Trump Kicks Off NATO Summit With Breakfast Rant: ‘Germany Is A Captive Of Russia’

President Donald Trump on Wednesday kicked off what is shaping up to be a contentious NATO summit by lashing out at Germany, saying the country is “captive to Russia” because of a gas pipeline deal.

In a bilateral breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in front of reporters, Trump immediately launched into a tirade about the pipeline.

“It’s very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia where we’re supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia,” he said.

“If you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia, because they supply ― they got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they’re getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia,” he added. “I think it’s something NATO has to look at.”

“Germany is totally controlled by Russia, cause they are getting 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline,” he said.

Trump’s comments referred to Berlin’s support for the construction of the $12 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline to bring gas across the Baltic Sea into the European continent. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the project is merely commercial, but the U.S. and other European Union members believe the pipeline could be a geopolitical incursion by Russia.

Stoltenberg responded by emphasizing NATO’s unity.

“NATO is an an alliance of 29 nations and sometimes there are differences and different views and also some disagreements, and the gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is one issue where allies disagree,” said Stoltenberg.

Trump is in Brussels for the NATO summit on Wednesday and Thursday, then will spend Friday and the weekend on a working visit to the UK, then will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

There are concerns that Trump will alienate NATO members ― traditional allies of the U.S. ― while cozying up to Putin.

Ahead of the NATO summit, Trump sent letters to allies Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium blasting them for not spending enough on defense ― an oft-repeated criticism of the alliance. Meanwhile, he told reporters on Tuesday that his meeting with Putin “may be the easiest of them all.”

Trump’s continued downplaying of Russian election interference has also deviated from broader international attitudes.

“Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election!,” he tweeted last month before tearing into the FBI and its former director James Comey. The U.S. intelligence community, backed by a Republican-led Senate panel, has definitively concluded that Kremlin meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump win.

Trump also called Putin “fine” in a fiery speech last week in which he also attacked European allies.

Back in the U.S., the Senate on Tuesday voted 97-2 on a motion of support for NATO.

“Unfortunately, this motion has become necessary because some of our closest allies have come to question the US commitment to collective self-defense. President Trump has at times called the alliance ‘obsolete.’ Our allies are starting to wonder whether they can rely on the United States to come to their defense in a crisis,” said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who authored the nonbinding motion.

[Huffington Post]

Media

Trump suggests NATO members reimburse US for defense costs

President Trump on Tuesday suggested countries that haven’t made their full contributions to fund the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should reimburse the U.S., further stoking his feud with members of the alliance as he travels to Brussels to meet with NATO leaders.

“Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?” Trump tweeted.

The president sent the tweet as he traveled on Air Force One to Belgium, where he will take part in the annual NATO summit with other world leaders that is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Trump has long been critical of what he views as the U.S. taking on a disproportionate burden in funding NATO, but he has ratcheted up those complaints in the days leading up to the summit.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to move toward spending at least 2 percent of their respective gross domestic product (GDP) on defense by 2024.

Trump reportedly wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other NATO allies last month to chastise them for failing to live up to their spending obligations. He further warned that the U.S. could alter its military deployments if nothing changes.

On Tuesday morning, just before he was set to depart for Brussels, Trump tweeted that the funding burden was unfair to American taxpayers, adding that other countries should pay more and the U.S. should pay less for NATO.

Trump went on to tell reporters on the White House lawn that he believes he’ll be able to “work something out” with other member countries.

“NATO has not treated us fairly but I think we’ll work something out. We pay far too much and they pay far too little,” Trump said. “But we will work it out and all countries will be happy.”

[The Hill]

Trump fires warning shot at allies before leaving for NATO meeting: ‘US must pay less — very unfair!’

President Donald Trump railed against NATO allies before boarding Air Force One for the annual meeting in Europe.

The president has ramped up his complaints about the decades-old alliance in recent weeks, and he fired off two tweets early Tuesday before departing for the meeting with allied leaders.

“Getting ready to leave for Europe. First meeting – NATO,” the president tweeted. “The U.S. is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them. Not fair to the U.S. taxpayer. On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!”

Trump will also visit Great Britain and then Helsinki, Finland, for a private, one-on-one-meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose country’s most important strategic goal is the weakening of NATO.

“NATO countries must pay MORE, the United States must pay LESS. Very Unfair!” Trump tweeted.

[Raw Story]

Trump attacks NYT over breastfeeding story

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked a New York Times story that reported how his administration attempted to weaken a World Health Assembly resolution to promote breastfeeding, saying women shouldn’t be denied access to formula.

The president’s tweet was spillover from a feud over a proposed breastfeeding resolution earlier this year at the WHA, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization. The U.S. opposed the resolution so strongly it threatened trade measures against the country that introduced it, according to the Times.

“The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty,” Trump said in a tweet.

According to the Times, the resolution was written to encourage breastfeeding and to limit “inaccurate or misleading” marketing for breast milk substitutes. The resolution, introduced by Ecuador, did not bar the use of formula.

When attempts to soften language in the resolution were unsuccessful, the U.S. stunned the global community by threatening retaliatory trade measures against Ecuador and the withdrawal of military aid, according to the Times report.

Ecuador backed off, as did a number of countries that said they feared the same retaliation. The resolution was later introduced by Russia. At that point, the U.S. did not fight back, the Times noted.

The lead agency involved in the resolution negotiations, the Department of Health and Human Services, denies the U.S. made any trade sanction-related threats. HHS spokesperson Caitlin Oakley touted the country’s “long history” of support for breastfeeding in a statement Monday afternoon.

“Recent reporting attempts to portray the U.S. position at the recent World Health Assembly as ‘anti-breastfeeding’ are patently false,” Oakley said. “The United States was fighting to protect women’s abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies. Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies.”

The Times defended its reporting in a tweet to the president, and provided a link to the story in question.

“Our report is accurate. You can read it here,” the Times said.

[Politico]

Trump calls on Twitter to boot NY Times and Washington Post since they are banning ‘fake accounts’

President Donald Trump on Saturday again lashed out at his enemies in the media in a Twitter rant where he urged the company to delete the accounts of The New York Times and Washington Post.

“Twitter is getting rid of fake accounts at a record pace. Will that include the Failing New York Times and propaganda machine for Amazon, the Washington Post, who constantly quote anonymous sources that, in my opinion, don’t exist,” Trump wrote.

The president, whose businesses have repeatedly declared bankruptcy, also predicted that both newspapers would be, “out of business in 7 years!”

The company has been repeatedly urged to ban President Trump for violating the company’s terms of service.

In January, the social media company updated its policies to protect President Trump’s account.

“Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets, would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,” Twitter claimed.

Two days later, demonstrators gathered at the company’s San Francisco headquarters to protest the announcement.

The protesters projected criticism on the facade of Twitter’s building, with messages stating Chief Executive Office Jack Dorsey is “complicit” and asking the question, “would Twitter ban Hitler?”

[Raw Story]

Trump returns to attacks on media: ‘These are really bad people’

President Trump attacked the media once again on Thursday, calling them “downright dishonest” and “really bad people” during a campaign-style rally in Montana.

“I see the way they write. They’re so damn dishonest,” Trump said. “And I don’t mean all of them, because some of the finest people I know are journalists really. Hard to believe when I say that. I hate to say it, but I have to say it. But 75 percent of those people are downright dishonest. Downright dishonest. They’re fake. They’re fake.”

“They make the sources up. They don’t exist in many cases,” he continued. “These are really bad people.”

Trump’s comments, made at a rally in Montana where he blasted incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), came a week after a gunman opened fire on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., leaving five people dead and several others injured.

The suspected shooter, who was identified as 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

While the attack was not determined to be politically motivated, it reignited criticism of Trump’s own rhetoric towards the press, which he has previously called the “enemy of the American people.”

After the shooting last week, Trump offered his condolences to the shooting’s victims and their families, and condemned the attack.

“Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job,” he said.

[The Hill]

Reality

Fox Business host Charles Gasparino pointed out Trump was his anonymous source for years.

Trump repeats inaccurate claim that Reagan didn’t win Wisconsin

President Trump repeated on Thursday his inaccurate claim that former President Ronald Reagan didn’t win the state of Wisconsin during his presidential elections.

“Take Wisconsin, I just left Wisconsin,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Montana.

“Reagan had his big win. He won every state except one, the great state of Wisconsin,” Trump said. “I won Wisconsin, first time since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.”

Reagan won the state in both 1980 and 1984. Minnesota was the only state that Reagan did not win in the 1984 election.

Eisenhower also won the state in his reelection in 1956. Former President Richard Nixon also won the state multiple times between Eisenhower’s and Trump’s elections.

Wisconsin is traditionally a blue state, but Trump narrowly picked it up in the 2016 election.

Hillary Clinton‘s lack of campaigning in Wisconsin has been widely cited as to why she lost the state.

Trump made a similar remark during an event in Wisconsin last week.

“And I won Wisconsin. And I like Wisconsin a lot but we won Wisconsin. And Ronald Reagan, remember, Wisconsin was the state that Ronald Reagan did not win,” Trump said at the time.

[The Hill]

Trump defends tweets, says he prides himself on his writing, misspells ‘pore’

President Trump on Tuesday defended his use of Twitter and his writing style in a tweet that slammed reporters for pointing out his grammatical and spelling errors.

“After having written many best selling books, and somewhat priding myself on my ability to write, it should be noted that the Fake News constantly likes to pour [sic] over my tweets looking for a mistake,” he wrote. “I capitalize certain words only for emphasis, not [because] they should be capitalized!”

The president would later correct the mistake, issuing a second tweet with the corrected spelling around the time he was speaking at a rally in West Virginia with the state’s Republican governor, Jim Justice.

Trump, who co-authored books about his business empire and real estate tactics before being elected president, is most famously known for his 1987 book “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” co-written by journalist Tony Schwartz.

Since taking office, Trump has faced criticism from Democrats and even some allies for his frequent use of Twitter and for using the platform to announce policies such as his ban on transgender people joining the military.

Trump, however, has refused to abandon his Twitter account, crediting it for allowing him to issue his messages without the filter of the media.

[The Hill]

Dubious Fox News article appears to have sparked Trump attack on Obama

President Donald Trump appeared to rely on a dubious Fox News report Tuesday morning to unleash an attack on his predecessor, accusing President Barack Obama, without any real evidence, of granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians as part of nuclear deal negotiations.

“Just out that Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials,” Trump tweeted. “How big (and bad) is that?”

Jeff Prescott, the former senior director on Obama’s National Security Council, called Trump’s allegation “absurd and entirely false.”

Prescott shared with CNN immigration data from the Department of Homeland Security which showed that the number of Iranians naturalized in the United States over the course of the Obama and Bush administrations was relatively consistent.

“There was no connection between the Iran nuclear deal and immigration policy,” Prescott added.

The unsubstantiated claim first gained attention with a Monday story on Fox News’ website that relied on the word of an Iranian cleric who is also a member of the country’s parliament.

The article, written by Chris Irvine, a Fox News senior editor, cited an Iranian news agency that cited an Iranian newspaper that quoted the single Iranian cleric, who said the Obama administration provided citizenship to 2,500 unidentified Iranians during nuclear deal negotiations.

The article itself quoted, toward the end of the story, the network’s own commentator, former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, saying, “This sounds like totally made up BS.” The story said the Department of Homeland Security and State Department declined to comment, and that a representative for former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson could not be reached.

Prior to the Fox News article, the claim had not received any noticeable attention from the US media.

But after Fox News published its story, other outlets, primarily in the conservative media space, published similar stories. Those outlets included The Daily Mail, The Gateway Pundit, and TownHall.

The claims were also shared on Twitter by Fox News host Sean Hannity and frequent Fox guests David Clarke and Charlie Kirk.

On Tuesday morning, just hours before Trump’s tweet, the story made its way to Fox News’ airwaves on “Fox & Friends First,” the network’s early morning show. It also later aired on “America’s Newsroom,” a late-morning news program on Fox News.

“It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this is a case of Donald Trump parroting Fox News, which is peddling the claims of an Iranian hardliner,” Prescott told CNN.

Jake Sullivan, a former Obama official who was involved at the start of the Iran nuclear negotiations, also skewered Trump for relying on Fox News’ thin report to make what he called a “completely false” claim.

“What is interesting about this is that what happened is a hardline crank in Iran just randomly made this comment, Fox News writes a story on it, and then Trump tweets it,” Sullivan said on “The Situation Room.”

[CNN]

Trump slams Dems for call to abolish ICE

President Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of “demeaning” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting that the criticism of the agency by some liberals could hurt the Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

“When we have an ‘infestation’ of MS-13 GANGS in certain parts of our country, who do we send to get them out? ICE! They are tougher and smarter than these rough criminal elelments [sic] that bad immigration laws allow into our country. Dems do not appreciate the great job they do! Nov.” he tweeted in an apparent reference to the November elections.

“How can the Democrats, who are weak on the Border and weak on Crime, do well in November,” the president asked in a second tweet. “The people of our Country want and demand Safety and Security, while the Democrats are more interested in ripping apart and demeaning (and not properly funding) our great Law Enforcement!”

Trump’s tweets came as some Democrats have started to call for ICE to be abolished amid an intensifying controversy over the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy prioritizing the prosecution of people who cross into the U.S. illegally through Mexico.

That policy has caused thousands of migrant children to be separated from their parents at the border. Protesters gathered in cities across the U.S. over the weekend to demand an end to the practice.

While Trump signed an executive order last month intended to allow children to be detained with their parents, it remains unclear how the government expects to enforce it. A 1997 consent decree bars law enforcement from holding minors for longer than 20 days — a limit that does not apply to adults.

Days after that order was signed, a federal judge in San Diego ordered the government to work quickly to reunite migrant families that had been separated under the policy. However, it is not clear how officials plan to meet the deadlines imposed by the court.

[The Hill]

Reality

U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers show that they captured about 180 MS-13 members who crossed the border last year out of 187,000 illegal immigrants, this makes up 0.096% of those entering the U.S. illegally.

MS-13 is a threat, but Donald Trump is hyping their numbers and conflating vicious gangs with a typical immigrant to scare his supporters into fearing Hispanics.

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