Trump Called Turkey’s Erdogan to Congratulate Him on Referendum Win

U.S. President Donald Trump called Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a referendum expanding his authority, sources in Erdogan’s palace said on Monday.

Turkey voted on Sunday to switch to a presidential system, greatly increasing Erdogan’s powers. Unofficial results, which the opposition said it would challenge, showed a narrow victory for him with 51.4 percent of votes cast in favour.

(h/t Reuters)

Trump on Phone with Australian Leader: ‘This Was the Worst Call By Far’

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief – a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Donald Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day – including Russian President Vladimir Putin – and that “this was the worst call by far.”

Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter.

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admissions of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter, “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia – countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The characterizations provide insight into Trump’s temperament and approach to the diplomatic requirements of his job as the nation’s chief executive, a role in which he continues to employ both the uncompromising negotiating tactics he honed as a real estate developer and the bombastic style he exhibited as a reality television personality.

The depictions of Trump’s calls are also at odds with sanitized White House accounts. The official readout of his conversation with Turnbull, for example, said that the two had “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A senior administration official acknowledged that the conversation with Turnbull had been hostile and charged, but emphasized that most of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders – including the heads of Japan, Germany, France and Russia – have been both productive and pleasant.

Trump also vented anger and touted his political accomplishments in a tense conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said. The two have sparred for months over Trump’s vow to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall between the two countries, a conflict that prompted Peña Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with Trump.

Even in conversations marred by hostile exchanges, Trump manages to work in references to his election accomplishments. U.S. officials said that he used his calls with both Turnbull and Peña Nieto to mention his election win or the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

One official said that it may be Trump’s way of “speaking about the mandate he has and why he has the backing for decisions he makes.” But Trump is also notoriously thin-skinned and has used platforms including social-media accounts, meetings with lawmakers and even a speech at CIA headquarters to depict his victory as an achievement of historic proportions, rather than a narrow outcome in which his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.

The friction with Turnbull reflected Trump’s anger over being bound by an agreement reached by former President Barack Obama’s administration to accept refugees from Australian detention sites even while Trump was issuing an executive order suspending such arrivals from elsewhere in the world.

The issue centers on a population of roughly 2,500 people who sought asylum in Australia but were diverted to facilities off that country’s coast at Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Deplorable conditions at those sites prompted intervention from the United Nations and a pledge from the United States to accept about half of those refugees, provided they passed U.S. security screening.

Many of the refugees came from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, countries now listed in Trump’s order temporarily barring their citizens entry to the United States. A special provision in the Trump order allows for exceptions to honor “a preexisting international agreement,” a line that was inserted to cover the Australia deal.

But U.S. officials said that Trump continued to fume about the arrangement even after signing the order in a ceremony at the Pentagon.

“I don’t want these people,” Trump said. He repeatedly misstated the number of refugees called for in the agreement as 2,000 rather than 1,250, and told Turnbull that it was “my intention” to honor the agreement, a phrase designed to leave the U.S. president wiggle room to back out of the deal in the future, according to a senior U.S. official.

Turnbull told Trump that to honor the agreement, the United States would not have to accept all of the refugees but only to allow them each through the normal vetting procedures. At that, Trump vowed to subject each refugee to “extreme vetting,” the senior U.S. official said.

Trump was also skeptical because he did not see a specific advantage the United States would gain by honoring the deal, officials said.

Trump’s position appears to reflect the transactional view he takes of relationships, even when it comes to diplomatic ties with long-standing allies. Australia troops have fought alongside U.S. forces for decades, and the country maintains close cooperation with Washington on trade and economic issues.

Australia is seen as such a trusted ally that it is one of only four countries that the United States includes in the “Five Eyes” arrangement for cooperation on espionage matters. Members share extensively what their intelligence services gather and generally refrain from spying on one another.

There also is a significant amount of tourism between the two countries.

Trump made the call to Turnbull about 5 p.m. Saturday from his desk in the Oval Office, where he was joined by chief strategist Stephen Bannon, national security adviser Michael Flynn and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

At one point, Turnbull suggested that the two leaders move on from their impasse over refugees to discuss the conflict in Syria and other pressing foreign issues. But Trump demurred and ended the call, making it far shorter than his conversations with Shinzo Abe of Japan, Angela Merkel of Germany, François Hollande of France or Putin.

“These conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately,” Turnbull said at a news conference Thursday in Australia. “If you see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”

(h/t Chicago Tribune)

Donald Trump ‘supports policy’ that has killed 4,500 people in the Philippines in five months

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to “kill all” the country’s suspected drug users and dealers has many foreign critics, including the United States, the European Parliament and the International Criminal Court. It now has at least one high-profile supporter: President-elect Donald Trump, at least according to Duterte.

In a statement on Saturday, Duterte shared details of a seven-minute conversation that took place on Friday. He said that during the call, Trump endorsed his campaign against drug users and dealers — a campaign that has left at least 4,500 Filipinos dead in about five months. Trump told Duterte that he was doing it the “right way,” according to Duterte’s account.

“I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump,” he added. “And he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem.”

The comments, which have not been confirmed by Trump’s team, could signal another significant twist in U.S.-Philippine ties.

The Philippines is a former U.S. colony that has been a close U.S. partner for decades. Since sweeping to power last spring, Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at his longtime ally, threatening to ditch the United States for China and Russia.

In September, when President Obama raised questions about the bloody anti-drug crusade, Duterte lectured him on colonialism, referring to him with a slang term that translates, roughly, as “son of a whore.”

In the weeks that followed, he made several surprise announcements on U.S.-Philippine military ties, calling for the ouster of U.S. Special Operations forces from the southern island of Mindanao and the end of joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises — only to backtrack repeatedly.

But Trump’s triumph in the US presidential race saw Duterte switch direction again. Weeks after railing against “uncivilized” Americans, Duterte greeted the U.S. president-elect with an enthusiastic “long live” Trump. Duterte also mused that they might get along — because they both like to swear.

For the Philippine president, an expression of support from Trump could help reset ties with the United States. But endorsing Duterte’s crackdown may put Trump at odds with allies such as the European Union, whose parliament issued a resolution urging the Philippines to halt “extrajudicial executions and killings” in connection with the drug war.

(h/t Independent)

Reality

Duterte, also an authoritarian, threatens political rivals and other enemies with baseless claims that they too are drug dealers in order to intimidate into submission or move them aside, even having one political rival murdered under police custody.

Trump Fires Back at Criticism from Robert Gates

Twitter

Donald Trump took to Twitter early Saturday morning to lob an attack at Robert Gates, after the former Defense secretary said he is “beyond repair” on national security.

“I never met former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He knows nothing about me. But look at the results under his guidance – a total disaster!” the GOP presidential nominee tweeted.

Gates on Friday criticized both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on military issues, writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that “neither candidate has seriously addressed how he or she thinks about the military or the use of force.”

Gates specifically ripped Trump for “naive and irresponsible” expressions of admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and for a Middle East plan he called a “dangerous approach oblivious to the reality” of the region.

“Mr. Trump is also willfully ignorant about the rest of the world, about our military and its capabilities, and about government itself,” he wrote.

“He disdains expertise and experience while touting his own — such as his claim that he knows more about ISIS than America’s generals. He has no clue about the difference between negotiating a business deal and negotiating with sovereign nations.”

Gates and Trump have gone after each other throughout the presidential campaign.

Gates ripped Trump in May for appearing unwilling to accept advice from foreign policy experts, and Trump responded that he’s “not a big fan” of the former Defense secretary, who served under President Bush as well as President Obama.

Trump Praises Putin Again, ‘A Leader Far More Than Our President’

Donald Trump defended his admiration for Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a forum on Wednesday focused on national security issues, even suggesting that Putin is more worthy of his praise than President Obama.

“Certainly, in that system, he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader,” Trump said. “We have a divided country.”

The Republican presidential nominee said that an alliance with Russia would help defeat the Islamic State, and when asked to defend some of Putin’s aggressions on the world stage, he asked, “Do you want me to start naming some of the things Obama does at the same time?”

Trump also said he appreciated some of the kind words Putin has had for him. “Well, I think when he calls me brilliant, I think I’ll take the compliment, okay?”

(h/t Washington Post)

Reality

Donald Trump has engaged in an unsettling bromance with the Russian president, once saying Putin was was world leader he would “get along very well with,” and has since made a lot of pro-Russian stances.

  • Heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin saying, “I will tell you, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well. They did not look good together.”
  • Questioned the need for NATO, which was set up as a check against Russian aggression in Europe, calling it “obsolete.”
  • Declared he would not come to the aide of NATO allies when attacked by Russia if they do not pay.
  • Fought like mad during the Republican National Convention to change the GOP platform to no longer provide arms to Ukraine in their conflict with Russia.
  • Told a conference in Ukraine that their nation was invaded because “there is no respect for America.”
  • Invited Russian hackers to attack his political rival in order to influence the American election.
  • Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, left over revelations that he possibly received millions of dollars in illegal payments from Ukraine’s former pro-Russian ruling party.
  • Incorrectly stated that Russia would never go into Ukraine, when they have been intervening there for the past 3 years.

But in the larger context, make no mistake, Republicans love Russian President Vladimir Putin. No surprises here because in the past, conservatives have heaped massive praise on Putin. Here are just a few examples.

Never-mind that Putin is a human-rights-abusing, political-enemy-killing, tyrant. Putin became the strong authoritarian model they have long desired in a president after 2 terms of “weak” Obama.

Media

MSNBC

Mexican president fact-checks Trump then disputes him over border wall payment discussion

Donald Trump flew into a nation he has constantly berated during his campaign to meet President Enrique Peña Nieto and said they discussed a wall Trump has vowed to build on the US southern border, but not his demand that Mexico pay for it — an assertion the Mexican president later disputed.

“Who pays for the wall? We didn’t discuss,” Trump had said when asked by a reporter during a news conference following their meeting in Mexico City. “We did discuss the wall. We didn’t discuss payment of the wall. That’ll be for a later date.”

But Peña Nieto later claimed the two had discussed the wall and who would pay for it — and he had “made it clear” to Trump it wouldn’t be Mexico.

“At the start of the conversation with Donald Trump, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall,” Peña Nieto tweeted, after their meeting Wednesday.

He added that his conversation with the Republican nominee then moved on to other topics in a respectful fashion.

Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications adviser, called the meeting “the first part of the discussion and a relationship builder” between the two men, after Peña Nieto tweeted.
“It was not a negotiation, and that would have been inappropriate. It is unsurprising that they hold two different views on this issue, and we look forward to continuing the conversation,” he said in a statement.

In subsequent interviews in Mexico, Peña Nieto reiterated his version of events. He told CNN affiliate Televisa in an interview late Wednesday some of the positions Trump has taken “are a threat to Mexico.”

He also told the outlet he was very clear with Trump about the subject of a wall at the border and insisted Mexico would not pay for it and he made Trump aware that the people of Mexico had been “very insulted.”

Peña Nieto, speaking alongside Trump during their joint appearance, twice stressed the “responsibility” he has to defend Mexican people around the world and said Trump has made “assertions that regrettably had hurt and have affected Mexicans.”

“The Mexican people have felt hurt by the comments that have been made. But I am sure that his genuine interest is to build a relationship that will give both of our society’s better welfare,” Peña Nieto said.

Trump apparently left his tough deal-making persona at home as he received a presidential-style news conference on foreign soil while on a high-risk trip to Mexico on Wednesday.

The visit appeared to be an attempt to bolster Trump’s credentials as a potential world leader, following searing attacks on his temperament by his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. The spur-of-the-moment trip also came hours before Trump was due to deliver a speech in Arizona meant to clarify his murky immigration policy amid signs he is softening his prior promise to deport 11 million undocumented migrants.

Trump’s claim that they didn’t discuss who would pay for the wall — despite his call for Mexico to finance it being a central theme of his campaign and one he frequently uses to fire up his supporters — appeared to be a noteworthy omission from Wednesday’s conversation when he mentioned it at their joint appearance.

The cost is one that Peña Nieto has previously refused to shoulder, just one of many issues where the two men have clashed. Peña Nieto, who has previously compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, greeted him courteously and said he was committed to working with whomever Americans elect as their next president in November.

But turning the tables on Trump, he gave the billionaire an earful on trade, said illegal immigration from Mexico to the US peaked years ago and complained of the torrent of guns that he said crossed the border and worsened Mexico’s drug wars.

Nieto said in an interview late Wednesday that some of the positions Donald Trump has taken “are a threat to Mexico.” He told CNN affiliate Televisa that he made Trump aware that the people of Mexico had been “very insulted” by his comments.

Trump’s backers were left to defend his decision not to mention his demand that Mexico pay for the border wall after the visit. Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “What difference does it make? The wall’s important no matter who pays.”

While Trump’s decision not to raise who would pay for the wall appeared to undercut his deal-making swagger, it could also reassure some wavering Republican voters who dislike Clinton but are not yet convinced Trump possesses the restraint and sobriety required of a US president.

The sight of Trump alongside the Mexican president provided the photo-op that the campaign appears to have banked on despite not knowing how the candidate would be received.

Still, the Clinton campaign came out swinging, accusing Trump of failing to make good on his pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall by not raising the issue.

“Donald Trump has made his outlandish policy of forcing Mexico to pay for his giant wall the centerpiece of his campaign. But at the first opportunity to make good on his offensive campaign promises, Trump choked,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement.

“What we saw today from a man who claims to be the ultimate ‘deal maker’ is that he doesn’t have the courage to advocate for his campaign promises when he’s not in front of a friendly crowd,” Podesta said, before accusing Trump of wanting to build a costly wall at American taxpayers’ expense.

Podesta later added: “It turns out Trump didn’t just choke, he got beat in the room and lied about it.”

Peña Nieto began his remarks alongside Trump by saying the two held a constructive exchange of views even though “we might not agree on everything.”

He then launched into a detailed defense of US-Mexican trade and its benefit to both countries delivered by the North American Free Trade Agreement — a common punching bag for Trump on the campaign trail.

The Mexican leader told Trump that both the US and Mexico had benefited from NAFTA, saying more than six million US jobs rely on exports to Mexico.

“I don’t think that commerce must be considered a zero sum game, so that only one wins and the other one loses,” he said, though added he was prepared to make the two-decades-old deal, which also includes Canada, better for both nations.

Trump was also told by his host that Mexicans deserve everybody’s respect wherever they are, in an apparent reference to the GOP nominee’s harsh rhetoric towards undocumented migrants.

Trump, who listened to his host’s long remarks with a somber look on his face while a woman stood beside him at the podium translating for him, said that Mexicans were “spectacular” people when it was his turn to talk.

But he laid bare disagreements between the two men when he said it was imperative to stop the “tremendous outflow” of jobs from the United States over the southern border, and that NAFTA had benefited Mexico more than the US. And he stood up for America’s right to build a “physical barrier or wall” on its territory to stop illegal immigration and drug traffickers. Trump warned that NAFTA would have to be renegotiated.

Trump’s calls for deporting all undocumented workers, labeling many Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals,” and plan to build a wall along the border — that Mexico would pay for — have earned him withering criticism from Peña Nieto, as well as many independents and moderate Republicans.

But they are central pillars of his campaign, which has galvanized his white working class base behind his White House bid. Those most fervently opposed to immigration have pushed back against the rumored “softening” in his stance that he could articulate on Wednesday night.

Trump, speaking from prepared remarks, was far more measured than in his campaign trail appearances. Though he mostly stuck his positions on renegotiating NAFTA and halting illegal immigration, he was also conciliatory. He referred to illegal immigration from Central America rather than just from Mexico. He said a secure border barrier would benefit both nations. And he spoke of the flight of jobs not from the United States but from also from Mexico and Central America to overseas economies.

It is not unusual for presidential candidates to venture abroad during a campaign. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made trips to bolster their foreign policy credentials in 2008 and 2012.

But Trump’s approach — like the rest of his campaign — is highly unorthodox. Presidential candidates do not typically show up in foreign capitals for talks with leaders without intense preparation and highly choreographed game plans. Often, the parameters of a meeting are settled in advance. This trip was announced Tuesday night.

In addition, they usually visit strong allies where they are assured of a warm reception that will make for positive media coverage rather than sitting down with a leader who has compared them to Hitler and has disparaged their policy proposals.

Trump’s style, however, is more impulsive and unpredictable. He had never before met a foreign leader in an official capacity. So his trip represented something of a risk. Even though the meeting with Peña Nieto was private, he has no control over how the Mexican leader will address the public and how his officials will brief journalists about it afterward.

The trip was also unusual for not including his traveling press corps and coming against the advice of US diplomats.

The campaign’s decision to travel to a foreign country — one rife with security risks for a candidate who has stoked tensions with his rhetoric on Mexican immigrants — without reporters following close behind marks an unprecedented moment in the coverage of major party presidential nominees.

In addition, staff at the US Embassy in Mexico advised the Trump campaign against making such a hastily arranged trip, suggesting it would be logistically difficult to organize on such short notice, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

(h/t CNN)

Trump Shifts on Muslim Ban, Calls for ‘Extreme Vetting’

Donald Trump is once again shifting the parameters of his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, calling Sunday for “extreme vetting” of persons from “territories” with a history of terror — though not explicitly abandoning his previous across-the-board ban.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Trump zeroed in on people from suspicious “territories” as those who will receive deep scrutiny when trying to enter the United States. He did not directly repudiate his previous call for an outright ban.

“Call it whatever you want,” Trump told CBS when asked if he was changing his previously released policy.

“Change territories, but there are territories and terror states and terror nations that we’re not going to allow the people to come into our country,” he said.

Trump continued: “We’re going to have a thing called ‘extreme vetting.’ And if people want to come in, there’s going to be extreme vetting. We’re going to have extreme vetting. They’re going to come in and we’re going to know where they came from and who they are.”

Syrian refugees, however, appear to still be on Trump’s list of those people not allowed into the country. The presumptive Republican nominee, who heads to the convention this week for his official coronation, remained consistent on his calls to “not let people in from Syria that nobody knows who they are.” This ban appears more country-based than religious-based.

Trump’s initial proposal for a ban came in December of 2015. He called for a temporary yet “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The 2015 policy proposed a blanket ban on Muslims based on what Trump called “hatred” of the West he said was innate in Islam.

The language around the ban later shifted when Trump traveled to Scotland, spurring questions when he told a reporter it wouldn’t “bother” him to allow a Scottish or British Muslim to come into the United States in light of his proposed ban. When asked moments later by The Daily Mail to further clarify those remarks, Trump responded: “I don’t want people coming in — I don’t want people coming in from certain countries. I don’t want people coming in from the terror countries. You have terror countries! I don’t want them, unless they’re very, very strongly vetted.”

Asked at the time which countries constitute the “terror countries,” Trump said, “they’re pretty well decided. All you have to do is look!”

He echoed this sentiment in a phone call with NBC News one day later. When asked by NBC’s Hallie Jackson which “terror nations” Trump would focus on, he did not give much by way of criteria for designating these countries. “Terror nations,” Trump repeated. “Look it up. They have a list of terror nations.”

This is the first time Trump himself has articulated the pivot and specification of the ban that many advisors have attempted to spin for him. Still, the businessman has not disavowed his prior plan for a blanket ban or stated that it’s being abandoned in the wake of a new policy that focuses on specific territories.

(h/t NBC News)

Trump tweets that Scotland loves Brexit (though Scotland voted against)

Twitter

Donald Trump praised the Scottish this morning for “[taking] their country back” in the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. This is despite the fact that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, with 62 percent of the population backing the Remain campaign. However, this wasn’t enough to change the total outcome of the UK vote, which backed the decision to leave 52 percent to 48 percent.

Reality

Scotland isn’t the reason the Brexit vote succeeded. Far from it: 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

In-fact, there is serious talk in Scotland to leave the UK in order to stay in the EU.

Trump, Again, Flip-Flops on His Libya Position

Donald Trump reversed his stance on U.S. military intervention in Libya on Sunday, saying he would have authorized “surgical” strikes to take out strongman Moammar Gaddafi — even though he’d previously said the world would be better with Gaddafi in power.

“I didn’t mind surgical. And I said surgical. You do a surgical shot and you take him out,” Trump said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

It was a notable change from the position he’d staked out at a Republican presidential debate in Texas in February.

“We would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now,” Trump said then. He has also hit Clinton over the U.S. intervention in Libya in his stump speech.

It’s the second time Trump has reversed his position on Libya. In a 2011 video, Trump said that “on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.”

On Sunday, he still sought to blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

“I wasn’t for what happened. Look at the way — I mean look at with Benghazi and all of the problems that we’ve had. It was handled horribly,” he said.

He added: “I was never for strong intervention. I could have seen surgical where you take out Gaddafi and his group.”

While Trump has changed positions on how the United States should have handled Gaddafi, he’s now advocating a sharp escalation in the U.S. military’s role in Libya.

He asked at a rally in Fresno, California, two weeks ago why the United States isn’t “bombing the hell out of” ISIS in Libya.

“ISIS has the oil. And then you say if ISIS has the oil, why aren’t we blockading so they can’t sell it? Why aren’t we bombing the hell out of … ” Trump said, stopping short as he pivoted to slamming Obama as “grossly incompetent.”

He’s also made blasting Clinton’s foreign policy judgment a staple on the campaign trail.
“She doesn’t have the temperament to be president. She’s got bad judgment. She’s got horribly bad judgment,” Trump said two weeks ago in Anaheim. “If you look at the war in Iraq, if you look at what she did with Libya, which was a total catastrophe.”

Clinton, meanwhile, unleashed on Trump as ill fit to serve as commander in chief on Thursday in a high-profile speech.

“He’s not just unprepared — he’s temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility,” Clinton said.

(h/t CNN)

Reality

This is pretty clearly a flip of a flip-flop.

Personal Vlog: Take him out – August, 22 2011

Trump said, “on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives.”

Republican Debate: Shouldn’t have taken him out – February, 25 2016

“We would be so much better off if Gaddafi would be in charge right now.”

Interview: Take him out – June 2016

“I didn’t mind surgical. And I said surgical. You do a surgical shot and you take him out.”

Trump’s flip-flip is at the 1:24 mark:

 

Trump Says Clinton Made Up Quotes About Him

Hillary Clinton gave a speech on foreign policy that was a direct attack on Donald Trump, whose own foreign policy knowledge is lacking in such a way that CNN has now chosen to fact-check in real time so that viewers can see when he reneges on something he’s said, like his belief that Japan should have nukes.

Trump hasn’t taken well to her speech. He has attacked those who lauded it and gone after Clinton, too. Just as he did yesterday when he tried to claim that he never spoke out in favor of Japan getting its own nuclear arsenal, he tried to insist that everything Clinton said about him in her speech was a lie.

She responded with a link to her site, The Briefing. That link leads to a quote-by-quote breakdown of her speech. Each assertion made about Trump’s beliefs is backed up with a link to the interview or press conference during which he said it.

From saying he has no issue with abandoning our allies in NATO to the direct quote in which he insisted he knows more about ISIS than America’s own military generals do, the takedown is thorough and scathing.

(h/t Mediaite)

Reality

Donald’s twitter response to Clinton’s evisceration of his foreign policy was largely seen as massive disappointment. Many pundits waited eagerly to see how he would respond, how he would defend his positions, and were left with a few poorly-spelled tweets attacking her for using a “telepromter.” Ironically, a few days later Donald Trump himself turned to a teleprompter for his primary victory.

So we wanted to take the time and fact-check both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

1. “This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia.”

TRUE. During a CNN town hall interview on March 29, 2016, Donald Trump did advocate for more countries to have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia.

ANDERSON COOPER:  Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?

 

TRUMP:  Saudi Arabia, absolutely.

2. “This is someone who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO, the countries that work with us to root out terrorists abroad before they strike us at home.”

TRUE. In a March 30 town hall on MSNBC, Trump repeatedly suggested he will threaten NATO countries to bear a bigger burden, ultimately saying “If we have to walk, we have to walk.”

CHRIS MATTHEWS:  We don’t need NATO?

 

TRUMP:  Do you think — no, we don’t really need NATO in its current form. NATO is obsolete, and we’re spending disproportionately…

 

MATTHEWS:  How do you walk from NATO, The Middle East, North Asia, China, all these relationships?  Just drop them all?

 

TRUMP:  Look, NATO is…

 

MATTHEWS:  We have old deals we have to stick with.

TRUMP:  … is 68 years old.

 

MATTHEWS:  Yes.

 

TRUMP:  OK, you have countries that are getting a free ride.  You have countries that benefit from NATO much more than we do.  We don’t benefit that much from NATO….Why aren’t they reimbursing us?  Why aren’t they paying a good portion of the costs?

 

MATTHEWS:  Well, that’s fine.  It’s a good argument if you can get it.  But if the alternative is we walk…

TRUMP:  And we’ll get it, I’ll get it, I’ll get it.  I’m the messenger.

 

MATTHEWS:  If the alternative is we walk…

 

TRUMP:  If we have to walk, we have to walk.

Comments start around the 6:30 mark.

3. “He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008.”

TRUE. In an interview on CNBC, Donald Trump broke with tired clichés about the evils of federal debt accumulation. “I am the king of debt,” he said. “I love debt. I love playing with it.”

I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal,” Trump said. “And if the economy was good, it was good. So therefore, you can’t lose.

This idea would indeed cause a global financial crisis. By suggesting an unorthodox approach towards cutting the national debt… not paying it then renegotiate terms. Such a renegotiation risks creating financial turmoil because U.S. Treasuries are considered the safest assets on the planet and a major benchmark for valuing other securities. Calling into question their safety could cause borrowing rates to rise and create confusion in the markets.

Trump later said the media misunderstood his comments. However while Trump did not say the word ‘default’ he explained the exact definition of the word default in his proposal. And his new answer to print money can lead to higher inflation and was almost just as bad of an idea.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000515269

4. “He has said that he would order our military to carry out torture.”

TRUE. During a campaign event at the Sun City retirement community on February 17, 2016, Donald Trump said that he supports waterboarding and similar interrogation techniques because “torture works” in the questioning of terrorists.

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works,” Trump said. “Okay, folks? Torture — you know, half these guys [say]: ‘Torture doesn’t work.’ Believe me, it works. Okay?”

5. “He says he doesn’t have to listen to our generals or our admirals, our ambassadors, and other high officials, because he has quote, ‘a very good brain.’”

TRUE. Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded:

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”

“I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are,” Trump said. “But my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff.”

 

Then as evidence, Trump claimed he had predicted the rise of Osama bin Laden, a statement for which was a total and absolute lie.

6. “He says climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.”

TRUE. And complete and total nonsense.

7. “He has the gall to say that prisoners of war like John McCain aren’t heroes.”

TRUE. At the Iowa Family Leadership Summit in July 2015, when moderator Frank Luntz brought up Senator John McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Donald Trump said:

He’s not a war hero.

Then went on to say.

He’s a war hero ’cause he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? Perhaps he’s a war hero, but right now he’s said some very bad things about a lot of people.

Trump caught flack from every direction but refused to change his stance on McCain. When asked by ABC News whether he owes McCain an apology, Trump said:

No, not at all.

Then continued:

People that were not captured that went in and fought, nobody talks about them. Those are heroes also.

Later when confronted with his comments about McCain by a veteran and supporter at a rally, Trump flatly lied that he never made those comments.

8. “He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin…” and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico, and the Pope.”

TRUE. In an interview on October 1st, 2015, Trump compared President Obama unfavorably to the Russian president.

“I will tell you, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well. They did not look good together.”

9. “and picks fights with our friends – including the British prime minister…”

TRUE. On Good Morning Britain in May 2016, Trump was asked about comments by British Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the U.K.’s Conservative Party, who said that Trump’s suggestion Muslims should be barred from the United States was “divisive, stupid and wrong.”

“It looks like we’re not going to have a very good relationship,” if he were to win the presidential election in November.

10. the mayor of London…

TRUE. On Good Morning Britain in May 2016, Trump said Khan was “very rude” and made a veiled threat.

“I think they’re very rude statements and frankly, tell him, I will remember those statements. They’re very nasty statements.”

11. the German chancellor…

TRUE. Donald Trump told Breitbart executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon that he was highly critical of Germany’s Angela Merkel saying she is “a catastrophic leader” and that “she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.”

Everyone thought she was a really great leader and now she’s turned out to be this catastrophic leader. And she’ll be out if they don’t have a revolution.

12. the president of Mexico…

TRUE. Donald Trump sparked outrage among Mexicans and Latinos over comments he made when he kicked off his Presidential bid when he claimed Mexico sending its “rapists” and criminals to the U.S. and calling for a human-proof wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep them out.

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Mexican President Pena Nieto attacked the “populism” of the Trump campaign, which he said sought to put forward “very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve,” and then compared Trump to Hitler:

“And there have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity. That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in, they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis. And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don’t want that happening anywhere in the world”

13. and the Pope.

TRUE. Trump faulted Pope Francis for planning to visit the Mexican border to pray with migrants:

I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico. I think Mexico got him to do it because they want to keep the border just the way it is. They’re making a fortune, and we’re losing.

Pope Francis then made the observation that that Mr. Trump “is not Christian” in proposing deportations and a wall with Mexico.

Donald Trump responded saying Francis’ criticisms were “disgraceful” and “unbelievable,” said the pontiff will “wish and pray” that the real estate mogul were President “if and when the Vatican is attacked, and he contended that the Mexican government had hoodwinked the pope into criticizing him.

14. “He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.”

TRUE. In a March 2016 interview with Fox News, Donald Trump said:

I know Russia well. I had a major event in Russia two or three years ago, Miss Universe contest, which was a big, big, incredible event. An incredible success.

 

 

 

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