Trump's $4.8 trillion wish list
The White House is expected to release its 2021 budget plan — a spending wish list not likely to be adopted in an election year by a divided Congress, but still a guide into possible priorities for President Donald Trump should he win a second term in office.
The plan, according to reports, calls for Congress to approve an additional $2 billion in border wall funding, a figure Trump can tout on the campaign trail as he looks to make good on one of his key campaign issues.
As a 2016 presidential candidate, Trump vowed to wipe out the federal deficit after eight years in office. But the deficit has since grown substantially and is expected to surpass $1 trillion this year, the first time since 2012, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Trump’s proposed budget plan will abandon GOP pledges to close the budget gap in 10 years, and instead proposes a 15-year target, reports The Washington Post.
Trump’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year is expected to call for $4.8 trillion in spending, slightly up from the $4.75 trillion requested last year.
The president took to Twitter on Saturday to promise that his budget proposal “will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare.”
Trump’s claim comes after he told CNBC in an interview last month that “at some point,” cuts to Medicare and Social Security would be on the table. “At the right time, we will take a look at that,” Trump told CNBC at the time. “You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things.”
After Saturday’s tweet, an administration official told The Associated Press: “Every current beneficiary will keep their benefits as the President has always promised.”
Weekend tweet storm
As the White House geared up for the serious business of rolling out the president’s budget plan, Trump was tweeting up a storm over the weekend, airing out grievances old and new.
Days after his acquittal on impeachment charges, Trump took to Twitter to lash out against the congressional Democrats who voted in favor of his impeachment in the House, and to those who voted to convict him in the Senate.
Among those on Trump's tweet hit list: Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the sole Republican to vote against Trump, and Doug Jones (D-Ala.); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and pollster Larry Sabato.
Trump vs. New York
The president also took aim at his home state in a series of tweets directed at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he canceled a meeting with Cuomo, which was news to the governor, who told reporters he was still waiting to hear back from the White House on a proposed meeting, reports Newsday’s Tom Brune.
“The fact is, my office called to ask for a meeting. I wanted to talk to him about the Trusted Traveler Program and we’re waiting to hear,” Cuomo told reporters at the National Governors Association conference in Washington. “I didn’t cancel any meeting. I’m waiting to find out when we can meet.”
Cuomo was referring to the Trump administration’s announcement last Thursday that it would bar New Yorkers from applying for the program, which includes Global Entry, an initiative that prescreens travelers and expedites their passage through security checkpoints at U.S. points of entry.
After two NYPD officers were shot in an "attempt to assassinate" them in the Bronx on Saturday and Sunday, Trump sought to place the blame on Cuomo and de Blasio. The president cited a pair of incidents from last year in which officers on patrol were doused with water by civilians. (See Newsday's story by Michael O'Keeffe.)
“I grew up in New York City and, over many years, got to watch how GREAT NYC's 'Finest' are,” Trump tweeted, referring to the NYPD. “Now, because of weak leadership at Governor & Mayor, stand away (water thrown at them) regulations, and lack of support, our wonderful NYC police are under assault. Stop this now!"
Cuomo, in a statement posted before Trump’s tweet, said: “Those responsible will be brought to justice & held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Trump's next steps
Trump, basking in his acquittal on two articles of impeachment, also conceded this past week that the controversies and political fights that defined his first three years in office were far from over.
House Democrats still have ongoing probes into Trump’s financial dealings and policy decisions that predated the impeachment inquiry, and a series of legal battles over access to his records are headed to the Supreme Court this spring, reports Newsday’s Laura Figueroa Hernandez.
The president also is likely to step up the pressure on the Justice Department and his Senate GOP allies to investigate his political rivals, namely former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the Justice Department is vetting all the information Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has delivered, in part to ensure it's not part of a Russian disinformation campaign meant to disrupt the 2020 elections.
As the election season ramps up, the Trump campaign is making a play for black voters and suburban women, reports The New York Times.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told the Times: “Suburban women is where he has a challenge.”
“I think the biggest problem that he has with suburban women is the part that so many in his base like about him,” Cramer said. “His rhetoric, his punching down at his opponents. It’s so different than anything they’ve seen.”
Eyes on New Hampshire
The fight between Biden and Pete Buttigieg for the Democrats’ center lane intensified over the weekend, days before voters turn out for the New Hampshire primary.
Biden on Saturday said of the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor: "This guy’s not a Barack Obama." He made the comments to reporters who noted that Biden in 2007 accused Obama, then his rival, of lacking the experience to serve as president.
Buttigieg, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," said of Biden: “He’s right. I'm not, and neither is he."
Buttigieg continued, "Neither is any of us running for president. And this isn’t 2008. It’s 2020. And we are in a new moment, calling for a different kind of leadership. Look, we are facing the most disruptive president in modern times, and I don't think the same playbook that helped us get here is going to work against him.”
Escalation of rhetoric between the two comes after Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came in a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses. Biden finished in fourth place.
For a recap of how Biden and Buttigieg fared while making the Sunday talk show rounds, read Newsday’s story by Scott Eidler.
'A free pass'
Biden, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” condemned Senate Republicans for acquitting Trump on charges stemming from the president's attempt to solicit a foreign investigation into him and his son Hunter.
The former vice president, who repeatedly has denied any wrongdoing, told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos: "The worst thing that happened was acquitting Trump, when they acknowledged that he interfered ... to try to get a foreign power to say something negative about me or my son. The foreign leader wouldn't do it.”
“I'm worried this guy's got just a free pass now on anybody," Biden said.
Asked about Trump’s repeated attacks on his son, Biden said: "I can't let my anger overcome the desire, the need to have to unite, heal this country. I've gotta move beyond me, beyond my family, because this is about your families. It's about everybody else's family. Not mine."
Janison: Trump's 2020 edge
Nine months from the election and less than a week after the Senate's acquittal, Trump holds a favorable hand for a second term, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
This edge doesn't mean most Americans like his conduct or governance.
But the plain fact is that the last three presidents all won reelection despite popular concerns about their policy choices, their behavior or both.
What else is happening:
- A man carrying a knife was arrested outside the White House after, police said, he told a Secret Service officer he was there to kill the president, reports The Associated Press.
- Hofstra University students spent the weekend in New Hampshire taking in the mad dash of campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s primary, reports Newsday’s Catherine Carrera.
- Federal prosecutors are seeking a delay in the case of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is set for a Feb. 27 sentencing hearing, reports Politico.
- Retiring Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) has endorsed Assemb. Andrew Garbarino for his 2nd Congressional District seat, reports Newsday’s Yancey Roy.
- A Florida man was arrested and charged after he drove his vehicle through a tent where Trump supporters were holding a voter registration drive, reports The Washington Post.