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Friday, February 17, 2017

Petulance

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Twenty-eight days.

We’re twenty-eight days into the Trump Administration.

Four weeks.

It just seems longer, doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s just me.

The first few months of a new administration define a presidency.

A new president’s inauguration speech, the first major press conference, these are the moments that set the tone for what is to come. 

These are the moments where the new president seizes the high ground and uses the Bully Pulpit to lay out his vision for the next four years.

This is the time when a new president transitions from candidate to leader of the Free World.

This is the moment, the brief moment, when a new president seeks to inspire the nation before he gets down to the tedious grinding work of governing.

Perhaps most importantly, this is when the new president pledges to work with Congress, with his own party and the opposition, to build bridges, to move the country forward for all citizens.

Now, honestly, none of us really believe any of that.

Of course not.

We expect the new president to cater to his party and his political ideology and the people who put him into office. Of course we do.

But we expect him to make the gesture.

And the gesture matters.

The tradition, that moment of inspiration, that olive branch no matter how insincerely extended to the other side, that matters.

It matters because a President must lead the entire nation not just a part of it.

It matters because we are nowadays engaged in the politics of fear and half our country is convinced the other half is out to get them – and they might be right.

It matters because we live in a country of Death Panels and Jade Helm and Pizzagate and Benghazi and Emails and shadowy Russian entanglements and we can’t tell what’s real and what is false and most of us no longer care.

It matters because we are afraid, because we’ve been fed a diet of fear and terror and division.

It is the president’s job – even if nobody believes him – to make the gesture.

But these last four weeks of the Trump Administration have hardly been a period of bridge building and inspiration.

 

Yesterday’s presser should have been a gesture of confidence and leadership.

 

Instead it confirmed all of our worst fears.

I mean, I expected it to be bad. Who doesn’t at this point, right? I expected it to be filled with non-sequiturs and digressions, bombast and bragging and empty promises of greatness, and it was all of that and more.

But it was so much worse than that.

This should have been a moment of inspiration, a chance for Trump to define himself as a leader.

Instead it was again nothing but the airing of grievances.

Thank you very much.

I just wanted to begin by mentioning that the nominee for secretary of the Department of Labor will be Mr. Alex Acosta. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, was a great student; former clerk for Justice Samuel Alito. And he has had a tremendous career. He's a member and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and has been through Senate confirmation three times, confirmed; did very, very well.

And so Alex, I've wished him the best. We just spoke. And he's going to be -- I think he'll be a tremendous secretary of labor.

Acosta is not currently a member of the NLRB.  He is a former member, serving under George W. Bush for one year, 2002-2003.

You’d think at this point, Trump of all people, would at least make sure he had his leading paragraph bulletproofed.

But this, this right here, is what will define the Trump Administration, they’re amateurs.

And also as you probably heard just a little while ago, Mick Mulvaney, former congressman, has just been approved weeks late, I have to say that, weeks, weeks late, Office of Management and Budget. And he will be I think a fantastic addition.

Weeks late. Weeks, weeks late, dammit.

Two paragraphs in and the petulant whining starts. Hell even George W. Bush had a thicker skin (and was a more stirring and focused speaker and you have no idea how much it hurts me to type that).

It’s hilariously hypocritical  for the Republican President to complain about the slow pace of Congressional action given Republicans have over the last eight years loudly and repeatedly emphasized the supposed idea that the Founding Fathers wanted Congress to work slowly and deliberately. 

The party of obstructionism has a lot of gall complaining about obstructionism.

But then religious fanatics are always outraged over the mote in everybody else’s eye, aren’t they?

Paul Singer just left. As you know, Paul was very much involved with the anti-Trump or as they say, "never Trump." And Paul just left and he's given us his total support. And it's all about unification. We're unifying the party and hopefully we're going to be able to unify the country. It's very important to me. I've been talking about that for a long time. It's very, very important to me.

So I want to thank Paul Singer for being here and for coming up to the office. He was a very strong opponent, and now he's a very strong ally. And I appreciate that.

Paul Singer is a Republican super-donor who spent $24 Million to defeat Hillary Clinton. He might have been Never Trump in the primaries, but there’s no way a right-wing fanatic isn’t going to get something for his money. Trump thinks he’s won over Conservative purists like Singer. He’s wrong. Singer loathes Trump, but just like all the rest, including hardcore true-believers such as Ted Cruz and John McCain, he’ll kiss the ring in order to advance the Conservative agenda.

Because power and ideology matter more to these people than country.

Or people.

I think I'll say a few words, and then we'll take some questions. And I had this time. We've been negotiating a lot of different transactions to save money on contracts that were terrible, including airplane contracts that were out of control and late and terrible; just absolutely catastrophic in terms of what was happening. And we've done some really good work. We're very proud of that. And then right after that, you prepare yourselves, we'll do some questions, unless you have enough questions. That's always a possibility. I'm here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration. We have made incredible progress. I don't think there's ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we've done.

Gibberish. This isn’t a policy statement, it’s just random fragments of thought pasted together.

And that’s important because language and how we use it defines how we face the world, how we deal with adversity, how we think.

Look at that paragraph. There’s no clarity of thought, no cohesive theme. It’s just … gibberish. He’s going to say some stuff then he’ll take some questions because he had some time after negotiating some transactions that are out of control and terrible and catastrophic in terms of what’s happening and he’s done some good work that he’s proud of but can’t really describe and prepare yourself for some questions unless you have enough questions because that’s always a possibility and we’re back to incredible progress, incredible progress, just like the most incredible progress, I’m amazing.

I want you to remember this paragraph. Because we’re going to come back to it later.

A new Rasmussen poll, in fact, because the people get it, much of the media doesn't get it. They actually get it, but they don't write it. Let's put it that way. But a new Rasmussen poll just came out just a very short while ago, and it has our approval rating at 55 percent and going up. The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know. And there has been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world, which is -- to me means something much different than it used to. It used to mean, "Oh, that's good." Now it means, "That's good for jobs." Very different.

Trump is obsessed with approval, with what other people think about him. He’s the bore at the party who tries to impress the girls by telling them about his car and his big screen stereo TV.

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He’s calls the press the enemy of the people.

That’s some fascist bullshit right there. That’s unbelievable statement from a US president, that’s the kind of thing you hear from dictators in Iran and North Korea.

He makes vague comments about optimism and tells you how some unnamed people think things are “good for jobs.” But you’ll note he doesn’t tell you about those jobs in any detail.  Who are these people? What are these jobs?

Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the United States, and big league -- Ford, General Motors, so many of them. I'm making this presentation directly to the American people, with the media present, which is an honor to have you. This morning, because many of our nation's reporters and folks will not tell you the truth, and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve. And I hope going forward we can be a little bit -- a little bit different, and maybe get along a little bit better, if that's possible. Maybe it's not, and that's OK, too.

And again, he leads off with one thought and ends up some place completely different. The car companies are bringing jobs back to America so the media stinks so I hope we can work together in the future but probably not so that’s fine.

Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don't talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what's going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.

We all have that one relative, that one person we know, who just won’t shut up about some pet bugaboo. Everything, every conversation, always, every time, leads back to that one thing.

That’s Trump and the press.

It was bad enough when he was merely a candidate, but this is the President of the United States whining endlessly about the press and that should disturb every citizen.

The press was given enumerated protection in the First Amendment for a reason. The press is the only private enterprise given specific rights and freedoms in the Constitution. The press is the only private enterprise specifically protected from government interference.

This was done because the press is supposed to be the watchdog of liberty.

Now granted the press doesn’t always live up to this responsibility. I don’t think any of us would argue that it does. But it is not the president’s job to decide how any of us use our rights. And if Trump doesn’t like how he’s portrayed in the press, then perhaps he should do a better job of explaining himself (see the comments above regarding gibberish et al) or find himself a better press secretary and speech writer.

I ran for president to present the citizens of our country. I am here to change the broken system so it serves their families and their communities well. I am talking -- and really talking on this very entrenched power structure, and what we're doing is we're talking about the power structure; we're talking about its entrenchment. As a result, the media is going through what they have to go through too often times distort - not all the time - and some of the media is fantastic, I have to say - they're honest and fantastic.

This, this right here, is what I’m talking about. The media is terrible but they’re fantastic but the power structure is entrenched because it’s entrenched and I’m going to use the word entrenched for a third time in the same sentence and so the media is terrible.

If Trump doesn’t like how he’s perceived by the media, then he needs to be more coherent.

But much of it is not a,the distortion, and we'll talk about it, you'll be able to ask me questions about it. But we're not going to let it happen, because I'm here again, to take my message straight to the people. As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess. It's a mess. At home and abroad, a mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country; you see what's going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places, low pay, low wages, mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The middle east is a disaster. North Korea - we'll take care of it folks; we're going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know, I inherited a mess.

Three paragraphs back he was telling you how jobs were coming back to the country, now he’s directly contradicting that statement and telling you how jobs are leaving the country.

And the takeaway from this paragraph is what? Everything is a mess, but it’s not Donald Trump’s fault. Right?

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He tells you the country is a mess, but he again he gives you no details, no facts, to back that up. When Trump took office, the unemployment rate was  4.7 percent after the the longest period of job growth in history. Household income rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent which is largest one-year increase since 1967.

While things could certainly be better – and would be better if Republicans had helped America for the last eight years instead of sabotaging government at every opportunity – the country is a damned sight better off than it was last time there was a Republican in the White House and that is provable by any standard measure you’d care to employ.

Beginning on day one, our administration went to work to tackle these challenges. On foreign affairs, we've already begun enormously productive talks with many foreign leaders, much of it you've covered, to move forward towards stability, security and peace in the most troubled regions of the world, which there are many. We have had great conversations with the United Kingdom, and meetings. Israel, Mexico, Japan, China and Canada, really, really productive conversations. I would say far more productive than you would understand.

Far more productive than you peons would understand.

And somehow he completely misses the fact that it’s his job to make us understand.

Trump complains that the press won’t report his truth, but he makes no attempt whatsoever to explain his assertion. He says these supposed conversations were “really, really productive” but he provides no facts, no details, no footnotes, no references, no transcripts, no witnesses. He expects the press to report that everything is peachy simply because he says it is.

Trump never, not once, took Obama at his word, but we’re supposed to take Trump at his.

We've even developed a new council with Canada to promote women's business leaders and entrepreneurs. It's very important to me, very important to my daughter Ivanka. I have directed our defense community headed by our great general, now Secretary Mattis. He's over there now working very hard to submit a plan for the defeat of ISIS, a group that celebrates the murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world. It used to be a small group, now it's in large sections of the world.

He combines his daughter’s fashion business with some vague hand waving about defeating ISIS and how bizarre is that?

“He’s over there now…” Mattis. He’s over where now? Working with who? Submitting a plan to what?  I mean, Trump gave you more detail about Ivanka’s purse sales in Canada than whatever the hell war Mad Dog is currently working up.

They've spread like cancer. ISIS has spread like cancer - another mess I inherited – and we have imposed new sanctions on the nation of Iran, who’s totally taken advantage of our previous administration, and they're the world's top sponsor of terrorism, and we're not going to stop until that problem is properly solved. And it's not properly solved now, it's one of the worst agreements I've ever seen drawn by anybody. I've ordered plan to begin building for the massive rebuilding of the United States military. Had great support from the Senate, I've had great from Congress, generally.

He goes from ISIS to Iran in the same sentence without any acknowledgement that these are two totally different entities and then he’s into the Iran Agreement and without even a paragraph break and he fetches up on “rebuilding” the US military.  These are three separate subjects, each extensive enough to be a press conference in and of themselves. Instead, it’s all just jumbled together like a tub of grocery-store pasta salad.

We've pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military, and I will tell you that is my - I would be so happy if we never had to use it. But our country will never have had a military like the military we're about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on earth in our military, but they don't have the right equipment and their equipment is old. I used it. I talked about it at every stop. Depleted, it's depleted - it won't be depleted for long. And I think one of the reason I'm standing here instead of other people is that frankly, I talked about we have to have a strong military.

“I used it.”

That’s what he said. I used it. Military equipment.

I read it three times. I watched the video over and over. That’s that he said.

And today nobody is asking where Trump supposedly used this military equipment.

I’ll ask. This military equipment Trump claims to have used, to have first hand knowledge of, where and when was that experience?

It must be recent, right? Since he took office.

So, let’s have it. When. Where. What.

And while we’re at it, this grand military, this mighty fleet that we’re going to build and rebuild, I’d also like to know more about that. As a citizen. As a taxpayer. As a veteran.

Trump says we don’t have the right equipment.

Okay. Of all the Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and by ISIS over of the last 16 years, of all the Americans killed or wounded in action, not one – not a single one – was killed by enemy air superiority. Not one was killed by enemy naval action. So, about that trillion dollar F-35 or those $4 Billion per copy Zumwalt class destroyers, or $400 Billion for an upgraded nuclear arsenal, or … well, I guess my question here is this, exactly what equipment is Trump talking about?

And how do we pay for it?

We have to have a strong law enforcement also. So we do not go abroad in the search of war, we really are searching for peace, but its peace through strength. At home, we have begun the monumental task of returning the government back to the people on a scale not seen in many, many years. In each of these actions, I'm keeping my promises to the American people. These are campaign promises. Some people are so surprised that we're having strong borders.

Well, that's what I've been talking about for a year and a half, strong borders. They're so surprised, oh, he having strong borders, well that's what I've been talking about to the press and to everybody else. One promise after another after years of politicians lying to you to get elected. They lied to the American people in order to get elected. Some of the things I'm doing probably aren't popular but they're necessary for security and for other reasons.

And if that last line doesn’t set off alarms, you aren’t paying attention.

And then coming to Washington and pursuing their own interests which is more important to many politicians. I'm here following through on what I pledged to do. That's all I'm doing. I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes. I wasn't supposed to get 222. They said there's no way to get 222, 230's impossible. 270 which you need, that was laughable. We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before so that's the way it goes. I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan. In other words, the media's trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made and they're not happy about it for whatever reason.

You see it right?

You see it, right? “We got 306 because people came out and voted like they've never seen before.”

Except the Electoral College vote and the popular vote are two separate things and Trump’s comment makes no goddamned sense at all.

At all.

Not only that, but it’s factually wrong.  Trump didn’t get 306 electoral votes, he got 304. A minor nitpick I suppose given that the rest of his statement is even more wrong.  Barack Obama won with 332 electoral votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008. Trump’s favorite foil, Bill Clinton, won with 379 electoral votes in 1996 and 370 in 1992. 

When he was questioned on this comment, Trump tried to wiggle out of his lie by saying he meant he’d had the biggest electoral win of Republicans since Reagan, but even that isn’t true since George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes in 1988.

Out of five presidents since Reagan, Trump is second from the bottom in electoral votes and he shares with the guy on the bottom the distinction of losing the popular vote.

And - but a lot of people are happy about it. In fact, I'll be in Melbourne, Florida five o'clock on Saturday and I heard - just heard that the crowds are massive that want to be there. I turn on the T.V., open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine- tuned machine, despite the fact that I can't get my cabinet approved.

A fine tuned machine?

Let’s review, shall we?

The National Security Advisor resigned (or was fired, depending on who’s telling the story) for colluding with the Russians and lying to the Vice president about it. Mike Flynn didn’t even last a whole month.

Trump’s first military mission, a raid on Yemen, was a disaster with one SEAL dead, half a dozen injured, dozens of women and children killed, a $73 MILLION dollar aircraft destroyed, and the guy they were after got away and is now mocking Trump in public.

The US Intelligence Community is in open revolt and leaking classified information like piss from an incontinent Russian hooker.

Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary crapped out and withdrew his own nomination.

The White House Press Secretary is a running joke on Saturday Night Live ala Baghdad Bob only more ridiculous and when Kellyanne Conway isn’t hawking Ivanka Trump apparel she’s inventing fake terrorist attacks.

Trump’s Executive Order banning immigration from Muslim countries was halted by court order and even his own AG won’t defend it. His promise to make Mexico pay for a border wall constructed from the bodies of white elephants literally has Mexico’s former president telling Trump to go fuck himself on social media and Mexico’s current president cancelled an official state visit over the issue.

The streets are full of pissed off women in pink pussy hats and the airports are jammed with immigration protestors.

And then Trump’s Director of Scheduling, Caroline Wiles – the daughter of Susan Wiles, Trump’s Florida campaign director and the former campaign manager for Governor Rick Scott – was escorted from the White House today along with five other Trump staffers. Wiles apparently resigned because she couldn’t pass the background check which includes inquires into your credit score, substance use, and personal habits. The other five staffers also failed their background checks. 

The administration might be a fine-tuned machine all right, but it’s like an airplane full of bombs and jet fuel aimed at a mountainside while the pilots play Doodle-Jump on their cell phones.

And they're outstanding people like Senator Dan Coats who's there, one of the most respected men of the Senate. He can't get approved. How do you not approve him? He's been a colleague - highly respected. Brilliant guy, great guy, everybody knows it. We're waiting for approval. So we have a wonderful group of people that's working very hard, that's being very much misrepresented about and we can't let that happen.

So, if the Democrats who have - all you have to do is look at where they are right now. The only thing they can do is delay because they screwed things up royally, believe me. Let me list to you some of the things that we've done in just a short period of time. I just got here. And I got here with no cabinet. Again, each of these actions is a promise I made to the American people.

I'll go over just some of them and we have a lot happening next week and in the weeks - in the weeks coming. We've withdrawn from the job-killing disaster known as Trans Pacific Partnership. We're going to make trade deals but we're going to have one on one deals, bilateral. We're going to have one on one deals.

We've directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing and call for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure and that means plant, equipment, roads, bridges, factories. People take 10, 15, 20 years to get disapproved for a factory. They go in for a permit, it's many, many years. And then at the end of the process -- they spend 10s of millions of dollars on nonsense and at the end of the process, they get rejected.

Now, they may be rejected with me but it's going to be a quick rejection. Not going to take years. But mostly it's going to be an acceptance. We want plants built and we want factories built and we want the jobs. We don't want the jobs going to other countries. We've imposed a hiring freeze on non-essential federal workers. We've imposed a temporary moratorium on new federal regulations.

We've issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Makes sense. Nobody's ever seen regulations like we have. You go to other countries and you look at indexes (ph) they have and you say "let me see your regulations" and they're fraction, just a tiny fraction of what we have. And I want regulations because I want safety, I want environmental - all environmental situations to be taken properly care of. It's very important to me. But you don't need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing.

Twenty years to get approval for a factory?

Businesses spend tens of millions of dollars for a permit?

Once again, you’ll note he doesn’t provide any actual examples or facts to back up that claim.

It might take years to get approval for new power plant or a large pipeline or a dam, but those things require massive studies and extensive engineering and environmental review and history has shown repeatedly that when that kind of oversight isn’t applied it’s the public who suffers the consequences. Ask the folks of Love Canal or the Down Winders or those who live next to Hanford or the Savannah River or those sucking petroleum byproducts from their faucets in the middle of the fracking fields.

Most of the time, the delays are economic. Alaskans have been trying to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to a terminal near Anchorage or even as a pipeline through Canada for decades now. Every governor for the last 40 years has promised to complete the project and every conservative has blamed the EPA and Environmentalists and Liberals for the delays. But the real reason the project has never gotten off the ground is because it’s a white elephant. There’s no money in it. None. Even if you tossed out every regulation and ran the gas though rubber garden hoses right through the middle of sacred Native American graveyards, you still couldn’t turn a profit. For forty years the people pushing this scam have been doing their damnest to find a way to get the Federal Government to subsidize this boondoggle so they can line their pockets with tax dollars while blaming sissy liberals for the cost of doing business.

There’s a reason why these projects need strict oversight and you don’t have to go to Alaska to find them or wait from some massive environmental disaster, you don’t have to look any further than Enron or (Conservatives’ favorite punching bag) Solyndra.

We've stood up for the men and women of law enforcement, directing federal agencies to ensure they are protected from crimes of violence. We've directed the creation of a task force for reducing violent crime in America, including the horrendous situation -- take a look at Chicago and others, taking place right now in our inner cities. Horrible.

Uh huh.

Again, no details. No facts. No names. No references. No objective. No timelines. We’ve directed some people to do some vague thing.

It’s that scene from Indiana Jones: we’ve got top men working on it right now. Top. Men.

We've ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We're becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer.

Oh. Destroy cartels coming into America. Boy, why didn’t anybody else think of that?

Drugs are cheaper than candy bars. We’re not going to let that happen any more.

No details. No facts. No names. No references. No objectives. No timelines. We’ve got top men working on it right now.

We've undertaken the most substantial border security measures in a generation to keep our nation and our tax dollars safe. And are now in the process of beginning to build a promised wall on the southern border, met with general -- now Secretary Kelly yesterday and we're starting that process. And the wall is going to be a great wall and it's going to be a wall negotiated by me. The price is going to come down just like it has on everything else I've negotiated for the government. And we are going to have a wall that works, not gonna have a wall like they have now which is either non-existent or a joke.

He promised a wall. He promised that Mexico would pay for his wall.

He was going to negotiate that.

He got told to go fuck himself by Mexico. That was the entire extent of the negotiations.

Now we’re paying for his wall and he’s promised to pay us back later.

This is the same guy who doesn’t pay the contractors who worked on his hotels and casinos.

You can do the rest of the math yourself.

We've ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law and that harbor criminal aliens, and we have ordered an end to the policy of catch and release on the border. No more release. No matter who you are, release. We have begun a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers and others who pose a threat to public safety. We are saving American lives every single day.

This morning the media is full of reports of ICE agents arresting housewives and day laborers and school kids, but curiously lacking are pictures of alien gang members and violent criminals and drug dealers being carted off for deportation.

The court system has not made it easy for us. And are even creating a new office in Homeland Security dedicated to the forgotten American victims of illegal immigrant violence, which there are many. We have taken decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country. No parts are necessary and constitutional actions were blocked by judges, in my opinion, incorrect, and unsafe ruling. Our administration is working night and day to keep you safe, including reporters safe. And is vigorously defending this lawful order.

It’s not supposed to be easy.

Isn’t that exactly what Republicans have been telling us for eight years? The president isn’t a dictator. He’s not an emperor. Every single one of his actions and orders are subject to review and approval, by the court, by congress, by the people. That’s what conservatives like Trump told Obama.

I will not back down from defending our country. I got elected on defense of our country. I keep my campaign promises, and our citizens will be very happy when they see the result. They already are, I can tell you that. Extreme vetting will be put in place and it already is in place in many places.

What?

Again – again – no details. What is this “extreme vetting?” He provides no facts, no information, nothing.

In fact, we had to go quicker than we thought because of the bad decision we received from a circuit that has been overturned at a record number. I have heard 80 percent, I find that hard to believe, that is just a number I heard, that they are overturned 80 percent of the time. I think that circuit is -- that circuit is in chaos and that circuit is frankly in turmoil. But we are appealing that, and we are going further.

Trump “heard” that the 9th Circuit decisions are overturned at “record” numbers.

Maybe he should listen to somebody else.

While it’s true that up to 79% of cases from the 9th Circuit Court are reversed IF they make it to the Supreme Court, that’s not the highest rate, nor is it unusual. Nor is it 80% of the 9th Circuit Courts total decisions, it is 80% of the cases that make to the Supreme Court, that’s less than 1/10 of 1% of the Court’s decisions. It’s how our system is supposed to work. In the case of Trump’s immigration ban, the court’s job is to issue a stay on the order if there is any question of Constitutionality. That temporary decision is than reviewed at much higher standards by the Supreme Court (if the case gets that far) and while the ban itself might be overturned it’s often with certain modifications to the order or law to bring it into compliance with Constitutional requirements.

If you need an example, look at the various challenges to the ACA.

We're issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country. So we'll be going along the one path and hopefully winning that, at the same time we will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people. That will be done sometime next week, toward the beginning or middle at the latest part.

Comprehensively protect the country how

From what? 

From who?

Using what resources?

And just how “comprehensive” can it be if it doesn’t require legislation and approval of Congress?

What the hell is he talking about?

We have also taken steps to begin construction of the Keystone Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipelines. Thousands and thousands of jobs, and put new buy American measures in place to require American steel for American pipelines. In other words, they build a pipeline in this country, and we use the powers of government to make that pipeline happen, we want them to use American steel. And they are willing to do that, but nobody ever asked before I came along. Even this order was drawn and they didn't say that. And I'm reading the order, I'm saying, why aren't we using American steel? And they said, that's a good idea, we put it in.

He’s reading the order. What order? The Executive Order he supposedly wrote? And if he didn’t write it, who did?

And “they” said that’s a good idea? Who? Who said that?

Never mind, let’s back up to that part where the President can order a private enterprise to buy materials from a particular supplier. Or better yet, let’s talk about how the president can order a pipeline company to buy American steel but apparently Casino owners can “negotiate” a better deal with China.

To drain the swamp of corruption in Washington, D.C., I've started by imposing a five-year lobbying ban on White House officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

White House officials were the problem? White House officials? Just White House officials?

We've begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It it's disaster. I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.

Wait, what?

I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people that our representatives are representing.

What?

So we've begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare, and are deep in the midst of negotiations on a very historic tax reform to bring our jobs back, to bring our jobs back to this country. Big league. It's already happening. But big league.

By this point in Trump’s press conference I was reduced to shouting What?! over and over and throwing things at the TV.

I've also worked to install a cabinet over the delays and obstruction of Senate Democrats. You've seen what they've done over the last long number of years. That will be one of the great cabinets ever assembled in American history. You look at Rex Tillerson. He's out there negotiating right now. General Mattis I mentioned before, General Kelly. We have great, great people. Mick is with us now. We have great people. Among their responsibilities will be ending the bleeding of jobs from our country and negotiating fair trade deals for our citizens.

Trump apparently thinks that if he just says “negotiate” enough, some kind of magic will happen.

Now look, fair trade. Not free, fair. If a country is taking advantage of us, not going to let that happen anymore. Every country takes advantage of us almost. I may be able to find a couple that don't. But for the most part, that would be a very tough job for me to do.

Jobs have already started to surge. Since my election, Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico, and will instead invest $700 million in Michigan, creating many, many jobs.

Fiat Chrysler announced it will invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan, creating 2,000 new American jobs. They were with me a week ago. You know you were here.

General Motors likewise committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave. And if I didn't get elected, believe me, they would have left. And these jobs and these things that I'm announcing would never have come here.

Intel just announced that it will move ahead with a new plant in Arizona that probably was never going to move ahead with. And that will result in at least 10,000 American jobs.

Walmart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives. There will be many, many more, many more, these are a few that we're naming.

Other countries have been taking advantage of us for decades -- decades, and decades, and decades, folks. And we're not going to let that happen anymore. Not going to let it happen.

Don’t make me say “negotiate” again.

And one more thing, I have kept my promise to the American people by nominating a justice of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is from my list of 20, and who will be a true defender of our laws and our Constitution, highly respected, should get the votes from the Democrats. You may not see that. But he'll get there one way or the other. But he should get there the old-fashioned way, and he should get those votes.

“You may not see that.”

So, just to be clear, he’s going to personally “negotiate” with our toughest trade partners, countries like China, but he can’t negotiate with Democrats? He can’t make a deal with his own countrymen. But then again, according to Trump “they are not the Republican people that our representatives are representing” so fuck ‘em, they don’t matter anyway. 

This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country. Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time.

You said it, all right.

I swear Trump blows his own horn so much it’s practically autofellatio.

And we have not even started the big work yet. That starts early next week.

Oh great, I can hardly wait.

Some very big things are going to be announced next week. So we are just getting started. We will be giving a speech, as I said, in Melbourne, Florida, at 5:00 p.m. I hope to see you there.

And with that, I just say, God bless America, and let's take some questions.

And so, at long, long last we arrive at the questions.

“…unless you have enough questions. That's always a possibility.”

Apparently not.

Alas

Mara, Mara, go ahead. You were cut off pretty violently at our last news conference.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who is with us today. And I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn't have to do that, because what he did wasn't wrong – what he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information, because that was classified information that was given illegally. That's the real problem.

So, Flynn’s a fine guy and he didn’t do anything wrong but Trump fired him anyway because “somebody” reported what he did, which wasn’t wrong, but Trump fired him because somebody else who wasn’t Flynn told the press what Flynn did, which wasn’t wrong. See?

And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved with all of this – that they know nothing about it; they weren't in Russia; they never made a phone call to Russia; they never received a phone call.

So, like I was saying, Flynn talked to Russia and didn’t tell Pence about it, but nobody talked to Russia, except for Flynn, who Trump fired for not doing anything wrong except for getting caught talking to Russia, and besides that was all fabricated by the Fake News and never really happened which is why Trump fired Mike Flynn for it, who is a really great guy, who talked to Russia except for when nobody talked to Russia. Okay?

It's all fake news. It's all fake news. The nice thing is, I see it starting to turn, where people are now looking at the illegal – I think it's very important – the illegal, giving out classified information. It was – and let me just tell you, it was given out like so much.

So, it’s Fake News but it’s real information that was given out, which is really important, illegally speaking, but it’s fake, see?

I'll give you an example. I called, as you know, Mexico. It was a very, very confidential, classified call. But I called Mexico. And in calling Mexico, I figured, oh, well that's – I spoke to the president of Mexico; I had a good call. All of a sudden, it's out there for the world to see. It's supposed to be secret. It's supposed to be either confidential or classified, in that case.

Same thing with Australia. All of a sudden, people are finding out exactly what took place. The same thing happened with respect to General Flynn. Everybody saw this. And I'm saying – the first thing I thought of when I heard about it is: How does the press get this information that's classified? How do they do it?

You know why? Because it's an illegal process and the press should be ashamed of themselves. But more importantly, the people that gave out the information to the press should be ashamed of themselves, really ashamed.

So, anyway, in conclusion, if it had been on, like, you know, Wikileaks, it would have been totally cool. But, um, if the press, you know, reports it, it’s totally lame and Fake News and that’s bad and sad.

Yes, go ahead.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Because when I looked at the information, I said, "I don't think he did anything wrong; if anything, he did something right." He was coming into office. He looked at the information. He said, "Huh, that's fine." That's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to, he didn't just call Russia. He called and spoke to both ways, I think there were 30-some-odd countries. He's doing the job. You know, he was doing his job. The thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn't remember. So either way, it wasn't very satisfactory to me. And I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position. And that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision. But he didn't tell the vice president of the United States the facts. And then he didn't remember. And that just wasn't acceptable to me.

So, just to reiterate, Mike Flynn was just doing his job and Trump was all “You’re Fired!” and Flynn was like “What the fuck, man?” And Trump was like, “Pence is pissed, Dude. But you can have this nice Ivanka Purse as a parting gift and anyway we gave your job to another guy.”

Yes?

QUESTION: (inaudible) clarification here. During your campaign, did anyone from your team (inaudible) Russian government or Russian intelligence? And if so, what was the nature of those conversations (inaudible)?

TRUMP: The failing New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday. And it was very much discredited, as you know. It was – it's a joke. And the people mentioned in the story, I notice they were on television today saying they never even spoke to Russia. They weren't even a part, really – I mean, they were such a minor part. They – I hadn't spoken to them. I think the one person – I don't think I've ever spoken to him. I don't think I've ever met him. And he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time. I don't think I ever met him. Now, it's possible that I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don't think I ever met him. I didn't talk to him ever. And he thought it was a joke. The other person said he never spoke to Russia; never received a call. Look at his phone records, et cetera, et cetera. And the other person, people knew that he represented various countries, but I don't think he represented Russia, but knew that he represented various countries. That's what he does. I mean, people know that. That's Mr. Manafort, who's by the way, who's by the way a respected man. He's a respected man. But I think he represented the Ukraine or Ukraine government or somebody, but everybody, people knew that, everybody knew that. So, these people – and he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia. And he said that very forcefully. I saw his statement. He said it very forcefully. Most of the papers don't print it because that's not good for their stories.

If you were on trial and you answered a question in that fashion in front of a jury, they’d be fitting you for the electric chair twenty minutes later.

So the three people that they talked about all totally deny it. And I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don't have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election. He then, called me up extremely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific. But so did many other leaders, almost all other leaders from almost all of the country. So that's the extent. Russia is fake news. Russia, this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that people, probably from the Obama administration because they're there, because we have our new people going in place, right now.

Let’s back up to the part where Trump just fired Mike Flynn for talking to Russia and lying to Mike Pence about it.

What?

Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

You know what? You’re right, he’s rolling. Never mind.

As you know, Mike Pompeo has, has now taken control of the CIA, James Comey at FBI, Dan Coats is waiting to be approved, I mean he is a senator and a highly respected one and he's still waiting to be approved. But our new people are going in. And just while you're at it, because you mentioned this, Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Time's story, yesterday. And it talked about – these are  front page. So director of national intelligence just put out, acting a statement, any suggestion that the United States intelligence community, this was just given to us, is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true. So they took this front page story out of The Wall Street Journal top and they just wrote the story that its not true. And I'll tell you something, I'll be honest, because I sort of enjoy this back and forth that I guess I have all my life but I've never seen more dishonest media than frankly, the political media. I thought the financial media was much better, much more honest.But I will say that, I never get phone calls from the media. How did they write a story like that in The Wall Street Journal without asking me or how did they write a story in The New York Times, put it on front page? That was like the story they wrote about the women and me, front page, big massive story. And it was nasty and then they called, they said we never said that, we like Mr. Trump. They called up my office, we like Mr. Trump, we never said that. And it was totally, they totally misrepresented those very wonderful women, I have to tell you, totally misrepresented. I said give us the retraction. They never gave us a retraction and frankly, I then went on to other things.

Nixon was like Ha hah! Woodward and Bernstein didn’t talk to me so, hah hah! Watergate didn’t happen so I’m still the president! Hah hah, Fuckers! and America just sort of shrugged and said, well, he’s got a point…

Trump (and a lot of journalists apparently) think access journalism is the only journalism.

OK, go ahead.

QUESTION: You said today that you have big electoral margins (inaudible) 300 or more , or 350  electoral  votes. President Obama about 365 electoral votes.

TRUMP: Yeah.

QUESTION: Obama (inaudible) 426 on (inaudible). So why should Americans...

TRUMP: I'm skipping that information, I don't know, I was just given, we had a very, very big margin.

QUESTION: But why should Americans trust you on the information?

TRUMP: Well, I don't know, I was given that information. I was given, I actually, I've seen that information around. But it was a very substantial victory, do you agree with that? OK thank you, that's...

Why should we trust you?

Well, I don’t know.

Fair enough.

TRUMP: Go ahead Sir, yes?

QUESTION: Can you tell us in determining that Lieutenant General Flynn did, whether there was no wrongdoing in your mind, what evidence was weighed? Did you ask for transcripts of these telephone intercepts with Russian officials, particularly the Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who he was communicating with?  What, what evidence did you weigh to determine that there was no wrongdoing? Further to that, Sir, you said on a couple of locations this morning, you are going to aggressively pursue the source of these leaks.

TRUMP: We are.

QUESTION: Can we ask what you're going to do and also, we've heard about a, a review of the intelligence community headed up by Steven Feinberg, what can you tell us about that?

TRUMP: Well, first of all about that, we now have Dan Coats, hopefully soon, Mike Pompeo and James Comey and they're in position so I hope that we'll be able to straighten that out without using anybody else. The gentleman you mentioned is a very talented man, very successful man and he's offered his services and you know, it's something we may take advantage of. But I don't think we're need that at all because of the fact that you know, I think that we are gonna be able to straighten it out very easily on its own. As far as the general's concerned, when I first heard about it, I said huh, that doesn't sound wrong. My counsel came, Don McGahn, White House Counsel, and he told me and I asked him, he can speak very well for himself. He said he doesn't think anything is wrong, you know, really didn't think. It was really, what happened after that but he didn't think anything was done wrong. I didn't either because I waited a period of time and I started to think about it, I said "well I don't see" – to me, he was doing the job. The information was provided by -- who I don't know, Sally Yates. And I was a little surprised because I said "doesn't sound like he did anything wrong there." But he did something wrong with respect to the vice president and I thought that was not acceptable. As far as -- as far as the actual making the call, fact I've watched various programs and I've read various articles where he was just doing his job. That was very normal. You know, first everybody got excited because they thought he did something wrong. After they thought about it, it turned out he was just doing his job. So. And I do. And by the way, with all of that being said, I do think he's a fine man.

Thank God we cleared that up.

QUESTION: Sir, if I could, on the leaks, on the leaks, Sir...

TRUMP: Go ahead. Finish off then I'll get you.

QUESTION: I'm sorry. What will you do on the leaks? You've said twice today...

TRUMP: Yes, we're looking at them very, um, very, very serious. I've gone to all of the folks in charge of the various agencies and we're, um, I've actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks. They're put out by people either in agencies. I think you'll see it stopping because now we have our people in. You know, again, we don't have our people in because we can't get them approved by the Senate.

We have our people in but we don’t have our people in. You can quote me on that.

We just had Jeff Sessions approved. In Justice, as an example. So, we are looking into that very seriously. It's a criminal act. You know what I say, when I, when I was called out on Mexico, I was shocked because all this equipment, all this incredible phone equipment, when I was called out on Mexico, I was, honestly, I was really, really surprised, but I said "you know, it doesn't make sense. That won't happen" but that wasn't that important a call, it was fine, I could show it to the world and he could show it to the world, the president who's a very fine man, by the way. Same thing with Australia, I said that's terrible that it was leaked but it wasn't that important. But then I said to myself what happens when I'm dealing with the problem of North Korea? What happens when I'm dealing with the problems in the Middle East? Are you folks going to be reporting all of that very, very confidential information, very important, very, you know, I mean at the highest level? Are you going to be reporting about that too? So, I don't want classified information getting out to the public and in a way that was almost a test. So I'm dealing with Mexico, I'm dealing with Argentina, we were dealing on this case with Mike Flynn. All this information gets put into the Washington Post and gets put into the New York Times and I'm saying what's going to happen when I'm dealing on the Middle East? What's going to happen when I'm dealing with really, really important subjects like North Korea? We got to stop it. That's why it's a criminal penalty.

But then I said to myself please don’t make me sound like an idiot because I hate that.

QUESTION: I just want to get you to clarify this very important point. Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign? And on the leaks, is it fake news or are these real leaks?

TRUMP: Well the leaks are real. You're the one that wrote about them and reported them, I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake. So one thing that I felt it was very important to do and I hope we can correct it. Because there's nobody I have more respect for, well, maybe a little bit but the reporters, good reporters. It's very important to me and especially in this position. It's very important. I don't mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it's true and, you know, over a course of time, I'll make mistakes and you'll write badly and I'm OK with that. But I'm not OK when it is fake. I mean, I watch CNN, it's so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don't watch it any more because it's very good, he's saying no. It's OK, Jim. It's OK, Jim, you'll have your chance. But I watch others too. You're not the only one so don't feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it should be, I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody's ratings are right now but I think that actually, I think that'd actually be better. People, I mean, you have a lower approval rate than Congress. I think that's right. I don't know, Peter, is that one right? Because you know I think they have lower, I heard lower than Congress. But honestly, the public would appreciate it, I'd appreciate it, again, I don't mind bad stories when it's true but we have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult. I think we're setting a record or close to a record in the time of approval of a cabinet. I mean, the numbers are crazy. When I'm looking, some of them had them approved immediately. I'm going forever and I still have a lot of people that we're waiting for. And that's all they're doing, is delaying. And you look at Schumer and the mess that he's got over there and they have nothing going. The only thing they can do is delay. And, you know, I think that they'd be better served by, you know, approving and making sure that they're happy and everybody's good. And sometimes, I mean, I know President Obama lost three or four, and you lose them on the way, and that's OK. That's fine. But I think it would, I think they would be much better served, John, if they just went through the process quickly. This is pure delay tactics. And they say it, and everybody understands it.

So, that’s a big no on the talking to Russia thing then?

Yeah, go ahead, Jimmy.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

TRUMP: Well, I had nothing to do with it. I have nothing to do with Russia. I told you, I have no deals there, I have no anything. Now, when WikiLeaks, which I had nothing to do with, comes out and happens to give, they're not giving classified information. They're giving stuff, what was said at an office about Hillary cheating on the debates. Which, by the way, nobody mentions. Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine , seriously can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair. OK, he should be put in the electric, you would even call for the reinstitution of the death penalty, OK. Maybe not you John. Yes? We'll do you next Jim, I do you next.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure even an electric chair would help at this point.

QUESTION: Can you clarify…

TRUMP: Yes, yes, sure

QUESTION: Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador…

TRUMP: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: …prior to your…

TRUMP: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: … inauguration?

TRUMP: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: And then fired him…

TRUMP: Excuse me?

QUESTION: (inaudible)

TRUMP: No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn't doing it. I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him because that's his job. And it came out that way, and in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles Krauthammer the other night say he was doing his job and I agreed with him. And since then, I've watched many other people say that. No, I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn't do it. OK? Jim?

Wait, let’s back up to that part about nobody talked to the Russians. Hello?

I admit to being a little confused at this point.

QUESTION: Thank you very much, and just for the record, we don't hate you. I don't hate you.

TRUMP: OK.

QUESTION: So, pass that along…

TRUMP: Ask, ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job. OK?

These two should maybe get a room.

QUESTION: If I may follow up on some of the questions that have taken place so far here, sir…

TRUMP: Well, that's, well, you know, we do have other people. You do have other people and your ratings aren't as good as some of the other people that are waiting.

QUESTION: It's pretty good right now, actually.

TRUMP: OK, go ahead, John.

QUESTION: If I may ask, sir, you said earlier that WikiLeaks was revealing information about the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election cycle. You welcomed that. At one time…

TRUMP: I was OK with it.

QUESTION: …you said, you said that you loved WikiLeaks. At another campaign press conference you called on the Russians to find the missing 30,000 e-mails. I'm wondering, sir, if you…

TRUMP: Well, she was actually missing 33 and then that got extended with a pile after that.

QUESTION: Then your numbers were off too?

TRUMP: No. No, but I did say 30. But it was actually higher than that.

QUESTION: If, if I may ask you, sir, it, it sounds as though you do not have much credibility here when it comes to leaking if that is something that you encouraged during(ph) the campaign…

TRUMP: OK, fair question. Ready?

QUESTION: Well, if I may ask you that…

TRUMP: No, no, but let me do one at a time.

QUESTION: If I may as a follow up?

TRUMP: Do you mind?

QUESTION: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: All right. So, in one case, you're talking about highly classified information. In the other case, you're talking about John Podesta saying bad things about the boss. I will say this, if John Podesta said that about me and he was working for me, I would have fired him so fast your head would have spun. He said terrible things about her. But it wasn't classified information. But in one case, you're talking about classified, regardless, if you look at the RNC, we had a very strong, at my suggestion and I give Reince great credit for this. at my suggestion, because I know something about this world, I said I want a very strong defensive mechanism. I don't want to be hacked. And we did that. And you have seen that they tried to hack us and they failed. The DNC did not do that. And if they did it, they could not have been hacked. But they were hacked and terrible things came in. And, you know, the only thing that I do think is unfair is some of the things were so, they were, when I heard some of those things I picked up the papers the next morning and said, oh, this is going to be front page, it wasn't even in the papers. Again, if I had that happen to me, it would be the biggest story in the history of publishing or the head of newspapers. I would have been headline in every newspaper. I mean, think of it. They gave her the questions to a debate and she, and she should have reported herself. Why did Hillary Clinton announce that, I'm sorry, but I have been given the questions to a debate or a town hall, and I feel that it's inappropriate, and I want to turn in CNN for not doing a good job.

I missed something. Do we still like Wikileaks or not?

QUESTION: And if I may follow up on that, just something that Jonathan Karl was asking you about. You said that the leaks are real, but the news is fake. I guess I don't understand. It seems that there's a disconnect there. If the information coming from those leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?

TRUMP: The reporting is fake. Look, look, you know what it is? Here's the thing. The public isn't, you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch, they don't know if it's true or false because they're not involved. I'm involved. I've been involved with this stuff all my life. But I'm involved. So I know when you're telling the truth or when you're not. I just see many, many untruthful things. And I'll tell you what else I see. I see tone. You know the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I'm really not a bad person, by the way. No, but the tone is such, I do get good ratings, you have to admit that. The tone is such hatred. I watched this morning a couple of the networks. And I have to say, Fox & Friends in the morning, they're very honorable people. They're very, not because they're good, because they hit me also when I do something wrong. But they have the most honest morning show. That's all I can say. It's the most honest. But the tone, Jim. If you look, the hatred, the, I mean, sometimes, sometimes somebody gets, well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o'clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump. The good news is he doesn't have good ratings. But the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump. And the hatred and venom coming from his mouth; the hatred coming from other people on your network. Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I'm amazed by it. And I just think you'd be a lot better off, I honestly do. The public gets it, you know. Look, when I go to rallies, they turn around, they start screaming at CNN. They want to throw their placards at CNN. You know. I, I think you would do much better by being different. But you just take a look. Take a look at some of your shows in the morning and the evening. If a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it's, it's brutal. Now, they'll take this news conference, I'm actually having a very good time, OK? But they'll take this news conference, don't forget, that's the way I won. Remember, I used to give you a news conference every time I made a speech, which was like every day. OK? No, that's how I won. I won with news conferences and probably speeches. I certainly didn't win by people listening to you people. That's for sure. But I'm having a good time. Tomorrow, they will say, "Donald Trump rants and raves at the press." I'm not ranting and raving. I'm just telling you. You know, you're dishonest people. But, but I'm not ranting and raving. I love this. I'm having a good time doing it. But tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, "Donald Trump rants and raves." I'm not ranting and raving.

I’m babbling like a deranged lunatic, but I’m not ranting and raving.

This goes on and on. So let’s jump over the CNN bashing and the part where Trump explains how he’d be a really good reporter and the bullshit about his great tax plan and get to the part where he’s starting a nuclear war.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you mentioned Russia. Let's talk about some serious issues that have come up in the last week that you have had to deal with as president of the United States.

TRUMP: OK.

QUESTION: You mentioned the vessel, the spy vessel off the coast of the United States.

TRUMP: Not good.

QUESTION: There was a ballistic missile test that many interpret as a violation of an agreement between the two countries; and a Russian plane buzzed a U.S. destroyer.

TRUMP: Not good.

QUESTION: I listened to you during the campaign ...

TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. When did it happen? It happened when, if you were Putin right now, you would say, "Hey, we're back to the old games with the United States; there's no way Trump can ever do a deal with us." Because the, you have to understand, if I was just brutal on Russia right now, just brutal, people would say, you would say, "Oh, isn't that wonderful." But I know you well enough. Then you would say, "Oh, he was too tough; he shouldn't have done that." Look, all of the…

QUESTION: I'm just trying to find out your orientation to those...

TRUMP: Wait a minute. Wait, wait. Excuse me just one second. All of those things that you mentioned are very recent, because probably Putin assumes that he's not going to be able to make a deal with me because it's politically not popular for me to make a deal. So Hillary Clinton tries a re-set. It failed. They all tried. But I'm different than those people.

Maybe, and I’m just throwing this out there, Putin thinks he can’t do a deal with the United States because we elected a raving lunatic for President.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: How are you interpreting those moves? And what do you intend to do about them? Have you given Rex Tillerson any advice or counsel on how to deal?

TRUMP: I have. I have. And I'm so beautifully represented. I'm so honored that the Senate approved him. He's going to be fantastic. Yes, I think that I've already...

QUESTION: Is Putin testing you, do you believe, sir?

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. I think Putin probably assumes that he can't make a deal with me anymore because politically it would be unpopular for a politician to make a deal. I can't believe I'm saying I'm a politician, but I guess that's what I am now. Because, look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we're not going to make a deal. Now, I don't know that we're going to make a deal. I don't know. We might. We might not. But it would be much easier for me to be so tough, the tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world. If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along, and don't forget, we're a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There's no up-side. We're a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we're allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They're a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that's a good thing, not a bad thing.

It would be a holocaust like no other.

That’s what your president has been authorized to tell you. We’ve got nukes. They’ve got nukes. It would be a holocaust like no other, see? He’s been briefed so he knows. Nuclear war is bad, Folks. You probably didn’t know that, but, yeah, bad. So, probably better go easy on Russia because nobody wants a nuclear war, right?

QUESTION: So when you say they're not good, do you mean that they are...

TRUMP: Who did I say is not good?

QUESTION: No, I read off the three things that have recently happened. Each one of them you said they're not good.

TRUMP: No, it's not good, but they happened.

QUESTION: But do they damage the relationship? Do they undermine...

TRUMP: They all happened recently. No...

QUESTION: ... this country's ability to work with Russia?

TRUMP: They all happened recently. And I understand what they're doing because they're doing the same thing. Now, again, maybe I'm not going to be able to do a deal with Russia, but at least I will have tried. And if I don't, does anybody really think that Hillary Clinton would be tougher on Russia than Donald Trump? Does anybody in this room really believe that? OK? But I tell you one thing, she tried to make a deal. She had the re-set. She gave all that valuable uranium away. She did other things. You know, they say I'm close to Russia. Hillary Clinton gave away 20 percent of the uranium in the United States. She's close to Russia.

QUESTION: Can we...

TRUMP: I gave, you know what I gave to Russia? You know what I gave? Nothing.

QUESTION: Can we conclude there will be no response to these particular provocations?

TRUMP: I'm not going to tell you anything about what response I do. I don't talk about military response. I don't say I'm going into Mosul in four months. "We are going to attack Mosul in four months." Then three months later, "We are going to attack Mosul in one month." "Next week, we are going to attack Mosul." In the meantime, Mosul is very, very difficult. Do you know why? Because I don't talk about military, and I don't talk about certain other things, you're going to be surprised to hear that. And by the way, my whole campaign, I'd say that. So I don't have to tell you. I don't want to be one of these guys that say, "Yes, here's what we're going to do." I don't have to do that. I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do in North Korea. Wait a minute. I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do in North Korea. And I don't have to tell you what I'm going to do with Iran. You know why? Because they shouldn't know. And eventually, you guys are going to get tired of asking that question. So when you ask me what am I going to do with a ship, the Russian ship as an example, I'm not going to tell you. But hopefully, I won't have to do anything, but I'm not going to tell you. OK.

Honestly, I don’t know if Hillary Clinton would have been tougher on Russia or not.

I do know, however, that I would be a whole lot more comfortable if her hand was on the button instead of this rambling nut.

Hell, at this point, I’d take George W. Bush back and be glad to have him.

I’ll spare you the rest of this shitshow. It goes on for another couple of thousand words because you can’t just gong the President off the stage even if he starts babbling about nuclear holocaust. Wading through the rest of the transcript is like reading dialog written by an angry Adam Sandler for an Eddie Murphy Pluto Nash sequel. It’s about as funny as waterboarding and sure Rush Limbaugh finds that sort of thing great entertainment but then he’s stoned on Oxy and Rogaine speedballs.

We’re twenty-eight days into this horror fest.

Yesterday’s presser should have been a gesture of confidence and leadership.

Instead it was an extended middle finger waved under the nose of America.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Into the Valley of Death, Again

 

To go against the church is to go against God!
-- Monsignor Orelas, Priest, 2011

 

A winning mission.

Not a failure says President Trump.

image
Or rather not a “failure.”

Given the nature of the situation, perhaps winning should be in Doctor Evil quotes instead of failure but then I’d be digressing by the fourth line and let’s not do that.


So, Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission.


Let us review:

- Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) William Ryan Owens was killed.

- Six American servicemen were injured, several severely.

- Despite strict operational security, covert insertion, and months of intelligence work, the enemy was tipped off to the pending attack. Exactly how isn't known, could have been barking dogs, a crashed recon drone, intercept of communications from Yemeni commandos accompanying the mission, or just plain bad luck.

- A large number of civilian non-combatants were killed, including an 8-year-old girl

Note: reports are that armed women were part of the firefight, making them legitimate targets. I'm not saying they weren't. But even the Pentagon admits a number of non-combatants were killed and has opened an investigation into those casualties

Also Note: Once the advantage of surprise was lost and the firefight began, air support was called in because there were no other options. At that point, given the situation, it would be nearly impossible for there not to be collateral damage and civilian casualties. Sometimes there are no good options, that’s just how it is.

- A $75,000,000 MV-22 Marine assault aircraft was lost.

- Out of the 14 enemy combatants killed, three were actual AQAP leaders, but the primary objective got away (or was never there) and is now openly mocking President Trump and publicly calling him "The White House's new fool."

- And anti-US sentiment in the region, already high, is now rising significantly.

In the aftermath – depending on analysis of captured materials and information systems – it is possible that the mission could be considered an intelligence success. It's too early to tell and likely the results of that analysis, whatever they are, will be classified for OPSEC purposes and even if they are significant, the public will never know. That is the nature of this sort of thing. Failures are public, successes are unacknowledged.

Now, before we go any further let's get something out of the way:

Sometimes missions go to shit and there is not one damned thing you can do about it.

The God of War is fickle and perverse and his prophet is Murphy.

All the planning, all the assets, all the training, all the intelligence work, despite all of it, sometimes there's a barking dog and it all just goes sideways. And then the only thing you can do is call in the gunships and let God sort it out.

That is the nature of war.

And so my criticism is not, REPEAT NOT, directed at the military.

I know these people. I helped plan and execute missions like this one. They would not have gone forward if they weren’t reasonably confident of success, no matter who is sitting in the White House. The people out there on the pointy end of the stick are doing the very best they can with what they have at the moment.

Could things have been done differently? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. I’m not questioning the commanders who made the decision to go forward or the SEALs who executed the mission. That’s not my point. Unfortunately the job has to be done and theirs is not to question why, it's to do or die and ride into the valley of death when commanded. And that is why they are the very best, the most highly trained, with the best equipment and support we can give them.

But there is always a risk that the mission will go bad.

And it did.

In the worst way possible.

Is that Donald Trump’s fault?

Yes.

Yes it is.

He’s the President. He’s the Commander in Chief. The buck stops right in front of his desk. Fair or not, that’s how it is. That is what he swore to when he took the oath of office. That is what the Constitution demands of him. He and he alone is responsible. If the mission is a success he gets to claim it on national TV. And if it goes bad, it’s all his fault. That’s the job. And a real president, a real leader, steps up and takes responsibility either way, most especially when it all goes to shit.

But America does not begin with the President.

It begins with us, the citizens of this nation.

And while it may be the military’s duty to do or die, it is for us to question why.

Chief Owens died in our name, so it is for us to demand a thorough and dispassionate accounting from our leaders.

A few years back, when four men died in Benghazi, conservatives didn't need reminding of this duty – though they then perverted their responsibility into a political vendetta. 

And since the Benghazi comparisons are flying on both sides today, allow me to remind you all that at no time did the previous administration attempt to portray that debacle as a victory or anything other than failure.

And that's my point, right there.

The Yemen raid, whatever the eventual intelligence value, can hardly be called a "winning mission."

To do so is an insult to every thinking American and an abdication of the responsibility which comes with the office of President.

Worse, far worse, this morning the Administration is attempting to silence accountability by saying that any criticism is unpatriotic and a "disservice to Chief Owens."

 

That is some fascist bullshit, right there.

 

That is the tactic of every petty dictator and tin pot tyrant.

It is the duty of free citizens to question their leadership.

Just as Republicans and Democrats questioned Obama.

If, as Sean Spicer this morning claimed, the mission was a success, a true success despite the terrible cost, then it is the responsibility of the administration to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt to the public.

Otherwise what Spicer is saying is that every Republican who questioned Obama in the wake of Benghazi must be considered equally unpatriotic and un-American.

More, Trump himself claims to have opposed the war in Iraq and Afghanistan right from the start.

Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been a vocal critic and to have never supported the idea of war in the wake of 911.

And he has repeatedly criticized the war and our role in it for the entirety of his campaign, denouncing both wars as failures – this is in point of fact the very cornerstone of his rhetoric.

So when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer demands the critics of the Yemen raid apologize to Trump out of some supposed respect for a fallen SEAL, then we must demand Trump himself apologize for his critical and disparaging remarks about the war in deference to all of those Americans who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No?

No, I suppose not.

He’s just not that kind of leader, is he?

In fact, this morning Trump took to Twitter to criticize Senator John McCain – a man who arguably knows a bit more than Donald Trump about military missions gone bad – for criticizing the Yemen Raid.

Trump said such criticism "emboldens the enemy!"

Criticism of a botched military operation emboldens the enemy.

Think about that.

No, really think about that and what such a statement from a president really means for liberty.

And yet – and yet – despite repeated attacks, McCain himself and those like him in Congress continue to endorse this president and his decisions. And they do so, those Senators and Congressmen, because they are terrified that if they don't then they themselves will become casualties of this war.

And staying in power, no matter how diminished, no matter how far they have to crawl on their bellies, is more important to them than their duty to the nation.

And that should sound the alarm for every American.

Because that is how republics die.