The problem in Washington is not a conspiracy against the President; it’s the President himself.
Some news programs have said they will no longer interview Kellyanne Conway because she isn't credible.
Trump blasted Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, said U.S. officials.
It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.
Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.
At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”
Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter.
“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.
Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”
Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia — countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The characterizations provide insight into Trump’s temperament and approach to the diplomatic requirements of his job as the nation’s chief executive, a role in which he continues to employ both the uncompromising negotiating tactics he honed as a real estate developer and the bombastic style he exhibited as a reality television personality.
The depictions of Trump’s calls are also at odds with sanitized White House accounts. The official readout of his conversation with Turnbull, for example, said that the two had “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”
A White House spokesman declined to comment. A senior administration official acknowledged that the conversation with Turnbull had been hostile and charged, but emphasized that most of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders — including the heads of Japan, Germany, France and Russia — have been productive and pleasant.
Trump also vented anger and touted his political accomplishments in a tense conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said. The two have sparred for months over Trump’s vow to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall between the two countries, a conflict that prompted Peña Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with Trump.
Even in conversations marred by hostile exchanges, Trump manages to work in references to his election accomplishments. U.S. officials said that he used his calls with Turnbull and Peña Nieto to mention his election win or the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
One official said that it may be Trump’s way of “speaking about the mandate he has and why he has the backing for decisions he makes.” But Trump is also notoriously thin-skinned and has used platforms including social-media accounts, meetings with lawmakers and even a speech at CIA headquarters to depict his victory as an achievement of historic proportions, rather than a narrow outcome in which his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote.
The friction with Turnbull reflected Trump’s anger over being bound by an agreement reached by the Obama administration to accept refugees from Australian detention sites even while Trump was issuing an executive order suspending such arrivals from elsewhere in the world.
The issue centers on a population of about 2,500 people who sought asylum in Australia but were diverted to facilities off that country’s coast at Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Deplorable conditions at those sites prompted intervention from the United Nations and a pledge from the United States to accept about half of those refugees, provided they passed U.S. security screening.
Many of the refugees came from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, countries listed in Trump’s order temporarily barring their citizens from entry to the United States. A special provision in the Trump order allows for exceptions to honor “a preexisting international agreement,” a line that was inserted to cover the Australia deal.
But U.S. officials said that Trump continued to fume about the arrangement even after signing the order in a ceremony at the Pentagon.
“I don’t want these people,” Trump said. He repeatedly misstated the number of refugees called for in the agreement as 2,000 rather than 1,250, and told Turnbull that it was “my intention” to honor the agreement, a phrase designed to leave the U.S. president wiggle room to back out of the deal in the future, according to a senior U.S. official.
Before Trump tweeted about the agreement Wednesday night, the U.S. Embassy in Canberra had assured Australian reporters that the new administration intended to take the refugees.
“President Trump’s decision to honour the refugee agreement has not changed,” an embassy spokesman had told the reporters, according to an official in the Sydney consulate. “This was just reconfirmed to the State Department from the White House and on to this embassy at 1315 Canberra time.”
The time the embassy said it was informed the deal was going ahead was 9:15 p.m. in Washington, one hour and 40 minutes before Trump suggested in a tweet that it might not go ahead.
During the phone conversation Saturday, Turnbull told Trump that to honor the agreement, the United States would not have to accept all of the refugees but only to allow each through the normal vetting procedures. At that, Trump vowed to subject each refugee to “extreme vetting,” the senior U.S. official said.
Trump was also skeptical because he did not see a specific advantage the United States would gain by honoring the deal, officials said.
Trump’s position appears to reflect the transactional view he takes of relationships, even when it comes to diplomatic ties with long-standing allies. Australian troops have fought alongside U.S. forces for decades, and the country maintains close cooperation with Washington on trade and economic issues.
Australia is seen as such a trusted ally that it is one of only four countries that the United States includes in the “Five Eyes” arrangement for cooperation on espionage matters. Members share extensively what their intelligence services gather and generally refrain from spying on one another.
There also is a significant amount of tourism between the two countries.
Trump made the call to Turnbull about 5 p.m. Saturday from his desk in the Oval Office, where he was joined by chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, national security adviser Michael Flynn and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
At one point, Turnbull suggested that the two leaders move on from their impasse over refugees to discuss the conflict in Syria and other pressing foreign issues. But Trump demurred and ended the call, making it far shorter than his conversations with Shinzo Abe of Japan, Angela Merkel of Germany, François Hollande of France or Putin.
“These conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately,” Turnbull said at a news conference Thursday in Australia. “If you see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”
A. Odysseus Patrick in Sydney, contributed to this report.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated and a reference to an AP report on the details of a phone conversation between President Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto removed because they could not be independently confirmed.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election,
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man who President Donald Trump has promoted as an authority on voter fraud was registered to vote in multiple states during the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press has learned.
Gregg Phillips, whose unsubstantiated claim that the election was marred by 3 million illegal votes was tweeted by the president, was listed on the rolls in Alabama, Texas and Mississippi, according to voting records and election officials in those states. He voted only in Alabama in November, records show. Continue reading “Trump’s voter fraud expert registered in 3 states | Associated Press”
President Donald Trump officially took over the @POTUS Twitter account on Friday: The new Twitter background made me wonder: Whose inauguration is this ...
President Donald Trump officially took over the @POTUS Twitter account on Friday:
Food Network star and celebrity baker Duff Goldman posted a side-by-side comparison of the strikingly similar cakes on Twitter.
Amid the glitz of President Trump’s inaugural festivities, one item stood out in particular late Friday night: a spectacular nine-tier cake that the new president and Vice President Pence cut into with a sword.
Continue reading “Trump’s inaugural cake was commissioned to look exactly like Obama’s, baker says | The Washington Post”
Quite a coda to the campaign.
Trump arrives for his campaign announcement. (C-SPAN)
On the morning of his inauguration, a remarkable coda to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Carrie Levine of the Center for Public Integrity found a report from the Federal Election Commission examining an under-reported aspect of Trump’s campaign launch. Trump’s announcement, held on the lower level of the Trump Tower lobby, was framed by cheering crowds watching from the floors above. Some of the members of that crowd, it was soon reported, were apparently paid to be there.
Continue reading “Even the firm that hired actors to cheer Trump’s campaign launch had to wait to be paid | The Washington Post”
Summits, elections, anniversaries and other momentous dates for Trump’s first year
A reporter reveals how he investigated Trump’s claims on his donations to charity.
It doesn’t appear to be a comedy and Trump is grumbling as if he’s a Zombie!
There were some more-than-steamy scenes (shot behind the neighbors’ bushes) which are NSFW, so they won’t appear here.
I won’t spoil the ending, but the last shot I saw involved the cinematographer lying on the ground shooting up at a gardner with a shovel standing over him menacingly.
Click below for some of the video I shot.
Instagram filter used: Normal
Photo taken in: Glendale, California
Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, on Donald Trump and his recent op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton.
First let’s start with the fact that I’m a big Mike Morell fan! If you want to know about world politics and know more about not only the big picture but the minutiae, and learn it from someone who can not only lay out an argument succinctly but with great depth, there is no better tutor than Morell. A former deputy director and a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell is about as good as it gets in understanding foreign policy. Morell is great at laying out simple facts and figures relating to incredibly complex and nuanced events and exploring a range of potential options, and then, only if asked, will provide any personal opinion on a subject. I love the fact that he appears frequently on Charlie Rose which is about as good as it gets in the interview game. Listening to their discussions will make you a better citizen, not only of America, but of the world.
Last week I was floored that Morell, a lifelong non-partisan due in great part to his decades long government service, broke ranks to endorse Hillary Clinton in an influential op-ed piece in the New York Times. I suspect (completely a gut reaction on my part) that despite not having registered with a political party, Morell leans more to the right and would generally vote Republican. Despite this, he laid out a scathing argument why Donald Trump should not be the next president. He was my foreign policy hero to begin with, but now I’ve got to build the pedestal even higher. I’m glad that despite the sacrifices he had to make to present such an argument, that he stood up firmly for what he believes is right for the country.
If you haven’t read his piece from Friday, I highly recommend it. If you prefer a video version with more discussion and elaboration, then last night’s Charlie Rose was fantastic.
Even better, if you want a scintillating and engaging primer on world politics, jump back into Rose’s extensive archives and watch all of Charlie Rose’s past interviews with Morell.Syndicated copies to: