September, 2017

Trump Claims Coverage of Puerto Rico Is ‘Fake News’

President Trump took to Twitter to blast media coverage of his administration’s response to the humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico.

A sampling:

Despite the Fake News Media in conjunction with the Democrats, an amazing job is being done in Puerto Rico. Great people!

To the people of Puerto Rico: Do not believe the #FakeNews! #PRStrong

Results of recovery efforts will speak much louder than complaints by San Juan Mayor. Doing everything we can to help great people of PR!

NSA Warned White House About Personal Email

“The National Security Agency warned senior White House officials in classified briefings that improper use of personal cellphones and email could make them vulnerable to espionage by Russia, China, Iran and other adversaries,” Politico reports.

“The briefings came soon after President Donald Trump was sworn into office on Jan. 20, and before some top aides, including senior adviser Jared Kushner, used their personal email and phones to conduct official White House business.”

Tillerson Says U.S. Is Talking to North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged in Beijing on Saturday that the Trump administration is in “direct contact” with North Korea over its recent escalation of missile and nuclear tests, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Tillerson: “We’re not in a dark situation, a blackout. We have a couple, three channels open to Pyongyang. We can talk to them, we do talk to them.”

“The acknowledgment suggests a potential deescalation after months of bellicose rhetoric on both sides, as well as repeated, provocative intercontinental ballistic missile tests and a nuclear test by North Korea.”

Garcetti’s Travel Raises Questions at Home

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) “logged 112 days, or nearly one-third of his time, away from California over the last 12 months, according to his public calendar,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Reelected in March with 81% of the vote, Garcetti has refused to commit to serving his entire second term. As he visits New Hampshire and Wisconsin, the mayor remains coy about whether he’ll run for president in 2020.”

“But as he flirts with the idea, Garcetti tests the public’s willingness to tolerate his absences.”

Kelly Struggles to Make Sense of Kushner’s Role

Politico: “It’s not just Kelly who is uncertain of how to make the arrangement work. In recent months, according to multiple administration officials, the president has also been casually surveying people close to him about whether having his family members in the government is creating too much noise.”

“Since Kelly put his firm grip on the West Wing in July, however, the role of the Trump children has shifted. Aides claim the couple was eager for a more functional work environment, and have been happy to fall in line with Kelly’s rules.”

“But Kushner has also complained to friends and allies about his stunted status in the new regime. He can no longer simply float in and out of the Oval Office, or function in the freewheeling role he has grown used to since the campaign, he has told associates. That marks a change of status for the former real estate scion, who before working as a free-ranging agent for his father-in-law, served as the top dog at his family-owned real estate company in Manhattan.”

Trump’s Breaking Point with Tom Price

Politico: “Tom Price’s downfall was his penchant for pricey jets. But his demise was months in the making, as the president continued to lose trust in the Health and Human Services secretary who rarely attended Oval Office strategy meetings, had little sway or influence on Capitol Hill, and was associated in the president’s mind with one of the administration’s biggest defeats — the failure to repeal Obamacare.”

“Of particular notoriety: A picture of Price in March drinking at Bullfeathers, a famed Capitol Hill bar, as his colleagues tried to wrangle votes for the president’s signature initiative.”

Trump Blames San Juan Mayor

President Trump accused the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, of demonstrating “poor leadership” amid the deepening crisis on the island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria, the Washington Post reports.

Trump launched his personal attack on Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Twitter from his golf resort in New Jersey, where he is spending the weekend:

The Mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort. 10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.

Cruz had criticized the Trump administration’s response to the hurricane, saying: “I am begging, begging anyone who can hear us to save us from dying.”

Aaron Blake: “Anybody who is surprised at this from a president who attacked a former prisoner of war for being a prisoner war, criticized a Gold Star family and made fun of a reporter’s physical disability has a short memory. This is who Trump is. He doesn’t accept criticism and move on; he brings a bazooka to a knife fight — even when those wielding the knife are trying to save lives.”

GOP Insurgency Plans for Civil War in 2018 Midterms

Washington Post: “That populist rage in the base as Trump struggles to enact his priorities — which lifted former judge Roy Moore to victory on Tuesday against Trump’s ally, Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) — now threatens to upend GOP incumbents in 2018 as the latest incarnation of Republican grievance takes hold.”

“Stoked by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and his incendiary media platform, Breitbart News, a new wave of anti-establishment activists and contenders are emerging to plot a political insurrection that is with Trump in spirit but entirely out of his — or anyone’s — control.”

“Central command is the ‘Breitbart Embassy,’ a Capitol Hill townhouse where Bannon has recently huddled with candidates, from House prospects to Senate primary recruits. Hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah — Bannon’s wealthy allies — have already pledged millions to the cause, said people briefed on their plans.”

Trump Golfed as Puerto Rico Struggled

Washington Post: “As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.”

“But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves.”

“Trump jetted to New Jersey that Thursday night to spend a long weekend at his private golf club there, save for a quick trip to Alabama for a political rally. Neither Trump nor any of his senior White House aides said a word publicly about the unfolding crisis.”