Trump bizarrely claims tariffs have previously paid for America’s highways and military in bonkers ‘no debt’ tweet

In a late Sunday morning tweet, President Donald Trump claimed that past administrations paid cash collected from tariffs to fund America’s military and build highways.

Skipping over U.S. taxation collections and government borrowing, the president claimed, “When our Country had no debt and built everything from Highways to the Military with CASH, we had a big system of Tariffs. Now we allow other countries to steal our wealth, treasure, and jobs – But no more! The USA is doing great, with unlimited upside into the future!”

You can see the tweet below:

[Raw Story]

Trump Invents Quote From Kevin McCarthy to Tout Support on Tariffs, Border Policy

It would appear that President Donald Trump drastically twisted a recent quote from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in order to claim he’s on solid political footing with his plans to put tariffs on Mexico.

On Wednesday, Trump thanked McCarthy on Twitter because he supposedly said this about the president’s plans:

There’s just a slight problem: that quote doesn’t seem to exist anywhere except in Trump’s tweet.

Politico traced the so-called quote to an interview McCarthy gave to Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night, during which, the Fox News host asked him about Trump’s tariffs.

Here are those remarks in full:

“No. No, we support this president. And why, when you’re about to have a meeting – the secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is meeting with Mexico tomorrow. We want to solve this crisis at the border – Why wouldn’t you help them be as strong as they can be? Stand up with him, and you know what, if you give the president his strongest hand, you’ll never end up with tariffs and we’ll have a border that is secure.”

As you can see, this is rather different from how McCarthy supposedly said that support for Trump’s tariffs “makes any measure the President takes on the Border totally Veto proof.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Tweets Wildly Inflated Death Toll for Sri Lanka Bombings

President Donald Trump botched his initial statement about the deadly bombings in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning, tweeting that the death toll was in the hundreds of millions.

“Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels that have killed at least 138 million people and badly injured 600 more. We stand ready to help!” Trump wrote in a tweet that was left up for at least 20 minutes before he corrected the number to 138, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Before noticing the error and taking the tweet down, Trump then tweeted to wish the country a “Happy Easter.”

Trump’s condolences come in the wake of a brutal series of bombings at luxury hotels and churches in Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa on Easter Sunday. The latest reported death count estimated that 207 people had been killed in the blasts.

Police have made a handful of arrests, according to CNN, but no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

[Mother Jones]

Trump threatens an SNL Rerun with federal investigation for mocking him

Donald Trump is taking his fixation with Saturday Night Live to a new level.

The President tweeted in the early Sunday morning hours a threat to have the NBC late night comedy series investigated by a federal agency. The offense? Mocking him.

“It’s truly incredible that shows like Saturday Night Live, not funny/no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person (me), over & over, without so much of a mention of ‘the other side,’” the president wrote. “Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows. Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia! Such one sided media coverage, most of it Fake News. Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA”

Oddly, SNL didn’t even air a new episode last night, but rather a repeat that featured at least one Trump sketch (with Alec Baldwin reprising his role as Trump).

Of course, entertainment programming mocking newsworthy figures is protected as free speech. Trump seems to be referring to the “equal time rule” which mandates that U.S. broadcast TV stations give equal air-time opportunities to opposing political candidates in prime-time if requested. But Trump is president, not a candidate, and SNL is in late-night and, again, parody. There’s also FCC’s “fairness doctrine,” a regulation that required networks to give balanced coverage to matters of public controversy. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987.

Trump has long slammed SNL, shown hostility toward mockery in general and is known to hardly ever laughthis link opens in a new tab (“I’ve never seen him laugh. Not in public, not in private,” former FBI Director James Comey told ABC). Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone has said Trump decided to run for president after President Obama mocked him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner — a celebration and roast that Trump has refused to attend as president.  

Donald Trump Bashes Electoral College Despite Winning

Donald Trump, who is president despite receiving 2.87 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, complains that “the Electoral College is a big advantage for Democrats, not for Republicans.”

This is a repeated claim by Trump, last said in Helsinki during the same press conference where he bowed down to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The reality is the last Republican who was elected to office with a larger popular vote than his opponent was George H. W. Bush in 1992. The Electoral College has been an advantage for Republicans for over 20 years.

The president just called the CEO of Apple ‘Tim Apple’

Tim Cook is a pretty well-known figure in the business world. I know a lot of people don’t care about computers and that’s fine, but if you’re in the industry or having some sort of professional interaction with him, I have to think people usually know his name going in.

And yet, at an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting today, the president pretty unmistakably called Tim Cook “Tim Apple.”

At first I thought I was just hearing things? Then I thought it might have been part of a trailing sentence like “Thank you Tim… Apple is doing great.” But no, he stops pretty abruptly after saying Apple, and it really sounds like he thinks that’s the last name.

I went through the trouble of transcribing what the president said, just to be sure this is all really happening:

We’re going to be opening up the labor forces because we have to. We have so many companies coming in,” Trump says. “People like Tim — you’re expanding all over and doing things that I really wanted you to do right from the beginning. I used to say, ‘Tim, you gotta start doing it here,’ and you really have you’ve really put a big investment in our country. We appreciate it very much, Tim Apple.

[The Verge]

Media

Trump claims Otto Warmbier comments were ‘misinterpreted’

President Trump on Friday claimed that he was “misinterpreted” when he said he took Kim Jong Un “at his word” when the dictator denied knowing what happened to US college student Otto Warmbier’s while he was in a North Korean prison.

“I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family. Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch,” Trump wrote on Twitter after increasing criticism of his acceptance of Kim’s denial.

“Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!” he continued, without mentioning Kim or his denial.

Earlier Friday, Warmbier’s parents directly blamed Kim for their son’s death and blasted his “evil regime.”

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a scathing statement that rebuked Trump’s assertion.

“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that,” added the couple, who were Trump’s guests at his 2018 State of the Union address.

The president drew criticism when he praised Kim’s leadership and said he believed the despot’s claims that he was unaware of how the 22-year-old college student from Ohio had been treated in a North Korean prison.

“Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really, really bad things. But he tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump said during a press conference after his summit with Kim broke down.

“I really don’t think it was in his interest at all,” he said, adding that Kim felt “very badly” about the young man’s death.

[New York Post]

Trump Cabinet Member Literally Bans a Word Because He Can’t Explain it to Trump

Trump U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — a cabinet-level official — tried repeatedly to explain what a “Memorandum of Understanding” is to Trump before finally giving up and promising never to use the term again, all during a nationally-televised photo op.

During remarks in the Oval Office prior to a meeting with Vice Premier Liu He of China Friday, Trump was asked about Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between China and the United States, and Trump told reporters “I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything. To me, they don’t mean anything. I think you’re better off just going into a document. I was never a fan of an MOU.”

“An MOU is a contract,” Lighthizer explained, adding that “It’s the way trade agreements are generally used,” that “It’s an actual contract between the two parties,” that “A memorandum of understanding is a binding agreement between two people,” and that “It’s detailed; it covers everything in great detail.”

“It’s just called a memorandum of understanding,” Lighthizer explained again, for a fifth and sixth time. “That’s a legal term. It’s a contract.”

Moments later, Trump said “I disagree. I think that a memorandum of understanding is not a contract to the extent that we want. We’re going to have — we’re doing a memorandum of understanding that will be put into a final contract, I assume. But, to me, the final contract is really the thing, Bob — and I think you mean that, too — is really the thing that means something.”

Trump again told Lighthizer that an MOU “doesn’t mean very much,” and asked, “how long will it take to put that into a final, binding contract?”

“From now on, we’re not using the word ‘memorandum of understanding’ anymore,” Lighthizer said, to laughter from the room. “We’re going to the term ‘trade agreement.’ All right? No more. We’ll never use the term again.”

“Good,” Trump said.

“We’ll have the same document,” Lighthizer added. “It’s going to be called a ‘trade agreement.’ We’re never going to use ‘MOU’ again.”

And so the MOU goes out, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Here’s hoping nobody ever tries to explain “Bill of Rights” to Trump.

Watch the video above, from The White House.

[Mediaite]

Trump hints at a softer stance on Huawei in a bizarre ‘6G’ tweet

President Donald Trump sent a pair of bizarre tweets Thursday morning mentioning a “6G” wireless network and seemingly hinting that he could take a softer stance on Chinese telecom company Huawei.

The tweets rang as odd because 6G technology doesn’t exist. U.S. telecom companies are barely on the cusp of 5G wireless networks, and they’re facing stiff competition to build it before Chinese companies.

Trump doesn’t name China or Huawei, but that’s likely what he’s referencing. Chinese companies are at the forefront of 5G technology, and the Trump administration resumed trade talks with Chinese negotiators Thursday. Both nations face a March 1 deadline to reach a deal, although Trump has indicated he could back off of it.

Meanwhile, Trump has reportedly been preparing an executive order to ban Huawei and ZTE from operating in the U.S., which would grant U.S. companies a little more cushion to build their own 5G networks. Now it seems Trump could be reconsidering a ban on Chinese telecoms.

It’s unclear whether a potential ban on Huawei and ZTE would factor into negotiations, but such an executive order would likely invite some bad blood between the world’s two largest economies.

The U.S. and other countries have long feared Huawei’s equipment could be used for spying.

TPG Telecom dropped plans to use Huawei equipment in Australia, which banned the use of Huawei’s equipment. New Zealand and Japan have similar prohibitions in place. The U.K. hasn’t made a decision either way, but the Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank, warned earlier this month that allowing Huawei equipment could be “naive” and “irresponsible.”

Germany has considered similar measures, but said earlier this month that it isn’t ready to ban Huawei and that it will allow all 5G equipment vendors in the country.

U.S. carriers AT&T and Verizon are still activating fledgling 5G networks in select cities, and T-Mobile and Sprint plan to launch theirs later this year. Most experts think it will take until at least 2020 for 5G to become widespread.

Samsung just announced the first phone that will run on the faster network, but it won’t launch until the second quarter of this year.

Trump’s reference to nonexistent “6G” might just be an indication he wants technology to be running full speed ahead, but it’s not something that anyone will be able to use in the near future.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

[CNBC]

Reality

At the time of this tweet there is no white paper on 6G. Trump is showing again his complete lack of understanding of technology.

Trump tweets ex-Starbucks CEO Schultz lacks ‘guts’ to run for president

President Donald Trump wrote online on Monday that former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz “doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to be president,” lashing out at the coffee mogul who said over the weekend that he is weighing an independent 2020 bid for the White House.

“Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!” the president wrote on Twitter Monday morning.

During a pre-taped interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Schultz told journalist Scott Pelley he was “seriously thinking of running for president.” Though he characterized himself as “a lifelong Democrat,” Schultz said he would run as a “centrist independent outside of the two-party system,” criticizing both Democrats and Republicans for failure to meet the needs of the American people.

Many, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, a Democrat who announced his own 2020 campaign on Jan. 12, warned that an independent candidate like Schultz could boost Trump’s reelection chances by siphoning voters away from a Democratic candidate.

In recent decades, candidates running independent campaigns for president have caused a stir, but never come close to winning. Billionaire Ross Perot placed third in 1992 with 19 percent of the vote, enough that many have credited him with drawing support from then-incumbent President George H.W. Bush, allowing President Bill Clinton to unseat him.

In 2000, Consumer advocate Ralph Nader ran as the Green Party’s presidential candidate, pulling enough votes from Democrat Al Gore to help President George W. Bush secure the presidency in that year’s razor-thin election.

[Politico]

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