Trump going to a war zone?

Donald Trump said that vows to visit US troops in war zones, a remark that comes after he received widespread criticism for not visiting an American burial ground outside Paris, France, earlier this month and Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. Of course, this is the same man who said his tax returns would be released to the public after an “audit”. That was 22 months ago. Long audit.

As he departed for Florida to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday at his private club in Palm Beach, Trump said he’d soon correct the oversight. “I’m going to a war zone,” he said again in response to a reporter’s question about his support for the troops. Does he mean a war zone in Florida?

Trump won the White House on a platform of ending U.S. military commitments abroad, but he’s been bedeviled by many of the same challenges as his predecessors. More American troops are now deployed in conflict zones than when he took office. This in addition to thousands to the Mexican border.

Trump also drew criticism for his decision not to visit Arlington National Cemetery to mark Veterans Day, following his trip to Europe. He said later he “should have” visited the cemetery but was too busy with official business. His public schedule that day listed no events.

When asked by “Fox News Sunday” interview, why he hadn’t visited the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in the two years he’s served as commander in chief, Trump said “Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned.” Well, if it’s like his tax audit at the beginning of 2017 that still hasn’t been “completed”….

Trump told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he doesn’t think visiting troops in a war zone is “overly necessary.” “I’ve been very busy with everything that’s taking place here,” he added. That’s true. He keeps on causing problems and is busy trying to fix them.

Not surprisingly, Trump used a Thanksgiving morning call with military members to weigh in on a wide variety of sensitive political topics [US-Mexico border, trade, Ivanka Trump’s Email issue, Saudi Arabia killing, judges he doesn’t like, etc.], a stark departure from typical holiday greetings from the commander in chief.

Retired Rear Adm. John Kirby said “The President’s conduct on that call, the manner in which he politicized it, demonstrated an utter and complete disregard for what military service means.”

“I made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump said to the troops. “This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office and you wouldn’t believe it and when you see it, we’ve gotten so much stronger people don’t even believe it.” So what did he do to make a difference?

Retired Adm. William McRaven stood by his previous statement that Trump’s attacks on the news media represent “the greatest threat to democracy” after Trump dismissed him as a “Hillary Clinton backer” in an interview that aired on Fox News. “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else,” McRaven, who commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden.

Trump also said that McRaven should of captured Bin laden long before he did. In fact, it was the CIA’s job to find where Bin Laden was hiding and McRaven’s job was to find Bin Laden but to capture him once found.

Trump told Fox News he does not want to hear the tape that allegedly contains audio of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing because it is “a suffering tape,” and said he has been briefed on its contents. At the same time he still believes the Crown Price over the CIA’s findings. Not surprising as well since Trump doesn’t back his own intelligence agencies.

Trump claims that Saudi Arabia would risk everything by causing problems with the world’s economy if he applied sanctions to them and any sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt US businesses. Yes, the all mighty dollar before anything else.

Trump signaled that he will not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [known as “MBS”] for the death and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump said that “our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” said Trump even though his intelligence agencies said MBS is clearly involved. Again Trump prefers to believe a probably killer than those who are protecting him and the country.

And then money is involved. “If we abandon Saudi it would be a terrible mistake.” He also said he was “not going to destroy the economy of our country” over Khashoggi by giving up arms deals to Saudi Arabia. He thinks backing Saudi Arabia is a way to counter Iran. Well, Saudi Arabia would counter Iran whether or not the U.S. backs them.

Trump continues to use various government agencies to fight his battles when someone disagrees with him. He at one point was thinking of opening up full scale investigations into James Comey and Hillary Clinton but those running the investigations refused. Even his lawyer warned him that it was an abuse of power and he could be impeached for that. I guess Trump think that he has his own “army” and he can order them to do whatever he wants.

A heated argument in the West Wing between chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton over a recent surge in border crossings turned into a shouting match. Trump, who has been auditioning some replacements, could push Kelly out faster than expected. Kelly hasn’t been happy and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen could be out soon as well.

Trump has floated possible replacements for Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers. But it seems Ayers is unpopular with aides at the White House. Ayers is an ambitious aide who has worked to insulate his current boss from the chaos of the West Wing, while also angling for a bigger job that would place him squarely in the middle of it. And a suck up and an inflated ego [like maybe his possible future boss.]

Even Kellyanne “The Witch” Conway opposed Ayers’ hiring as Pence’s chief of staff in 2017 where she erupted at then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who was pushing for the move. Conway disputes those allegations, telling CNN: “I have zero beef with Nick Ayers.” Ayers was critical of Conway’s polling and wanted to oust her from the role as the campaign’s pollster in 2015 when Ayers joined Pence’s gubernatorial re-election campaign as a general consultant.

Chief Justice John Roberts made a rare statement pushing back against Trump after Trump again went after federal judges. Trump had slammed the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals again, this time after a judge from the Northern District of California — where cases get appealed to the 9th Circuit — issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from barring migrants who cross into the US illegally from seeking asylum.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Roberts said. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

Trump has been a frequent critic of the 9th Circuit, and just a few months into his presidency, he said he was considering breaking up the circuit that covers a slew of Western states and Guam.

Trump tweeted after Roberts’ first vote in favor of Obamacare in 2012, “Congratulations to John Roberts for making Americans hate the Supreme Court because of his BS.”

“Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. … Judges must not Legislate Security and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else. They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe. ….. We want the Constitution as written!” tweeted Trump. No. Judges are there to make sure what is being done is acceptable to the laws of the country and the constitution and not turn the government into a dictatorship – the way it’s going.

Here is his big ego in action: Trump said that he “can’t imagine” anyone other than himself being named Time’s Person of the Year. The publication released the results of a reader poll to pick the Person of the Year. Trump finished tied for 13th with 2 percent of the vote.

Trump said the people who serve in his administration have gone on to be successful after leaving their positions, and pointed to former White House communications director Hope Hicks as an example. Yes, she is a good example, now at Fox as the executive vice president and chief communications officer, but what others?

Trump tweeted saying Democrats and Republicans “MUST come together, finally, with a major Border Security package, which will include funding for the Wall.” This is unlikely as the majority of Democrats oppose his Trump Wall.

When he mentioned Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a tweet, he used a Schumer fan instead of the senator himself. Surprising since the number of times Schumer has been mentioned in his tweets.

Just days after CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass was returned to him after a judge granted the return of his access for 14 days, the white house may try again to revoke Acosta’s access by the end of the month. In response, CNN is asking the U.S. District Court for another emergency hearing. The judge did not rule on CNN’s argument that the revocation of Acosta’s press pass was a violation of his and the network’s First Amendment rights. In the end, the White House said that Acosta’s press pass has been “restored,” bowing to days of pressure and a federal lawsuit against the administration.

The White house is trying to gag some of the White house correspondents. Among the new rules:

  • Reporters may only ask “a single question” at a press conference.
  • Follow-ups will only be permitted “at the discretion of the President or other White House officials.” This has reporters upset already.
  • Reporters must “physically surrender” the mic when directed.

Violations of “any” of these rules “may result in suspension or revocation.” The correspondents’ association said it had “no role” in crafting what the White House sent out and have not agreed to the rules. “For as long as there have been White House press conferences, White House reporters have asked follow-up questions. We fully expect this tradition will continue.”

I can see it now: A reporter from Fox gets to ask his question and maybe a second or even a third without getting permission. Acosta actually is allowed to ask a question that Trump doesn’t like and when Trump does not answer, Acosta asks another question and is then escorted out of the White House.

Seems they never learn from other’s mistakes: According to emails released by the watchdog group, American Oversight, Ivanka Trump used her personal account to email Cabinet officials, White House aides and assistants. The Presidential Records Act requires all official White House communications and records be preserved.

The Washington Post reported the White House conducted an investigation into Trump’s email usage and that she used her personal email address for much of 2017. So the white house hid this from the public. Her father pushed his followers to say “Lock her up!” regarding Hillary Clinton after she used a non-government Email account. He also used the phrase “Crooked Hillary” because of it.

I am going to guess that if the White House or Trump [the father] comments about it, it will be either a denial or not the same or similar issue.

When Trump was asked about the non-government server usage, she said she was not familiar with some details of the rules. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump lawyer said “While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family.”

With the Democrats now controlling the House, you can be sure that this Email issue will be added to the long list of potential investigations by the House.

I wouldn’t consider the two email controversies [Trump and Clinton] the same. Clinton used her own mail server that was controlled by her or an associate. Unsure what mail server Trump was using but O would guess on a public server [which is less secure] like Hotmail or Gmail.

The New York state attorney general’s civil lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump and his three eldest children can proceed after Justice Saliann Scarpulla denied their motion to dismiss the case. The judge ruled that a sitting president can face a civil lawsuit in state court for actions not taken in his official capacity. That ruling puts Scarpulla in agreement with another recent ruling against Trump, a decision in the defamation lawsuit brought against him from a former contestant on “The Apprentice.”

A federal judge based in San Francisco temporarily blocked the government from denying asylum to those crossing over the southern border between ports of entry. A policy announced November 9 barring asylum for immigrants who enter outside a legal check point ‘”irreconcilably conflicts” with immigration law and the “expressed intent of Congress.” “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” said the judge.

After Republicans lost the House in the 2018 midterm elections, Trump said in an interview with Fox News that these losses couldn’t be tied to him because he was not on the ballot. We knew that was coming. Yet. He was taking credit for the GOP wins in the Senate.

We know Trump is childish with a very huge ego. “So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate, but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!” Trump wrote.

Special counsel Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and like many other Department of Justice appointees, he did not require Senate confirmation for the position. Does Trump even know the rules of governing a country?

Regarding the California forest fires, Finnish President Sauli Niinist√∂ said in an interview that although Trump claimed the European leader told him Finns rarely have forest fires because they “spend a lot of time raking,” he doesn’t recall discussing that with Trump when they met recently in Paris. He said that they did discuss the California wildfires when they met, and that he told Trump “we take care of our forests.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association is shelving its tradition of having a comedian roast the president and the press corps at its annual fundraising dinner next April. Instead they will have famed author Ron Chernow. In previous years, this was the big press event. Getting a ticket was very hard. I am guessing it will be easier this time. Especially if you can’t roast Trump. So much material to choose from.

Trump is suggesting he might attend next year’s White House Correspondents Dinner now that the event is no longer featuring a comedian. “Maybe I will go?” I hope Ron Chernow roasts him!