After Trump Swipes at ‘Failing’ NYT in Presser, Reporter Responds: We’re ‘Thriving Not Failing’

President Donald Trump took a few shots at the “failing” New York Times during his press conference today, and a Times reporter responded when Trump finally let him have a question.

Trump went on a tangent about the Times minutes earlier, and reporter Mark Landler jumped in to get Trump to give the Times a question.

Landler took a moment to tell Trump, “We’re kind of thriving, not failing these days.”

“You’re doing very well,” the President said. “Say thank you, Mr. Trump.”

Landler responded, “I think I’ll stop short of that.”

Trump teed off on the “negative” stories he gets from the Times before saying “I still love the paper.”

Landler proceeded to ask Trump about China.

[Mediaite]

Trump Snaps at Female Reporter Asking About His Own Accusers: ‘Please Sit Down!’

President Donald Trump held a rare solo press conference on Wednesday as a series of scandals exploded around him, most threateningly the allegations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee.

The president was hammered by questions on the allegations against Kavanaugh, and one reporter even confronted Trump on his own accusers.

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang began her question: “How have your personal experiences of being accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct —”

Trump cut her off, and launched into a diatribe that lasted more than two minutes.

“I’ve been accused. I’ve been accused. False accusations. Excuse me. I’ve been accused. I was accused by — I think it was four women. You can check with Sean Hannity. You can check with Fox, because they covered it very strongly.”

Jiang tried to finish her question, but Trump spoke over her.

“Excuse me. I was accused by four or five women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me. We caught them and the mainstream media refused to put it on television.”

“There were four women, and maybe more, I think the number is four or five. But one had a mortgage paid off her house, $52,000. Another one had other things happen.”

Trump continued to rail against his accusers, insisting he had “never met these people.” When he finally wrapped up, Jiang tried to ask her question: “If I could just actually ask my question, Mr. Trump. You didn’t let me ask my question.”

“You’ve been asking a question for ten minutes,” Trump fired back. “Please sit down. Go ahead. Go ahead.”

Jiang held onto the microphone and asked her question: “How did that impact your opinions on the allegations against –”

“It does impact my opinion,” Trump cut in. “You know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me. I’m a very famous person. Unfortunately. I’ve been a famous person for a long time. But I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me. Really false charges. I know friends that have had false charges. People want fame, they want money, they want whatever.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump blasts Avenatti as ‘low-life’ and ‘third-rate lawyer’

President Trump on Wednesday blasted Michael Avenatti as a “third rate lawyer” and a “total low-life” after the attorney revealed new sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump tweeted.

The president accused the attorney of simply “looking for attention” and insisted he is trying to deter people from looking into “his past record and relationships.”

“A total low-life!” Trump exclaimed.

Trump has previously avoided directly mentioning Avenatti, and Wednesday’s tweet is believed to be the first time the president has specifically criticized the lawyer on Twitter.

Avenatti earlier on Wednesday released a declaration from a client who accused Kavanaugh of attending a party where she was drugged and raped.

Trump an “absolute no” on Puerto Rico statehood, citing feud with mayor

President Trump on Monday declared himself an “absolute no” on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico as long as critics such as San Juan’s mayor remain in office, the latest broadside in his feud with members of the U.S. territory’s leadership.

Mr. Trump lobbed fresh broadsides at San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a critic of his administration’s response to hurricanes on the island last year, during a radio interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that aired Monday.

“With the mayor of San Juan as bad as she is and as incompetent as she is, Puerto Rico shouldn’t be talking about statehood until they get some people that really know what they’re doing,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Rivera’s show on Cleveland’s WTAM radio.

When “you have good leadership,” statehood for Puerto Rico could be “something they talk about,” Mr. Trump said. “With people like that involved in Puerto Rico, I would be an absolute no.”

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, an advocate of statehood for the island, said Mr. Trump’s remarks had trivialized the statehood process because of political differences.

“The president said he is not in favor of statehood for the people of Puerto Rico based on a personal feud with a local mayor. This is an insensitive, disrespectful comment to over 3 million Americans who live in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico,” Rosselló said.

He also questioned how the president of the United States could be at the U.N. General Assembly promoting democracy around the world while “in his own home there is the oldest and most populated colonial system in the world.”

Cruz responded on Twitter: “Trump is again accusing me of telling the truth. Now he says there will be no statehood because of me.”

Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s non-voting representative in Congress, tweeted: “Equality 4 Puerto Ricans shouldn’t be held up by one bad mayor who’s leaving office in 2020 & do not represent the people who voted twice for statehood.”

Mr. Trump’s position on statehood for the island puts him at odds with the Republican Party’s 2016 platform during its national convention, in which it declared support for Puerto Rican statehood.

The president’s remarks followed his claims earlier this month that the official death toll from last year’s devastating storm in Puerto Rico was inflated. Public health experts have estimated that nearly 3,000 people died in 2017 because of the effects of Hurricane Maria. Mr. Trump falsely accused Democrats of inflating the Puerto Rican death toll to make him “look as bad as possible.”

Mr. Trump’s pronouncements have roiled politics in Florida, which has crucial races for governor and U.S. Senate. The state was already home to more than 1 million Puerto Ricans before Hurricane Maria slammed into the island a year ago. Tens of thousands of residents fled Puerto Rico in the aftermath, with many of them relocating to Florida.

The issue of statehood for Puerto Rico — or some form of semi-autonomous relationship — has divided island residents in recent years. The debate over the island’s “status” is the central feature of its politics and divides its major political parties.

The federal government has said previously it would accept a change in the status of Puerto Rico if the people of the island clearly supported the decision. But for decades, Puerto Ricans have been divided between those who favor statehood and those who want to maintain the commonwealth, perhaps with some changes. A small minority continue to favor independence.

The last referendum, in 2017, strongly supported statehood but opponents questioned the validity of the vote because of low turnout.

Any changes would need to be approved by Congress. Statehood legislation, with support from Republicans and Democrats, was introduced in June but appears unlikely to gain momentum as politicians remain hesitant to take up such a thorny issue.

[CBS News]

Trump, at Missouri campaign rally, says Democrats are ‘dangerous,’ ‘crazy’

President Trump held a rally on Friday night in Springfield, Missouri in support of state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is attempting to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Trump said that Hawley was needed “in the Senate to fight for Missouri” and the “whole country” because the Republican party would “never, ever get a vote” from McCaskill, including on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Brett Kavanaugh, fantastic man. She just announced she won’t vote for him,” Trump said of McCaskill. “He was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born for it. And it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. But she just announced, she’s not voting … and she’ll vote against everything we want to do.”

McCaskill tweeted Wednesday night that she would not vote for Kavanaugh. In her message, she explicitly wrote that his legal rulings and ideology — and not the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford — were the reason for her decision.

Ford alleged that Kavanaugh forced himself onto her and covered her mouth in the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was 17 and she was 15.

The president also said that “a vote for Claire McCaskill” was one in favor of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.

Trump also slammed Democrats, calling them “dangerous” and “crazy,” noting that some have called to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“And they aren’t just extreme, they are frankly dangerous and they are crazy. They’re crazy,” Trump said. “Democrats want to abolish ICE. In other words, they want to abolish immigration enforcement entirely. Let violent, sadistic gangs like MS-13, the worst gang in the world, run wild in our communities.”

“I’ve seen our guys from ICE. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched it. MS-13, they’re tough but they’re not tough like our guys. They’re not tough like our ICE people,” Trump continued.

Trump won Missouri during the 2016 presidential election, defeating opponent Hillary Clinton by double digits.

The president has previously campaigned for and endorsed Hawley in the state’s Senate race, telling an audience over the summer, “We need Josh badly.”

In a June tweet, he dubbed McCaskill “so phony” for her use of a private plane for two of the three days of her supposed campaign RV tour.

“Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state,” Trump wrote. “RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement.”

For her part, McCaskill reportedly acknowledged that she had used a private plane, but insisted she had not used office funds and made no apologies for taking trips to see her constituents.

[Fox News]

Trump on Sessions: ‘I don’t have an attorney general’

US President Donald Trump has said he does not “have an attorney general” in his fiercest attack yet on Jeff Sessions.

In an interview with Hill.TV, Mr Trump renewed criticism of Mr Sessions’ decision to step aside from the inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He also said he was unhappy with Mr Sessions’ response to immigration.

The attorney general is yet to respond to Mr Trump’s comments.

It is unusual for a sitting president to attack their attorney general and critics accuse Mr Trump of trying to meddle in the legal system.

After the president criticised Mr Sessions last month, two key Republican senators signalled that they would support Mr Trump if he were to fire Mr Sessions after the November mid-term elections.

However, other Republicans told Politico they thought this would be a bad move and said they were standing by the attorney general.

Mr Sessions has pushed back against previous criticism by Mr Trump. “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” he said in August.

“I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”

[BBC News]

Trump Falsely Claims ‘Fake News Media’ Ignored Obama’s ’57 States’ Gaffe

President Donald Trump falsely claimed the “fake news media” refused to cover former President Barack Obama’s “57” states gaffe, tweeting late last night that if he had made such a mistake, then it would have been “story of the year.”

“When President Obama said that he has been to ’57 States,’ very little mention in Fake News Media,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “Can you imagine if I said that…story of the year!”

The president also tagged Fox News host Laura Ingraham in the tweet, meaning the president was watching the conservative pundit’s show, as she had a segment on Obama’s recent attacks against Trump in-which she mentioned the 57 states slip-up.

“Over the last 15 months, we’ve traveled to every corner of the United States. I’ve now been in 57 states?” Obama said in May 2008. “I think one left to go. Alaska and Hawaii, I was not allowed to go to even though I really wanted to visit, but my staff would not justify it.”

Obama acknowledged the mistake after, saying, “I understand I said there were 57 states today.”

However, Trump’s claim that the media did not cover it is blatantly false. Every outlet from Reuters, to the Los Angeles Times, to Politico covered the error.

[Mediaite]

Trump says Puerto Rico death toll inflated by Democrats: ‘3000 people did not die’

President Trump on Thursday accused Democrats, without evidence, of inflating the 3,000-person death count from last year’s hurricanes in Puerto Rico in order “to make me look bad.”

The stunning accusation is Trump’s latest attempt to defend his handling of natural disasters as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Southeastern U.S.

In a series of tweets, Trump disputed an independent report commissioned by Puerto Rico’s government that raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975.

“3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths,” Trump tweeted. “As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.”

The president said the number was manufactured “by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico.”

“If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!” he added.

Trump’s latest comments drew an instant rebuke from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who accused the president of minimizing the plight of Puerto Rico.

“This is what denial following neglect looks like: Mr Pres in the real world people died on your watch. YOUR LACK OF RESPECT IS APPALLING!” she tweeted.

As he prepares for Hurricane Florence, Trump has repeatedly argued that his response to Hurricane Maria was a success, despite the record-high death toll, widespread devastation and power outages and intense criticism from local officials.

The president warned Americans in Florence’s path to take precautions while meeting with federal officials to show his administration is ready for the potentially devastating storm.

But he has also made several remarks claiming he has not received proper credit for his response to Maria at a time when Puerto Ricans have given him very low marks for his handling of the storm.

A Washington Post–Kaiser Family Foundation study showed 80 percent of island residents disapprove of his response.

Trump’s claims fly in the face of a George Washington University study commissioned by Puerto Rico’s governor examining the effects of Maria in the six months following landfall in September 2017.

The long time period was used to determine the hurricane’s lingering effect on deaths on the island. It compared the death rates in the post-hurricane period to other periods not affected by natural disasters.

Puerto Rico’s government endorsed the results of the study once it was released and raised its official death toll, which previously sat at 64. Skeptics believed the number was too low, given that Maria resulted in widespread property damage and destroyed key infrastructure across the island.

Nonetheless, Trump has sought to convince Americans that his account of the hurricane response is correct.

“We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Those comments have reignited Trump’s feud with Puerto Rican officials, including Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who has typically avoided confrontations with the president.
“No relationship between a colony and the federal government can ever be called ‘successful’ because Puerto Ricans lack certain inalienable rights enjoyed by our fellow Americans in the states,” Rosselló said in a Wednesday statement.
 
The governor also called on Trump to redouble federal assistance for recovery efforts so that the island can fully recover, calling Maria “the worst natural disaster in our modern history.”
 
Trump has struggled at playing the role of consoler-in-chief in times of national crisis. He drew criticism during his post-hurricane tour of Puerto Rico last October for throwing paper towels to people in a crowd and feuding with Cruz.
 
The president at the time downplayed the damage caused by Maria, saying it paled in comparison to a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina, which killed an estimated 1,800 people along the Gulf Coast in 2005. He also complained that federal relief efforts in Puerto Rico blew a hole in the federal budget.
“The missing part was empathy,” Trump’s former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, said in an interview with The New York Times. “I wish he’d paused and expressed that, instead of just focusing on the response success.”
 
Hurricane Florence has weakened slightly from a Category 3 to Category 2 storm. But it is expected to cause widespread property damages, millions of power outages and possible loss of life in the Carolinas and Georgia.

[The Hill]

Trump Attacks Puerto Ricans, ‘Totally Incompetent’ San Juan Mayor Ahead of Hurricane Florence

MAs Hurricane Florence is about to bear down on the southeastern U.S. coastline, President Trump is attacking San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for her criticism of the government’s “unappreciated great job” of how it handled the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Here’s the part where Trump advised people to take appropriate safety measures to prepare for Florence.

Yesterday, Trump held a pool spray where he bragged about about the federal government’s “unsung success” in handling the disaster in Puerto Rico last year. These remarks were panned immediately by critics who wonder how Trump can possibly call the recovery a success when almost 3,000 died as a result of the storm.

Last night, Cruz responded to Trump by blasting his “despicable” comments and “lack of understanding of reality.” Puerto Ricans governor Ricardo Rosselló also gave a statement, saying the island is still in the middle of a crisis, and he also criticized the “unfair and unAmerican” relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington.

[Mediaite]

Trump Wants Attorney General to Investigate Source of Anonymous Times Op-Ed

President Trump said on Friday that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the source of an anonymous Op-Ed piece published in The New York Times, intensifying his attack on an article that he has characterized as an act of treason.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to Fargo, N.D., Mr. Trump said, “I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.”

Mr. Trump said he was considering action against The Times, although he did not elaborate.

The president has raged against the column since The Times published it on Wednesday afternoon. But his latest remark indicates that he wants to use the Justice Department to root out the author of the column, which described some members of the administration in a state of near-mutiny against a president some view as dangerous and untethered from reality.

“We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now,” he said.

[New York Times]

Reality

Remember, this is very similar to the Obama administration’s treatment of Fox News report James Rosen, who the Department of Justice treated as a co-conspirator and a criminal in their investigation of leaks.

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