Trump tweets Brian Kilmeade’s insistence that ‘white supremest groups’ didn’t overtake protests

President Trump has made a point of emphasizing that there were no obvious “white supremests” at protests across the U.S. this weekend.

Several peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody, as well as police brutality and systemic racism as a whole, had turned violent across the country as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters and as people destroyed buildings. It all prompted Trump to declare anti-facist activists domestic terrorists on Sunday, and to share Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade’s condemnation of the group.

On Monday’s show, Kilmeade declared that he didn’t “see any indication that there were any white supremest groups mixing in” to protests, blaming unrest instead on “antifa.” Trump tweeted that quote, and copied Kilmeade’s oft-used, made-up term “white supremest” instead of saying “white supremacist.”

Kilmeade didn’t explain how he was able to identify “white supremest groups” or distinguish them from antifa supporters. He also mischaracterized antifa as an “organization,” while it is rather a just a broad designation for activists who oppose the oppression of minority groups. 

[The Week]

Reality

Right-wing groups are involved in the George Floyd protests as agitators and “accelerationists,” most notably setting fire to St. John’s church in Washington D. C.

Trump promotes shooting black Americans in the street

Twitter says President Donald Trump and the White House’s official Twitter (TWTR) account have violated its rule against glorifying violence and has affixed a warning label to tweets on both, marking the first time such action has been taken against the accounts.The social media platform is using what it calls a “public interest notice” to flag the incendiary post about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This means the tweets will not be removed, but will be hidden behind a notice that says “this Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Users can view it if they click past the notice.The company’s move risked escalating tensions with the White House during an already tense week. Trump signed an executive order that purported to address “censorship” by Twitter and other social media companies, following Twitter’s earlier decision to affix fact-check type labels to two of his misleading posts about mail-in voting ballots.

Hours after Twitter flagged the tweet from Trump, the official White House account posted the same message. Twitter then took the same action with that message.

“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited,” Twitter said in a tweet explaining its earlier decision to place a warning label on Trump’s tweet. “People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”

A spokesperson for Twitter said the decision was made by teams within the company and CEO Jack Dorsey was informed of the plan before Trump’s tweet was labeled.Trump continued his criticisms of Twitter on Friday after it labeled his post, tweeting that “it well be regulated.”

The president posted an identical message to Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. CNN has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The post in question was about a third night of protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was filmed on video saying that he could not breathe as a white police officer used his knee to pin Floyd down.

As cable news networks carried images of fires and destructive protests in Minneapolis, the president tweeted at 12:53 a.m. ET: “these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

His phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” mirrors language used by a Miami police chief in the late 1960s in the wake of riots. Its use was immediately condemned by a wide array of individuals, from historians to members of rival political campaigns.

Some users reported the tweet to Twitter as a rule violation.

Less than two-and-a-half hours later, Twitter took action. “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” the company said.

“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.”

Twitter (TWTR) has said in the past that it makes exceptions to its rules when heads of state are involved, due to the inherently newsworthy nature of their posts.

Facebook came under scrutiny last year for saying it would not fact-check politicians’ posts.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, defended the company’s position in a speech last year in Washington, but noted there may be some exceptions. “Even for politicians we don’t allow content that incites violence or risks imminent harm — and of course we don’t allow voter suppression,” he said.

[CNN]

Trump retweets a message calling Hillary Clinton a ‘skank’ and spreads sexist insults about other prominent female Democrats

President Donald Trump on Saturday shared a series of messages containing sexist taunts and personal insults against prominent female Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In one message retweeted by the president, John Stahl, a conservative who gathered only 3% of the vote in his bid to represent California’s 52nd District in the House in 2012, called the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton, a “skank.”

Like Trump, Stahl is fond of referring to political opponents with insulting nicknames, as seen on his Twitter feed.

In another message shared by Trump, Stahl aimed insulting gibes at Pelosi and Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 race for the governor’s office in Georgia and is a contender for selection as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential race.

[Business Insider]

Trump is refusing to unveil Obama’s portrait at the White House, breaking a 40-year tradition

President Donald Trump won’t be unveiling former President Barack Obama’s portrait at the White House, breaking a 40-year tradition, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

Obama would also not be interested in attending such an event, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter.

The White House and a representative for Obama did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

For decades, first-term presidents have held ceremonies in the East Room to unveil the portraits of their immediate predecessors. Obama did so for former President George W. Bush in 2012, for example.

“George, you went out of your way to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible,” Obama said at the time.

Trump and Obama have perhaps the most contentious relationship of any current and former presidents in modern US history. In recent days, Trump has made baseless allegations that Obama committed an unspecified crime. Before his transition from reality TV to politics, Trump spent years perpetuating a racist conspiracy theory regarding Obama’s place of birth.

Despite their rocky past, Obama wrote Trump an Inauguration Day letter in 2017 and left it in the desk drawer in the Oval Office; Trump said it was “beautiful.”

But that detente did not last long. Trump has frequently blamed Obama for various issues he’s faced as president, including for issues with COVID-19 testing.

Obama has generally avoided the limelight since leaving the White House. In the rare instances he’s criticized Trump, the former president has often done so without saying his successor’s name. Over the weekend, Obama appeared to excoriate Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but did not explicitly mention him.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said during a virtual commencement address for 2020 graduates of historically black colleges and universities. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Though Obama did not mention Trump, the former president’s comments were widely interpreted as a direct jab at his successor.

[Business Insider]

‘Don’t ask me. Ask China’: Trump clashes with reporters then abruptly leaves press briefing

Donald Trump abruptly halted a press conference on Monday after being challenged by an Asian American reporter whom he told: “Don’t ask me. Ask China.”

With the stars and stripes at his back, Trump held his first press briefing since 27 April in the White House rose garden, flanked by testing equipment and swabs and signs that proclaimed: “America leads the world in testing.”

But during a question and answer session, Weijia Jiang, White House correspondent of CBS News, asked why the president constantly emphasises that the US is doing better than any other country when it comes to testing.

“Why does that matter?” she queried. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?”

Trump retorted: “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer.”

The president then called on another reporter, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, but she paused as Jiang interjected: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”

The president replied: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”

The CBS correspondent pointed out: “That is not a nasty question.”

Collins, at the microphone, then tried to ask her question, but Trump said he was now looking to someone at the back. As Collins repeatedly objected, the president turned on his heel and left the podium.

Trump has frequently been criticised for adopting a particularly harsh or patronising tone at press conferences to women in general and women of colour in particular. Jiang was born in China but immigrated to America at the age of two.

Tara Setmayer, a political commentator, tweeted: “Another disgraceful, racist, temper tantrum by Trump b/c he was asked a pointed question by @weijia… Trump can’t handle smart, assertive women.”

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California tweeted: “Dear @realDonaldTrump: Asian Americans are Americans. Some of us served on active duty in the U.S. military. Some are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic as paramedics and health care workers. Some are reporters like @weijia. Stop dividing our nation.”

Earlier at the briefing, Trump claimed that the US’s testing capacity is “unmatched and unrivalled anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close”. More than 9m tests have now been performed, he said, and where three weeks ago roughly 150,000 per day were done, the total is now 300,000 per day and will go up.

Trump said this week the US will pass 10m tests, nearly double the number of any country and more per capita than South Korea, the UK, France, Japan, Sweden, Finland and many others. But critics point out that South Korea implemented its testing much quicker, flattening the curve of cases so fewer tests were required.

The president announced his administration is sending $11bn to states, territories and tribes to boost testing. He described it as an effort to “back up” states but did not unveil the national testing strategy that many experts have called for.

Trump also claimed without basis that “if somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested”, echoing a spurious claim he made way back on 6 March.

“In every generation, through every challenge and hardship and danger, America has risen to the task,” he said. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed.”

Trump, who has been encouraging states to reopen, promised: “We will defeat this horrible enemy, we will revive our economy and we will transition into greatness. That’s a phrase you’re gonna hear a lot.”

Democrats expressed scepticism. Daniel Wessel, Democratic National Committee deputy war room director, said: “Trump says we ‘prevailed’ on testing, but his response has been a complete failure and made this crisis worse than it needed to be.

“Trump still hasn’t helped states reach the testing capacity they need, every American who wants a test can’t get a test, and he is only now taking steps that should’ve happened weeks ago. While Trump wants to declare mission accomplished, the American people are still suffering and will not forget how he gave up on them.”

The campaign group Protect Our Care noted that it was 13 days since Trump said the US will run 5m daily tests “very soon” Zac Petkanas, director of its coronavirus war room, recalled that Donald Trump promised that anyone who wants a test could get a test and that the US would soon be testing 5m Americans per day.

“This wasn’t true when he said it and it’s not true today. What is true is that more than 80,000 Americans have lost their lives in large part because Donald Trump still hasn’t taken testing seriously. The only thing that the president has prevailed at is making America first in reported deaths and infections.”

The White House itself is not immune from coronavirus. Katie Miller, the press secretary for vice-president Mike Pence, and a personal valet who works for Trump both tested positive last week. Those entering the West Wing are now required to wear a mask or face covering, after a new memo was issued on Monday. Trump and Pence are being tested every day. Trump, however, is exempt from wearing a mask in the White House. It’s not clear if Pence will wear one or not.

The president said it is “shocking” how many people come in and out of the White House every day. “I’ve felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he said.

During the press conference, Trump’s presidential election opponent, Joe Biden, tweeted: “Donald Trump and his team seem to understand how critical testing is to their own safety. So why are they insisting that it’s unnecessary for the American people?”

[The Guardian]

U.S. Citizens Married To Immigrants Are Blocked From Getting Stimulus Checks

The coronavirus stimulus package was meant to put emergency spending money into the economy, issuing a $1,200 check to most Americans that they can use to pay their bills in this time of hardship, and help stimulate businesses in the process. Now, though, we’re learning about all the strings that are coming attached to that hastily passed package — including the fact that U.S. citizens aren’t eligible to receive the money if they’re married and filed taxes jointly with an immigrant who doesn’t have a social security number.

The LA Times reports that there are more than a million Americans in this position across the country. This is just one more way the Trump administration has found to attack immigrants, no matter how they arrived in this country.

According to the Times, the stimulus bill doesn’t just pass over immigrants who don’t pay taxes. Any immigrant without a social security number — even if they have a tax ID and pay U.S. taxes — can render their entire family ineligible to receive any money.

This isn’t about documented versus undocumented immigration, either. Immigrants to the U.S. receive a social security number only when they receive a work permit, which means there are a whole host of visas immigrants can use to come to the country perfectly legally (student or fiancé visas, for example) that won’t get them a work permit or a social security card. For people on non-work visas, it’s impossible to obtain a social security number until obtaining permanent resident status, which is a whole other process that takes a ton of paperwork, a ton of money, and months or even years of waiting, depending on how backed up the system was at the time they applied. The LA Times interviewed a number of people who are in the middle of the months-long process of applying for a legal green card, whose families won’t receive stimulus checks because of it.

For the Trump administration (and, let’s be real, Republican lawmakers) to deny families much-needed stimulus money for this reason is nothing but another baseless attack on people who come to live in the U.S., no matter how they do it.

For all their spouting that they have no problem with immigration as long as it’s done “the right way,” this stimulus check provision is proof that that’s not what Trump and GOP lawmakers think at all. They just hate immigrants, and now, by default, American citizens who associate with them.

In response to this, California has announced its own stimulus plan, offering grants of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families, meant to help immigrants without legal status get through this crisis. But immigrants who do have legal status, but aren’t able to work in the U.S.? The government is leaving those people (and their families) out of help, and it’s heartbreaking.

[Yahoo]

Trump claims he will temporarily suspend immigration into US due to coronavirus fears

President Donald Trump said late Monday night he will sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” he tweeted.

It’s unclear what mechanism he will use to suspend immigration, how long such a suspension could last or what effect this will have on the operation of US border crossings and on those who already hold green cards.

The White House declined to provide further information on the executive order Monday evening.

The tweet comes as the administration seeks to reopen parts of the country from the coronavirus shutdown through a phased approach, but it’s also a continuation of the President’s 2016 campaign promise to slow immigration.

Trump has repeatedly touted his decision to halt travel from China and Europe as a means of blunting the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

The tweet also comes hours after Trump directed Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant Health and Human Services secretary for health, to provide an update on border wall construction after he briefed reporters on coronavirus testing.

[CNN]

Donald Trump falsely claims Nancy Pelosi deleted video telling people to go to Chinatown

President Donald Trump joined conservative supporters in accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of covering up her visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown in late February.

“Crazy Nancy Pelosi deleted this from her Twitter account. She wanted everyone to pack into Chinatown long after I closed the BORDER TO CHINA. Based on her statement, she is responsible for many deaths. She’s an incompetent, third-rate politician!” Trump tweeted April 16.

But there’s no evidence Pelosi ever tweeted that video of herself in Chinatown. So she could not have deleted it, as Trump said.

The video Trump tweeted is 17 seconds long, a snippet of a Feb. 24 report by KPIX, a San Francisco Bay Area CBS affiliate. Pelosi in the KPIX report is shown walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown District and encouraging people to visit its shops and restaurants, which were seeing a decline in business since the coronavirus outbreak began in China.

At the time, KPIX reported, there were no active cases of coronavirus in San Francisco. There were 21 active cases in California, but they were in hospital isolation or in quarantine.

Pelosi says in the video: “You should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city. We know that there is concern about tourism, traveling throughout the world, but we think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.”

We wondered if Trump was right that Pelosi deleted that video from her Twitter account. PolitiFact’s fact-checking process includes asking a person who makes a claim for the evidence that supports their statement. So we asked the White House press office and Trump’s re-election campaign for the date of the original post, which account posted it, and when it was deleted. We did not get any information.

Pelosi’s office told PolitiFact that they never posted the video that Trump claimed was deleted.

We did our own digging and found no trace of the video posted from her account.

Politwoops, a project of ProPublica, tracks deleted tweets by elected officials. According to that tracker, @SpeakerPelosi’s latest five deleted tweets span from Feb. 22 to April 13. Not one is about going to Chinatown.

We also reviewed what Pelosi’s Twitter page looked liked since Feb. 24, based on the history saved by Wayback Machine, an initiative of the Internet Archive. The archived pages of Pelosi’s Twitter account do not show the video Trump tweeted. (Wayback Machine did not have archives of the page as they looked on Feb. 24-26, but any deletion of that video would presumably be more recent.)

Trump suggests that Pelosi is hiding her actions from Feb. 24. But a transcript of her comments that were captured in Trump’s video appear on both her House Speaker website and congressional website. As of April 16, the Chinatown visit was one of the featured photos in the homepage of her congressional website.

Pelosi’s Twitter page currently has a video of her Feb. 24 visit to Chinatown. It shows her making a fortune cookie. Text accompanying the video says: “It was a pleasure to try my hand at making fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (with a little guidance from owner Kevin Chan, of course). The message inside? ‘United We Stand.’”

On Feb. 25, she posted a series of tweets saying Americans needed a coordinated response to the coronavirus and that the House would advance a funding package “that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.”

It’s worth noting that throughout January and most of February, U.S. officials said that the coronavirus risk to the American public was low and that they were not seeing community spread of the virus. By Feb. 25, there were 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and no deaths, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization.

On Feb. 28, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor said it was possible that a reported case in California “could be the first instance of community spread — meaning the illness was acquired through an unknown exposure in the community.” But it could also be that the patient was exposed through contact to a traveler who was infected, said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The immediate risk to the general American public remained low, she said.

The cancelling of mass gatherings was not yet common in the United States in February, the CDC noted in an April report.

Trump’s messaging around this time also did not suggest that people avoid large crowds. The same day of Pelosi’s trip to Chinatown, Trump tweeted: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”Our ruling

Trump tweeted that Pelosi deleted a video of her telling people to go to Chinatown.

Pelosi on Feb. 24 did encourage people to go to Chinatown in San Francisco. But we found no trace of her posting or deleting the video Trump shared.

At the time of Pelosi’s remark, U.S. health officials said the risk of the coronavirus was low to the American public since they had no reports of community spread. Trump during this time also said the virus was under control in the United States.

Neither the White House nor Trump’s re-election campaign provide evidence to support Trump’s claim. In the absence of evidence, we rate this claim False.

[Politifact]

Trump says he agrees with Navy Capt. Crozier’s firing

President Donald Trump defended the firing of Navy Capt. Brett Crozier during a coronavirus task force press conference Saturday afternoon, calling Crozier’s letter asking for help for the sailors of the USS Theodore Roosevelt “not appropriate.” 

Trump said he did not make the decision to fire Crozier, but he disagreed with Crozier’s actions and suggested the captain was at fault for the coronavirus infections on board the aircraft carrier for docking the ship in Vietnam.

“Perhaps you don’t do that in the middle of a pandemic,” Trump said, adding the letter was “not appropriate” and “he shouldn’t be talking that way in a letter.” 

Crozier had circulated a four-page letter later obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle asking for “decisive action” as the coronavirus ravaged his crew. 

“We are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily,” Crozier wrote. 

Four days after he pleaded for help, Crozier was fired by the Navy. 

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Crozier had “exercised extremely poor judgment” in distributing the letter. 

The Navy said Saturday 44% of the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt had been tested for the coronavirus, and 155 service members had tested positive. About 1,548 service members had been moved onshore. None had been hospitalized. 

[USA Today]

Navy captain fired by Trump administration for trying to save his crew

The Navy captain fired by the Trump administration for issuing a stark warning about the risk to his crew from the coronavirus outbreak has been given a standing ovation as he left his post.

Captain Brett Crozier, was relieved of his command of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on Thursday after his superiors lost confidence in his ability to lead.

As Capt Crozier left on Thursday night he was given a standing ovation and cheered on by members of the 5,000-strong crew, who chanted “Captain Crozier, Captain Crozier” as he departed.

Earlier in the week, Capt Crozier sent a letter to the Navy, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, asking for the crew to be isolated completely in order to try and stop the spread of a coronavirus outbreak onboard the ship.

“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure…This is a necessary risk,” he wrote.

“Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care.”

During his press conference on Thursday evening, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the decision to sack Capt Crozier was his alone and explained that the captain’s actions forced his hand.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Captain Crozier did what he thought was in the best interest of the safety and well-being of his crew,” he said. “Unfortunately, it did the opposite. It unnecessarily raised the alarm of the families of our sailors and Marines with no plans to address those concerns.”

Mr Modly added his admiration for the captain: “I expect no congratulations for it. Captain Crozier is an incredible man.”

Earlier in the day, at his daily press conference, President Donald Trump was asked by a reporter if he thought the decision was the correct one, replying: “No, I don’t think that at all.”

The decision to relieve the captain of his duties was criticised by the Democratic frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Joe Biden, who released a statement on Thursday evening saying that Capt Crozier should not have been fired.

“Donald Trump’s Acting Navy Secretary shot the messenger – a commanding officer who was faithful to both his national security mission and his duty to care for his sailors, and who rightly focused attention on a broader concern about how to maintain military readiness during this pandemic,” said Mr Biden.

“The Navy sent a chilling message to the rest of the fleet about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Administration, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors.”

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 245,601 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 6,058.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 50 people as part of the battle to contain the spread of the contagion.

[The Independent]

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