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Donald Trump is the village idiot who keeps on giving comedy to the world…

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Author Topic: Donald Trump is the village idiot who keeps on giving comedy to the world…  (Read 116 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2019, 09:13:47 pm »

Yep, President Dumb is being totally out-foxed by the Chinese. Hilarious, eh?

from The Washington Post…

China is trying to woo U.S. allies.
The White House's response contains glaring failures.

Trump's unwillingness to listen to reason is driving away our allies.

By JIM HOAGLAND | 6:50PM EST — Sunday, January 06, 2019

Employees sort boxes at the logistics center of an express delivery company after an online shopping festival, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, on November 12, 2015. — Photograph: China Stringer Network/Reuters.
Employees sort boxes at the logistics center of an express delivery company after an online shopping festival, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China,
on November 12, 2015. — Photograph: China Stringer Network/Reuters.

EMBOLDENED by the Trump administration's denigration and threatened abandonment of traditional U.S. allies in Europe and other regions, China has launched a strategic campaign to woo, gain control over or otherwise undermine nations that have long supported U.S. goals and alliance management abroad.

The campaign was outlined in barely veiled terms in a recent speech delivered by China's defense minister to a closed-door meeting in Beijing with U.N. Security Council representatives. The Chinese effort is having growing influence, say experienced diplomats who attended the meeting.

“The Chinese have correctly assessed that American allies now doubt they can ever rely on the U.S. again in many areas,” said one senior Western diplomat. “President Trump seems to represent enough of American public doubts and distrust of foreign nations that we all have to re-examine our place in the international order.”

The Trump White House is clearly aware of China's newly stoked ambitions. National security adviser John Bolton devoted much of a December 13 speech at the Heritage Foundation to accusing China of using “bribes, opaque agreements and the strategic use of debt to hold states in Africa captive to Beijing's wishes and demands.” He singled out China's “One Belt, One Road” economic initiative as being a tool to advance “Chinese global dominance”.

But the White House response to China's diplomatic and economic campaign contains two glaring failures.

It does not recognize or seek to correct its own role in creating the conditions that cause allies to doubt U.S. resolve and support. And it has missed the expansion of Chinese strategic aims into undermining American leadership in the transatlantic and global institutions that have helped preserve global stability since World War II. White House staffers are either asleep at the switch or, more likely, deliberately looking away from the impulsive, vindictive and frequently childish behavior of a president who treats his partners as cheats, liars or fools.

Trump makes no secret of his intentions. With startling and ill-advised candor, he has told at least one leader of a NATO ally that his campaign to break China's unfair trade practices is a prelude to an effort he will then lead to “destroy” European Union practices that have created trade imbalances with the United States. The comment was taken by this leader as the nail in the coffin of transatlantic cooperation during the Trump presidency and perhaps beyond, according to an aide who recounted the conversation on condition of anonymity.

Awareness of the frazzled state of American leadership abroad pervaded the remarks made by Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe to members of the Security Council who visited Beijing on November 26. The meeting was intended to focus on China's role in international peacekeeping missions. But participants portray Wei as laying heavy emphasis on the need for new leadership at the United Nations and in international affairs, and on China's ability and willingness to take on a greater role in both if other states cooperated with Beijing.

“He put flesh on the bones of One Belt, One Road as a strategic concept,” said one diplomat present at the meeting. “He made clear other nations would have to make choices in the kind of alliances they join or stay in.”

Two weeks later, Bolton sharply denounced the Chinese One Belt program of loans and investments that is intended to develop trade routes leading to and from China. The Chinese use their economic leverage to take over African ports and national industries, and in Djibouti to establish a military base that interferes with a nearby U.S. base, he complained.

But Bolton's speech was also heavy with Trump-like complaints that past U.S. aid to Africa had been wasted and suggestions that future aid would be conditioned on political loyalty from recipients. Bolton did avoid outhouse analogies in talking about African countries.

Meanwhile, China is rapidly becoming a strategic competitor in Europe, where Chinese investments and loans target infrastructure and new technology assets. China invested nine times more in Europe than it did in the United States in the first six months of 2018, according to the international law firm Baker McKenzie. China has also gained financial control of the main port facilities of Athens, the Greek capital, and has injected itself into the European Union's political debates through the strong links it has developed with needy Eastern European and Balkan countries.

Chinese purchases have focused on European companies working on artificial intelligence, software and data, robotics and other new technologies. Germany has become sufficiently concerned to begin restricting investment from Beijing on strategic grounds.

Once upon a pre-Trump time, this would have been a problem ripe for transatlantic cooperation. But Trump's refusal to let reason instead of impulse direct his actions pushes away allies and the possibility of united action.


• Jim Hoagland is a contributing editor for The Washington Post. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971 for International Reporting and in 1991 for Commentary.

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« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2019, 09:37:46 pm »

Hahaha … for the idiot residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the lift (elevator, if you prefer that term) doesn't quite reach the top floor.

from The Washington Post…

While Trump wallows in the White House,
America's allies are left on their own

His conduct gives Putin and other bad actors room to step up their aggression.

By JACKSON DIEHL | 6:51PM EST — Sunday, January 06, 2019

President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office on January 23, 2018. — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.
President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office on January 23, 2018. — Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press.

WHILE President Trump was all by myself in the White House over Christmas, watching the “guys out on the lawn with machine guns,” Russia's Vladimir Putin seemed to be contemplating another war with Ukraine. While his top aides issued threatening statements, the Ukrainian government and some Western observers warned of suspicious movements of Russian aircraft and equipment. The Institute for the Study of War reported on December 23 that “the data suggests Putin is preparing to attack.” Analyst Michael Kofman of the Wilson Center judged an invasion unlikely but concluded that “Moscow is looking to bloody Ukraine at the first available opportunity.”

So far, nothing has happened, though Russia continues to hold the two dozen sailors it captured when it assaulted three Ukrainian ships near Crimea on November 25, and it is still hindering shipping to several Ukrainian ports. But Putin's maneuvering points to how the United States' adversaries are likely to react to the steadily increasing chaos of the Trump presidency. They will spend 2019 testing how much they can gain at the expense of a U.S. president who has sidelined most of his national security team and has been making a display of his ignorance of and disregard for U.S. interests.

If there is to be no U.S. response — and so far, there hasn't been — Putin has reason to step up military attacks on Ukraine ahead of its presidential election in March, which he hopes will unseat pro-U.S. incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Now that Trump has declared that Iran “can do what they want” in Syria, expect Tehran to entrench more forces and missiles near the border with Israel. While the government of Benjamin Netanyahu won't be happy with that, it has taken its own advantage of Trump's passivity, launching what the Associated Press described last week as “what could be the largest construction binge in years” in the occupied West Bank.

The leader whose calculation of Trump's weakness may matter most is China's Xi Jinping, who reacted to Barack Obama's retreat from enforcing U.S. red lines by taking over much of the South China Sea. Xi and Trump are engaged in a trade negotiation that could be crucial to the fortunes of both countries this year. China starts at a seeming disadvantage: U.S. tariffs already have helped induce a sharp slowdown in consumer spending and a 25 percent drop in the Shanghai stock market, the largest decline in the world in 2018.

But Xi no doubt has been listening as Trump has revealed an obsession with U.S. stock prices and anxiety over their decline. Last week, Trump predicted the markets will rebound “once we settle trade issues”. Xi's most likely conclusion: He can wait Trump out. Beijing will offer to settle the trade war for token measures, such as a promise to buy more U.S. products. Xi will bet that Trump won't seek to truly break Chinese mercantilism if it means more plunges in the Standard & Poor's 500.

Meanwhile, China's step-by-step bid for hegemony over East Asia will continue. Xi will quietly encourage North Korea's Kim Jong Un to continue resisting any denuclearization deal with Trump that doesn't include a withdrawal of U.S. forces and assets from the region. After all, he would have heard Trump say that Patrick Shanahan, the inexperienced former Boeing executive he appointed to fill in for departed defense secretary Jim Mattis, agrees with him that “we're giving military protection to countries that are very wealthy, and they're not doing anything for us.” In Trump's mind, that means South Korea.

Putin was no doubt listening to that rant in front of the Cabinet, as well. He would have heard Trump defend, of all things, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan while dumping on the performance of U.S. commanders there. He would have heard him describe Syria as “sand and death.” And he would have noted that there was not a word about Ukraine, despite Russia's unprovoked attack on the Ukrainian ships, illegal restriction of commercial shipping and deployment of forces capable of initiating a new ground offensive.

Any other U.S. president would have by now taken common-sense steps to deter Putin from further aggression, in conjunction with allies such as Germany, Britain and France. Allied ships would be appearing in the Black Sea and stopping at Ukrainian ports, and teams of observers from NATO would be deploying in eastern Ukraine to monitor Russian activity. U.S. diplomats would be negotiating with the European Union on a new round of sanctions on Russia, specifically in response to its naval belligerence.

But Trump has no interest in such matters, and he has driven off or stopped his ears to the advisers who might explain them to him. He wallows in his ignorance and his prejudices, all alone in the White House. Ukraine, and all other nations that used to depend on the United States, are on their own.


Jackson Diehl is the deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post. He is an editorial writer specializing in foreign affairs and writes a bi-weekly column that appears in print on Mondays. Diehl joined The Post in June 1978 as a reporter on the Metro staff. He joined the foreign desk in 1981, working as a correspondent from January 1982 until July 1992 in three of The Washington Post's bureaus: Buenos Aires, Warsaw and Jerusalem. From October 1992 until November 2000, Diehl worked in several newsroom management positions, including assistant managing editor/foreign and assistant managing editor/national. He became deputy editorial page editor in February 2001. Jackson Diehl holds a BA in English from Yale University.


Related to this topic:

 • Jennifer Rubin: Trump doesn't understand his leverage is gone

 • Mitt Romney: The president shapes the public character of the nation. Trump's character falls short.

 • Jackson Diehl: Trump gives American hostages held abroad hope — and also takes it away

 • The Washington Post's View: Russia's escalation against Ukraine shows how little Putin worries about the West

 • Anne Applebaum: Putin's war is transforming Ukraine

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« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2019, 07:33:27 am »

The Washington Post owner richest man in the world and his number one arse licking fan is ktj the part-time male white trash commie
with more fake news and conspiracy theories
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Are you sick of the bullshit from the sewer stream media spewed out from the usual Ken and Barby dickless talking point look a likes.

If you want to know what's going on in the real world...
And the many things that will personally effect you.
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« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2019, 12:55:35 pm »

You appear to have the attention span of a common garden slug.

Just like your hero Donald J. Trump who is too stupid to even read a security briefing paper by himself.
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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2019, 05:21:35 pm »

from The Washington Post…

Trump's nothingburger speech

The networks got conned.

By NENNIFER RUBIN | 6:50PM EST — Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The president's address to the nation on immigration was littered with falsehoods he's said before. — Photograph: Meg Kelly/The Washington Post.
The president's address to the nation on immigration was littered with falsehoods he's said before.
 — Photograph: Meg Kelly/The Washington Post.

THE ONLY THING surprising about President Trump's address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night was how totally unnecessary and un-newsworthy it was. Trump did not declare he was reopening the government. He did not issue an “emergency” declaration. He did not even offer any new arguments for a border wall that voters say they don't want for a crisis that doesn't exist. Instead, he delivered a weak, unconvincing promise to sit down with Democrats. Never has he looked so helpless and small.

In short, the president snookered the networks into giving him free time to commune with his base. They should not make that mistake again.

The speech, again not surprisingly, was delivered in a wooden cadence. Without a cheering campaign-style rally filled with his cult followers, his words fell flat, and he seemed to lack energy. Another rally might have worked better.

Again, as anticipated, the speech was littered with falsehoods. He claimed there was a growing crisis along the U.S-Mexico border, though illegal crossings are a fraction of what they were in 2000. He bemoaned the influx of heroin, but didn't mention that the vast majority of heroin doesn't come over the border but through airports and other ports of entry. He claimed the wall would be paid for by NAFTA 2.0, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, but that's bunk, and no official has adequately explained how it would work. He falsely claimed that Democrats would not fund border security. In fact, they have offered $1.3 billion. Perhaps his weirdest statement was to claim that African Americans and Hispanics are the groups hurt most by illegal immigration.

Calling it a "humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” the president did shy away from phony claims about terrorists. But a humanitarian crisis, of course, won't be solved by a wall. Refugees will still come to have their status adjudicated.

It’s difficult to imagine Trump would change the mind of any voter not already devoted to his cause and immunized against reality. To the contrary, one wonders whether Republican members of the House, voting this week on separate bills to reopen departments of the government that have been shut down, will think, “That's all he’s got?” If so, be prepared for a substantial number of them to abandon Trump and vote with Democrats when individual spending bills come to the House floor.

Had Democrats anticipated such a nothingburger speech they might have delivered a simple message in a few seconds: “The president said nothing new. He can't hold the country hostage. Open the government. Mr. President. Real people are being hurt.” Instead, they made a number of now familiar points: Democrats do favor border security; the wall is an expensive, counterproductive solution in search of a problem; and the only crisis is one of governance, which Trump created all by himself.

However, the Democratic leaders were able to get off a fair number of zingers. “Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) began. “The President has chosen fear. We want to start with the facts.” She reminded the audience that Trump had created the shutdown: “President Trump has chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety and well-being of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation — many of them veterans. He promised to keep the government shut down for ‘months or years’ — no matter whom it hurts. That's just plain wrong.” They also debunked the claim that Democrats did not want border security. “We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values: we can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry; we can install new technology to scan cars and trucks for drugs coming into our nation; we can hire the personnel we need to facilitate trade and immigration at the border; and we can fund more innovation to detect unauthorized crossings,” Pelosi said. She correctly stated that this was a humanitarian challenge, but that Trump had made it worse.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (Democrat-New York) picked up from there. “We don't govern by temper tantrum. No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down, hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage.” He continued: “There is bipartisan legislation — supported by Democrats and Republicans – to reopen government while allowing debate over border security to continue. There is no excuse for hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference.” He closed with a plea to reopen the government.

This may have been the only modern presidential address where the response was better than the president's. Taking a step back, it's difficult to figure out why Trump did this. When Republicans bolt, it will seem even more like a personal rebuke than it would be had he not given the speech. His weak performance is unlikely to reduce Democrats' resolve; in fact, they may see him on the ropes and believe him more vulnerable for a knockout.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) is going to have a hard time continuing to shirk responsibility for the shutdown. His members were antsy before, and the lack of clear direction from the president is likely to raise their anxiety level still further. McConnell says he is waiting for Trump to make his position clear. By now, he should know it's a fruitless endeavor. Maybe it is time for McConnell to get serious, put a bill on the Senate floor and dare Trump to veto it. Otherwise, the government will remain closed for a good deal longer.


Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. She covers a range of domestic and foreign policy issues and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican Party and threats to Western democracies. Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs and enriches her work. She is a mother of two sons and lives in Northern Virginia.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump's full address to the nation on border security

 • VIDEO: Schumer and Pelosi's full response to Trump's border address

 • VIDEO: Trump and Deocrats spar over shutdown messaging, border wall

 • VIDEO: Fact-checking President Trump's Oval Office address

 • Fact-checking President Trump's Oval Office address on immigration

 • Trump's prime-time address on the border wall shutdown, annotated

 • Did Trump's Oval Office address change anything?

 • Trump's Oval Office address was a pure propaganda opportunity. Networks shouldn't allow it next time.

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« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2019, 09:44:50 pm »

from The Washington Post…

Raging, weakened Trump is running out of options

Trump is not getting his way, but he's projecting manly action, with the help of Fox News.

By GREG SARGENT | 10:28AM EST — Thursday, January 10, 2019

When asked on January 10 if he would declare a national emergency, President Donald J. Trump said, “If this doesn't work out, I'll probably will do it, maybe definitely.” — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.
When asked on January 10 if he would declare a national emergency, President Donald J. Trump said, “If this doesn't work out,
I'll probably will do it, maybe definitely.” — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.

PRESIDENT TRUMP departed this morning to visit the southern border as part of his floundering effort to sell his wall, but he doubts it will do any good. In private, he reportedly groused that “it's not going to change a damn thing,” but added that he'd been talked into it by his communications advisers, including Bill Shine, who just happens to also be a former executive at Fox News.

It's telling that Shine in particular advised this trip, and in that context, Trump's gripe contains a real insight: The trip is clearly less about rallying public support that might pressure Democrats to relent on the wall — since that won't work — and more about projecting what might be called optics of manly action. A former Fox executive surely understands that what Trump's supporters need to see right now is Trump appearing to act decisively, that is, appearing to take control of events.

Yet it's increasingly obvious that Trump's gestures of action are largely empty ones — and not just on the wall. This is evident on two of the biggest running stories right now — Trump's flirtation with declaring a national emergency to build the border barrier without congressional authorization, and his legal team's noisy public threats to try to quash public release of the special counsel's findings.

Trump just raged on Twitter against Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (Democrat-New York), describing him as “Cryin Chuck”, while denying reports that he slammed the table before storming out of a meeting with Democrats. At that meeting, Trump made no headway, but now he's compensating for it by publicly lashing out with juvenile name-calling, which is supposed to show his supporters that he's “fighting”.

Trump may very well declare a national emergency to build the wall. But new reporting indicates that even if he does, it's not even remotely clear how much of his wall he'd get from it. As Charlie Savage details in a must-read piece, there are multiple legal obstacles standing in his way. It isn't just that the presidential declaration itself would face a legal challenge that would go all the way to the Supreme Court; it would also face multiple lawsuits from landowners along the border.

As one legal expert puts it to Savage: “We're going to be in 2020 before this is resolved.” It very well might get blocked by then, but even if Trump did prevail on all these fronts, it's unclear how much wall he'd have time to add before his re-election campaign, if any. And of course, he might lose, which would mean a Democratic president would halt the project.

Still, the act of declaring of a national emergency to force the wall issue would itself likely drive his supporters into a state of delirium. Which, for Trump, would be the real point of it. This is also the real point of threatening to do it.

Trump and Republicans take themselves hostage

Trump also just raged at the media for supposedly exaggerating Republican splintering over his shutdown strategy, insisting there is “GREAT unity” among them. For Trump supporters, any whiff of weakness or failure on his part can be instantly dispelled by a tweet describing it as a “fake news” fabrication (which also has the virtue of portraying him as “fighting”).

But the reality is quite different. The Washington Examiner's David Drucker reports that even some Republicans believe Trump's position is weakening, and they have discerned a flaw in his strategy. These Republicans point out that behind the scenes, the administration is taking steps to mitigate the impact of the shutdown on real people, such as keeping tax refunds and food stamps flowing, which they say illustrates that the shutdown is rebounding on Trump.

As one GOP strategist puts it: “Republicans have pulled a gun and taken themselves hostage. When you're mitigating the negative impacts against yourself, you have a political problem.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports that even people in the White House believe this dynamic is unlikely to change, because they recognize that Democrats have zero incentive to give him his way.

Sorry, Trump. Mueller's findings will become public.

On another front, The Washington Post reports that Trump's legal team has hatched a new strategy to prevent portions of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's imminent report from seeing the light of day. The idea is to exert executive privilege to argue that Trump's confidential discussions with advisers detailed in the report should not be released, which Democrats fear could limit what the public learns about Trump's efforts to obstruct justice.

Justice Department regulations stipulate that the attorney general has discretion to decide how much of the findings to reveal to Congress, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani is loudly threatening to demand that Trump's team sees the report even before the attorney general makes the call. But even if Trump's pick for attorney general gets confirmed and sides with Trump, House Democrats will be able to subpoena the findings. And one legal expert tells The Post it's very likely the courts would rule for public release, as befell Richard Nixon.

But here again, the threat of action by Giuliani has its own obvious importance, conveying to Trump's supporters that his team is at war with Mueller.

The grand illusion

Now, none of this means these actions won't have an impact. They will. The crucial distinction here is that, even if they don't produce the outcomes Trump wants, they will still cause great harm. As historians Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer detail, this goes to the heart of the “imperial presidency,” which former presidents like Barack Obama and George W. Bush did empower in their own ways, but which has broken new frontiers under Trump.

Kruse and Zelizer note a fascinating paradox about Trump's imperial presidency: He is shredding norms in a way that will damage our institutions, while also not getting a great deal of what he wants. Yet crucial to his grand illusion is creating the impression that his norm-shredding is producing results: “The imperial presidency is, in many ways, propped up by media partisans who insist that the naked emperor has glorious new clothes”.

Have a look at what “Fox and Friends” aired this morning:

Trump is not making headway on his wall, and he probably can't stop public release of Mueller's findings. But the media partisans are busy putting glorious new clothes on the naked emperor.


Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog for The Washington Post, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant — what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left. He joined The Post in early 2009, after stints at Talking Points Memo, New York Magazine and the New York Observer. He lives in Maryland with his wife, son and daughter.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump says he ‘probably’ will declare an emergency if there's no wall deal

 • VIDEO: Trump on Mexico paying for the wall: ‘Obviously they're not going to write a check’

 • Sister Norma Pimentel: Welcome to the border, Mr. President

 • Pelosi knows the magic word for beating Trump: ‘No’

 • Trump treats the border like a natural disaster. He even dresses the part.

 • Alyssa Rosenberg: Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.

 • The Washington Post says: Congress gave the president too many powers. Now it must scale them back.

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« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2019, 11:04:44 pm »

ROFLMAO … Trump got caught out by his own bullshit. What a stupid wanker & dropkick he is.

from The Washington Post…

‘The story keeps changing’: Trump falsely asserts he never
promised Mexico would directly pay for the border wall

The president's mendacity over how he planned to fund his
top campaign promise has boxed him in during shutdown fight.

By DAVID NAKAMURA | 6:55PM EST — Thursday, January 10, 2019

Since 2015, President Donald J. Trump has proposed no fewer than thirteen ways Mexico would pay for a southern border wall. — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.
Since 2015, President Donald J. Trump has proposed no fewer than thirteen ways Mexico would pay for a southern border wall.
 — Photograph: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post.

IT WAS a foundational promise of Donald Trump's historic presidential campaign: Mexico would pay for his 2,000-mile border wall. But as he desperately fights for $5.7 billion in taxpayer money for the project, Trump now claims he never said Mexico would directly foot the bill.

“Obviously, I never said this, and I never meant they're going to write out a check,” the president told reporters on Thursday at the White House.

He did say it — at least 212 times during his campaign and dozens more since he took office. And he put it in writing — in a March 2016 memo to news outlets that was then posted on his campaign website.

Specifically, Trump threatened to cut off billions of dollars in remittance payments from Mexican nationals in the United States to families in their home country. That, he proclaimed, would pressure the Mexican government to cough up “a one-time payment of $5-10 billion” for the wall.

Some observers said at the time that the plan would not work, and the Trump administration never tried to enact it. But 2½ years later, with parts of the federal government shut down for three weeks in a budget impasse over Trump's wall, the episode illustrates how his routine application of falsehoods, exaggerations and lies in service of political combat has come back to burn him.

First, then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto openly defied Trump and canceled two scheduled visits to the White House, one in 2017 and the other in 2018, in retaliation for Trump's demands that Mexico pay for the wall.

“Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he stated. His successor, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has shown no willingness to change course.

The Republicans who controlled Congress over the past two years never made funding the wall with taxpayer money a priority.

And now during the shutdown, the White House is searching far and wide for potential pots of money it can tap as the president considers declaring the situation at the border a national emergency — a move that is sure to kick off a legal battle and inflame political tensions.

“The story keeps changing by the day — like everything,” said Cecilia Muñoz, a vice president at New America, a liberal think tank, who served as a White House domestic policy adviser under President Barack Obama. Of Trump's original plan for funding the wall, she added: “They had no earthly idea how they would get Mexico to do that, so they came up with an idea to try to pass the laugh test, which they didn't do.”

Trump and his aides have floated other ideas to pressure Mexico to pay — canceling visas or increasing fees for consular services for Mexicans, and taxing imported goods at 20 percent.

Most recently, Trump has resorted to arguing that Mexico will indirectly pay through a revised trade deal that his administration signed with Mexico and Canada. But that deal has yet to be ratified by Congress, contains no provisions earmarking money for the wall, and economists have doubted whether it would significantly increase revenue flowing to the U.S. treasury.

“Obviously, they're not going to write a check,” Trump said of Mexico on Thursday, before leaving Washington D.C. for a tour of a Border Patrol station in McAllen, Texas. “But they are paying for the wall indirectly, many, many times over, by the really great trade deal we just made.”

News fact-checkers have poked holes in Trump's assertions. And Democrats have not been swayed, confident that the president's strategy of shutting down the government for a publicly funded border wall is a political loser.

“Today is Thursday. That means @realDonaldTrump is lying, again,” Representative Ted Lieu (Democrat-California) wrote on Twitter, referring to Trump's claim about Mexico. “Hard for Democrats to negotiate with @POTUS when he makes stuff up, changes his mind on a whim and lies repeatedly.”

Trump has been promising that Mexico would pay for a wall since before he was a candidate for the White House, and the vow figured prominently in his June 16, 2015, campaign announcement.

“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border,” he declared that day at Trump Tower in New York. “And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”

What might have seemed a preposterous boast from a vanity candidate became a staple of his campaign rallies, where supporters chanted “Build the wall!” Trump would often add: “Who's going to pay for the wall?” The crowd would respond: “Mexico!”

By the spring of 2016, after he had emerged as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump was under pressure to explain how he would make good on the promise.

In the two-page policy memo, the Trump campaign described using powers under the Patriot Act to compel U.S. financial institutions to block personal remittances to Mexico, which totaled more than $20 billion a year.

Such money is an important source of income for many families in Mexico and other Latin American countries, experts said, and gives those countries' economies a boost. For example, Muñoz recalled that officials from El Salvador cautioned the Obama administration not to end temporary protected status for tens of thousands of Salvadoran nationals living in the United States because sending them home would cut off those funds and seriously disrupt El Salvador’s economy.

“My first reaction was, ‘That sounds counterproductive’,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute. “Mexican migration [to the United States] is dropping in part because Mexican migrants are sending money home so more Mexicans can have a dignified life.”

Cutting off such a flow would potentially disrupt their lives and result in more migration from Mexico to the United States, he added.

Experts also said it was highly unlikely that Mexican officials would have acquiesced to what would essentially be a ransom demand from the Trump administration.

“No, it would have launched a trade war,” said Manuel Orozco, an expert on migration and remittances at the Dialogue, a think tank that promotes democratic governance in Latin America. “If they tried to stop national assets in the U.S., the home country would do something retaliatory, and the implications would be far more devastating for the U.S. business sector than to Mexico.”

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

In March 2017, Representative Mike D. Rogers (Republican-Alabama) introduced legislation to impose a 2 percent fee on electronic remittances to Mexico and other Latin American countries — with the funds going toward Trump's border wall. The fee would have applied to individuals, not businesses, and would have covered U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants.

“I have long supported the border wall, which will protect Americans,” Rogers said in unveiling the bill, which gained several co-sponsors. It was referred to the House Financial Services Committee, where it languished. A spokeswoman for Rogers did not respond to a request for comment.

Ironically, since Trump's election, remittance transfers have skyrocketed. In 2017, the amount of cash Mexicans in the United States sent home reached an all-time high at nearly $27 billion, an increase of nearly 9 percent from 2015.

Experts cited several factors, including that migrants were so fearful of Trump's threats to crack down on immigration that they increased their transfers.

Looking back, Selee said the Trump campaign was “scrambling to figure out how Mexico would pay for the wall. It was a policy solution to a political statement.”


David Nakamura started at The Washington Post as a summer intern in 1992. After four years as a sports reporter, he moved to the local news staff and wrote about education in Virginia and Maryland and city government in the District. In 2004, he was part of a team that uncovered high levels of lead contamination in Washington D.C. tap water, a series that won the 2005 Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting. He has reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: The many ways Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall

 • VIDEO: Trump visits Texas in effort to boost argument for border wall

 • Analysis: Trump claims he never said Mexico would cut a check for the wall. Let's go to the tape.

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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2019, 03:52:00 pm »

from The New York Times…

Nancy Pelosi Spanks the First Brat

Flags of their fathers: In the battle for Washington, the president and
House speaker are armed with very different values from their upbringings.

By MAUREEN DOWD | Saturday, January 12, 2019

Big Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. talked with President John Kennedy in the White House in 1961 after being sworn in to serve on a federal board. In the background are his wife and their daughter, Nancy. — Photograph: William Allen/Associated Press.
Big Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. talked with President John Kennedy in the White House in 1961 after being sworn in to serve on a federal board.
In the background are his wife and their daughter, Nancy. — Photograph: William Allen/Associated Press.

WASHINGTON D.C. — Two men, sons of immigrants, rising to be the head of their own empires, powerful forces in their ethnic communities. Both dapper and mustachioed with commanding personalities. And both wielding a potent influence on the children who learned at their knees and followed them into the family businesses.

But here's the difference: Big Tommy D'Alesandro Jr. taught little Nancy how to count. Fred Trump taught Donald, from the time he was a baby, that he didn't have to count — or be accountable; Daddy's money made him and buoyed him.

Fred, a dictatorial builder in Brooklyn and Queens from German stock, and Big Tommy, a charming Maryland congressman and mayor of Baltimore from Italian stock, are long gone. But their roles in shaping Donald and Nancy remain vivid, bleeding into our punishing, pressing national debate over immigration, a government shutdown and that inescapable and vexing Wall.

At this fraught moment when the pain of the shutdown is kicking in, President Trump and Speaker Pelosi offer very different visions — shaped by their parents — of what it means to be an American.

When Trump gave his Oval Office address, the framed photo of his dad was peering over his shoulder. In her House speaker's office in the Capitol, Pelosi prominently displays a photo of herself at 7, holding the Bible as her father is sworn in as Baltimore mayor in 1947.

D'Alesandro was a loyal New Deal Democrat, just as Pelosi — the first daughter to follow her father into Congress — is a resolute liberal. She grew up in a house with portraits of F.D.R. and Truman.

Donald Trump spent most of his life as a political opportunist, learning from his dad that real estate developers must lubricate both sides of the aisle. Trump was once friendly with Pelosi, sending her a note in 2007 when she won the speaker job the first time — with a boost from his $20,000 donation to the party — calling her “the best.” (Unlike with “Cryin' Chuck,” Trump has not gone for the jugular with a nasty nickname for Pelosi.)

In her memoir, Pelosi recalled that her Catholic parents “raised me to be holy.” She told me, “My mother and my father instilled in us, public service is a noble calling” and to “never measure a person by how much money they had.”

A constant stream of strangers lined up at their house in Baltimore's Little Italy, seeking food and help. One of Pelosi's most arresting memories, she told CNN's Dana Bash, was giving immigrants who came to the door advice on how to get into the projects or to the hospital.

Alexandra, Pelosi's documentarian daughter, recounts this anecdote: Her son, Thomas — who was named after Big Tommy and who stood at the speaker's side as she reclaimed her gavel — wanted an Xbox in 2017, so he set up a lemonade stand in Manhattan and raked in $1,000.

His grandmother sat him down and asked, “That's going to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, right?”

He set up the stand again the next year and was once more schooled by his grandmother asking, “That's going to the victims of the California wildfires, right?”

Contrast that with Don Jr.'s uncharitable message on Instagram on Tuesday: “You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work.”

Where the D'Alesandros saw the downtrodden and immigrants as people to weave into the American dream, the Trumps saw suckers to squeeze.

Donald J. Trump joined Mayor Ed Koch and Governor Hugh Carey in 1978 at a ceremony for the launch of construction on a new hotel. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Donald J. Trump joined Mayor Ed Koch and Governor Hugh Carey in 1978 at a ceremony for the launch of construction on a new hotel.
 — Photograph: Associated Press.

According to The New York Times's blockbuster tax investigation, Fred lavished Donald with three trust funds and $10,000 Christmas checks. When Donald was 8, he was already a millionaire, thanks to his tax-scamming father. Fred Trump was hauled before a congressional panel investigating whether he had looted government money through fraud. (One congressman said the patriarch's chicanery made him “nauseous.”)

By the time Donald was 27, he had fully absorbed Trump family values, a callous inversion of noblesse oblige: He and his father were getting sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent to blacks. As Woody Guthrie, who lived in a Fred Trump complex near Coney Island, wrote in a song, “I suppose/Old Man Trump knows/just how much/racial hate/he stirred up/in the bloodpot of human hearts”. Not quite the same as “This Land Is Your Land”.

Fred's favorite parlor trick was calculating big numbers in his head. But when Howard Stern had Donald, Ivanka and Don Jr. on his show in 2006 and asked them a multiplication question, they were all stumped.

Over the years, Fred funneled tens of millions of dollars to clean up Donald's messes. The father even gave the son $3.5 million in chips to save an Atlantic City casino. By the time he was in his 40s, Donnie's allowance was more than $5 million annually. No wonder he's still an infant.

When Trump said he could “relate” to federal workers who are now going without pay, it may have been the most audacious lie he told all week. He may know what it's like to go from bankruptcy to bankruptcy — though always with a paternal safety net — but he has no idea of what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, much less none at all.

As Pelosi told reporters: “He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money. But they can't.” She also leveled the barb on Trump in person.

Pelosi deploys what she calls her “mother of five” voice on our tantrum-prone president, perhaps in an effort to re-parent him. But how do you discipline the world's brattiest 72-year-old?


Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and author of three New York Times best sellers, became an Op-Ed columnist in 1995. In August 2014, she also became a writer for The New York Times Magazine. Born in Washington, Ms. Dowd began her journalism career in 1974 as an editorial assistant for The Washington Star, where she later became a sports columnist, metropolitan reporter and feature writer. In 1983, she joined The New York Times as a metropolitan correspondent and then moved to The Times's Washington bureau in 1986 to cover politics. Ms. Dowd has covered nine presidential campaigns, served as The Times's White House correspondent, and written “On Washington”, a column for The N.Y. Times Magazine. In the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, G. P. Putnam published her first book, Bushworld, which covered the presidency and personality of George W. Bush. After “Bushworld” quickly climbed the best-seller list, Ms. Dowd switched from presidential politics to sexual politics in another best seller, Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide released in 2005. In addition to The New York Times, Ms. Dowd has written for GQ, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The New Republic, Mademoiselle, Sports Illustrated and others. Her column appears every Sunday.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Sunday, January 13, 2019, on Page SR9 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Nancy Spanks The First Brat”.

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« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2019, 09:37:00 pm »

from The Washington Post…

What it means that Trump served Big Macs in the State Dining Room

Clemson's football team dined on Filet-O-Fish by candlelight in a symbolic image of our times.

By MAURA JUDKIS | 10:35AM EST — Tuesday, January 15, 2019

President Donald J. Trump's McFeast banquet at the White House on Monday night. — Photograph: Chris Kleponis/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia-EFE.
President Donald J. Trump's McFeast banquet at the White House on Monday night. — Photograph: Chris Kleponis/European Pressphoto Agency/Agencia-EFE.

OF ALL the bizarre images that have come from the Trump White House, this one will endure: On Monday night, as President Trump hosted Clemson's national champion college football team, a White House worker lit the candles of a gilded candelabrum in an elegant room, which had been laid out with a banquet. The feast came in cardboard boxes, stacked in neat piles. There was Filet-O-Fish. There were Quarter Pounders, too, and Big Macs, and — perhaps the piece de resistance — a tray of silver bowls full of single-serve tubs of dipping sauce for chicken nuggets. President Trump stood proudly before it.

Everything a supporter or detractor of the Trump administration could possibly hope to see was contained within this image. It was symbolic and decadent, evocative of a baroque painting.

To the president's fans, it was an example of Trump's resourcefulness, his relatability, his rule-breaking moxie. He had ordered the McDonald's — there was Wendy's, Burger King and Domino's, too — because the government shutdown had furloughed White House staff who would have otherwise prepared a meal, he said. He served the players fast food, he said earlier in the day, because he “would think that's their favorite food.” He would think that because it's his favorite food, too: “Great American food,” he pronounced it. “We have pizzas, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many french fries. All of our favorite foods.” And, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders, he had paid for the feast himself. (The Washington Post's Philip Bump crunched the numbers and came up with an estimated tab for the spread: $2,911.44.)

There was even more for his followers to like: The juxtaposition of the White House's elegance with the ordinary Big Macs made him seem like a man of the people. Someone who ate what regular, furloughed Americans ate — but with golden candelabras, and the wealth and success one needs to possess them. And he used the attention the food had gotten to change the topic to the reason all those Quarter Pounders were stacked up before him: They were understaffed in the White House because of the shutdown, because of the wall, because of — it was implied — the Democrats. “The Republicans are really, really sticking together. It's great to see it because we need border security,” he said, before exiting and telling a reporter to “grab one” of the hamburgers.

But for those who dislike the president, the image of him and his 300 hamburgers was something altogether different. It was chintzy, boorish, brazen. It was an example of him trying to get sympathy for the shutdown when he was the one who had triggered it. It was disrespectful to the players, who had come to the White House expecting elegance and were served nothing but empty calories. “Our nutritionist must be having a fit,” one Clemson player reportedly said. It was yet another example of how, in the Trump White House, you might think you were getting one thing (a nice dinner at the White House; getting Mexico to pay for the wall) and end up with something altogether different and worse (a pile of cold, limp fast food; the longest-ever government shutdown). The Filet-O-Fish were symbolic of a bait-and-switch.

The players, by many accounts, enjoyed the food. Some reporters said they “whooped” when they entered a room with burgers piled up like croquembouche. There are pictures of them with towering stacks of Big Mac boxes, and cocktail tables littered with crinkly wrappers. When Trump addressed the room, he told the players that he had considered recruiting Melania to make a meal for them.

“Or do we give you some little quick salads that the first lady will make, along with the second lady; they'll make some salads,” the president continued. “And I said, ‘You guys aren't into salads’.”

President Obama was mocked for his love of arugula, you'll recall. Republicans want meat. Salads are effete.

But our salad days have been topped with Russian dressing (er, Special Sauce), and now they're over. What the picture seems to evoke, as well, are the banquet scenes from Sofia Coppola's “Marie Antoinette: a leader who inflicts more harm as he tries to sympathize with his constituents' struggles. Let them eat burgers.


Maura Judkis is a reporter for The Washington Post, covering culture, food and the arts. She is a 2018 James Beard Award winner for humor, and her work has been honored by the Association of Food Journalists and the Virginia Press Association. Maura has appeared on local and international TV and radio, including MSNBC, CNN, PBS and Al Jazeera. She has also written for U.S. News & World Report, TBD.com, ARTnews, the Washington City Paper and the Onion A.V. Club.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Late-night hosts mock Trump's fast-food feast for Clemson Tigers

 • ‘Trump has turned the White House into a White Castle’: President roasted for serving Clemson fast food

 • ‘This is an emergency’: José Andrés to open relief kitchen for federal workers during shutdown

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