Trump Pledges To Designate Antifa A ‘Terrorist Organization’ In A Distraction From His Failures

As overlapping crises convulse an anxious nation, President Trump on Sunday sought to cast blame for widespread protests gripping cities on “radical-left anarchists,” while adding that the media “is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy.”

The president has said that members of the loosely defined far-left group Antifa — short for “anti-fascists” — have led clashes with police and looting in cities across the U.S. since the killing of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis.

It’s unclear if any group or groups are primarily responsible for escalating protests that began following George Floyd’s death on May 25 as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck.

In one tweet on Sunday, Trump said the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” It’s something he has previously floated, and last year two Republican senators introduced a resolution that sought to designate the group as a domestic terrorist organization.

Following Trump’s tweet, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that “[f]ederal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest.”

Barr added: “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

The clashes, spreading to dozens of cities across the U.S., follow a series of racist incidents and deaths of black people, including Floyd’s on Monday.

Chauvin, now a former Minneapolis police officer, was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck while holding him in custody as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers present at the scene have been fired but not arrested or charged.Article continues after sponsor message

Protests and clashes that have since followed come at a time of unprecedented crisis for the country, with confirmed deaths from the coronavirus pandemic topping 100,000 and millions of people out of work as a result of broad business shutdowns. Minorities, including African Americans, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 deaths and pandemic-induced economic peril.

Trump addressed the demonstrations Saturday,striking a milder tone than he has on Twitter during prepared remarks following a space launch in Florida. He said Floyd’s death “has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.” He added that he “understands the pain that people are feeling” and supports peaceful protest, but that “the memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists.”

“He should just sometimes stop talking”

Apart from Saturday’s remarks, though, Trump has not often played a unifying role in recent days. His tweets about radical-left anarchists have also included criticism of Democratic leadership in Minnesota. In another tweet on Sunday, he blamed the mainstream media for fomenting “hatred and anarchy.”

On Friday, Trump tweeted provocatively that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase with a racist history that Trump said he was not aware of. Later on, he said his intent was not to make a threat but to register a statement of concern that armed violence can accompany looting.

Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, said on Fox News Sunday that the president’s tweets about demonstrations turning violent are “not constructive.”

Speaking on ABC’s This Week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Sunday morning that she’s not paying attention to Trump’s inflammatory tweets. Instead, she said he “should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along. They have seen their responsibility to be the president of the United States, to unify our country and not to fuel the flame.”

Also Sunday, Keisha Lance Bottoms — mayor of Atlanta, one city that has seen protests and clashes with police — told CBS’ Face the Nation that Trump’s tweets are “making it worse” and “he should just sometimes stop talking.”

In his own statement on Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote that “Protesting [Floyd’s killing] is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not.” He added that as president, he’d lead the conversation about turning the nation’s “anguish to purpose.”

Biden made an unannounced visit on Sunday to the site in Wilmington, Del., where protests had taken place the night before.

[NPR]

Trump tweets baseless conspiracy theory accusing Joe Scarborough of murder

President Trump again baselessly accused MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murdering his intern in 2001 in a tweet Saturday, calling on his followers to “keep digging” and to “use forensic geniuses” to find out more about a death that occurred at Scarborough’s Florida office when he was a member of Congress.

Why it matters: Trump has had a lengthy feud with Scarborough and his wife Mika Brzezinski, who host “Morning Joe” and are often critical of the president and his administration. Brzezinski demanded last week that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stop allowing Trump to “abuse” the platform by spreading conspiracy theories.

The president’s tweet referred to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old aide at Scarborough’s office. 

  • Authorities determined that she died after losing consciousness from an abnormal heart rhythm and collapsed, striking her head, the Washington Post reports.
  • Police ruled that Klausutis’ death was accidental and never suspected foul play.

[Axios]


Trump Blasts ‘Anti-Trump People’ at Fox After Cavuto Hydroxychloroquine Pushback: ‘Looking for a New Outlet!’

After President Donald Trump announced he was taking hydroxychloroquine, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto was incredibly stunned and took a few minutes to warn viewers about the side effects.

Those who took it, in a vulnerable population, including those with respiratory or other conditions, they died. I want to stress again — they died. If you are in a risky population here and you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or, in a worst-case scenario, you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you. I cannot stress that enough. This will kill you,” he said.

Based on his retweeting tonight, it’s clear the president wasn’t exactly happy to hear what the Fox News anchor had to say:

[Mediaite]

Trump tears into ’60 Minutes’ after segment with whistleblower Bright

President Trump took aim at CBS News and its flagship news magazine program, “60 Minutes,” on Sunday after the program interviewed whistleblower Rick Bright, former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

In a tweet, the president excoriated CBS and its “third place anchor, @NorahODonnell,” whom he accused of “doing everything in their power to demean our Country, much to the benefit of the Radical Left Democrats.”

“Tonight they put on yet another Fake “Whistleblower”, a disgruntled employee who supports Dems, fabricates stories & spews lies. @60Minutes report was incorrect, which they couldn’t care less about. Fake News!” he tweeted.

“This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice & harm. I hope you are listening [Sen. Susan Collins.] I also hope that Shari Redstone will take a look at her poorly performing gang. She knows how to make things right!” Trump added. Redstone is the chairwoman of ViacomCBS.

Bright, who last week slammed the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 crisis during testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, told CBS News that he was not “disgruntled,” as Trump has described him, but instead was frustrated with the administration’s response to the virus threat.

“Remember, the entire leadership was focused on containment. There was a belief that we could contain this virus and keep it out of the United States,” he said. “Containment doesn’t work. Containment does buy time. It could slow. It very well could slow the spread. But while you’re slowing the spread, you better be doing something in parallel to be prepared for when that virus breaks out. That was my job.”
“I am not disgruntled,” Bright added. “I am frustrated at a lack of leadership. I am frustrated at a lack of urgency to get a head start on developing lifesaving tools for Americans. I’m frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists. Those things frustrate me.”

Bright told the House committee last week that “unprecedented illness and fatalities” would occur if the U.S. coronavirus response does not improve in upcoming months, and cast doubt on predictions that the U.S. would see a COVID-19 vaccine developed in the next year and a half.

[The Hill]

The President Says He “Can’t Get Enough” of His Supporters Harassing the Press

On Thursday, Kevin Vesey, a TV reporter for News12 Long Island, visited a local protest against the remaining restrictions put in place by New York to stem the spread of the coronavirus, filing a studiously restrained segment for broadcast.

But on Twitter, he decided to share a small piece of raw footage showing how he was harassed by the demonstrators as he went about his job of capturing their demands and relaying them to a wider audience. The footage circulated widely among journalists on Thursday and Friday, often accompanied by laments about the protesters’ targeting of Vesey. In under a minute, the video captures him being called “traitor,” “hack,” “disgusting,””the enemy of the people,” and, inevitably, “fake news.” All are, of course, phrases President Donald Trump has deployed against journalists who cover his administration.

On Friday night, the President himself retweeted the video, mimicking a chant the protestors had shouted: “Fake news is nonessential.” On Saturday morning, he retweeted it again, endorsing his supporters’ harassment by calling them “great people” and claiming that “people can’t get enough of this.” 

Vesey shared the footage with his Twitter followers because it made him alarmed. Trump shared the footage with his Twitter followers because it made him proud. 

[Mother Jones]


‘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]

Trump blasts Fox News, says he wants an “alternative” network

President Trump tore into Fox News in a series of tweets on Sunday night, claiming that he has “no respect” for the network’s leadership and that it “keeps on plugging to try and become politically correct.”

Why it matters: It’s the latest chapter in Trump’s love-hate relationship with the network. While he continues to praise and live-tweet several of his favorite Fox News shows, the president has taken a more critical overall tone toward the outlet in recent months.

What he’s tweeting:

“@FoxNews just doesn’t get what’s happening! They are being fed Democrat talking points, and they play them without hesitation or research. They forgot that Fake News @CNN & MSDNC wouldn’t let @FoxNews participate, even a little bit, in the poor ratings Democrat Debates.

Even the Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats laughed at the Fox suggestion. No respect for the people running @FoxNews. But Fox keeps on plugging to try and become politically correct. They put RINO Paul Ryan on their Board. They hire ‘debate questions to Crooked Hillary’ fraud @donnabrazile (and others who are even worse).

Chris Wallace is nastier to Republicans than even Deface the Nation or Sleepy Eyes. The people who are watching @FoxNews, in record numbers (thank you President Trump), are angry. They want an alternative now. So do I!”

Between the lines: Trump has evidently found the “alternative” he’s calling for in One America News Network. He has repeatedly praised the network’s coverage of his administration and has offered favorable treatment to its reporters.

  • Trump tweeted earlier this month: “Watching @FoxNews on weekend afternoons is a total waste of time. We now have some great alternatives, like @OANN.”

[Axios]

Trump rips media, says ‘I work from early in the morning until late at night’

President Trump ripped into the media Sunday in response to a report about his work schedule, saying that he toils from morning until night in a series of tweets.

“The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history. I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it!” the president said in the first of a string of Twitter messages.

“I work from early in the morning until late at night, haven’t left the White House in many months (except to launch Hospital Ship Comfort) in order to take care of Trade Deals, Military Rebuilding etc., and then I read a phony story in the failing @nytimes about my work schedule and eating habits, written by a third rate reporter who knows nothing about me,” he continued.

“I will often be in the Oval Office late into the night & read & see that I am angrily eating a hamburger & Diet Coke in my bedroom. People with me are always stunned. Anything to demean!” Trump said.

His ire appeared to be directed at a New York Times report published last Thursday that claimed the president has been isolated in the White House during the coronavirus pandemic and described him as a “sour president.”

Trump on Sunday also blasted “‘reporters’ who have received Noble Prizes for their work on Russia, Russia, Russia, only to have been proven totally wrong (and, in fact, it was the other side who committed the crimes),” possibly referring to the Pulitzer awards.

“I can give the Committee a very comprehensive list. When will the Noble Committee DEMAND the Prizes back, especially since they were gotten under fraud? The reporters and Lamestream Media knew the truth all along,” he said.

“Lawsuits should be brought against all, including the Fake News Organizations, to rectify this terrible injustice. For all of the great lawyers out there, do we have any takers? When will the Noble Committee Act? Better be fast!”

[New York Post]

Trump melts down demanding reporters return ‘Noble’ prizes he says they won for investigating him

President Donald Trump claimed on Sunday that members of the news media are getting “Noble Prizes” for investigating his administration.

The president made the assertion in an afternoon rant on Twitter.

Commenters quickly pointed out that Trump not only spelled “Nobel” incorrectly, but he also was mostly likely referring to Pulitzer Prizes that were awarded to reporters at The New York Times and Washington Post for their investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

[Raw Story]

White House Tried To Move CNN Reporter To Back Of Briefing Room Before Trump Walked Out

President Donald Trump is not a fan of CNN.

He clashes almost daily with reporters from the liberal cable network, and he once had a White House pass pulled from a reporter, Jim Acosta.

Trump got into another battle with the network last week — and lost.

A White House official on Friday ordered a CNN reporter to swap her front-row seat with another reporter at the back of the briefing just before Trump appeared for his daily press conference with the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The reporter, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, refused to swap seats, as did the other reporter. The official then said the Secret Service would get involved.

The seating chart in the briefing room is set by the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), currently headed up by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, another reporter Trump doesn’t like.

Chris Johnson, a reporter with the Washington Blade, sent out a print pool report to other reporters detailing what happened.

“Earlier today before the briefing, a White House official instructed the print pooler to take CNN’s seat in the briefing room because the seating would be swapped for the briefing. Given the seating assignment is under the jurisdiction of the White House Correspondents’ Association, not the White House, pooler refused to move. The White House official then informed the print pooler swapping wasn’t an option and the Secret Service was involved. Again, pooler refused to move, citing guidance from the WHCA. The briefing proceeded with both CNN and print pooler sitting in their respective assigned seats,” Johnson wrote.

Friday’s briefing marked the first time Trump had held the briefing and then left without taking questions.

Other reporters applauded the pair for fighting back.

“We just got word the briefing will begin in one minute. Reporters were not moved. Shout out to @chrisjohnson82 @kaitlancollins and the @whca for standing their ground,” wrote Hunter Walker, White House correspondent with Yahoo News.

Trump had clashed with Collins just the day before. In his briefing Thursday, Trump dismissed a question from a reporter about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s health, saying it arose from an “incorrect” report from CNN. Collins tried to ask a follow-up question, but Trump interrupted her.

“No, that’s enough,” he said. “The problem is, you don’t write the truth.” Collins tried to ask again, but Trump said, “No, not CNN. I told you, CNN is fake news. Don’t talk to me.”

Acosta’s press pass was revoked in November 2018 after a press conference held by Trump. The White House rebuked Acosta for “placing his hands on a young woman” after he refused to give up the microphone, pushing a White House intern’s hand away as she tried to take back the microphone.

“As a result of today’s incident, the White House is suspending the hard pass of the reporter involved until further notice,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote on Twitter, adding a video when she said, “We stand by our decision.”

Acosta sued and got his pass back.

[Daily Wire]

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