Trump doubles down on his promise to ‘save’ Social Security a day after suggesting he was open to cuts in the program

President Trump sought to defend his Social Security record in a Thursday afternoon tweet, accusing Democrats of wanting to “destroy” it and pledging he would “save” it — only a day after he suggested he was open to overhauling it alongside Medicare. 

Trump said: “Democrats are going to destroy your Social Security. I have totally left it alone, as promised, and will save it!”

The comments came only a day after he suggested in a CNBC interview that he was open to overhauling both social safety-net programs, saying it was “the easiest of all things” and it would happen at the “right” moment after the election. 

White House spokesperson Judd Deere defended the administration’s record on entitlements in an email to Business Insider on Wednesday, saying, “With no benefit cuts, President Trump is keeping his commitment to the most vulnerable Americans especially those who depend on Medicare and Social Security.”

Deere added: “His budgets have proposed more savings to mandatory programs than any President in history, including lowering drug costs, eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, and getting people off welfare and back to work.”

Trump faced significant criticism from Democrats after his remarks on the entitlement programs aired on CNBC. Both Social Security and Medicare are highly popular with voters.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leading presidential candidate, said in a Wednesday tweet that Trump “lied” about his 2016 campaign pledge to guard both programs from cuts.

And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another frontrunner, also pounced, saying she would “fight” to expand Social Security instead.

[Business Insider]

Trump to New York City: If a storm comes, don’t look at me, get a mop!

New Yorkers worried that global warming might flood the city should get mops, President Trump says.

The Queens native — famed for supporting walls that keep immigrants out — on Saturday ripped the idea of a seawall to protect the city from calamities like 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive devastation.

“A massive 200 Billion Dollar Sea Wall, built around New York to protect it from rare storms, is a costly, foolish & environmentally unfriendly idea that, when needed, probably won’t work anyway,” Trump tweeted. “It will also look terrible. Sorry, you’ll just have to get your mops & buckets ready!”

A seawall is one of five proposals considered by the Army Corps of Engineers to protect the greatest city in the world from storms that could become more frequent with climate change.

Besides the Mexican border wall, Trump is also fine with seawalls that protect one of his golf courses in Ireland.

Trump last year changed his official residency from New York to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. He hasn’t said whether he’d like a seawall to protect the oceanfront portion of that property.

[New York Daily News]

Trump promotes violence in support of white supremacist rally in Virginia

President Donald Trump slammed Virginia Democrats over several gun violence prevention measures they’re looking to pass in the state, as a white supremacist group gears up to protest at an annual gun rights rally outside the state capitol. 

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia,” the president tweeted on Friday evening. “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!” 

Trump’s tweet came shortly after law enforcement arrested three suspected white supremacists in Maryland and Delaware who had allegedly talked about opening fire at Monday’s pro-gun rally.

The suspects belong to a violent white-supremacist group called “the Base,” whose aim is “to accelerate the downfall of the US government, incite a race war and establish a white ethno-state,” according to an affidavit filed in Georgia court, as The Wall Street Journal reported.

Several other members of the Base were arrested throughout the country this week on different charges. 

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that the state would temporarily ban firearms in Capitol Square prior to Monday’s rally, citing the arrests and threat of a shooting. 

Gun rights groups appealed Northam’s decision, but a federal appeals court judge upheld the temporary gun ban on Thursday, writing that “the Second Amendment right to bear arms is not unlimited.” 

“This is the right decision,” Northam said in a Thursday statement about the ruling. “These threats are real — as evidenced by reports of neo-Nazis arrested this morning after discussing plans to head to Richmond with firearms.”

Virginia Democrats, who control both the state house and senate, are working on passing several gun regulations, including background checks on gun sales, a law that would allow authorities to confiscate a gun from someone they believe is a danger to themselves, a ban on firearms in government buildings. 

Tens of thousands of pro-gun protesters are expected to gather outside the state capitol building in the annual Lobby Day protest.

[Business Insider]

Trump Retweets Image of Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer in Traditional Islamic Clothing Before Iranian Flag

President Donald Trump took his attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to a whole new level Monday morning, by retweeting a photoshopped image of the two in traditional Muslim garb before an Iranian flag.

The tweet came in a flurry of frenzied presidential tweets (and retweets) critical of Speaker Pelosi’s criticism of the Trump administrations handling of Iranian foreign relations, in particular, that following the deadly drone strike that took the life of Quds force leader and Iranian Republican Guard Major General Qasam Soleimani.

In the days that followed Soleimani’s death, a million Iranians reportedly flooded the streets of Teheran to protest the U.S. killing of the number two leader of Iran. But as Iran eventually admitted to shooting down a Ukranian airliner and killing 167 civilians, protests have started against the Iranian regime.

[Mediaite]


Kellyanne Conway Lies About AOC and Ilhan Omar Literally As She Praises Collins Apology for Smearing Democrats

Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway smeared Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) even as she was congratulating Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) for similarly smearing Democrats as loving terrorists.

Earlier this week, Collins said thatDemocrats are “in love with terrorists,” then defended the comments to Fox News before finally apologizing on Twitter.

Conway gaggled with reporters in the Brady briefing room Friday, and was asked about the potential for a change in “tone” represented by Collins’ apology. In the midst of a lengthy answer lauding her own efforts at elevating the tone, Conway slammed AOC and Rep. Omar by falsely claiming one of them had apologized to the Iranian people for the attack that killed Qasem Soleimani, and called their group “The Squad That Doesn’t Do Squat” as part of her tone-elevating effort.

“We had members of Congress earlier this week apologizing to the Iranian people, on behalf of America,” Conway claimed.

“Who? Can you name them?” asked Breakfast Media correspondent Andrew Feinberg.

“Yeah, what’s her name, was it AOC or Omar who did that?” Conway asked to a staffer, and added “Someone from the squad that doesn’t do squat, I’m pretty sure it was AOC, in a tweet, somebody said ‘Oh 52% of us believe a different way.”

“And we can’t have that, so I’m glad that Chairman Collins, excuse me Ranking Member Collins apologized for that comment, I know him, I know he didn’t mean it that way, so I’m glad he apologized. I apologize many times, I just don’t really hear a lot in return,” Conway said.

But the tweet to which Conway ws referring came not from a member of the squad, but from actress Rose McGowanwho tweeted, following the strike, “Dear #Iran, The USA has disrespected your country, your flag, your people. 52% of us humbly apologize. We want peace with your nation. We are being held hostage by a terrorist regime. We do not know how to escape. Please do not kill us. #Soleimani”.

In a follow-up tweet, McGowan said she is a “registered Republican.”

[Mediaite]

Trump demands Justice Roberts dismiss ‘phony’ impeachment that ‘should not even be allowed to proceed’

President Donald Trump on Sunday suggested that Justice John Roberts should declare that impeachment charges against him are unconstitutional.

In an appearance on Fox News over the weekend, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani first made the suggestion that Roberts could kick off the president’s impeachment trial by dismissing it.

“Great idea,” Trump wrote Sunday morning as he tweeted out video of Giuliani’s appearance. “This phony Impeachment Hoax should not even be allowed to proceed. Did NOTHING wrong. Just a partisan vote. Zero Republicans. Never happened before!”

[Raw Story]


Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial

President Trump on Sunday tweeted that Republicans risked lending credibility to the impeachment inquiry brought by the House by holding a trial in the Senate.

The president said any proceedings in the Senate would be based on “no evidence,” and appeared to urge Senate Republicans to reject the idea of holding a trial at all.

“Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, “no pressure” Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” Trump tweeted.

Trump spent much of Sunday tweeting about the upcoming Senate impeachment trial, which, he wrote in one message, “should not even be allowed to proceed.”

“Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong?” he added in another tweet. “Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before. House Republicans voted 195-0, with three Dems voting with the Republicans. Very unfair to tens of millions of voters!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have battled for weeks over the scope of the Senate impeachment trial, with Pelosi holding firm in her demands for McConnell to guarantee that witnesses will be called before she presents the Senate with the House-passed articles of impeachment.

Last week it was reported that McConnell had signed on to a measure that would allow the Senate to dismiss the House articles of impeachment without a trial.

[The Hill]

Trump believes Iran was targeting four U.S. embassies

President Donald Trump said on Friday Iran probably had targeted the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and was aiming to attack four U.S. embassies when its top general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

“We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” Trump said in a clip of an interview on Fox News. “I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies.”

[Reuters]

Reality

However Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Face the Nation “I didn’t see one with regard to four embassies,” completely rebuking Trump’s made-up claim.

‘Maybe we will, maybe we won’t’: Trump doubles down on threat to take oil from Syria

Donald Trump has renewed his threats to forcibly steal oil from Syria, a move which experts say would amount to a war crime.

The president defended his decision to leave a small number of American troops in the war-torn nation after a general withdrawal in October by claiming they were only there to secure Syria’s oilfields.

“They say he left troops in Syria… do you know what I did? I took the oil,” he said during a Fox News interview.

“The only troops I have are taking the oil, they are protecting the oil.”

When the interviewer, Laura Ingraham, attempted to correct Mr Trump by insisting the soldiers were not there to take the oil but to guard the facilities, the president cut her off.

“I don’t know, maybe we should take it, but we have the oil. Right now, the United States has the oil. We have the oil.”

This is not the first time the erratic former business tycoon has publicly mused about stealing Syria’s oil reserves.

In October, shortly after his abrupt withdrawal of US forces and abandoning of their Kurdish allies in the region, Mr Trump said he wanted an American oil firm to fly in to tap Syria’s oil on behalf of the government.

“What I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly,” he said.

However, such a move would likely constitute pillage and looting, actions which have long been designated as illegal under international law and the rules of war.

The Geneva Convention, which the US is a signatory to, explicitly prohibits the looting of property during conflict, defining it as a war crime.

“The president appears to believe that the US can sell the oil, based on his statements in the past about Iraqi oil and Libyan oil … thinking that we can loot countries,” Benjamin Friedman, policy director at think tank Defence Priorities and adjunct professor at the George Washington University, told The Independent last year.

“I am sure people in the White House have tried to explain to him that is not how it works.

“Taking the profits from the sale of Syrian oil for the US treasury would be illegal. That would probably qualify as pillaging under the law.”

Ironically, experts say Syria’s oil fields are not much of a prize anyway. Even before the country descended in a chaotic civil war, it only produced about 380,000 barrels of poor-quality oil a day.

In 2018, after its production was several hampered by the conflict, it produced about the same amount of oil as the state of Illinois.

Before he entered the White House, Mr Trump had said several times that the US should have “taken the oil” from the other Middle Eastern nations its armed forces had intervened in, including Iraq and Libya.

Some commentators have speculated that defence officials desperate to persuade the president to permit some US forces to remain in Syria as a counter-balance to Isis and the Assad regime were forced to appeal to his oil obsession to gain his approval.

[The Independent]

Trump complains he didn’t get Nobel Peace Prize days after threatening to commit war crimes

President Donald Trump complained that he was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just days after he threatened to commit war crimes in Iran.

Trump spoke at a rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday after walking back his threat to target Iranian cultural sites, which would constitute a war crime.

Trump complained at the rally about the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded back in October to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea,” according to the Nobel Committee.

But Trump claimed that he was the one who actually saved the country.

“I’m going to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said. “I’ll tell you about that. I made a deal, I saved a country and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said, ‘What, did I have something do with it?’ Yeah, but you know, that’s the way it is. As long as we know, that’s all that matters.”


The Washington Post reported that this would be “news to Ethiopians,” noting that Trump “played no apparent role in the Eritrea peace deal.”ADVERTISEMENT

The House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Twitter that “Trump is confused,” suggesting that he confused the Eritrea peace deal with another deal between Ethiopia and Egypt regarding a new dam, which Washington helped move along.

A senior Ethiopian government official told the Associated Press as much.

“He was talking about Egypt and Ethiopia,” the unidentified official said. “President Trump really believes he avoided a war as such . . . but that was not the case.”

Trump has long grumbled about the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to former President Barack Obama during his first year in office.

Trump claimed in May 2018 that “everyone thinks” he deserves the Nobel Prize for his efforts to negotiate with North Korea, which recently fell apart.

Trump later complained about Obama’s Nobel Prize during a speech in the Rose Garden last February.

“They gave it to Obama. He didn’t even know what he got it for. He was there for about 15 seconds and he got the Nobel Prize. He said, ‘Oh, what did I get it for?’” Trump complained. “With me, I probably will never get it.”

Trump also claimed last fall that the committee that gives out the awards was rigged against him.

“I think I’ll get a Nobel prize for a lot of things if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” he said during an appearance with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan before turning his attention to Obama again.

“He had no idea why he got it, and you know what?” Trump asked. “That was the only thing I agreed with him on.”

Obama received the prize eight months into his presidency for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

[Raw Story]

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