Trump Defends Rhetoric After Coast Guard Lt. Arrested for Planned Terror Attacks: ‘I Think My Language is Very Nice’

President Donald Trump was asked about his rhetoric in the wake of a self-described “white nationalist” Coast Guard officer being arrested for planning on carrying out multiple terrorist attacks.

He also had a hit list of prominent congressional Democrats and media personalities, usually those who are heavy critics of Trump.

“It’s a shame. It’s a very sad thing when a thing like that happens. I’ve expressed that. But I’m actually getting a complete briefing in about two hours,” Trump said.

“Do you think you bear any responsibility for monitoring your language,” a reporter asked.

“No, I don’t. I think my language is very nice,” he replied.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked earlier in the day if she thought Trump’s rhetoric helps fuel terror plots against journalists and politicians.

“I certainly don’t think that,” she said. “The president [hasn’t], at any point, has done anything but condemn violence, against journalists or anyone else. In fact, every single time something like this happens, the president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence and the media is the first people to condemn the president.”

[Mediaite]

Japan’s PM nominated Trump for Nobel Peace Prize on U.S. request

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after receiving a request from the U.S. government to do so, the Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

The report follows Trump’s claim on Friday that Abe had nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for opening talks and easing tensions with North Korea.

The Japanese leader had given him “the most beautiful copy” of a five-page nomination letter, Trump said at a White House news conference.

The U.S. government had sounded Abe out over the Noble Peace Prize nomination after Trump’s summit in June last year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president, the Asahi said, citing an unnamed Japanese government source.

A spokesman for Japan’s Foreign Ministry in Tokyo said the ministry was aware of Trump’s remarks, but “would refrain from commenting on the interaction between the two leaders.”

The White House had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

The Nobel Foundation’s website says a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize may be submitted by any person who meets the nomination criteria, which includes current heads of states. Under the foundation’s rules, names and other information about unsuccessful nominations cannot be disclosed for 50 years.

[Reuters]

Trump: ‘Some of the Most Dishonest People in Media Are the So-Called Fact-Checkers’

President Donald Trump used part of his Monday night rally in El Paso, TX to rail against a particular branch of the media: fact checkers.

As Trump slammed former president Barack Obama‘s “you can keep your doctor” promise from the Affordable Care Act, he accused fact-checkers of never calling out the falsity of that claim.

“Where are the fact-checkers? Some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called ‘fact-checkers’…That didn’t turn out to be what he said.”

Trump’s remarks come after he got on Twitter earlier today and parroted Fox News opinion host Jesse Watters who said “the fact-checkers have become fake news.”

To put some perspective on Trump’s complaints, Politifact has figured that approximately 70 percent of Trump’s political statements are factually-challenged to varying degrees, plus Washington Post‘s fact-check finds that Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims throughout his presidency so far.

[Mediaite]

Trump tweets ex-Starbucks CEO Schultz lacks ‘guts’ to run for president

President Donald Trump wrote online on Monday that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to be president,” lashing out at the coffee mogul who said over the weekend that he is weighing an independent 2020 bid for the White House.

“Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” the president wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

During a pre-taped interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Schultz told journalist Scott Pelley he was “seriously thinking of running for president.” Though he characterized himself as “a lifelong Democrat,” Schultz said he would run as a “centrist independent outside of the two-party system,” criticizing both Democrats and Republicans for failure to meet the needs of the American people.

Many, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, a Democrat who announced his own 2020 campaign on Jan. 12, warned that an independent candidate like Schultz could boost Trump’s reelection chances by siphoning voters away from a Democratic candidate.

In recent decades, candidates running independent campaigns for president have caused a stir, but never come close to winning. Billionaire Ross Perot placed third in 1992 with 19 percent of the vote, enough that many have credited him with drawing support from then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush, allowing President Bill Clinton to unseat him.

In 2000, Consumer advocate Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party’s presidential candidate, pulling enough votes from Democrat Al Gore to help President George W. Bush secure the presidency in that year’s razor-thin election.

[Politico]

Trump just criticized Fox News: ‘Never thought I’d say this…’

Trump’s approval numbers are nearly at all-time lows.

The Mueller investigation continues to pick off members of the president’s inner circle.

The government shutdown still doesn’t have a firm resolution.

Yet here’s how you know Trump’s reign might be truly going someplace unprecedented: The president criticized Fox News on Sunday night.

Trump has long criticized the press as “fake news,” though normally spares Fox News. The cable news outlet also frequently lands exclusive interviews with the president.

In the tweet, Trump is referring to a poll by NPR/PBS/Marist poll that shows his approval rating among Latino voters at 50 percent, up from 31 percent a month ago. But according to a more recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, Trump is down to 34 percent approval among Americans overall, nearly the lowest of his two-year presidency, and falling from 42 percent a month earlier.

Last week a deal was struck to “temporarily” end the longest government shutdown in American history. But Trump has warned that if he doesn’t get funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall by Feb. 15 that the government would close again or that he would invoke emergency powers to build it without Congressional approval.

[Entertainment Weekly]

Trump Claims Again ‘Most of the Workers Not Getting Paid Are Democrats’’ But Says He Doesn’t Care

President Donald Trump this morning went on another tweetstorm about the government shutdown, going off on Democrats and the media.

But he also tweeted again this morning that most federal workers not getting paid are Democrats––yesterday he claimed many federal workers not being paid would consider his fight for border security more important––and added this time that he doesn’t care:

[Mediaite]

Draft-dodger Trump says he ‘would have been a good general’ while trashing James Mattis in Cabinet meeting rant

President Donald Trump ended former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ tenure as defense secretary right before the New Year, seemingly in retaliation for a letter Mattis published criticizing President Trump’s global policy.

At a cabinet meeting Wednesday, the President lashed out at Mattis.

“What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good,” Trump said.

“As you know, president Obama fired him, and essentially so did I,” he added. In fact, general Mattis tendered his resignation after Trump announced the hasty withdrawal of troops from Syria. The President has since said he would slow the troop withdrawal.

“I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?” the President added

[Raw Story]

 

Trump Wrongly Says Democrats Are Responsible for Children’s Deaths at the Border

As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen travels to the border in the wake of two children dying in Customs and Border Patrol’s custody, President Donald Trump is tweeting from the White House that Democrats are to blame for the deaths. (True to form, he is also blaming Democrats and Nancy Pelosi for the shutdown.)

His tweets are the president’s first public comment about the deaths of two children, an eight-year-old boy named Felipe Gomez Alonzo and a seven-year-old girl named Jakelin Caal, who were taken into custody with their parents after attempting a dangerous crossing into the United States at the Mexico border. “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!” the president tweeted.

But that claim is absurd. It is Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and restrictions on asylum seekers that is necessitating these children be held at government facilities that are not prepared to hold so many people, especially young children. And because they implemented these policies, the administration should have anticipated a need for medical services for migrants coming across. But only after two children have died is the administration even talking about making changes.

Earlier this week, Nielsen said that the agency “is considering options for surge medical assistance,” which is what it should have done as soon as the policy was implemented. But the Dr. Colleen Kract, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that physicians who have visited the facilities where children are held are disturbed by the conditions. “These children are not given the basic needs of food and water and medical care,” she told TIME.

Even Trump’s CPB Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS This Morning that a child had not died in CPB custody in “more than a decade” and that the agency needs to take “a different approach” to how it manages children in its care.

Democrats, however, are refusing to take the blame and plan to hold hearings investigating the children’s deaths. “[Trump is] just making stuff up again. In January the House of Representatives will hold hearings with witnesses under oath and find out what happened,” Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the president.

[Rolling Stone]

Trump: I may be forced to seal southern border, cut off aid to Central America

President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the nation’s southern border if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.

“We build the wall or,” Trump wrote in a string of tweets. ” … close the southern border.”

Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, told reporters on Friday the president is “absolutely” willing to shut down the southern border, despite the enormous cost to the country.

“All options are on the table,” Mulvaney said. “Listen, it’s the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention.”

Trump also said he would cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where violence and crime have motivated thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the United States. He also said another migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.

Trump’s string of tweeted threats comes as the partial government shutdown reaches its first full week amid a spending bill feud between Congress and the president.

Trump refused to sign a short-term funding bill last week that would have pushed the spending fight to February, insisting that Congress allocate billions for the border wall.

In a second tweet, the president claimed that building the wall would be a “profit making operation.” The president also complained about Mexico stealing American jobs and undermining the auto industry and said Central America’s violence-riddled Northern Triangle countries were “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on Thursday that another caravan of migrants from Honduras was forming, with as many as 15,000 migrants undergoing the lengthy asylum request process, potentially adding to the backlog of asylum-seekers who are currently in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Friday on CBS that the president was willing to negotiate the amount of border funding Congress gives him.

“I’m not going to negotiate in the press, but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point,” she said. “And the Democrats have not been willing to do anything. And that’s the sad part, they care more about keeping our borders open than keeping our government open.”

On Fox News, Mulvaney said the administration had already offered Democrats a number “less than” $5 billion in negotiation, but Democrats had held firm to their offer of $1.3 billion dollars in border funding.

[NBC News]

Trump announces second round of farm aid to offset trade damage

President Trump on Monday announced his administration was planning to disburse a second tranche of aid as part of a $12 billion package meant to assist American farmers stung by retaliatory trade measures enacted by China and other foreign governments.

“Today I am making good on my promise to defend our Farmers & Ranchers from unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations,” Trump tweeted. “I have authorized Secretary Perdue to implement the 2nd round of Market Facilitation Payments. Our economy is stronger than ever–we stand with our Farmers!”

After this latest round of payments, farmers will have received about $9.6 billion in aid, according to Department of Agriculture figures. The largest payments will be for soybeans.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement Monday that farmers “are continuing to experience losses due to unjustified trade retaliation.”

“This assistance will help with short-term cash flow issues as we move into the new year,” he added.

The Trump administration announced in July it was dispersing $12 billion in aid to farmers amid escalating trade disputes with China, Mexico, Canada and the European Union. The administration said it would dole out the first $6 billion in August.

Reuters reported earlier this month that the second portion of aid had been delayed by the administration.

The $6 billion that was dispersed in August included about $4.7 billion to producers of corn, cotton, dairy, pork, sorghum, soybeans, and wheat.

Perdue said in a statement at the time that “all of this could go away tomorrow, if China and the other nations simply correct their behavior.”

“But in the meantime, the programs we are announcing today buys time for the President to strike long-lasting trade deals to benefit our entire economy,” he said.

Trump has engaged in an escalating trade war with China that has hurt farmers in the U.S. who rely on China for exports.

The second portion of aid announced Monday was initially delayed because the Trump administration was worried about the cost of the program and was hopeful that China would resume buying soybeans from the U.S., according to Reuters.

[The Hill]

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