Trump delivers bizarre speech in Baltimore during Democratic debate

While the Democratic presidential candidates debated in Houston on Thursday night about environmental policy, the role of racism in American society, health care access, and other issues, President Donald Trump gave a speech to a House Republican retreat in Baltimore. The contrast between the president and the Democrats who are vying to take his job was remarkable.

Perhaps the clearest distinction came as Trump resurrected his fake middle-class tax cuts while Democrats had a detailed conversation about how to provide affordable health care to more people without dramatically raising taxes — within minutes of each other.

“We’re now working on a tax cut for middle-income people that is going to be very, very inspirational,” he told House Republicans, bringing up an idea he hyped just before last November’s midterm elections, only to forget about it as soon as it came and went. “It’s going to be something that I think it’s what everybody is looking for. We’ll be announcing it sometime in the next year.”

While one can pick holes in the tax plans offered by Democrats, at least they’re coherent plans. Trump, on the other hand, is offering soundbites that he thinks will play well with voters without seemingly having any intention of following through.

But Trump has a long history of this sort of thing. On Tuesday, for instance, he vowed that Republicans “will always protect patients with preexisting conditions,” despite the fact that two years ago he wholeheartedly embraced health care legislation that would’ve resulted in millions of people losing coverage. Trump even mocked the late Sen. John McCain during his speech for voting against it.

That was par for the course in Trump’s more than hour-long speech, during which he made a number of outlandish and self-refuting claims. He began by bragging about the move his administration made earlier in the day to repeal an Obama-era rule meant to limit pollution in America’s rivers, lakes, streams, and wetlands. But a short time later, he seemed to accidentally admit that rules of that sort have helped the country’s water remain relatively clean.

“The Clean Waters act didn’t give you clean waters — by the way, today we have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had in the history of our country,” Trump said, falsely, combining two statements that directly contradict each other.

When he wasn’t contradicting himself or gaslighting, Trump offered hyperbolic commentary about MS-13 (“They take young women. They slice them up with a knife. They slice them up — beautiful, young.”), Democratic presidential candidates (“They’re gonna take your money, they’re gonna take — and very much hurt — your families.), and expressed his now-familiar ignorance about wind energy.

“If you happen to be watching the Democrat debate and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not going to see the debate … ‘the goddamn windmill stopped!’” he said.

Trump even took aim at the city that was hosting the House Republican retreat, characterizing Baltimore as a city that has “been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule.” He closed by promising some sort of major federal action unless Los Angeles and San Francisco take quick action to clean up homelessness.

The spectacle was dark, and at times brutal. Republicans, as they have mostly done since Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, cheered.

Meanwhile, in Houston, Democratic presidential candidates took a few potshots at each other and, of course, at Trump — but they also got deep into the weeds of policy and outlined their respective visions of an America where immigrants are treated with respect, the climate crisis is taken seriously, and claims about health care proposals are backed up with actual plans.

The difference couldn’t have been clearer. Then again, it was just as clear in 2016.

[Vox]

Trump discourages black college students from becoming astronauts in bizarre anti-science rant

President Donald Trump went off-script and attacked astronauts as a career choice at an event for Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).

The president made the anti-science rant while congratulating his administrations work with HBCUs.

“To give just a few examples, NASA is expanding outreach to HBCUs who want to become scientists, engineers and even astronauts,” Trump said.

“I don’t know about the astronaut,” he added, breaking from prepared remarks. “I don’t want to be an astronaut.”

Trump then polled the audience: “Does anybody want to be an astronaut? I see one. There’s one brave person.”

[Raw Story]

Media

NOAA backs Trump on Alabama hurricane forecast, rebukes Weather Service for accurately contradicting him

The federal agency that oversees the National Weather Service has sided with President Trump over its own scientists in the ongoing controversy over whether Alabama was at risk of a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated Alabama was in fact threatened by the storm at the time Trump tweeted Alabama would “most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

Referencing archived hurricane advisories, the NOAA statement said that information provided to the president and the public between Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 “demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama.”

In an unusual move, the statement also admonished the National Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., which had released a tweet contradicting Trump’s claim and stating, “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

The NOAA statement said: “The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time.”

Released six days after Trump’s first tweet on the matter, the NOAA statement was unsigned, neither from the acting head of the agency nor any particular spokesman. It also came a day after the president’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser released a statement justifying Trump’s claims of the Alabama threat.

The NOAA statement Friday makes no reference to the fact that when Trump tweeted that Alabama was at risk, it was not in the National Hurricane Center’s “cone of uncertainty,” which is where forecasters determine the storm is most likely to track. Alabama also had not appeared in the cone in days earlier, and no Hurricane Center text product ever mentioned the state.

Trump’s tweet that Alabama would be affected by the storm gained national attention Wednesday when he presented a modified version of the forecast cone from Aug. 29, extended into Alabama — hand-drawn using a Sharpie. The crudely altered map appeared to represent an effort to retroactively justify the original Alabama tweet.

The doctored map went viral, becoming a source of ridicule among political pundits and late-night talk show hosts, who accused the president of dishonesty.

[The Washington Post]

Trump Administration Reverses Standards For Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs

The Trump administration is rolling back requirements for new, energy-efficient lightbulbs. The Energy Department announced the move on Wednesday, withdrawing standards that were to be put in place to make commonly used bulbs more efficient. 

The new standards were included in energy legislation implemented under President George W. Bush and finalized under the Obama administration. They were set to go into effect in January 2020 and gradually phase out incandescent and halogen bulbs. This includes the everyday pear-shaped bulbs as well as bulbs used for items such as bathroom vanities, recessed lighting and candle-shape lights, to be replaced with energy-efficient, LED versions, which are illuminated by light-emitting diodes. 

In its announcement of the rollback, the Energy Department says the new lightbulb standards were established in 2017 “in a manner that is not consistent with the best reading of the statute.” 

Last March, NPR’s Jeff Brady reported, “Thanks to a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush, shelves these days are largely stocked with LED bulbs that look more like the traditional pear-shape incandescent version but use just one-fifth the energy. A second wave of lightbulb changes was set to happen. But now the Trump administration wants to undo an Obama-era regulation designed to make a wide array of specialty lightbulbs more energy-efficient.”

Critics of the reversal say it will mean higher energy bills and more pollution. “The rollback will eliminate energy-efficient standards for lightbulbs that were slated to take effect in January that would save consumers billions of dollars and reduce millions of tons of climate change carbon dioxide emissions,” says Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

“The Trump administration is trying to protect technology that was first invented in the 1800s. It’s like trying to protect the horse and buggy from the automobile technology. It makes no sense to go back to technology from two centuries ago, when we have new technology today which saves consumers money and helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of power that we need,” deLaski said. 

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the affected bulbs account for billions of light sockets that are currently in use in the U.S. 

“The rollback will lead to higher energy bills for homes and businesses, plus significantly more pollution harming our health and the environment due to all the extra electricity that will need to be generated,” the NRDC said in a statement.

Some companies that manufacture lightbulbs opposed the expansion to higher standards of energy efficiency. 

DeLaski says, “Every time a consumer shifts to an LED, that lightbulb is going to last 10 years or longer. So the lightbulb manufacturers are trying to save technology that keeps the consumer coming back to buy another bulb every year, but still wastes a lot of energy.” 

The rollback is likely to face legal challenges from environmental groups, which said they would sue if the standards were reversed.

[NPR]

Trump Campaign Edits CNN Climate Special to Lie About Elizabeth Warren

President Donald Trump‘s reelection campaign posted an edited video in order to lie about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s remarks at a CNN climate change town hall, falsely insisting that she and the Democrats are coming for “Americans’ straws, cheeseburgers, and light bulbs.”

In a tweet that was flagged by Politico’s Alex Thompson, the so-called “Trump War Room” posted a clip of Warren that cuts off in mid-answer, along with their claim that “Elizabeth Warren and the radical Green New Deal Democrats have their eyes set on Americans’ straws, cheeseburgers, and light bulbs to ‘change our energy consumption.’ And that’s just the beginning!”

But the full exchange makes clear that Warren was saying the opposite, that while she supports individual action on those issues, they are distractions from policies aimed at carbon pollution.

On Wednesday night, moderator Chris Cuomo told Warren “Today the president announced plans to roll back energy-saving lightbulbs, and he wants to reintroduce four different kinds, which I’m not going to burden you with, but one of them is the candle-shaped ones, and those are a favorite for a lot of people, by the way,” and asked “But do you think that the government should be in the business of telling you what kind of lightbulb you can have?”

“Oh, come on, give me a break,” Warren began, as Cuomo asked “Is that a yes?”

“No,” Warren replied, adding that “there are a lot of ways that we try to change our energy consumption, and our pollution, and God bless all of those ways. Some of it is with lightbulbs, some of it is on straws, some of it, dang, is on cheeseburgers, right? There are a lot of different pieces to this. And I get that people are trying to find the part that they can work on and what can they do. And I’m in favor of that. And I’m going to help and I’m going to support.”

[Mediaite]

Trump defends Alabama forecast using old Dorian map with disclaimer

In a Wednesday afternoon tweet, President Trump shared a week-old hurricane graphic showing the various model runs for Dorian before it had even slammed into the Bahamas.

“This was the originally projected path of the Hurricane in its early stages. As you can see, almost all models predicted it to go through Florida also hitting Georgia and Alabama. I accept the Fake News apologies!” Trump said in the tweet, referencing the flak he has taken for having warned Alabama against the hurricane.

As the South Florida Water Management District plot shows, the president is correct to say early forecasts did acknowledge Dorian could have swept across the Florida Peninsula toward southeast Alabama.

However, meteorologists, journalists, and politicians have condemned the president for providing outdated information. He first warned Alabama could be hit “harder than anticipated” on Sunday, days after it became clear Dorian would instead ride along the East Coast away from Alabama.

The National Weather Station in Birmingham even put out a tweet after Trump first mentioned Alabama, asserting the state would not see “any impacts” from Dorian because it was projected to remain too far east.

As for his latest tweet, Trump did not mention that the hurricane model plot was dated Aug. 28 and his first warning for Alabama was on Sept. 1.

And what’s more, below the graphic is a disclaimer that says, “NHC Advisories and County Emergency Management Statements supersede this product. This graphic should compliment, not replace, NHC discussions. If anything on this graphic causes confusion, ignore the entire product.”

[Washington Examiner]

Reality

Here is the NWS map at the time of Trump’s tweet on September 1st.

Trump Displays Altered Map Of Hurricane Dorian’s Path To Include Alabama

On Wednesday, during an Oval Office briefing on Hurricane Dorian, President Trump displayed what appeared to be an official National Weather Service map from last Thursday, in which the storm’s projected path was extended to Alabama by someone using a black marker.

“We got lucky in Florida — very, very lucky indeed. We had actually, our original chart was that it was going to be hitting Florida directly,” Trump said.

Trump then asked for, and was handed, a large forecast map.

“That was the original chart, you see it was going to hit not only Florida but Georgia … and was going toward the Gulf, that’s what was originally projected. And it took a right turn. And ultimately, hopefully, we’re going to be lucky.”

“It’s heading up the coast, and Florida was grazed,” he said.

Meterologists and others zoomed in on the apparent Sharpie mark, and reaction to the alteration, as well as Trump’s use of an old map, was swift:

At a subsequent event, Trump was asked about the apparent addition to the map. “I don’t know,” he answered.

“I know that Alabama was in the original forecast they thought it would get it as a piece of it,” he said. He again insisted there were forecasts in which Alabama was considered in the storm’s path.

Some on Twitter also noted that, under law, knowingly issuing a false weather report is a violation of the law subject to imprisonment and or fine.

While Alabama remains out of Dorian’s path, coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina are under hurricane warnings as the storm is now projected to move up the Southeastern coast.

Over the weekend, President Trump also insisted that Dorian’s projected path included Alabama.

“Alabama could even be in for at least some very strong winds and something more than that, it could be,” he said Sunday. “This just came up, unfortunately. It’s the size of — the storm that we’re talking about. So, for Alabama, just please be careful also.”

At the end of last week, the National Hurricane Center did include Alabama in its prediction for tropical-force winds:

But by Sunday, the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., clarified that the state would not feel any affects of Dorian:

Trump is known to use Sharpies to sign bills and to mark up newspaper and magazine articles. But the White House has so far not commented on who altered the weather map, or if indeed a Sharpie was used.

[NPR]

Trump refused to back down from his claim that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama, even after the National Weather Service said it was false

US President Donald Trump has refused to back down from his claim that Hurricane Dorian was forecast to hit Alabama, even as the National Weather Service on Sunday rejected the president’s assertion.

In a tweet Monday, Trump focused his attack on the ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, who had reported on the network’s “World News Tonight” show that Trump on Sunday had “misstated the storm’s possible trajectory.”

“I suggested yesterday at FEMA that, along with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, even Alabama could possibly come into play, which WAS true,” the president tweeted Monday.

“They made a big deal about this when in fact, under certain original scenarios, it was in fact correct that Alabama could have received some ‘hurt.’ Always good to be prepared! But the Fake News is only interested in demeaning and belittling. Didn’t play my whole sentence or statement. Bad people!”

The NWS office in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sunday had unambiguously rejected the president’s assertion that Alabama was in the storm’s path.

On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: “In addition to Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.”

The NWS tweeted a response just 20 minutes later: “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east.”

The veteran meteorologist James Spann also rejected the president’s claim, tweeting Sunday: “Alabama will not be impacted by Dorian in any way.”

The White House has not responded to a request from Business Insider on the source of the president’s claim.

Despite the NWS’ correction, Trump continued to claim on Sunday that Alabama could be hit, once in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House and later in remarks at a meeting with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In its latest update on the storm, the National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday that Dorian was stationary just north of the Bahamasbut that a sharp turn northward could cause it to directly hit the coast of Florida.

Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas have all declared states of emergency in response to the storm, with mandatory evacuations affecting more than 1 million people in coastal areas.

[Business Insider]

Trump vents over Axios report on hurricane nuking idea

President Trump on Tuesday again lashed out at Axios over the outlet’s report that the president suggested using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes. 

“Axios (whatever that is) sat back and said GEEEEE, let’s see, what can we make up today to embarrass the President? Then they said, ‘why don’t we say he wants to bomb a hurricane, that should do it!’ The media in our Country is totally out of control!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

The president previously called the report a “phony story” that the “Fake News is still trying to perpetuate.” 

Axios reported Sunday that sources said Trump has suggested the option multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officers. 

Axios reported that unnamed sources recalled situations they overheard in meetings or had been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded the president’s alleged comments about nuking hurricanes.

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan tweeted that he stands by “every word in the story” after the first round of Trump’s pushback. 

At the time of Axios’s report, a senior administration official told the outlet, “We don’t comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team.”

Trump’s latest tweet denying the report came after one of his Republican primary challengers, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, sent a campaign email fundraising off of the Axios report.

“We couldn’t believe our eyes, Friend. But yes, this headline was — in fact — real,” the email to supporters said, with an image of Axios’s Sunday headline “Scoop: Trump suggested nuking hurricane to stop them from hitting U.S.”

“How does this make you feel about Donald Trump having his hands on our nation’s nuclear code? Yeah, we don’t feel so great about it either,” he added.

[The Hill]

Reality

And it’s funny that “stable genius” Trump doesn’t know who Axios is, as they were the only media outlet embedded with his 2016 campaign, and he conducted an interview with them just a few short months ago which you can watch in full here:

Trump skips G7 climate summit with aides lying about scheduling conflict

President Donald Trump skipped a session devoted to climate change at the G7 summit here, a snub aides wrote off as a scheduling conflict but nonetheless reflects Trump’s isolation on the issue.

As other leaders were taking their seats around a large round table, the chair reserved for Trump sat empty. The summit’s host, French President Emmanuel Macron, gaveled the meeting to order anyway and launched into an explanation of a wrist watch made from recycled plastic.

Later, the White House said Trump’s schedule prevented his attendance.

“The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

But the leaders of both those countries — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — were both seen attending, at least for the start of the session.

An official said the staffer who replaced Trump worked for the National Security Council.

Speaking afterward, Macron seemed to shrug off Trump’s absence.

“He wasn’t in the room, but his team was,” Macron said at a news conference. He urged reporters not to read too much into Trump’s decision to skip the session, insisting the US is aligned with the rest of the G7 on issues of biodiversity and combating fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Still, Macron acknowledged Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord — a move that angered European nations, who remain part of the pact. Macron said it was no longer his goal to convince Trump to return to the agreement.

In the lead-up to the G7, Trump’s aides said he wasn’t entirely interested in the climate portions of the summit, believing them a waste of time compared to discussion of the economy.

After past G7s, Trump complained that too much time was spent on issues he deemed unimportant, like clearing oceans of plastics.

But Macron made climate one of the main focuses of this year’s gathering anyway, scheduling the session on Monday and insisting the leaders address the Amazon fires.

That was bound to create divisions between Trump and the other leaders. Trump has loosened environmental regulations in the United States, even as he claims that water and air are at their cleanest levels ever.

[CNN]

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