Trump falsely takes credit for record year in airline safety

2017 was a lot of things, including, as it turns out, the safest year on record for commercial air travel. And the president of the United States is, perplexingly, taking credit for it.

There was an estimated 3 percent growth in air traffic from 2016 to 2017. And the fatality rate was 0.06 fatalities per million flights — in other words, one fatal accident for 16 million flights.

“2017 was the safest year for aviation ever,” Adrian Young of the Dutch consulting firm To70 told Reuters.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday took to Twitter to celebrate the year in airline safety:

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday on two analyses that both found 2017 was a great year for airline safety. One was from To70, which found no consumer passenger jet fatalities in 2017. Its Civil Aviation Safety Review, an annual analysis of airplane safety, found there were 13 lives lost on airplanes in 2017. They occurred on two regional airlines, both of which were small turboprop (propeller-powered) planes.

To70’s analysis examines accidents, whether caused by technical failure, human error, or unlawful interference, involving larger passenger aircraft. In 2017, there were 111 accidents, two of which included fatalities: an October crash of a Brazilian-built Embraer flight in Angola, and a November crash of a Czech-made plane in eastern Russia.

The Aviation Safety Network also reported that there were no commercial jet deaths in 2017. It recorded 10 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 44 deaths of passengers on board and 35 people on the ground. It records passenger and cargo flights.

The group’s president, Harro Ranter, said in a statement that the average number of airliner accidents has shown a “steady and persistent” decline since 1997, thanks in large part to sustained efforts by international safety organizations to improve safety — not President Trump, who has been in office for less than a year.

As the Hill’s Jordan Fabian points out, there hasn’t been a fatal passenger airline crash in the US since 2009, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, and the last deadly commuter plane crash took place in Hawaii in 2013.

Still, Trump has made a habit of taking credit for things that don’t exactly correspond to him — including claiming he invented the phrases “prime the pump” and “fake news,” touting business deals reached under the Obama administration as attributable to him, and saying quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still a free agent because NFL owners are afraid of “a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.”

Trump in June proposed privatizing the US air traffic control system. The proposal would place the safety of millions of US airline passengers under a private nonprofit corporation instead of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and could potentially cost more.

That’s not to say that flying is a risk-free affair — as To70 notes, there were several serious non-fatal accidents in 2017, including an Air France Airbus plane carrying 520 people from Paris to Los Angeles last fall that had to make an emergency landing after suffering serious damage to one of its four engines. The firm also points to the risk that the growing prevalence of lithium-ion batteries in electronics poses for fires aboard planes.

“There is no room for complacency,” To70’s report warns.

[Vox]

Reality

The Aviation Safety Network also reported that there were no commercial jet deaths in 2017. It recorded 10 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 44 deaths of passengers on board and 35 people on the ground. It records passenger and cargo flights.

The group’s president, Harro Ranter, said in a statement that the average number of airliner accidents has shown a “steady and persistent” decline since 1997, thanks in large part to sustained efforts by international safety organizations to improve safety — not President Trump, who has been in office for less than a year.

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

President Donald Trump on Friday insisted that he’s just as popular now as former President Barack Obama was at this point in 2009 — despite the fact that multiple polls say otherwise.

The President based his boast on a “Fox & Friends” report that only cited one poll to back up its claim — a poll that was released on Thursday by the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports.

“While the Fake News loves to talk about my so-called low approval rating, @foxandfriends just showed that my rating on Dec. 28, 2017, was approximately the same as President Obama on Dec. 28, 2009, which was 47%,” Trump wrote. “And this despite massive negative Trump coverage & Russia hoax!”

In reality, Rasmussen is the only major pollster to have Trump’s approval rating as high as 46 percent.

An analysis of polling averages by FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump currently has an average approval rating of just 37.7 percent, which makes him by far the least popular presisdent at the end of his first year by far. For comparison, Obama had an average approval rating of 49.6 percent at this point in his president, George W. Bush had an approval rating of 82.9 percent, Bill Clinton had an approval rating of 56.2 percent, and Ronald Reagan had an approval rating of 49.2 percent.

Similarly, a comparison of Trump’s average approval rating with Obama’s average approval rating on Real Clear Politics shows that Obama’s approval rating at this point in 2009 was 49.8 percent, whereas Trump’s average approval rating now is 39.3 percent.

Trump touts bogus ‘Fox & Friends’ report claiming he’s just as popular as Obama was

Trump: US could use some ‘good old Global Warming’ to heat up cold states

President Trump took to Twitter Thursday to note the record-breaking cold weather currently slamming much of the eastern U.S., saying the country could use some “global warming” during the cold snap.

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,” Trump tweeted. “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

Large swaths of the U.S. are expected to see record-breaking cold temperatures over New Year’s weekend, with some areas expected to have low temperatures in the negative 40s.

Much of the Northeast is also facing wind chill advisories over the weekend, with wind chills in New England expected to measure between 20 and 40 degrees below zero.

Weather is not climate, however. NASA defines climate as “how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time,” while weather is defined as “what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time.”

Trump has denied that global warming exists in the past, claiming it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

In June, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, a worldwide pact to cut back on carbon emissions in order to reduce global warming.

Trump has argued the Paris deal puts the American economy at a disadvantage because other nations – primarily China and India – are not aiming to cut their emissions in real terms under the deal.

Trump took particular aim this year at the Green Climate Fund, a United Nations-administered account that international officials hope will inject up to $100 billion in annual climate adaptation financing for poor nations by 2020.

Obama pledged $3 billion for the fund and was able to spend $1 billion before leaving office. Trump said future payments for that fund would now stop.

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/366734-trump-us-could-use-some-good-old-global-warming-to-heat-up-cold

 

Sarah Sanders: Russia Investigation a ‘Hoax,’ But We Have ‘No Intention’ to Fire Mueller

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took some new shots at the Russia special counsel today, even as she insisted the Trump Administration doesn’t plan on firing Robert Mueller.

In an interview for America’s Newsroom, Sanders was asked by Bill Hemmer about recent questions surrounding Mueller’s probe. Sanders proceeded to dismiss the investigation as a “hoax” which shows that Democrats have no agenda beyond attacking and trying to undermine the president.

“For the 1,000th time, We have no intentions of firing Bob Mueller,” Sanders said. “We are continuing to work closely and cooperate with him. We look forward to seeing this hoax wrap up very soon.”

Hemmer followed up by asking about what Senator Rand Paul suggested earlier today about former Obama officials colluding to stop Trump from being president. Sanders responded with more jabs at Democrats and the “liberal media,” and responded that Ryan’s claims could be worth looking into.

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump Falsely Claims GOP Tax Bill ‘Repealed Obamacare’

The Republican tax-overhaul bill may have only ended the individual mandate aspect of Obamacare, but that won’t stop President Trump from gloating to his base that he “repealed” his predecessor’s signature legislation. “When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means Obamacare is being repealed,” the president told the press during a cabinet meeting. “Obamacare has been repealed in this bill.”

Contrary to his claim, however, the Affordable Care Act is still largely intact—from its Medicaid expansion to the insurance exchanges it set up to regulations on insurance companies, including those mandating coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Media

White House defends Trump claim tax plan will cost him ‘a fortune’

The White House defended President Trump’s assertion that the forthcoming tax reform bill will cost him a “fortune,” while admitting he could benefit from cuts to corporate taxes.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to repeated questions from reporters during Tuesday’s briefing about Trump’s assertion, which he made during a Nov. 29 speech in Missouri.

Sanders defended the president by arguing that he hasn’t been focused on himself, but instead on the impact the bill would have on everyday Americans.

“In some ways, particularly on the personal side, the president will likely take a big hit. But on the business side, he could benefit,” she said.

“The biggest focus for this White House is to makes sure all Americans are better off today when this tax package passes than they were before hand. We really focused on invigorating the middle class and making sure they get more of their hard-earned money.”

Multiple independent analyses show that Trump, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at $3.1 billion, stands to benefit from GOP tax plan.

When reporters noted that the overall impact on Trump’s bottom line is unclear because he has not released his tax returns, Sanders said that Trump will not release his tax returns while they are under audit, which is the line that Trump took during the presidential campaign too. The IRS, however, has said an audit does not prevent an individual from releasing personal tax information.

Using information from a leaked portion of Trump’s tax returns from 2005, NBC News quoted a tax expert estimating that the combined estates of both Trump and first lady Melania Trump would save about $1 billion from the repeal of the estate tax. The expert also estimated that Trump would save $22.6 million thanks to the repeal of the alternative minimum tax, after capital gains taxes were taken into account. But without Trump’s most recent tax returns, or a more full glimpse at the 2005 return, the full impact couldn’t be nailed down.

The House passed the final version of the plan Tuesday afternoon, with the Senate expected to vote on the bill later that same day.

[The Hill]

CDC banned from using ‘evidence-based’ and ‘science-based’ on official documents

The Trump administration has reportedly banned the Centers for Disease Control from using the phrases “evidence-based” and “science-based” on official documents.

Senior CDC officials distributed the list of “forbidden” words and phrases to policy analysts at the CDC on Thursday, the Washington Post reported Friday. The list also bans the use of “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender” and “fetus.”

Analysts are reportedly prohibited from using the phrases on official documents they prepare for the 2019 budget, which is expected to be released in February.

An analyst who attended the meeting at the CDC in Atlanta told the Washington Post that instead of “evidence-based” or “science-based,” policy analysts are instructed to use the phrase, “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”

The analyst told the Post that other branches of President Trump’s health department are likely adhering to the same list of banned words. The source said that others at the meeting reacted with surprise when given the list.

“It was very much, ‘Are you serious? Are you kidding?’” the analyst said, “In my experience, we’ve never had any pushback from an ideological standpoint.”

The Trump administration has been repeatedly scrutinized for declining to acknowledge science-based findings, particularly related to climate change. Trump himself has not said whether he believes in climate science, and numerous members of his administration and his appointees have denied aspects of scientific consensus related to global warming.

[The Hill]

Trump’s lawyer wants second special counsel to probe investigators

President Trump‘s legal team said Tuesday it would like a new special counsel to be appointed to probe individuals investigating Russian election meddling.

“The Department of Justice and FBI can not ignore the multiple problems that have been created by these obvious conflicts of interests. These new revelations require the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate,” one of Trump’s lawyers, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement.

Sekulow’s statement calling for a second special counsel, which was first reported by Axios, comes after Fox News published an article on Monday that said the wife of an official in the Justice Department was employed during the campaign by Fusion GPS, the opposition firm behind a controversial dossier of Trump opposition research.

The president’s attorneys, according to Axios, fault the FBI and the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the probe into Russia’s election meddling and any potential ties between Trump campaign staff members and the Kremlin.

Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt,” arguing Democrats are using Russia’s attempts to interfere in last year’s presidential election as an excuse for their loss.

“As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!” Trump said in July.

[The Hill]

Reality

Trump’s lawyers display a fundamental misunderstanding of how special councils work. First, there has to be a crime, and Mueller and the FBI haven’t committed one. Second, a Special Council office was created because of the recusals of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Rod Rosenstein. And finally, a President of the United States calling for an investigation into the investigators, who have already secured two indictments and another two pleas, is not what happens in a democracy.

Donald Trump Just Claimed He Never Met Women Accusing Him of Sexual Harassment. That’s Not True

President Donald Trump targeted Democrats and the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct in a tweet Tuesday morning, calling their claims “false” and “fabricated.”

“Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia — so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met,” the president tweeted. “FAKE NEWS!”

While Trump claimed he did not “know and/or have never met” these accusers, several of the women had participated in events in which he was the host. Of the 19 women who have come forward with accusations against the president, one of them, Summer Zervose, was a contestant on the fifth season of NBC’s The Apprentice, and several of them were contestants in Miss USA pageants.

Additionally, one of them is Natasha Stoynoff, a former People magazine staff writer who interviewed Trump and Melania Trump in Mar-a-Lago in 2005, when, she said, Trump forced her against a wall and kissed her.

Their claims, many of which have a number of corroborators, were recently detailed again in The Atlantic and The Washington Post.

Trump’s tweet came after the White House told Megyn Kelly Today that the claims were “false” and “totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness accounts” — seemingly confirming, at least, that Trump at met at least some of his accusers.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME Tuesday morning.

On Monday, three women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct in the past spoke at a press conference and appeared on Megyn Kelly Today amid a national reckoning as more men in a variety of industries have been fired or forced to resign over accusations of sexual harassment or sexual assault. The women repeated their accusations on Kelly’s program Monday morning in light of newfound attention to the subject — and the momentum of the #MeToo movement.

The stories told by Samantha Holvey, Rachel Crooks, and Jessica Leeds included allegations that Trump came backstage unexpectedly and inspected contestants during the Miss USA pageant in 2006, and that he had forcibly kissed Crooks on the mouth at Trump Tower in 2005.

“In an objective setting, without question, a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations never to return,” said Cooks said Monday. “Yet, here we are with that man as President.”

In recent weeks, a wave of allegations has resulted in men in a variety of industries resigning or being fired. The list includes former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who stepped down last week amid sexual misconduct allegations, as well as Michigan Rep. John Conyers.

Democratic lawmakers on Monday called on Trump to resign amid the allegations, as well as recommended a Congressional investigation into the claims. One of those lawmakers included New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whom Trump also targeted on Twitter on Tuesday.

[TIME]

Trump tweets that he ‘seldom’ watches CNN and MSNBC — shortly after both networks cover a report on his viewing

President Trump tweeted on Monday morning that he does not watch as much television as a recent New York Times report claimed, adding that he “seldom, if ever,” tunes in to CNN or MSNBC.

The tweet posted just 28 minutes after MSNBC wrapped up a segment about the Times report and 30 minutes after CNN did the same.

The timing could be a coincidence. Or it could mean that Trump was doing the very thing he denied — watching CNN and MSNBC — shortly before he tweeted.

The Times reported on Saturday that “around 5:30 each morning, President Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to ‘Fox & Friends’ for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ because, friends suspect, it fires him up for the day.”One of the Times journalists who reported the story, Peter Baker, appeared on “Morning Joe” on Monday to discuss the president’s TV habit.“He likes this jolt of television he doesn’t agree with,” Baker said of Trump. “It’s kind of hate-watching. He watches something that he knows is going to rile him up. It’s like a big cup of caffeine. Most people try to avoid things that make them upset, but I think that President Trump — he gets a charge out of it.”

Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio appeared on CNN around the same time that Baker was on MSNBC and said that “people who have been around the president for any real period of time know that he is a television addict. He’s probably watching us right now.”Perhaps he was.

The White House did not respond to an inquiry about whether Trump was watching and responding to CNN and MSNBC.

[Washington Post]

Reality

Also, just the day before, Trump was critical of the coverage on CNN and MSNBC, tweeting anger that they were not covering the health of the economy. Again, this was just the day before.

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