Trump Tweet Attacks Media, Democrats, and Obama Foreign Policy

As thousands began to gather on the White House lawn Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll, President Trump again took on the media, the Democrats, and the Obama administration via one of his favorite activities: Tweeting.

“‘The first 90 days of my presidency has exposed the total failure of the last eight years of foreign policy!’ So true” Trump said in one post, hash-tagging the morning show Fox & Friends.

The tweet came in the wake of high-profile confrontations with Syria and North Korea.

The president then turned his attention to the Democratic Party, mock tweeting an endorsement: “A great book for your reading enjoyment: “REASONS TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS” by Michael J. Knowles.”

Yes, the book features blank pages.

Not to be left out, the media also took a shot during Trump’s early Monday Twitter storm: “The Fake Media (not Real Media) has gotten even worse since the election. Every story is badly slanted. We have to hold them to the truth!

It is unclear which story, or stories, prompted the president’s ire.

(h/t USA Today)

Trump: Don’t Blame Me When I Quote Fox News

Donald Trump does not like taking responsibility for White House screw-ups. He’ll blame anyone else he can think of—even his friends at Fox News.

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer set off an international incident when he suggested that British intelligence might have spied on Trump during the campaign in response to a request from President Barack Obama. Spicer made this remark while once again trying to defend his boss, who two weeks ago tweet-claimed—without offering any evidence—that Obama had “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower during the 2016 election. Since then the GOP chairs of the congressional intelligence committees (and many others) have declared there is no proof to back up Trump’s reckless charge, which apparently was based on a Breitbart news story that itself was based on a statement (or rant) by right-wing radio talker Mark Levin.

The obvious conclusion is that an angry Trump had tweeted out fake news falsely accusing his predecessor of criminal activity. But Spicer has continued to contend that Trump’s allegations had a factual basis of some sort. And at the Thursday briefing he cited Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, who claimed on that network that Obama had used the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)—the British NSA— to eavesdrop on Trump with “no American fingerprints on this.” (Napolitano is no credible source. Like Trump, he has appeared on the radio show of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. In 2010, Napolitano told Jones’ audience that it’s “hard for me to believe” that World Trade Center Building 7 “came down by itself” and that the 9/11 attacks “couldn’t possibly have been done the way the government told us.”)

Yet here was the White House depending upon a conspiracy theorist to charge that Obama enlisted the Brits to conduct illegal surveillance against Trump. The GCHQ went into a tizzy. Breaking with its tradition of almost always staying silent on public controversies, the British spy agency released a statement that said, No way! It called the allegation Spicer embraced “ridiculous.”  (British journalists were shocked to see any response from the super-secretive GCHQ.) And British officials told reporters they had privately received some form of apology from White House officials.

Yet on Friday afternoon, at a short press conference with German leader Angela Merkel, Trump indicated that he believed there was nothing to apologize for. Asked by a German reporter about the wiretapping allegation, he made a reference to “fake news” without addressing the matter. When a second German reporter pressed Trump on the issue, Trump first made a joke that he had something in common with Merkel. (The NSA had listened in on her cell phone.) Then he dismissed the significance of Spicer’s citation of the Fox News report: “We said nothing. All we did was quote…a talented lawyer on Fox.” The German reporter, Trump said, “shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox.”

Fox News, for its part, wasn’t sticking to Napolitano’s crazy story. Following the press conference, Fox anchor Shep Smith reported the network “has no evidence of any kind” to support the notion that Obama (with or without the Brits) had spied on Trump.

To sum up, the White House was citing phony information from Fox that Fox wouldn’t stand by. And now Trump was basically saying, You can’t hold me and my White House accountable for what we say. If someone says it on Fox News, that’s good enough for us. In other words, they report, we repeat.

This is a stunning statement and admission from a president: There is no need for me to confirm anything before tossing it out from the bully pulpit. It may not be a big news flash at this point, but Trump was eschewing any responsibility for White House statements. This is apparently Trump’s standard: If an assertion appears on Breitbart or on Fox News—if a conspiracy theory is spouted by a right-wing talk show—then it can be freely cited by the president of the United States without any consequence. With this stance, Trump has fully embraced his position as fake-newser-in-chief.

(h/t Mother Jones)

Trump Hits Obama Again, This Time With False Claims About Gitmo Detainees

President Trump early Tuesday incorrectly blamed the Obama administration for releasing 122 “vicious” prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

“122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!” Trump wrote.

Trump posted the tweet 31 minutes after Fox News tweeted about a U.S. airstrike that killed a former detainee in Yemen.

“Former Gitmo detainee killed by a U.S. airstrike in Yemen; at least 122 former Gitmo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism” the “Fox & Friends” account tweeted just after 6:30 a.m.

But according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 113 of the 122 former detainees who have re-engaged in terrorism were released before January 2009, when former President Barack Obama took office.

The former detainee recently killed in the U.S. airstrike, Muhammad Tahar, was transferred to Yemen in December 2009, according to Department of Defense files compiled by the The New York Times.

Trump during his presidential campaign said he would “load” the detention center “with some bad dudes.” Obama during his own presidential campaign had promised to close the facility.

(h/t The Hill)

Trump, Without Evidence, Accuses Obama of Wiretapping Trump Tower

President Trump on Saturday claimed President Obama had his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower before Election Day, tweeting the accusation without offering evidence.

“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” he wrote.

“Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!” he added in subsequent tweets. “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”

A spokesman for Obama issued a statement denying that his White House had interfered in Justice Department investigations or ordered surveillance on any American, much less Trump.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said.

“As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen,” he added. “Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

It was not immediately clear whether Trump had any proof or was referencing a report. Breitbart News on Friday reported on conservative radio host Mark Levin’s claim that Obama executed a “silent coup” of Trump via “police state” tactics. White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart before joining Trump’s team.

Observers have noted the president’s tendency to tweet things — including a 2003 photo tweeted Friday of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) with Russian President Vladimir Putin — shortly after they were published on pro-Trump blogs like Gateway Pundit or conservative websites like Drudge Report.

Moments earlier, Trump had also linked Obama to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s meetings last year with Russia’s U.S. ambassador.

“The first meeting Jeff Sessions had with the Russian Amb was set up by the Obama Administration under education program for 100 Ambs,” he tweeted.

Sessions on Thursday said he would recuse himself from any investigations into Russia’s links to Trump’s team, after massive outrage over the revelations that he met with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice during the campaign, then denied doing so during his confirmation hearings.

Trump on Saturday also blasted Obama for meeting with Kislyak 22 times while president, tweeting: “Just out: The same Russian Ambassador that met Jeff Sessions visited the Obama White House 22 times, and 4 times last year alone.”

Trump’s team has sought to push back on accusations of coziness with Russia by pointing out instances of Democrats meeting with Kislyak. Critics have responded that the issue isn’t that Sessions met with the ambassador, but that he falsely told Congress he hadn’t while under oath.

Former national security advisor Michael Flynn was ousted last month after revelations that he misled top White House officials about the nature of his conversations with Kislyak.

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

Donald Trump appears to have read this in an article from Breitbart news, who repeated claim from right-wing talk radio host Mark Levin. Both offered zero evidence for this claim.

If this is true then Trump’s claim would be important for two reasons:

  1. Presidents do not have the authority to wiretap a private citizen’s phone, Barack Obama would be the first.
  2. Since federal judges are the only once with the authority to wiretap a phone, and they can’t do it without probable cause, that means Trump did something very wrong and is under investigation.

Trump Pretends Chuck Schumer Secretly Met With Putin

President Trump on Friday attacked Democratic calls for a probe into his contacts with Russia, tweeting a past photo of Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russia and Putin. A total hypocrite!” Trump tweeted.

The 2003 photo shows Schumer and Putin eating doughnuts during Putin’s trip to New York to attend the opening of a Russian gas company’s station.

Pro-Trump blog Gateway Pundit resurfaced the photo late Thursday, questioning “Where’s the outrage?” And the conservative website Drudge Report made the photo its lead image earlier Friday.

The Senate Democratic leader responded to Trump’s tweet, saying he would “happily talk” about his contact with Putin while pressing Trump on whether he would do the same.

Schumer and other Democrats have repeatedly called for an independent investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said he would recuse himself from Russia probes after it was revealed that he spoke with Russia’s U.S. ambassador twice during last year’s campaign, then denied speaking with Russians during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Democrats have said his recusal isn’t enough and have called for a special prosecutor to handle any Russia investigations.

Schumer has called on Sessions to resign and wants a probe conducted by the Department of Justice’s inspector general to determine if the former Alabama senator compromised an investigation into Russia’s intervention in the election.

Sessions isn’t the only Trump ally to receive backlash for meeting with the Russian envoy, Sergey Kislyak. Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn was ousted last month for misleading White House officials about his conversations with the Russian diplomat.

But Trump clarified that he didn’t ask for Flynn’s resignation over the fact that he discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office, but because Flynn misled Vice President Pence about the interaction.

(h/t The Hill)

Reality

No one is saying representatives of the United States government can’t meet with Russian diplomats or Vladimir Putin, that is a total misdirection. Trump’s aides keep saying they haven’t met with the Russians, and later it turns out they have lied, sometimes under oath, which is a crime.

 

Trump Tweets Wildly Misleading Comparison of the National Debt in His First Month to Obama’s

On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to point out a fact he thought the media was underreporting: the decrease in the national debt in his first month.

“The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo[nth],” tweeted Trump.

The tweet, which echoes something Herman Cain said on Fox News’ Fox & Friends an hour before, doesn’t make sense for a few reasons.

First, it is true that the debt has probably ticked down but as noted by the Atlantic’s David Frum, this is mostly due to the federal government rebalancing its intra-governmental holdings. Debt outstanding to the public has barely budged since Inauguration Day.

Additionally, the federal government is still operating under the budget passed before Trump came into office, so even if the overall debt decreased, his administration had little to do with it.

Finally, and most importantly, the economic circumstances during his and Obama’s first month in office are vastly different and make the comparison totally off base.

When Obama took office in January 2009, the country was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The US economy lost 702,000 jobs in February 2009 and 832,000 in March 2009, GDP growth collapsed, and foreclosures soared.

In response to this crisis, Obama did what presidents typically do during recessions: took on debt to stimulate the economy.

President Obama’s first 100 days in the White House:

In the depths of a recession, private investment collapses. So, generally accepted economic theory concludes that the government should induce investment and step in during these times of crisis to prop up the stumbling private sector.

Thus, both Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush signed into law bills to inject large amounts of capital into the economy to both save the financial sector and get people back to work.

For instance, Bush passed the Toxic Asset Relief Program in October 2008 which used just over $426 billion in federal funds to “bail out” the country’s largest banks. Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 which allocated $831 billion in federal funds to finance investment projects such as infrastructure.

By contrast, Trump has inherited — as he even noted — a country with a vastly improved economic standing.

The labor market has improved drastically, with unemployment at just 4.8% and the number of people claiming unemployment benefits nearing the lowest point in 40 years. In fact, during Obama’s term the US added over 11 million private sector jobs.

Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office:

Things outside of the labor market are pretty solid as well. Corporate profits have recently dipped below all-time highs and the stock market has soared more than 225% from its bottom in March 2009, and the housing market is growing again.

While it’s not all perfect — business investment is lagging, wages still haven’t hit pre-crisis levels, and economic gains have not been equally distributed throughout the country — there is no doubt that Trump inherits a better economic starting position than Obama did in 2009 with no reason to spend massive amounts of federal money to assist the economy.

Trump even noted these differences in a follow-up tweet.

“Great optimism for future of US business, AND JOBS, with the DOW having an 11th straight record close,” tweeted Trump. “Big tax & regulation cuts coming!”

While some of the increase in the confidence indexes have come after the election, much of the economic good news was around before Trump took office.

(h/t AOL)

Trump Cited a Nonexistent Incident in Sweden

President Donald Trump cited a nonexistent incident in Sweden while talking about the relationship between terror attacks and refugees around the world during a rally in Melbourne, Florida, on Saturday.

“You look at what’s happening in Germany. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden … Sweden … who would believe this? Sweden, they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening Brussels, you look at what’s happening all over the world,” Trump said.

No incident occurred in Sweden on Friday night.

However, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran an interview on Friday night’s broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with documentarian and media personality Ami Horowitz, who presented a clip from a new film documenting alleged violence committed by refugees in Sweden. The segment went on extensively about a supposed crime surge in Sweden and its links to immigrant populations.

Crime rates in Sweden have stayed relatively stable, with some fluctuations, over the last decade, according to the 2016 Swedish Crime Survey.

This isn’t the first time that there has been a correlation between Trump’s statements and programming on cable news, of which he is a noted fan.

In late January, Trump tweeted about gun violence in Chicago shortly after after an “O’Reilly Factor” segment on the same topic, which cited the same statistics and even used the word “carnage,” a recent favorite noun of Trump’s.

In February, Trump declared in a tweet that he was calling “my own shots” in his administration shortly after MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough asked on air whether Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, was “calling the shots” in the White House.

(h/t Business Insider)

Media

Trump Tweeted He Was “Calling the Shots” After Watching a Cable-News Segment

President Donald Trump’s messaging on Twitter again seems to have been inspired by a cable-news segment.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday, host Joe Scarborough asked skeptically whether Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, was “calling the shots” in the White House.

Just under an hour after the segment aired, Trump declared in a tweet that he was calling “my own shots” in his administration.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump had noticed Bannon’s rising media profile, asking aides specifically about Bannon’s recent Time magazine cover story.

Though Trump’s Monday tweet was vague, the message follows what has become a familiar pattern with the new president.

On several occasions in January, Trump appeared to borrow language and statistics directly from Fox News segments almost immediately after they aired. He dubbed Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor” after “Fox and Friends” described her in those exact terms. And he suggested he’d send in federal law enforcement to Chicago shortly after Fox News host Bill O’Reilly aired a segment on the same topic.

Many top policymakers and advocates noticed Trump’s viewership habits. And they have attempted to get their message to the president through his preferred morning programs.

Last month, for instance, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings received a call from the president after addressing him directly on “Morning Joe” about lowering the costs of prescription-drug prices.

And on Monday, the left-leaning veterans group “VoteVets” announced an ad debuting on “Morning Joe” urging the president directly not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“President Trump. I hear you watch the morning shows. Here’s what I do every morning,” a veteran said while lifting weights in a garage.

(h/t Business Insider)

 

 

 

Timing Suggests Trump’s Tweet About Sending ‘Feds’ to Chicago Was Response to Bill O’Reilly Segment

President Donald Trump may be making decisions based on what he watches on Fox News.

Late on Tuesday, the president tweeted about the gun violence in Chicago, writing, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the feds!”

Numerous reporters noted that Trump’s tweet came shortly after an “O’Reilly Factor” segment on the same topic, which cited the same statistics and even used the word “carnage,” a recent favorite noun of Trump’s.

Though Chicago has a higher number of gun deaths than any other major city, the number of deaths per capita is notably lower than in other cities because of Chicago’s large population. And while the city has attempted to use strict gun laws to curb shootings, about 60% of guns used in shootings last year were purchased out of state.

Tuesday’s tweet would hardly be the first time Trump has fired off a proposal in reaction to a TV segment.

Axios confirmed that Trump reads The New York Times and The New York Post, frequently tunes into cable TV — most notably MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and NBC’s “Meet The Press” — and will praise or criticize aides after performances on TV.

Many top policymakers have attempted to get their message to Trump via his favorite TV programs.

Appearing on “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings thanked host Joe Scarborough for asking him about how he would work with Trump on reducing prescription drug pricing, and then he spoke directly to the president.

“Joe, I want to thank you all for giving that opening, and to the president, I know you’re watching, so I’m looking forward to meeting with you,” Cummings said.

1 9 10 11