.S. official present at the meeting. It said the Palestinian delegation were shocked by the outburst.

The Israeli government blames the Palestinian leadership and Abbas’s Fatah faction for inciting violence among young Palestinians, who from September 2015 onward launched a series of violent and deadly attacks with knives, guns and vehicles in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Palestinians say it is Israel’s military occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank that pushed them to violence. The violence slowed in mid-2016.

At their meeting in Washington on May 3, Trump told Abbas to end incitement and “resolve” a Palestinian policy of paying the families of Palestinians convicted of terror offenses under Israeli law. Abbas said “we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Abbas’s remarks were “not true” as his Palestinian Authority names “schools after mass murders of Israelis.”

Trump is earning a reputation for lecturing world leaders. In February, he reportedly shouted on a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about a refugee settlement deal reached with his predecessor, Barack Obama.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it. They’re tough,” he said at a prayer breakfast the day after the call. “We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. It’s not going to happen any more.”

Trump arrived in Bethlehem on Tuesday for a whistlestop meeting with Abbas with security at its highest level in the West Bank city. He had met with Netanyahu a day earlier. He said that with “ determination, compromise, and the belief that peace is possible,” Israelis and Palestinians could make a deal.

In Bethlehem, shops shuttered and Palestinian security forces lined the main roads as Palestinians held a “Day of Rage” in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners, who have since stopped that strike. The pair held a joint press conference at the city’s presidential palace but, despite visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Trump passed on visiting the Church of the Nativity, the alleged birthplace of Jesus.

Publicly, Trump was kinder about his Palestinian counterpart, saying he was a willing peace partner. “I truly believe if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process for peace in the Middle East,” Trump said during the conference. “Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith, and Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace.”

Abbas said the Palestinians would work for peace but their “fundamental problem is with the occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine as we recognize it.” He said their problem was not with “Judaism.”

[Newsweek]

‘The Germans Are Bad, Very Bad’: Trump Pledges to ‘Stop’ German Car Sales to US

President Donald Trump is ready to fight Germany in an auto battle according to Germany’s Der Spiegel.

Trump got a chilly reception at the NATO summit in Belgium after attacking fellow members. But he was caught pledging a battle with German automakers as part of his anger with “back dues” he feels the country owes to NATO. As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted Thursday, “Trump seems to think it’s like a country club.”

In a discussion about the country’s trade surplus, Trump said. “The Germans are evil, very evil.”

“Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US, and we’ll stop that,” sources told Der Spiegel.

According to the report, EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker took up for Germany explaining that “free trade is good for all.”

According to a report from the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” the EU allies were horrified by the willingness of the Americans to view global trade with such a lack of awareness. Trump’s economic consultant Gary Cohn was said to have chided German auto trade during a discussion between the US and Germany and the USA and Belgium. Trump had previously attacked them during another conversation.

“I would say to BMW if they want to build a factory in Mexico and sell cars to the US without a 35 percent tax, they can forget that,” Trump said at the time.

The report revealed that since that comment, there has been “a threat of a criminal tax” in the room.

Trump is bothered by Germany’s trade surplus because many other countries have deficits, particularly the U.S.

[Raw Story]

Trump Shoved the Montenegro Prime Minister at NATO

During his first joint meeting with North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders, President Trump on Thursday appeared to push aside the prime minister of Montenegro.

In a video of the interaction, the president comes up from behind and then shoves Montenegro’s Dusko Markovic to get to the front of the group of world leaders. Trump then adjusts his jacket.

Markovic appears to be taken aback at first, but after seeing that it was Trump, he smiles and pats Trump on the back.

[USA Today]

Trump Cancels Visit to Ancient Masada Site after Israel Refuses Helicopter Landing

President Donald Trump has canceled a planned visit and speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada in Israel after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter on top of the UNESCO-listed site.

Instead, Trump will now deliver a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. It comes after an Israeli Air Force (IAF) regulation that prevents helicopters landing at the summit of the Masada site, according to Israel’s Channel 2 broadcaster.

Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable car up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether.

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment, referring any matters involving Trump’s schedule to the U.S. government. The Israeli Foreign Ministry also declined to comment on Trump’s schedule.

The reason for the regulation is that helicopters on approach create dust, making landing at the desert site 1,300 feet above sea level precarious. On a previous 1997 landing by the IAF in the middle of Masada, the wind created by the helicopter caused damage to the ruins, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage site that the cultural agency calls a creation of “majestic beauty,” is built upon a mountain overlooking the shores of the Dead Sea in southern Israel’s Judean desert, some 60 miles southeast of Jerusalem. It is one of the country’s archaeological wonders.

King Herod is believed to have built the fortress, but its defining story is that its Jewish rebel defenders who—under threat from a Roman siege—killed themselves rather than be captured alive by the invading forces some time between 73 and 74 AD.

News of the president’s cancellation stirred reactions among observers of the American-Israeli relationship and officials inside the country. “Well Masada was too hot, so we found a great spot instead for POTUS,” Eitan Weiss, deputy spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry tweeted, appearing to mock the reason for the cancellation. “@IsraelMuseum. The Dead Sea Scrolls make an important setting.”

[Newsweek]

 

Donald Trump Jr. Criticizes London Mayor Just Hours After Parliament Attack

Before basic information about a terrorist attack in London was known, Donald Trump Jr. took to social media to blast the city’s mayor.

Roughly two hours after at least four people were killed near the UK Parliament, the President’s son reposted an article from last year where Sadiq Khan spoke about the dangers of living in world capitals.

“You have to be kidding me?! Terror attacks are part of living in the big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan,” Trump Jr. said alongside a piece from The Independent.

Khan’s statements last September came after the Chelsea bombing wounded 29 people with homemade explosives.

“Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job,” Khan said at the time.

It was not immediately clear what Trump Jr. found so offensive about Khan’s comments that he posted it six months later after an attack in the mayor’s city.

The leader of the Trump Organization was criticized online for his comments in the middle of an incident that resulted in the loss of several lives.

“Is this helpful @DonaldJTrumpJr? Did you even read the article before goading London’s Mayor during a live incident?” British journalist Ciaran Jenkins said.

“Khan is right. These things happen. We fight against them. But we don’t wildly over-react or let them change our way of life,” Londoner Tom Coates said, adding that he had lived through IRA bombings and the 7/7 attacks on the London Underground.

Later Wednesday, Trump Jr. retweeted an account identifying the attacker as Abu Izzadeen, a spokesperson for a terrorist-affiliated group in Britain.

But several news outlets that reported the same name eventually issued retractions and apologies after it was reveiled that Izzadeen has been in prison since 2008. As of early Thursday, Trump Jr. had not retracted his retweet or issued an apology.

London authorities reported that at least four people, including police officer Keith Palmer, were killed and 40 more were wounded when a car hit pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing into a railing at Parliament.

The assailant allegedly got out of the car and fatally stabbed the officer before being shot by police.

Khan said in a statement on Twitter that his “thoughts are with those affected and their families” and expressed thanks to the police and emergency workers who responded.

(h/t New York Daily News)

US Will ‘Not Repeat’ Claims GCHQ Wiretapped Donald Trump

The US has agreed not to repeat claims the UK’s communications intelligence agency wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign.

GCHQ rejected allegations made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it spied on Mr Trump, as “nonsense”.

No. 10 has been assured by Mr Spicer he would not repeat the claims, which he cited from US TV channel Fox News.

The White House has said that Mr Spicer was “simply pointing to public reports, not endorsing any specific story”.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said it had been made clear to US authorities the claims were “ridiculous and should have been ignored”.

Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said it was not enough to promise not to repeat the allegation.

“That’s not the same as saying it was rubbish in the first place,” he told the BBC.

GCHQ rejected the allegations as “utterly ridiculous”. The unusual move by the agency to comment on the news came after Mr Spicer cited claims first made on Fox News earlier this week.

Mr Trump said Trump Tower in New York was under surveillance, but has provided no evidence for the claim.

The allegations of GCHQ involvement were initially made by former judge Andrew Napolitano.

Mr Spicer quoted Mr Napolitano as saying: “Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.”

He said Mr Obama “didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI and he didn’t use the Department of Justice, he used GCHQ.

“What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database.”

A GCHQ spokesman said: “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense.

“They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

It’s a bad day for the transatlantic intelligence community when Britain’s largest and best funded spy agency – GCHQ – has to come out and publicly contradict a claim made by its closest ally.

GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 rarely, if ever, comment on ongoing intelligence stories in the news.

But the allegation made by Mr Spicer was seen as so potentially damaging – as well as being untrue – that it was decided to make an exception.

The BBC understands that a discussion was held earlier this week in No 10 on whether and how to respond.

When Mr Spicer repeated his claim of GCHQ collusion on Thursday the strongly-worded denial was written and published.

Career intelligence officers on both sides of the Atlantic will now be at pains to protect their historically-close relationship from any further perceived gaffes coming out of the White House.

(h/t BBC News)

Trump Remarks on NATO Trigger Alarm Bells in Europe

Donald Trump set off alarm bells in European capitals after suggesting he might not honor the core tenet of the NATO military alliance.

Trump said the U.S. would not necessarily defend new NATO members in the Baltics in the event of Russian attack if he were elected to the White House.

He told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday that doing so would depend on whether those countries had “fulfilled their obligations to us” in terms of their financial contributions to the alliance.

“You can’t forget the bills,” Trump told the paper. “They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.”

(h/t NBC News)

Reality

NATO is not just a defensive military alliance against a Russia that looks to expand, but it is also a projection of American influence in Europe. Some, like Trump, may take NATO for granted now but just 2 years prior Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from southern Ukraine.

Trump’s comments were perceived by some analysts as carte blanche for Russia to intimidate NATO allies and a potential harbinger of the alliance’s collapse, which would be a global crisis, were Trump to be elected.

NATO’s treaty states that an attack on one member state constitutes an attack on all, a principle enshrined in Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty.

“If Trump wants to put conditions through Article 5, he would endanger the whole alliance,” said Beyza Unal, a fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank.

Sarah Lain, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, agreed. She said that Article 5 is the “core” of NATO’s defense strategy.

“The suggestion that Trump may consider abandoning a guarantee of protection to fellow NATO countries would in some ways indeed make NATO obsolete,” Lain told NBC News in an email.

Responses

In an interview with the New York Times, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump’s comments a “rookie mistake.”

“I am willing to kind of chalk it up to a rookie mistake,” he said. “I don’t think there is anybody he would choose to be secretary of defense or secretary of state who would have a different view from my own.”

Two additional Senate Republicans, neither of whom is attending this week’s Republican National Convention, condemned his comments, suggesting Congress would not follow his lead on the issue if he is commander-in-chief.

“As [Russian President Vladimir] Putin revives Soviet-style aggression and the threat of violent Islam looms over European and American cities, the United States stands with our NATO allies,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., one of the most vocal elected officials in the never-Trump movement, said in a statement.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s former Republican primary opponents, accused him of appeasing the Russian president with his assertions.

“I can only imagine how our allies in NATO, particularly the Balkan states, must feel after reading these comments from Mr. Trump. I’m 100 percent certain how Russian President Putin feels — he’s a very happy man,” Graham said.

“If Mr. Trump is serious about wanting to be commander-in-chief, he needs to better understand the job, which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world,” Graham continued, also calling for Trump to “correct” his statements during his prime-time address Thursday evening.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, a former Air Force pilot, told ABC News he was deeply disturbed by Trump’s comments about NATO.

“To protect American first you have to have strong alliances,” he said. “This alliance has prevented 60 years of war.”

Trump’s comments, Kinzinger added, were “ridiculous and reckless,” and suggest that Trump doesn’t understand foreign policy.

Members of the Democratic Party also slammed Trump’s remarks, accusing him of friendliness with the same unsavory leaders with whom Republicans have accused President Barack Obama of being too conciliatory.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest noted that Republicans have long accused Obama of going on a “global apology tour.”

“I guess that means that there is some irony associated with the case that’s being made by the Republican nominee at this point,” Earnest said.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign condemned Trump’s remarks, also accusing him of cozying up to Putin.

“Over the course of this campaign, Trump has displayed a bizarre and occasionally obsequious fascination with Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin. And he has policy positions — and advisers — to match,” Clinton senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan said, citing a Washington Post report that Trump staffers persuaded convention delegates to strip language from the GOP platform that would have called for “providing lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainian military.

The White House has declined to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, but mainstream Republicans have long called for the president to do so.

“Just this week, we learned that the Trump campaign went to great lengths to remove a plank from the GOP platform about aid to Ukraine that would have offended Putin, bucking a strongly held position within his own party … It is fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency.”

Kingzinger, who isn’t sure if he’ll support Trump and has frequently criticized Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements, called the platform change “curious for sure.”

Although NATO does not frequently comment on issues related to member nations’ domestic politics, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, weighed in on Trump’s comments, defending European allies’ contributions to NATO while avoiding commenting on the election directly.

“European allies are also stepping up,” he said. “For the first time in many years, defense spending among European allies and Canada rose last year.”

Secretary of State John Kerry was also pulled in to the fracas Thursday, fielding a question about Trump’s comments at a press conference at the State Department.

Prefacing his comments by saying he wasn’t making a statement about the presidential race, Kerry said he would restate American policy towards NATO.

“This administration, like every administration Republican and Democrat alike since 1949, remains fully committed to the NATO alliance and to our security commitments under Article 5, which is absolutely bedrock to our membership and to our partnership with NATO.”

Trump was also questioned about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to the failed military coup, and told the New York Times that the United States has “a lot of problems.”

“Our nominee is making the same arguments you hear in Russian propaganda and that you hear from left-wing liberals,” Kinzinger said of Trump’s criticisms.

Links

Quick history of NATO.

Why is NATO still needed, even after the downfall of the Soviet Union?

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