Trump still privately questions Obama’s birth certificate

President Trump is still privately questioning the authenticity of former President Obama’s birth certificate, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

A senator, who asked not to be named, told The Times that Trump is having difficulty moving on from his past claims that Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

Trump led the “birther” movement against Obama, claiming for years that the former president was born outside of the U.S.

Obama eventually released his birth certificate to counter Trump’s claims.

Trump said that Obama was born in the U.S. during a campaign stop last year.

Trump advisers reportedly told The Times that Trump has continued to talk about conspiracy theories that aren’t based in fact since taking office.

The newspaper first reported last week that Trump has been questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape that features audio of him bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent.

Trump acknowledged that it was him on the tape when it was first released last year and apologized for the comments.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say if Trump thinks the tape is fake at a press briefing Monday.

“The president addressed this, this was litigated and certainly answered during the election by the overwhelming support for the president and the fact he’s sitting here in the Oval Office today,” Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

“He’s made his position on that clear at that time, as have the American people in support of him.”

[The Hill]

Trump: Ask Gen. Kelly If Obama Called When His Son Died

President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his false claim that his predecessor didn’t call the families of soldiers killed in action by alluding to former Gen. John Kelly’s son, a Marine who died in Afghanistan.

“You could ask General Kelly, did he get a call from Obama?” Trump said in a radio interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.

Kelly, who came on as Trump’s chief of staff in July, does not often speak about the son he lost in 2010. 1st Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, 29, was killed in combat in Afghanistan after stepping on a landmine.

“I don’t know what Obama’s policy was. I write letters and I also call,” Trump said, adding he has called “virtually everybody” during his past nine months as commander in chief.

Trump’s comments Tuesday come a day after he falsely claimed that President Barack Obama did not call the families of soldiers killed in action after being asked why he had not yet addressed the deaths of American troops killed in Niger earlier this month.

When pressed by NBC News on how he could make that claim, Trump said he was told that Obama “didn’t often” call families of fallen soldiers.

“President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t. I don’t know. That’s what I was told. All I can do — all I can do is ask my generals,” he said.

According to a 2011 profile in The Boston Globe, Kelly has avoided speaking publicly about his son so as not to draw attention.

“We are not inclined to make ourselves out to be any different, just because I’m a lieutenant general in the Marines,” Kelly said then. “We are just one family. It’s not worse for us; it’s not easier for us.”

A White House official told NBC News on Tuesday that Obama did not call Kelly after the death of his son. But a person familiar with the breakfast for Gold Star Families at the White House on May 30, 2011, told NBC News that Kelly and his wife attended the private event and were seated at first lady Michelle Obama’s table.

A former senior Obama administration official disputed Trump’s initial claim on Monday that Obama didn’t call Gold Star families, calling it “wrong.”

“President Obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to Section 60 at Arlington, visits to Walter Reed, visits to Dover, and regular meetings with Gold Star Families at the White House and across the country,” the ex-official told NBC.

Trump said Tuesday that he had to allow a little time to pass but he “will be calling, have called, and will be calling the parents and loved ones, wives of the soldiers that recently were killed.”

The White House said later that the president was scheduled to call the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger on Tuesday.

[NBC News]

Trump falsely claims Obama, other past presidents didn’t call families of fallen soldiers

President Trump on Monday claimed former President Obama and other past presidents didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers.

Trump made the remark after being asked about the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger last week.

The president said he planned to call the parents and families of those who were killed, something he said he has done “traditionally.”

“The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens – soldiers are killed,” Trump said.

“It’s a very difficult thing. Now it gets to a point where you make four or five of them in one day, it’s a very, very tough day. For me that’s by far the toughest,” he said.

“So the traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls, a lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate, when I think I’m able to do it.”

Trump’s remarks were immediately criticized online, as Obama and other past presidents did make calls to the families of fallen soldiers.

Obama and former President George W. Bush have both described the difficultly in making those calls.

About 15 minutes later, as the news conference continued, Trump was pressed on his claim and said that he was “told” Obama didn’t often call the families of slain soldiers.

“And a lot of presidents don’t, they write letters. … I do a combination of both. Sometimes, it’s a very difficult thing to do, but I do a combination of both. President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes, and maybe sometimes he didn’t, I don’t know, that’s what I was told,” Trump said.

Trump said again that other presidents did not call.

“And some presidents didn’t do anything,” he said. “I like, when I can, the combination of a call and also a letter.”

[The Hill]

Media

Watch on CNN

Reality

A quick search of news archives reveals multiple times Obama met with military family members in which he offered thanks and condolences for their sacrifice.

We’ll even defend George W. Bush here too:

Later in the press conference, Trump was asked what evidence he had that Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers, and he said that it was simply something he had heard about and could not recall from who.

Sarah Sanders Defends Trump’s ‘Destroy North Korea’ Remarks by Taking Obama Way Out of Context

President Donald Trump set the international community ablaze today by saying America could destroy North Korea if the rogue nation continues its international aggression. The president’s debut before the United Nations is drawing massive intrigue from the media and political worlds, and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is justifying Trump’s remarks by saying they’re not so different from what predecessor Barack Obama has said.

There’s a slight problem though: the context and framing of the remarks are quite different.

Sanders was referring to an interview Obama gave to CBS last year, where the former president talked about the reasons why North Korea is a major diplomatic challenge.

Here are Obama’s remarks, emphasis ours:

“It’s not something that lends itself to an easy solution. We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea. One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems, so that even as we try to resolve the underlying problem of nuclear development inside of North Korea, we’re also setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they’re posing right now.”

In this sense, Obama was giving a matter-of-fact statement about what America is capable of in terms of military might. He did not, however, recommend the destruction of the Hermit Kingdom as a viable resolution to the crisis.

When Trump delivered his speech today, he indicated that America is “ready, willing, and able” to attack the rogue nation if they continue their weapons testing and the U.N. cannot bring the Kim regime under control.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Says He Will Revisit DACA Decision If Lawmakers Don’t Act

President Trump said Tuesday that he would revisit his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program if lawmakers are unable to pass legislation on the matter in the next six months.

“Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” he wrote on Twitter.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday morning that the Trump administration would rescind the Obama-era program, which shielded certain young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The administration said, however, that DACA would be phased out over the next six months, a delay intended to give lawmakers time to pass legislation addressing the issue.

Trump defended the decision to rescind the program earlier Tuesday, saying that the six-month delay would give lawmakers “a window” to act.

“As I’ve said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and compassion — but through the lawful democratic process,” he said.

Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have already expressed support for the DREAM Act, which would grant young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children reprieve from deportation. The DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001.

[The Hill]

Reality

Donald Trump’s reasoning for kicking DACA over to Congress was that the president does not have the legal authority to unilaterally enact prosecutorial discretion (which he does). But what Trump is saying now is that if Congress doesn’t act within his time frame then he will unilaterally enact prosecutorial discretion.

So then why did he pass the buck to Congress in the first place?

Trump Unloads On GOP Leaders, Clapper and Media in Typo-Riddled Twitter Rant

President Trump fired off a series of tweets on Thursday morning, attacking Republican leaders in Congress, defending the wildly shifting tones in his recent speeches and retweeting a crude photo collage of him “eclipsing” former President Barack Obama in a typo-riddled tirade.

Trump began by accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan of not following his advice on debt-ceiling negotiations.

“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval,” the president tweeted. “They didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!”

Those tweets came just hours after the White House issued a statement saying Trump and McConnell “remain unified on many shared priorities” and will meet when Congress returns from its August recess.

The statement seemed to be in response to a New York Times report that the relationship between the president and McConnell has “disintegrated” to the point where the Senate majority leader is now privately questioning whether Trump can even save his presidency.

According to the Times, Trump “berated” McConnell during an Aug. 9 phone call “that quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.”

“During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue,” the Times reported. “He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

The president also criticized the media’s scrutiny of the shifting tone of his back-to-back-to-back speeches, misspelling the words “there” and “too.”

“The Fake News is now complaining about my different types of back to back speeches. Well, their was Afghanistan (somber), the big Rally (enthusiastic, dynamic and fun) and the American Legion – V.A. (respectful and strong),” Trump tweeted. “To bad the Dems have no one who can change tones!”

He wasn’t done.

Trump then ripped James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, who told CNN on Tuesday that the president’s fiery speech in Phoenix left him questioning the commander in chief’s fitness for office.

“James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?” Trump tweeted.

Amid the barrage, the president paused to retweet a meme-like photo of his face crossing in front of Obama’s, above the message “Best Eclipse Ever.”

[Yahoo News]

Update

Jerry Travone, whose meme Trump retweeted, turns out to be another white supremacist. Trump has a pattern of retweeting them.

No, Trump Did Not ‘Modernize’ U.S. Nukes

Amid growing anxiety about North Korea’s nuclear weapon capabilities, President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday that one of the first things he did on assuming the presidency was to “modernize” the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

But there’s no evidence that the president has upgraded the nation’s nuclear arsenal in his mere seven months in office.

What’s more, because of how Congress works, any changes the president could have made to the nuclear arsenal could not take effect before next year anyway. In fact, the arsenal Trump is boasting about is the one maintained by President Barack Obama.

Let’s break it down and review the facts.

Trump ordered a rebuilding of the American military and assessing its readiness on January 27th, a week into office. In that order, Trump called for a “Nuclear Posture Review,” an analysis designed to help the new administration understand its existing arsenal and how it meets strategic needs.

Neither have any direct effect on the nuclear arsenal that the nation has today.

“Under the Constitution, Congress controls nuclear modernization as part of its power to organize, equip, and fund of our armed forces. President Trump’s requests related to nuclear weapons modernization have not yet passed Congress, and nothing he has done would even begin to take effect until 2018,” said Rep. Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, in an email.

“The only thing he has done so far is sign a presidential memorandum requiring a nuclear posture review, but the review is nowhere near complete,” he added.

Col. Jack Jacobs, an NBC News military analyst and Medal of Honor recipient, likened the president’s order to Obama’s efforts to close the prison Guantanamo Bay, which were ultimately unsuccessful.

“In order to make something happen, Congress has to approve it and approve an authorization bill that authorizes the expenditure of the money and, separately, an appropriations bill that directs the government to write the check for it,” he said. “Neither one of those things have occurred.”

Obama undertook gradual upgrades to the nuclear arsenal and he supported a $1 trillion process for modernization last year. Trump has requested a huge uptick in nuclear spending — a 11 percent increase over the current year’s appropriation. But for now those plans are simply that.

[NBC News]

Reality

Trump’s first order as president was on Obamacare, not the nuclear arsenal.

Trump: Obama Didn’t ‘Choke,’ He ‘Colluded or Obstructed’

President Trump on Monday said President Obama took no action against Russia for its actions in the 2016 election because he expected Hillary Clinton to win.

Trump concluded that Obama had not “choked” in taking no action against Russia, as a senior administration official told The Washington Post. Instead, Trump said Obama had “colluded” or “obstructed.”

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win…..and did not want to ‘rock the boat,’ ” Trump tweeted. “He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”

“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia … under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!” he added.

Trump’s accusations come as he is facing multiple investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Russia during the election. The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Moscow interfered in the U.S. election specifically to help Trump win.

The Justice Department, FBI and Senate and House Intelligence committees are probing possible links between Trump’s team and the Kremlin.

Trump in an interview last week criticized Obama over Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, accusing the former president of doing “nothing.”

“Well I just heard today for the first time that Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it. But nobody wants to talk about that,” Trump told “Fox and Friends Weekend.”

“The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even – before the election. And I hardly see it. It’s an amazing thing,” Trump continued.

The Obama administration is facing fresh criticism after The Washington Post reported that Obama was slow and cautious in responding to Russian election interference.

Some officials were reportedly wary of taking action before the election, which was dominated by Trump making claims on the campaign trail of the election being “rigged” against him.

[The Hill]

 

Trump Blames Obama for Not Doing More to Bring Otto Warmbier Home Sooner

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to blame former President Barack Obama for not bringing Otto Warmbier home from North Korea sooner.

“It’s a disgrace what happened to Otto,” Trump said to reporters. “It’s a total disgrace what happened to Otto.”

“It should never, ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different. He should have been brought home that day.”

Trump added that he had spoken with Warmbier’s family.

When asked if Obama had done enough to secure Warmbier’s release during a June 16 press conference, Otto’s father, Fred, echoed Trump’s sentiments saying the results “speak for themselves.”

Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained in March 2016 after North Korean officials accused him of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

US officials negotiated his release earlier this month, though Warmbier was in a coma by the time he arrived in the US. While North Korean officials said he had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism, US doctors who examined Warmbier said he suffered severe neurological trauma while in detention and showed no traces of the toxin.

Warmbier died at age 22 on Monday.

The White House released a statement on Monday offering Trump and first lady Melania’s “deepest condolences” to Warmbier’s family.

“The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” the statement reads.

Warmbier’s family also released a statement on Monday announcing his death.

“It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost — future time that won’t be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds,” the statement reads. “But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person.”

[Business Insider]

Reality

Former President Barack Obama has issued a statement about Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died this week, days after being released from North Korea in a coma after more than a year in captivity.

“During the course of the Obama Administration, we had no higher priority than securing the release of Americans detained overseas,” Obama spokesman Ned Price said in the statement. “Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration.”

Added Price, who was National Security Counsel spokesperson during Obama’s administration: “It is painful that Mr. Warmbier was not among them, but our efforts on his behalf never ceased, even in the waning days of the administration. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Warmbier’s family and all who had the blessing of knowing him.”

Trump Tweet Attacks Media, Democrats, and Obama Foreign Policy

As thousands began to gather on the White House lawn Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll, President Trump again took on the media, the Democrats, and the Obama administration via one of his favorite activities: Tweeting.

“‘The first 90 days of my presidency has exposed the total failure of the last eight years of foreign policy!’ So true” Trump said in one post, hash-tagging the morning show Fox & Friends.

The tweet came in the wake of high-profile confrontations with Syria and North Korea.

The president then turned his attention to the Democratic Party, mock tweeting an endorsement: “A great book for your reading enjoyment: “REASONS TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS” by Michael J. Knowles.”

Yes, the book features blank pages.

Not to be left out, the media also took a shot during Trump’s early Monday Twitter storm: “The Fake Media (not Real Media) has gotten even worse since the election. Every story is badly slanted. We have to hold them to the truth!

It is unclear which story, or stories, prompted the president’s ire.

(h/t USA Today)

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