More on the Florida shooting and what Trump has or hasn’t done

Donald Trump “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system” for gun purchases. The questions is whether he will act on this or will be held back by his friends at the NRA.

Trump ran for president as a pro-gun candidate and tied himself to the National Rifle Association throughout the campaign. He also said he was open to banning bump stocks in the wake of last fall’s Las Vegas shooting, but there hasn’t been significant further action by the White House on that front. But Trump ran as an anti-gun control candidate in 2016, before he was a political figure he backed a ban on assault weapons and a longer waiting period for people to buy a weapon.

“I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun,” he wrote in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve.” Of course now he reversed his thinking because he needed the NRA’s help to win the election.

Trump’s only action on guns as “president” undid restrictions aimed at mental illness by signing a measure that nixed a regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness.

So while the funerals were going on in Florida for some of the 17 killed in the shooting, Trump did not do work as a president. Nope. He went golfing and tweeted.

Trump says at a meeting with some shooting survivors, that if one of the victims, a football coach, had been armed “he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.” Revisiting an idea he raised in his campaign, Trump’s comments in favour of allowing teachers to be armed come as lawmakers in several states are wrestling with the idea. Obviously Trump’s idea isn’t approved by the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers.

Trump criticized the armed school resource officer in Parkland, Florida, who stayed outside of the school during the shooting for at least 4 minutes as the shootings began , saying during a White House news conference that the deputy Scot Peterson “doesn’t love the children, probably doesn’t know the children.” I guess the person was in shock and/or nervous. That and there is no match between an AR-15 and a hand gun.

Meanwhile, Trump was camera caught that he had a crib sheet of things to say or ask during the survivors meeting.

“Both kids in the picture [students at the school in Parkland] are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen,” an aide to state Rep. Shawn Harrison told the Tampa Bay Times. The aide was later fired. Another conspiracy nut said that the students were plants of the FBI, because Hogg’s father is a retired FBI agent. [FBI has taken quite a bit of criticism.] “Why would the child of an FBI agent be used as a pawn for anti-Trump rhetoric and anti-gun legislation?” asked the alt-right conservative blog. “Because the FBI is only looking to curb YOUR Constitutional rights and INCREASE their power. We’ve seen similar moves by them many times over. This is just another disgusting example of it.”

Then there is “Do we really think – and I say this sincerely – do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally,” said former Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston. Some of these nut jobs think 9/11 was an inside job and the Sandy Hook shooting never happened.

Trump said that he has directed his attorney general to propose changes that would ban bump fire stocks, which make it easier to fire rounds more quickly. The move adds his voice to a process that began in December in the Las Vegas mass shooting. Then he said he would do something but didn’t. Will this be any different?

Almost a week after the shootings at the high school, the state legislature voted 71-36 against a measure to consider a ban on semi-automatic weapons but they did declared pornography to be public health risk.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island form coalition to combat “gun violence epidemic”. They are working collectively while waiting for “Congress and the President to take federal action.” [If the latter ever does take action.]

Trump asserted that the Obama administration bears some blame for the election meddling, insisted he never denied that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 U.S. campaign. Trump has focused on the fact that the Russian effort began in 2014, before Trump announced his White House run. Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Poutine in September 2016 telling him to “cut it out.” This days after an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians with a plot to interfere in the US presidential election.

Trump said the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff “is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election.” But what Schiff said was that the Obama administration needed “more forceful deterrent” against cyberattacks. In addition, no one knew that Russian was meddling until this investigation.

Trump asserted that he “never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” and felt vindicated [but the investigation has said there has been no American – at this time – that conspired with the Russians]. He added that “The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” which for now may be true. He also said that national security adviser H.R. McMaster left out some details on how “… McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians. He knows this how especially after this indictment?

In November, he said he believed the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that there had been meddling. But Trump also said he believed Poutine was sincere when he said Russia didn’t interfere. So someone in Russia did it behind Poutine’s back?

Former Trump presidential campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to testify against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and will plead guilty to fraud related charges. A revised plea will be presented in federal court “within the next few days.” Gates can expect “a substantial reduction in his sentence,” to likely about 18 months in prison if he cooperates with the investigation and is also likely going to have to forfeit any cash or valuables obtained through his alleged illegal activity.

Later Gates and Manafort were handed additional charges in the investigation. Now Gates will plead guilty to two criminal charges in special counsel Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation. Gates said that despite his “initial desire to vigorously defend myself,” he has had a “change of heart” in order to protect his family. Mueller may have more to go after Manafort who could then point to those higher in the food chain.

The Trump administration is once again calling for the complete elimination of a heating assistance program that helps to keep the homes of low-income families warm. And once again, program supporters are vowing to fight it. The administration is saying it’s rife with fraud and that no one would be left freezing if the program goes away. So where do low incomes families will get their supplement?

The program, known as LIHEAP — Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program — helps families pay their heating bills primarily in the form of a grant that’s sent directly to utility companies or heating fuel vendors. So the government is sending money directly from them to the utility companies. Wonder where the fraud is. In the government?

As if Trump doesn’t have enough going on, he read the lyrics of an anti-immigrant song titled “The Snake” at CPAC, reverting to a campaign staple that Trump has used to criticize United States’ immigration policy.

The Golden State Warriors have reportedly budgeted time to meet with local children in lieu of making an appearance at the White House to commemorate their 2016-17 NBA title during their upcoming road trip to Washington. Trump tweeted the Warriors’ White House invitation had been rescinded after point guard Stephen Curry told reporters at media day he didn’t want to attend the ceremony.

Trump said he was considering withdrawing Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE} agents from California as punishment for what he claimed was a “lousy management job” in patrolling illegal immigration. “If I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California.” Let him try….

It was not clear how serious Trump was about the proposal. His administration has stepped up enforcement of immigration laws in California as an effort to pressure sanctuary cities. There is also no particular statistics made public that says patrolling illegal immigration isn’t working there.

With Trump pushing to remove “chain migration” from the immigration portfolio, without chain migration Melania Trump’s parents may have not been legal permanent residents of the United States. Viktor and Amalija Knavs have been living in the United States with green cards. Chain migration is when someone gets citizenship and then sponsors family member. Once those family members become citizens, they sponsor other family members.

Trump and his congressional allies have fought to slash chain migration dramatically, limiting sponsorship to spouses and minor children, including dropping the threshold for minor children from 21 to 18. Experts estimate that could cut overall immigration to the US by 40% to 50%.

Trump described Oprah Winfrey as “very insecure” and accused her of “biased and slanted” after an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that addressed his presidency. She had asked 14 pro-Trump supports whether they would still back him after is recent issues. Back in 1999, Trump told Larry King: “Oprah — I love Oprah — Oprah would always be my first choice…. I mean if she’d ever do it [run for President] — I don’t know that she’d ever do it …. she’d be sort of like me.” Yikes!

Just 20 years ago, in 1988, Trump told Oprah he probably would never run, adding: “I think I’d win — I tell you what, I wouldn’t go into lose. I’ve never gone in to lose in my life.”

Donald Trump, Jr. went to India. His schedule includes dinners in at least two cities with buyers of Trump-branded apartments, which could fuel ethical concerns about the links between his father and his family business. According to reports, those who purchase an apartment will get a conversation and dinner with Trump Jr. which could get investors access [indirectly] to Donald Trump Sr.

One of the dinners, for people who have pre-booked condos in Trump Towers near New Delhi, was heralded by a series of front-page ads in two of the country’s biggest newspapers over the past few days. “Trump has arrived. Have you?” says one ad.

Another reads, “Trump is here. Are you invited?” Developers say that the Trump on a building name allows them to add a premium of as much as 40% to the apartments compared with the price of similar luxury properties in India.

Real estate developer Al Hoffman Jr., a top GOP donor, said that he would not give money to lawmakers if they did not spring into action to ban on assault weapons, confirming he had sent an email to GOP leaders explaining his decision. “The more I realized that what I had been doing, which was hounding elected officials to vote for better gun law control, was not going to happen. So I felt I had to do it on my own.”

Just months after Republican Kevin Nicholson announced his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in 2018, his own parents donated the legal maximum to her primary campaign. Nicholson’s parents, Donna and Michael, donated $2,700 to Baldwin in December 2017. Woops!

With the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement, maybe Trump is getting nervous. Trump is complaining about Canadian trade practices while threatening some as-yet-undefined international tax that has revived fears he might be contemplating new American import penalties. This is when he said “Canada does not treat us right in terms of the farming and the crossing the borders. We cannot continue to be taken advantage of by other countries.”

The administration officials have expressed anger over Canada’s wide-ranging attack at the World Trade Organization on the U.S. system for imposing duties. “Some of them are so-called allies but they are not allies on trade. … So we’re going to be doing very much a reciprocal tax and you’ll be hearing about that during the week and the coming months.”

Trump did promise more clarity on a new tax. More details could be coming soon, he suggested. But in the US, Congress sets tax rates — not the president — and Congress, which just completed a major tax reform, has shown little inclination to hike taxes. Tariff rates are negotiated at the WTO.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, the chief of staff for Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, altered an email and made false statements to a department ethics official that led to taxpayers covering expenses for Shulkin’s wife on an official trip to Europe last summer, the agency’s inspector general.

Officials at the White House have been working to devise a plan this week that would allow Jared Kushner to continue in his role handling sensitive foreign policy matters without forcing President Donald Trump to personally intervene and grant him access to classified information. The scramble came after chief of staff John Kelly issued a memo a week ago declaring the White House will no longer allow some employees with interim security clearances access to top secret information if their background investigation has been pending since before last June — a category Kushner falls into.

A bit of humor: With the passing of evangelist Billy Graham, the following scene could of happened in the Oval Office:

Pence: Twitler. I am going to Billy’s funeral. One of us has to go and it’s me because I’m the real right-wing conservative crackpot here.

Trump: But I want to go. Huff. Puff. Huff. Puff. [Trump can’t jump up and down like a whining baby because of his weight and just after finishing 2 double big Macs.]

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About ebraiter
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