Trump Slams Nonexistent ‘Judge Flores’ for Landmark Immigration Ruling Actually Named After Migrant Teen

President Trump had a lot to say Friday about a landmark immigration ruling that limits how long the government can detain undocumented migrant children. Unfortunately, his argument took a turn for the incoherent as soon as he publicly called out a nonexistent judge for a 20-day cap on detaining immigrant minors.

Complaining about a build-up of migrants at the border while visiting Calexico, California, Trump blamed it on “some very bad court decisions,” singling out the “Flores decision” as a “disaster.”

“I have to tell you, Judge Flores, whoever you may be, that decision is a disaster for our country,” Trump said during a meeting with border patrol officials.

The “decision” the president was referring to was Reno v. Flores—otherwise known as the Flores Settlement—which protects migrant children from being held indefinitely in custody and grants them certain basic rights, like the right to food, medical assistance, drinking water, and toilets while in detention. The Trump administration tried unsuccessfully to modify the agreement last year to allow for longer detention periods for minors.

The agreement was named not after a judge, but 15-year-old Jenny Lisette Flores, who fled El Salvador in the 1980s and was detained upon trying to enter the U.S. to live with her aunt. The teen was the lead plaintiff in the case, which came before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. It was settled in 1997, with Clinton-era Attorney General Janet Reno as the defendant.

The Flores Settlement has been an obstacle for the Trump administration since their family separation policy rollout and for current immigration policies, with lawsuits claiming the government is holding children indefinitely and violating the settlement.

Trump’s criticism of the imaginary judge sparked a barrage of mockery on social media, where many were quick to point out the flub came in the same week the president claimed windmills cause cancer and falsely said his father was born in Germany.

Earlier Friday, the president also claimed those approaching the southern border to seek asylum in the U.S. were running a “scam” during his visit to Southern California.

“Asylum, you know I look at some of these asylum people, they’re gang members. They’re not afraid of anything… and they say ‘I fear for my life,’ they’re the ones causing fear for life. It’s a scam, it’s a hoax,” he said, before fitting in a jab at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I know about hoaxes, I just went through a hoax,” Trump said, referring to his previous remarks claiming the “Russia hoax” was “finally dead.”

Trump also claimed the United States no longer had the capacity to accept more asylum seekers or undocumented migrants entering through the southern border.

“The system is full. We can’t take you anymore. Whether it’s asylum. Whether it’s anything you want. It’s illegal immigration,” Trump said, according to CNN. “Can’t take you anymore. Can’t take you. Our country is full… Can’t take you anymore, I’m sorry. So turn around. That’s the way it is.”

[Daily Beast]

Trump steps back from Mexico border threat as companies warn of economic fallout

President Donald Trump took a step back on Tuesday from his threat to close the U.S. southern border to fight illegal immigration, as pressure mounted from companies worried that a shutdown would cause chaos to supply chains.

Trump threatened on Friday to close the border this week unless Mexico acted. He repeated that threat on Tuesday but said he had not made a decision yet: “We’re going to see what happens over the next few days.”

Closing the border could disrupt millions of legal crossings and billions of dollars in trade. Auto companies have been warning the White House privately that it would lead to the idling of U.S. plants within days because they rely on prompt deliveries of components made in Mexico.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. business lobbying group, has been in contact with the White House to discuss the “very negative economic consequences that would occur across the country,” said Neil Bradley, the group’s top lobbyist, on a call with reporters.

Trump praised efforts by Mexico to hinder illegal immigration from Central America at its own southern border. On Monday, the Mexican government said it would help regulate the flow of migrants.

“I really wanted to close it,” Trump said on Tuesday night at a fundraiser for congressional Republicans.

[Reuters]

Donald Trump Bashes Electoral College Despite Winning

Donald Trump, who is president despite receiving 2.87 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, complains that “the Electoral College is a big advantage for Democrats, not for Republicans.”

This is a repeated claim by Trump, last said in Helsinki during the same press conference where he bowed down to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The reality is the last Republican who was elected to office with a larger popular vote than his opponent was George H. W. Bush in 1992. The Electoral College has been an advantage for Republicans for over 20 years.

Trump promotes legal analysis from Diamond & Silk to attack New York’s attorney general

President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked New York Attorney General Letitia James by promoting analysis by loyal supporters Diamond and Silk.

“AG Letitia James of New York is abusing her power by targeting the POTUS,” the social media duo wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “Using the Attorney General office as a weapon to deliberately target the President because of Political Bias should be against the Law and a violation of the Hatch Act!”

Trump subsequently retweeted Diamond and Silk, a seeming endorsement of their analysis of the Hatch Act, which says that most executive branch employees are prohibited from engaging in certain political activities. It is unlikely that James’ activity would fall under the Hatch Act since she is the attorney general for the state of New York, rather than a federal employee covered by the Hatch Act.

James this week subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank asking them for records on their dealings with the Trump Organization, which potentially opens up a new avenue of investigation against the president, who already faces probes from Congressional Democrats, special counsel Robert Mueller, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

[Raw Story]

Trump Cabinet Member Literally Bans a Word Because He Can’t Explain it to Trump

Trump U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — a cabinet-level official — tried repeatedly to explain what a “Memorandum of Understanding” is to Trump before finally giving up and promising never to use the term again, all during a nationally-televised photo op.

During remarks in the Oval Office prior to a meeting with Vice Premier Liu He of China Friday, Trump was asked about Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between China and the United States, and Trump told reporters “I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything. To me, they don’t mean anything. I think you’re better off just going into a document. I was never a fan of an MOU.”

“An MOU is a contract,” Lighthizer explained, adding that “It’s the way trade agreements are generally used,” that “It’s an actual contract between the two parties,” that “A memorandum of understanding is a binding agreement between two people,” and that “It’s detailed; it covers everything in great detail.”

“It’s just called a memorandum of understanding,” Lighthizer explained again, for a fifth and sixth time. “That’s a legal term. It’s a contract.”

Moments later, Trump said “I disagree. I think that a memorandum of understanding is not a contract to the extent that we want. We’re going to have — we’re doing a memorandum of understanding that will be put into a final contract, I assume. But, to me, the final contract is really the thing, Bob — and I think you mean that, too — is really the thing that means something.”

Trump again told Lighthizer that an MOU “doesn’t mean very much,” and asked, “how long will it take to put that into a final, binding contract?”

“From now on, we’re not using the word ‘memorandum of understanding’ anymore,” Lighthizer said, to laughter from the room. “We’re going to the term ‘trade agreement.’ All right? No more. We’ll never use the term again.”

“Good,” Trump said.

“We’ll have the same document,” Lighthizer added. “It’s going to be called a ‘trade agreement.’ We’re never going to use ‘MOU’ again.”

And so the MOU goes out, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Here’s hoping nobody ever tries to explain “Bill of Rights” to Trump.

Watch the video above, from The White House.

[Mediaite]

Trump floats new auto tariffs in response to GM layoffs

President Trump on Wednesday hinted he may support new tariffs on auto imports as his latest response to General Motors’ decision to shutter U.S. factories and lay off workers.

In a series of tweets, Trump argued that a longstanding 25 percent tariff on light trucks has boosted U.S. auto manufacturers and that the same approach could work for cars.

”If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here and G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland. Get smart Congress,” Trump wrote.

The president said major auto exporting countries “have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades” and warned “that the president has great power on this issue.”

”Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!” he wrote.

The comments follow a report in the German media that Trump is considering slapping a 25 percent tariff on car imports from all countries aside from Mexico and Canada. Trump previously decided to put off auto tariffs on Europe in exchange for the European Union agreeing to purchase more American soybeans.

General Motors’ announcement this week angered Trump, who views the U.S. economy as a reflection of his presidency. The plant closures and layoffs, combined with a sputtering stock market and rising interests rates, appear to have sparked fears of an economic downturn and prompted Trump to lash out.

Trump blamed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for the stock-market slide and the GM layoffs, citing his decision to raise interest rates. The president said he also spoke to GM CEO Mary Barra to relay his unhappiness with the decision and threatened to end GM’s federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

GM has said slow demand for cars in the U.S. market, combined with tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum, have hurt sales and forced the company to shutter plants in Lordstown, Ohio; Detroit-Hamtramck, Mich.; and White Marsh, Md.

The U.S. imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported light trucks in 1964 after France and West Germany imposed tariffs on U.S. chicken, hence the name ”chicken tax.”

[The Hill]

Trump Solicits More Thanks for “President T”

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Trump administration conceded in a frightening climate change report that climate change could soon become irreversible and catastrophic, with hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage forecasted by the end of the century. But President Donald Trump, himself, is thankful for fossil fuels—and wishes you would be, too.

“So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T),” he tweeted Sunday morning, soliciting gratitude for his political agenda at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “Add that, which is like a big Tax Cut, to our other good Economic news. Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!”

Trump’s self regard appears to be instinctual, not ironic. When he was asked Thursday at Mar-a-Lago what he was thankful for, Trump briefly mentioned his family before turning to himself. “For having made a tremendous difference in this country,” he told reporters. “I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.

The economy and stock market are indeed up since Trump took office, as he frequently notes. But lower oil prices aren’t necessarily a fortuitous sign. One part of the reason is higher output from Saudi Arabia—a fact that Trump has explicitly linked to his decision to effectively exonerate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the brutal killing and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. (“Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, calling falling prices “a big Tax Cut for America and the World.”) Another is high output in the U.S. and exemptions from U.S. sanctions on Iran, increasing supply.

But lower prices also reflect weaker demand, raising concerns about the global economy and the prospect of a recession on the horizon. Perhaps that is why Trump paired his Thanksgiving weekend praise for himself with a warning shot at the Federal Reserve, which has been steadily raising interest rates, putting the brakes on the formerly white-hot Trump economy.

[Vanity Fair]

Trump threatens to pull federal funds for Calif. wildfires over forest ‘mismanagement’

With major wildfires still roaring out of control in California, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to blame “gross mismanagement of the forest” for the catastrophe and threatened to withhold federal funds if the issue is not remedied.

It was his first tweet on the wildfires, now among the deadliest and most destructive in California history, although he earlier issued an emergency declaration providing federal funds for Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

At least nine people have been killed and the entire town of Paradise, in northern California has been destroyed.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump tweeted. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

His latest remarks were reminiscent of his tweets during another major outbreak of fires in California in August, when he blamed the wildfires on “bad environmental laws” and his claim that water from the north was “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.”

In that tweet burst, Trump also said California wildfires “are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.”

At the time, The New York times noted a debate over the allocation of water for irrigation or fish habitat but none regarding water purportedly being diverted into the ocean.

The Times quoted Cal Fire officials as saying there is no shortage of water for fighting fires. Helicopters collect water from lakes and ponds to douse wildfires and have plenty at hand, they said.

Asked about that the president’s tweeted claim of water diversion, a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown, Evan Westrup, told the Times in an email, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

The presidents of two professional firefighters associations have denounced President Donald Trump’s assertion that “gross mismanagement of the forests” is to blame.

California Professional Firefighters president Brian Rice called the President’s words “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning” in a written statement.

Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the comments were “reckless and insulting.”

“Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”

The Trump tweet also prompted some harsh criticism from singer Katy Perry, a native Californian, who called his remarks “heartless.”

“This is an absolutely heartless response,” she tweeted. “There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.”

Singer-songwriter John Legend, who lives in Los Angeles, also weighed in, tweeting, “Our National Embarrassment can’t bring himself to show some empathy to Californians dealing with a horrific disaster.”

Trump at Jobs Event: If Midterms Don’t Go Well for GOP, ‘I Think You’re All Going to Lose a Lot of Money’

President Donald Trump claimed at a White House jobs event today with business executives that they will “lose a lot of money” in the markets if the Republicans don’t do so well in the midterms.

He talked about the markets being “so strong” and touted economic success before going on a tangent about the caravan before getting back on topic.

As the President continued, he made this prediction:

“We have an economy that’s the hottest economy right now in the world and I guess the stock market is up to––getting close to 50%, if you think about it, that’s incredible, since the election. In fact, I hear today, it’s doing well, Larry, it’s up another 400 points. It was up another 450 points or so yesterday. It is just doing well. I will say this, they’re waiting for the results of the midterms. And if the midterms for some reason don’t do so well for Republicans, I think you’re all going to lose a lot of money. I hate to say that. I think you’re going to lose a lot of money.”

Trump yesterday tweeted, “If you want your Stocks to go down, I strongly suggest voting Democrat.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Blasts Paul Ryan for Contradicting Him on Birthright Citizenship: ‘Something He Knows Nothing About’

President Donald Trump ripped into Paul Ryan on Wednesday over his comments on birthright citizenship, in a stunning rebuke of his own party’s House Speaker just a week before the midterm elections.

“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!” Trump tweeted. “Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”

The Wisconsin Republican broke with Trump on Tuesday when he rejected the president’s expressed desire to end birthright citizenship through executive order.

Ryan said in a radio interview that Trump “cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

[Mediaite]

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