President Donald Trump spent the weekend at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Sunday morning he took to Twitter to accuse the news media of “distorting democracy,” and of scorning his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
“With all of its phony unnamed sources & highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting, #Fake News is DISTORTING DEMOCRACY in our country!” Trump wrote.
In an earlier post, he compared the controversy surrounding his eldest son’s meeting with Russians for dirt on Hillary Clinton with two scandals that dogged her 2016 campaign, reports Newsday’s Emily Ngo and Scott Eidler.
“HillaryClinton[sic] can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?” the president tweeted.
He was referring to questions Clinton received ahead of her Democratic primary debate against Bernie Sanders and the mass removal of emails from the private server she had kept as secretary of state — both brought to light in Democratic Party emails hacked by what U.S. intelligence concludes is the Kremlin.
‘If this was nefarious’
Trump’s tweets in defense of his son came as the president’s private attorney made the rounds of the Sunday morning news programs, asserting that no laws were broken when Trump Jr. met with Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya during the presidential campaign.
“Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me,” said Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow, on ABC’s “This Week.”
The U.S. Secret Service pushed back on Sekulow’s argument, in a statement to Reuters: “Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016. Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time.”
Sekulow told CNN’s Jake Tapper he was not aware of any other meetings between Trump’s son and people with ties to Russia.
Fake news, fake numbers?
Trump’s morning Twitter tirade also took aim at a national poll released Sunday that found his six-month job approval rating is the lowest of any U.S. president dating back 70 years.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll found 36 percent of Americans surveyed approve of Trump’s job performance — the lowest approval rating since Gerald Ford’s 39 percent in 1975, according to ABC News.
Trump tweeted: “The ABC/Washington Post Poll, even though almost 40% is not bad at this time, was just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!”
Made in America
White House officials announced Trump will kick off a three-week campaign aimed at drawing attention to domestic issues such as creating more manufacturing jobs and supporting military vets.
The move to use weeks labeled “Made in America” “American Heroes” and “American Dreams” to tout Trump’s America First agenda comes as the White House grapples with ongoing news coverage of Russia-related probes and drawn-out debate over replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Monday’s launch of Made in America week will include Trump issuing a proclamation on the importance of investing in U.S.-made products.
NOT made in America
No word yet if the president will use Made in America Week to urge his daughter Ivanka Trump to manufacture her line of clothing and accessories in the U.S. instead of overseas.
Ivanka’s brand of product relies “exclusively on foreign factories in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, where low-wage laborers have limited ability to advocate for themselves,” according to a Washington Post report released on Friday.
White House spokeswoman Helen Aguirre Ferre, when asked if the president would use the themed week to encourage his daughter to manufacture her products in the U.S.A., told a reporter, “We’ll get back to you on that.”
Health care vote delayed
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday he would postpone a vote on a new health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovers from surgery.
The move comes as McConnell tries to shore up support for the Senate GOP’s health care bill, which some Senate Republicans have said they will vote against.
McCain, 80, who underwent surgery for a blood clot on Friday, will require at least a week to recover, according to a statement by his doctors released Friday.
Newsday’s Ngo and Eidler report the delay in the vote is expected to give proponents of the bill more time to gather support, but one holdout, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the “longer the bill’s out there, the more conservative Republicans are going to discover that it’s not repeal.”
The take-away: Speed of blight
Trump campaigned as a real estate developer who delivered big results on huge projects — but when it comes to moving ahead with his administration’s massive plan to upgrade the nation’s aging roads and transportation systems, the results have been slow-moving.
Newsday’s Dan Janison notes that gridlock over health care has stalled efforts in Congress to vet and discuss Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The plan itself, which relies heavily on public-private partnerships, has faced its share of critics.
“We’re told that the private sector will be able to do this better. Well, they might be able to do it better and faster, but only for a small number of projects.” said Jim Chanos, an investment manager widely known for prescient negative calls regarding the massive scandals involving the firms Enron and Tyco.
What else is happening
- Andrew Giuliani, the son of Rudy Giuliani and now a “public liaison assistant” to the Trump administration, got married in New York City on Saturday.
- Trump’s campaign has raised $13.9 million in the second quarter of the year, according to the Federal Election Commission.
- Melania Trump appears to be more at ease with her first lady duties when overseas with her husband than when back at home, reports The Washington Post.