Trump White House wings it on virus response

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BOSTON GLOBE)

 

The White House wings it on virus response

Epidemics can be challenging even for level-headed, well-prepared governments. The coronavirus lays bare just how clumsy the Trump administration is when it comes to public health.

President Trump (center), with members of the president's coronavirus task force, spoke during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday.

Now that health officials are warning Americans to prepare for the spread of a coronavirus, we’re getting a powerful reminder of why the chaotic Trump White House is dangerous. The president’s dismissal of scientific facts and his gutting of critical agencies have put lives at risk.

Invisible pathogens like the coronavirus, which is easily transmitted and appears to kill 2 percent of those infected (compared with the 0.1 percent US death rate for influenza), are challenging even for well-prepared administrations. Because people and goods move around the globe rapidly, it’s tricky to devise quarantines and other containment strategies. That’s why competent governments treat pandemic preparedness as a matter of national security, invest sufficiently in prevention, and speak forthrightly to the public.

Trump has fallen down on those fronts and long ago corroded the trust that is vital in a crisis.

His administration weakened the foundation for pandemic response in 2018, when it disbanded the National Security Council team that coordinated global health security. Then it allowed budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which forced a retreat from pandemic-prevention efforts in China and elsewhere. That same year, the administration shifted control of the Strategic National Stockpile, a storehouse of medicines and medical supplies, away from the CDC. Public-health experts worry that was another unforced error, because the CDC works directly with local health departments that put the stockpile into use.

Even this winter, with coronavirus already ravaging China, Trump proposed a 2021 budget that would slash spending at the CDC and other agencies that underpin the nation’s scientific prowess.

But of course, Trump is allergic to scientific advice. That explains why he would appoint Vice President Mike Pence as the new head of the coronavirus response, replacing the health and human services secretary whom Trump had put in that role just a few weeks ago. Pence’s ability to use evidence to guide public health decisions is worrisome at best. He insisted in 2000 that smoking isn’t deadly because — voila! — most smokers don’t get lung cancer. As Indiana governor, he engineered health-funding cuts that caused an HIV outbreak.

On Tuesday, a CDC official, Nancy Messonnier, said Americans should expect the virus to spread here. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” she added. Scott Gottlieb, who was Trump’s first director of the Food and Drug Administration, tweeted more straight talk: “This could be a long fight that will require shared sacrifice.”

Contrast such comments with Trump’s bluster when he complained about cable news coverage and said that the risk to Americans “remains very low.” As Ronald Klain, who oversaw the Ebola response in the Obama administration, pointed out, Trump’s confidence was unwarranted because very few Americans have been tested for the coronavirus. We might have many more cases than we think.

Meanwhile, a whistle-blower now alleges that administration officials retaliated against her after she alerted them that federal health workers lacked proper safety equipment and training when they interacted with virus patients quarantined at military bases in California.

These are more sad reminders of the reasons we can’t believe what we hear from this White House. Americans should heed the CDC and be prepared.


Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC)

 

Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protesters into law, in spite of Beijing’s objections

KEY POINTS
  • President Trump signs two bills backing Hong Kong protesters, the White House says in a statement.
  • The president says he “signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.”
  • He also says he hopes “Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences.”
GP 191127 President Trump Pardons National Thanksgiving Turkey
U.S. President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump looking on in the Rose Garden of the White House November 26, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images

President Donald Trump has signed two bills supporting the Hong Kong protesters into law on Wednesday, despite Beijing’s repeated objections.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

Congress sent the bills to the president’s desk last week, after both chambers passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The first bill would require the State Department to certify once a year that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to retain its special U.S. trading consideration — a status that helps its economy. Under that designation, the city is not subject to the tariffs that have been levied on China. The bill also sets up the potential for sanctions on people responsible for human rights abuse in Hong Kong.

The second measure would bar the sale of munitions such as tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police.

Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has been engulfed in months of anti-government protests. Initially sparked by a bill that would have enabled extradition to mainland China, the protests have morphed into broader anti-government demonstrations, including a wider range of demands such as greater democracy and universal suffrage.

VIDEO03:36
China decries House bill, calls it the ‘Support Violence in Hong Kong Act’

As the protests more frequently lapsed into violence, U.S. lawmakers increasingly criticized China’s response to the protests.

Trump’s Wednesday statement echoes his earlier comments that China should handle the situation itself. Though he has also warned that harsh treatment of the people in Hong Kong could derail trade negotiations.

Trump signed the bills into law as he tries to reach a “phase one” trade deal with Beijing, which has repeatedly condemned the legislation as meddling in its domestic affairs. The Hong Kong government has also spoken out against the bills, saying they are “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the sponsors of the Hong Kong rights bill, said he applauds Trump “for signing this critical legislation into law.”

“The U.S. now has new and meaningful tools to deter further influence and interference from Beijing into Hong Kong’s internal affairs. Following last weekend’s historic elections in Hong Kong that included record turnout, this new law could not be more timely in showing strong U.S. support for Hong Kongers’ long-cherished freedoms,” Rubio said in a statement.

VIDEO01:54
Hong Kong markets jump following pro-democracy candidates’ landslide victory

Over the weekend, Hong Kong democrats swept district council elections as 2.94 million cast their ballots, a record turnout of about 71.2%. While those seats largely focus on local issues like bus routes, some district councilors will also join the Election Committee which nominates and votes on candidates for the city’s leader.

Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said the legislation is an “important step forward in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and its repression of fundamental human rights.”

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

John Kelly reportedly used to mute the line: urge Trump not to discuss sensitive topics

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

John Kelly reportedly used to mute the line during calls with world leaders to urge Trump not to discuss sensitive topics

Trump on Phone
President Donald Trump is seen through a window speaking on the phone with King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the Oval Office of the White House, January 29, 2017 in Washington, DC.
 Mark Wilson/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump is facing new scrutiny over his calls with world leaders after a whistleblower flagged a July 25 call with the Ukrainian president, in which Trump urged him to investigate a political rival.
  • The whistleblower alleged that a number of presidential transcripts have been locked away in a codeword-level system “solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”
  • White House advisers such as former chief of staff John Kelly even sought to prevent Trump from divulging sensitive information to world leaders, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
  • Kelly reportedly used to mute the line and urge Trump to stop discussing sensitive information.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The former White House chief of staff, John Kelly, used to mute the line during President Donald Trump’s calls with world leaders to tell him not to continue discussing sensitive information, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing a person with knowledge of the matter.

The news comes amid political turmoil over a recent call in which Trump urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of Trump’s main political rivals.

The July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky was the subject of an explosive whistleblower complaint and has spurred an impeachment inquiry from House Democrats.

Read moreThe White House reportedly tried to conceal transcripts of Trump’s calls with other world leaders, including Russia’s Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman

The controversy has cast new scrutiny over Trump’s previous communications with other world leaders. The whistleblower indicated in his complaint that a number of presidential transcripts have been locked away in a codeword-level system “solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information.”

The Journal reported Saturday that White House advisers such as Kelly sought to prevent Trump from divulging sensitive information to world leaders on such calls, and other government officials sought to keep a tight lid on records of those conversations.

john kelly
John Kelly.
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

Their efforts began after a number of controversies at the onset of Trump’s presidency, including an infamous call with then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in which Trump lambasted a “rotten” refugee deal the Obama administration brokered with the Australian government.

Trump also took heat for another contentious phone call with then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, reportedly telling him, “We are going to build the wall and you all are going to pay for it, like it or not.”

Read moreTrump’s actions with Ukraine were ‘profoundly stupid’ and beyond anything any president has ever done, historians and veteran diplomats say

After the Australia and Mexico calls, the National Security Council “severely cut back” on the number of people to whom those call records were sent, The Journal reported, citing people knowledgeable of the situation.

Instead, the call records were sent only to people directly involved in the issues discussed in the call, according to The Journal’s sources.

Hundreds of ex-national security officials support impeachment inquiry into Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Hundreds of ex-national security officials support impeachment inquiry into Trump

This is what the whistle blower complaint says 02:40

Washington (CNN)More than 300 former national security officials have come out in support of an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, arguing the President’s actions in regard to Ukraine are a “profound national security concern.”

“President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes,” a statement signed by the officials and dated Friday reads. “That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power.”
The statement was released by the National Security Action, an advocacy group formed in 2018 by two former national security advisers in the Obama administration to oppose Trump’s foreign policy.
The bulk of the statement’s signees are former Obama officials, but the list also includes officials who have served in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Former officials of the intelligence community, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Security Council staff are among the signers.
“As national security professionals, many of us have long been concerned with President Trump’s actions and their implications for our safety and security,” the statement read. “Some of us have spoken out, but many of us have eschewed politics throughout our careers and, as a result, have not weighed in publicly.”
“The revelations of recent days, however, demand a response,” they added.
One of the signers, former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, said Friday on CNN’s “Newsroom” that he feels this letter is unique because of its timing. “What we’re trying to say in this letter is that it is now time to begin the impeachment proceedings. Personally, I think the President should be removed from office because he’s shamed the country and he’s tried to hold himself above the law,” said Burns, a longtime Foreign Service officer.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump over the allegations that he attempted to pressure a foreign leader for personal political gain.
A White House transcript of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed that Trump asked Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 candidate, and Biden’s son. The rough transcript also raised questions of whether Trump offered a quid pro quo over military foreign aid to Ukraine for dirt on a political rival. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.
The July phone call was included in a whistle blower complaint publicly released Thursday. In the complaint, the whistle blower alleged Trump abused his powers to “solicit interference” from Ukraine in the upcoming 2020 election, and the White House took steps to cover it up. Trump has denied that there was any wrongdoing.
“If we fail to speak up — and act — now our foreign policy and national security will officially be on offer to those who can most effectively fulfill the President’s personal prerogatives,” the former officials said in their statement.
“We do not wish to prejudge the totality of the facts or Congress’ deliberative process,” they said, adding, “At the same time, there is no escaping that what we already know is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.”

The history of the White House

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The history of the White House

The White House seems like a building that’s just always been there: as long as there’s been a United States, there’s been a White House. But that’s far from the truth. It had to be built like every other building to ever exist and its story is an interesting slice of American history.

The design

Credit: idesignimages / iStock

Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a former soldier on the American side of the Revolution, was the man originally commissioned to design Washington D.C., the Capitol Building and the White House. His designs were far more ostentatious than the city and buildings we have today, with an executive mansion that was supposed to be built on a ridge overlooking the Potomac and at a scale four times the size of the house we have today. His plans never came to fruition, though, because he was fired in February of 1792 after a fight with the commissioning board.

After L’Enfant’s firing, the design of the house was turned into a contest. Irishman James Hoban submitted the winning design, one that was heavily based on Leinster House, the home of the Irish Parliament in Dublin.

Changes and influences

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Things were business as usual in the building until the War of 1812, when the British invasion and successful (at that point in the war) campaign beat American militias and brought the war to the White House’s doorstep. In 1814, the Brits torched the executive mansion, along with the rest of the city. Dolley Madison, James Madison’s First Lady, stayed in the White House up to almost the last minute, outlasting most of the city’s inhabitants, as well as her military guard. Most famously, she’s the one who saved George Washington’s enormous portrait from falling into the hands of the British. After the war, Hoban returned to rebuild the house.

That’s the most impactful event the building’s seen since the Civil War didn’t touch much of DC, despite its proximity to the Confederacy. The rest of the building’s existence has consisted of a handful of presidents and their expansions and renovations. John Quincy Adams added the North and South Porticoes, the Fillmores turned the second floor oval room into a library, and the Arthurs had Louis Tiffany redesign the east, blue, red, and state dining rooms. Taft’s expansion in 1909 created the Oval Office as we know it today, though the room itself was relocated to the southeast corner during FDR’s tenure. Teddy Roosevelt oversaw a major renovation, and it was around the same time that he coined the term “White House.”

The modern White House

Credit: bauhaus1000 / iStock

The last major renovation happened under Truman’s administration, with the rebuilding and strengthening of the White House’s foundation. That project saw a huge renovation to the building’s interior as well, and Truman gave a televised tour of the results in 1952. Most presidents and their First Ladies will also do some of their own redecorating to make the place feel more like home. After all, it’s theirs for the next four years. Eight if the public likes them.

5 biggest lies you were told about George Washington

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

History

5 biggest lies you were told about George Washington

Being the first President of the United States puts one in the spotlight, and with such notoriety comes an abundance of rumors and lies. There are sure to be many tall tales told of Founding Father and political pioneer George Washington. The leading political figure of the 18th century had quite an intriguing life, but that didn’t stop some from trying to embellish on or completely fabricate parts of it.

The following alleged facts about George Washington are quite the opposite. They’re stories passed down from one generation to the next, anecdotes that may be fun to talk about but have no real historical value.

He chopped down a cherry tree

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

“Father, I cannot tell a lie.” These were the alleged words of a young George Washington to his father regarding a damaged cherry tree. According to the legend, Washington took a newly-received hatchet to his father’s tree and damaged it. When confronted, the young boy fessed up for his wrongdoing and earned the praise and respect of his father.

Ironically, Washington’s inability to bend the truth stems from a made-up story by Mason Locke Weems, author of “The Life of Washington.” Wanting to profit off of Washington’s popularity after his death, Weems wrote the biography. By its fifth edition, the myth of the cherry tree was included to give a glimpse into Washington’s virtues and depict him as the ideal role model.

His teeth were made of wood

Credit: Fablok / Shutterstock.com

Being from the 18th century, it’s not unfathomable to think that George Washington would have poor oral hygiene by today’s standards. In fact, it’s known that his teeth weren’t the kind many dentists would take credit for. Plagued with dental issues in his adult life, Washington started to lose teeth in his twenties.

While he was forced to wear dentures, they weren’t, as many believe, made of wood. Instead, they were a mix of human teeth, metal fasteners, and hippopotamus ivory. While closer in appearance to real teeth than wood, early dentures were a far cry from the modern implements used today. Not only were they painful to wear, but their appearance also wasn’t quite as clean.

He’s buried within a crypt beneath the U.S. Capitol

Credit: W.Scott McGill / Shutterstock.com

Unlike many of the lies told about the first president of the United States, this one is rooted in a little bit of truth. On December 23, 1799, the House and Senate decided that, with the permission of his family, the body of George Washington would be buried under a marble memorial at the United States Capitol. Martha Washington agreed, despite the president’s wish to be buried in Mount Vernon.

As with many things, cost became a factor in delaying the construction of the monument. Despite the wishes of representatives and senators, Washington’s body remained at his plantation, Mount Vernon. In 1832, another attempt was made to relocate the body, but Mount Vernon’s owner, John A. Washington II, refused to disturb his ancestor. While some may still claim he’s buried beneath the capitol, George Washington is resting peacefully at Mount Vernon.

He was a sound military leader

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

As revered as George Washington is, the praise for his military leadership may not be quite as founded in reality. It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of Washington as a victorious general, but his track record on the battlefield tells a different story.

In fact, it was Washington who outed his own inexperience of military leadership. Speaking with Congress on the night before the New York campaign of 1776, Washington noted his “limited and contracted knowledge” of military operations. On multiple occasions, his inability to make quick decisions caused significant losses, specifically at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777 and the loss of Fort Washington on Manhattan Island.

In 1796, American pamphleteer Thomas Paine published a “Letter to George Washington.” Within the document, he claimed that Washington’s achievements were erroneous. According to Paine, many of the president’s achievements belonged to Generals Nathanael Greene and Horatio Gates.

He lived in the White House

Credit: Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock.com

Today, it’s common knowledge that the President of the United States lives in the White House. That may be why so many are adamant that George Washington was one of the many that called this structure home. Logic may dictate the notion, but the timeline of the White House’s construction completely shuts it down.

George Washington was president from 1789 to 1797. Plans for the original president’s house didn’t surface until 1790, and a builder wasn’t selected until 1792. During much of Washington’s presidency, the White House was under construction, and it wasn’t until 1800 that John and Abigail Adams moved in as the first residents.

The truth about George

Credit: welcomia / Shutterstock.com

George Washington’s reputation has reached mythic proportions over the years, and not all the stories about him are true. His achievements are undeniable—but as far as national heroes go, even he had his limits. And regardless of their truth, these stories are iconic, and just about impossible to separate from the man’s legacy.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Was Invited to Meet Trump in the Oval Office

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORKER NEWS)

 

Iran’s Foreign Minister Was Invited to Meet Trump in the Oval Office

Last month, amid a rapid-fire escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, received an unexpected invitation—to meet President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. The diplomatic overture was made by Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, during a meeting with Zarif in New York on July 15th, according to American and Iranian sources and a well-informed diplomat.

With President Trump’s blessing, Paul had been working on the idea for several weeks, in consultation with the White House and the State Department. An intermediary had reached out to the Iranians on Paul’s behalf three weeks before Zarif was due in New York for meetings at the United Nations. On July 14th, the day before leaving for New York, Paul had a discussion about Iran with the President, while playing a round at the Trump golf course in Sterling, Virginia.

On July 15th, Paul and his senior adviser, Doug Stafford, met Zarif at the elegant residence of Iran’s U.N. ambassador, on Fifth Avenue, a block from the Metropolitan Museum. In his decades as a diplomat, Zarif, who studied under Condoleezza Rice’s Ph.D. adviser, at the University of Denver, has built a modest rolodex with the private numbers of members of the House and Senate. “I always see people from Congress,” Zarif told me and a small group of journalists later that week, without naming names. But this was his first meeting with Paul, who is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The two men initially talked about long-standing issues, notably Tehran’s nuclear program, and also recent flare-ups in the Persian Gulf, according to the sources. In May and June, the United States accused Tehran of sabotaging six oil tankers just beyond the strategic Strait of Hormuz. On June 20th, Iran shot down one of America’s most sophisticated drones, claiming that it was flying over Iranian airspace. Trump considered military retaliation, but called it off at the last minute, because of projected casualties. While Zarif was in New York, the U.S. downed an Iranian drone, on July 18th. As tempers frayed, Washington was abuzz with worry about the prospect of a new war in the Middle East. Paul’s mission was to break through the messy layers of conflict and launch a direct diplomatic channel, at the highest level. The overture was a miniature version of Trump’s tactic in circumventing traditional diplomacy by dealing directly with the North Korean leadership.

During an hour-long conversation, Zarif offered Paul ideas about how to end the nuclear impasse and address Trump’s concerns. He later outlined some of them to our group of journalists and subsequently in more detail to me. “As a diplomat, I have to always think about alternatives,” he told us. Among them was the idea that the Iranian Parliament could codify, in law, a fatwa issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader, originally in 2003 and again in 2010, that forbids the production or use of nuclear weapons. “We consider the use of such weapons as haraam [forbidden] and believe that it is everyone’s duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, in 2010.

But, if Trump wanted more, he would also have to offer more, Zarif suggested. Another possibility was moving forward one of the later steps of the nuclear deal brokered between Iran and the world’s six major powers in 2015—the accord that Trump abandoned in May, 2018. Zarif said that Iran could bring forward ratification of the so-called Additional Protocol, which is currently due to be implemented by 2023—potentially this year. The protocol, which has already been signed and ratified by a hundred and forty-six nations, allows more intrusive international inspections—on both declared and undeclared nuclear sites in member states—in perpetuity. “The Additional Protocol is a crucial means by which the world verifies that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons,” Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told me on Friday. “If you don’t trust the Iranians, you want inspections in perpetuity.” By ratifying the protocol, Iran would forfeit one of the so-called sunset clauses in the 2015 deal, which had triggered deep skepticism among Republicans, some Democrats, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. In exchange, Zarif suggested, Trump could go to Congress to lift sanctions on Iran, as originally provided under the 2015 nuclear deal but not ratified in legislation. Both sides would then feel more secure in the commitments sought in the original deal.

Paul proposed that the Iranian diplomat lay out the same ideas to Trump in person. The President, Paul said, had authorized him to extend an invitation to meet in the Oval Office as early as that week, the U.S., Iranian, and diplomatic sources told me. A White House spokesperson declined to comment about the invitation on the record.

Total Trade Stoppage With China Could Be A Good Thing For American Workers

Total Trade Stoppage With China Could Be A Good Thing For American Workers

 

I know that many people here in the U.S. will in the short term be hit financially if this ‘trade war’ with China continues. The American companies on the U.S. Stock Market has taken a hit with these tariffs the White House is talking about, I know this is hurting some American businesses like WalMart who import a huge amount from China, so be it, they need to be hurt, badly.  There is a reason for my view, I just hope you can see what I am talking about.

 

American businesses need to be hurt because of their treason toward the American Nation and her people. How many thousands of businesses have been shuttered because of companies like WalMart who for a penny or two lower price per product will buy from other countries like China (whose Leaders hate us) instead of buying from U.S. Companies who have their factories here in the U.S. giving jobs to American workers. Companies like WalMart cater to low income people yet how many of these people are poor because of these companies ‘buy foreign first’ business practices? The rich, especially the super rich like to complain about the poor as people who suck away their profits and produce nothing and how they say the poor don’t pay their fair share. If an owner of a company moves their operation out of the States thus firing all their American workers it should be the Companies Leadership who should be punished, not the workers. These companies should have to pay a tariff of about 90% on all goods they import back to the American market. Make it not worth their bottom line to close American factories and fire their American workers. In the business world everything is always about profits, the money that goes to the top is the only thing that has mattered for decades not. Most businesses and government officials should be charged with treason against the the American Flag and Her people, not profit from their demise that they themselves are causing! Rebuild America’s factories and infrastructure now, create jobs for American workers first. Our exports like grain and soy beans can easily be sold to other world markets. There is no logic besides greed that dictates us selling anything to or importing anything from other countries like China whom is trying to wipe us out. But then again, these words to you today are just the opinions of an old poet.

Romney savages Trump’s leadership in Washington Post op-ed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO NEWS)

 

CONGRESS

Romney savages Trump’s leadership in Washington Post op-ed

The president “has not risen to the mantle of the office,” writes the incoming Utah senator.

President Donald Trump “has not risen to the mantle” of his office, and his “words and actions have caused dismay around the world,” Mitt Romney wrote Tuesday in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

The scathing rebuke of Trump’s leadership from the former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential nominee comes just two days before Romney is set to be sworn in as Utah’s junior senator.

The op-ed — titled, “The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump’s character falls short.” — also suggests Romney will not shy away from criticizing the president in ways that cost lawmakers such as outgoing senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) considerable political clout within Trump’s Republican Party.

“With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable,” Romney wrote. “And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

Romney did applaud Trump for several of the administration’s actions over the past two years, including the 2017 Republican tax law, the criminal justice reform bill Trump signed into law last month, Trump’s aggression toward Beijing over China’s trade practices and the White House’s push to confirm conservative jurists to the federal judiciary.

“But policies and appointments are only a part of a presidency,” Romney added, asserting that Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office “made a deep descent” in December following the announced departures of White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — both retired four-star Marine generals long viewed as stabilizing forces within the administration.

Romney also cited “the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience” as other low points of the past month, appearing to jab at State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News personality Heather Nauert’s nomination to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Deputy Defense Secretary and former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan’s selection to take Mattis’ place as Pentagon chief.

And while Trump’s appointments of other now-departed administration officials including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and former White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster “were encouraging,” Romney wrote, “on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions this month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.”

The tone of Tuesday’s op-ed, as well as its timing, are likely to assuage certain congressional lawmakers of both parties who hoped Romney would adopt the role of a Republican elder statesman on Capitol Hill during his freshman term in the Senate — especially following the death of former Sen. John McCain in August and the exodus of many of the president’s GOP critics after November’s midterm elections.

“I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not,” Romney wrote. “I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions.”

Romney, who was on Trump’s shortlist to become secretary of state in late 2016, previously vowed during his Senate campaign to challenge the president if elected to the chamber.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign manager, responded to Romney’s op-ed in a tweet Tuesday evening.

“The truth is @MittRomney lacked the ability to save this nation,” Parscale wrote of the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. “@realDonaldTrump has saved it. Jealously is a drink best served warm and Romney just proved it. So sad, I wish everyone had the courage @realDonaldTrump had.”

Romney’s op-ed comes less than one month after another op-ed in the Post, authored by a bipartisan group of 44 former senators, warned that the United States is “entering a dangerous period.” That piece did not mention the president by name.

Federal Judge Orders White House To Restore CNN’s Jim Acosta’s ‘Hard Pass’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN AND ABC NEWS)

 

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump White House to immediately restore the press pass of CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta as the case progresses after the network filed a lawsuit suit claiming that revoking it violated the First Amendment.

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The judge repeatedly emphasized that his decision was based on the Fifth Amendment and that Acosta was denied his right to due process.

“If at some point after restoring the hard pass the government would like to move to vacate the restraining order on the grounds that it has fulfilled its due process obligations then it may, of course, do so and I will promptly address that and then the remaining basis of the (temporary restraining order),” U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly said.

Speaking after the ruling, Ted Boutros, an attorney for CNN said the news organization is “extremely pleased with the ruling today.”

“A great day for the First Amendment and journalism,” he said. “We’re very excited to have Mr. Acosta be able to go back and get his hard pass and report the news about the White House.”

Acosta thanked journalistic colleagues for their support and the judge for his ruling.

“Let’s go back to work,” Acosta said.

PHOTO: CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta smiles as he departs after a judge temporarily restored his White House press credentials following a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 16, 2018.Carlos Barria/Reuters
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta smiles as he departs after a judge temporarily restored his White House press credentials following a hearing at U.S. District Court in Washington, Nov. 16, 2018.more +

CNN and Acosta filed suit against President Donald Trump and top aides on Tuesday for stripping Acosta, without warning, of his access to the White House, where he works daily. The indefinite revocation of Acosta’s press credentials, known as a “hard pass,” came on the heels of a heated exchange between Trump and Acosta on Nov. 7.

PHOTO: CNNs White House correspondent Jim Acosta arrives for a hearing at the U.S. District Court on Nov. 16, 2018 in Washington.Mark Wilson/Getty Images
CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta arrives for a hearing at the U.S. District Court on Nov. 16, 2018 in Washington.more +

Earlier in the week, CNN and Acosta filed an emergency motion to have Acosta’s press pass immediately reinstated as the court case continues and asked for a ruling from Kelly, a Trump-appointed U.S. district judge.

The American Civil Liberties Union in a statement applauded Friday’s ruling saying it “reaffirms that no one, not even the president, is above the law.

“The White House surely hoped that expelling a reporter would deter forceful questioning, but the court’s ruling will have the opposite effect,” Ben Wizner, the ACLU’s director of speech, privacy and technology project wrote in a statement. “The freedom of the press is a bedrock principle, and our democracy is strengthened when journalists challenge our leaders rather than defer to them.”

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