President Trump is meeting with his counterparts at the G-7 summit in France, where he walked back previous statements on trade with China. On Friday Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports, and threatened to invoke a 1977 act authorizing the president emergency powers to force U.S. businesses out of China. On Sunday in Biarritz, Trump affirmed that he has the right to force American companies out of China, but said, "I have no plan right now. Actually, we're getting along very well with China right now. We're talking." Asked if he had second thoughts about tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump said, "Yeah, sure, why not? Might as well. Might as well. I have second thoughts about everything." He also
BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) - President Donald Trump wishes he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher, the White House said on Sunday, seeking to clarify earlier remarks that suggested Trump regretted his decision on Friday to escalate his trade war with China. Trump raised eyebrows during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of a G7 summit, when he responded in the affirmative to questions from reporters on whether he had had any second thoughts about raising tariffs on Chinese goods by 5%. “President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. Trump announced
Joe Walsh, a conservative former U.S. congressman turned talk show host, on Sunday became the second Republican to challenge President Donald Trump for the party's 2020 White House nomination. Walsh criticized Trump, who has strong support among Republicans, as a bully who is unfit for office as he announced his long-shot bid. "I'm running because he's unfit," Walsh, 57, told ABC's "This Week" program.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow attempted to spin President Trump’s remarks Sunday morning in which he expressed regret over his escalating trade war with China, claiming that the president didn’t “hear the question” when asked if he had second thoughts.During a breakfast meeting with British prime minister Boris Johnson at the G7 on Sunday morning, Trump told reporters that he had “second thoughts about everything” when asked if he had second thoughts on ordering American companies to no longer do business with China.Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union later in the morning, Kudlow was immediately confronted with Trump’s comments by guest host Brianna Keilar. The Trump adviser, however, insisted that the president was being misinterpreted.“Well, look, if I can reinterpret that,” Kudlow noted, “I mean, he spoke to us, he didn’t exactly hear the question. Actually, what he was intending to say, he always has second thoughts and actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China.”He added: “So it was not to remove the tariff. He was thinking about a higher tariff response. Having said that, we’re staying with the policy that was announced on Friday, I believe, a five percent increase on the two tariffs.”Looking for clarification, Keilar asked Kudlow if Trump was saying that he may want to further increase tariffs on China, but wasnt currently going to do so. Kudlow agreed that was the case.“That is absolutely correct,” he stated. “That was his thought, it somehow got misinterpreted. I’m not sure he heard the question altogether. It was a very crowded room.”Kudlow’s attempts at clarifying Trump’s “second thoughts” remarks came on the heels of White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham’s own spin.“The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China.’ His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” she said in a statement. “President Trump responded in the affirmative—because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”Elsewhere in the CNN interview, Kudlow clashed with Keilar, repeatedly insisting that she was taking Johnson out of context when he said at the G7 that he does not like tariffs as a whole.“Larry, what’s out of context?” Keilar pushed back at one point. “We just rolled video. What is out of context with that quote?”Kudlow said he was in the meeting with Johnson and that it “all depends on context,” prompting the CNN host to point out that the British prime minister’s comments came directly from that meeting.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
As the president rants about buying Greenland and battling China, some say the TV presidency has finally jumped the sharkDonald Trump talks to reporters at the White House, earlier this month. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters“I am but mad north-north-west,” declares Hamlet. “When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.”The prince of Denmark’s pronouncements raise questions over his fitness for the throne. But they might seem a little less unhinged when compared to the ramblings of another blond this week.Donald Trump took umbrage when the Danish government dismissed his notion of buying Greenland as “absurd”, retorting that its prime minister’s reaction was “nasty”. Outlandish as it seemed, this was just one example in an epic session of delirious, dizzying verbal jazz that left some sincerely questioning the president’s mental state.On MSNBC, the host John Heilemann summed up for viewers of Deadline White House: “A full 24-hours after a sustained presidential performance that even by Donald Trump’s standards qualified as unusually madcap, manic, unhinged and unnerving, the world is reeling and offering a collective judgment of ‘OMG and WTF’…”Hamlet’s madness can be sourced to the murder of his father by his uncle. Trump’s was reportedly attributable to warnings of American economic demise. The businessman who made promises of growth, stability and “jobs jobs jobs!” the raison d’être of his political candidacy is said have to been rattled by portents of a recession that would cloud his bid for re-election in November next year.> He is in a new phase of his behaviour and it’s not one that lends a lot of confidence that Donald Trump is a well man> > Rick WilsonTrump was forced to confront the prospect that his fatal flaw – the obsessive waging of a trade war with China – could bring about his own downfall.Such was the air of desperation at the White House on Friday that Trump launched a Twitter rant against Beijing, issuing a Soviet-style command beyond his writ that send markets plunging: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing … your companies HOME and making your products in the USA.”He also renewed his attacks on Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, who indicated unwillingness to cut interest rates to bolster economic growth. “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” Trump demanded, going on to announce fresh retaliatory tariffs.The outburst capped a wild week even by the standards of a president about whom everything has been said before – which in turn has also been said before. It consisted of claims of escalating wackiness combined with reassurances about the health of the economy that appeared so strained they brought to mind a line spoken by Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother: “The lady doth protest too much.”On Wednesday, for example, talking to reporters before departing on the Marine One helicopter from a sweltering White House south lawn, Trump began: “So, the economy is doing very, very well … Our economy is the strongest in the world, by far. Nothing even close.”In the ensuing 35 minutes, Trump parroted gun lobby talking points on background checks, reversed his position on a payroll tax cut, called for Russia to rejoin the G7, derided the former vice-president Joe Biden as “Sleepy Joe”, blamed the media for trying to bring on a recession and falsely claimed about immigration policy: “President Obama and others brought the families apart, but I’m the one that kept the families together.”There was more. Trump repeated his use of an antisemitic trope – “In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re being very disloyal to Jewish people and you’re being very disloyal to Israel” – and suggested divine providence had chosen him for an escalating trade war with China, insisting with a skywards glance: “I am the chosen one.” The president later said that was sarcastic but he had also recently quoted a radio host declaring that Israeli Jews love him as if he were the “King of Israel” and “the second coming of God”.He also renewed his attack on Denmark, a key Nato ally. Although he is not the first president to float the idea of buying Greenland – Harry Truman considered it in 1946 – and thereby expanding the size of the US by more than a fifth, Trump’s decision to abruptly cancel a state visit to Denmark out of spite, then insult the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen – “You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me” – left diplomats slack-jawed. ‘Very much a different character’All told, it was perhaps the week in which The Trump Show, now in its third season, finally “jumped the shark” – a reference to the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, in which the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis, seen as a gimmick by script writers desperately short of ideas. Former Trump administration officials told the New York Times they are increasingly worried about the president’s behaviour, especially as there are now few seasoned advisers to constrain him.Rick Wilson, a Republican political strategist, told the Guardian: “I think it is demonstrable that he is getting worse. I think that the continuous verbal aphasias, the lack of coherence, the obvious anger, the sort of inability to conform his affects to the times and places he is appearing have led a lot of people who have been observing him for a while now to note that he is in a very new phase of his behaviour and it’s not one that lends a lot of confidence that Donald Trump is a well man.”He added: “A meaningful fraction of Americans at first viewed it as sort of amusing or as just a funny affectation and as part of his super clever negotiating skills but more and more people are looking at it as, there’s something wrong with this man, there’s something very off now about him. Even if you look at video of two years ago, he is very much a different character then he was in this in the ‘16 campaign.”Trump is known to brazen out every crisis, perpetually brash and self-confident. But the economy is arguably his Achilles’ heel.> The economy is at least one, maybe two, maybe even three legs of the Trump table> > Bill WhalenThe Washington Post reported: “Through the week, White House officials became increasingly agitated that the public sentiment about the economy seemed to be tipping. Trump, aides said, is obsessed with media coverage of the economy, and thinks Americans will believe negative news and stop spending money. This exasperation began several months earlier.”Wilson, the author of Everything Trump Touches Dies and a Daily Beast article headlined “This Isn’t the Madman Theory. This Is a Madman President”, agrees that recession talk might be a causal factor in Trump’s downward spiral.“He plays a strong man on television,” he said. “The character he played on The Apprentice is what most Americans voted for and they thought of him as a strong negotiator and a bright person and a person with integrity and mental discipline and strength. But that was a TV character, that’s not the real Donald Trump.“The real Donald Trump is a narcissistic person and a weak person and a person who lacks personal discipline on almost every axis and so what’s happening, as he feels the mighty pressures of the presidency, is ugly. He doesn’t have the cognitive ability or the bottom to handle the pressures he’s under and so it’s gotten to be this extraordinarily ugly picture of a man who’s very much out of control.”Trump will be all too aware that after more than 10 years of growth, the economy seems to be showing vulnerability. Factory output has fallen and consumer confidence has thinned while markets have been volatile, although unemployment stands at just 3.7%.Since the civil war, only one president has won re-election with a recession in the final two years of his first term. For voters willing to stomach Trump’s personality and policies as long as the economy is humming, it could be a deal breaker.Rick Tyler, a political analyst, said: “What else do you have? Do you have peace in the Middle East? Do you have a denuclearised Korean peninsula? Do you have peace and harmony among the races?”Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution thinktank at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, said: “The economy is at least one, maybe two, maybe even three legs of the Trump table.”Not even the president’s career-long expertise in deflection and distraction can necessarily save him this time. Gwenda Blair, a Trump biographer, said: “How about building a wall? But it never happened. How about buying an island and adding a new state? That would be pretty cool.“He’s dancing as fast as he can. Gravity will trump Trump. It is inevitable. Will it be before November 2020? That is the question.”
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump presided over a lengthy Oval Office meeting Monday in which he urged officials to soften the impact of recent policy moves that angered Midwestern farm states critical to his re-election.The Trump administration was stung by criticism over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Aug. 9 decision to give 31 refineries exemptions from annual biofuel-blending requirements -- including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s assertion that the Trump administration had “screwed” farmers.Trump suggested rescinding some of the newly granted waivers during the Monday meeting, according to four people familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named describing a private session. Trump was told the waivers may not be reversible, but officials offered other ideas to mitigate the political impact in Iowa, a state he carried in 2016 and needs again in 2020 to win.Administration officials suggested expanding environmental credits that encourage production of “flex-fuel” vehicles that can run on high-ethanol gasoline and requiring government agencies to use more of them -- both steps that could increase the use of corn in fuels.The White House press office had no comment.The flurry of discussions is in keeping with the president’s practice of searching for immediate fixes to thorny policy disputes, from a border wall to the tax overhaul, sometimes impulsively endorsing just-advanced ideas that haven’t been deeply vetted. For instance, Trump stunned Republican leaders and some of his own staff when he temporarily sided with top Democrats on federal spending in September 2017.Monday SessionsMonday’s back-and-forth illustrates an intensifying clash over U.S. biofuel policy that pits two of Trump’s top political constituencies -- farmers and oil interests -- against each other. The administration is divided, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture favoring farmers and the EPA insisting the law compels them to waive the requirement for refineries facing economic harm.The meeting Monday with Trump was ostensibly to discuss trade with China but quickly turned into a fuels discussion because the U.S. ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, had just spent a few days in the state and was concerned about the harm he believed the waivers will cause rural America.The meeting, described as lively and spanning roughly two hours, included Branstad, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Stephen Censky, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and National Security Council official Matthew Pottinger. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler joined by phone.During the Oval Office session and at least one follow-up call, administration officials discussed broad policy changes designed to mollify farm-state critics and expand the market for corn-based ethanol. At one point, Branstad questioned whether the U.S. could mandate auto companies make all vehicles capable of running on a variety of fuels, so consumers can choose what to use. The idea was quickly rebuffed, with one person in the meeting warning it would provoke a big fight with automakers.Summertime EthanolAmong the other options discussed: fuel policy changes designed to make E15 gasoline that contains 15% ethanol a new nationwide standard, replacing the 10% variety that is now commonplace.The EPA in May lifted restrictions on E15 gasoline that blocked widespread summertime sales, but fewer than 2,000 stations offer that blend, much less E85 gasoline containing 85% ethanol. Flex-fuel vehicles are capable of using both but limited consumer interest has discouraged widespread adoption.It is not clear that any of the ideas will materialize. Since 2017, Trump has tried to broker a compromise on biofuel policy between warring ethanol and oil industry interests, but the design of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard makes it nearly impossible to satisfy both stakeholders simultaneously. And many of the ideas advanced Monday would require congressional action or lengthy federal rulemaking; some even conflict with regulatory changes already under way.Moreover, some of the proposals would benefit ethanol but do little to address concerns by U.S. biodiesel makers that use soybean oil as a feedstock and whose footprint extends beyond the Corn Belt.Another idea under consideration is boosting the amount of biodiesel and conventional renewable fuel the EPA will require refiners to use over the next two years to compensate for expected waivers -- effectively forcing non-exempted refineries to make up for the lost quotas. Perdue, the agriculture secretary, has pushed the idea for months, against opposition from EPA officials and oil companies.Ethanol producers climbed on the news. Green Plains Inc. jumped as much as 2.6% to $7.89, and shares were $7.58 at 3:14 p.m. in New York. And renewable identification numbers tracking 2019 ethanol blending climbed 30% to 13 cents apiece from 10 cents Monday.The White House discussions center around a 14-year-old federal law that dictates oil refineries use biofuel to satisfy annual quotas set by the EPA. The statute authorizes the EPA to issue exemptions for small refineries facing a “disproportionate economic hardship,“ but biofuel proponents argue the administration has handed out the waivers too freely and is undermining domestic demand for the products.The EPA decided to grant 31 exemptions from 2018 biofuel-blending quotas -- and deny six other applications -- following months of internal deliberations and after Trump intervened to authorize the move. But the president said Monday he felt misled by the high number of approvals, according to two people familiar with the discussions.Midwestern AngerThe exemptions have caused anger throughout the Midwest, where biofuel producers, their political allies and farmers view the waivers as curbing demand for their products, amid a trade war with China that has already diminished sales. Biodiesel producer World Energy Corp. last week blamed the refinery waivers and a lapsed tax credit for a decision to shutter three of its plants. POET LLC said Tuesday it would idle production at its bioprocessing facility in Cloverdale, Indiana, because of the exemptions. Democratic candidates for the White House also have seized on the issue.EPA officials and oil industry advocates push back against assertions that refinery exemptions are eroding demand for ethanol.“There is zero evidence that EPA’s congressionally mandated small refinery exemption program -- which provides regulatory relief to small refineries around the country -- has had any negative impact on domestic corn ethanol producers,” the agency said in an emailed statement. “In fact, the Trump administration has overseen year-over-year increases in domestic fuel ethanol production, to the highest level in history and the United States exported a record volume of ethanol in 2018 for the second consecutive year.”The EPA said its decisions take into account direction from Congress, recommendations from the Department of Energy and recent court decisions that rapped the agency for denying some refinery waivers.Still, people in Monday’s meeting with Trump highlighted the backlash in Iowa and other Midwest states, illustrating the political concern about Trump alienating crucial swing voters. Oil industry allies, including Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, have made the opposite pitch during earlier administration discussions on the issue, arguing that support from refinery workers in Pennsylvania and other battleground states is also at risk if the president strengthens U.S. biofuel mandates.\--With assistance from Ryan Beene and Jordan Fabian.To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Jacobs in Washington at email@example.com;Jennifer A. Dlouhy in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mario Parker in Chicago at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elizabeth WassermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. Yet, as the new NFL season approaches in two weeks, it is all but certain that they will not have the customary congratulatory ceremony at the White House, an event that has often been tense or divisive under President Donald Trump. The lack of a ceremony, which both sides said had nothing to do with politics but everything to do with poor scheduling, is even more curious because the team's owner, Robert K. Kraft, is a friend and supporter of Trump's. Coach Bill Belichick wrote a letter of support to Trump days before the 2016 election. And Tom Brady, the team's star quarterback, is known to have a relationship with Trump as well. Yet, according
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut says he is optimistic a deal can be reached with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans on expanded background checks for gun purchases. Murphy says he spoke to Trump last weekend, and believes while the president has come out against universal background checks, he could support expanded background checks for online and gun show purchases. Murphy admits it's still a hard sell to Senate Republicans. “The only way we pass a bill in the Senate is if there is a proposal, words on a piece of paper, that the President says he's for, and says it for more than 24 hours at a time”. Murphy says his willingness to compromise should send a signal to his
David Koch, Wichita son who influenced American industry, philanthropy and politics, has died David Koch, who along with his brother Charles ran Koch Industries for decades and became a household name in American politics, has died. Koch was 79. Koch Industries said in a statement he died “after many years of fighting various illnesses.” David and Charles Koch unmistakably altered the political scene, creating an array of groups to push their libertarian views. They funneled millions to causes often aligned with the Republican Party. David Koch was born in Wichita and had lived in New York City. Even though he spent most of his life away from Kansas, he and Charles presided over a Wichita-based
The United States capital of Washington, D.C., burned on this day in 1814, but it may have been an act of nature that forced the British from the besieged city.
Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is joining Fox News as a contributor for political commentary and analysis, the network announced Thursday. She will make her first appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Sept. 6. Mrs. Sanders, who left the White House in June after two years in the job, has moved with her family back to her native Arkansas. She also has been considering a bid for governor there. She will join other Trump aides in the Fox organization. Former White House communications director Hope Hicks is chief spokesperson for Fox Corp., and former deputy press secretary Raj Shah also recently was hired by Fox Corp. It's not unusual for White House aides to take network
This week, it was announced that former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who worked under President Trump, would appear on the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars. To let someone like Spicer appear on the show is to whitewash the immorality and cruelty of the Trump administration.
Caption Close NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump hasn't given up his fight to block critics from his Twitter feed. Justice Department lawyers Friday asked the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to decide whether a three-judge appeals panel erred in ruling he could not. They said the case has important implications for public officials who increasingly use social media, particularly on personal social media accounts. "If the panel is correct, public officials who address matters relating to their public office on personal accounts will run the risk that every action taken on that account will be state action subject to constitutional scrutiny," the lawyers wrote. It is rare
I sometimes think about the report from last year when Trump threw a Starburst candy at German chancellor Angela Merkel and said, “Don’t say I never give you anything.” On the one hand, the image itself is irresistibly and guiltily funny. If you consider it on its own, there is a part of your spleen, something about being an American human, that obliges you to revel in that moment. An occasional self-conscious lapse from decorum among the powerful is charming. A well-chosen one can be almost sublime.But a total insensibility to the dignity of one’s high office is perverse. It’s important to remember that if Barack Obama had done something like that Starburst trick, Republican blatherers would have put it into the great roll-call of unpresidential behavior that includes Bill Clinton’s sexual harassment of an intern, his staffers’ impish removal of the “W” keys on White House computers, Sandy Berger’s alleged “documents in his socks” moment, and Barack Obama’s khaki-suit fiasco. That last one still doesn’t make sense to me.There’s still a week to go in this normally slow news month, but I’m tapping out. Donald Trump’s August 2019 has had so much sound and fury, it must signify something.Where to begin? There was the frightening and incongruous grinning and thumbs up over an infant recently orphaned by a mass shooter. He actually took the occasion to remind people his rally in El Paso was more successful than Beto O’Rourke’s. Not long after that, there were the president’s suggestions that his predecessor might have been involved in murdering Jeffrey Epstein. Soon there commenced the weeks-long reality-TV-quality spat with former spokesman Anthony Scaramucci. Each one of these would normally, on its own, be a scandal large enough to be recalled in the first paragraphs summing up a president’s mixed legacy. For Trump it’s just a few days.There was the leak of Trump’s interest in purchasing Greenland from Denmark. For those who know a little history, acquiring this extension of North America makes some strategic sense and has interested several presidents. For those with a sense of humor, there should be an ability to appreciate Trump’s acquisitiveness leading him to the truth on the matter. But then the big galoot couldn’t take a hint that Denmark isn’t interested in such a sale, and he caused a needlessly embarrassing diplomatic fight over it.More recently, Trump is promoting claims that Israelis “love him like he’s the King of Israel” and “love him like he’s the second coming of God.” A few days later he is tweeting about the chairman of the Federal Reserve: “My only question is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi?” And then absurdly proclaiming, “The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China . . .”I know what you’re thinking: Judges! But the judges!Sure. They’re great. Fine. Whatever. Let’s get back to the subject at hand.I remember sort of rolling my eyes when, 20 years ago, George W. Bush kept repeating that he would “restore honor and dignity” to the White House, a big applause line. He would even raise his hand, like he was taking an oath. But Trump is wearing out not just my patience but my cynicism and giving me a deeper appreciation for decorum.It is supremely doubtful that Trump’s successors could sustain his new anti-norms; Trump’s combination of shamelessness and stamina is blessedly rare. Most normal people still know better than to just be themselves, warts and all, when entrusted with responsibility.We need decorum because human beings are almost too malleable. We habituate ourselves to anything. Even this presidency. The constant break from the norm doesn’t just make the president perverse; it does something to us too.Not long before he died, William F. Buckley was commenting on the state of conservatism. He longed for the repristination of its ideas. His word, of course. We have to be honest with ourselves. We’re not going to get to return to anything pristine, we’re not going to have the time for serious reflection or thought at all, if we let this jackanapes in the Oval Office have all the attention he covets. "Jackanapes" is another Buckley word in need of recovery.