Trump demands credit for getting along with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump continued to defend his budding relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday, demanding credit for his role in making “initial steps toward a deal” by establishing a personal rapport with the young dictator during last week’s summit in Singapore.

“If President Obama (who got nowhere with North Korea and would have had to go to war with many millions of people being killed) had gotten along with North Korea and made the initial steps toward a deal that I have, the Fake News would have named him a national hero!” Trump tweeted.

Amid lingering skepticism over North Korea’s commitment to complete denuclearization in the wake of the Singapore summit, Trump has aggressively pushed the idea that Kim is sincere in his intentions and that the two leaders were able to develop a unique chemistry.

It’s a conviction South Korean officials share. South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-Nam said Monday in Washington that any diplomatic progress should be credited to the connection that Trump and Kim established through an “unprecedented top-down approach” to negotiations.

“The actors for this top-level diplomacy are completely different leaders as compared to the past,” Lim told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Moreover, the personal chemistry between them has been unique as well.”

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, asked about Trump’s praise for Kim, suggested the President is as willing to use carrots as he would be — if necessary — to use sticks. “If you try to play Trump or back out, there’s going to be a war and nobody wants war,” Graham told CNN.

Trump’s claims to a cozy relationship may reflect an effort to butter-up Kim “to make it easier to get a better deal,” Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN last week.

Indeed, the administration hopes that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can build on that rapport to create substantial movement toward denuclearization.

But sources have told CNN that there is nothing to suggest that North Korea has begun destroying its missile launch sites, despite Trump’s repeated claims to the contrary and his declaration last week that the country is no longer a nuclear threat.

Harry Harris, Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to South Korea, said last week that North Korea continues to be a nuclear threat and that major military exercises should be paused to give Kim a chance to prove whether he is “serious.”

Trump announced in Singapore that the US would suspend “war games” with South Korea and Japan, taking Seoul, Tokyo, lawmakers and parts of the US military by surprise.

Additionally, several US defense officials said that, so far, there is no indication that Kim has made good on his promise to return the remains of prisoners of war and soldiers declared missing in action during the Korean War — something Trump has repeatedly said the two leaders agreed upon during their meeting.

These officials also cautioned that a lengthy DNA verification process would be needed when and if any remains are returned to the US.

In South Korea, however, the prism is different. Discussions center less on Trump’s achievements or lack of them, or his failures to live up to his own word, and more on the possibilities his summit opened up — in particular his new relationship with Kim.

While critics continue to suggest that Trump failed to secure concrete concessions from North Korea — including guarantees related to verifiable irreversible denuclearization and ending human rights abuses — South Korean officials have publicly credited the US President for facilitating the signing of the Panmunjom declaration and the Singapore statement, despite questions over specific terms.

“President Trump has made an unprecedented strategic decision to meet face-to-face with the leader of the DPRK,” Vice Foreign Minister Lim said, noting that Trump accounted for cultural considerations in dealing with Kim by showing him “due respect” and treating “him as a leader of a state.”

[CNN]

Trump busted lying about Germany

President Donald Trump on Monday made clearly false claims about Germany — which will likely only buttress support for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Trump made three claims about Germany.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” Trump tweeted.

Jeremy Cliffe, the Berlin bureau chief for The Economist, reminded that, “Merkel remains the most popular politician in Germany.”

Ironically, Trump tweeting against Merkel actually shores up her domestic political support.

“The US president’s intervention could be useful domestically for Ms Merkel because of his unpopularity; just 11 per cent of Germany has a favourable view of Mr Trump, according to research by pollster Pew for the Germany public broadcaster DW,” The Independent noted.

In fact, Trump may have just thrown Merkel a life preserver.

“Nice of the president to help Angela Merkel by giving her exactly what she needed politically : a Trump endorsement of her opponents,” explained Hudson Institute fellow Benjamin Haddad.

Trump’s second claim was that, “crime in Germany is way up.”

Reuters national security correspondent Jonathan Landay explained how thoroughly Trump had misrepresented crime in Germany.

“This is another lie by Trump,” Landay reported. “Crime is at a 30-year low in Germany.”

Trump’s third claim was that it was a “big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

“Under Merkel, Germany opened its borders to welcome around 1 million asylum-seekers in 2015. At times more than 10,000 people were arriving daily in the country, which had a population of around 81 million,” NBC News reported Monday. “But according to official figures released last month, Germany last year recorded its lowest number of criminal offenses since 1992, with figures showing the crime rate is falling more quickly among non-German suspects.”

CNN political contributor Keith Boykin reminded how this particular lie has been used in the past.

“Germany last month reported its lowest crime rate since 1992,” Boykin reminded. “Austrian-born Adolf Hitler also used lies and misinformation about crime to complain about groups of people in Germany who had ‘changed their culture.’”

The host of the Michelangelo Signorile Show on SiriusXM had even hasher words.

“Crime is not up. This is another lie. And the last line is a chilling call to white supremacists,” Signorile observed. “He’s gone full on Nazi.”

[Raw Story]

Reality

Trump used his false claims to assert Europe is losing it’s white European culture, making a very clear appeal to white nationalism.

Trump urges Washington Post employees to go on strike and ‘get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time’

As part of a frantic tweet storm on Sunday morning, President Donald Trump urged unionized workers at The Washington Post to go on strike for higher pay — and rid him of “Fake News” for awhile.

Trump’s antipathy for Post owner Jeff Bezos — founder of Amazon.com — caused the president to take up the mantle of workers’ rights, with the president tweeting, “Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough. I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is a registered lobbyist?”

Trump has long waged war against Bezos, complaining his paper is too critical of him, and has previously called for an higher postal rates for Amazon customers.

[Raw Story]

Trump Attacks FBI Agent Peter Strzok Who Wants to Testify on Firing as ‘Sick Loser’

President Donald Trump called Peter Strzok a “sick loser” after the FBI agent said he’s willing to testify to Congress about his removal from the Russia probe for sending anti-Trump text messages. Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from his team last summer after an investigation revealed texts in which the agent said the FBI would stop Trump from becoming president. House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Friday he wanted to issue a subpoena for Strzok to testify as part of the House GOP investigation into the FBI’s actions in the 2016 election, but Strzok’s lawyer said his client “intends to voluntarily appear and testify before your committee and any other congressional committee that invites him.” Trump tweeted about Strzok late Sunday: “Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that ‘we’ll stop’ Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!”

[The Daily Beast]

Trump Declares His Supporters the ‘Smartest, Strongest, Most Hard Working’ in America’s History

President Donald Trump just declared his supporters the “smartest” in the history of the country.

Writing on Twitter early Saturday, Trump said this: “My supporters are the smartest, strongest, most hard working and most loyal that we have seen in our countries history. It is a beautiful thing to watch as we win elections and gather support from all over the country. As we get stronger, so does our country. Best numbers ever!”

[Mediaite]

Trump Blasts FBI’s Strzok and Page Over IG Report, Praises Himself For Firing Comey: ‘Good Instincts

President Donald Trump weighed in on the newly released inspector general’s report on the FBI’s investigations during the 2016 election, focusing on the texts exchanged between agent-cum-paramours Peter Strzokand Lisa Page.

“FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President,” Trump said on Twitter. “Doesn’t get any lower than that!”

The text exchange between Strzok and Page has been exhibit A for the FBI’s critics that the agency was rankled with anti-Trump bias during the 2016 election, and the latest text exchange is certainly explicit. A few months before the 2016 election, Page texted Strzok that she feared Trump would win, and he reassured her: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

Strzok was at the time serving as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, and was working on the investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties as well as the Clinton email probe. But the inspector general concluded that despite Strzok’s clear and inappropriate bias, the was no evidence that he acted on his disdain for Trump.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump took aim at James Comey, calling the IG report “a total disaster” for the former FBI director and “his minions.”

“Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI,” Trump wrote, before praising his “good instincts” for “firing him.”

He also shouted out the current FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Comey brutalized Clinton’s campaign days before election day by publicly announcing the Clinton probe was being re-opened, while the FBI went to great lengths to keep the Trump-Russia probe quiet.

[Mediaite]

GOP Chairwoman Accused of Threatening Republicans Who Don’t Support Trump

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was accused of threatening Republicans who don’t support Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda over an ominous message she posted on social media yesterday.

On Wednesday evening, McDaniel took to Twitter to warn people of the dangers of opposing the president. “Complacency is our enemy. Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake,” McDaniel wrote.

Following her post, social media users quickly criticized McDaniel’s tone as threatening.

“What in the actual hell…is this a threat, Ronna?” replied Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s daughter and co-host of ABC’s The View.

Walter Michael Shaub Jr., the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, added: “That sounds like a threat.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes only had one word to say: “Gross.”

McDaniel’s message was posted the day after South Carolina’s Rep. Mark Sanford lost his primary. After being an outspoken critic of Trump, the president tweeted support for his opponent shortly before the polls closed.

“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA [make American great again]. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

[Newsweek]

Trump blasts media as America’s ‘biggest enemy’ for North Korea coverage

President Trump posted a series of tweets about his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as he arrived back in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning, including blasting the media as “our country’s biggest enemy” for its coverage of the historic summit.

“So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea,” the president wrote. “500 days ago they would have ‘begged’ for this deal-looked like war would break out.”

He continued: “Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!”

While Trump’s meeting with Kim was historic, many critics say it fell short of expectations and the optimism the president had about the summit.

The two leaders signed a vague four-point statement in which North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to work toward “complete denuclearization” but the promise came without a timetable or mention of any verification of the North’s progress.

The joint statement was also less specific than the agreement North Korea signed at the so-called six-party talks in 2005. Then, Pyongyang promised to abandon all nuclear weapons, to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to international inspections.

Many say the summit, instead, gave more legitimacy to Kim as he stood as an equal alongside a U.S. president and posed for photos. Trump said he was “honored” to be there and described Kim, a despotic adversary, as a “talented” leader who could be trusted.

Past American presidents have refused face-to-face meetings with North Korea’s leadership over fears of legitimizing a totalitarian state that has admitted to state-sponsored kidnapping and sent thousands of its citizens to forced labor camps.

In Trump’s series of tweets after he landed at 6:10 a.m., he applauded his efforts and claimed North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat” and everyone could “sleep well tonight.”

Trump has long disparaged members of the media as “fake news” and on multiple occasions called the press an “enemy of the American people.”

[USA Today]

Trump: ‘We save a fortune by not doing war games’

President Trump on Wednesday touted his decision to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea, insisting that the move is well worth it to preserve what he called “good faith” negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.

“We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith – which both sides are!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

The tweet came shortly after the president returned to Washington from Singapore, where he had held summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and signed a short document reaffirming Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization in exchange for unspecified security guarantees by the U.S.

Trump also announced on Tuesday that the U.S. would cease its joint military drills with South Korea — an apparent concession to Pyongyang, which has repeatedly claimed that the drills are merely a pretext for a strike on the North.

The South Koreans said early Tuesday that they would seek clarification on the president’s remarks, suggesting that they were not aware that Trump planned to offer to give up the drills in his summit with Kim. U.S. military forces in Korea also said they had not received new directions on the exercises.

Questions have been raised about the agreement signed by Trump and Kim on Tuesday, which offers virtually nothing in the way of specifics on how the North plans to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

Instead, it commits Pyongyang to denuclearization, a promise the North has made — and broken — many times in the past.

[The Hill]

Reality

Several problems. First, Trump greatly increased military spending.
Second, “war games” is Putin’s language.
Third, Trump got this idea directly from Putin himself.

Trump embraces pro-Confederate anti-immigrant Senate nominee Corey Stewart

Trump tweeted about another GOP primary in a way that is sure to give Republicans heartburn.

While national Republicans are likely to distance themselves from Corey Stewart — the GOP nominee in Virginia’s Senate race who has embraced Confederate symbols and neo-Nazi figures — Trump congratulated Stewart on his win.

“Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory for Senator from Virginia,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, who is weak on crime and borders, and wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don’t underestimate Corey, a major chance of winning!”

Trump’s praise of Stewart is far different from other Republicans, who lament the fact that Stewart won and have condemned Stewart’s embrace of Confederate symbols.

“I am extremely disappointed that a candidate like Corey Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate,” Bill Bolling, a Republican and former lieutenant governor of Virginia, tweetedTuesday night. “This is clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved and proudly served. Every time I think things can’t get worse they do, and there is no end in sight.”

[Mic]

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