Trump, When Confronted on ‘Unknown Middle Easterners’ Caravan Tweet, Says ‘Take Your Cameras and Search’

President Donald Trump this afternoon stood by his claim that there are “unknown Middle Easterners” in the migrant caravan coming to the border, a baseless claim he apparently got from Fox News.

One reporter asked him for evidence that there are terrorists in the caravan, and Trump responded by saying, “You know what you should do, John? Go into the middle of the caravan, take your cameras, and search.”

“Take your camera, go into the middle, and search,” Trump said. “You’re gonna find MS-13, you’re gonna find Middle Eastern, you’re gonna find everything. And guess what? We’re not allowing them in our country. We want safety.”

For the record, some reporters actually fact-checked the President’s claim earlier today:

[Mediaite]

Trump: US to ‘begin cutting off’ aid to countries associated with migrant caravan

President Trump on Monday said that the U.S. will begin to cut off or reduce aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as citizens of those countries flee for the U.S. as part of a so-called caravan of migrants.

In a trio of tweets, the president escalated his rhetoric surrounding the group of migrants, declaring a national emergency as they approach the border and claiming that “unknown Middle Easterners” had joined the group.

Trump, in the tweets, did not offer any evidence for the charge that people from the Middle East were among those crossing the border.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” Trump wrote in a tweet.

“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National [Emergency]. Must change laws!”

Trump had previously threatened to cut off aid to those countries if they did not act to stop their citizens from fleeing. It’s unclear if Trump will take unilateral action to reduce foreign aid, as Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until after the midterm elections.

Experts have noted that human rights laws restrict actions a government can take to prevent its citizens from leaving its borders.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill about plans to cut foreign aid or to declare a national emergency.

[The Hill]

Trump Claims Without Evidence ‘Unknown Middle Easterners Are Mixed In’ With Immigrant Caravan

President Donald Trump — in full midterms push — claimed on on Monday that “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in” with the caravan of Central American immigrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Like many of the president’s unfounded tweets, this one was likely inspired by Fox & Friends, which has given wall-to-wall coverage of the caravan on Monday, with guests repeatedly suggesting that ISIS and other Islamic terror groups could be infiltrating the group.

“Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States,” Trump wrote. “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!”

The Fox & Friends coverage that appears to have inspired Trump’s tweet about “unknown Middle Easterners” is based on comments by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales that authorities have arrested 100 people suspected to be involved with terror, over some period of time, in his country. Watch Pete Hegseth bring that up in the video above, and make the leap to tie that comment to the caravan of immigrants.

Per ABC News:

[Mediaite]

Trump Rails Against Migrant Caravan in Twitter Tirade: ‘A Disgrace to the Democrat Party’

Donald Trump launched a Twitter attack Sunday against a growing Central American migrant caravan hoping to enter the U.S., stating he plans to block it.

“Full efforts are being made to stop the onslaught of illegal aliens from crossing our Souther (sic) Border,” he wrote Sunday afternoon. “People have to apply for asylum in Mexico first, and if they fail to do that, the U.S. will turn them away. The courts are asking the U.S. to do things that are not doable!”

The Commander-in-Chief then followed-up on that post with a frustrated message calling the caravan “a disgrace to the Democrat Party,” adding, “Change the immigration laws NOW!”

The group of migrants, which has swelled to 5,000 according to the Associated Press, intends to reach the U.S., having overcome efforts by Mexican officials to thwart it.

In a bold assertion made yesterday, Trump told reporters “in many cases, these are hardened criminals.”

The president has been increasingly outspoken on immigration as the November midterms loom.

[Mediaite]

Trump Insists Russian Hackers ‘Probably Liked Hillary Clinton Better than Me’

During a press opportunity in Scottsdale, AZ on Friday, President Donald Trump was asked about the indictment of a Russian national accused of influencing the election.

Trump promptly suggested that it had nothing do with his campaign, and if anything, the hackers probably liked Hillary Clinton more.

“Nothing to do with my campaign,” Trump said.  “All the hackers, and all of the everybody that you see, nothing to do with my campaign. If they are hackers, a lot of them probably liked Hillary Clinton better than me. Now they do. Now they do. But you know, they go after some hacker in Russia, oh, had nothing to do with my campaign.”

Trump’s comments come on the same day as the Justice Department indicted a woman for interference in the midterm elections.

Elena Khusyaynova was charged with sowing discord in the United States by pushing misinformation on divisive political issues. It is the first case of a foreign national being indicted for interfering in the upcoming midterms.

[Mediaite]

Trump baselessly claims Democrats are behind migrant caravan

Donald Trump thrust a caravan of migrants heading toward the US border into the midterm election campaign, saying at a rally on Thursday night that the race will be “an election of the caravan”.

A group that now numbers about 3,000 people has left Honduras and has reached Guatemala’s border with Mexico, with the ultimate goal of reaching the US – infuriating Trump.

“It’s going to be an election of the caravan. You know what I’m talking about,” Trump told supporters at a rally in Missoula, Montana, declaring his intention to use the migrants’ journey as a bludgeon against Democratic candidates.

There is evidence that Trump’s use of the caravan as a campaign issue may be effective among the Republican base. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 75% of voters who intend to vote for a Republican congressional candidate consider illegal immigration a “very big” problem for the country.

That makes it the top-rated issue for Republican leaning voters. By contrast, only 19% of voters supporting a Democrat called illegal immigration a very big problem. Democratic voters instead called gun violence, the affordability of healthcare and college education, government ethics, the gap between the rich and poor, and a host of other issues very big problems.

Trump claimed, without any supporting evidence, that Democrats were behind the caravan, and raised conspiracy theories that the Central Americans had been paid to come to the United States for political reasons.

“Now we’re starting to find out – and I won’t say it 100%, I’ll put a little tiny question mark at the end. But we’re probably not going to need it, but we have the fake news back there,” he told the crowd, adding a familiar jab at news reporterscovering his campaign appearances.

“A lot of money’s been passing through people to come up and try to get to the border by election day, because they think that’s a negative for us. Number one, they’re being stopped. And number two, regardless, that’s our issue.”

Trump appeared to be referring to a video postedby the Florida representative Matt Gaetz, which he claimed showed women and children being given cash to “storm the US border @ election time”. He suggested without evidence that the source could be “Soros? US-backed NGOs?” referring to George Soros, an American billionaire who is the frequent subject of rightwing conspiracy theories.

A journalist who interviewed people on the ground where the video was taken reported that local merchants had collected money and given it out as aid to migrants. He located the site in Guatemala, not Honduras as the congressman had claimed.

Gaetz later posted a tacit correction, saying he had believed the video was taken in Honduras because it was sent to him by a Honduran official.

Speaking of Democrats, Trump said: “They wanted that caravan. And there are those who say that caravan didn’t just happen. It didn’t just happen.”

Trump threatened on Thursday to close the US-Mexico border and deploy the military if caravan members approach the frontier.

The Mexican government said it was in touch with members of the caravan, some of whom have arrived at the country’s southern border seeking refuge, and will process any legitimate claims for entry in an orderly manner. Mexican officials have said that anyone who enters illegally will be subject to deportation.

Despite the extremist campaign trail rhetoric, the Trump administration has supported a Mexican government plan to work with the United Nations refugee agency to deal with the caravan, USA Today reported.

[The Guardian]

Trump Says He Doesn’t Regret Remarks About Gianforte Assaulting Reporter: The Congressman is a ‘Tough Cookie’

President Donald Trump, to perhaps no one’s surprise, is completely standing by his jovial comments about a Republican congressman’s assault of a reporter.

Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) attacking Ben Jacobs became the subject of a Trump riff last night during a rally, in which the President actually said, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy.”

The White House Correspondents Association condemned Trump’s remarks, and today, as the President answered questions about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, one reporter asked, “Do you regret bringing up last night at your rally the assault on a reporter by a congressman?”

Trump said he doesn’t, adding, “That was a different world. That was a different league, a different world, no. He’s just a great guy.”

He talked about his “tremendous success” last night and said, “Greg is a tremendous person and he’s a tough cookie and I’ll stay with that.”

[Mediaite]

Trump: Elizabeth Warren ‘Owes the Country an Apology,’ I’ll Give the Money ‘If I Can Test Her Personally’

President Donald Trump took questions from reporters while in Georgia this afternoon surveying the damage from Hurricane Michael.

And he was asked again for his reaction to Elizabeth Warren––whom he has insulted as “Pocahontas” multiple times––releasing her DNA test today.

One reporter asked the President if he owes her an apology. Trump responded, “She owes the country an apology. What’s the percentage? 1/1000?”

Trump was also asked about the money he offered to Warren to prove Native American heritage and he said this:

“You mean, if she gets the nomination, in a debate, where I was gonna have her tested? I’ll only do it if I can test her personally, okay? That will not be something I enjoy doing either.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Praises Rep. Gianforte For Assaulting Reporter: Anyone Who Can Body Slam is ‘My Kind of Guy’

 President Donald Trump praised a Republican congressman who body slammed a reporter last year, saying the lawmaker was “my guy.”

Trump, speaking at a rally in Montana, said Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter who asked him a question, was a good guy.

“Greg is smart and, by the way, never wrestle him,” the president said, motioning as though he was slamming someone to the ground. “Any guy that can do a body slam — he’s my guy.”

He added Gianforte was a “great guy” and a “tough cookie.”

In May 2017, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs said Gianforte “body slammed” him for asking a question during an event. Gianforte went on to win Montana’s only U.S. House seat despite the misdemeanor charge and two Montana papers — the Missoulian and the Billings Gazette — rescinding their endorsements.

Gianforte’s campaign initially released a statement claiming Jacobs had “aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face” and instigated the attack. Gianforte later pleaded guilty to an assault charge and apologized for the incident, pledging a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Gianforte is in a battle against Democrat and former state legislator Kathleen Williams in next month’s election.

Guardian Editor John Mulholland denounced the president’s praise for the assault as an attack on the First Amendment.

“The President of the United States tonight applauded the assault on an American journalist who works for the Guardian,” he said in a statement given to CNN. “To celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it.”

Mulholland continued, saying the rhetoric was dangerous, especially given the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Mulholland said this “runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”

During the rally, Trump talked about learning of the assault and said he initially worried Gianforte would lose his election last year.

“I said, ‘Oh, this is terrible. He’s going to lose the election,”‘ Trump told the crowd. “Then I said, ‘Well, wait a minute. I know Montana pretty well. I think it might help him and it did.'”

Throughout his rally, the president made several remarks about Gianforte’s attack on Jacobs. He cited the incident when he mentioned comments by former Vice President Joe Biden, who said that if he’d known Trump in high school he would have “beat the hell out of” him.

The president challenged Biden during the rally, saying “He’d be down faster than Greg would take him down. He’d be down so fast. Faster than Greg. I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

[USA Today]

Media

Trump Talks Fighting Joe Biden: ‘He’d Be Down Faster’ Than Greg Gianforte Could ‘Take Him Down’

President Donald Trump fired off tough words at Joe Biden at a rally on Thursday night, boasting he would knock him down faster than Rep. Greg Gianforte could, the Montana Republican who attacked a reporter during his campaign for Congress.

After praising Gianforte for body slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, a crime for which the lawmaker was just sentenced, Trump brought up his feud with former Vice President Biden.

“How about Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump said, while listing off his potential 2020 competitors. “Remember he challenged me to a fight.”

“And when I said he wouldn’t last long, he’d be down faster than Greg would take him down,” Trump continued. “He’d be down so fast. Remember? Faster than Greg. I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

During the 2016 campaign, Biden criticized Trump’s “disgusting assertion” about groping women on the access Hollywood Tape.

“The press always asks me: don’t I wish I were debating him,” Biden said in a speech. “No, I wish we were in high school—I could take him behind the gym. That’s what I wish.”

Those comments prompted a war of words between the two, with Trump saying Biden would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way.” Biden eventually said he regretted his comments.

[Mediaite]

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