Trump says he’s ordering American companies to immediately start looking for an alternative to China

President Donald Trump on Friday said he was ordering U.S. companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”

Trump also said he was ordering all U.S. postal carriers, including FedEx, Amazon, UPS and United States Post Office, “to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!).”

And Trump said he will respond this afternoon to China’s newest round of tariffs on U.S. goods.

The White House did not immediately respond when asked if the announcement, delivered in a four-part Twitter thread Friday morning, constituted an official order from the president.

It was not immediately clear how, or under what authority, the president could implement these declared orders, or whether he had already done so.

Stocks sank to session lows shortly after Trump’s tweets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 435 points, or 1.6%, while the S&P 500 slid 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite dove 2%.

In a statement, UPS said that it “follows all applicable laws and administrative orders of the governments in the countries where we do business. We work closely with regulatory authorities to monitor for prohibited substances.”

FedEx also responded: “FedEx already has extensive security measures in place to prevent the use of our networks for illegal purposes. We follow the laws and regulations everywhere we do business and have a long history of close cooperation with authorities.”

Amazon and the Postal Service were not immediately available for comment.

Trump’s tweets followed another missive against Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell, who had just pledged to “act as appropriate” to sustain the U.S. economy amid the “deteriorating” global economic outlook.

In an apparent response, Trump tweeted: “Who is our bigger enemy,” Powell or Chinese President Xi Jinping?

Earlier Friday, China had announced it would slap retaliatory tariffs of 5% and 10% on roughly $75 billion in U.S. imports. The new import taxes represent the latest escalation in the increasingly fraught U.S.-China trade war, as well as a direct response to Trump’s plan to impose duties on $300 billion worth of China’s goods by mid-December.

Top trade advisors Robert Lighthizer and Peter Navarro were reportedly near the Oval Office just before the president sent his latest tweets. A source later told CNBC that Trump was meeting with his trade team Friday.

[CNBC]

Trump calls Fed Chairman Jay Powell ‘enemy,’ compares him to Chinese President Xi

President Donald Trump significantly ramped up his criticism of Fed Board Chairman Jay Powell on Friday, describing his longtime target on economic issues as an “enemy” and likening him to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powel or Chairman Xi?,” Trump wrote, misspelling Powell’s name. 

Trump has repeatedly blasted the Fed, even before his election. But his long-standing dissatisfaction with the Fed, which he accuses of bungling the U.S. economy, has increased amid concerns over a global economic slowdown. Trump nominated Powell as chairman in 2017.

The president’s tweet came as he prepares to head to France on Friday for the G-7 meeting of world leaders, where trade and the economy will be atop the agenda. 

The Fed, an independent board whose members are appointed by the president, raises interest rates to cool down a hot economy and cuts them to stimulate a sluggish one. The rates affect how much it costs to use a credit card, sign a car loan or buy a home.

Trump this week has upped the ante in his year-long campaign to browbeat the Federal Reserve into slashing rates, calling for the central bank to lower its key short-term rate by “at least” a full percentage point “over a fairly short period of time.”

For good measure, he has added that the move should be accompanied by “perhaps some quantitative easing as well,” referring to the Fed’s massive bond purchases during and after the Great Recession to lower long-term rates. 

Trump again voiced frustration with the Fed on Wednesday, tweeting that Germany “is actually being paid to borrow money, while the U.S., a far stronger and more important credit, is paying interest.”

[USA Today]

Trump Called The Danish Prime Minister “Nasty” After He Canceled A Visit Because She Won’t Sell Greenland

A bizarre diplomatic row, even by the standards of the Trump administration, dragged on Wednesday as the US president said the way Denmark’s prime minister dismissed his idea of buying Greenland was “nasty.”

On Tuesday, President Trump abruptly canceled a planned state visit to Denmark after Mette Frederiksen, the Danish PM, firmly rejected his stated wish to buy Greenland, the semi-autonomous island home to 56,000 people.

Frederiksen had labelled the idea of the US purchasing Greenland an “absurd discussion” to be having.

But while he initially thanked the Danish PM on Twitter for “being so direct,” in remarks to journalists as he departed the White House on Wednesday, Trump branded her comment as “nasty.”

“I thought the prime minister’s statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea, was nasty. I thought it was inappropriate. All she had to do was say, ‘No, we wouldn’t be interested,'” Trump said.

“She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America,” the president added. “You don’t talk to the United States that way.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Frederiksen expressed “regret and surprise” at September’s state visit being canceled, as she reiterated once more that Greenland was not for sale.

“I had been looking forward to the visit and preparations were well underway,” Frederiksen told journalists in Copenhagen in a statement delivered in Danish and English. “It was an opportunity to celebrate Denmark’s close relationship to the US, which remains one of Denmark’s closest allies.”

She added, “This does not change the character of our good relations [with the US], and we will of course from Denmark continue our ongoing dialogue with the US on how we can develop our cooperation and deal with the many common challenges we are facing.”

Only hours before Trump canceled the state visit, the American ambassador, Carla Sands, tweeted excitedly about the president’s upcoming visit.

But on Wednesday she was in damage control mode.

Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, had been invited by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. Denmark’s state broadcaster quoted a royal spokesperson as saying that Trump’s announcement “came as a surprise.”

“That’s all we have to say about that,” the spokesperson added.

Former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was more direct. “Is this some sort of joke?” she wrote on Twitter after Trump canceled the state visit.

The Wall Street Journal first reported last week that Trump had raised the possibility of buying Greenland, and he confirmed Sunday that such a purchase had been discussed because of the island’s strategic location and natural resources.

“Essentially, it’s a large real estate deal. A lot of things can be done,” Trump said. “It’s hurting Denmark very badly, because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it. So they carry it at a great loss.”

He later tweeted a meme of a Trump Tower–style skyscraper in a settlement in Greenland.

But any such sale was firmly ruled out by Denmark and Greenland, which is self-governing in all respects apart from foreign policy and defense.

Speaking in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, on Sunday, Frederiksen said the sale of Greenland was not even up for discussion, pointing out, for one thing, that Greenland belongs to Greenland, not Denmark.

“Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over,” she told a TV reporter. “Let’s leave it there.”

[Buzzfeed]

Trump warns media ‘treading in very dangerous territory’ for reporting bad poll numbers

President Donald Trump hurled new warnings at the news media for reporting damaging stories and negative poll numbers.

The president’s approval rating was measured at 43 percent by two new surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Fox News, and polls continue to show him losing to various Democratic challengers.

Trump insisted Monday that his “new internal polls” show the strongest support he’s had so far, and also complained that unfair media coverage kept his approval ratings low — and he retweeted those claims with a new threat against the media.

[Raw Story]

Trump blasts Scaramucci and tweets video of his former aide praising him

U.S. President Donald Trump once again lashed out at Anthony Scaramucci, claiming that “nobody ever heard of” the former White House communications director “until he met me.”

“Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me. He only lasted 11 days!” Trump wrote in a nighttime Twitter post.

Trump and Scaramucci — who was fired in 2017 after serving less than two weeks as communications director — have publicly fallen out recently.

In various news media interviews, Scaramucci suggested the Republican Party should push Trump off the 2020 presidential ticket. The president, in return, took to Twitter to discredit Scaramucci — who is founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital and a GOP donor.

CNBC reached out to Scaramucci for comment on Trump’s Twitter post through SkyBridge Capital’s spokespeople, but didn’t immediately hear back.

In a Monday opinion piece in The Washington Post, Scaramucci wrote that he was wrong to support Trump before.

“I can no longer in good conscience support the president’s reelection,” he added.

[CNBC]

Trump Baselessly Claims Google ‘Manipulated’ Millions of 2016 Votes: ‘My Victory Was Even Bigger Than Thought!’

President Donald Trump claimed Monday that Google manipulated 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Sen. Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and called for the company to be sued.

“This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued,” said Trump. ” My victory was even bigger than thought!”

Trump did not link the source of his report, but he tagged conservative watch dog organization Judicial Watch. Psychologist and commentator Dr. Robert Epsteinmade similar claims while testifying before Congress in July.

Trump has repeatedly claimed he did not lose the popular vote, though reportsshow he lost the popular vote by almost 3 million in 2016.

He’s also previously blamed his popular vote loss on “illegal” votes, or those of undocumented immigrants.

[Mediaite]

Reality

Trump appears to be referring to the work of Robert Epstein, a researcher with a group based in Vista, Calif., called the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Epstein testified in a Senate hearing in June about what he calls the “Search Engine Manipulation Effect” and claimed that his research shows Google’s search results pushed at least 2.6 milllion people to vote for Clinton in 2016.

In 2017, Google dismissed Epstein’s research, telling The Washington Post that it amounts to “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory.”

Trump says he’s ‘certain’ New York Times will endorse him in 2020

President Trump said he is “certain” that he will receive an endorsement from The New York Times in 2020 for the presidential election, he said in a tweet Sunday night.

His tweet appeared to be tongue in cheek.

“The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years,” Trump tweeted after returning to the White House from a vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

“They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I’m fairly certain they’ll endorse me just to keep it all going!”

Times correspondent and MSNBC analyst Peter Baker responded to Trump’s tweet with a “fact check” on Twitter.

“Revenues up, subscriptions at a record high, profits at $37.9 million in the second quarter,” Baker said.

The tweet included a press release of The New York Times Company’s earnings in 2019.

Mark Thompson, Times’ president and chief executive officer, said in the press release that “we added 197,000 net new digital-only subscriptions, 131,000 of which came from our core news product and the rest from our rapidly expanding Cooking and Crossword products. Today, The Times has 4.7 million total subscriptions.”

[Fox News]

Ahead of a far-right rally in Portland, Trump tweets a warning to antifa

President Trump issued a stark warning to antifa, the collective of militant anti-fascist leftist groups, ahead of a rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where antifa activists were widely expected to confront far-right activists.

“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” Trump tweeted. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”

Notably, the president did not warn or criticize the controversial right-wing group organizing the rally that antifa was planning to protest against. Organizers Joe Biggs and Enrique Tarrio, who did not receive a permit for the rally, are members of the Proud Boys, a group of self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” with links to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and a history of violence against left-wing activists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated them as a hate group.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told the Oregonian he believed self-described members of the alt-right like Biggs and Tarrio come to Portland hoping to foment violence, well aware that it is home to a large antifa contingent, Rose City Antifa. “I think they come to Portland because it gives them a platform,” Wheeler said. “They know that if they come here conflict is almost guaranteed.”

Of Trump’s tweet, Wheeler said, “Frankly, it is not helpful.”

Trump’s disinterest in criticizing the Proud Boys is part of a longer trend in which he’s remained completely silent or, at most, has been mildly critical of the threat posed by white nationalist and white supremacist organizations, many of whom view his presidency as a boon for their cause and whose language echoes that of the president.

Trump often undercuts his criticism of hate with statements that run counter to the point he seems to be making, and with political talking points. As Vox’s Aaron Rupar writes, following a mass shooting that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, “Trump responded by reading a speech in which he denounced the ‘evil anti-Semitic attack.’ But during unscripted comments later that same day, he lamented that there wasn’t an armed guard inside the synagogue.”

And following the recent shooting in El Paso — in which the shooter left writings that made it clear he hoped to target members of the Latinx community — Trump said “one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” but also blamed mental illness and video games for the violence.

The president also, infamously, responded to the death of Heather Heyer amid the violence in Charlottesville by saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of a protest that included neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Trump has been repeatedly critical of antifa, however, and has threatened in the past to label the association a terrorist organization. GOP lawmakers have already made symbolic gestures to the same effect: In July, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Bill Cassidy (LA) introduced a nonbinding resolution that would label antifa activists as terrorists.

“Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” Cassidy said in a statement. “Bullies get their way until someone says no. Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.”

Part of what would make Cassidy and Cruz’s effort difficult (beyond the fact that antifa has not yet committed any terror acts) is that antifa is not a centrally organized organization. Its members mostly participate in actions anonymously, making it difficult to pin down a clearly stated ideology or code of ethics toward violence.

“The group of typically black-clad activists are radicals who believe the best way to deal with the rise of white supremacy and hate groups in the Trump era is by confronting them on the street,” Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has explained. “Sometimes, this means organizing demonstrations against them; other times, it means brawling in the streets.”

Portland has seen a striking number of brawls between antifa and far-right groups in recent years. The Proud Boys themselves have a known record of violence against their political adversaries. Two members of Proud Boys are currently on trial in New York and are charged with, among other things, attempted gang assault.

In anticipation of a standoff between antifa and the members of the alt-right who gathered in the city Saturday, Mayor Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw ordered that no police officers would have the day off, and more than two dozen other agencies, including the FBI, were involved in preparation. Fortunately, despite some altercations, the protests remained largely peaceful and the bulk of the alt-right demonstrators were escorted out of the area police had cordoned off for them following a brief event.

Both antifa and alt-right representatives called the event a success; Trump, however, did not tweet what he took away from his close watch of the situation.

[Vox]

Trump went off on the grandmother of a member of ‘The Squad’ in unhinged Twitter rant

While on vacation at his New Jersey golf club, President Donald Trump took to his favorite social media platform for another attack on a woman of color in Congress.

The commander-in-chief blasted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — and her grandmother.

Trump had demanded that Israel deny Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) entry into the country. The two are the first two female Muslims elected to Congress.

Isreal initially caved to Trump’s demand, but offered Tlaib limited access to visit her grandmother.

Tlaib responded that she refused to allow Israel to “humiliate me and my family.”

“Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice,” Tlaib said.

Trump was livid.

“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup,” Trump claimed, neglecting to mention that he had urged Israel deny approval or that there were onerous conditions placed on the approval.

“The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!” Trump added.

Trump the claimed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) was jealous that other members of The Squad were in the spotlight.

“Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party. Cortez (AOC) is fuming, not happy about this,” Trump claimed, without offering any evidence.

[Raw Story]

Trump encourages Israel to ban Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

President Trump tweeted Thursday that it would show “great weakness” if Israel were to allow Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to enter the country during an upcoming congressional delegation visit on Friday.

“It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

Why it matters: As Axios’ Jonathan Swan and I previously reported, Trump has privately been telling advisers that he thinks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should use an anti-boycott law to bar the two freshman congresswomen over their support for the BDS movement. In response to our story, the White House said that Trump didn’t pressure Israel in any way and that Israel can do whatever it wants.

The state of play: Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had previously said Israel would allow Tlaib and Omar to enter, but Netanyahu — a staunch Trump ally who is facing an election in the fall — is now reconsidering as a result of pressure from the president.

  • According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu is trying to find a solution that will address the pressure from the White House but will not totally bar Omar and Tlaib.
  • As of 5 a.m. EDT, no decision had been made. One of the possibilities floated would be allowing the congresswomen to enter Israel but limiting their movements only to the Palestinian Authority.
  • Another option is to allow them in on humanitarian grounds. An Israeli official told me that if Tlaib filed a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the Israeli government will consider it favorably.

[Axios]

Update

One hour after Trump’s tweet:

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