Trump Defends Child Separation in Contentious Exchange With Lesley Stahl: ‘I’m President and You’re Not’

President Donald Trump‘s interview with Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutesaired on Sunday night, and during one contentious exchange, the president snapped at the CBS News journalist.

Stahl first asked Trump if he had any regrets from his first two years in office, and he replied that the press has treated him “terribly.”

When Stahl pressed, Trump held firm: “I regret that the press treats me so badly.”

Stahl pressed further and eventually asked Trump about his controversial immigration policy that separated migrant children from their parents at the southern border. Trump retorted by falsely claiming his policy was the same as former President Barack Obama‘s.

“It was on the books, but he didn’t enforce it,” Stahl corrected, noting Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. “You enforced it.”

When Trump defended the policy as an effective deterrent to illegal immigration, Stahl asked if he would reprise the program. The president did not respond, but held that “there are consequences from coming into a country, namely our country, illegally.”

Trump eventually called out Stahl for her questions, claiming he was being treated differently than Barack Obama.

“I disagree, but I don’t wanna have that fight with you,” Stahl said.

“Lesley, it’s okay,” Trump snapped back. “In the meantime, I’m president and you’re not.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: Robert E. Lee comment was ‘actually a shoutout’ to Grant

President Trump on Sunday accused the media of “purposely” changing the meaning of his comments on Robert E. Lee.

In a tweet, Trump claimed that his comments about the Confederate general were “actually a shoutout” to Ulysses S. Grant.

“NBC News has totally and purposely changed the point and  meaning of my story about General Robert E Lee and General Ulysses Grant,” Trump tweeted. “Was actually a shoutout to warrior Grant and the great state in which he was born. As usual, dishonest reporting. Even mainstream media embarrassed!”

At a campaign rally Friday night, the president said Lee was a “great general,” and spoke at length about Lee, Grant and Abraham Lincoln.

“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the rally.

Later in his monologue, he also said Grant was a “great general,” and that he “knocked the hell out of everyone,” adding multiple times that Grant had a “drinking problem.”

Trump’s “Lee was a great general” comment has drawn widespread backlash, including from a descendant of Lee himself.

[The Hill]

Trump: ‘We’ve learned how to live with’ the ‘fake news’ media

President Trump on Friday railed against the media, joking that his administration and its supporters have “learned how to live with them.”

“Look at the number of the media back there. Fake news,” Trump said during a rally in Lebanon, Ohio, his third rally this week.

“You go back and they’ll say, did he say this or that or this,” he added. “That’s okay, you know what, we’ve learned how to live with them. We don’t like it, but we’ve learned.”

Trump has repeatedly railed against the press throughout his presidency, continually referring to them as the “enemy of the people” and frequently lashing out at publications and their reporters, including The New York Times and CNN.

Trump escalated his attacks earlier this year, stating that the media can also “cause war.”

His comments on Friday came amid reports that a Washington Post journalist may have been killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate by a Saudi entourage, but the Saudis have denied those claims.

Trump, before the rally, said he would call King Salman of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

“I will be calling, I will be calling at some point King Salman. I’ll be speaking to him yes,” Trump told reporters in Ohio, where he is attending campaign events.

Trump is facing increasing scrutiny from lawmakers over how he’ll respond to Khashoggi’s disappearance.

[The Hill]

Trump’s Not Gonna Let a Little Murder Get in the Way of His $110 Billion Arms Deal

new report in The Washington Post, citing U.S. intelligence intercepts, appears to confirm what is looking increasingly likely: that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the operation to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week, and had him murdered. Turkish security officials told The New York Times that they believe he was “dismembered . . . with a bone saw” by a 15-person team, dispatched from Saudi Arabia to make the vociferous critic of Salman’s government disappear. It is, in other words, not a good look for the so-called “reformer” prince, whose country has denied killing Khashoggi, but is not trying particularly hard to be convincing. Nor is it a good look for Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, who don’t seem eager to terminate a chummy relationship with the crown prince over a credible murder allegation. At least not just yet.

For those who need a quick refresher on the Kushner-M.B.S. bromance, the two first bonded over lunch at the White House back in March 2017, with the Boy Prince of New Jersey subsequently persuading his father-in-law to visit Riyadh for his first trip abroad as president. From there, it was basically a buddy comedy for the ages, with Kushner championing M.B.S. when the young prince was battling with his cousin to become his father’s heir; supporting his move to blockade Qatar and tacitly supporting his brutal war in Yemen; having back-slapping dinners with the prince in D.C. and the Saudi capital; and reportedly giving M.B.S. the names of disloyal Saudi royals who were later rounded up and imprisoned (Kushner denies this). Perhaps most significant, the two struck a deal for a $110 billion weapons sale—not a bad inducement if you’re trying to get the future king’s blessing for your Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Salman’s financial ties to Trump run deep, too. In March, the prince’s entourage almost single-handedly boosted revenue at Trump’s New York hotel by 13 percent. Presumably, Kushner and M.B.S. had discussed plans to get a boys trip on the calendar in between work and family commitments.

So the news that Saudi Arabia likely murdered a journalist who spoke critically of the crown prince’s regime has put Kushner in, as the Times puts it, an “extremely awkward position”! At first, Kushner and the White House chose to stay silent on the matter, like friends of Brett Kavanaugh refusing to dignify allegations of their pal being a fall-down drunk with a sexual-predator problem. But as the evidence kept piling up, it was clear they had to at least feign some level of concern, which apparently involved calling up M.B.S. and being like, “Hey, did you kill this guy? Nope? O.K., works for us!”

On Tuesday, the White House said, Mr. Kushner and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, spoke to Prince Mohammed by phone about Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also called him.

“In both calls, they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process,” said the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Meanwhile, Kushner’s father-in-law suggested Wednesday night that he thought the Saudis probably didkill Khashoggi, expressing less anger about the situation than he did when Nordstrom dropped his daughters’s clothing line. “It would not be a positive,” he told Fox News. “I would not be happy at all.” But while the smallest perceived slights generally result in the president vowing to destroy another country—for instance, threatening to economically cripple Ecuador for promoting breastfeeding—he apparently sees no reason to stop doing business with the kingdom:

. . . The president expressed reluctance to punish Saudi Arabia by cutting off arms sales, as some in Washington were proposing. “I think that would be hurting us,” he said. “We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country.”

Also on Thursday, Trump made his disregard for Khashoggi’s death even more obvious, telling reporters: “Again, this took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge Khashoggi is not a U.S. citizen, is that right? He’s a permanent resident, O.K. . . . As to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country . . . that would not be acceptable to me.” Incidentally, many say the deal is not worth anywhere near $110 billion, though accuracy has never been the president’s forte (that would be cozying up to autocrats who flout democratic values and human rights).

[Vanity Fair]

White House Will ‘Look Into’ Fox News’ Decision to Stop Broadcasting Trump Rallies

The White House has vowed to “look into” a decision taken by Fox News to stop broadcasting Donald Trump’s rallies live and in full because they’re no longer bringing in high ratings. Politico reports viewing figures for Trump rallies have dropped and tend to be similar to, or even below, those for regular programming. The network only showed clips of his three rallies over the last week, rather than broadcasting the whole events uninterrupted. The report states White House figures are concerned Trump is losing control of a key platform ahead of the midterms. One senior White House official told Politico they were unsure why the network is cutting away from the rallies, saying officials planned “to look into that” and that they expect White House Communications Director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, to be in touch with his former colleagues about the move.

[The Daily Beast]

Angry Trump tries — and fails — to shut down CNN’s Kaitlan Collins for asking about Brett Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump on Monday angrily tried to shut down CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins for trying to ask him a question about embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

During a press conference about Trump’s renegotiated trade deal with Canada and Mexico, Collins tried to squeeze in a question about Kavanaugh — and Trump frantically tried to shut her down.

“Don’t do that!” the president exclaimed. “Excuse me, do you have a question on trade?”

Nevertheless, Collins persisted.

“You’ve already answered several questions on trade…” Collins began.

“Don’t do that, that’s not nice!” Trump again interrupted.

The president then tried to get some other reporter to ask a question about his trade deal — but Collins kept talking.

“You said the FBI should interview whomever they believe is appropriate,” Collins said.

“Does that include Julie Swetnick, the third accuser? And can you promise to release the full findings when they finish the report, Mr. President?”

[Raw Story]

Media

Trump to press: ‘I consider you a part of the Democrat Party’

A combative President Trump initially deflected questions about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a White House press conference on trade, and also accused reporters of working for the Democratic Party.

During an extended attack on Democrats for their handling of Kavanaugh, Trump accused the media of taking the party’s side.

“I consider you a part of the Democrat Party,” Trump said.

Trump shot down questions three times from reporters on Kavanaugh following remarks in the Rose Garden, instead demanding they first ask questions about the newly negotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He signaled he would eventually take questions on Kavanaugh, but didn’t do so until almost an hour into the press conference.

“What does that have to do with trade?” he said when asked by ABC reporter Cecilia Vega about his tweets on Kavanaugh. “I don’t mind answering the question, but I’d like to do the trade questions, too.”

“We’ll do the Kavanaugh questions,” he told another reporter shortly after.

When a third reporter sought to ask him about Kavanaugh — and from CNN, one of the president’s usual media targets — Trump grew irritated.

“Don’t do that,” Trump told CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins when she tried to ask about reports the White House had put limits on the FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. “Excuse me, do you have a question on trade?”

When Collins persisted, Trump directed another reporter to be given the microphone and ask a question on trade.

When he agreed to take questions on the controversy surrounding his Supreme Court pick, Trump criticized reports that the White House had not allowed the FBI to interview accuser Julie Swetnick as inaccurate.

Trump insisted he was deferring to the Senate on the investigation, saying he wants it to be “comprehensive” but completed quickly.

Throughout the news conference, Trump continued to squabble with reporters and accuse the press of misleading coverage, charges that have become a hallmark of Trump’s presidency. He accused the press of treating him “unbelievably unfairly.”

“You’ve had enough,” Trump told Collins at a later point, refusing to take another question from her about Kavanaugh.

[The Hill]

Trump Insults ABC Reporter, Saying She ‘Never’ Thinks

President Donald Trump insulted a female reporter for ABC News on Monday during a Rose Garden news conference, telling her that she “never” thinks even before she had a chance to ask her question.

As the reporter, Cecilia Vega, turned to retrieve a microphone to ask Trump a question, Trump joked “she’s shocked that I picked her. Like in a state of shock.”

Vega responded, “I’m not, thank you Mr. President.”

Trump appeared to misunderstand her. “That’s OK, I know you’re not thinking, you never do.”

“I’m sorry?” she responded.

“No, go ahead. Go ahead,” Trump said.

Vega tried to ask a question about the FBI investigation of sexual assault allegations against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, but the president initially insisted she ask about trade. He returned to Vega later for a Kavanaugh question.

“A news conference means you get to ask whatever question you want to ask,” Vega tweeted later, adding the hashtag “#FirstAmendment.”

[Bloomberg]

Media

After Trump Swipes at ‘Failing’ NYT in Presser, Reporter Responds: We’re ‘Thriving Not Failing’

President Donald Trump took a few shots at the “failing” New York Times during his press conference today, and a Times reporter responded when Trump finally let him have a question.

Trump went on a tangent about the Times minutes earlier, and reporter Mark Landler jumped in to get Trump to give the Times a question.

Landler took a moment to tell Trump, “We’re kind of thriving, not failing these days.”

“You’re doing very well,” the President said. “Say thank you, Mr. Trump.”

Landler responded, “I think I’ll stop short of that.”

Trump teed off on the “negative” stories he gets from the Times before saying “I still love the paper.”

Landler proceeded to ask Trump about China.

[Mediaite]

Trump Repeatedly Interrupts Female Reporter After She Questions Him About Message He’s Sending to Women

During a rare solo press conference from New York City on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was asked by Sky News reporter Hannah Thomas-Peter about the message that it was sending women when he referred to the Kavanaugh accusations as a “con job.”

Trump responded by repeatedly interrupting the reporter and mansplaining the meaning of “con job.”

It all started when Trump first identified the female reporter as “the one that was nodding with every nice thing I said.”

She replied it was a habit of hers.

Then, the reporter asked this: “Are you at all concerned at the message that is being sent to the women who are watching this when you use language like ‘con job’ in relation to allegations of sexual assault?”

“That’s like probably the nicest phrase I’ve ever used. I mean, con job. it is. It’s a con job,” he said, seemingly dismissing her concerns and speaking over her. “You know, confidence. It’s a confidence job. but they — it’s a con job by the Democrats. they know it.”

The Sky News reporter then tried to ask, “What about the message that’s being sent to women who are watching?”

Trump interrupted her again.

“They did the same thing with the Russia investigation. They tried to convince people that I had something to do with Russia. There was no collusion, think of it,” he began before noting con job was “not a bad term.”

“Are you worried…” the reporter tried again, but Trump talked over her again.

Then, the president finally made mention of women, but only to say they are “so angry” by the accusations being made.

“I’ll tell you this. the people that have complained to me about it the most, about what’s happening, are women. women are very angry. you know, I got 52% with women. everyone said this couldn’t happen. 52% — women are so angry…Let her have her day in court. Let somebody else have a day in court. But the ones that I find — I mean, I have men that don’t like it but I have women that are incensed at what’s going on.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Sky News

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