President Trump on Sunday claimed that “a National Holiday would be immediately declared” if former President Obama made the deals on immigration and the economy that he has.
“If President Obama made the deals that I have made, both at the Border and for the Economy, the Corrupt Media would be hailing them as Incredible, & a National Holiday would be immediately declared,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. “With me, despite our record setting Economy and all that I have done, no credit!”
Trump in a series of tweets on Sunday morning touted his border security deal with Mexico, which averted tariffs on the U.S.’s southern neighbor, and knocked the media for its coverage of the agreement.
On Friday, he struck a deal with Mexico that called for the U.S. to drop plans to impose sweeping tariffs on the country in exchange for Mexico’s promise to crack down on illegal migration.
Boastful on the occasion of Memorial Day, President Donald Trump and his Veterans Affairs secretary are claiming full credit for health care improvements that were underway before they took office.
Trump said he passed a private-sector health care program, Veterans Choice, after failed attempts by past presidents for the last “45 years.” That’s not true. The Choice program, which allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense, was first passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama.
Trump’s VA secretary, Robert Wilkie, also is distorting the facts. Faulting previous “bad leadership” at VA, Wilkie suggested it was his own efforts that improved waiting times at VA medical centers and brought new offerings of same-day mental health service. The problem: The study cited by Wilkie on wait times covers the period from 2014 to 2017, before Wilkie took the helm as VA secretary. Same-day mental health services at VA were started during the Obama administration under Wilkie’s predecessor, David Shulkin.
The half-truths and exaggerations came in a week when selective accounting was a norm in Trump’s rhetoric, extending into his trip to Japan , where he inflated the drop in the U.S. unemployment rate for women.
A look at the claims, about the Russia investigation, the border, drug prices and more:
TRUMP: “We passed VA Choice and VA Accountability to give our veterans the care that they deserve and they have been trying to pass these things for 45 years.” — Montoursville, Pennsylvania, rally on May 20.
THE FACTS: Wrong. Trump is not the first president in 45 years to get Congress to pass Veterans Choice; Obama did it in the wake of a scandal at VA’s medical center in Phoenix, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments. The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) to a VA facility.
Trump did expand eligibility for the program. Now, starting June 6, veterans are to have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.
Still, VA’s top health official, Dr. Richard Stone, described the new program’s start to “almost be a non-event” in testimony to Congress. That’s in part because wait times in the private sector are typically longer than at VA. In 2018, 34 percent of all VA appointments were with outside physicians, down from 36 percent in 2017.
Also key to the Choice program’s success is an overhaul of VA’s electronic medical records to allow seamless sharing of them with private physicians, a process expected to take up to 10 years. Wilkie has said full implementation of the expanded Choice program is “years” away.
President Donald Trump wants you to believe that he had no way of knowing about former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s shady dealings with Russia before he made him his first national security adviser. In reality, the president is trying to rewrite history.
On Friday, Trump tweeted his lament that nobody warned him about Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was dismissed from his job as director of national intelligence by then-President Barack Obama in 2014. After his dismissal, Flynn wasted little time cozying up to the Kremlin, and then spent 2016 as one of Trump’s key campaign surrogates.
“It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge,” Trump tweeted. “It would have been impossible for me to know this but, if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?”
But news reports indicate otherwise. CNN, citing former Obama administration officials, reported on May 17, 2017, that during a White House meeting days after Trump’s election, Obama told him that “given the importance of the [national security adviser] job, the president through there were better people for it, and that Flynn wasn’t up for the job.” But Trump proceeded with hiring Flynn anyway. Former New Jersey governor and longtime Trump confidant Chris Christie has also said he directly advised Trump against hiring Flynn.
“If I were president-elect of the United States, I wouldn’t let General Flynn into the White House, let alone give him a job,” Christie said in 2017.
Flynn soon illustrated why Obama and Christie had concerns about him. During the presidential transition period, he had phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in which he advised Kislyak not to respond to new sanctions the Obama administration placed on Russia for interfering (on Trump’s behalf) in the just-completed presidential election. Not only did Flynn undercut Obama’s foreign policy, but he then lied about it, telling FBI investigators during an interview conducted days after Trump’s inauguration that he and Kislyak did not in fact discuss sanctions.
Flynn’s lies to the FBI prompted officials to warn Trump once again about Flynn. On January 26, 2017, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates personally informed the White House that Flynn lied to the FBI about his calls with Kislyak, and therefore was at risk of being blackmailed by Russia. But instead of immediately taking action against Flynn, the Trump administration fired Yates three days later, after she refused to implement Trump’s executive order barring people from a number of Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States.
Flynn was finally fired on February 13, after it emerged that he had also misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period. He pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017, agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller, and is still awaiting sentencing.
Trump, however, has repeatedly tried to blame the whole Flynn debacle on Obama.
Beyond the explicit warnings from Obama and Christie, a number of red flags were raised about Flynn, beginning with his unusual paid trip to Moscow for an RT gala in December 2015 — an event in which he infamously sat directly next to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and continuing throughout 2016.
As the Guardian detailed in March 2017, both US and British intelligence officers were troubled about Flynn’s role in the Trump administration, given his dealings with Russia:
US intelligence officials had serious concerns about Michael Flynn’s appointment as the White House national security adviser because of his history of contacts with Moscow and his encounter with a woman who had trusted access to Russian spy agency records, the Guardian has learned.
They raised concerns about Flynn’s ties to Russia and his perceived obsession with Iran. They were also anxious about his capacity for “linear thought” and some actions that were regarded as highly unusual for a three-star general.
Trump, who promised during his campaign to thoroughly vet his appointees, ignored all the red flags and decided to make Flynn his national security adviser anyway. But instead of being accountable for that, he’s now again trying to shift blame.
Trump’s tweet comes amid new revelations that his lawyer tried to dissuade Flynn from cooperating with Mueller
Trump’s tweet comes the day after a federal judge unsealed records suggesting that months after Flynn’s firing, the White House took steps to discourage him from fully cooperating with investigators.
In the filing, members of Mueller’s team write that “[t]he defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could’ve affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation.”
The filing doesn’t contain additional information about which members of Congress were involved, but according to the Mueller report, Trump’s then-personal attorney — the Washington Post reports the attorney is John Dowd — left a voicemail for Flynn’s attorney in November 2017 and said, “[I]t wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve gone on to make a deal with … the government.”
Dowd went on to ask Flynn’s attorney for any information they might have had implicating the president, and also seemingly alluded to the possibility of a pardon.
“[I]f… there’s information that implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue [so] … we need some kind of heads-up. Just for the sake of protecting all our interests if we can …. [R]emember what we’ve always said about the President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains,” the voicemail said.
The public should learn more about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak and the voicemail Dowd left for Flynn’s lawyer soon. According to the Post, the judge ordered prosecutors to make public a transcript of both, and they will be posted on a court website by May 31.
While Mueller concluded that Dowd’s voicemail didn’t rise to the level of prosecutable obstruction of justice — he cited the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) guidance that a sitting president cannot be indicted — the new revelations suggest the White House was worried about Flynn might tell investigators, and was taking steps to dissuade him from spilling.
So now, ahead of what could end up being more damaging revelations about his relationship with Flynn, Trump is again trying to distance himself from his former national security adviser, and throwing Obama under the bus in the process.
Speaking with reporters in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump repeatedly stated migrants who were caught crossing the border were put in “cages” and separated from their families when Barack Obama was president.
“Obama separated the children, by the way. Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children,” Trump said.
“Those cages that were shown, I think they were very inappropriate. They were built by President Obama’s administration, not by Trump. President Obama had child separation. Take a look, the press knows it, you know it, we all know it,” he continued. “I didn’t have —I’m the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation. Now, I’ll tell you something. Once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming. They’re coming like it’s a picnic, because let’s go to Disneyland.”
“President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it, okay? Thank you very much. Thank you,” Trump added.
Trump also maintained he never said he was “cleaning house” at the Department of Homeland Security after the announcement of the resignation Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
On Friday, President Donald Trump stood in front of recently-refurbished border wall along the California-Mexico border and boasted that it was the beginning of construction on the wall he promised voters in the 2016 campaign. And Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen installed commemorative plaque bearing Trump’s name last fall along that section of the fencing, declaring it “the first section of President Trump’s border wall.”
Except, wait: That particular section of wall was actually just a replacement of fence that had been there for decades. And the refurbishment was approved during the Barack Obama administration in 2009. The funding for Trump’s border wall, meanwhile, is still tied up in Congress.
“We just wanted to get out in front of it and let everybody know that this is a local tactical infrastructure project that was planned for quite some time,” David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, told the Desert Sun, adding that he wanted to ensure “there is no confusion about whether… this is tied to some of the bigger immigration debates that are currently going on.”
A recent federal court victory allowed the Trump administration to move forward with replacing the fencing thanks to a federal ruling allowing them to bypass environmental laws to speed construction. And the president boastfully tweeted about it recently, again claiming it was part of “the Wall.”
It’s a classic Trumpian move: claim credit for something that was actually President Obama’s doing. He’s done it with the economy and jobs, and now with the border wall.
President Donald Trump compared his proposed border wall on Sunday with a fence-like barrier that surrounds the Washington home of Barack and Michelle Obama.
“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon. “I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!”
The Obamas bought their home in the Kalorama neighborhood in 2017 for $8 million after renting it for 2½ years, according to TODAY.
TMZ first reported in 2017 that the couple was building a fence-like wall and published photos showing what appeared to be the construction of a few brick columns. The project has since been completed.
Another photo of the home in Town and Country magazine showed a metal gate and brick columns. The Obamas also added guard booths.
A spokeswoman for the Obamas declined to comment, but in her book “Becoming,” published in November, Michelle Obama wrote that Trump’s embrace of false conspiracy theories had made her fear for her family’s security.
“What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington?” she wrote. “What if that person went looking for our girls? Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk.”
Congressional Democrats, who take control of the House of Representatives after returning to Washington next month, have shown little interest in funding what incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff called an “immoral, ineffective and expensive wall — the wall that he specifically promised that Mexico would pay for.”
After a meeting with Trump on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters that “on multiple fronts the president is in a good mood.”
“He feels like he’s got to deliver on the promise of securing our border,” Graham said, adding, “He’s very open minded about combining wall funding with other things to make it a win-win for the country.”
President Donald Trump said on Twitter Saturday night that he doesn’t even know Brett McGurk, the US envoy who resigned over Trump’s planned Syria pullout. He also downplayed reports that McGurk quit over Syria, claiming he was supposed to leave anyhow.
In an email announcing his resignation to his colleagues and obtained byThe New York Times, McGurk called the recent decision by the president “a shock” and “a complete reversal of policy that was articulated to us.”
McGurk added: “I worked this week to help manage some of the fallout but — as many of you heard in my meetings and phone calls — I ultimately concluded that I could not carry out these new instructions and maintain my integrity.”
Yet, in an attempt to rewrite the narrative of McGurk’s exit, Trump claimed he did not even know McGurk and insisted that the Obama appointee was supposed to leave in February anyhow.
“Brett McGurk, who I do not know, was appointed by President Obama in 2015,” Trump wrote. “Was supposed to leave in February but he just resigned prior to leaving. Grandstander?”
The president then blamed the media for stirring the pot: “The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!”
President Donald Trump went on an extensive tweetstorm on Wednesday, which included retweeting a meme calling for his political opponents — and current attorney general — to be thrown in jail.
As you can see, the image shows former president Barack Obama, former FBI Director James Comey, the Clinton family, and several other Trump enemies behind bars after supposedly being tried for “treason.” Interestingly enough, the image also shows special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in prison as well.
On Sunday, 60 Minutes ran a report on Trump’s family separation policy.
Trump quickly replied by calling the segment “fake news.”
“60 Minutes did a phony story about child separation when they know we had the exact same policy as the Obama Administration,” Trump wrote. “In fact, a picture of children in jails was used by other Fake Media to show how bad (cruel) we are, but it was in 2014 during O[bama] years. Obama separated children from parents, as did Bush etc.. because that is the policy and law.”
He added: “I tried to keep them together but the problem is, when you do that, vast numbers of additional people storm the Border. So with Obama separation is fine, but with Trump it’s not. Fake 60 Minutes!”
.@60Minutes did a phony story about child separation when they know we had the exact same policy as the Obama Administration. In fact a picture of children in jails was used by other Fake Media to show how bad (cruel) we are, but it was in 2014 during O years. Obama separated….
….children from parents, as did Bush etc., because that is the policy and law. I tried to keep them together but the problem is, when you do that, vast numbers of additional people storm the Border. So with Obama seperation is fine, but with Trump it’s not. Fake 60 Minutes!
Trump’s tweet repeats a claim made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Trump officials to defend the child separation policy.
Yet, the administration cannot provide statistics to back up their claim that Trump’s policy was the same as Obama’s or other presidents.
In addition, Theresa Cardinal Brown, director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center noted to FactCheck.org that previous administrations used “family detention facilities, allowing the whole family to stay together while awaiting their deportation case in immigration court, or alternatives to detention, which required families to be tracked but released from custody to await their court date,” making it clear Trump’s policy is indeed not the “exact same” policy as Trump claimed in his Sunday night tweet.