Trump Slams Navy SEAL: ‘Wouldn’t It Have Been Nice If We Got Osama Bin Laden a Lot Sooner’

President Donald Trump dismissed criticism from William McRaven on Fox News Sunday, referring to the retired Navy SEAL Admiral as a “Hillary Clinton fan.”

While grilling the president on his anti-press rhetoric, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace brought criticism from McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

After Wallace listed McRaven’s bonafides, Trump cut in: “Hillary Clinton fan.”

“Special Operations…” Wallace said.

“Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan,” Trump insisted.

“Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden,” Wallace continued, “says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.”

“OK, he’s a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama-backer,” Trump said.

“He was a Navy Seal 37 years,” Wallace shot back.

“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” Trump asked. “You know, living – think of this – living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there.”

“You’re not even going to give them credit for taking down Bin Laden?” Wallace asked.

Trump ignored the question in favor to hitting Pakistan: “They took him down but – look, look, there’s news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

[Mediaite]

Sarah Sanders: ‘If Certain Reporters Like Jim Acosta Can’t Be Adults,’ Then CNN Should Send Someone Who Can Be

Sarah Huckabee Sanders took another shot at CNN’s Jim Acosta tonight in an interview on Hannity with… Mike Huckabee.

The White House Press Secretary’s father began the interview by asking her about the protocol for decorum being worked on after the judge’s ruling in Acosta’s favor today.

Sanders said the White House supports a free press, but added that “freedom of the press doesn’t mean freedom to be disruptive, freedom to be rude, freedom to interrupt.”

She claimed that they sent CNN a letter tonight laying out “what we think were some of the missteps that their reporter made at the press conference… and we expect to see a response from that.”

In an interview today, the President himself said, after the ruling, if Acosta “misbehaves” they’ll throw him out again. And Sanders said they don’t want reporters to be “disruptive” and impede anyone’s ability to do their jobs.

When her father asked her about the protocol put in place, Sanders said there are “standard practices” they want addressed, and that “the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”

[Mediaite]

Trump on Acosta: ‘If he misbehaves we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference’

President Trump brushed off a federal judge’s Friday ruling that the White House must reinstate press credentials for Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent.

The president also said during an interview set to air on “Fox News Sunday” that if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference the White House could “throw him out.”

“Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, it’s not a big deal,” Trump told Fox News’s Chris Wallace when asked about the ruling Friday to reinstate Acosta’s press pass after it was revoked last week.

“What they said though is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, etc., etc. We’re doing that, were going to write them up right now,” Trump continued. “It’s not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”

The White House stripped Acosta of his press pass last week following a fiery exchange with the president during a press conference, with the CNN reporter holding on to the microphone to continue asking questions when an intern attempted to take it away.

“We had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts you know doing what he’s supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and you know just shouting out questions and making statements, too,” Trump said Friday.

“But I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do, and if I think somebody is acting out of sorts, I will leave. I will say, ‘thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming,’ and I’ll leave,” he added.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, ordered the White House on Friday to restore Acosta’s press pass, giving him regular access to the White House grounds to cover events and press conferences.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would abide by the judge’s ruling, but staff “will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future.”

Kelly argued in his ruling that the White House violated Acosta and CNN’s Fifth Amendment rights to due process by kicking Acosta out, but did not say their First Amendment rights to free speech were infringed.

Trump and Acosta engaged in a tense exchange during the televised press conference last week after the reporter pushed Trump on his comments criticizing a group of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

As Acosta continued to press the president, a White House intern attempted to take the microphone away. Acosta did not let go, with his hand brushing against the intern.

After the press conference, Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands” on the intern and cited the incident as the reason for why his media access was being revoked.

In court Friday, Kelly said the White House’s characterization was likely untrue.

Acosta and CNN argued that the press pass was revoked because the administration didn’t like the questions Acosta asked.

[CNN]

Trump on border wall funding: ‘This would be a very good time to do a shutdown’

President Trump on Saturday kept the door open to a potential government shutdown if an upcoming deal to fund parts of the government does not include funding for a border wall.

“We’re talking about border wall, we’re talking about quite a big sum of money, about $5 billion,” the president told reporters Saturday before leaving the White House for a trip to California.

“This would be a very good time to do a shutdown. I don’t think it’s going to be necessary, because I think the Democrats will come to their senses, and if they don’t come to their senses, we will continue to win elections,” he added.

Trump has previously flirted with shutting down the government over funding for his proposed border wall, but Republicans convinced him not to do so before the midterms, saying it would hurt them at the polls.

The president’s latest comments come as he is negotiating with the Senate on a deal to partially fund the government.

Congress has until Dec. 7 to fund the rest of the government after lawmakers failed to approve seven of the 12 individual funding bills before the end of the fiscal year deadline.

“I would always tell anybody, including the president, it’s not a good idea to shut down the government, period,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said earlier this week.

“I can’t tell you,” he added when asked if $5 billion is “doable.”

[The Hill]

 

Donald Trump heads to California, again blaming fires on forest management

President Donald Trump headed to California on Saturday to see firsthand the grief and devastation from the deadliest US wildfire in a century, as confusion continued over how many people remain unaccounted for.

Authorities confirmed a new death toll of 71 and said they were trying to locate 1,011 people even as they stressed that not all are believed missing.

But Trump has stirred resentment among survivors and many others over comments he made two days after the disaster on Twitter, then reiterated on the eve of his visit.

In an interview scheduled for broadcast on Fox News Sunday, Trump said he was surprised to see images of firefighters removing dried brush near a fire, adding, “This should have been all raked out.”

Asked if he thought climate change contributed to the fires, he said: “Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management.”

Before boarding Air Force One to California on Saturday morning, Trump was asked about forest management again and repeated his stance. “Everybody now knows that this is what we have to be doing … It should’ve been done many years ago,” he said.

Those comments, and those in his Fox interview, echoed his initial reaction to the fires on 10 November when he blamed the wildfires on poor forest management and threatened then to withhold federal payments. His words caused widespread outrage, though Trump subsequently approved a federal disaster declaration and he has since repeatedly praised the work of first responders, including just before leaving Washington DC.

“I want to be with the firefighters and the Fema first responders,” Trump said.

California’s outgoing and incoming governors, both Democrats and vocal critics of Trump, planned to join the president on his trip to the fire-ravaged region in the north of the state. Governor Jerry Brown and governor-elect Gavin Newsom welcomed Trump’s visit, declaring it was time “to pull together for the people of California”.

The blaze that started 8 November all but razed the town of Paradise, population 27,000, and heavily damaged the outlying communities of Magalia and Concow. It destroyed more than 9,800 homes and at its height displaced 52,000 people.

This patch of California, a former Gold Rush region in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is to some extent Trump country, with Trump beating Hillary Clinton in Butte County by 4 percentage points in 2016.

But Trump has stirred resentment among survivors with his comments.

“If you insult people, then you go visit them, how do you think you’re going to be accepted? You’re not going to have a parade,” Maggie Crowder of Magalia said this week outside an informal shelter at a Walmart store in Chico.

But Stacy Lazzarino, who voted for Trump, said it would be good for the president to see the devastation up close: “I think by maybe seeing it he’s going to be like ‘Oh, my goodness,’ and it might start opening people’s eyes.”

Authorities attribute the death toll in part to the speed with which flames raced through the town of 27,000, driven by wind and fueled by desiccated scrub and trees.

Nearly 12,000 homes and buildings burned hours after the blaze erupted, the California department of forestry and fire protection said. Thousands of additional structures are still threatened as firefighters, many from distant states, work to contain and suppress the flames.

The big rise in the number of missing is because of a detailed review of emergency calls and missing people reports, and the extension of the search for victims.

More than 5,500 fire personnel are still battling the blaze that covered 228 square miles (590 sq km) and was 50% contained, officials said.

Firefighters were racing against time with a red flag warning issued for Saturday night into Sunday, including winds up to 50mph (80km/h) and low humidity. Rain was forecast for midweek, which could help firefighters but also complicate the challenging search for remains.

Officials acknowledge that the huge number of missing could easily contain duplicate names and unreliable spellings of names. The roster also probably includes many people who fled the blaze and do not realize they have been reported missing.

[The Guardian]

Trump Returns To Bashing The Migrant Caravan, Calling It A ‘Big Con’

After a brief respite from attacking the migrant caravan traveling to the U.S. border, President Donald Trump slammed it again Friday, calling it a “con” because the travelers were waving flags from their own countries.

Trump relentlessly lashed out at the caravan during his flurry of campaign appearances stumping for Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections. He also dispatched 5,200 U.S. troops to the border.

But then he was uncharacteristically mum on the issue after the GOP lost control of the U.S. House to the Democrats. Voter exit polls revealed that Americans were more concerned about health care than immigration, suggesting that Trump may have overplayed his caravan hand.

But he was back at it Friday on Twitter. Trump tweeted that it was “ironic” that people seeking asylum in the U.S. were waving the flags of their countries. He said it was proof that their search for safety in America was “all a BIG CON.”

Several responses pointed out that it is possible to love one’s country yet be fearful enough to leave during dangerous times — or to have very mixed feelings about a nation and its government.

[Huffington Post]

Trump Boasts About Midterms in Which GOP Took Heavy Losses: ‘Epic Victory’

President Donald Trump declared the 2018 midterm elections an “epic victory” for the GOP on Twitter today, as he pimped out the two Senate seats earned by Republicans and attacked the media for focusing on Democrats taking the House.

“People are not being told that the Republican Party is on track to pick up two seats in the U.S. Senate, and epic victory: 53 to 47,” Trump tweeted this afternoon.

He then criticized the presiding media narrative on the midterms, which is that Democrats etched out a win since they took the House: “The Fake News Media only wants to speak of the House, where the Midterm results were better than other sitting Presidents.”

Trump has called the midterms a victory in the past.

Before many of the results had even come in, the president took to Twitter: “Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”

[Mediaite]

Trump Continues to Claim F-35 Jets Are Literally Invisible: ‘They’re Stealth, You Can’t See Them’

Someone might want to check and see if Donald Trump knows that the stealth capabilities of an F-35 fighter jet aren’t the same thing as a cloaking device.

The president gave a speech from the White House on Thursday in which he spoke about providing support for veterans and military families. But at one point, Trump went on a tangent about his admiration for America’s military aircraft, especially the F-35.

“Just gave out a tremendous order for brand new F-35’s. They are stealth. You can’t see them, other than this, they are easy to beat. I said to one of the pilots, ‘how good are these?’ He said, ‘sir, the problem is you can’t see them when you fight them.’ I said ‘that sounds like a big advantage.’ They said ‘it’s an awfully big advantage.’ Incredible equipment.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Trump has spoken of F-35s as if they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

While F-35s are known to be undetectable by radar and other kinds of sensory equipment, can operate in spaces other fighters cannot, and cost around $100 million per fighter, they are not literally “invisible” as Trump says now and then.

[Mediaite]

Trump Just Blurted Out, Unprompted, That He Installed His Pet Attorney General Over the Russia Probe

Wednesday, we explored the career timeline of Matthew Whitaker, the man whom Donald Trump, American president, appointed acting attorney general after firing Jeff Sessions the day after the midterms. Trump passed over multiple Senate-confirmed officials in the actual line of succession to pick Whitaker, who’d become Sessions’s chief of staff close to a year earlier after repeatedly going on CNN to defend Trump against the Russia probe with the expressed intent of getting the president’s attention and a job. Even some conservative legal commentators have suggested his appointment was unconstitutional, and the state of Maryland is suing to that effect.

This was about as blatant a move to obstruct the investigation as the president could have made. Whitaker is an obvious Trump loyalist and longtime Republican operative who time after time attacked the special counsel’s investigation, including by promoting a story suggesting Robert Mueller’s team was a “lynch mob.”Whitaker has close ties to Sam Clovis, a grand-jury witness in the probe who advised him to start going on CNN to catch Trump’s eye.

After he got the job as Sessions’s chief of staff, Whitaker was described by Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department—an assault on the department’s independence and the rule of law. And even well before all this, Whitaker allegedly politicized a federal investigationas a U.S. attorney in Iowa, participated in scams and grifts in his business dealings, and once flexed his background in federal law enforcement to run protection for a company—of which he was on the board—that the Federal Trade Commission fined $26 million and shuttered as a criminal enterprise.

Still, no matter how clear something is, it helps to hear it from the horse’s mouth. The President of the United States, who once said on national television he was considering “the Russia thing” when he fired FBI Director James Comey, was happy to oblige in a typically freewheeling interview with The Daily Caller. As first flagged by journalist Brian Beutler, Trump seized on a softball question to spill the beans on Whitaker’s appointment.

THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —

POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?

WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.

POTUS: A 20 page?

THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.

POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody who’s very respected.

I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, um, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.

It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.

THE DAILY CALLER: Right.

Right.

The president just admitted, unprompted, that he fired the head of the Justice Department and installed a loyalist over a Justice Department investigation into him and his associates. This is obstruction. This is corrupt. This is an untenable assault on the rule of law in a democratic republic. And the Republican majorities in Congress—to say nothing of his base—will happily let him get away with it.

Oh, and by the way: Trump’s claim he only knows Whitaker through Sessions is a blatant lie. And not just because Trump’s chief of staff said Whitaker was their “eyes and ears.” Here’s Trump on October 11, 2018—a month ago:

“I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy,” President Trump said in a Fox News interview. “I know Matt Whitaker.”

This is not the first time he’s lied about knowing Whitaker since appointing him to, incredibly obviously, interfere in the Mueller investigation.

All that said, there is a beautiful symmetry here. The rear-end of Donald Trump, a lifetime grifter who’s just trying to lie his way to the end of each day while his brain is steadily melted by television, may ultimately be protected by a ‘roided-out Mr. Clean who came to him through the teevee—and who once threatened peopleon behalf of a company peddling Big Dick Toilets. America the Beautiful.

[Esquire]

Trump picks handbag designer, Mar-a-Lago member to be envoy to South Africa

President Donald Trump has nominated handbag designer Lana Marks to be the next US ambassador to South Africa.

Marks, a Florida resident and member of Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort, according to a source familiar with the club, was born and raised in South Africa, where she attended the University of the Witwatersrand and the Institute of Personnel Management in Johannesburg, the White House said in a statement.

Marks is photographed and quoted giving a warm testimonial on the website of Mar-a-Lago’s official photographer, saying she had captured her daughter’s wedding at the club “in a very special way.”

Marks is known for luxury handbags in exotic animal skins, such as ostrich and alligator, with prices that can hover above $19,000. One of her more expensive creations, a $400,000 clutch, has been carried on the red carpet. The designer’s website features photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston carrying her goods and says her accessories have become a favorite among “royalty and entertainment style makers.”

Ballet and tennis

Described by the Palm Beach Daily as “like Trump, a relentless self-promoter,” Marks speaks Afrikaans and Xhosa, two of South Africa’s languages, according to the White House.

Her website chronicles an upbringing that included studying at the Royal Academy of Ballet. The concept for starting an exotic leather handbag line came, the site says, when Marks couldn’t find a bag to match the suit she planned to wear to a birthday celebration for Queen Elizabeth. According to her Instagram accountshe attempted to qualify for the French Open tennis tournament in 1978.

Marks’ site also notes that she was appointed to the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of government, which supports the Women and Public Policy Program. Both the board and the program focus on gender equality and improving lives around the world, the Harvard site says. The Harvard site notes that board members “engage philanthropically” with the policy program “through three annual giving tiers.”

Board members provide a minimum annual gift of $10,000 per individual member, $20,000 per Leadership Circle member and $25,000 per corporation.

[CNN]

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