Delaware

The Open Thread for October 19, 2017

It’s just truly amazing.  It would appear that some staffer in the National Security Council of the Trump Administration had drafted a perfunctory statement concerning the deaths of 4 American servicemen in Niger two weeks ago.  But Trump or his staff never released it.  It would have prevented all that followed.

Which was this: Trump got called on the lack of statement on Monday.  Since he cannot ever handle any criticism, he immediately lied, saying all his predecessors did not call or write families but he did.   The attack on both Bush and Obama immediately turned this into a massive political scandal, and the press started digging.   And now there are like 7 different HORRIBLE stories about Trump, which I post below.  But it all could have been prevented if they had simply released that draft statement.  I wonder why they didn’t.

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President Trump “has pulled bereaved military families into a painful political fight of his own making, going so far Tuesday as to cite the death of his chief of staff’s son in Afghanistan to question whether Barack Obama and other presidents did enough to honor the military dead,” the AP reports.

“He’s boasted that ‘I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died,’ though The Associated Press found relatives of two soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received a call or a letter from him, as well as relatives of a third who did not get a call from him.”

“Contending that Trump’s propensity for a political fight has drifted into ‘sacred’ territory, Democrats and some former government officials have expressed anger at his comments that he, almost alone among presidents, called the families of military members killed in war. They accused him of ‘inane cruelty’ and a ‘sick game.’”

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President Trump told U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow Tuesday that “he knew what he signed up for… but when it happens it hurts anyway,” when he died serving in northwestern Africa, according to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), WPLG reports.

The Washington Post reports Wilson was riding in a limousine with Johnson when the president called and heard the conversation on speakerphone.  Wilson said Johnson broke down in tears: “He made her cry.”

The mother of Sgt. La David Johnson confirmed to the Washington Post that President Trump did disrespect her family, despite Trump’s insistence that remarks about a phone conversation he had with Johnson’s widow were “fabricated.”  Cowanda Jones-Johnson said that she was in the car during the call from the White House and that Trump “did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.”

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President Trump, ”in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened,” the Washington Post reports.

“Chris Baldridge, the father of Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, told The Washington Post that Trump called him at his home in Zebulon, N.C., a few weeks after his 22-year-old son and two fellow soldiers were gunned down by an Afghan police officer in a suspected insider attack June 10. Their phone conversation lasted about 15 minutes, Baldridge said, and centered for a time on the father’s struggle with the manner in which his son was killed.”

But the money never came.

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Here is perhaps the worst Trump outrage-of-the-day:

“I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job,” Trump said on “The Chris Plante Show.” “ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”

When Plante asked why that hadn’t happened before, Trump took the bait.

“Because you didn’t have Trump as your president,” he said. “It was a big difference, there was a big, big difference if you look at the military now.”

I can point out that Trump merely continued the policy initiated by Obama. But the real outrage is that he took personal credit – not mentioning the contributions made by our military, the foreign forces who have actually been on the ground fighting, or the coordination with our allies that cut off both funds and recruitment for ISIS. In the mind of this incredibly narcissistic man, he did it all himself.

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Was that someone named Donald Trump?  Reads just like him.

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“A bipartisan Senate deal to curb the growth of health insurance premiums is reeling after President Trump reversed course and opposed the agreement and top congressional Republicans and conservatives gave it a frosty reception,” the AP reports.

Trump said that “while I commend” the work by the two senators, “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.”

Speaker Paul Ryan’s press secretary told Axios that despite the bipartisan push behind the Alexander-Murray health bill, “The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare.”

“This is a huge setback for the bill. Even if the measure can get 60 votes in the Senate, it still needs to pass the House. With Ryan against it, the odds of it passing aren’t looking good.”

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“A federal judge in Maryland early Wednesday issued a second halt on the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban, asserting that the president’s own comments on the campaign trail and on Twitter convinced him that the directive was akin to an unconstitutional Muslim ban,” the Washington Post reports.

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President Obama “will hit the campaign trail on Thursday to rally black voters behind candidates for governor in Virginia and New Jersey amid stern warnings that African Americans may not come out in force on an Election Day that is just three weeks away,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Obama’s appearances on behalf of Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Ralph S. Northam, in Richmond and the financier Philip D. Murphy in Newark — two white candidates in predominantly black cities — come as Democrats struggle to inspire African-Americans to vote this year. While Mr. Murphy appears comfortably in the lead in New Jersey, the race in Virginia is close.“

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“White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility,” the Washington Post reports.

“The fact-sheets… were prepared and distributed by Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. They were presented without any data or information to back up the assertions, and reveal some of the materials the Trump administration reviewed as it was crafting its trade policy.”

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A prominent exiled Russian oligarch told NBC News that he is “nearly certain” Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to collaborate with the Trump campaign, and that he believes a top Russian banker was not “acting on his own behalf” when he held a controversial meeting with Jared Kushner last December.

Longtime Putin rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he believes the likelihood that Putin “personally” tried to cooperate with the Trump campaign to affect the election is a “9 out of 10.”

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“The man who rallied Southwest Virginia to vote for Donald Trump last year quit Republican Ed Gillespie’s gubernatorial campaign this week, offended by a personal snub and exasperated by the campaign’s highly cautious stance toward the president,” the Washington Post reports.

“Jack Morgan’s departure follows a half-empty Gillespie rally headlined by Vice President Pence on Saturday in Southwest Virginia, a coal country region that voted overwhelmingly for Trump in November.”

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Vanity Fair: “According to sources familiar with the matter, the person in Trump’s orbit who may have the most to be worried about in Priebus’s testimony is Jared Kushner. Priebus has knowledge of Kushner’s proximity to the controversial decision to fire Comey during a weekend at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in early May, which, hypothetically, is the lynchpin of an obstruction case against the president and his advisers. Trump was accompanied for the weekend by Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Stephen Miller. At the club, Miller drafted an angry letter to Comey justifying his removal… The following Monday, after returning to Washington, Trump told other advisers, including Priebus, of the decision to oust Comey during an Oval Office meeting.”

“Kushner’s closeness to the discussion of firing Comey continues to be much discussed by current and former Trump administration officials, who see it as one of the main drivers of the administration’s present legal travails. Two sources familiar with the matter told me that prior to Comey’s dismissal, Kushner expressed concern to West Wing officials about the investigation. ‘He’s all over us,’ Kushner told one official in February, according to two sources briefed on the conversation. ‘He was freaked out about Comey from day one,’ one Trump adviser said.”

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Politico: “Over the last several weeks, Bannon has crisscrossed the country meeting with dozens of the party’s biggest contributors — all in the hopes of capitalizing on their anger at McConnell. The populist bomb-thrower wants donors to bankroll primary challenges against Republican incumbents, or short of that, to close their wallets to McConnell-aligned causes.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

3 comments on “The Open Thread for October 19, 2017

  1. And it’s another self inflicted wound made worse by lying about what happened. Trump was immediately called out when he claimed he contacted the families of deceased military, but the ultimate was his comment to the widow of La David Johnson leading to a striking picture of her grief stricken and draped over his coffin. Notice outright denial has now been replaced by “I was misunderstood”. We’ve learned a lot about Americans in recent times, none of it good and much of it ugly beyond compare. No, it’s not all of us, but at an approval rate in the mid thirties shows it’s far, far too many of us.

  2. cassandram

    In which we find that the White House is staffed by wingnut (previously) anonymous internet commenters:

    “The fact-sheets… were prepared and distributed by Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. They were presented without any data or information to back up the assertions, and reveal some of the materials the Trump administration reviewed as it was crafting its trade policy.”

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