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Category Archives: Trumpedation

Mark Landler and Eileen Sullivan
9 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — The White House’s directive to hide a Navy destroyer named after Senator John McCain during President Trump’s recent visit to a naval base in Japan was driven, administration officials said on Thursday, by a fear of bad visuals — the name of the president’s nemesis clearly visible in photographs of him.
In truth, it would have been a bad visual for only one person: Mr. Trump.
Yet an effort to airbrush an American warship by covering its name with a giant tarp and then hiding it with a barge demonstrates how anxious the Trump administration has become about the grudges of the president. It also shows the extraordinary lengths officials in the bureaucracy are willing to go to avoid provoking Mr. Trump.
Sailors from the McCain were not invited to Mr. Trump’s speech on another ship, the Wasp, at the Yokosuka Naval Base, although crew members from most other American ships at the base were, a Navy service member based at Yokosuka said.
When several sailors from the McCain — wearing uniforms that bore the ship’s name and insignia — turned up anyway at the Wasp to hear Mr. Trump’s speech, they were turned away, the service member said. The service member, who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly, said that a gate guard told the two sailors they were not allowed on the Wasp because they were from the McCain.
The hide-the-ship scheme, which Mr. Trump insisted he knew nothing about but called a “well meaning” gesture, drew a torrent of criticism on Thursday from retired military officers. They said it was an egregious attempt to politicize the armed forces, while Democratic lawmakers termed it petty vindictiveness against a dead war hero.
The episode came at the end of a visit in which Mr. Trump had already sided with a foreign dictator against his national security adviser over the threat posed by North Korean missiles, and joined the North Korean regime in heaping ridicule on a former vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The email instructing the Navy to obscure the ship, the John S. McCain, came from the White House military operations office, after consultation with a White House advance team working in Japan, according to an administration official. The Navy initially complied with the order by hanging a tarp over the ship’s name. But higher-level officers got wind of the plan and ordered the tarp removed and the barge moved before Mr. Trump arrived.
“It sounds like someone in the chain of command made a boneheaded mistake in judgment,” said Jack Keane, a retired Army general who advises Mr. Trump and said he once tried to broker a reconciliation between him and Mr. McCain.
It is not clear, in any event, if Mr. Trump even saw the McCain during his brief visit. He arrived in Yokosuka on Marine One, and addressed the sailors in a hangar bay below decks on the Wasp.
The acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, has denied knowing about the White House directive. But questions about why the Navy has acquiesced to it are likely to dog Mr. Shanahan when he goes before the Senate for his confirmation hearing in the coming weeks.
Mr. Trump is not the first president to politicize the military: George W. Bush famously landed on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and spoke to sailors under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” during the Iraq war. Nor is he the first president to nurse grudges: Richard M. Nixon once ordered a reference to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” deleted from a speech because it was a “Kennedy song,” played at the funeral of Robert F. Kennedy.
But Mr. Trump has taken both habits to greater extremes. Some of the nearly 1,000 sailors and Marines at his speech in Japan wore round patches emblazoned with a likeness of Mr. Trump and the words “Make Aircrew Great Again” — a play on his campaign slogan — on their flight suits.
Critics said Mr. Trump’s animus for Mr. McCain set off a cascade of decisions by lower-level officials that not only dishonored the senator’s memory but also disrespected the sailors who serve on the McCain. In addition to Mr. McCain, the ship is named after his grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., a Navy admiral during World War II, and his father, John S. McCain Jr., an admiral in the Vietnam War era.
“It’s beyond petty,” Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “It’s disgraceful, and the White House should be embarrassed.”
The McCain had already suffered tragedy. The ship, which fired missiles during the Iraq war and survived cat-and-mouse games with Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, was docked at the base in Yokosuka for repairs after a deadly crash off the coasts of Singapore and Malaysia in August 2017, when it collided with a merchant marine vessel. Ten sailors died in the accident.
Mr. McCain took a personal interest in the ship, visiting it in 2015 in Vietnam, where he had been held as a prisoner of war. Cmdr. Micah Murphy, who took command of the ship after the accident, once served as a legislative fellow to the senator. He declined to comment on Thursday.
Mr. Trump said he would not have ordered the ship to be hidden, but he declined to apologize to the sailors who had been kept out of his speech. And he expressed sympathy for the motivations of his staff.
“Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him, O.K.?” Mr. Trump told reporters. “They were well meaning, I will say. I didn’t know anything about it. I would never have done that.”
“So, I wasn’t a fan of John McCain — I never will be,” he added. “But certainly, I couldn’t care less whether or not there’s a boat named after his father.”
Mr. Trump repeated his reasons for why he disliked Mr. McCain.
“John McCain killed health care for the Republican Party, and he killed health care for the nation,” Mr. Trump said, a reference to the late senator’s critical vote against the president’s health care proposal in July 2017.
Critics faulted Mr. Trump for what they said was a petty war of words against Mr. McCain, who died last year of brain cancer. They also derided him for what they said were his attempts to divide the military.
“We have a long history of keeping our military apolitical,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee who is a former Pentagon official. “The president’s team felt it was appropriate to politicize this event.”
The email from the White House urging the Navy to move the McCain or make sure it was out of sight put officials in a difficult position. The McCain is still undergoing repairs, and moving it from its berth would be tremendously difficult, time consuming and set back the repair schedule.
Navy officials struggled to explain why a tarp was hung over the ship’s name, and later, where the president was scheduled to visit. The tarp, they said, was part of efforts to repair the hull; the barge was a painting barge.
But other officials offered a different account. They said the initial decisions were made by midlevel officers in Japan, working with the White House advance team. The tarp and barge were removed after more senior Navy officials, in Japan and at the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, thought better of complying with the White House request.
There were similar questions about the status of the sailors. Two ships at the base did not participate in the president’s visit: the McCain and the Stethem. Their sailors were given 96-hour weekend liberty for Memorial Day. Sailors from the other ships did not get the long liberty.
Officials claimed there was not room for all of the sailors to hear Mr. Trump on the Wasp, an amphibious assault vessel. But they did not explain why the McCain and Stethem were excluded, arguing only that ships were selected to have a broad representation of the sailors on the base. The Navy said that if any sailors were turned away from the Wasp, it was because the space on that ship was scarce.
Defenders of Mr. Trump said it was hard to imagine that he would penalize sailors because of his feelings for Mr. McCain.
“I expect he would see the sailors on the ship and want to talk to them,” Mr. Keane said, “and deflect the fact that the ship is named after Senator McCain.”
But other former military officers were withering in their condemnation of the White House and of the Navy’s role. Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired Army general who served in the Clinton administration, said on Twitter that if Mr. Shanahan knew about the White House’s order, he should resign.
Democrats vying to challenge Mr. Trump in 2020 lost no time in seizing on the episode.
“John McCain was a war hero, should be treated as a war hero — anything less than that is beneath anyone who doesn’t treat him that way,” Mr. Biden said to reporters in Delaware.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, said: “This is not a show. Our military is not a prop. Ships and sailors are not to be toyed with for the benefit of a fragile president’s ego.”

Meghan McCain
✔ @MeghanMcCain

Trump is a child who will always be deeply threatened by the greatness of my dads incredible life. There is a lot of criticism of how much I speak about my dad, but nine months since he passed, Trump won’t let him RIP. So I have to stand up for him.

It makes my grief unbearable.

Rebecca Ballhaus
✔ @rebeccaballhaus
NEW: The White House wanted the USS John McCain “out of sight” for Trump’s visit to Japan. A tarp was hung over the ship’s name ahead of the trip, and sailors—who wear caps bearing the ship’s name—were given the day off for Trump’s visit. w/@glubold …
7:25 PM – May 29, 2019
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Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt, Annie Karni, Julian E. Barnes, John Ismay, Emily Cochrane and Noah Weiland from Washington, and Helene Cooper from Singapore.


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The Trump Dump continues, as he has done all of his business career, TOTUS initiates an action to resolve an issue then calls the meeting off. That calling off is TOTU’s way to exert leverage on the other party. This “double dealing” is how he runs his Presidency. This chaos method has brought us to the current state of an ongoing trade war, unrest in the Middle and far east. As the perceived leader of the free world, DJT has sh** canned 70 years of diplomacy and goodwill. His “deal Making” has put us in an isolationist posture exacerbated by the cadre of miscreants he has surrounded himself with. With the seemingly unapologetic GOP lead by Botch McConnell, DJT is leading America down a path to an untenable position on the world stage. This method of leading by tweet has taken the focus off of the real issues facing us all, which is the Russian tampering in elections, the extensive protectionism of Israel’s BiBi Notyetayahoo’ rantings and The Saudi’s murder of a journalist. With his hand-picked Attorney General, TOTUS has another diversionary or perhaps a subversive to keep the focus off of his inadequacy as a leader. DJT loves litigation, not because of a right or wrong but because of the time involved in litigation which he always seems to hope that the other party will quit the lawsuit. Essentially TOTUS is drowning in his own ineptitude and his minions are pouring more weight due to the lack of oversight by anyone, notably the 500 plus neer do wells we call Congress. Thank you all for supplying the reason to vote you out.


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10 hrs ago
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump brought his enduring fiction about hurricane aid for Puerto Rico to a rally crowd in Florida on Wednesday.
Pledging unstinting support for more hurricane recovery money for Floridians, he vastly exaggerated how much Puerto Rico has received.
Trump laced his speech in Panama City Beach with a recitation of falsehoods that never quit, touching on veterans’ health care, the economy, visas and more. A sampling:
TRUMP: “We gave to Puerto Rico $91 billion” — and that’s more, he said, than any U.S. state or entity has received for hurricane aid.
THE FACTS: His number is wrong, as is his assertion that the U.S. territory has set some record for federal disaster aid. Congress has so far distributed only about $11 billion for Puerto Rico, not $91 billion.
He’s stuck to his figure for some time. The White House has said the estimate includes about $50 billion in expected future disaster disbursements that could span decades, along with $41 billion approved.
That $50 billion in additional money is speculative. It is based on Puerto Rico’s eligibility for federal emergency disaster funds for years ahead, involving calamities that haven’t happened.
That money would require future appropriations by Congress.
Even if correct, $91 billion would not be the most ever provided for hurricane rebuilding efforts. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost the U.S government more than $120 billion — the bulk of it going to Louisiana.
TRUMP, boasting that his economic record has delivered the “highest income ever in history for the different groups — highest income.”
THE FACTS: Not so. He did not achieve the best income numbers for all the racial groups. Both African Americans and Asian Americans had higher income prior to the Trump administration.
The median income last year for a black household was $40,258, according to the Census Bureau. That’s below a 2000 peak of $42,348 and also statistically no better than 2016, President Barack Obama’s last year in office.
Many economists view the continued economic growth since the middle of 2009, in Obama’s first term, as the primary explanation for recent hiring and income gains. More important, there are multiple signs that the racial wealth gap is now worsening even as unemployment rates have come down.
As for Asian Americans, the median income for a typical household last year was $81,331. It was $83,182 in 2016.
TRUMP, claiming countries are taking advantage of the U.S. diversity visa lottery program: “They’re giving us some rough people.”
THE FACTS: A perpetual falsehood from the president. Countries don’t nominate their citizens for the program. They don’t get to select people they’d like to get rid of.
Foreigners apply for the visas on their own. Under the program, citizens of countries named by the U.S. can bid for visas if they have enough education or work experience in desired fields. Out of that pool of qualified applicants, the State Department randomly selects a much smaller pool of tentative winners. Not all winners will have visas approved because they still must compete for a smaller number of slots by getting their applications in quickly.
Those who are ultimately offered visas still need to go through background checks, like other immigrants.
TRUMP, describing how veterans used to wait weeks and months for a VA appointment: “For the veterans, we passed VA Choice. … (Now) they immediately go outside, find a good local doctor, get themselves fixed up and we pay the bill.”
THE FACTS: No, veterans still must wait for weeks for a medical appointment.
While it’s true the VA recently announced plans to expand eligibility for veterans in the Veterans Choice program, it remains limited due in part to uncertain money and longer waits.
The program currently allows veterans to see doctors outside the VA system if they must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility. Under new rules to take effect in June, veterans will have that option for a private doctor if their VA wait is only 20 days (28 for specialty care) or their drive is only 30 minutes.
But the expanded Choice eligibility may do little to provide immediate help.
That’s because veterans often must wait even longer for an appointment in the private sector. In 2018, 34 percent of all VA appointments were with outside physicians, down from 36 percent in 2017. Then-Secretary David Shulkin said VA care was “often 40 percent better in terms of wait times” compared with the private sector.
Choice came into effect after some veterans died while waiting months for appointments at the Phoenix VA medical center.
TRUMP, on the Choice program: “That’s a great thing for our veterans. They’ve been trying to get it passed for 44 years. We got it passed.”
THE FACTS: He’s incorrect. Congress approved the private-sector Veterans Choice health program in 2014 and President Barack Obama signed it into law. Trump is expanding it.
TRUMP, on Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s crowd size at a Texas rally before he launched his presidential campaign: “He had like 502 people.”
THE FACTS: Trump sells short O’Rourke’s crowd, though it has grown in his mind since he claimed the Democrat only got 200-300 at his El Paso gathering in February. Trump had a rally there the same day.
O’Rourke’s march and rally drew thousands. Police did not give an estimate, but his crowd filled nearly all of a baseball field from the stage at the infield to the edge of the outfield and was tightly packed.
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Gathering money to make bail after conviction or just not as wealthy as we have been led to believe.MA

Mary Papenfuss
,HuffPost•March 23, 2019

 (Screen Shot/Trump Store)
(Screen Shot/Trump Store)

(Screen Shot/Trump Store)
President Donald Trump has emblazoned the “Trump” brand name on images of the White House to sell in his Trump Store and at the Trump International Hotel in the capital. The products give the bizarre impression that the White House is a Trump hotel.
Walter Shaub, who was director of the Office of Government Ethics in both the Obama and Trump administrations, sharply criticized the products as the latest move to “monetize the presidency” for private gain.

The products among the new “Cherry Blossom Collection” bearing the White House image include soap, mugs, a T-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt. A line on the mug, which also includes a drawing of the Trump Hotel, reads simply: “Trump Washington D.C. Building.” A line beneath the White House on the T-shirt reads: “Trump Washington D.C.”


Replying to @Z_Everson and 5 others

Yesterday the official Trump Store debuted its cherry-blossom collection.

Four items on sale showcase the White House.

Via @1100Penn: 

View image on Twitter
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Walter Shaub


Our corrupt President’s hotel, in which he retains a conflicting financial interest, is selling products with the image of the White House on it. I’d say he’s monetizing the presidency again, but it’s a continuous effort so “again” wouldn’t make sense.

one voice @oneOvoice


The Trump syndicate is calling the White House a “Trump Hotel” in its online merch marketing!

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Vanity Fair quipped that the Trump Hotel is hawking “florals and potential conflicts-of-interest for spring.”
The hotel, located in a landmark building owned by taxpayers and leased by the Trump Organization, is at the center of a lawsuit arguing that the business violates the Constitutional prohibition against a federal official accepting payments or gifts from states or foreign governments — like those that book rooms and events there.
Shaub and other ethics experts say the hotel is an easy conduit for cash from anyone hoping to curry favor with the president. Now Trump appears to be underscoring the direct link between the hotel and “his” White House.
The Trump Organization last year used golf tee markers emblazoned with the presidential seal, but the seal is legally allowed only for official government business so they were removed.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the latest selling of the White House breached regulations, but Jessica Tillipman, a government ethics expert at George Washington University Law School, told the UK Independent that Trump profiting from his position was “bizarre and wrong.”
Trump, unlike other presidents, has neither divested from his businesses nor put his assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.


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There are mainstream and semi-mainstream personalities who promote conspiracy theories as a job. Some monetize these efforts with donations from believers and some other contributors yet the information offered is more hyperbole than fact. Conspiracy theories are just that, theories- until proven to be real. Many of these theories are derived from undeveloped ideas, half-truths and sometimes legends. These skewed versions somehow sound plausible to many due to their personal biases and circumstances. The beliefs in these theories and other off-center beliefs have become fodder for the extreme sides of politics while coloring the facts. Now that the Mueller investigation is done(?), we have more questions than answers and more Trumpian utterings from Congress and the OFFAL office stating exoneration. This is not the end of this as the truth is still unknown and thereby will promote more Conspiracy theories to carry us into the next major election.


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Abraham Lincoln said: “Truth is generally the best vindication against slander” and: I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong. ”

Ivanka Trump Said:
Ivanka Trump

Truth is generally the best vindication against slander. — Abraham Lincoln

5:51 PM – Mar 24, 2019

So Again the current administration cannot get it right.


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Tariff effects on recycling extends to Farmers, auto manufacturers and other industries yet TOTUS thinks we are winning? MA

Bob Tita 18 hrs ago
Used cans are piling up at scrapyards because U.S. aluminum companies are turning fewer of them into new metal, another indication of the economic challenges facing recycling.
Arconic Inc. and other aluminum rollers are producing less sheet for beverage cans and more higher-margin, flat-rolled aluminum for automotive and industrial components. Prices for used aluminum cans in the U.S. have fallen about 30% since last summer. Old cans are less versatile than other scrap. The makers of airplane and car parts prefer not to use aluminum made from recycled cans. More new cans in the U.S. are made from imported aluminum.
“We’d prefer to purchase domestic can sheet, but as of right now there is not enough to supply the domestic market,” said Jamie Westfahl, senior director of global packaging procurement for Denver-based brewer Molson Coors Brewing Co.
Producing aluminum for cans isn’t as profitable as rolling sheet for car companies. Aluminum rolling mills are paid about $1 a pound above the market price for the raw-aluminum ingots they use to make auto-body sheet, compared with about 35 cents a pound for converting can sheeting.
The challenging economics is a troubling sign for food and packaging companies that are facing pressure to embrace recycling. The glut of used cans shows how public calls for using more recyclable materials can fall short if companies decide it isn’t profitable enough to remake them into new products.
Other recycled materials are facing similar problems. Scrap paper and plastic prices have collapsed since China imposed higher standards on the purity of those products imported from the U.S. China implemented tariffs of 50% last year on aluminum scrap from the U.S. That has created a glut of shredded scrap from junked cars in the U.S. to mix with the growing stockpile of discarded cans.
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Atlanta-based Novelis Inc. has shifted some production in recent years from cans to making more aluminum sheet for vehicle bodies. The company opened new lines for auto sheet at a plant in Oswego, N.Y., and is building a plant to make automotive aluminum in Guthrie, Ky.
“We’ve done it. Our competitors have done it,” Novelis Vice President Andy King said. The company also recently increased production from its remaining can-sheet lines as demand for cans improves.
Arconic is investing $100 million at one of its plants to shift production from can sheet to automotive and industrial aluminum. The company stopped making can sheet at the end of last year at the plant near Knoxville, Tenn., that accounted for 14% of the aluminum used in beverage-can bodies and was a major consumer of discarded beverage cans.
Alcoa Corp. is bucking the trend, keeping its rolling mill in southern Indiana committed to just making can sheet. The company has increased production about 20% in the past two years. While making metal for cans isn’t as profitable as producing aluminum for auto bodies, can sheet has become more profitable recently because falling prices for used cans have reduced producers’ scrap costs and widened their margins.
“It’s a good market to be in,” said Tim Reyes, president of Alcoa’s aluminum business.
Aluminum cans have been the most recycled packaging in the U.S. since they supplanted steel as the beverage container of choice in the 1970s. Aluminum can be repeatedly melted and rerolled into paper-thin sheets. About 70% of the aluminum in the 94 billion beverage cans made for the U.S. and Canada last year came from scrap, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute trade group.

But can-sheet production in the U.S. fell 10% between 2011 and 2018 to 1.8 million metric tons annually, according to industry groups. Market consulting firm Harbor Aluminum Intelligence Unit LLC expects annual domestic capacity to make can sheet to fall to 1.73 million metric tons by 2020, down 30% from 2010.
The hole left in the U.S. market is being filled by imports. Can-sheet imports have increased more than 200% since 2013, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. About 70% of imports last year came from China despite the 10% tariff the Trump administration levied on imported aluminum last March. The administration also has granted exemptions on 362,000 metric tons of imported can sheet, most of it from Saudi Arabia.
Can manufacturers Ball Corp. and Metal Container Corp., a unit of beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, have asked the Commerce Department to exempt about 64,000 metric tons of Chinese can sheet from the tariff. Their requests are pending.
Beverage companies say can-sheet manufacturers have raised prices to reflect the tariff and lower U.S. production. Kelly Clay, chief executive of Wyoming-based Admiral Beverage Corp., said his costs for cans from Crown Holdings Inc. and Ball have increased 15% since the tariff took effect. That obliged him to raise prices on the drinks he bottles and distributes for PepsiCo Inc. in seven Western states by about 15% as well, to $3.35 for 12 cans of soda.
“I don’t know anybody in this industry that is getting any of these tariff exemptions off their can price,” he said.
Write to Bob Tita at


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Where the so-called Constitutional leader of the Senate in this “emergency declaration”? The Senate leader(?) is conspicuously absent in the vote on the President’s veto, could it be fear or complicity? Had this been the former President, Bitch would have been all over as would the current seat-filler in the White House. It is apparent that the Senate leader is not the leader he espouses to be in that he does what is safe for his own personal and political well-being. It is my hope that his base is looking at his actions that have damaged them as well as the rest of the country. We have only the hope that Nancy Pelosi with her longtime service can manage an override on this veto. This ill-use of OUR money will certainly follow the path of his ill use of other people’s funds in his business life. As a reminder of our (voters) purpose: Disengage from straight line party rhetoric, disengage from “entertainment news” and above all remember two middle letters in politician is: “LI”.  the rise of TOTUS has brought us down as a Country and will continue unless we stand up now against the actions of ill staffed and managed Administration. Just a reminder this administration has squandered enough of our money to have improved border security several times even though the “crisis” was manufactured by this administration. Bottom line here: phone, email, tweet your representative and ignore “faux news”.


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Unfortunately, the Administration words ring hollow when one looks at the actions taken against migrants who are seeking a better life. Puerto Rico still in crisis, tax reform hurting many of the lower income people to name a couple. MA
By Betsy Klein, CNN
1 hr ago
President Donald Trump on Friday expressed his condolences to the people of New Zealand following mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that left at least 49 people dead.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!” Trump tweeted.
The White House also condemned the shootings.
“The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Friday morning.
She continued, “We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate.”
National security adviser John Bolton said the US is “very concerned” and is following the events in New Zealand “very closely.”
“We’re obviously greatly disturbed on what seems to be a terror attack, this hate crime in New Zealand. We’ve been in touch with our embassy overnight, we’re still getting details, but the State Department and others are following up on it,” he told reporters Friday morning.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, called the incident a terrorist attack in a Friday press conference, saying the suspects held “extremist views” that have no place in New Zealand or the world.
Forty-one people were killed at the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue, said Mike Bush, New Zealand’s Police Commissioner. Seven people died at the Linwood mosque on Linwood Avenue, and one person died from their injuries in the hospital.
Bush said four people were taken into custody — three men and one woman. Police do not believe there are any other suspects but said it was still an open investigation. A man in his late 20s has been charged with murder and will appear at the Christchurch court Saturday morning local time, Bush said.
US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown also expressed his condolences and pledged US solidarity.
“We’re heartbroken over the events in Christchurch today. We stand with our Kiwi friends and neighbors and our prayers are with you. Kia Kaha,” Brown tweeted.


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How many of Trump’s base and stalwart supporters will be affected? Possibly millions if we believe the numbers he gives us. MA

Tara Golshan 18 hrs ago
President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget breaks one of his biggest campaign promises to voters: that he would leave Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare untouched.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.
Over the next 10 years, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal aims to spend $1.5 trillion less on Medicaid — instead allocating $1.2 trillion in a block-grant program to states — $25 billion less on Social Security, and $845 billion less on Medicare (some of that is reclassified to a different department). Their intentions are to cut benefits under Medicaid and Social Security. The impact on Medicare is more complicated, which I’ll get into a bit later.
Over time, the Trump administration tried to whittle down the president’s promise to just Social Security and Medicare. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Russ Vought said Monday, March 11, that Trump is “keeping his commitment to Americans by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.” But even that is not true.
Like “every other Republican,” Trump has repeatedly proposed and supported cutting these programs. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
How Trump is proposing changing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
When it comes to Medicare, the White House has been very clear: “He’s not cutting Medicare in this budget,” Vought said. “What we are doing is putting forward reforms that lower drug prices. Because Medicare pays a very large [share] of drug prices in this country, [that] has the impact of finding savings. We are also finding waste, fraud, and abuse.”
Here’s what’s actually happening: This budget proposes finding $845 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicare as we know it. But $269 billion of that figure is reclassified under the Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the Medicare cuts to $575 billion. As Vox explained, the administration says it will achieve these cost reductions by targeting wasteful spending and provider payments and lowering prescription drug costs.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates for fiscal responsibility, estimates that 85 percent of these cuts will come from reductions in provider payments, 5 percent would come from policies around medical malpractice, and 11 percent would come from reducing drug costs through the Medicare Part D program. Medicare Part D is the only area of these reforms that could raise out-of-pocket drug prices for some while lowering it for others. Otherwise, premiums, deductibles, and copays would largely be left unaffected.
Unsurprisingly, the Federation of American Hospitals is not a fan of this part of Trump’s budget proposal. In a statement, they called the reforms “devastating for seniors.” More surprisingly, as Axios’ Sam Baker points out, these reforms are pretty similar to policies Barack Obama proposed in 2012 that Republicans panned.
But when it comes to Trump’s proposed changes to Medicaid and Social Security, the intent is unambiguous: These are cuts to benefits.
The 2020 budget’s Medicaid reforms include adding work requirements and repealing Medicaid expansion and one of the most successful policies within the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion reduced the uninsured rate by more than 6 percent in states that enacted the policy; it continues to show better health outcomes and is popular in conservative states. But Trump is envisioning changing Medicaid altogether; his budget proposes transforming the current pay-as-needed system to a block grant, where states are given a capped lump-sum fund that doesn’t grow with increased need or rising costs. The budget proposes a $1.2 trillion “Market-Based Health Care Grant.”
In isolation, the Medicaid budget cuts amount to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but looked at in the context of the new block grant as well the work requirements and ACA cuts, the cuts round out to about $777 billion — which could leave millions more uninsured.
The budget also continues an attack on Social Security, including to a program which gives assistance to those who have disabilities that prevent them from being in the workforce. In all, the cuts to Social Security amount to $25 billion over the next 10 years, cutting roughly $10 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which the administration says will be found through cutting down on fraud — a common conservative talking point.
Trump broke this promise from the beginning
This is Trump on the campaign trail in 2015:
Donald J. Trump

I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.

10:38 AM – May 7, 2015
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Trump’s budgets — and the policies he has supported around health care — and government spending in Congress reflect the opposite. Some of this can be attributed to Trump’s appointed budget chief Mick Mulvaney; the former congressman who was part of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus has long rallied for cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.
In fact, Mulvaney once bragged to a Politico reporter that he tricked Trump into accepting a proposal to cut Social Security by calling SSDI just disability insurance — spinning it to the president as general welfare reform. The idea has been in every single one of Trump’s budget proposals to Congress since the president came to office.
Then there was the Republican Obamacare repeal push; every bill proposed massive cuts to Medicaid in order to pay for tax cuts elsewhere. Trump supported every iteration of Republicans’ Obamacare repeal-and-replace bills. He even held a party for House Republicans in the White House Rose Garden when the lower chamber of Congress narrowly passed a proposal that slashed more than $800 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.
Republican lawmakers have long argued that spending around mandatory programs that make up 70 percent of the federal budget — like Medicare and Social Security — needs to be reined in, in order to tackle the national debt. Trump drew red tape around those programs, as well as Medicaid, on the campaign trail in 2015 because they are extremely popular federal programs.
Now, his policy positions around those programs break from that promise.


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