Trump embraces ‘nationalist’ title at Texas rally

President Donald Trump declared himself a “nationalist” during his rally here on Monday night, officially tagging himself with the label that has long defined his populist rhetoric and protectionist policies.

“A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about the country so much. You know, we can’t have that,” Trump said, prompting boos from the crowd.

“You know what I am, I’m a nationalist,” he added, as the crowd erupted in “USA! USA!” chants. “Use that word.”

The comment marked the first time Trump has directly associated himself with the political ideology, which has long defined his outlook and the protectionist trade policies he has implemented in an effort to boost domestic manufacturing.

The remark came during a nearly hour-and-a-half-long rally in the arena that is home to the Houston Rockets, where the President rallied his base in this deeply red state 15 days before the midterms, stoking fears about illegal immigration, painting Democrats as criminal accomplices and basking in the glory of his accomplishments.

With his visit ostensibly aimed at boosting Sen. Ted Cruz’s re-election bid, the President took the stage after an introduction from his former political nemesis by addressing the elephant in the room.

“You know, we had our little difficulties,” Trump said to laughter from the nearly full house at the 18,000-capacity Toyota Center in downtown Houston.

He and Cruz, Trump said, had begun the 2016 presidential campaign as allies, rallying conservatives together in Washington early in the campaign. But eventually, Trump said, the two men decided it was “time” to begin hitting each other.

“And it got nasty,” Trump said.

But since he was elected, Trump said, Cruz has been one of his top allies in Congress.

“And then it ended and I’ll tell you what, nobody has helped me more with your tax cuts, with your regulation, with all of the things … including military and our vets, than Sen. Ted Cruz,” Trump said as he predicted that “in just 15 days the people of Texas are going to re-elect a man who has become a really good friend of mine.”

[CNN]

Reality

Donald Trump actually came out and said it, he labeled himself a “nationalist.”

Conservatives will bend over backwards to explain away how this has to do with a nationalist vs. globalist ideological context, but keep in mind this is the same week Trump is stoking racial fears of immigrants from countries he himself once labeled as “shitholes,” while wanting more European white immigrants.

This is the same week Trump pushed an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory and
echoed the Protocols of Zion, a faked document that white supremacists use as their “proof” that wealthy Jewish elites are puppetmasters “pulling the strings” to subvert democracy, by claiming without evidence that Jewish billionaire George Soros was secretly pulling the strings by paying migrants to come to American to illegally vote for Democrats, subverting democracy.

This is the same Trump who hired alt-right white nationalists, such as Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, who ran the white supremacist site Breitbart, a website that frequently used nationalist to mean “white nationalist” and frequently used “Jew” as a slur.

This is the same Trump who called Nazis “very fine people,” after one murdered and inured protesters by driving his car through a crowd.

This is the same Trump who kept retweeting known white supremacists, even after being told they were white supremacists.

This is the same Trump who said a judge, born in the United States, couldn’t be impartial because of his Hispanic heritage.

The Alt-Right, who Trump is again embracing, use “nationalist” to mean “a nation of white people” and “globalist” interchangeably with “elite cabal of Jewish puppetmasters.”

We’ve crossed a Rubicon here in America. Trump and the Republicans keep pushing themselves slowly towards white supremacy.

You should be alarmed.

QAnon Conspiracy Theorist Got a Photo with Trump in the Oval Office

By now you’re probably heard about the conspiracy theory “QAnon,” particularly after a Trump rally last month featured some very noticeable Q signs, shirts, etc. from the rallygoers.

Well, one QAnon conspiracy theorist actually got a photo with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office this week.

According to The Daily Beast, Lionel Lebron said he didn’t ask Trump directly about the issue, but believes Trump knows all about it already.

And White House officials didn’t really have a good answer for this:

All four White House officials the Beast did speak with about how Trump, the leader of the free world, ended up in a smiling photo op at the Resolute Desk with a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist, pleaded ignorance about when this occurred, and why. Two of these West Wing officials audibly could not contain their laughter.

The Washington Post confirmed that White House officials had no idea how this happened:

[Mediaite]

President Trump takes credit for canceling costly military parade he proposed

President Trump claimed Friday that sticker shock led to the scrapping of his much maligned military parade.

Trump accused local Washington politicians of price gouging, despite the fact that the jaw-dropping projected $92 million cost was largely due to Pentagon figures for aircraft, equipment and personnel.

“Maybe we will do something next year when the cost comes WAY DOWN,” the President tweeted.

The claim came hours after the Defense Department had already said the parade wouldn’t happen this year.

Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that the military and the White House “have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”

The Associated Press and CNBC reported on Thursday the parade would cost about $92 million — $80 million more than the price first suggested by the Trump administration.

A majority of the taxpayer funds, roughly $50 million, would cover costs for aircraft, tanks, transportation and personnel for the Nov. 11 spectacle.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser knocked Trump and his finger-pointing tweets.
“Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad),” she tweeted.

The President announced that he’ll be skipping town the weekend of Veterans Day, when the parade was planned to take place.

Trump said he “will instead attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date, & go to the Paris parade, celebrating the end of the War, on November 11th.”

France hosts an annual parade to commemorate the end of hostilities during World War I on Armistice Day, which coincides with Veterans Day in the U.S.

But Trump’s initial plans for a celebration of military might appeared more in line with authoritarian-style displays seen in China and North Korea.

Some critics speculated that there were other reasons beside the price tag for the sudden cancellation.

Several veterans’ groups were expected to launch protests in D.C. to counter Trump’s parade.

Activist and Vietnam era vet John Penley said he received approval to stage an anti-war rally in a park near the route.

“We have no doubt that the rapidly growing number of requests for protest permits in DC and the intel they have on the possible number of protests and people planning to protest Trump’s Military Parade caused the President and the Pentagon to… announce that the date of the parade had been changed to next year,” Penley said in a statement. “Well, as far as I know at this point nobody is cancelling their Veterans Day weekend protests and we definitely are not.”

Common Defense, a progressive group of vets and military families, also planned a counter-demonstration.

“Trump’s arrogant attempt to use our brothers and sisters in uniform as his unwilling political props suffered a major defeat, and that defeat could not have happened without the organizing of veterans and military families,” said Common Defense executive director Pam Campos, a former Air Force military intelligence analyst.

[New York Daily News]

Trump Charges ‘Free Press’ With ‘Collusion.’ As Predicted.

In Trump’s world, there’s nothing wrong with “collusion” unless it’s being committed by Hillary Clinton… or the media.

The president woke up on Thursday to news that nearly 350 different newspapers across the country had all published editorials denouncing his attacks against the media. The project, spearheaded by The Boston Globe, called on papers to tackle the issue in their own words.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” Marjorie Pritchard, deputy managing editor of Globe, wrote in a memo to editorial boards last week.

“We’re being portrayed as a domestic enemy rather than a loyal fellow countryman whose profession is to hold the powerful accountable,” she added in an interview with The New York Times. “This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press.”

Unsurprisingly, Trump didn’t see it that way.

The first tweet on the issue came just before 9 a.m. “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country….BUT WE ARE WINNING!” Trump tweeted defiantly.

Then, about 15 minutes after Fox News first reported on the editorials, Trump lashed out at The Boston Globe directly. After highlighting the paper’s financial struggles, the president accused the Globe of being “in COLLUSION with other papers on free press.” He added, “PROVE IT!” though it was unclear who he was speaking to or what he wanted proven.

For good measure, Trump added a dismissive message about “true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.”

Of course, Trump’s reaction to the project could not have been more predictable.

So much so that, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle, editorial-page editor John Diaz predicted it.

In a piece explaining why his paper would not be participating in the “coordinated editorial campaign,” Diaz expressed several concerns about the project, including this one:

“It plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him. I can just anticipate his Thursday morning tweets accusing the ‘FAKE NEWS MEDIA’ of ‘COLLUSION!’ and ‘BIAS!’ He surely will attempt to cite this day of editorials to discredit critical and factual news stories in the future, even though no one involved in those pieces had anything to do with this campaign.”

[The Daily Beast]

Trump Trolls Democrats: ‘Please Do Not Distance Yourselves From Nancy Pelosi’

On Friday, President Donald Trump trolled the Democratic Party with a snarky tweet praising House Minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a frequent lightning rod for his criticism of the party.

“Democrats, please do not distance yourselves from Nancy Pelosi,” Trump wrote. “She is a wonderful person whose ideas & policies may be bad, but who should definitely be given a 4th chance. She is trying very hard & has every right to take down the Democrat Party if she has veered too far left!”

Trump has repeatedly bashed Pelosi, calling her — along with fellow frequent target Rep. Maxine Waters — “the unhinged FACE of the Democrat Party” and repeatedly using her name to throw shade at Democratic challengers in key races.

It is unclear what exactly prompted today’s tweet, however, it followed a long segment on Meet the Press talking about both Pelosi and the Democratic Party.

[Mediate]

Trump on ‘elite’: I became president and it’s driving them crazy

President Trump on Saturday renewed his jab at the “elite,” saying that his election to the presidency was “driving them crazy.”

“You are the elite. You’re smarter than they are … you’ve got everything going … the elite? They’re more elite than me?” Trump said while addressing a campaign rally crowd in Ohio, where he is seeking to help Republican Troy Balderson ahead of a special election for the House on Tuesday.

“I have better everything than they have,” Trump said to roars from the crowd.

“I became president and they didn’t,” he said to more cheers and applause, for which he paused.

“And it’s driving them crazy,” he said to louder applause.

It’s not the first time Trump has brought up the “elite” as an opponent.

Trump had previously derided the elite at campaign rallies in Minnesota and North Dakota, calling the group “stone cold losers” at a June rally in Fargo, N.D.

“I’m smarter than they are. I became president and they didn’t. And I’m representing the best people on earth, the deplorables,” Trump said at another June rally in Duluth, Minn., referencing the term former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used to describe then-candidate Trump’s base during the 2016 campaign.

Trump, speaking at his third campaign rally of the week, visited Ohio to boost Balderson in his bid to represent the state’s 12th District.

Balderson is in a dead heat with Democrat Danny O’Connor in a district that Trump won by 11 points in 2016.

[The Hill]

Trump Administration Mulls a Unilateral Tax Cut for the Rich

The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress to grant a $100 billion tax cut mainly to the wealthy, a legally tenuous maneuver that would cut capital gains taxation and fulfill a long-held ambition of many investors and conservatives.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina this month that his department was studying whether it could use its regulatory powers to allow Americans to account for inflation in determining capital gains tax liabilities. The Treasury Department could change the definition of “cost” for calculating capital gains, allowing taxpayers to adjust the initial value of an asset, such as a home or a share of stock, for inflation when it sells.

“If it can’t get done through a legislation process, we will look at what tools at Treasury we have to do it on our own and we’ll consider that,” Mr. Mnuchin said, emphasizing that he had not concluded whether the Treasury Department had the authority to act alone. “We are studying that internally, and we are also studying the economic costs and the impact on growth.”

Currently, capital gains taxes are determined by subtracting the original price of an asset from the price at which it was sold and taxing the difference, usually at 20 percent. If a high earner spent $100,000 on stock in 1980, then sold it for $1 million today, she would owe taxes on $900,000. But if her original purchase price was adjusted for inflation, it would be about $300,000, reducing her taxable “gain” to $700,000. That would save the investor $40,000.

The move would face a near-certain court challenge. It could also reinforce a liberal critique of Republican tax policy at a time when Republicans are struggling to sell middle-class voters on the benefits of the tax cuts that President Trump signed into law late last year.

“At a time when the deficit is out of control, wages are flat and the wealthiest are doing better than ever, to give the top 1 percent another advantage is an outrage and shows the Republicans’ true colors,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “Furthermore, Mr. Mnuchin thinks he can do it on his own, but everyone knows this must be done by legislation.”

Capital gains taxes are overwhelmingly paid by high earners, and they were untouched in the $1.5 trillion tax law that Mr. Trump signed last year. Independent analyses suggest that more than 97 percent of the benefits of indexing capital gains for inflation would go to the top 10 percent of income earners in America. Nearly two-thirds of the benefits would go to the super wealthy — the top 0.1 percent of American income earners.

Making the change by fiat would be a bold use of executive power — one that President George Bush’s administration considered and rejected in 1992, after concluding that the Treasury Department did not have the power to make the change on its own. Larry Kudlow, the chairman of the National Economic Council, has long advocated it.

Conservative advocates for the plan say that even if it is challenged in court, it could still goose the economy by unleashing a wave of asset sales. “No matter what the courts do, you’ll get the main economic benefit the day, the month after Treasury does this,” said Ryan Ellis, a tax lobbyist in Washington and former tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform.

Liberal tax economists see little benefit in it beyond another boon to the already rich.

“It would just be a very generous addition to the tax cuts they’ve already handed to the very wealthy,” said Alexandra Thornton, senior director of tax policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, “and it would play into the hands of their tax advisers, who would be well positioned to take advantage of the loopholes that were opened by it.”

The decades-long push to change the taxation of investment income has spurred a legal debate over the original meaning of the word “cost” in the Revenue Act of 1918, and over the authority of the Treasury Department to interpret the word in regulations.

“I think we ought to look at not penalizing Americans for inflation,” said Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, who said he would like to see the Treasury Department make the change through regulation.

Mr. Bush’s Treasury Department determined that redefining “cost” by regulatory fiat would be illegal — a conclusion buttressed by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which found that “cost” means the price that was paid for something.

But conservatives have disputed this conclusion. Pushing Mr. Trump to make the change, Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has cited a 2002 Supreme Court decision in a case between Verizon Communications and the Federal Communications Commission that said regulators have leeway in defining “cost” to make the case that the Treasury Department can act alone.

“This would be in terms of its economic impact over the next several years, and long term, similar in size as the last tax cut,” Mr. Norquist said, suggesting that making the change would raise revenue for the government by creating new economic efficiencies and faster growth. “I think it’s going to happen and it’s going to be huge.”

He and others said last year’s tax cut would also pay for itself, but despite strong economic growth, corporate tax receipts have plunged and the deficit has soared.

According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, indexing capital gains to inflation would reduce government revenues by $102 billion over a decade, with 86 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent. A July report from the Congressional Research Service said that the additional debt incurred by indexing capital gains to inflation would most likely offset any stimulus that the smaller tax burden provided to the economy.

“It is unlikely, however, that a significant, or any, effect on economic growth would occur from a stand-alone indexing proposal,” the report said.

Michael Graetz, a tax law professor at Columbia University who worked in the Treasury Department’s tax policy office when the department determined that taxing capital gains could not be changed by regulation, said he still thought that the decision to change the law should fall to Congress.

He pointed out that the department would have to make decisions about what types of assets would be indexed and that it would essentially be picking winners and losers.

“There’s certainly no legal authority for Treasury to choose what assets to treat this way,” Mr. Graetz said.

Two law professors, Daniel J. Hemel of the University of Chicago and David Kamin of New York University, wrote in a paper last month that states, charities and other entities could sue the Treasury Department if it tried to make the change. Mr. Kamin said in an interview that the change would create opportunities for gaming the tax code, in part because other parts of the code, such as interest payments, would still be unadjusted for inflation.

A framework for a second round of tax cuts, released by the Ways and Means Committee last week, did not address taxation of capital gains. It is highly unlikely that Congress will pass another tax bill this year because of the slim Republican majority in the Senate.

Democratic senators have written to Mr. Mnuchin, urging him to stand down.

“Treasury does not have the unilateral authority to take our tax code and expose it to widespread gamesmanship,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. “Indexing capital gains under this regime is a boondoggle for the rich, plain and simple.”

A Treasury Department official wrote Mr. Wyden a two-paragraph reply this month. “We appreciate your taking the time to express the thoughts outlined in the letter,” it read. “We will take them under advisement.”

[The New York Times]

Trump mocks ‘elites’ at campaign rally

President Trump mocked the elite class at a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota on Wednesday, saying he has a better apartment than they do.

“Why are they elite? I have a much better apartment than they do,” Trump told supporters.

“I’m smarter than they are. I became president and they didn’t. And I’m representing the best people on earth, the deplorables,” he continued, referring to the term his former opponent Hillary Clinton used to once describe his supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The president was at the rally to support Republican candidate Pete Stauber, and was joined by Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sean Duffy(R-Wis.), Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), and Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.).

The rally came hours after the president signed an executive order intended to end family separations at the southern border, giving into bipartisan pressure to end the policy.

Trump invoked immigration at the rally, vowing to defend the U.S. border.

“I will always fight for an immigration system that defends our borders, and takes care of our sovereignty as a nation,” Trump said. “I will never sacrifice the safety and security of the American people.”

Trump also took an opportunity at the rally to slam the news media.

“So we’ve created 3.4 million new jobs since Election Day,” Trump told the crowd of supporters.

“And I’ve said before if I would have said that to you during the campaign, those very dishonest people back there, the fake news. Very dishonest.”

[The Hill]

Trump Tees Off on Negative Media Coverage: ‘Should Be Getting Good Stories’

President Donald Trump capped off another chaotic week of news out of Washington on Friday by — you guessed it! — tweeting, this time gloating about his approval rating and making America great again while spewing alternative facts.

The president once again attacked the media on Friday for its critical reporting of his administration amid a looming investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign’s suspected collusion with Russia and Wikileaks to sway the election in his favor.

“Can you believe that despite 93% bad stories from the Fake News Media (should be getting good stories), today we had just about our highest Poll Numbers, including those on Election Day?” Trump wrote on Friday. “The American public is wise to the phony an dishonest press. Make America Great Again!”

The 93 percent stat is a reference to the findings of a Harvard study on coverage of the President from 2017.u

As for his approval ratings, the president is in fact currently polling just slightly above normal with a nearly 40% approval rating according to FiveThirtyEight. It’s not the highest numbers he’s seen during his presidency, however — not even according to his favorite right-leaning poll, Rasmussen Reports, which previously had him at 50 percent. That poll now has him at 49 percent, while most other polls have him somewhere between 38 to 42 percent approval.

Trump once again praised himself when the Rasmussen poll hit 50 percent earlier this week before dipping again just before the weekend, attacking his predecessor with the fun new nickname he seemed to create earlier this month: “Cheatin’ Obama.”

Clearly the president is getting the weekend fun started early at Mar-A-Lago.

[Mediaite]

Trump: ‘Sometimes It May Not Look Like It, But Believe Me, We Are Draining the Swamp’

With his EPA chief facing a mountain of ethical controversies and his secretary of Veteran Affairs recently fired following a scandal over misusing taxpayer money during a European trip, President Donald Trump declared that he is holding up his promise to “drain the swamp.”

During a Rose Garden speech about tax reform, the president claimed that his administration doesn’t “care about the donors and special interests” and instead is only concerned with “making America great again.” This then led POTUS to

“From the day I took the oath of office, I’ve been fighting to drain the swamp and sometimes, it may not look like it, but believe me, we are draining the swamp and there are a lot of unhappy people,” Trump boldly stated.

He continued, “You can see that every day. All you have to do is turn on the news. Every time you see me hit, you know that I’m draining the swamp. And people don’t like it.”

So there you go. Regardless of the number of Trump administration officials dealing with scandals over their wasteful personal expenditures of taxpayer funds, the president is letting us all know that media criticism of him is proof that the swamp is being drained.

[Mediaite]

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