Trump Blasts Nordstrom for Dropping Ivanka’s Clothing Line

President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted luxury department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump’s label, a move that drew immediate criticism for further blurring the line between Trump’s administration and his family’s businesses.

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

Nordstrom had announced on Feb. 3 that it would stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s label due to its performance.

“We’ve said all along we make buying decisions based on performance,” Nordstrom said in a statement to The Associated Press. “We’ve got thousands of brands— more than 2,000 offered on the site alone. Reviewing their merit and making edits is part of the regular rhythm of our business.”

While Nordstrom contends the decision was solely a business one, the publicly traded company has delved into the Trump administration’s controversial moves.

Nordstrom had issued an internal statement in support of immigrants following Trump’s executive order temporarily barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries just three days before dropping Ivanka Trump’s line.

The move also comes amid a broader #GrabYourWallet hashtag calling for a boycott of all Trump products.

Some Trump critics immediately pounced on Trump’s tweet, holding it up as further evidence that Trump is not respecting what should be a firewall between the White House and his sprawling business empire.

Norm Eisen, a former Obama administration ethics czar, called the move “outrageous” on Twitter and said Nordstrom should consider suing under the California Unfair Competition Law, which forbids “any unfair” business act.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) also replied to Trump’s tweet, by “CC”ing the Office of Government Ethics.

Casey’s press secretary Jacklin Rhoads said in an emailed statement that the senator “feels it is unethical and inappropriate for the President to lash out at a private company for refusing to enrich his family.”

The Office of Government Ethics and Nordstrom did not immediately return calls for comment.

Executive branch employees are forbidden from using their positions to promote any corporation, although the president is technically exempt. There does not appear to be an applicable rule that addresses the president impugning a company.

Trump also retweeted his tweet on his official @POTUS account, which reaches 15.1 million followers. By comparison, Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account reaches 24.2 million followers.

The president had pledged to fully step away from his private businesses, but he has also said he will not sell the companies nor will he place his assets in a blind trust while serving as president.

Instead, Trump has said his company will not enter into new foreign deals and will appoint an ethics adviser who must approve any new domestic deals in writing.

The president has also proven his desire and ability to influence companies through Twitter. He has regularly blasted corporations including Carrier, General Motors and Toyota, accusing them of moving jobs and production overseas. Lockheed and Boeing have also drawn his ire over the price tag associated with their defense contracts.

On Wednesday, Nordstrom’s stock took a brief fall following Trump’s tweet, from $42.69 per share at 10:50 a.m. to $42.50 at 10:55 a.m. However, it has since risen to $43.14 as of 12:30 p.m.

(h/t Politico)

CNN Shoots Down Sean Spicer’s Latest Lie About Kellyanne Conway

CNN’s corporate public relations department rebutted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer just 12 minutes after he falsely claimed that the network had “retracted” its claim about the “credibility” of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

In a statement to The New York Times and other publications earlier this week, CNN said that it had refused to interview Conway on a recent Sunday morning program due to “serious questions about her credibility.”

On Tuesday, Spicer falsely insisted that CNN had “retracted” that claim.

“Frankly, my understanding is that they retracted that,” Spicer told reporters at Tuesday’s White House press briefing. “They walked that back or denied or however you want to put it, I don’t care.”

“Kellyanne is a very trusted aide of the president,” he added. “I think for any characterization otherwise is insulting. If they choose not to work with someone, that’s up to them.”

Within 12 minutes, CNN had posted a statement refuting Spicer’s claim.

“CNN was clear, on the record, about our concerns about Kellyanne Conway to the New York Times and others,” a statement posted to Twitter read. “We have not ‘retracted’ nor ‘walked back’ those comments. Those are the facts.”

(h/t Raw Story)

Media

Trump Makes False Statement About U.S. Murder Rate to Sheriffs’ Group

President Trump met Tuesday morning with a group of sheriffs from the National Sheriffs Association, a group that consists of more than 3,000 sheriffs from around the country. And to this sworn group of  law enforcement veterans, with reporters taking notes, he again repeated a falsehood about the murder rate in America.

Trump told the sheriffs, “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” He blamed the news media for not publicizing this development, then added, “But the murder rate is the highest it’s been in, I guess, 45 to 47 years.”

The country’s murder rate is not the highest it’s been in 47 years. It is almost at its lowest point, actually, according to the FBI, which gathers statistics every year from police departments around the country.

The murder rate is defined as the number of murders and non-negligent homicides per 100,000 residents. Beginning in 1957, when the rate was 4.0 murders per 100,000 residents, the rate rose steadily to a high of 10.2 in 1980. It then steadily dropped, to 7.4 in 1996, to 6.1 in 2006, to 4.4 in 2014. It went up in 2015 to 4.9. But that is less than half the murder rate of 1980. The raw number of homicides in America has actually declined from 19,645 in 1996 to 15,696 in 2015, even while the population has risen from 265 million in 1996 to 321 million in 2015.

The violent crime rate in America also has plummeted over the years. Defined as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, violent crimes peaked at a rate of 758 per 100,000 residents in 1991, and the rate was about 373 violent crimes per 100,000 in 2015, again a decline of more than half.

The statistics for 2016 are not yet available. Here is the FBI’s violent crime table for the years 1996 to 2015.

(h/t Washington Post)

‘We’ll Destroy His Career,’ Trump Quips About a Texas State Senator at Odds With a County Sheriff

President Trump on Tuesday quipped that he’d be willing to “destroy” the career of a Texas state senator who has been feuding with a local sheriff.

Sheriff Harold Eavenson of Rockwall County was among a group of law enforcement officials from across the country who met with Trump, Vice President Pence and several senior staff members at the White House.

During a portion of the meeting that a press pool was permitted to observe, Eavenson complained that a senator from his state was offering asset forfeiture legislation that Eavenson thinks would aid Mexican drug cartels.

“Who is the state senator? Want to give his name? We’ll destroy his career,” Trump said, prompting laughs from the room.

Eavenson, who is in line to become president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, declined.

“The sheriffs are good people,” Trump said earlier as he welcomed the group to the White House. Trump, who has been heavily critical of the media in recent weeks, told the sheriffs they don’t get the news coverage they deserve.

(h/t Washington Post)

Trump Claims Media is Covering Up Terror Attacks, Citing No Evidence

President Trump on Monday said that news outlets are covering up terrorist attacks without citing any evidence that supports that claim.

He made the comment in a speech to U.S. servicemembers at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida after receiving a briefing and eating lunch with troops.

The president began talking about how “radical Islamic terrorists are determined to strike our homeland” as they did on 9/11, in the Boston bombings and in San Bernardino. He said it’s also happening “all over Europe” like in Paris and Nice.

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. In many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that,” Mr. Trump said.

There is no evidence that any media outlet is covering up terrorist attacks.

This comes after his adviser, Kellyanne Conway, referred to the “Bowling Green Massacre,” which never happened, in an effort to defend the administration’s travel ban. She later claimed that she misspoke and meant “Bowling Green terrorists.” Cosmopolitan said Monday that Conway had also referred to the fake massacre in an interview with one of its reporters.

During the speech Monday, Mr. Trump vowed to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and also repeated his call for members of NATO to contribute more to the alliance.

“To these forces of death and destruction, America and its allies will defeat you,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the U.S. needs “strong programs” to keep out “people who want to destroy us and destroy our country.”

He seemed to be referring to his travel ban, which has been temporarily halted by a federal judge, and his call for “extreme vetting.”

(h/t CBS News)

Media

Conway Cited Fake ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ in Previous Interviews

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, reportedly cited a made-up terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky, to justify the administration’s highly controversial travel and refugee ban in more than one interview.

Conway has been widely derided on social media and by critics since last week, when she falsely claimed on MSNBC that an attack called “the Bowling Green massacre” had prompted former President Barack Obama to suspend the U.S.’s Iraqi refugee program for six months. There was no such terrorist attack.

Conway soon apologized, describing it as an “honest mistake.” She said she meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists” in reference to two Iraqi refugees who were arrested in Bowling Green in 2011 on terrorism-related charges.

The magazine Cosmopolitan reported Monday that Conway cited the non-existent “massacre” in an interview with one of its reporters a few days before she made the claim on MSNBC, on Jan. 29, with additional details.

“He did, it’s a fact,” Conway told Cosmo, arguing that Obama had also banned Iraqi refugees from the U.S. (he did not ban them, but slowed down the resettlement program and revetted some refugees who had been admitted already).

“Why did he do that? He did that for exactly the same reasons,” Conway told Cosmo. “He did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills and come back here and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.”

She cited a made-up “Bowling Green attack” in an interview with TMZ, too.

(h/t Politico)

Trump Blames Dust-Up Over Australia PM Call on ‘Fake News Media’

President Donald Trump on Friday thanked Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for “telling the truth” after news swirled that the two men had clashed during a phone call last weekend that abruptly ended when Trump reportedly hung up the phone.

“Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

Trump’s conversation with Turnbull last Saturday became a headline this week when The Washington Post reported details from that call. In it, Trump called a refugee agreement reached between Australia and the administration of former President Barack Obama “the worst deal ever” and that one of the individuals the U.S. agreed to take under the deal could be the “next Boston bombers.”

The president also reportedly told Turnbull that their conversation was “the worst call by far” of all that he had had with foreign leaders.

But Turnbull disputed some of that reporting, telling a radio interviewer in Australia that Trump did not hang up on him and that their phone call ended “courteously.” Beyond that, Turnbull has declined to share specifics of their conversation.

“Look, I’m not going to comment on a conversation between myself and the President of the United States other than what we have said publicly, and you can surely understand the reasons for that,” Turnbull said, according to a CNN report. “I’m sure you can understand that. It’s better these conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately. If you’ll see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”

The deal in question is one in which the U.S. would accept over 1,000 refugees currently held in Australian detention centers on islands in the Pacific Ocean. In a post to Twitter on Wednesday, Trump pledged to “study this dumb deal,” and while he has been clear that he would not have agreed to it, the president has also not said that the U.S. will not honor the agreement made by his predecessor.

“He’s been very critical of the deal that President Obama did,” Turnbull said in a radio interview in Australia that was picked up by the Associated Press. “He clearly wouldn’t have done it himself, but we persuaded him to stick with it nonetheless. That was the outcome that we wanted to achieve and that’s what I’ve achieved.”

(h/t Politico)

Trump Tweeted He Was “Calling the Shots” After Watching a Cable-News Segment

President Donald Trump’s messaging on Twitter again seems to have been inspired by a cable-news segment.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, host Joe Scarborough asked skeptically whether Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, was “calling the shots” in the White House.

Just under an hour after the segment aired, Trump declared in a tweet that he was calling “my own shots” in his administration.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump had noticed Bannon’s rising media profile, asking aides specifically about Bannon’s recent Time magazine cover story.

Though Trump’s Monday tweet was vague, the message follows what has become a familiar pattern with the new president.

On several occasions in January, Trump appeared to borrow language and statistics directly from Fox News segments almost immediately after they aired. He dubbed Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor” after “Fox and Friends” described her in those exact terms. And he suggested he’d send in federal law enforcement to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly aired a segment on the same topic.

Many top policymakers and advocates noticed Trump’s viewership habits. And they have attempted to get their message to the president through his preferred morning programs.

Last month, for instance, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings received a call from the president after addressing him directly on “Morning Joe” about lowering the costs of prescription-drug prices.

And on Monday, the left-leaning veterans group “VoteVets” announced an ad debuting on “Morning Joe” urging the president directly not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“President Trump. I hear you watch the morning shows. Here’s what I do every morning,” a veteran said while lifting weights in a garage.

(h/t Business Insider)

 

 

 

Trump Has 2 Events Super Bowl Weekend — And Both Benefit His Businesses

President Donald Trump will attend two events this weekend: a charity ball at Mar-A-Lago, his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and a Super Bowl gathering at his Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach.

Trump will spend Saturday and Sunday nights attending private events where his presence, and the attendant press coverage of the president, stand to directly benefit the properties’ bottom lines. Given that Trump earns income from both of these properties, his decision ― as president ― to attend events there creates the appearance that he may be using the presidency to increase the visibility, prestige and financial value of his clubs.

This is the first weekend the president has spent in Florida since his inauguration last month. According to the White House, Trump also plans at least three weekend phone calls with foreign leaders from New Zealand, Italy and Ukraine.

Trump is scheduled to spend Saturday night at the International Red Cross Ball, held this year at Mar-A-Lago. The annual event has been hosted at Mar-A-Lago in the past. According to news reports and a review of Red Cross tax forms, the organization pays fees for such facilities, and catering that can run to more than $300,000.

Below, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump attended the Red Cross Gala at Mar-A-Lago in 2008.

Trump will spend Sunday evening at his Trump International Golf Club, a members-only facility that hosts top-level pro golf tournaments. He’ll attend what the White House billed as, “The President watches the Super Bowl.”

It was unclear exactly what the Super Bowl event would entail, and who would be invited to attend. The White House did not respond to questions late Friday from The Huffington Post.

According to Trump’s May 2016 personal financial disclosures, the Trump International Golf Club had income of more than $17.5 million the previous year, while Mar-A-Lago raked in $30 million in membership fees and event costs. Both clubs offer memberships, as well event spaces and world-class golf courses, all of which are available to the public, albeit for top dollar.

Trump traveled to Mar-A-Lago on Friday afternoon aboard Air Force One ― a flight that was paid for with taxpayer funds. White House spokesman Sean Spicer repeatedly referred to the 126-room mansion this week as the “Winter White House,” suggesting Mar-A-Lago would be a Trump administration site of official business, and not simply a weekend retreat. Mar-A-Lago recently announced that it had doubled its membership fees, from $100,000 to $200,000.

According to the White House press guidance, Trump’s calls with foreign leaders this weekend will be closed to reporters. But both events at his clubs will be open to the press pool that travels with the president, and will be covered by the same photographers and reporters who cover the White House.

Both events at Trump’s clubs will take place against the backdrop of the president’s unprecedented refusal to divest himself financially from his real estate and hotel empire. Instead, Trump has promised that his sons will manage the company while he is president, and will not discuss the business with him. This is far less than any previous president has done to avoid business conflicts, and well short of what Trump’s own Cabinet members are required to do.

(h/t Huffington Post)

Trump Resumes Twitter Attacks on Federal Judge

President Donald Trump on Sunday resumed tweeting against the judge who blocked his executive order on immigration, blaming the court system “if something happens” that could put the U.S. in “peril.”

“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!” he tweeted Sunday afternoon in reference to Judge James Robart, a district court judge based in Washington state.

A few minutes later, he tweeted again: “I have instructed Homeland Security to check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”

Trump’s tweets came after an appeal filed by the Justice Department was turned down. The appeal would have lifted a ruling that is currently halting Trump’s immigration order.

On Friday, Robart put a halt on Trump’s immigration order, which restricts travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria — and stopped admittance of Syrian refugees to the United States.

The Justice Department filed an appeal late Saturday to the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for Robart’s order to be put on hold while the appeals court considers an open-ended stay of the ruling. The appeal court reject that request Sunday morning.

The president fired off a batch of four tweets Saturday, starting with: “What is our country coming to when a judge can halt a Homeland Security travel ban and anyone, even with bad intentions, can come into U.S.?”

(h/t Politico)

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